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ISPs want to get paid to police users

Small ISP owner Jerry Scroggin says he should get paid if he's going to be policing file-sharing activity. He won't be. But bet that the huge telecoms are getting something out of their deals with the RIAA.

Greg Sandoval blogs about one small ISP who doesn't take kindly to demands from representatives of the music industry. In response to letters from the Zappa Family Trust and Warner Bros., among many others, Jerry Sroggin, owner of Bayou Internet and Communications, informs the reps that he will be billing for his services. Here's a typical response:

I have asked for your billing information so we can have a contract signed and full understanding of what i do. If you want me to work for you you should expect to pay. I dont work for free.

In a story on Scroggin's approach, the ISP says:

"They have the right to protect their songs or music or pictures," Scroggin said. "But they don't have the right to tell me I have to be the one protecting it. I don't want anyone doing anything illegal on my network, but we don't work for free."

If that's how Jerry Scroggin feels, you can imagine how AT&T, Comcast and Verizon feel. They're not in the business of improving the recording industry's image or legal bills. As RIAA prez Cary Sherman notes, the big ISPs want a piece of the content action, too. That means there is some serious quid pro quo going on behind the scenes. We'll see those deals – and the impact on Apple – over the course of 2009.

As for Scroggin, he shouldn't expect any checks from the music industry anytime soon.