John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

I Banish Thee From This Internet. Begone!

homer-brain.jpgIf the recording industry had its head any further in the sand, they’d have to insert a breathing tube.

Consider the British Phonographic Industry’s latest stroke of brilliance for combating illegal file-sharing: kick casual file-sharers off the Internet. Seems the BPI would like the British government to pass “three strikes” legislation that would require Internet service providers to take action against users who access pirated materials. A first offense would draw a warning, a second the suspension of Internet access, and a third the termination of that access. ISPs that refuse to comply could be prosecuted and might be forced to make the details of suspected offenders available to the courts.

“For years, ISPs have built a business on other people’s music,” said Geoff Taylor of the BPI. “Yet they have paid nothing to the creators of that music, and done little or nothing to address illegal downloading via their networks. … We simply want ISPs to advise customers if their account is being used to distribute music illegally, and then, if the advice is ignored, enforce their own terms and conditions about abuse of the account. But despite some agreements in principle, the ISPs refuse to do this on any meaningful scale.”

An astonishing demand, but one that the British government has taken seriously enough to include in a Green Paper its Department of Culture Media and Sport plans to release next week. Which, as some observers note, is really too bad. “Beyond shoving ISPs into the role of the entertainment industry’s police, judge, jury and jailer, it also is a legal solution to a business-model problem,” Mike Masnick writes over at TechDirt. “The entertainment industry is still unwilling to adapt its business model to the new distribution mechanisms of the Internet. That should be a reason to change the business models–not change the rules of the Internet. Only in the shortsighted minds of entertainment industry execs (and the politicians they support) would it make sense to change the platform to support a more limited business model, rather than embracing the new (more efficient) distribution platform and adjusting the business model.”


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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle