Why Does The Recording Industry Decide Who Gets Threatening Letters From ISPs?

from the biased-much? dept

With the UK heading down the slippery slope of making ISPs into copyright cops, the folks over at TorrentFreak are pointing out what might be the most troublesome part: the decision as to who deserves a threat letter comes from the recording industry. Yes, BPI (the UK version of the RIAA) gets to tell the ISPs who's violating copyrights, and there's no due diligence to make sure that the info is accurate. In fact, if history is any indication, the accusations will be based on highly questionable evidence. TorrentFreak asks, reasonably, that if the ISPs are required to send letters out based on this info from a clearly biased party, shouldn't the BPI be forced to open up its process to make sure that it's fair and accurate?
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Filed Under: copyright, copyright cops, isps, uk
Companies: bpi

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  1. identicon
    Tobydecks, 29 Jul 2008 @ 4:41am


    This is the press release from the BPI's website:

    UK record labels association BPI today reached a groundbreaking agreement with major internet service providers (ISPs) and government on measures to help significantly reduce illegal filesharing.

    Following negotiations facilitated by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), BPI on behalf of hundreds of UK record companies big and small has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with the UK's six largest internet service providers. The UK film industry and BERR have also signed.

    The MOU places joint commitments on the signatories to continue developing consumer education programmes and legal online services. Most importantly, for the first time ISPs will be required to work with music and other rightsholders towards a significant reduction in illegal filesharing.

    To achieve this, in the first year hundreds of thousands of informative letters will be sent by participating ISPs to customers whose accounts have been identified by BPI as being used illegally. In addition, under the auspices of Ofcom, the signatories will work together to identify effective mechanisms to deal with repeat offenders.

    Alongside the MOU, BERR has today published a consultation on proposed new legislation requiring ISPs to deal effectively with illegal filesharing. It is anticipated that the outcome of this consultation will provide a co-regulatory backdrop to the MOU.

    BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor said:
    This MOU represents a significant step forward, in that all ISPs now recognise their responsibility to help deal with illegal filesharing.
    Government has played an important role in bringing all parties together to arrive at this point, but the work really begins now. We look forward to creating the procedures necessary to effectively tackle repeated unlawful filesharing with the other signatories and Ofcom.
    BPI has always believed that a partnership approach is the best way forward, as we showed with our education campaign with Virgin Media, launched in May. This has demonstrated that ISPs and the music business can work together positively to raise awareness about illegal filesharing. And, working with government, we have been able to build on that progress and encourage other major ISPs to start taking a responsible approach.
    In addition, the music business is constantly innovating to offer new, safe and legal ways to enjoy music online, and to create a future for digital music where creativity and copyright are respected. This MOU will help to create an environment in which such new digital services models can flourish.

    I'm not really one for downloading music, I prefer to buy CDs, but what concerns me is the line "customers whose accounts have been identified by BPI as being used illegally". How are the BPI identifying the accounts? You would think that the ISP is the one with the information on who's doing what online, not a body like the BPI. Also, what is their definition of illegal? Anyone who uses BitTorrent at all? Even for legit reasons?

    This seems to be cutting off the head to cure the cold. However, as with all these types of moves, it will turn into a farce and make a laughing stock of the BPI and the ISPs concerned.

    Net neutrality anyone?

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