Wednesday, February 13, 2008

BPN 1007 UK Gov: ISPs cash points for music and movie industry

Just when you think it is all over and Music companies finally understand that they will have to do something themselves, it is the legal roadroller which revives the discussion. Now the UK internet users can await a legal stop on illegal downloading of movies and music. The UK government has sent a draft to the House of Commons. It is one of the many legal solutions which are offered in Europe.

London thinks that Internet providers should play a role in preventing illegal downloading. ISPs should take steps when they see illegal files being downloaded. The internet user should get an e-mail warning after the first illegal download, at the second illegal download a suspension and after the third time a termination of his internet contract.

The UK chooses to control illegal downloading through ISPs. Regardless whether ISPs are happy with this, the UK government takes that route. Of course the ISPs are very unhappy to be institutional policemen for the music and movie industry. In other European countries like The Netherlands the ISPs have to save traffic logs already, at their own expense, for a long period of time to assist, if needed, the police. On top of that they might get the policing task of controlling illegal music and movie downloads.

Besides this, is not the first model to combat illegal downloads which is using the ISP. During the introduction of internet it was proposed that the ISPs should pay the collecting societies for the music downloaded (movie downloads were still far off); the ISPs should organise their own way of recovering the fees paid, either by charging the individual downloader or sharing the costs among all subscription holders. This model of using ISPs to be the cash point for the collecting societies never made it, although the Swedish Performing Rights Society (STIM) has recently shown willingness to sign cooperation agreements with ISPs. STIM wants to sit down with the ISPs and discuss how it can work together to enable their customers to pay - via their internet subscription - for the music streaming through the providers' networks, thereby allowing them to become legal music surfers. According to STIM's model, an average user's monthly internet costs will rise in proportion to the total amount of music being downloaded. In return, internet users will be able to access and download all the music available on the internet at a given time; in time a similar measure would apply for movies. But STIM concedes that a number of technical, financial and legal barriers need to be overcome before their proposal gains general acceptance.

Of course it is unfair to push such a task to a party which is not part and parcel of the music and the movie industry. In the UK and Swedish cases, the ISPs become the cash points of the collecting societies and indirectly of the music and movie industry. This while this industry only assists in uncovering illegal download cases and has so far not put up a download service which offers easy access, reasonable prices and a fair policy for media shifting. They let Apple set up iTunes, but could not yet organise a decent download service themselves.

Blog Posting Number: 1007

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