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Double whammy: The music tax based on deep packet inspection

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"Were ISPs required to pay a price for the value of copyrighted media on networks," Page and Touve argue, "the mechanism would be in place to encourage a balance between these costs and benefits. This balancing act might occur through the incentive to either (a) 'wise up' the dumb pipes by cleaning out the unlicensed media files in an effort to avoid paying the real costs of these files, or (b) accepting this payment for media as the cost of doing business while finding new ways to source the value of these creative works."

Despite what TalkTalk's Andrew Heaney says, ISPs really, really hate freetards - they run up most of the transit costs, but despite their evident appetite for media consumption, these subscribers bring home no more revenue than a granny who only uses her connection for Hotmail. But realising the value of that is traffic can be done in a number of ways.

You can be sure that Heaney would pass such a tax onto all his subscribers - and let everyone know where to point the finger. The levy punishes all subscribers, yet only one third of broadband subscribers ever engage in P2P copyright infringement - and the hardcore who do it most is much smaller. A levy also gives everyone the chance to act the "victim", and freetards feed off the feeling of victimized by the music business. (See Kick Me Again, RIAA - Please!).

And would an ISP, with the threat of prosecution lifted, really "find new ways to source the value of these creative works"? There's no reason they should, and nothing in the paper suggests they would. They're much more likely to view it as a "problem solved" - the BPI doesn't keep calling any more. Sorted!

One great advantage of voluntary paid-for P2P is that once you put us in the position of being consumers, we start getting stroppy and demanding a better service... unlike with a levy.

Another great advantage is voluntary P2P doesn't require intrusive monitoring for all subscribers, whether they want it or not. As Sanders puts it:

"Things that look benign - like bunging a bit of money to the songwriters - seem to involve handing control of who gets what to the black box division* of BAe Systems." ®

Bootnote

'Black box' is the name for the pot of royalties collected by performing rights societies, but declared 'unattributable' and never paid out.

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