Thursday, 3 October 2013

We’re Watching You?

UK Entertainment Industry Calls for “Music NSA”

The leader of the UK Pirate Party, Loz Kaye, had to hit back at the UK entertainment industry pressuring top broadband providers to introduce a database of suspected infringers for copyright breaches. It looks like the industry wants to turn ISPs into the music NSA.
A few days ago it became known how major UK ISPs, including BT, Virgin Media, BSkyB and TalkTalk, were all being told to adhere to create a database of subscribers who illegally download stuff, in order to prosecute persistent offenders one day.

The country’s Digital Economy Act has been harshly criticized – designed to make fighting piracy easier for the entertainment industry, the bill was voted into law 3 years ago, but it’s now clear that it may not become active policy until after the 2015 general election. But this fact has definitely frustrated the UK’s content industry, represented by the BPI, which is calling for action.

The database in question is expected to be used to send notifications to repeat offenders, but it might later be used to target broadband customers by blocking them from using certain portals, temporarily disconnecting them, throttling broadband connections, or prosecution. The UK Prime Minister will sit down with the BPI , reportedly focusing on piracy in discussion.
Now Internet service providers are resistant to such blanket measures, claiming that the current proposals are “unworkable”, while customers’ rights definitely come first, so the companies would never agree to anything that could compromise them.

Loz Kaye believes that the proposals are in line with Prime Minister’s current policy approach to web censorship and urges the Coalition government for clarity. The Pirate Party leader pointed out that after failing with the democratic and legal route as the DEA doesn’t work, the industry now wants to skip that and get broadband providers to do the policing on their own. Experts admit that such approach will be an unwarranted intrusion, with no clear positive result.

Perhaps, the BPI simply wants to take advantage of the Minister’s current wish to blame the worldwide web for everything, while the UK government’s digital policy making is in chaos. Indeed, there are too many questions about the Internet in the country, and until there are some answers, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats can have no credibility on digital policy.

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