Says providing customers with what they want is the best solution to fighting piracy, but in order to fully convince them they must be properly threatened.
It was about 2 weeks ago that UK Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, who heads the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), and whom ultimately is tasked with implementing the recommendations for dealing with illegal file-sharing as outlined in the Digital Britain report, reportedly ordered his staff to come up with plans for a crackdown on illegal file-sharers that includes giving ISPs the power to disconnect repeat offenders ala a “three-strikes” graduated response system.
It was denied at first, but later BIS confirmed the plan after determining the current timetable for fighting P2P , which stands at 2-3 yrs for a 70% reduction using a combination of notifications and technical measures, would take an “unacceptable amount of time to complete in a situation that calls for urgent action.”
As such it said its “thinking has evolved” on the use of “further technical measures.”
Lord Mandelson has rightly been taking a lot of criticism for the proposal, most notably from UK ISP Talk Talk which says it will “strongly resist” any efforts to force it to act as “Internet police.”
He thus felt it necessary to respond in an op-ed written for the UK’s Times Online.
“While I am still something of a novice when it comes to streaming and downloads, I have been around long enough to know that piracy is wrong,” he writes. “That is why my department decided to consider strengthening proposals to tackle illegal file sharing and downloading.”
Whether he knows it or not that’s precisely the problem. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
First off, file-sharing is not piracy. Piracy implies copyright infringement for financial gain. File-sharing is just that – SHARING. There is no profit motive. It may be a matter of semantics for some, but there’s a big difference.
Secondly, any technical measures to to fight illegal file-sharing are futile at best, an affront to human rights rights at worst (France’s Constitutional Court ruled the Internet is essential for full civic participation in modern society). Imagine the damage done if an entire household loses Internet access.
Lord Mandelson also heaps on the widely discredited jibberish that a single download equals a lost sale, that “taking something for nothing, without permission, and with no compensation for the person who created and owns it, is wrong.”
Add to that the fact that a recent survey of UK music fans found that file-sharing was down 22% since 2007 and that the MPAA is enjoying another in a series of annual record breaking profits and you have to wonder what’s really behind its sudden urgency.
Even more startling is his realization that copyright holders have to “provide customers with a good quality, cheap, safe and efficient experience” if they want to lure consumers from P2P, yet insists that it threaten people with Internet disconnection to help “make this happen.”
Threatening people is never a good way to turn file-sharers into customers.
Just ask the RIAA.