Are You Taking The ISP? 17/03/2008
Music Industry – “Hello?”
Voice of reason – “Oh, hi there, is this the music industry?
MI – “Yes, and who is this?”
VoR – “Hi I’m the voice of reason, you may know me as ‘common sense’ or ‘sensibility’; I do go by many names”
MI – “I must admit I’m unaware of who you are”
VoR – “Oh don’t worry, I expected that would be the case. Right, it’s just a quick call really. You see, I’ve just been reading the papers and it says that you’re thinking about getting Internet Service Providers involved in tackling piracy? I presumed it was a mis-print so I just wanted to call you and let you know you’re being misquoted in the press”
MI – “No, that’s right.”
VoR – “Excuse me?”
MI – “Yeah we’re thinking about introducing the ISP’s in some way; maybe with a ‘3 strikes and you’re out’ rule for their clients or by just by suing the crap out of the ISP themselves”
VoR – “Erm, ok, but don’t you think…”
MI – “Or we could go for what Jim Griffin has said and whack an extra fiver a month on everyone’s broadband subscription bills and split that up between the copyright holders”
VoR – “How about the people who don’t illegally download though?”
MI – “… meh”
VoR – “You know my uncle ‘Fair and Balanced Argument’ told me you’d be like this”
MI – “Can you lend me twenty quid?”
So the music industry is now looking towards ISP’s as yet another potential solution to the problem of internet piracy. Does this one have actually have traction? Or is it just another flash-in-the-pan hair brain scheme to distract everyone whilst the consumer stands around waiting to find out find out what the industry blames them for next (whilst illegally downloading the new Nick Cave album at the same time).
I can see where they’re coming from here, after all; you couldn’t download illegally (and legally let us not forget) without your trusty ISP providing you with super fast broadband enabling you to carelessly throw around Duffy’s debut album in neat little pockets of pirated data wirelessly around your house now could you?
But it’s not the ISP’s job to watch what we’re doing is it? Do you like the idea of some bloke at BT checking what you’re downloading? Guessing you’re demographic from your internet habits (Porn, facebook, more porn, Xbox live, illegal copy of latest Arctic Monkeys album, more facebook, yet further pornography – yep, this guy’s a student alright).
If the ISP’s are expected to start checking our downloading habits then are we getting a step closer to that inevitable Orwellian future that we all know will haunt our grandchildren? Someone quite rightly suggested what the government is proposing is similar to asking the Royal Mail to monitor the content of every envelope posted (imagine what the Daily Mail headline would read if that came to fruition… they’d probably blame the Polish somehow).
Yet at the same time ‘Entertainment Media Research’ recently stated that in their research they discovered that 70% of online pirates would cease immediately if their ISP presented them with a warning so is the suggestion really that bad?
What do you lot reckon?
What I’m reading this week: Various SXSW blogs