Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Should Content Owners (Major Recording Labels) Be Able to Compel ISPs to Remove Suspect Content (e.g., "Pirated" Music and other Media)?

Now there's a question. And you'll see a lot more of this in the coming year as the IFPI and the recorded music industry insist that ISPs should do everything technically feasible to discover and root out the digital delivery of pirated content.

So, do you think that the content owners - e.g., major recording labels (Universal, SONY / BMG, Warner, EMI) and major motion picture industry - should be able to compel ISPs to police the content that is delivered over the Internet? If the answer is "yes," Comcast, AT&T, Earthlink and other major ISPS will become the cops of the Internet - not pulling over speeders - but shutting down anyone/anything that might seem to be delivering content that Universal/Warner/SONY/EMI conclude is illegitimate. From the perspective of these corporate groups, the ISPs represent a point of leverage in the system. The RIAA hasn't had much luck stemming the tide with its lawsuits against consumers. But lawsuits against ISPs, that might prove more successful.

The focus here, of course, is on stemming the 20:1 disparity (claimed by the IFPI) of pirated downloads compared with paid-for downloads. If the labels can make this happen, they're suddenly in the money and profitable again. Maybe.

I'm curious, though. What do you think? What do you think about the world/culture this would create? Is it a good thing? A bad thing?

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