Archive for February, 2008|Monthly archive page

UK ISP Legislation, just the beginning?

The BBC are reporting that the UK Government are considering proposals that would see people who download pirated material losing their internet connection. This follows on the heels of proposals by the Australian and French Governments that will affect ISPs in their country.

It is clear, that western governments are taking the issue of piracy seriously but the bigger challenge will be convincing people that piracy is wrong. While campaigns by the movie and music industry has an impact, nothing beats a clear law and if implemented correctly these proposals would have the desired impact.

ISPs have generally been able to avoid legislative concerns; although Demon internet were sued successfully for hosting defamatory content back in the 90s. Some industry’s are more adept to keeping abreast of legaslative changes, such as financial services. In general it stiffles inovation, it raises the bar of entry and it increases the cost of “staying in the game”.

Putting the impact of the proposals aside; this is the beginning of a trend that all technology firms must prepare for. Industry’s that become more regulated become better at working the system and ensure they have their voice heard when legislation is drawn up.

This is something that the industry in Europe has generally failed to accomplish so far. Lobbying has been left to privacy groups and it’s resulted in legislation that doesn’t go far enough in enabling innovation in Europe.

Granted some of the big boys are on the case. But the industry as a whole needs to be better prepared for the coming storm.

Update: Techcrunch have further coverage here and here.