ISPs outraged at music download licensing proposals

By Derek Sooman on July 15, 2006, 4:25 AM
If you are a regular reader of our front page, you will doubtlessly have heard about the recent case where the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) asked the ISPs Tiscali and Cable & Wireless to suspend accounts used for illegal file sharing, and to hand over details of customers suspected of breaking the law in this way. We also reported that Tiscali have said that they will not close any accounts without more evidence of wrongdoing from the BPI, and that they will not hand over any personal details of customers to the BPI without a court order.

Further to this, the BPI has accused some ISPs of "turning a blind eye" to illegal music file sharing and not taking effective steps to stop it. They claim that they have demonstrated in the courts that unauthorised file sharing is against the law, and have claimed that it is unacceptable for ISPs to turn a blind eye to industrial-scale copyright infringement.

It has now been revealed that ISPs are currently outraged at music download licensing plans that would see them charged for illegal file sharing by their users. The idea here is that organisations like the BPI would seek to take action against ISPs instead of users, if ISPs are unwilling to take whatever action is asked of them to curb illegal music file sharing.

"We really need to introduce additional rights and create relationships with those currently profiting at our expense," said Alison Wenham, chairman of the Association of Independent Music.
The Association of Independent Music (AIM) has outlined proposals which include building on the legal file sharing model, and introducing some form of collective licensing similar to the current UK radio licence. ISPs have reacted negatively.

Brian Aherne, a spokesman for the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) called the plans "ill-conceived", and said that the industry would resist any attempts at implementation.

"We have not been consulted on this," he told Media Guardian. "Aim is asking ISPs to participate without asking their opinions. "

One cannot help but think that all of this is a little ill thought out. The BPI and AIM could have nurtured their relationship with ISPs like Tiscali, and come up with a system that could have benefited all, and been fair to the consumer. But this out and out attack, casting ISPs as the enemy, is only likely to make the problem of illegal music file sharing last longer and get worse.

Read the BPI's point of view here and here.

User Comments: 8

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Phantasm66 said:
The only solution is for organisations like the RIAA and BPI to work with ISPs to provision a music download service that is fair to the consumer. They should work together to provide a service something like iTunes, and which encourages the internet user to obtain music in a legal and pirate-free manner - either through reasonable prices or other incentives.
Phantasm66 said:
[quote]Ayres said Tiscali's message to the record industry is "Come to us, give us the details and we'll absolutely work with you - and we'll work through this as we do with the police and the Internet Watch Foundation (the organisation which polices child porn)." The BPI's Peter Jamieson said, "If ISPs do face up to their responsibilities on copyright infringement that has to be good news not just for artists and record companies, but for all the law-abiding music fans who do choose to pay their way." [/quote]
Phantasm66 said:
[quote]It is not for Tiscali, as an ISP, nor the BPI, as a trade association, to effectively act as a regulator or law enforcement agency and deny individuals the right to defend themselves against the allegations made against them. - Tiscali UK Limited.[/quote][url]
spike said:
The BPI's shenanigans are bad enough, but the Association of Independent Musics proposals are really crazy. It may seem fine on the surface, but their logic is quite ill concieved...1, People connect to the internet through ISPs.2, ISPs give them the ability to download music illegally.3, People use their connection to do just this, therefor4, ISPs are making money out of illegal music downloads.Erm, no. It doesn't work that way. To an ISP, P2P activity on its network is the bane of their lives. Plusnets recent network changes demonstrate this perfectly, as does the uptake of ellacoya switches first in the US, and now in the UK.Their answer to how they can get a piece of this non-existant financial pie is equally flawed...1, ISPs are profiting from illegal music downloading.2, Charge ISPs a compulsory premium for the above (which in real life will be passed onto the consumer regardless of whether they download or not) through changes to the current copyright legistation.3, The premium charged has now legalised the activity of users, and taken ISPs out of the legal loop.4, The music associations are now profiting from illegal activity and will have to sue theirselves for compensation.It all seems a little crazy to me to be honest, and really goes to show just how greedy and corrupt these supposedly "whiter than white" trustworthy music bodies really are.
zephead said:
when a law becomes this hard to enforce, one has to question it...
darkshadoe said:
Correct me if im wrong, but arent these music companies breaking the law trying to enforce it? If I'm using bit torrent and I have a file called CrazyTrain.mp3 that I'm seeding and the file is of a train making silly sounds instead of the normal train sounds, doesn't the RIAA have to download that file to verify it is illegal? If so, then arent they doing the same thing that they are advocating against? Just a thought.
luvhuffer said:
My site went down one day. I tried for 3 days to fix it including multiple phone calls and e-mails to my host yahoo. On the 4th day I got a customer service rep to find the reason. I had been shut down by the Yahoo copyright department for copyright violations. This was done without warning or prior notification. ALL the saved e-mail on the account was lost. I tried to speak to someone in the copyright deprtment, but their number is voice mail only. I finally got a response saying that the complaint was from IFPI, RIAA's European cousin. I requested a copy of the complaint from Yahoo but the request was denied. I was told I had to contact IFPI directly. After the exchange of a few e-mails, I finally e-mailed IFPI with my e-mail and snail mail addresses and requested a copy of the original complaint. This was in early May. I have yet to receive a response. After all of this, I have little sympathy for any of these music association groups, and could care less about their problems. Once they decide to interact with people and organisations in an appropriate and reasonable manner maybe they can get some results. Until then they can all kiss my ......Edit: I still don't know exactly what they were fussing about, and my site is back up wihout change.
MothBaller said:
That's BS!!!! an internet provider should never be held responsible for what individual people do with the service. seems really semantical. there are more important issues in the world than worrying about pirates.
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