Thursday, March 13, 2008

IFPI 2008 Suggestion is sheer madness

Just skimmed through the International Federation of Phonographic Industries annual report following a tip off from Gerd Leonhard of Music 2.0 fame. I am flabbergasted by the suggestion made by John Kennedy, Chairman and CEO in the forward. He is seriously suggesting that the problem of music piracy needs to sorted out at the internet service provider level. They need to play content policemen.

The whole music sector, governments and even some ISPs themselves are beginning to accept that the carriers of digital content must play a responsible role in curbing the systemic piracy that is threatening the future of all digital
commerce. After years of discussing and debating, I am convinced it is no longer a
question of whether the ISPs act – the question is when and how.

More than anyone else in 2007, our industry has to thank French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Chairman of FNAC Denis Olivennes for the change of mood. The Sarkozy Agreement, announced in November, is the most signiicant milestone yet in the task of curbing piracy on the internet. It sets up a groundbreaking three-way
partnership between the creative sector, ISPs and government. It takes the protection of intellectual property online into new territory, requiring ISPs to disconnect copyright infringers on a large-scale, using an automated system and to test filtering technologies. Not every detail of the French plan will be
exportable to other countries but the overriding principle behind the plan – the fundamental role that ISPs play in stopping piracy – sets an exciting example internationally. President Sarkozy summed it up: the internet must not be allowed to become a Wild West; it must be a medium where we protect our culture.

I would hope that if this crazy French model were ever exported to the Netherlands that providers like XS4all would take these buffoons to the International Court of Justice in the Hague. So they will now be required to monitor traffic for illegal music "packets"? Time for the public to vote on this with their wallets. Where do the podsafe musicians and ordinary citizens stand on this issue? If this applies to music, will be asking government to monitor e-mail traffic and IM to check that we're talking about things that are in the national interest? The Internet is the wild west....get over it and work out the new business models staring these people of the past firmly in the face. "Phonographic Industries" indeed!

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