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Illegal music downloading may soon come to a screeching halt.

Yes, that is correct. After years of relatively ineffective legislation and marketing campaigns to raise awareness that downloading music for free on peer-to-peer file sharing networks like Limewire, Soulseek, and Kazaa is illegal and wrong, the recording industry, and specifically the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) is taking steps to work with ISPs to deter online piracy.

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How will they do it? The plan is to pass legislation forcing ISPs to terminate the internet connections of users who download music (and other digital media) illegally.

Yikes. According to The Guardian, the IFPI has said that “for every song sold legitimately through services such as Apple’s iTunes music store, an estimated 20 were downloaded illegally,” and John Kennedy, chief executive of the IFPI, feels that “the threat of disconnection would prove a greater deterrent than legal action.”

I’m not sure how this is going to play out in the US, but I have to admit – the IFPI has a point. Most people have no fear when it comes to illegal downloading – no one really thinks they are going to be subpoenaed into court and thrown in jail for downloading a few (or a slew, as it were) MP3s and movies. But if the ISPs are given the power to punish offenders by removing their Internet access? Well, you wouldn’t have to tell me twice. It blows my mind that such legislation is on the table for discussion – and the fact that it would give ISPs such far-reaching power is a little scary. But it is smart.

And it just might work.

Comments

One thought on “Online Piracy and Your Internet Connection.
  1. Mike Block says:

    To me, this seems like the punishment failing to fit the crime, which is unconstitutional. After all, if you steal a CD from Best Buy, you may be disallowed from ever entering a Best Buy again, but you aren’t banned from walking through doors. After all, there are other stores, public buildings and homes that you may need to visit and shouldn’t be prevented from visiting due to one small infraction. If I get a speeding ticket, my license shouldn’t be suspended, should it?

    Additionally, I see this not only as an overstep of power by the ISP and the record industry, but as a nearly impossible punishment to enforce well. I’m sure that you could just sign up with a new ISP, after all.

    These scare tactics seem like nothing more than just that. I don’t advocate rampantly downloading music, but it’s not a crime that deserves as much time and money as it’s getting just because some of the wealthiest record execs were too myopic when presented with the digital music age. Had they thought of developing a decent competitor to iTunes instead of wasting money on trying to enforce these rules, maybe they wouldn’t be in this situation.

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