Thursday, November 06, 2008

Locked out of the love-in: Consumers missing from copyright deals

The Open Rights Group has made a formal complaint to the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform about the lack of a consumer voice in discussions between Ofcom, copyright holders and government over responses to file-sharing:

“None of the regulatory solutions have satisfactory consumer safeguards,” ORG warns, “Consumers have been locked out of the negotiations between ISPs and rightsholders currently being chaired by Ofcom. As recent news reports show, rightsholders are already levelling false accusations of file-sharing at consumers. Without proper safeguards, many more consumers will suffer. The clandestine negotiations are a disgrace.”

“We are deeply dissatisfied that no consumer voice is sat around this negotiating table, and that Ofcom are instead expected to represent the consumer interest, at one and the same time as chairing the meeting,” the organisation continues.

Having said that, though, even if Ofcom weren't taking a dual role, you'd not be expecting them to act in much of a consumer protection role anyway, given their track record.

The ORG also points out the current approach - of trying to ban stuff - only inspires new workarounds; it suggests that maybe talking to customers could be a more useful approach.