Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Injunction unction, what was your function?

Back in April, the BPI warned that if the Internet Service Providers hadn't signed up to the three-strikes-and-out policy by the 18th, they'd be issuing an injunction. Of some sort. Against somebody.

If that was meant to be the big threat to bring the ISPs into line, didn't really work, did it? Indeed, it just made the BPI look like the sort of bully who is all huff and puff but without any blowing your house down. Surely there must be someone there who understands that it's not conducive to positive negotiations to threaten the other party if they don't agree.

It's now looking like even the BPI are giving up on the three strikes idea - David Jennings points out that the first agreement between the BPI and an ISP is a little less strict:

Four months on, and it's interesting to see how a BPI deal with the Virgin Media ISP is being reported. The deal is for an "education campaign" that will see users who share files illegally receive, not a warning or a disconnection notice, but "practical advice on how to prevent internet account misuse, links to legitimate sites and the potential dangers… of viruses and spyware." This last quote is from Music Week coverage, which hails it as "a giant leap forward in [the BPI's] efforts to stop illegal file-sharing on the internet by signing a landmark deal" (my emphasis). I don't know about you, but after all that sabre-rattling, sending out letters politely informing criminals (in heavy quote marks) that there are alternatives to crime seems like quite a comedown.

It's also worth noting that the ISP they've done the deal with is Virgin, one of only two UK service providers to have a major interest in a serious content creation business (the other being B Sky B), and thus perhaps with a bigger interest in the question of unauthorised content.


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