Thursday, June 4, 2009

6 MONTHS, 0 DISCONNECTING ISPS: RIAA STILL COMING UP SHORT


Despite some overconfidence in December, the RIAA has yet to rally any ISPs on its new anti-piracy strategy. The lack of cooperativeness was highlighted by Greg Sandoval of C|Net on Wednesday, who pointed to a continued reluctance among ISPs to disconnect offending accounts. In fact, shortly after the RIAA ditched its strategy of suing individuals, ISPs told Digital Music News on the record that no agreements were in place.

But some progress is being made. AT&T has offered to send a limited amount of warning letters to offending subscribers, part of a trial. But the ISP has strongly clarified that disconnections and takedown notices are not on the roadmap, a sentiment others have echoed.

The situation suggests that the RIAA is more effective at negotiating favorable press stories than actual business deals. In December, the group pointed the Wall Street Journal to "preliminary agreements with major ISPs," ones that would include email warnings and ultimate disconnections. That sparked considerable speculation about what the newer enforcement environment would look like, based on the claims.

So, will ISP three-strikes accords ever emerge, at least in the US? On that point, insiders have been pointing Digital Music News to continued resistance among ISPs, based on problematic legal, monitoring, and customer relations issues. Snipping connectivity means prying on subscribers, and potentially stirring more serious privacy and legal concerns.

And worldwide? The recording industry has made far better progress in Ireland and France, where disconnection victories have been won. But the rest is spotty - New Zealand recently shelved a three-strikes plan, and top authorities in both the UK and Germany are also saying no.

SOURCE