Monday, June 27, 2011

Graduated Response USA

In January this year it was reported that ISPs in the United States had no intention of implementing a voluntary graduated response program for the illegal sharing of copyright material. This was recently supported by the USA signing a UN statement condemning the disconnection of internet users as a breach of the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This was despite earlier suggestions by the content industry that the enforcement of copyright law should be the responsibility of the Government. Now news this week that a voluntary graduated response program could be implemented as early as next month in the United States.

AT&T, Comcast, Verizon appear to be in the process of striking a deal with the content industry to introduce a range of measures designed to prevent or discourage the illegal sharing of music and film. The White House is also involved in the negotiations.

While disconnections do not seem to be part of the current equation repeat copyright infringers would receive notification that they have been detected sharing and following this sanctions such as throttling bandwidth speeds, limiting web access to the top 200 sites and compulsory participation in an education program are all being considered.

This seems to have come about due to the lobbying influence of the Motion Picture Industry which as joined the RIAA in calls for a graduated response program. The RIAA alone have been pushing for such a scheme since 2008.

This could lead to increased costs for consumers with ISPs reportedly splitting the cost of enforcement with the content industry. This includes innocent parties covering the costs of those that engage in file sharing.

Many argue that this is unlikely to have a positive effect on the sales of music and films with no direct correlation being made between sharing and lost sales. Indeed, what is more likely to happen is a further loss in sales with less exposure to new content and less opportunities for viral marketing.

This is an unfortunate development and one likely to have many more negative consequences rather than positive outcomes for artists. One can only begin to wonder what on earth the ISPs have to gain from this, with agreement to take on enforcement of intellectual property likely to open a can of worms that can never be overcome. This is a slippery slope and one that should not be embarked upon without judicial oversight.

Further Reading
TechDirt, Two Years After The RIAA Suggested ISPs Were Ready To Implement 3 Strikes, Most ISPs Have No Such Plans (5 January 2011) < > at 17 January 2011

ArsTechnica, US, NZ, Sweden, others condemn "three strikes" Internet laws (14 June 2011) < > at 15 June 2011

ArsTechnica, IFPI: Fighting music piracy is a government job (21 January 2011) < > at 22 January 2011

ArsTechnica, Big Content, ISPs nearing agreement on piracy crackdown system (23 June 2011) < > at 27 June 2011

Digital Music News, ISPs Look Ready for 'Graduated Response'. But Isn't This 10 Years Too Late? (24 June 2011) < > at 27 June 2011

ZeroPaid, AT&T, Comcast, Verizon to Implement “3-Strikes” Next Month? (23 June 2011) < > at 27 June 2011

TechDirt, Why ISPs Becoming Hollywood Enforcers Won't Actually Solve Hollywood's Problem (23 June 2011) < > at 27 June 2011

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