ISP file-sharing talks spurn the public – ORG

The much-publicised cosy deal between the BPI, Ofcom and the ISPs has raised howls from civil rights campaigners – who quite rightly protest that music consumers have had no voice in these discussions.

The Open Rights Group (ORG) has submitted its response to the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform’s consultation into legislative options to tackle illicit peer to peer file-sharing, warning of muddy thinking throughout the proposals made so far.

“None of the regulatory solutions have satisfactory consumer safeguards,” ORG warns, “Consumers have been locked out of the negotiations between ISPs and rightsholders currently being chaired by Ofcom. As recent news reports show, rightsholders are already levelling false accusations of file-sharing at consumers. Without proper safeguards, many more consumers will suffer. The clandestine negotiations are a disgrace.”

“We are deeply dissatisfied that no consumer voice is sat around this negotiating table, and that Ofcom are instead expected to represent the consumer interest, at one and the same time as chairing the meeting,” the organisation continues.

ORG also points out that Illicit peer to peer filesharing is not a law enforcement problem, but a business model problem.

“The best way to tackle the problem is to provide consumers with competitive legal alternatives. This would deliver substantial additional revenues to the recording industry, and render the enforcement challenge radically different,” they said.

Enforcement measures suggested so far also come in for a roasting, with ORG observing, “All enforcement measures suggested by the consultation are either wildly disproportionate, completely ineffective, or both. In the ten years the international recording industry has been fighting peer-to-peer file-sharing, every development in enforcement has been matched by a development in technology that circumvents it. Without competitive alternatives, this cycle will only continue.”

Furthermore, the organisation argues that – despite the clamour, “No case has been made for legislative change. Those who seek to alter the balance to make enforcement cheaper, more arbitrary and less respectful of privacy rights must show a sufficient justification. We do not believe that this has happened.”

You can download the ORG response here.

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