ISPs and piracy takedown

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I can't say I'm that enthusiastic about what's starting to look like a trend of national governments requiring ISPs to cut off Internet service to alleged pirates:

To try to curb unauthorized file-sharing, which the music industry blames for its woes, the report recommends requiring Internet service providers to send warning letters to persistent pirates.

Some British Internet providers have already sent such letters under a voluntary agreement. Under the proposal outlined Thursday, they would be required by law to do so. Internet providers would also be required to turn over personal details of repeat offenders to rights holders, like music companies, so that the offenders could be sued.

The music industry, however, is increasingly reluctant to pursue file-sharers through the courts, fearing a backlash from listeners. The Recording Industry Association of America, which represents the major record companies, moved to end a multiyear legal campaign against file-sharers, for example.

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In France, legislation that would require service providers to disconnect pirates is working its way through Parliament.

I can certainly understand why this is what the music industry would like. No doubt they'd prefer if they could just fine you directly without going through the hassle of suing you or anything like that. I doubt I'd like that very much, however. I, on the other hand, would prefer to have music shipped to my house over the Internet for free, which I doubt they would like very much. What's a lot less clear is why it's good for society to put its thumb on the scales in the music industry's favor. It's not like there's no chance for collateral damage here; Internet service is pretty important to a lot of people and having it cut off is a pretty substantial punishment to incur on the say so of a party who it should be obvious isn't completely disinterested.

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