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TalkTalk ticked off at BPI 'dumb pipes' jibe

The UK's music industry body has told ISPs that they should stop being "dumb pipes", and should instead make millions of pounds from selling songs online.The UK's largest ISP, TalkTalk, immediately responded by pointing out that ISPs already offer legal download services, and suggesting that the BPI should perhaps rather concentrate on not trying to criminalise its customers.
Written by David Meyer, Contributor on

The UK's music industry body has told ISPs that they should stop being "dumb pipes", and should instead make millions of pounds from selling songs online.

The UK's largest ISP, TalkTalk, immediately responded by pointing out that ISPs already offer legal download services, and suggesting that the BPI should perhaps rather concentrate on not trying to criminalise its customers.

On Monday, the BPI released a report that had been put together by Ovum analysts. The report suggested that the bundled digital music service market could be worth £103m by 2013, and that ISPs could better hang onto their customers by signing them up to such services.

Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive, welcomed the report: "It's increasingly clear that it isn't smart to be a 'dumb pipe'," BPI chief Geoff Taylor said in a statement. "This report shows that the revenue potential of digital music services alone makes sound economic sense for ISPs."

According to TorrentFreak, a TalkTalk spokesperson indicated a frosty reception to the BPI's suggestions.

"TalkTalk thanks the BPI for its strategic business advice, though some may question the value of such insight from an industry which has failed to acknowledge the impact of new technology on its own business models and is pressing the government to criminalise its biggest customers," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson noted TalkTalk's existing eMusic service, adding that while legal downloads may represent a "goldmine" for ISPs, "that will not alter the fact that the copyright protection proposals being proposed threaten human rights"

"They will penalise innocent broadband customers," TalkTalk's spokesperson said. "They are expensive, unwieldy and utterly futile."

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