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BPI chief hits back at ISPA over villain of the year jibe

'It's an honour'

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The boss of the UK record industry lobby has hit back at ISPA today, branding it out of touch and accusing it of attempting to stall new rules which could disconnect persistent copyright infringers.

Internet trade association ISPA nominated the BPI for its annual "internet villain of the year" award "for its heavy handed approach against consumers rather than engaging in constructive dialogue with the internet industry when dealing with filesharing".

Industry observers have noted that the BPI has pursued individual consumers in the courts, although not in 2007, the year ISPA has nominated it for.

In a statement sent to The Register in response to our story yesterday, BPI chief executive Taylor said he is delighted with the nomination because it shows some ISPs are ready to negotiate on how to stop music being shared illegally.

Accepting the nod, he said:

It's an honour to be nominated as a villain of the year by ISPA for talking to their members about what we can do together to stop British music being destroyed by digital freeloading.

But it seems ISPA is out of touch with its members, and out of touch with the times, because it's clear from those discussions that many ISPs are beginning to recognise that they have a role to play in creating an internet that rewards creativity and investment, and in encouraging their customers to act responsibly with music.

Government has repeatedly made clear that ISPs must get serious and reach agreements with rightholders, not just keep dragging their heels. It's clear that ISPA doesn't want that to happen, and if seeking a progressive agenda with their members makes me a villain I'm delighted to be in the frame for a gong.

But with the leader of the Opposition and the president of France also nominated, it's going to be a tough category to win.

Tory leader David Cameron and rumoured newlywed Nicholas Sarkozy are both up for the 2007 award too. Past nominees include the EU, the RIAA, and Carol Vorderman. There have been several nominations for BT over the years.

The war of words it has provoked between ISP and the BPI comes as ISPs are under pressure from the government to establish a voluntary system to disconnect copyright-infringing filesharers who continue after warnings. Legislation is threatened for November if a deal can't be struck.

ISPA says it has had "good meetings" with movie rights holders, but its relations with the record industry seem poor. The BPI's response today suggests it could be sidelined if its members break ranks in fear of laws being imposed. ®

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