Thursday, July 31, 2008

BPI nearly scuppered ISP deal

That the settlement between the BPI and the ISPs over their calls for "three strikes" was way less than the BPI wanted had been obvious; what's emerged this morning is that the BPI nearly scuppered the whole deal by sending a letter to those involved in the negotiations (and the MPAA) effectively saying that while they were agreeing to the deal, they had no intention of being held to what they'd agreed:

The BPI's letter, signed by the body's chief executive, Geoff Taylor, was sent to Baroness Vadera, the business minister; the UK's six biggest internet service providers; and the Motion Picture Association of America, the Hollywood studios' trade organisation.

It was sent on the morning of July 23, the day the memorandum of understanding was due to be signed by the government and the various music, film and internet industry signatories.

In the letter the BPI, which represents the British recorded music business, said it welcomed the MoU, but thought it was important to "clarify" that it did not consider the agreement to be an "exhaustive solution".

The letter reiterated the BPI's strong views on enforcement of copyright protection, reminding the signatories that the MoU did not mean a "waiver" of existing legal rights.

The childish attempt to simultaneous sign-up to an agreement while telling everyone it had no intention of paying any attention to it resulted in a humiliating ticking-off:
The BPI's letter was given short shrift by Vadera, who sent a reply copying in Guy Hands, the chief executive of EMI owner Terra Firma, and senior executives at Sony BMG, Universal and Warner Music, expressing her displeasure.

"I was disappointed at the timing, tone as well as content of the attached letter from you yesterday," she said in a letter addressed to Taylor sent on July 24. "I am glad I was able to ensure that the MoU got signed despite it."

Vadera added that she hoped the "attitude" of the BPI would be "constructive" going forward.

She said that to deliver the benefits of measures agreed in the MoU there was a need for a "goodwill and a grown-up constructive spirit of finding solutions".

The BPI tell MediaGuardian that the government has "recognised" their good faith in the negotiations - but, clearly, you can't trust a word the BPI says so why should we believe them now?


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