IFPI says ISPs should police users

December 27, 2007 // 9:54 a.m.

Tags: #eff #european #file-sharing #ifpi #isp #legal #mpaa #p2p #parliament #peer-to-peer #piracy #pirate-bay #riaa #rights

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry – the RIAA for the rest of the world – wants European ISPs to police their users in order to stem the growing traffic in ‘infringing materials’.

The IFPI say that, contrary to a recent statement from ISP PlusNet disavowing responsibility for monitoring what individual customers do with their ‘net connection, ISPs must take action against file sharers whether or not they have received complaints and court orders.

According to the IFPI, their requests are simple: ISPs should block peer-to-peer protocols at the core routers, prevent users from accessing ‘illegal’ sites that dare to share links to content which may infringe precious copyright, and constantly monitor traffic for infringing content. Yes, that was ‘constantly monitor’. As in: monitor all traffic from all users all the time, just in case someone might be sharing a song by the Purple Moron.

The organisation has gone straight to the top to try and get their way, submitting an official set of recommendations to the European Parliament. The Parliament has the power to turn said recommendations into a Europe-wide law forcing ISPs to do whatever the IFPI wants.

For filtering ‘infringing’ content, the IFPI would like ISPs to apply acoustic fingerprinting technology to all music data transferred through their service. Quite who funds the not-inconsiderable amount of processing power this would take is, unsurprisingly, not mentioned in the documentation it provided. It has made clear, however, that such filtering should apply to data transferred through any protocol: P2P, FTP, HTTP, SMTP, you name it.

The IFPI also wants a blanket ban on what it describes as P2P services “that are known to be predominantly infringing and that have refused to implement steps to prevent infringement.” In other words: you can kiss goodbye to BitTorrent, despite it being one of the most interesting new open-source technologies in recent years.

The final step is a complete severing of access to websites the IFPI describe as “infringing”, being “in rogue jurisdictions”, or that simply “refuse to cooperate” with our friendly mediaführers. The Pirate Bay gets a special mention, being described in clipped tones as a “an infamous infringing service located in Sweden”.

At least they know where they are, even if they can’t get them to stop.

The worrying part is that the German news site heise.de is reporting that the IFPI already have political support in the European Parliament for their plans. The European branch of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, however, is already preparing to fight for our rights, calling the proposals a “an ill-considered and damaging quick fix.

Do you agree with PlusNet and think that ISPs such just provide an Internet connection and then keep their noses out, or do you think that the IFPI may have a point? Let us know your thoughts via the forums.

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