Illegal downloaders to get warning letter in government clampdown
Internet service providers have struck a deal with government and the music industry to help clamp down on illegal downloading.
The deal, to be announced later today, is thought to include an agreement for ISPs to send out hundreds of thousands of letters to account holders responsible for illegal downloading.
The memorandum of understanding, struck with the BPI, the body that represents record labels, and the government, will be announced today ahead of the launch of a consultation on the introduction of legislation to clampdown on offending.
The memorandum of understanding has been struck with the UK’s six biggest ISPs – BT, Virgin, Carphone Warehouse, Orange, Tiscali and BSkyB – and includes a deal for all parties to work together to develop ways to deal with repeat offenders.
The agreement has been reached ahead of an announcement expected later today by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform of a consultation on regulatory options to punish ISPs if they fail to take action against the illegal downloading of music, films and TV programmes.
“We have looked to ISPs to acknowledge their responsibility to help deal with illegal filesharing, engage in communicating the issue to their customers, and put in place procedures necessary to effectively tackle repeated unlawful filesharing,” said a spokesman for the BPI.
“Achieving this would represent a significant step forward and demonstrate clearly the collective will that exists to tackle this serious issue.”
It is thought that BSkyB’s announcement of a digital music joint venture with Universal Music earlier this week – the venture has no name, no pricing and no launch date – could have been a move to prove that ISPs are supporting new, innovative, legal digital models ahead of the announcements today.
In February, the culture secretary, Andy Burnham, raised the possibility of introducing legislation to crack down of illegal filesharing as part of a wide-ranging strategy paper designed to look at ways of supporting the UK creative industries and digital intellectual property.
At the time Burnham said that the government preferred to find “voluntary, preferably commercial, solutions” but that it would look to introduce legislation next April if necessary.
The strong stance by the government has alarmed ISPs, which believe that regulation is a step too far.
The Grauniad is up to their usual slack jawed shenanigans again, this time, acting as the mouthpiece for arch criminal Andy Burnham and the buggy whip entertainment industry.
What’s that you say? You recognise that name?!
Andy Burnham is the musical chairs minister who used to be in charge of the most illiberal, invasive, dehumanizing and wrong ID card in history. The card that prompted Danny Kruger to write in the Telegraph, in a headline, that New Labour are acting like Nazis.
Andy Burnham is a bad guy, no doubt about it, and now this monster is in charge of Culture. Given his past, the title of this post is entirely appropriate.
First of all, file sharing is not stealing. The BBC had to do a big climbdown about this after transmitting a completely absurd ‘hit piece’ on file-sharing which equated it with theft, terrorism and … pedophilia. This is how the apology read:
First though, an apology. File sharing is not theft. It has never been theft. Anyone who says it is theft is wrong and has unthinkingly absorbed too many Recording Industry Association of America press releases. We know that script line was wrong. It was a mistake. We’re very, very sorry.
If copyright infringement was theft then I’d be in jail every time I accidentally used football pix on Newsnight without putting “Pictures from Sky Sport” in the top left corner of the screen. And I’m not. So it isn’t.
This groveling apology was needed because the first lines of this bogus ‘report’ started like this:
Now how could downloading a film affect the fight against terrorism or indeed paedophiles?
Well, it goes something like this; getting hold of movies, ‘Bittorrent File Sharing’ in the jargon…
So, child raping, mass murder, the name of a protocol and ‘File Sharing’ all in the first two sentences of one of the most scandalous reports ever on Newsnight. A report so absurd that even the ‘deny everything’ BBC had to climb down.
But I digress.
File sharing is not stealing. It never has been stealing. Anyone who says so (or who repeats it unchallenged like the Guardian just has) is either in the direct employ of the entertainment industry or computer illiterate.
In the case of Andy Burnham, we can safely say that he is in the direct employ of the music and film industry, just as he was in the direct employ of the ID card contract holders when he worked at the Home Office.
I do not need to go any further in this post about how filesharing is not stealing. We have been over this before on BLOGDIAL.
What is new is that Andy Burnham, a corporate enforcer and dongle without shame, is in the right place to introduce legislation that will be penned by the music and film industry – the buggy whip salesmen – to tax everyone with an internet account, and to prosecute those who are file sharing.
To bottom line it:
- It is completely wrong that ISPs have been blackmailed into sending these letters at their own expense.
- ISPs are not responsible for the actions of their users. The users are responsible for what they do. This is well understood by most people.
- It is not for ISPs to, “…support(ing) new, innovative, legal digital models”. The internet is a level playing field; it is up to the music industry to adapt or die, and it is completely wrong for them to use prostitutes like Andy Burnham to apply pressure or introduce legislation that harms the majority that are doing nothing illegal or wrong and industries that are changing the world for the better.
There is nothing that any of these people can do about file sharing, any more than they can stop sunlight from reaching the earth; the users of the internet will always have the upper hand if the entertainment industry takes this approach.
These morons should take a page out of Apple’s book; look at what just happened with native applications on the iPhone.
Apple wanted everyone to write web apps for the iPhone, keeping native apps exclusively for Apple itself in order to maintain complete control over the platform. Within a short amount of time, developers cracked the iPhone and created a set of tools making it possible for any developer to write native apps. They also created a way to explore, distribute, install and manage these apps that was simplicity itself.
Many developers wrote apps for this ‘black market’ of iPhone applications, and Apple didn’t like it.
Instead of running to the legislators to fix their problem, they did something smart, which the likes of the entertainment industry and Andy Burnham are incapable of doing.
They gave the people what they wanted.
Give the people what they want, and what you don’t want will go away.
Apple opened up the iPhone and created its own way to distribute apps. You can even make money from distributing an app with Apple’s App Store. Every developer that used to write apps for the old ecosystem now writes apps for the ‘legit’ Apple ecosystem. Apple gets what it wants (control over what apps go onto the iPhone) and the developers get what they want (the freedom to write apps for the iPhone and distribute them), and the users get what they want; the functionality of their iPhones exponentially multiplied.
This solution has something for everybody, and it even pays Apple and the developers.
Now that is smart.
Andy Burnham is not smart. He is the opposite of smart.
If he were smart, he would tell the entertainment industry to go back to the drawing board before it’s too late (which it already is).
Instead, he is trying to put the genie back into the bottle with his puppet hands flailing about in the wind of change.
Yes, I wrote that.