Recording Industry Steps Back From Piracy Disconnections

In the wake of the UN report which described disconnecting citizens from the Internet as a breach of human rights, an anti-piracy group has made a somewhat surprising statement. Music Industry Piracy Investigations, which acts for dozens of labels including the Big Four, today said that while they support measures for dealing with infringement, that does not include "termination of Internet accounts."

As detailed last week, a new report from the UN has heavily criticized the notion of disconnecting Internet subscribers on the basis that they may have breached music or movie copyrights.

In his report, Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue said that he considers “cutting off users from Internet access, regardless of the justification provided, including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights law, to be disproportionate and thus a violation of article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

La Rue then went on to appeal to countries such as the UK and France who have already adopted legislation with such measures to either repeal or amend their laws.

Now, just a couple of working days on, a surprise statement has been made by MIPI, Australia’s Music Industry Piracy Investigations.

Speaking with SMH, MIPI general manager Sabiene Heindl, today said that while MIPI supports “mitigation measures” for dealing with persistent illegal file-sharers, “such measures would not include termination of Internet accounts.”

Heindl’s statement represents quite a turnaround for the recording industry. MIPI has dozens of member labels on board – including the all-important EMI, Universal, Warner and Sony – and although delivered in Australia, it would be difficult to see how the Big Four could pursue different anti-piracy strategies in major markets elsewhere.

So does this announcement represent the beginning of a wider softening of attitudes, or will a more gentle strategy be pursued in Australia in parallel with tougher ones elsewhere?

We contacted the BPI in the UK, who also have the Big Four on board and have been outspoken supporters of “3 strikes”-style treatment for persistent file-sharers, to find out what the UN report and today’s MIPI statement means for them. At the time of publication we were yet to receive a response.

UK ISP TalkTalk, who together with BT are currently fighting the implementation of the Digital Economy Act, told TorrentFreak this afternoon that they read the UN report with interest and noted its comments on the Digital Economy Act.

“Our views on the Act are well known – we don’t think it’s a workable piece of legislation or a sensible way to tackle the problem of illegal filesharing, and it will simply punish innocent internet users,” said a TalkTalk spokesperson. “That’s why we’re seeking leave to appeal against the High Court’s ruling, handed down in April, on the judicial review into the Act.”

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