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UK Music Backs Government Intervention to Tackle Illegal File Sharers

Posted: 16th Sep, 2009 By: MarkJ
uk music logo UK Music, an umbrella organisation representing the collective interests of the country’s commercial music industry, has given its support to government intervention and a new tougher stance towards tackling illegal file sharing. The gov recently proposed the suspension of "hard core copyright pirates" from their broadband ISP (here).

Feargal Sharkey, CEO UK Music:

“Like all of society, like all creative businesses, the UK’s commercial music industry reflects a wide spectrum of viewpoints and opinions. Discussions over recent weeks have drawn us much closer together and helped us to realise with greater certainty our shared vision of the future.

We continue to welcome Government’s support and intervention, both of which will be vital to ensure that those who create and invest in music have the opportunity to deliver their full potential and reap the benefits, rewards and promises of an ever-evolving digital marketplace.”

The position is hardly surprising and remains in direct opposition to the opinions of consumer groups, UK ISPs, a number of government MPs and most recently the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), which campaigns for the protection of performers' and musicians' rights (here).

Law firms currently track suspected illegal P2P activity by monitoring IP addresses, which is a highly unreliable method. These addresses are assigned to every computer when you go online, yet IP's can easily be spoofed, redirected, shared (internet cafe, business etc.) or even hijacked (open Wi-Fi network). The download itself could also be encrypted, making it nearly impossible for the ISP to verify.

The only true way to tell if somebody has done something illegal is to analyse their computers hard disk drive, otherwise you could just as easily end up targeting innocent users, which has already happened on a number of occasions. Suspending connections based on unreliable data and without a trial seems like a gross abuse. ISPs are not a police force and do not own content on the Internet.

UK Music added that government intervention was extremely welcome and that, subject to assessment, Ofcom should be granted appropriate and proportionate powers as directed by the Secretary of State (Mandy).
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