Illicit filesharing: don’t legislate, innovate!

ORG has submitted a response to the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform’s consultation into legislative options to tackle illicit peer to peer filesharing [pdf]. Here are some of the main points from the response:

  • Illicit peer to peer filesharing is not a law enforcement problem, it’s a business model problem. The best way to tackle the problem is to provide consumers with competitive legal alternatives. This would deliver substantial additional revenues to the recording industry, and render the enforcement challenge radically different.
  • All enforcement measures suggested by the consultation are either wildly disproportionate, completely ineffective, or both. In the ten years the international recording industry has been fighting peer-to-peer filesharing, every development in enforcement has been matched by a development in technology that circumvents it. Without competitive alternatives, this cycle will only continue.
  • No case has been made for legislative change. Those who seek to alter the balance to make enforcement cheaper, more arbitrary and less respectful of privacy rights must show a sufficient justification. We do not believe that this has happened.
  • None of the regulatory solutions have satisfactory consumer safeguards. Consumers have been locked out of the negotiations between ISPs and rightsholders currently being chaired by OfCom. As recent news reports show, rightsholders are already levelling false accusations of file-sharing at consumers. Without proper safeguards, many more consumers will suffer. The clandestine OfCom negotiations are a disgrace.