Mon, Jan 19th 2009 8:20am
Like other industry trade groups around the world, the British Phonographic Industry, that country's RIAA equivalent, has been pushing for British ISPs to become its copyright cops, something a number of ISPs have refused to do. After some threatening noises from British politicians, some ISPs relented, and now, the government is set go all the way by forcing the ISPs to play ball. The FT reports that a draft government report says that a new agency called the "Rights Agency" will be established, and it will oversee regulations forcing ISPs to inform customers who download copyrighted material that they're breaking the law, and keep tabs on their downloading activity, and turn these records over to record labels or other groups who get a court order for them. Apparently the government took these steps because the labels and ISPs couldn't come to an agreement on how to deal with file-sharing, and says its goal is to get the industries to share responsibility. It's not clear why the British government saw the need to intervene here, and when it says "share responsibility", it's not at all clear what it's asking the music business do to. To the contrary, all these regulations seem to do is put responsibility on ISPs to support the record labels' foundering business model. Will the British government take similar steps to protect all of the country's other failing businesses? Or do the record labels, for some reason, deserve this special treatment?
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