...But Some ISPs Can't Afford To Send It
December 26, 2008 at 11:23 AM (PT)
The RIAA's new campaign to use ISPs to discourage illegal file sharing may have already encountered its first obstacle -- unwilling ISP operators who want to be paid to potentially lose customers. Multiple tech news websites are reporting the sentiments of JERRY SCROGGIN, owner-operator of BAYOU INTERNET AND COMMUNICATIONS, which provides Internet access to between 10,000 and 12,000 customers in LOUISIANA
SCROGGIN told CNET NEWS.COM that he receives several requests to remove suspected file sharers from his network each month. His reply: "I ask for their billing address ... Usually, I never hear back."
Therein lies the rub: Small companies simply can't afford to lose customers by enforcing the copyright law. Chasing down suspected file sharers and then dropping their account can result in a considerable hit to an ISP's bottom line. A customer who has signed up for a three-year plan at $40 per month is potentially worth $1,440 to SCROGGIN over the life of the plan. Add to that the expense of hiring highly paid technicians to chase down IP logs and customer IDs, and you have a financial nightmare.
"They have the right to protect their songs or music or pictures," SCROGGIN said. "But they don't have the right to tell me I have to be the one protecting it. I don't want anyone doing anything illegal on my network, but we don't work for free ... "I'm not doing anything to damage their business, but somehow this 99-cent song is my fault."