Conservative party leader David Cameron used yesterday’s speech to the music industry as a platform for placing much of the blame over illegal file sharing (P2P) at the feet of UK ISP's:
Cameron also took the BPI's side in its long-running needle with ISPs, which it accuses of turning a blind eye to music piracy. He called on the providers to set up an anti-file sharing version of the Internet Watch Foundation, a widely praised consortium which works closely with law enforcement to monitor paedophile activity online. "They are the gatekeepers of the internet," he said, which is unlikely to go down well at BT, Virgin Media, or any ISP.
Naturally the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) wasn't too impressed by Cameron's remarks and has been forced to restate that they are not "the gatekeepers of the Internet":
A spokesman for ISPA said: "The Internet Watch Foundation is very focused in what it does and has taken a long time to get there working with the police. Unlike distributing images of child abuse, copyright infringement can be a civil offence. Any kind of blocking has to be the preserve of the courts."
The internet industry has consistently resisted years of attempts to turn it into a policeman for rights owners. The European E-commerce Directive recognises ISPs as "mere conduits" who are only liable if they attain "actual knowledge" of illegal content. The Conservatives appear to want to create a system which forces them to attain that knowledge.
The conservatives also used the speech to offer music giants additional financial incentives if they clamped down on sex and violence in the medium.
Such moves have rarely worked in the past and indeed ignore the fact that the music industry has lost its hold over listeners, with most fans gaining audio delight from decentralised and often independent legal sources.
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