ACIG Praises U.S. ISP – Entertainment Industry Agreement

August 1, 2011 -

Australian Content Industry Group spokeswoman Sabiene Heindl pens an editorial in The Australian praising the recent deal between Internet Service providers and content creators in the United States (you know the deal that has basically turned ISP's into Internet traffic cops). Heindl starts out by calling the deal "good news for anyone who has released an album, made a movie, developed a video game or software, or written a book anywhere in the world."

ISP's including AT&T, Cablevision, and Comcast, have hammered out a deal to control their subscribers who engage in online copyright infringement. Those content providers include such notable companies as Walt Disney, Paramount, Universal Music, and Sony Music Entertainment.

Heindl also claims that it is "good news for consumers because it means content creators and the ISPs who deliver their content are extending often existing partnerships to ensure that it's as easy as possible for consumers to access and enjoy it." She further claims that the reason this has happened sooner is because of "online piracy."

Heindl goes on to praise similar efforts in other countries including France, South Korea, New Zealand, and Britain. She says that the core of the U.S. agreement is similar to what her interest group, the Australian Content Industry Group (ACIG), recently proposed in Australia.

The U.S. agreement directs ISPs to send "warnings and alerts" to subscribers who are allegedly infringing copyrights online, with "escalating urgency, where there is evidence that illegal file-sharing is occurring on their internet account." Forget for a moment the fact that there is no appeals process if you are a subscriber who feels that you are falsely accused when these first warnings and alerts are sent to you...

She claims this new "voluntary agreement" is meant to "educate the user about the damage illegal file-sharing does to the content industries and to encourage them to access movies, music and other content from legal sites in a way that supports creators." The agreement also includes "mitigation measures for those who repeatedly ignore the warnings," and it "does not involve terminating internet accounts."

Heindl says that research shows that "up to 70 percent of users will stop illegally file-sharing after they receive a warning and face the threat of potential sanctions if they continue."

Here's an important excerpt from the article:

"The significance of the US agreement cannot be overstated. It has proved wrong all those people who thought the content industries and the ISPs could never come to a voluntary agreement in a market as big and as complex as the US.

It also demonstrates very clearly that the ISPs now recognise they have enough skin in the game to want to see the playing field levelled for the creation and distribution of content.

Creative industries have embraced the new digital business models enabled by broadband and wireless technology -- allowing them to provide consumers with great new services over the web, IPTV and mobile phones.

In fact, both the videogame and music industries make more than a third of their revenue from digital sources. In Australia, many creative industries and ISPs already have partnerships to provide legitimate content to Australian consumers -- Telstra's BigPond Music is just one example."

Ultimately Heindl's point in writing the editorial is to push for a similar system in Australia:

"The US agreement should encourage content providers and ISPs in Australia to continue talking and to work harder to come up with a commercial, negotiated scheme that works for everyone, including consumers. There need not be a winner or loser. Everyone can benefit from this."

Source: The Australian


Comments

Re: ACIG Praises U.S. ISP – Entertainment Industry Agreement

With how important the internet is for day to day life and with how china has proven that access to the internet should be protected as a free speech right, I think it's time that it became less privatized and more like a utility. I can only imagine how these companies would run access to water in my town. People who wanted to water their lawns would be receiving warnings in the mail about overuse and the top 5% water users would receive lower pressure to account for using tanks/treatment/pipes that were built over a decade ago.

-Austin from Oregon

Feel free to check out my blog.

Re: ACIG Praises U.S. ISP – Entertainment Industry Agreement

"The US agreement should encourage content providers and ISPs in Australia to continue talking and to work harder to come up with a commercial, negotiated scheme that works for everyone, including consumers. There need not be a winner or loser. Everyone can benefit from this."

Except there are losers. The losers are the customers. You know, the people who are paying the ISPs to give them access to the content they desire. The losers are the customers who only want greater and easier access to the content the entertainment industries refuse to provide.

If the content industry really cared about their business, they would fight progress by demanding obscene royalties from internet technology firms. They would provide customers low cost and easy access to the content they provide.

As it stands the content industry only wants to build walls to protect their old and dying business models. They want to preserve this by implementing DRM, region codes and outright not releasing content. Ending those practices would be a great first step in regaining consumer confidence.

As it continues now, people who are willing to pay, will end up either switching to pirating what they want or switching to content providers who provide them those low cost and easy to access alternatives.

Re: ACIG Praises U.S. ISP – Entertainment Industry Agreement

Summary : my group won, thus it is a victory for everyone!  We got what we wanted, so maybe we will think about giving consumers what they want.

Re: ACIG Praises U.S. ISP – Entertainment Industry Agreement

ISPs don't actually care what paying customers want. All they care about is keeping them content enough that they don't just cut the cord. Or they only care about keeping out competition so that their paying "customers" can't cut the cord.

If they really had an inkling of a care about their customers, they would have never entered into this agreement to begin with.

Re: ACIG Praises U.S. ISP – Entertainment Industry Agreement

Game theory at work. 

They have no incentive to care what their customers want, but they do have an incentive to care what content providers want (either due to threat of legal action, or because they are crossing that ISP/media barrier and want cheap content).  ISPs that put customers first are likely to do less well then ones that embrace the current set of risks and payoffs.... thus if we want to change behavior, yelling at the ISPs is not the solution, changing the table is.

 
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