Having ISPs Fight Piracy Could Cost More Than Claimed 'Losses' From Piracy

from the inefficiency-at-work... dept

While I'm sure defenders of kicking people off the internet will quibble with the numbers, ISPs are pointing out that the cost of implementing Lord Mandelson's plan to have ISPs police the internet for file sharing, will cost the industry significantly more than the music industry claims it's losing to "piracy." Even if you accept that the ISPs may be exaggerating the cost, we already know for a fact that BPI massively exaggerates its loss numbers. So if you cut back the ISP estimates significantly, the overall cost is still likely to be much higher. Meanwhile, we're still waiting for anyone to explain how kicking people off the internet gets more people to buy stuff. It's difficult to see how anyone could support this plan if they've actually put more than two seconds into thinking about it.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 5:49am

    tell that to the French

    they already approved of said three-strikes-you're-out law.

     

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  2.  
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    Ilfar, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 6:23am

    Overdoing it...

    That last sentence is getting a bit overly histrionic, in my opinion. I get that you don't agree, and think it's a bad idea, etc, etc.

    That out of the way, can those being asked to police the web point to what's going on in a previous article (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090922/0355596276.shtml) in regards to the content filter doing the infringing and use it as a reason why they simply can't do it?

     

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  3.  
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    R. Miles (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 6:26am

    "Teh Interweb is Teh EVIL!"

    Ironically, it's the internet which is actually changing my spending habits to save more cash, rather than spend it.

    I don't copy music, TV shows, or movies for myself. No reason to. But there are plenty of places online which I can listen or watch for free.

    Well, aside from movies, but I haven't watched anything out of Hollywood for quite some time. It's all turned to garbage, IMO, so why contribute? The only movie I *would have* spent money on was the latest Harry Potter, but thanks to Rowling's idiotic and very stupid decision to sue a fan pretty much killed that. She's off my list forever.

    It's absolutely amazing how much is offered to me at no cost (aside from annoying ads I can't skip), and most of it isn't produced by those working to kick off others.

    I fear the day when the U.S. starts work on this "kicking off" mentality. It's coming and it's just a matter of time.

    But it'll be interesting to see who's left to kick off as these very industries, instead, are suing the hell out of everyone which is pretty much the same thing.

    Stupid, stupid people who need to loosen their neckties to get the blood flowing back to the brain.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 6:35am

    buy more stuff

    we're still waiting for anyone to explain how kicking people off the internet gets more people to buy stuff.
    if you were actually inside the industry, you'd know that roughly 60-70% of college students (varies by country) would rather risk getting sued than risk their internet getting cut off. you should know by now that the biggest motivator of all is fear. and as much as you'd like to think that people could boycott the riaa/mpaa, that's yet another rallying cry that's been shouted endlessly for the last 10 years and has gone nowhere. these guys still control just about all the music and movies you consume. most "independent" labels that actually sell records are owned wholly or majority by a major label.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 6:52am

    Pay up

    If the ISP's are going to be responsible for removing people from the internet, then they should be paid for those services. If you request a take down then pay up to have it done. No more than fair.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 6:53am

    buy more stuff

    Hmmm...I'm certain that students would flock to Retroshare or GNUNet that are anonymous encrypted networks or darknets.

    So if the people inside the industry thinks fear will do any good they deserve to go belly up :)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 6:59am

    Boycotting the RIAA

    That already happened in the U.S., there was a sharp decline in revenue in the year of 2008 that have no reason to be there unless you remember that they got vocal about suing everyone and suddenly they announced that they would stop suing but didn't.

    I think it was a drop like 10 billion dollars is in their site the IFPI on statistics for everyone to see. They don't say it was because of their "educational campaign" but piracy alone could not account for that kind of drop could it?

     

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    Free Capitalist (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 7:05am

    Filtering "Illegal" Content is a Gateway Drug

    I think the role and definition of an Internet Service Provider (ISP) needs to be clarified.

    Specifically, to be considered an "Internet" service provider, and organization must deliver "The Internet" -- an uncensored, open-use public information medium.

    Filtering content should require the filtering corporations to recategorize their operation and make clear to their customers that they are not, in fact, providing access to "The Internet", they are a select media access provider.

    There should be no gray area between uncensored access to information, and the new form of "walled gardens" certain providers want to create.

    I think this is necessary as it will become clear that limiting access to "illegal" information and media also enables the recreation of a "faux reality" similar to what we see on broadcast network news. Not that the news is always disinformation, just that it is sensational and (imo) deliberately bereft of useful facts.

    Restricting access to information violates the first amendment rights of those providing the information (or disinformation), and should also be considered a violation of the first amendment rights of the public at large.

    Not that I don't want companies to be able to provide a select media service, I just think its false advertising to call it "Internet" access.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 7:19am

    Re: buy more stuff

    except that the fact that you call them "anonymous" shows how little you understand networking. gnunet is merely an analog of the tor network. you're routing traffic of other users on the network. both networks have the same four problems.

    first, an IP address still identifies YOU, and ISP logs will trace back to YOU. "anonymous" means your IP would be indecipherable and they can't even figure out who you are. instead, they know who you are, and now you're stuck arguing that you weren't the one downloading child porn, and instead, it was some other guy using software you set up for him... which brings me to the next point...

    people use those networks for serious web crimes (international hacks, corporate espionage, child porn, botnet administration, etc)... do you really want to willingly let someone make those kinds of things like like they are being done in your house?

    third, the fact that these networks are routing traffic through multiple home ISP connections before the transaction is complete adds a ridiculous amount of overhead. of the guys i've talked to who actually used tor, i haven't heard of a single one who got over 10kbps. try sharing a movie at 10kbps. good luck.

    finally (and this goes for darknets in general), most people are way too incompetent to set up this software. if the steps are more than "click install" or "click to start program" combined with "enter artist/movie name", it's too difficult for most people. they don't need to eliminate piracy because it's always happened. they just need to get most people back to buying content instead of downloading for free.

     

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 7:21am

    Re: buy more stuff

    if you were actually inside the industry, you'd know that roughly 60-70% of college students (varies by country) would rather risk getting sued than risk their internet getting cut off.

    How are you proposing to cut off internet access to someone without suing them? Most ISPs are smart enough to not implement any voluntary program that intentionally deprives them of customers. Any mandatory law avoiding the courts is going to run into some serious constitutional issues regarding due process (5th and 14th amendments). For the exact reason you say, it will be *harder* to get someone's internet cut off than to sue them in court for copyright infringement.

     

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    Flyfish, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 7:24am

    It is more than likely also true that fighting bank robberies costs more than unsolved robberies.

    Pick your criminal behavior of choice and insert it above, the statement probably remains true.

    I guess we should just forget about law and process. Mike wants free music, that's all that matters

     

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    Bob Vila, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 7:38am

    It's almost like these lawyers representing the music/movie industries wouldn't mind if they took out the Internet. Maybe they even want to.

     

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    James, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 7:47am

    Makes perfect sence if...

    If you go and have expensive dinners with the music and film lobby groups, stop in their all expenses paid hotels and listen to their speeches, do some private business dealings on the side for the company your are on the board of directors. Any politician woudl deney all the above happens - all except in England where ours just get causght and shrug it off...

    Here's looking at you PETER MANDELSON

     

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    AJ, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 8:03am

    Serves the Right.

    So some studies show that downloaders also buy the most media (or quite a bit). If this is true, then kicking them off the internet, will also decrease the amount they buy. Sounds like the AA's are trying to shoot themselves in the foot. Sounds like a good plan to me. :)

     

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    AJ, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 8:04am

    Re: Serves the Right.

    Serves "them" Right... missed the Preview button...bah

     

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  16.  
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    Pitabred (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 8:14am

    Re:

    The point is that it's the banks paying for that security. It's not the banks requiring that the neighborhood around them (even if they don't use the bank) install all the security cameras and such.

    If the industry wants to finance upkeep and installation of all the filtering, that's one thing. But they want to enact laws to force other people to take care of their job. Screw that.

     

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  17.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 8:21am

    Where is the Due Process?

    While the focus is on expense of enforcement, we are missing the "bigger picture". Why should an ISP even be involved in protecting a third party?

    Imagine some guy walks up to you points to a house and demands that you break into that house to see if there is some supposedly stolen property there and if it is there for you to retrieve it for his benefit. Would you feel obligated to do it?

    Even an ISP was somehow required to protect a third party, who should pay for it? I would advocate that the RIAA and the MPAA would have to pay the ISPs for this "service". It should NOT be a cost that is passed on to all customers of the ISP.

    Finally, what gives the ISP the right to read (inspect) your packets? When you give something to the US Post Office, UPS, or Fedex - you expect the package to be delivered unopened.

    So if the MPAA or the RIAA can somehow convince a judge that reading the "mail" is acceptable, where will it end? Every special interest group will demand that they have a right to read your mail to protect what-ever-it-is that they are protecting.

    While it makes no economic sense to spend gobs of money enforcing something that can't be enforced, we are also faced with the specter of corporations using the power of the State to eliminate our freedoms to protect their revenue stream.

     

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  18.  
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    Shawn (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 8:28am

    Re: Re: buy more stuff

    "The Industry" is pushing law changes that would call for ISPs to be required to kick people off of the internet without any sort of lawsuit. They want the IPS to cut people off after they "The Industry" informs the ISP of 3 copyright violations. the point of these blog discussions are to point out what a horrible idea this is and stop these laws from seeing the light of day.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward Again LoL, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 8:31am

    Re: buy more stuff

    except that the fact that you call them "anonymous" shows how little you understand networking. gnunet is merely an analog of the tor network. you're routing traffic of other users on the network. both networks have the same four problems.


    You are right and I curious to learn:

    - How would you track someone in an onion router setup?
    - Why do you still use the internet if people do all those horrible things you say they do. Why are you enabling them?
    - if you would prefer to be transformed into an indenture servant? or have your house disconnected from the internet? or maybe just maybe you would choose to try something else that is bit slow but will not get you into all that trouble, what would you choose?
    - how people that are so dumb manage to pirate anything at all and continue to do so for more then a decade and nobody manage to stop them. One would think that dumb people would be easy to contain.

     

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  20.  
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    Flyfish, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re:

    Banks pay for the security how? Via taxes? Do they pay an extra security tax? Not.

    I'm against filtering, I personally think the RIAA sux. I just think this was yet another ludicrous argument in a series of ludicrous arguments that Mike has made in his never ending rants.

     

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  21.  
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    Enrico Suarve, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 8:39am

    Re: buy more stuff

    Yes - I get that this may engender more fear

    Amount of fear is not the question however, amount of purchasing is - would this increased fear increase sales?

    Would people who download any old crap for free only to delete it if it turns out to be crap purchase it in the same amounts? Doubtful
    Would people getting threatened by huge multinationals feel more inclinded to purchase from them? Doubtful
    Would less people even hear about some artists? Likely
    Would people start to share music offline more? Likely
    Would the RIAA etc seek to control offline copying more? Hell yeah!

    Why does being inside the industry help me figure out college kids attitudes towards law enforcement anyway? Do I have to rely on the Music Industry for all facts and opinions now?

     

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  22.  
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    Enrico Suarve, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 9:00am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Banks pay for their own security from their bottom line - they decide the appropriate amount to spend on it using standard risk vs reward calculations, for instance you may note that a major reserve bank has slightly more security than your local branch, for fairly obvious reasons.

    They do in general pay a LOT for security - this is one of the reasons banks prefer plastic money as they don't have to pay a certain percentage of the monies worth simply transporting it from one location to another as in the past.

    The public pay for the upholding of laws to protect society, we have, on the whole decided that physical property is one of the things worth protecting and pay a certain amount of the public purse doing so via the Police and other government agencies. As we hand over some of our liberties to such agencies most countries have certain checks and balances in place in the hope that these will prevent abuse, or at least minimise error.

    Even then whilst we pay police to do certain things there comes a time when we would criticise them for getting the balance wrong, if the police were to give every granny a full motorcade to go to the shops we would probably think this was disproportionate (kind of cool, but disproportionate)

    The plan in the UK involves a non-elected government official proposing the creation of a form of legal protection for one industry that the public have not been consulted on, costs disproportionaly more to impose than is lost in the first place and which has virtually no reliable checks or balances in place with no method of appeal

    So to go back to banks for a second - imagine what a banks shareholders would say if it ignored risk Vs reward calulations and spent millions of dollars on state of the art security for a single high street branch without informing them? I think they'd be pissed too...

     

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  23.  
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    Adam, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 9:24am

    If the ISP's followed this law they would put themselves out of business they should be fighting this law even more than the consumers are.

     

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  24.  
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    Richard Cant (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: buy more stuff

    The reason why the darknets currently suffer these problems is because that level of security/anonymity isn't yet necessary for most people. If stronger measures are taken against filesharing then the magic hand of the market will sort all these problems out.

    Also increased storage capacity and higher local transfer rates (USB 3 soon available) will mean that filesharing will not need to use the internet so much in future - see

    http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/blog/felten/infinite-storage-music

    for more information.

     

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  25.  
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    Richard Cant (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 9:39am

    Re: buy more stuff

    if you were actually inside the industry, you'd know that roughly 60-70% of college students (varies by country) would rather risk getting sued than risk their internet getting cut off.

    But the colleges act as ISPs to these students, and the colleges can't kick them off the internet as most colleges now use the internet as a major channel for delivering courses.

    A student who is kicked off the internet is kicked off the course. Since every student is worth $10k+ to the college the college can't afford to kick "60-70%" of their students off. So (like the Chinese government) they will huff and puff and deliver a few scapegoats but do nothing effective against the majority.

    (and of course the students know this)

     

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  26.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: buy more stuff

    The logic of "kicking someone off the internet" for some sort of perceived "violation" is absurd.

    Suppose a student is behind on paying off his/her JC Penny's credit card. JC Penny, applying this logic logic, can go to the University and have that person expelled from the internet!!!

    One can only hope that the Universities develop a backbone and tell the MPAA and the RIAA to take-a-hike. Universities are there to teach, not to act as private police force for the benefit of the MPAA or the RIAA.

     

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  27.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 10:35am

    Re: Where is the Due Process?

    Wrong analogy ....

    "Imagine some guy walks up to you points to a house and demands that you break into that house to see if there is some supposedly stolen property there and if it is there for you to retrieve it for his benefit. Would you feel obligated to do it?"

    Actually the correct analogy is ....

    Asking the phone company to listen to all your phone calls and report on illegal content.

     

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  28.  
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    Enrique, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 10:44am

    they are already doing this in USA

    Some of you talk like this isn't already happening. One month ago a "friend of a friend" was cut off by Qwest in Tucson, AZ for file sharing. They were even right about some of the things she was sharing, but not all.

     

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  29.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 10:44am

    How do you kick someone off the internet, anyway?

    How is kicking someone off the internet accomplished, anyway?

    Lets say that someone gets caught downloading illegal content and their ISP has to kick them off. Lets also assume that the person is single and lives alone to avoid further issues of involving family members or roommates in the same penalty.

    Would the person have to leave their job because they can no longer connect to the net, and find a job that has no internet connection?

    What is to stop this person from going back to the same ISP, or another ISP, and getting another internet account? Is there some government database that contains people's names that an ISP has to check before they can give someone internet access? What if there are errors in the database, or someone else has the same name (no-fly list, remember that)?

    What counts as an ISP? I can obviously get internet access through my cable company, and through the phone company. What about a DSL reseller also going through the phone company where the customer only interacts with the reseller, and the phone company also only interacts with the reseller? Independent dial-up companies still exist for most areas of the country. Mobile broadband with a data card. A data plan on a cell phone connected to a computer. Satellite internet access. Heck, if you pay enough, you can get a leased line or a dedicated circuit from multiple providers other than those I've already listed in many areas. Are all these businesses going to have to check something before they can allow me access?

    Whats to stop me from connecting to my neighbor's or Starbuck's wifi?

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 11:01am

    Re: Boycotting the RIAA

    Did we already forget about the global recession? How many other industries had big drops in revenue last year and this year?

    Perhaps the entertainment industry got a double hit from the economy and from their attitude toward fans.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re: Where is the Due Process?

    As far as I can tell the government is already listening to all of my phone calls. Just so happens that I am not in contact with persons or countries of interest. Its only a matter of time before the goverment changes its focus from the 'war on terror' to something that includes more everyday citizens.

     

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  32.  
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    viperfl (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 12:53pm

    Even before the internet, we still had piracy. People traded music between each other which the RIAA considered piracy. Was able to record from a tape or record album to a tape, which the RIAA considered piracy. So what was the RIAA able to do back then about preventing people from so called pirating music? They couldn't do a darn thing about it. Even if you were to take away the internet or the means to copy music on the internet, you would still have piracy.

    It's been the RIAA's analogy that people can't live without music. They put it on the same footing that people can't live without food or water. There belief is if you take the instrument away to copy music, then those people who got kicked off the internet will buy the music because they can't live without it. Those people won't settle just listening to the radio.

     

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  33.  
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    cops at banks, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In NYC I see NYPD at every branch I walk past.

    Are they paid by the banks?

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 2:57pm

    Re:

    How is your comparison relevant?

    The law enforcement agencies that fight bank robberies are funded by the public, and banks are responsible for their own internal security.

    You don't hear banks demanding that Ford and GM pay for their security just because the robbers got away in a Ford Tempo.

    You are either missing the point or intentionally being dense. It is much more complex than your comment suggests and you would do well to think a bit harder on the matter.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 8:52pm

    If you're going to have ISP's fight piracy, then you HAVE to make them fight the other, more horrendous cybercrimes out there like child porn AND hackers of ALL types.

    You can't have it one way and not the other. Either become dumb pipes, or become smart pipes and fight EVERYTHING illegal, EVEN viruses AND spam.

    Lets see them fight everything.

     

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  36.  
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    Flyfish, Sep 24th, 2009 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    My comment about the cost of enforcement was related to the public cost of enforcement. We pay more for the police protection than the amount lost to unsolved robbery. Perhaps it was a bad example, which is why I suggested you insert the crime of your choice. The public cost is relevant since any cost to an ISP will be transferred to that ISP's customer base; as such it becomes a "public" cost to those subscribers.

    Mike's argument is still ludicrous now matter how you joust over the minutiae of my presentation.

     

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  37.  
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    max (profile), Sep 25th, 2009 @ 11:07am

    Internet versus Copyrights - a classic conflict of interests

    I used to blame the music industry for being asleep at the wheel when this Internet thing came about.....but now afer much research and soul searching I realize its not really their fault. All businesses affected by digitization had no clue of what was coming. Here's the truth...........

    "As the United States Defense Department moved to enable commercialization of the Internet there were meticulous considerations regarding The Domain Name System and related issues. ICANN, a nonprofit organization contracted by The Department of Commerce led the way in the administration and eventual privatization of the Domain system. By most standards this was an excellent model of transitioning from a government entity to privatization. The foresight in understanding the repercussions of NOT having a plan for Domains going forward is highly commendable.

    But ironically, that same foresight was grossly absent in considering the repercussions that public use of the Internet would have upon the U.S. copyright system.

    If the Betamax Case was a Supreme Court precedent setting event, what in the world were we thinking by unleashing the Internet without addressing the copyright issues beforehand? The Internet coupled with a personal computer is the most powerful copying and publishing mechanism man has ever known!

    Therefore, it was the government’s responsibility to ensure that rights holders’ interests were protected before unleashing the greatest copying and publishing mechanism ever and it was the government’s responsibility to insure that ISP’s, (Internet Service Providers), would be in compliance or they would NOT be issued clearance to be an ISP.

    Basically, a statutory rate should have been established. Whereas, whenever copyrighted materials were downloaded, (this is a form of distribution and publication), via an ISP the rate would kick in to be deposited with a designated collective that represented the interests of ALL rights holders.

    It is my guess that The Library of Congress was not privy to the conversation."

    Max Davis - we can fix this for all

     

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