UK ISP Shows Why Kicking People Off The Internet Based On An IP Address Is Dumb
from the let's-use-some-logic dept
UK ISP TalkTalk has been a strong critic of the way the recording industry has tried to turn ISPs into copyright cops in the past. A year and a half ago it swore it would not be a copyright cop, and scolded BPI for suggesting it had any responsibility to enforce the entertainment industry’s poor excuse for a business model — while also complaining about “the most unbelievably rude letter” that BPI sent TalkTalk in demanding it do so. At the time, he told them:
“They’re not just shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted — the horse has left town, got married, and started a family.”
Well said. Then, earlier this year, TalkTalk’s CEO also pointed out how naive it was to think that the industry could do anything to stop unauthorized file sharing, noting:
If you try speed humps or disconnections for peer-to-peer, people will simply either disguise their traffic or share the content another way. It is a game of Tom and Jerry and you will never catch the mouse. The mouse always wins in this battle and we need to be careful that politicians do not get talked into putting legislation in place that, in the end, ends up looking stupid….
If people want to share content they will find another way to do it….
TalkTalk is continuing to show how silly the recording industry’s plans are, by doing a little demonstration. The company sent out a security expert on staff to an ordinary street in Stanmore, Middlesex. Then it had him find all the WiFi connections there — noting that many were totally open, and many others used weak security. From a few open ones, he went and downloaded some songs including Barry Manilow’s hit Mandy and the soundtrack to the 1992 film Peter’s Friends — those two choices in honor of Peter Mandelson, the UK Business Secretary who suddenly became a supporter of kicking file sharers off the internet using a three strikes provision after dining with entertainment industry mogul, David Geffen.
To be clear, in this case, the music downloads were both done legally — and the company checked with the WiFi access point owners first to make sure they were okay with it — but the point is still clear. Just because you have an IP address, it doesn’t act as any sort of proof. TalkTalk’s director of strategy and regulation, Andrew Heaney made the point clear:
“The Mandelson scheme is every bit as wrong-headed as it is naive. The lack of presumption of innocence and the absence of judicial process combined with the prevalence of wi-fi hacking will result in innocent people being disconnected.”
This, of course, is the same point that plenty of people have been making for ages, but the recording industry never has a good response. They also haven’t been able to respond to a more important point: how will kicking people off the internet make anyone more interested in buying music?