ISPs As 'Copyright Cops?'
February 13, 2009 at 5:27 AM (PT)
The world’s biggest record companies sued college students, a 12-year-old girl and a dead woman, but still failed to stamp out music piracy. Now they’re turning to Internet service providers, reports BLOOMBERG.COM. UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, WARNER MUSIC GROUP CORP., EMI GROUP and SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT have gained leverage through court and government actions to pressure ISPs into warning customers not to steal music -- in some cases with a threat to cut service. Crowded networks are helping to soften U.S. and European access providers’ resistance to working with record companies.
IRISH phone company EIRCOM, in a settlement with music labels, said last month it will unplug customers who ignore illegal-download warnings. A law being drafted in FRANCE would do the same, while BRITAIN may require ISPs to pass information on offenders to rights holders. The four largest U.S. labels have struck preliminary accords to work more closely with ISPs.
"There has been an international push by the rights holders to pursue a similar strategy across the world," said Electronic Frontier Foundation International Outreach Coordinator DANNY O’BRIEN, "The end goal is the same: co-opt Internet service providers as copyright cops."
"The network service provider is the logical place for us to go to protect our business,"Warner Music EVP/Digital MICHAEL NASH said in an interview.