Ok, this is happening in the UK but this particular flavor of censorship could easily be adopted by American ISP’s.  There’s a joint venture between Virgin Media and BPI (the British Phonographic Industry), which represents the major record labels.  (I believe it’s their version of the RIAA)

Here’s the part where you give everyone in the theater rope enough and hope they strangle the really bad movie….  The BPI wants ISP’s to implement a “three strikes” rule.  The idea is that if they catch you downloading illegal files, specifically the copyrighted music they’re allegedly representing, for a third time then you get disconnected from the Internet… The ISP is supposed to cancel your account and nuke your access.

They’re estimating that there’s some 6.5 million customers whose accounts they say are used for “regular criminal activity” and Virgin Media is being very much the BPI/RIAA/MPAA errand boy for this little venture.  They’re apparently ready, willing and able to snoop customers, determine what they’re downloading or sharing and then cut off their accounts if they don’t stop.  Presumably they’ll also be handing over all the details of what they decide are illegal downloads to their masters so that more grandmothers and six year old kids can be hauled into court and sued.

Somebody on Slashdot put it very nicely:

In other words, you download a few songs and they’ll come along and cut off the one wire that delivers freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly.

In reality, it’s not going to stop anyone serious about file sharing OR copyright violation.  All it’s going to do is while innocent people are being harassed and sued, the serious ones will develop and use advanced software that will allow them to continue trading movies, music, software and anything else they want without ISP’s even being able to know that it’s going on let alone what is being shared.

Technorati Tags: copyright, download songs, lawsuits, freedom of speech, isp spying, orwell, spy on customers, download movies, bpi, riaa, virgin media, censorship

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