One of the big discussion points
at MidemNet, this year, was the idea that ISPs might start offering "legalized" file sharing offerings, where for a certain fee, you would be able to file share without worry of a lawsuit. Depending how this is implemented it could be quite problematic
, but structured in a voluntary way, it would at least be an interesting experiment to watch. And, in fact, at MidemNet, folks like Feargal Sharkey suggested that it would only be a matter of weeks until we heard about such offerings in the UK. That may not be the case. The Register is reporting that UK broadband provider Virgin has killed off plans for just such a service
that it was just about set to announce... due to ridiculous demands from at least two of the record labels involved. Despite the fact that the plan was to create a "legal" P2P offering that would track file sharing using deep packet inspection (ick), Sony Music and Universal Music supposedly demanded that Virgin agree to block file uploads and downloads from users' PCs.
That really doesn't make much sense -- as the whole point of P2P (legal or not) is that it involves people uploading and downloading from their computers. Still, this also explains part of why Virgin was so willing to jump on the recording industry's bandwagon
for sending warning notices to customers and threatening to kick them offline. It was apparently step one in a negotiation to see about working out a deal for a "legalized" P2P solution. While I still don't believe such a solution is the best way to do things, it at least seems like a step in a more reasonable direction... so, of course, the big record labels were quick to kill it off.