Following on from the announcement that Virgin Media were to start writing letters to customers of theirs identified by the BPI for apparently allowing their internet connection to be used for infringing file-sharing purposes (noted by the IPKat here), one of these letters might be due to arrive at the door of IT blogger Bill Thompson. Bill didn't appreciate this possibility very much, and wrote as such in a recent post about the issue, saying among other things:
"I believe it's a doomed enterprise, as the growth of a fast internet coupled with the ability to make perfect copies of digital content means that all of the assumptions that underpin film studios, TV broadcasters and record companies have been stripped away, leaving them flailing around, threatening and suing the people who should be their best customers and hoping to persuade politicians to pass new laws to give them special privileges online."
He did, however, acknowledge that the situation was changing:
"As more licensed download services become available, many offering songs without usage restrictions enforced by digital rights management technologies, the wholesale copying of unlicensed copies becomes a lot less defensible."The BPI, in the form of their chief executive Geoff Taylor has now responded to this, concluding:
"We know our campaign with Virgin Media is not, in isolation, going to solve the problem of how creators can be fairly rewarded in a digital environment.The IPKat, who is not taking either side in this, can understand both points of view, but cannot see how downloading (or making available) other people's copyright material such as music and films without payment can be realistically defended, when the law is quite clear on the matter. People such as Bill Thompson, and millions of others, are knowingly infringing copyright, and should not therefore be surprised or outraged when they are told that they should not be doing it. The IPKat doesn't know whether this really will be a turning point or perhaps instead the start of a long and bloody legal battle. Merpel is just glad that her internet connection is not provided by Virgin.
But this is a genuine step in the right direction, and represents a turning point in the music community's bid to restore value in music to its rightful owners: the artists and music companies who invest in their creative careers."