12 February 2008

Three Strikes and the Media Industry is Out

So the music and film industries want to follow Sarko's daft plan:

People who illegally download films and music will be cut off from the internet under new legislative proposals to be unveiled next week.

Internet service providers (ISPs) will be legally required to take action against users who access pirated material, The Times has learnt.

Users suspected of wrongly downloading films or music will receive a warning e-mail for the first offence, a suspension for the second infringement and the termination of their internet contract if caught a third time, under the most likely option to emerge from discussions about the new law.

Broadband companies who fail to enforce the “three-strikes” regime would be prosecuted and suspected customers’ details could be made available to the courts. The Government has yet to decide if information on offenders should be shared between ISPs.

Well, if they want three strikes and out, try these for size:

Strike One

The music and then film industries failed to recognise that digital downloads were the future. Instead of embracing this incredibly efficient way of distributing content, the industries have fought it tooth and nail. Since there was no legal way to download materials, users were forced to turn to alternative sources.

Strike Two

When it became blindingly obvious that users wanted digital files, the media industry eventually provided them - in the hideously hobbled form of DRM'd formats. Which meant, once more, that people who wanted content that they could use on all their computers and players were forced to turn to other sources.

Strike Three

The present move. Leaving aside the civil liberties angle - the fact that ISPs become the media industries' spies - and that the UK government proposes propping up a dying business model for no other reason than the said industries demand it, even when there is evidence that sharing music *increases* sales of media - it won't work. The instant this becomes law, the number of sites offering encrypted downloads, which are impossible to check in transit, will mushroom, just as decentralised P2P systems sprang up once Napster was nobbled.

The upside is that average user will probably start using encrypting routinely, thus putting the kibosh on Echelon's easy access to everyone's Internet traffic.

Update: Moreover:

UK government proposals to make ISPs take action against the estimated six million users who access pirated online material every year could prompt an explosion in Wi-Fi hijacking, experts warned today.


Unknown said...

Such proposals are doomed to fail and are a stillborn. As such, you have chosen a rather apt and fitting title for this posting.

I honestly don't see how such proposals could be implemented in reality.

The media industry needs to bring itself up to date and work with consumers, not attempting to oust them from the online community.

Glyn Moody said...