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BPI Accuses UK ISPs of Exaggerating the Costs of Tackling Piracy

Posted: 20th Jan, 2010 By: MarkJ
p2p piracyThe British Phonographic Industry ( BPI ) has hit back at UK broadband ISPs ( BT and TalkTalk ) who claim that the cost of introducing tough new measures to tackle file sharing piracy could push up customer bills by an extra £25 per year. Two reports commissioned by the music industry have now put that figure at closer to 24p per individual ISP subscriber.

The debate about cost centres around the recent Digital Economy Bill (here), which aims to tackle illegal music, film and software file sharing (P2P) among broadband consumers. Unsurprisingly both sides of the fence continue to highlight radically different figures and perceptions with a natural degree of biased to their own respective arguments.

Music Week notes how a new BPI commissioned report from Sweet Consulting has hinted that the first year cost for ISPs could be as low as £13.85m, dropping to £9m in the second year and £3.45m in the third. A similar report by NERA Economic Consulting found that the average annual cost for just the notification (warning letter) system would be £8.5m.

It's estimated that the warning system alone could add about £1.40 to each customer’s bill, though modifying their accounts is an extra £25 per year. Even the government has conceded that the scheme might cost £500m to impose. Ironically the music industry predicted a loss of £200m to piracy in 2009, although that appears to have been based off an incorrect 'one download equals one lost sale' basis.

In reality it is incredibly difficult to gauge such costs before the details of how the system will work have been completely finalised. Clearly there is a huge gap between the estimates of both sides and this casts doubt on all such measurements.
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