Why forcing ISPs to crack down on music copyright infringers' is a bad idea

 In a statement accompanying a study released today, the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) says that Internet Service Providers need to police their P2P swapping, copyright-infringing subscribers a whoppin' whole lot better than they are doing now.

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In a statement accompanying a study released today, the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) says that Internet Service Providers need to police their P2P swapping, copyright-infringing subscribers a whoppin' whole lot better than they are doing now.

"Yet the spread of unlicensed music on ISP networks is choking revenues to record companies and investment in artists, despite a healthy increase in digital sales in 2007, up approximately 40 per cent on the previous year," the IFPI said in a statement.

"ISP cooperation, via systematic disconnection of infringers and the use of filtering technologies, is the most effective way copyright theft can be controlled. Independent estimates say up to 80 per cent of ISP traffic comprises distribution of copyright-infringing files," the statement added.

Readers, those of you who come to these screens fairly often may know that as a general rule, I am quite pro-copyright. More than one, I have caught static for calling BitTorrent users "dens of thieves."

But you should also note that I have big problems when channels or pipes are forced by statute to police their content.

Parallels exist in the analog world. Let's just say your local newsstand is carrying copies of a magazine that contains an article where the author cut and pasted long passages from another article without authorization. Now would anyone seriously want that newsstand manager busted for providing a distribution mechanism for infringing works?

Of course not.

Obviously P2P-facilitated infringement is performed in binary, not on paper. But I don't see it as all that different.

No. The way to fight illegal downloads and file swapping via P2P is by a combination of consumer education and appropriate degrees of enforcement.

So what do you think?

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