Norwegian ISP Fights Back Against Pirate Bay Ban

from the democratic-principles dept

The IFPI (the international version of the RIAA) has been working around the clock lately to try to get various ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay and other file sharing sites. Some have caved in, while others have lost lawsuits. In Norway, however, leading ISP Telenor is fighting back, saying that taking orders from the entertainment industry to block sites it doesn't like goes against democratic principles:
"Instead of demanding that Internet providers censor the Internet and monitor the content that's transferred, Telenor believes that the best way to decrease illegal file sharing is to put more effort into making legally downloadable content available."
But, as we've seen over the years, there are still many in positions of power within the recording industry who believe that the best new business model is to try to stomp out anyone who challenges their old business model. Eventually, they'll realize what a failed plan that is.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2009 @ 5:48am

    "Telenor believes that the best way to decrease illegal file sharing is to put more effort into making legally downloadable content available"

    What they aren't saying is that the content would have to be free to have a hope of competing. Thus, it's just self-piracy rather than piracy.

     

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  2.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 13th, 2009 @ 6:04am

    Re:

    The European market is extremely fragmented, thanks to the messy rights issues the IFPI's members have created. For example, I'm English but I live in Spain. I am prevented from buying from Amazon or Play because I happen to be located on the wrong patch of dirt, but I'm OK to buy CDs because the IFPI's members haven't managed to place the same restrictions on them.

    I'd buy from other sources, but Spanish digital stores often don't stock the music I'm interested in or are 2x - 3x the price of the British stores for non-Spanish music. I'm not allowed to listen to Pandora because I'm not on the "right" continent. I'm not allowed to access certain albums on stores that I do use (AmieStreet, eMusic, 7digital, etc.) because the IFPI's members haven't worked out that international borders don't really exist on the internet.

    It's not about free vs. paid. It's about not blatantly refusing to sell to some people (or making it prohibitively expensive), and then complaining when customers turn to "piracy". Ever heard of a pirate refusing to supply a customer because they're in the "wrong" country? Me neither, but the entertainment industry do it all the time.

     

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  3.  
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    minijedimaster (profile), Jul 13th, 2009 @ 6:26am

    Re:

    I think Apple and Amazon would disagree with t shat statement. Nice try though. Plus, what he ^ said.

     

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  4.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 13th, 2009 @ 6:29am

    Re: Re:

    Well stated, but here's the problem, you're likely voicing this to someone who, if he isn't simply a paid industry troll, is at least probably an American who hasn't spent significant time in Europe. You have to sit him down and explain to him that to be equivalent to Europe, Illinois, Ohio, and Iowa all would be speaking separate languages, have separate governments, etc.

    The difference in sheer size is difficult for Americans to understand.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2009 @ 6:33am

    Mike, you should be a comedian. I would download your stand-up CD that's for sure!

     

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  6.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Jul 13th, 2009 @ 7:04am

    Question - Why Would and ISP Censor?

    The role of an ISP is to deliver packets (mail) NOT to read the packets and then make an evaluation as to whether they are legitimate or not. Moreover, this is a huge slippery slope issue, who determines what is an what is not legitimate content?

    Telenor notes that this would force them to act as a private police or private censorship authority and that it would be very worrisome in terms of freedom of speech.

    Since this is Norway and not the US, how the legal system operates may be different. Nevertheless, I fail to understand how an ISP can be forced to protect the interest of any third party, it is simply not their job.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2009 @ 7:17am

    Although this doesn't pertain to Europe specifically, I do find it interesting how difficult it is to obtain foreign music. Trying to buy imported CDs from Japan is ridiculously expensive. I've seen prices as high as $40 a CD, maybe even more, and you can't tell me that all that extra cost is shipping/customs. Also, I've found some albums I'd like to have that they won't allow to be sold outside Japan at all. In what world does this make sense? If the demand is out there, shouldn't they be capitalizing on it? Also, I have yet to see any digital music store in the USA that offers downloadable versions of most Japanese pop music (if you know one, point me to it please). When bad business practices make goods unattainable, or cost far too much for most people's budgets, what choice are we left with?

     

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  8.  
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    Stuart, Jul 13th, 2009 @ 7:30am

    Re:

    Wrong. There are many cases where people will pay more for an item. I like supporting artists. I would pay for unencumbered MP3's distributed by the actual artists. Cant sell cars because busses are cheaper? Cant sell front row seats if you give away nose bleeder seats? If these are what you think your problems are the your real problem is that you just cant sell.

     

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  9.  
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    Alex (profile), Jul 13th, 2009 @ 7:52am

    EU is a single market

    PaulT: I suspect that the market players concerned (IFPI, Amazon, Play) are acting unlawfully if you are prevented from buying digital files from them when you're in Spain. The EU is (supposed to be) a single market, and forbids any market discrimination based on where a consumer lives within the EU. perhaps not helpful in the short term, but sooner or later they will have to come to terms with not only the realities of the internet, but also the law.

     

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  10.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 13th, 2009 @ 8:12am

    Re: EU is a single market

    Yep, that's the theory. But, there's nothing the retailers can do, as they're restricted by licensing agreements. Apple were being investigated for violating the free market by not allowing EU members to use each others' iTunes stores - I can't remember if anything was resolved there or if the cases are still ongoing but nothing's changed so far.

    Amazon's site says it best if I try to access the UK store, and they show me the following image: http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/02/uk-mp3/other/UK_MP3_NonUK_Graphic._V221277881_.gif. "This is due to our publishing and licensing agreements with our digital music partners". In other words, the IFPI are refusing to let Amazon sell to me, and there's nothing they can do about it till the IFPI change their minds.

     

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  11.  
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    Tuck, Jul 13th, 2009 @ 8:27am

    Hmmm

    Here is the core. Allow something to be made that is worth buying and people will. Stop paying millions for publicity and let the artist rise/fall on their merits. Stop paying millions for remakes of movies from the 70's and 80's. Stop lying to the public and they will treat you fairly, until then I will not pay for crap if I get it and watch/listen to it and its good I will buy it so I own, what has pretty much come down to a plastic disk now that you have removed all rights from me the consumer. Case in point I don't care how much you spend creating something if nobody see the worth in it they are not going to pay for it, ahh that means the only way your going to get it out is free. Eat the cost swallow your pride and your $500 dollar lunch and move on.

     

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  12.  
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    Ryan, Jul 13th, 2009 @ 8:35am

    Re: Hmmm

    Allow something to be made that is worth buying and people will. Stop paying millions for publicity and let the artist rise/fall on their merits.

    Wouldn't really be any point of labels anymore, would there?

     

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  13.  
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    lyndam (profile), Jul 13th, 2009 @ 9:24am

    ISP Vs Pirate Bay

    I have worked for various record companies and they were profligate with the artists money my money and your money.
    When CDs came out they were double that of LPss. They said they would lower the price when production prices came down, but when they rapidly became a fraction of LP costs they saw people were buying and trousered the difference. Creating ever more creative ways not to pass it on to the artists.
    Anybody who knows anything about them hates them and if they are now being ripped off themselves, it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of guys.
    It is bad for the guys at Pirate Bay and co but they can't build the Berlin wall around this one.

     

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  14.  
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    RD, Jul 13th, 2009 @ 9:25am

    Yeah...right

    "What they aren't saying is that the content would have to be free to have a hope of competing. Thus, it's just self-piracy rather than piracy."

    Oh yes, because iTunes doesnt exist.

    Because Dark Knight isnt the 2nd highest grossing movie of all time despite being pirated massively.

    Because no one went to see Wolverine ($200 million domestic and counting) because a work print was pirated weeks before the premiere.

    Because Transformers made NO money ($300 million and counting) because it was pirated ONE DAY after release.

    Because you are buying the company line, you will never understand that this is about consumer CHOICE, not just free stuff.

     

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  15.  
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    thevicar, Jul 13th, 2009 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re: EU is a single market

    As much as it may be a licencing issue I expect its a cash issue too... Why else would iTunes not allow me to but a song last year on the US site that was not on the UK iTunes... As much as it may have been licencing, they set prices locally and would rather I was not buying music for 99 cents which at the time was about 50p, they would far rather I pay 79p in the UK version.

    I did find it interesting how many US websites were only to happy to ship to the UK to take advantage of the exchange rate the $ was particularly weak, but those with UK websites would not...

    Its more about cash, if Amazon or whoever really wanted to be able to sell x CD or whatever, they would find a way

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2009 @ 9:32am

    Re: Yeah...right

    ...and if Itunes exists, why does this ISP think there is a need for more?

    Would the ISP feel different about theft of services if suddenly all it's users just didn't pay anymore? After all, music and movies are just "a service" being stolen.

     

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  17.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 13th, 2009 @ 9:37am

    Re: Re: Re: EU is a single market

    Again, Amazon is quite happy to sell me the CD of an album, and Play don't even charge me additional postage. They just can't sell me the MP3, even if the price of the MP3 is higher than the CD.

    It's licensing, pure and simple.

     

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  18.  
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    RD, Jul 13th, 2009 @ 10:08am

    Wha??

    "Would the ISP feel different about theft of services if suddenly all it's users just didn't pay anymore? After all, music and movies are just "a service" being stolen."

    The hell...?

    Whatever point you are trying to make, count it as a "fail." If people dont pay their ISP, they dont get service. You cant compare an internet connection (which is a service with a "scarce good" - bandwidth) to something that can be infinitely replicated at near-zero cost (music, movies, digital INFORMATION). You are paying for that physical connection, of which there is only one (to your house). You cant "copy" that digitally for free and still get service.

     

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  19.  
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    Fiercedeity (profile), Jul 13th, 2009 @ 10:41am

    Re: Wha??

    You know if the ISPs keep fighting like this, pretty soon these collection organizations are going to try and get into the ISP business themselves, starting their own under a shell company or just outright purchasing them. Imagaine if all the ISPs in the globe were run by the RIAA and it's equivalents.

     

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  20.  
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    ranon, Jul 13th, 2009 @ 5:27pm

    The whole thing is moot. They have cut Pirate Bay off at the roots.

     

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  21.  
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    7ru7h (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re: Yeah...right

    "...and if Itunes exists, why does this ISP think there is a need for more?"

    Well AC, if you bothered to look at the first thread, you would realize that because of various licensing issues people in EU countries can't access the music they want. And what do people do when they aren't allowed to legally support musicians, or the cost is extravagantly high? Thats right, they go and get it anyway.

     

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