UK ISP Music Deal Only Sounds Reasonable

Cure worse than disease

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The US and Britain go about some things differently; this was as the heart of our little squabble in the 18th Century. It’s not surprising an announcement that a UK ISP will be both music piracy police and provider of subscription music services doesn’t seem to ring many alarms.

Americans are historically opposed to anybody, government or otherwise, snooping around in their business. Even then, plans by Virgin and BSkyB to provide a monthly music subscription service on top of internet subscriptions sounds very nearly like a reasonable solution.

Monthly Music Subscription

Music companies have been putting pressure on ISPs to police their networks for pirated content via a process known as deep packet inspection. In BSkyB’s case, the ISP would block all illegal download activity while offering unlimited downloads from a music company’s catalog for an additional, flat fee.

Hey look, a compromise, a solution to online piracy, a legitimizing of peer-to-peer.

The problem is, and this is why nonprofit privacy advocates in the States would fire off press releases and lawsuits, what it requires subscribers to give up. It’s not just privacy and personal freedom online, but also their personal sovereignty. In effect, BSkyB would be asking them to trade that for no hassle, unlimited music, and the ISP would know at all times exactly what kind of content is traversing its system and to whom it is going.

Not a fair trade, not at all, and once again a failure of an ISP to offer a business model that is truly mutually beneficial. In the States, this would require us to trust ISPs, who have not just done nothing to earn that kind of trust, but have actively destroyed it with anticompetitive business practices and recent unconstitutional cooperation with the government.

This is a fundamental crisis. When the government ignores the law designed to protect the citizens from the government and teams up with behemoth corporations who have no obligation or incentive to follow it either, the citizen is left with nothing and becomes a victim of two exponentially larger abusers; the citizen becomes a pawn in a game of power and greed.

Hopefully, the example being set in the UK won’t be followed in the US. If so, consider it yet another landslide in the continual erosion of personal liberties.

UK ISP Music Deal Only Sounds Reasonable
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  • http://www.thisissunderland.com Sunderland

    As far as I’m aware UK ISP’s have to log everything you do online anyway (By law!) – I think this is just the first time we are seeing them do anything with that data.

    Its just kinda annoying that they are really doing this to sell their own legal download service! I can see the letters we are about to get;

    Dear user,

    You have been illegally downloading music, we’ll report you to the police if you don’t subscribe to our legal download service… it will only cost you an extra £10 a month..

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