ISP & Music Provider – Playlouder or Paylouder?
Boing Boing and a whole lot of other news outlets and blogs are writing about the “stupendously” good news which is the announcement of the Playlouder MSP service, which in short is a UK ISP which has entered into a unique deal with Sony/BMG so that all subscribers to their broadband service will be able to legally share music by Sony/BMG artists.
Most people who comment this news seems to think that it’s God’s gift to filesharers or something, and to a certain degree I must agree. As Nicklas Lundblad comments:
Det här är dock det första listiga draget från rättighetsindustrin på länge. Sedan om det är bra eller ej…ja, vad tycker vi egentligen? Jag tänker fortfarande.
Translated to English:
This is, however, the first clever move by the intellectual property rights’ industry in a long time. As for it being a good move or not, well, what do we really think? I’m still contemplating.
What Lundblad points out as a possible negative implication of this idea, is the risk of walling up Internet into many separate, exclusive networks. Because if Playlouder can be forced by Sony/BMG to filter and block sharing of their artists’ work to non-Playlouder customers, then what is to say that such blocking can’t be expanded to include various other files. Further, if another music publisher decides to join the game and signs up, a different ISP and then in returns blocks access to e.g. Playlouder we have gotten ourselves into a virtual hostile situation where one publisher is fighting another one by using an ISP as a proxy. Is this desirable? Lundblad calls this, the omnious, possible future of such an Internet, a “walled garden.”
More negative comments to this comes from one of Sweden’s most famous anti-copyright-activists, Rasmus Fleischer who thinks the whole thing is a non-event and is just another overhyped Internet-fad. The filters installed by Sony/BMG will of course never be able to block “un-authorized” sharing, i.e. non-Sony artists. Furthermore, it’s unreasonable to think that the blocking software that will prevent “authorized” sharing to external networks is not going to be circumvented easily.
So are these negative comments and fears viable? Or are we Swedes just a cranky old bunch of copyright-fighters? I guess we like our personal freedoms and privacy less diluted with corporate control than for example the Americans.