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The head of UK Internet provider Talk Talk says he doesn’t want to be the recording industry’s policeman. A noble stance is there ever was one — until you recall that Charles Dunstone’s ISP is one of the ones using ad insertion software from Phorm (albeit […]

The head of UK Internet provider Talk Talk says he doesn’t want to be the recording industry’s policeman. A noble stance is there ever was one — until you recall that Charles Dunstone’s ISP is one of the ones using ad insertion software from Phorm (albeit on an opt-in basis).

In an interview with the BBC, Dunstone said, “Our position is very clear. We are the conduit that gives users access to the Internet. We do not control the Internet, nor do we control what our users do on the Internet.” Notice he says nothing about watching what type of sites those users visit and profiting off that knowledge.

Nevertheless, the recording industry’s efforts to stop illegal downloads by soliciting help from the ISPs is repugnant. Are you listening, Virgin Media? Getting a private company to enforce federal laws leads to uneven enforcement and a lack of transparency that a democratic society should abhor.

If illegal downloads are so bad, then it’s the government’s job to figure out how to police it, much like it polices the borders of Mexico and Canada in the U.S. looking for illegal activity. Like the highways that can be used to ferry drugs, cheap souvenirs and maple syrup, the Internet delivers pirated music, emails and photos of grandchildren. If illegal music is so harmful, then politicians need to direct their time and effort to stopping it — and risk whatever censure voters give them.

  1. In the UK at least, piracy is starting to get a bit of traction on the political agenda. The UK government has taken the view that they wish to have anti-piracy legislation in place by April 2009.

    Everyone is going to have to wake up to the fact that the internet will become more regulated. The telecom regulator (OFCOM) in the UK paved the way for local loop unbundling – which has helped made Dunstone a fair whack of money. But just as there is good regulation, I don’t see why they can expect to be treated any differently from the likes of financial services, aviation or whatever. You’re not always going to get what you want.

    Regulation means that you have to jump through some hoops to stay in the game. At the end of the day it is right and fair for the government to put the burden on the ISPs; No one wants to have to pay out all that money to just stay in the game. But the ISPs are a bunch of whiners, they are already crying at the BBC requesting money to cope with the bandwidth demands that the BBC’s content places on the ISP networks.

    The ISPs are desperate – they don’t want the burden of regulation, they want money from the BBC for content being provided for free and they want to start advertising to us with phorm.

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  2. i personally dont see the whole big deal with games, music and video downloads.

    how is downloading an MP3 off the internet any different than recording it off the radio?

    how is downloading a movie any different than recording the movie when it comes on TV?

    things like games that in a few years time will no longer be avaliable to buy (like many old master system games etc) the only way to get would be from the net.

    now my point is this. why shouldnt you be allowed to download things from the internet if you wasnt going to buy it from the store anyway? i mean i look at some of these songs games and movies and know for a fact that i wouldnt ever buy them or rent them or go see them at a movie theare. its not like the big companys are losing money.

    its just the big companies complaining and wanting to get as much money as they can get their hands on in this capitalistic society.

    P2P should be legalised. If they dont want people downloading these things then they shouldnt put them on the radio or on tv which is just the same.

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  3. [...] MORE and MORE and MORE [...]

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  4. [...] Talk Talk Says No No to Policing the Net categories: all wired up, assertions, telly SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: “ISPs likely to be even more unhappy as BBC launches live TV streamed over Internet”, url: “http://spicycauldron.com/2008/11/28/isps-likely-to-be-even-more-unhappy-as-bbc-launches-live-tv-streamed-over-internet/” }); [...]

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  5. [...] paves the way for the music industry and content owners to get what they want. Getting the ISPs to spy on threaten their customers is very effective. The AT&T spokesman cited data from the UK that points to a 70 percent [...]

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