Saturday, January 17, 2009

Responses to UK government P2P filesharing consultation

The Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform has published the responses to their P2P filesharing consultation.
"None of the options highlighted in the consultation won widespread support. Rather there was a marked polarisation of views between the rights holder community and consumers and the ISPs over what action should be taken.

A number of key issues were identified by respondents including copyright protection, protections afforded under eCommerce legislation and the impact on the wider economy. Consumers (individuals and consumer organisations) in particular highlighted concerns over data protection and privacy. The role of technology was addressed by most respondents, however there were conflicting views as to whether it could offer all or part of any solution. For almost all the options, questions were raised as to their legality under the existing legal frameworks and again, views varied.

There was a degree of consensus that any solution must involve the provision of new legal sources of attractive content and the need for education on the importance of copyright in the wider economy.

A number of replies suggested alternative models to those options proposed. Copies of all non-confidential responses received have been placed on the BERR website."
It looks like someone at the FT has been talking to a government spokesperson of some sort about the kind of regulation they might be considering in the wake of the consultation too. Not quite three strikes but a mandatory system of automated warning letters (the problems with which Lilian has long since clinically illustrated) and mass release of personal details of suspected file sharers to rights holders.

The officials at the BERR I met last year clearly recognised the problems with this kind of approach and its bigger brother the 3-strikes approach in regulation but that doesn't mean the Andy Burnham minster types of this world haven't been mesmerised by their heroes in the music industry into doing something stupid. So as usual with IP it's a case of wait and see how bad it will eventually turn out to be while in the meantime continually pointing out the rationalities (or lack of them) in the smoke and mirrors that constitutes the public debate in the area.

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