Monday, October 19, 2009

TalkTalk walk the walk

As a useful contribution to the 'three strikes' debate (or the Lily Allen Clause, if you'd rather), Talk Talk have conducted a stunt showing how easy it is to drift along the street sucking wifi connectivity from other people's homes.

The point being that the record labels want people kicked off the internet for unlicensed filesharing, but you've got no way of knowing who was actually using the IP address at the time of the alleged "crime".

The BPI aren't flustered, though:

However the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) is confident that a "robust" system for gathering evidence will ensure that only persistent file-sharers are targeted by the measures.

So that's alright, then - it's not like, say, your next door neighbour's kid would be in a position to persistently use your wifi connection.
BPI spokesman Adam Liversage told BBC News: "The account holder would receive a notification in the first instance, which would represent an opportunity to discuss file-sharing with others in the household and which would provide the account holder with the information and tools to help ensure that the account is not used illegally again.

It would "provide an opportunity to discuss file-sharing with others in the household" - although if your wifi is being sipped by the bloke next door, it's not immediately apparent how that would do any good.

Still, you've got to love the BPI's boundless optimism that most people support repressive copyright legislation, and there are hundreds of families just waiting for a threatening legal document to arrive so they've got an "opportunity" to talk about it.

The BPI have also managed to jump a stage or two - they're suggesting that their information will somehow provide the "tools" to help ensure that the account is not used illegally again. Actually, Adam, you're trying to construct this whole new set of rules because you don't want to have to prove any illegal activity - the system you and your labels are promoting doesn't have any legally-recognised trial of your claims; the ISPs would be expected to act on your say so.

Still, it's nice to see the BPI are finally admitting than an IP address does not link any particular person to activity on the internet. It would be nice if - having conceded this ground - they then apologised for having wasted everybody's time proposing an unworkable system and moved on.

But that isn't the BPI's way, of course. Having realised it is incapable of protecting its own copyrights, it tried to force the duty onto the ISPs. Having discovered that won't work either, the BPI now seems to be trying to suggest that 'looking after EMI's intellectual property' is a duty that you take on if you buy a wireless router. How much further is their absurd procession going to go? Will having sex without a condom suddenly mean that you're legally obliged to take responsibility for any infringement of Sony's IP rights that any possible issue might get involved in?

The BPI continue:
"This information would extend to explaining to the account holder how they can secure their wireless router to ensure that it isn't accessed by unknown third parties. But ultimately, householders will be held to account for what happens on their own networks."

Held to account? Held to account? You're from a group that puts out music, not bloody Judge Dredd. We've seen the BPI confuse themselves with the emergency services in past, when they've trotted alongside the police on piracy raids; someone really should take them aside and remind them that they're a trades assocation and not the army. Before they start buying guns to protect the next Duffy album.

[Thanks to James P]


Jimbo said...

I'm not sure if this is worth noting or not, but Adam Liversage worked for BT Broadband until very recently.

Olive said...

It took me a moment to realise you were talking about the phone company rather than the 'Colour Of Spring' guys.

Laura Brown said...

I'm glad it wasn't just me, Olive.

acb said...

If Lily's Law is passed, they will have to make it a crime to provide internet access to anyone without checking for their name on the Copyright Offenders Register. Which means that users will be legally obliged to keep their networks jealously locked down or face criminal penalties.

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