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UK ISP to U2 Band Mgr: “Naive” to Think Fast Internet Only for P2P

UK ISP to U2 Band Mgr: “Naive” to Think Fast Internet Only for P2P

Points out that most broadband customers want to be better able to take advantage of “legal” technologies such as online gaming, YouTube, and VoIP, and that furthermore, legal download services like iTunes have become an important sources of revenue for the music industry.

Longtime U2 Band Manager Paul McGuinness has repeatedly argued over the years that ISPs have unfairly profited from P2P, and more recently, that the free content it provides is part of an overall “commercial agenda of powerful technology and telecoms industries” who are making “vast profits” at the expense of copyright holders.

It’s something reiterated by U2 frontman Bono earlier this year who said that the “swollen profits” of “rich” ISPs “perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business.” He even cited the fight against child porn and China’s authoritarian govt’s success in fighting online dissent as proof that it’s “perfectly possible” for ISPs to track content if they wanted to.

Entanet has been among the many UK ISPs who have denounced both Bono and McGuinness for suggesting they’ve profited from illegal file-sharing, and more specifically, that protecting copyright holders has anything to do with the evils of child pornography.

ISPs generate no additional revenue or profit from customers sharing files,” said Talk Talk’s Andrew Heaney, the ISP’s Executive Director of Strategy and Regulation, shortly after Bono’s rant. “In fact we incur some marginal cost due to the extra bandwidth required.”

To suggest that sharing a music file is every bit as evil as child abuse beggars belief.”

Entanet, who earlier told Bono to “stick to singing,” is now rebutting McGuinness’ claims that ISPs are profiteering from P2P.

“In reality broadband customers continue to demand the fastest broadband at the lowest price which squeezes ISPs’ margins,” says Entanet’s Head of Marketing, Darren Farnden. “Those of us within the Internet industry will also know that it is actually more costly to support such infringers due to the extra bandwidth they consume. Our increasing revenues are more likely to be down to the innovative new technologies we deploy and the additional services we provide to add value to customers’ experience.”

McGuinness thinks that people don’t need more bandwidth to “speed up their emails,” and that only illegal file-sharers are the ones demanding faster connection speeds to download music and films more rapidly.

“Well, if he took the time to make an informed comment through proper research he’d see that, in reality, most broadband customers want to be better able to take advantage of ‘legal’ technologies such as online gaming, YouTube, iPlayer, iTunes, VoIP and a vast array of business oriented services that are currently available,” adds Farnden. “It is simply naive to suggest that customers’ desire for faster broadband and more bandwidth is driven solely by a desire to cheat music rights holders out of their royalties through illegal file sharing.”

He points out that it’s legal music downloading services like iTunes that serve as important sources of revenue for the music industry these days, and that it’s only changing consumers’ desire for buying music to blame for decreasing physical CD sales.

“The music industry and the likes of Mr. McGuinness and Bono need to come to terms with the fact that ‘free’ music did not arise from the Internet. Since the introduction of the audio cassette in the early 1960’s, people have been able to make copies of music or even make recordings off the radio,” continues Farnden. “This followed with the introduction of the Redbrook CD standard that didn’t have any copy protection built in, making it easy to ‘rip’ an audio CD.”

Farnden fights back against the suggestion that ISPs should become “Internet police,” and that it can do more to stop illegal file-sharing, especially with the passage of the Digital Economy Act this past April.

“What more can ISPs possibly do to stop customers illegally file sharing and why is the emphasis being put on us to solve the problem yet again?” he says. “It’s about time the music industry took responsibility for its own revenues and embraced the new distribution models available instead of trying to shut them down!”

Stay tuned.

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