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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Internet Users Will Have To Pay For Piracy Countermeasures

Last week the UK’s High Court of Justice held the meeting between the country’s Internet service provider BT and pro-copyright outfit Motion Picture Association. The purpose of the meeting was to talk about the countermeasures supposed to be applied against the illegal Newzbin2 site. If you are still not aware, BT was demanded to block access to this online service.

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Nevertheless, the opinion of the critics is that such move will only worsen Internet service and lead to higher broadband bills for the ISP’s customers. For example, the Consumer Focus was first to warn that the measures in question are a kind of “blunt tool”, because they simply failed to address the root causes of piracy. They pointed out that website filtering technology is rather crude, which means that in some cases absolutely legitimate websites can be inadvertently blocked as well. In other words, ISP customers would be denied access to legitimate content and services. In addition, Internet blocking is a very expensive option for the Internet service providers, and the critics are afraid that the expense incurred will finally end up on subscriber bills. In the meantime, online blocking could also result in degraded online services, which means that British consumers would see reduction in Internet speed, as well as network reliability.

Actually, one can agree that BT’s actions would hardly eliminate the root source of the issue, because the service provider has no physical ability to remove the pirated material or to block it entirely. There’s one issue that makes things even more complicated – Newzbin2 has also been developing its own strategy and set up its own countermeasures against the ISP’s Cleanfeed filtering system.

The industry should draw its attention to the situation on the market to understand the root cause of why people prefer pirated content. For instance, the Competition Commission has just found that the Hollywood films are licensed to Sky in a way that limits users’ choice in the pay-TV market. Meanwhile, the American “all-you-can-eat” online film subscription service known worldwide as Netflix expresses the wish to launch in the United Kingdom, but finds it difficult to obtain a license to start operation.

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