UK ISPs Looking To Work With Entertainment Industry; But What About Consumers?

from the something's-missing... dept

Slashdot points us to the news that, over in the UK, various ISPs are closing in on some sort of an agreement to “deal with” unauthorized file sharing. A representative for the ISPs notes:

“Some kind of agreement between rightholders and ISPs can be reached. Everyone wants to work together to make legal online models work.”

Of course, that’s rather misleading on a few significant points:

  • It’s not everyone who is working together here. Consumers are entirely left out of the equation. Consumers end up being worse off in these scenarios, and open to losing their internet access or potentially other charges due to weak evidence. Plus they end up paying more for less music.
  • Musicians in many cases (the labels certainly don’t represent musicians’ interests) are being left out here — especially those musicians who have learned how to embrace free music and use it to their advantage. Those musicians will end up getting punished for their innovation by having industry agreements backstop obsolete business models.
  • There’s no reason why ISPs should be involved. The recording industry’s problem isn’t that ISPs aren’t helping out, but that the recording industry refuses to recognize the changing market that necessitates a different business model.
  • An agreement, inevitably means both sides gave up something, and it continues the myth that business models in this market are antagonistic. It ignores the fact that there are win-win business models, such as those employed by Trent Reznor, where no one is worse off. Instead, these sorts of agreements make everyone worse off.

Rather than trying to come to any “agreement,” it’s about time that the entertainment industry realizes that the market dynamics have changed — for the better — and if they looked around they’d realize there are tons of opportunities to embrace. Instead, they’re focused on locking down old business models, shrinking the overall potential market and making the overall situation worse for everyone.

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Comments on “UK ISPs Looking To Work With Entertainment Industry; But What About Consumers?”

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Steve R. (profile) says:

Re: Big Bother (Corprate version) is Watching.

Darn it, hit the wrong key by accident.

“There’s no reason why ISPs should be involved.”. Quite true. The ISPs should be limited to delivering the mail. They should have no implicit right to inspect the mail or to make any assessment as to its legitimacy. As TechDirt has noted, the ISP should not be the content industry’s police force.

Brad says:

Re: Re: Big Bother (Corprate version) is Watching.

I disagree. There is a reason why ISPs should be involved – their own bottom line. Right now, they are vastly over-subscribing, pushing their networks to the limit to handle capacity they promised users, but hoped they would never use. Who needs a 20-megabit connection to read email?

If they can cut down on piracy and other bandwidth-heavy usage, they get to spend less on infrastructure investment and improve their margins. This absolutely benefits them, so it is unsurprising to see them want to “lock down” what you can do with your internet connection.

Do I think it’s right? Of course not, but I’m also not surprised to see such a move from telecom. Remember this is the same industry that said plugging non-approved phones into your wall could take down your whole neighborhood’s phone service. If they can find a way to get you paying for 20 meg and only using 2, they will.

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

Musicians Should Sell Their Music to Their Audience

Musicians would be better off selling their music to members of their audience directly.

Only record labels are having big trouble selling copies of music recordings.

Musicians might have little bit of trouble selling music recordings, but at least they don’t need to sell copies (and so don’t need the monopoly of copyright).

Record labels are now competing with a musician’s audience to provide musicians with value for money in terms of promotion and distribution of their music.

It shouldn’t be surprising that record labels are engaging in litigation against their biggest competitors, i.e. musicians’ audiences.

A musician’s audience is expert at online and word-of-mouth promotion, and will gladly produce copies of a musician’s work without charge.

Seems like a no-brainer to sell music to your audience.

Even so, the labels are still trying to entice new and gullible bands to sign with them. See Saving on A&R.

Headbhang says:

Clinging to obsolete business models

It’s quite understandable that the industry will try to cling to their old, broken business model: it was a massively favourable one given the near-monopoly levels of control it provided. Nowadays, a large part of their infrastructure is obsolete and redundant. It’s probably quite obvious to them (and everyone) that there is no way that any new working model would quite match the “glory” of the former one, simply because it wouldn’t have the iron grip of a monopoly like before.
Sure, novel business models would probably be a win-win thing, but in their eyes, it would still be worse than their WIN-whatever one they are desperately trying to keep alive (and failing).

Anonymous Coward says:

I am the law!

Correct, the ISP should not be the content industry’s police force. The post has no right to inspect/open your mail when they deliver it. The same principle should be applied to the ISP.
I also find the it is NOT the responsibility of the OS (operating system) to determine if the content I access/play/run on MY computer is legal or not (via some hash/DRM/ETC. policy check).
No entity (be it the post, ISP or OS) should impersonate an officer of the law. It is especially a miscarriage of justice when these entities take action with a proper judicial review process.

darrylxxx says:

creeping dread

This cartel of rights holders and ISPs fills me with dread. It’s a slippery slope to invasion of privacy and the assumption of guilt. It has been brought on by the stupidity of the current government minister who is caving in to industry demands and putting the pressure on instead of leaving the market to find better business models. Truly scary if you ask me…

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Ahem, people already have the right to liberty (freedom of speech, etc.).

In 1710 (UK) and 1790 (US) the privilege of copyright was created to partially suspend this liberty, specifically the right for members of the public to make copies or derivatives of books that they had purchased. This ‘right to copy’ was then granted to publishers – hence the name ‘copyright’.

So, file-sharers are actually enjoying their natural rights.

Ideally those rights are no longer suspended for the benefit of publishers, but are fully restored to the public, by abolishing copyright.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Copyright isn’t bad, in and of itself. The horrible way its been twisted and extended since its initial implementation.. is whats bad. Lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater here. I’m all for people being paid for work, I’m not for the idea of lifetime residuals on a piece of work and complete show stopping powers for derivative work. If people want to sign their rights away and open it up to the public without personal gain, well… thats what CC, GNU, and BSD licenses are for.

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

People aren’t signing their rights away, they’re restoring the public’s rights back to them (by neutralising their privilege of copyright to published works and derivatives).

It is actually impossible to sign one’s rights away – this is what is meant by inalienable.

It takes the power of a government to grant privileges that supersede individual rights.

Steve R. (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The copyright law has been changed to deprive the consumer of their property rights to the use of content that they have legally bought. Furthermore, the content industry is continuing this deprivation of consumer rights by asserting that the consumer has no rights to the use of content. The very concept of “sale” is being eliminated and being replaced by “license”.

Kirk says:

Downloading of copyrighted materials is illegal

Very good and relevant points made; however, if you are downloading music or software illegally you are committing a crime. The record labels are running a business and the artists do get royalties when someone pays to download a tune or album. The ISP’s shouldn’t be held accountable; however, they should cooperate with law enforcement when crimes are being committed.

Try to this for a change; pay for your damn music and quit stealing it.


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