Saturday, January 16, 2010

RIAA pushes against net neutrality

Net neutrality - the idea that American ISPs should have no interest or control over what happens on their lines - is a vital principle. It's the only way to make the internet fair.

Even the RIAA gets that.

Except, of course, if the net is actually neutral, it would mean they could never get ISPs to police unlicensed file-sharing. So, in response to the US Federal Communications Commission's open enquiry into what net neutrality rules should apply in the US, the RIAA has suggested that the FCC come up with some sort of not-quite-net-neutrality.

Sure, the major label cartel knows this would look like self-interest, so it's tried to come up with a plausible reason of why it would be in the public interest to leave a bloody great hole in the back door of net neutrality:

Illegal filing sharing and congestion are closely related, said the RIAA, which was among the dozens of groups that filed comments in the net neutrality/open Internet proceeding before a midnight Thursday deadline for the first round of comments. P-to-P networks make up about 20 percent of Internet traffic, the group said.

"Piracy, particularly piracy conducted by high-volume users, notoriously hogs bandwidth," the RIAA said. "Piracy wastes scarce network resources and crowds out legitimate uses of the network. It costs more to bring broadband to additional areas because of this inflated bandwidth usage."

Now, the RIAA claim that every track pirated is a sale lost - which means, clearly, that they believe if there was no piracy, the same amount of material would be being shipped around on the networks, except with a bit of extra ecommerce floating alongside. So a piracy-free network would actually be carrying more traffic (and, indeed, it would have to be even more secure and expensive). So, either your public statements don't actually add up, or you know you're telling fibs to the FCC. Or you're suggesting that ISPs should be given a slice of each transaction covered to support the costs of the legitimate traffic. Which would it be?