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ISP’s: Do They Or Don’t They Have To Police Pirate Sites?


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It’s been an interesting past few weeks, where in the UK we have the high court rule that BT must remove all links to torrent sight Newzbin2. Then just last week the European Court Of Justice ruled that ISP’s cannot spy on their customer’s usage. At the same time France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that they want to Tax ISPs to fund music, as well as add streaming to their three strikes law. And finally to top it all of Australian ISPs came out yesterday and announced ISP’s volunteered to police piracy.

Talk about contradictions, yet depending on the country rights owners have a clear mandate to ensure ISP’s block offending sites and in others they do not. So where do rights holders in the UK and France stand in relation to the previously announced European ruling? If anything these counter rulings have just caused more confusion and in the end ensure the water is even muddier when it comes to content owners rights in respect of privacy.

Its seems that whilst Brussels’ has made it clear that ISP’s cannot track their customers usage, than the knock on effect of this is that content owners would now have no redress when it comes to pursuing offenders. Content owners cannot track offender’s illegal behaviour without the help of ISP’s whom refuse to prevent their users from partaking in illegal activity. 

In the UK we have BT and the belligerent twats at Carphone Warehouse refusing to budge. As previously stated numerous times on TMV if you charge people to use your Gateway to access the internet than you have both a legal and moral obligation to prevent illegal activity occurring on via your network. It is as black and white as that folks. 

If ISP’s continue to be as blind to the fact that it is important for both our culture and society in general that illegal activity is monitored on the Internet, than perhaps the French solution of a tax on ISPs to fund music is the way forward?

Or there is a middle road and it seems ISP’s in Australia are leading the way on this particular point.  The Australia Telco industry body the communications alliance proposed that they will send first time offenders an ‘education notice’ if a customer is suspected of pirating a movie. In the proposal ISPs note that if the offender persists they will be sent three warning notices in a twelve-month period and only then would they hand over the offenders details to copyright holders. 

Whilst a start in terms of ISP’s coming to the table TMV do believe that giving an offender 12 months to continue to pirate content is not viable. Especially considering that most consumers move to a new broadband provider once ever year or two. Apparently the French three strikes figure show that “only 0.1 percent of users who receive a first notice will continue their activities and receive a third notice” according to John Stanton the CEO of the Communications Alliance. 

That aforementioned is an astonishing figure, and in TMV’s view should perhaps encourage both content owners and ISP’s to come together and agree a three strikes style approach, as the French statistics seem to point to the effectiveness of such an approach. So ISP’s lets stop being so pro-piracy and instead engage and implement a proven solution.



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