IFPI: ISPs Should Block BitTorrent and The Pirate Bay

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) is trying to convince European lawmakers that ISPs should take extreme measures to fight piracy. They suggest that ISPs should block access to websites such as The Pirate Bay, and block filesharing protocols, no matter what they're being used for.

The IFPI – the anti-piracy organization that represents the recording industry worldwide – sees ISPs as one of their biggest enemies. “ISPs often advertise music as a benefit of signing up to their service, but facilitate the illegal swapping of copyright infringing music on a grand scale,” they said previously. In an attempt to restrict the Internet, the anti-pirates have sent a list of three absurd recommendations to the EU parliament.

Earlier this year the IFPI won a case against the Belgian ISP Scarlet. In this case the judge ruled that ISPs can be forced to either block or filter copyright infringing content on P2P networks. At the time, IFPI Chairman and CEO John Kennedy said: “This is a decision that we hope will set the mould for government policy and for courts in other countries in Europe and around the world.” That’s exactly what they are trying to do now.

None of the measures below are overly burdensome or expensive, or cause problems for regular services to customers, says the IFPI. Here’s what they recommend:

Content filtering

The IFPI suggests that ISPs should identify music files on their network and check them against a reference database of “audio fingerprints” to check whether the files are infringing copyright. This might work on Kazaa, but it is not clear what methods the ISP will have to implement to distinguish between copyright infringing and legal content on P2P networks, such as BitTorrent. That will be a tough job, if not, impossible.

Protocol Blocking

According to the IFPI, an easy but effective solution is to simply block all P2P protocols and forget about all the indie publishers that use it to share legal content, for free. If customers can’t use BitTorrent or any other filesharing protocol piracy will decline, and that’s basically all they care about.

Blocking access to infringing websites

What better way to censor the Internet than to block entire websites, especially The Pirate Bay. The IFPI tried to block websites before – last year they convinced a Swedish ISP (Perspectiv) that it was a good idea to block allofmp3. However, after The Pirate Bay decided to block all Perspectiv’s customers from its site, they backed down, re-enabled access to allofmp3 – and apologized.

These recommendations might seem absurd, but Heise.de reports that the IFPI has already convinced several European politicians to support these measures. Next month, The Committee on Culture and Education from the European parliament will discuss if these recommendations should be turned into European policy.

There is little doubt that it will cause quite a stir if they are.

(via P2P Blog)

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