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As a follow-up to my piece about The Music Industry Vs Net Neutrality, it seems that the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) is following in the footsteps of U2’s manager, Paul McGuinness.
In their Digital Music 2008 Report (PDF link), John Kennedy, the chairman and CEO of the organization, issues a letter of how it is time for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to step-up to the plate and aid in protecting the copyrighted materials of the music and movie industries. He points to the efforts in France of President Nicolas Sarkozy to ban file sharing from ISPs by using filtering software. Mr. Kennedy also goes on to say that helping stem the activity of peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic will benefit the ISPs as there are estimates that 80% of all Internet traffic is copyright infringement-based (no source cited).
As I listed in my article from the other day, this violates net neutrality as it will require deep packet inspections to discern what is legal P2P traffic from illegal. There are companies using P2P to transfer legal files, there is legal music and video circulating on the torrents daily, how will you discern what is legal and what is illegal? How will you address privacy concerns? How will you address the fact that ISPs are supposed to be neutral to the traffic that crosses their systems?
The music industry is trying to make ISPs take on the financial burden of cleaning up their own troubled industry. Yes, as the linked report says, overall sales are down, and, as always, the music industry points to piracy. What about the fact that perhaps you are promoting music of questionable quality? What about the fact there are more ways for consumers to spend their entertainment dollar than ever before? And then there are people like me who have moved from buying multiple new CDs a month to buying 0. I am making an exception for the upcoming Flogging Molly album, but otherwise I buy used CDs or use a legal trading service such as Lala.com.
The likes of the IFPI has driven me to this because I will not support groups such as this that are actively moving to strip consumers of their rights. Let’s not forget that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) wants to say it is illegal for you to copy music from a CD you legally purchase to your own computer for your own use.
As I wrote back in October of 2006, the music industry has always tried to find a scapegoat for their financial woes. Twenty years ago it was home taping (oh how this image still cracks me up), and now it is the evils of illegal downloading. Yes, I will not deny there is copyright infringement going on and that it is wrong, but I will say that my right to privacy should not be trampled to stop some illegal downloaders.
My favorite comment in all of this was that 80% of all Internet traffic is copyright violations. Back in July of 2007, I wrote a piece for Mahsable.com entitled 50+ Tools For Torrenting, and while researching sources for legal content on torrent networks (it does exist), I could see how many people were using torrents at the time, which were always around 1 million+. Mind you that this is a worldwide number, not a USA only number, and they are going to try to claim that small a number is going to account for 80% of copyright violations? I’m sorry, but I find this hard to believe.
Hopefully ISPs and government officials will stand up to such strong arm tactics of an industry body, but a sinking feeling in my gut says they won’t.