January 15, 2009, Thomas Mennecke
Last year in October, UK’s BERR, or Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, published a consultation dealing with the P2P issue in the UK. The primary focus of the consultation had hoped that the warring parties, primarily the ISPs and copyrights holders, would come together and voluntary devise a solution and avoid government involvement. Today, it was announced that no voluntary agreement was reached.
‘None of the options highlighted in the consultation won widespread support,’ BERR announced today. ‘Rather there was a marked polarisation of views between the rights holder community and consumers and the ISPs over what action should be taken.’
Comments on the consultation were open to everyone, and a wide range of views were gathered. The ISPs tended to blame the market and poor variety of legal alternatives, while staunchly opposing government intervention. Although a ‘three strikes’ policy has been floated, ISPs and consumers appear opposed to this avenue.
‘Unauthorised P2P file sharing of copyright material is fundamentally a market issue which needs to be addressed through a range of commercial means’ – BT
The MPA (Motion Picture Association) likes the idea of co-regulation, whereby the ISP and rights holder works together, but clearly no progress has been made in such an effort.
‘We are attracted to the underlying concept of co-regulation put forward by Government. Voluntary agreements would have been preferred, but it is amply clear that there is no light at the end of that tunnel. Government intervention is required.’ – MPA
Both consumers (who constituted 25% of the responses) and consumer rights groups were highly skeptical of co-regulation, the lack of transparency, and mistargeted assaults on innocent file-sharers. The Open Right Group had a particularly curious statement on the issue.
‘ORG would be keen to see legal sanctions against those who falsely accuse individuals of illicit P2P file sharing.’ – Open Rights Group
According to The Register, rights holders saw voluntary warnings as a failure. With no agreement reached, it’s possible the government may intervene and impose its own solution – which may unite everyone by making all parties unhappy.