Dunstone vows to bash Tories on filesharing laws
And the record labels can shove their partnerships
TalkTalk boss Charles Dunstone has promised to continue his firm's campaign against laws meant to reduce illegal filesharing under a Conservative government, despite being friend of David Cameron.
Dunstone today hosted a reception within sight of Parliament as part of TalkTalk's "Don't Disconnect Us" campaign, aiming to attract MPs and officials. He told The Register it would continue after the election, denying any political aspect to his firm's attacks on the Digital Economy Bill.
"It's genuinely about the principle," he said, saying that he had not spoken to Cameron, his friend and Oxfordshire neighbour, about the issue. Last year Dunstone was part of Cameron's creative industries review panel and was tipped for a Tory peerage.
He also said he had no idea how much the proposed measures - which as well as suspension of internet access include written warnings and bandwidth restrictions - would cost TalkTalk, the country's second largest ISP.
The Tories support the Digital Economy Bill and have criticised the government for not bringing its disconnections and other sanctions against persistent copyright infringers forward quickly enough.
Jeremy Hunt, the shadow culture secretary, attended TalkTalk's reception this morning, where the potential technical, ethical and legal pitfalls of the Digital Economy Bill were argued by groups including Which?, Liberty and the Open Rights Group.
TalkTalk has been by far the most vocal internet industry opponent of the government's plans, most recently scorning Bono's views on filesharing. Although rivals Virgin Media and BT registered their opposition officially during the Department for Business' consultation last year, they have done nothing to match TalkTalk's concerted public campaigning.
Dunstone suggested this relative timidity could be a result of their hopes of becoming paid content providers. He was blunt about TalkTalk's own plans in that area, insisting "it's not our job to sell music".
Amazon and Apple could do a good job of that, he said, strictly walking the traditional ISP line that they are mere conduits. The possibility of new growth by building its own licensed music download service in cooperation with record labels has meanwhile seen Virgin Media, for one, effectively abandon that creed.
Dunstone apparently feels no interest in making friends with the recording industry, charging it had "treated its customers so badly they have effectively gone on strike", and insisting it could never expect some lost revenues to return. He refused to be drawn on whether he had ever participated in illegal filesharing.
The combative tone from TalkTalk at the reception was slightly at odds with the Open Rights Group's more conciliatory approach. The group's executive director Jim Killock said political focus should in fact be on cooperation between ISPs and record labels, rather than on enforcement, to foster more attractive legal download services. It's clear TalkTalk customers won't be offered them.
The Bill itself is currently at the House of Lords committee stage. Killock expressed hope the pile of amendments so far tabled and several stages of debate remaining might delay it until after the election.
Perhaps Dunstone will have a word with Dave then. ®
I'm with Dunstone
I don't want my ISP to bombard me with adverts and offers for music & film (which, as soon as they start providing them, you know they will. You won't be able to move for annoying adverts plastered over your bills, promotional e-mails, ISP home pages...).
And you can guarantee that they will repackage their tariffs on the assumption that everyone MUST want this "content", in the same manner that it's pretty much impossible to get a contract phone without bundled minutes and texts (a number of older people - and parents to give to kids - want a mobile phone for the security aspect, but don't want to be paying £20 a month which includes "content" in the form of calls and texts that they just don't use. PAYG phones have "expiry of credit" which confuses some, and they would prefer a low monthly bill paid by DD to know that it's always available should they need it).
I want my ISP to just give me a pipe to t'interwebs, not to try and be a "content provider". When I want "content", I'll go get it from the place that gives me the best overall deal based on price, convenience & format.
I would also like ISPs to be able to get right what they're (supposed to be) doing at the moment before they start trying to "monetize" us all some more.
Go go Charlie D!
(as an aside, I don't d/l naughty music & films etc. Once upon a time I would buy 3-4 CDs and a couple of films & games per month. Now I don't spend anything like that. Reason being that there is just not much content out there that I want *and* am willing to pay the asking price for.)
Dunstone is ma hero
Tories or Labour, they seem to support the same vile concept -- will the new Gordon Brown really be any better than the current one, I wonder.
More than even, I'm now inclined to vote for the Pirate Party...
"Jim Killock said political focus should in fact be on cooperation between ISPs and record labels"
How's that supposed to happen when the music biz picked up their ball and went home in a huff ten years ago?