The debate over illegal file-sharing is heating up in the UK with entertainment industry groups renewing calls for the government to force ISPs to "disconnect illegal file-sharers," and ISPs countering that creative content licensing reform, not increased enforcement, is needed instead.
John Woodward, head of the UK Film Council, said illegal file-sharing was costing the country jobs, and jeopardizing film-making as a whole since piracy harms profitability.
"The growing threat of illegal P2P (peer to peer) file-sharing threatens [the creative industries], as films go unmade, DVD sales deteriorate and jobs are lost in production and distribution of content," he told the BBC.
The UK Film Council is part of a new alliance of nine creative bodies and five trade unions that wants the govt to force ISPs to disconnect customers accused of repeated illegal file-sharing.
The Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA), a trade association that represents ISPS in the UK, however, argues that illegal file-sharing isn’t the real problem, that the creative industry’s failure to offer consumers legal alternatives is to blame.
"Internet companies remain extremely frustrated by the ongoing difficulties in securing licensing that is needed to offer consumers legal alternatives through new models of online content distribution," reads the statement. "It is our view that legislation on enforcement should only be introduced on the condition that the rights holder industry commits to significant licensing reform."
Until relatively recently, ISPs saw a clear benefit in tackling illegal file-sharers, as they were creating soaring costs through their high bandwidth usage. UK’s largest providers therefore willingly agreed to a Government incentive to send out warning letters to individual customers committing this crime. But with today’s increase in legal downloading and video-on-demand services such as BBC iPlayer or 4oD, ISPs’ illegal file-sharers’ bandwidth-use no longer seems as critical.
The ISPA also notes that the European Parliament recently determined that disconnecting file-sharers was a "disproportionate response" to the problem.
More importantly, the ISPA argues that content licensing reform is what’s really needed so that ISPs and copyright holders could develop viable, legal distribution alternatives to illegal file-sharing. Without them illegal file-sharing will always be prevalent. It calls the licensing process "complicated" and says that it’s the "root of the problem."
"ISPA recognizes that there is a problem with unlawful P2P file sharing, but it is important to recognize that a major part of the solution lies in licensing reform and the availability of legal content online," says ISPA Secretary General Nicholas Lansman. "ISPA remains committed to working with the Government and the creative industries to find a solution which balances the needs of all parties and is fair for consumers."
Woodward agreed that the entertainment industry needs to develop new business models if it’s to survive, and suggested that ISPs may be willing to consider a "three-strikes" plan if they were given distribution fees.
"There needs to be a better relationship between content providers, ISPS and consumers."
Considering the entertainemtn industry chooses to sue or disconnect consumers from the Internet instead of offering what they want, like a proper business should, it seems to be going out of its way to make having a healthy "relationship" as difficult as possible.
Source: File Sharers Disconnected