BPI scores a UK.gov own goal

The BPI really doesn’t get it – that’s a subjective judgement, but one based on the organisation’s own behaviour. The Guardian reports that the music industry group sent a stiff letter to ISPs and the UK government just before the recent deal between the organisations and the BPI was announced.

BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor said that while the organisation welcomed the deal between ISPs and the music industry, it felt it important to “clarify” it didn’t think the agreement an “exhaustive solution”. And then went on to threaten its ISP partners with legal action…

“BPI may determine that it is necessary to bring legal action against one or more ISPs under current legislation to protect its members’ rights, notwithstanding any steps that may be taken pursuant to the MoU,” Taylor’s letter stated.

The letter was also despatched to Baroness Vadera, the business minister, who replied “”I was disappointed at the timing, tone as well as content of the attached letter from you yesterday. I am glad I was able to ensure that the (deal) got signed despite it.”

Vadera added that she hoped the “attitude” of the BPI would be “constructive” going forward, observing that in order to get anywhere, there must be “goodwill and a grown-up constructive spirit of finding solutions”.

Even Churchill understood that ‘jaw-jaw’ is sometimes a better alternative than ‘war-war’, or even threats of it. Perhaps someone should point this out to Taylor, if the BPI intends engaging with ISPs in a strategic approach to file-sharing.

Billy Bragg this week slammed the deal as a waste of time, suggesting a better way forward would be to offer a license to file-share, and forcing sites like MySpace to pay music royalties.

And Green Party representatives slammed the deal’s focus on legal and corporate power, rather than on the needs and wishes of customers their artists. Greens argue a healthy music industry, “less dependent on corporate power, can continue to thrive without attacking people’s rights to share content.”

Green PartyIntellectual Property Spokesperson, Tom Chance, said: “The first stage gives the BPI the right to track file-sharers, and pass their details onto ISPs. That’s an attack on civil liberties in itself ”

Music industry loss of revenue results from the music industry’s failure to move with the times, the Green’s pointed out, adding, “The internet offers consumers and artists greater freedom from the strictures of corporate power. This deal attempts to stop that; its assault on file-sharing attacks consumers, while its proposals on legal filesharing seek simply to preserve the record industry’s cut of musician’s profits. Along the way, it makes a flagrant challenge to the liberty of internet users, which must be opposed.”

Wherever you stand in the discussion, it remains pretty clear that the industry continues to fail to win hearts and minds with its constant threats of litigation.

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