TCF talks sense on copyright

Some words of wisdom from Telecommunications Carriers Forum CEO Ralph Chivers:

“I can conceive a context within which we have mutually satisfactory commercial relationships that deal with their issues and ours.”

He envisages a win-win for both parties if ISPs can help copyright owners make it easier for consumers to purchase material online legally, in return for ISPs’ co-operation enforcing copyright, and in exchange for a cut of revenues.

“That is an obvious opportunity to explore. We certainly believe part of the issue with copyright infringement is that people can’t access the content they want, in the way they want.

Absolutely. Don’t treat the Internet as an enemy, when it is a massive opportunity.  And ISPs at the moment get double whammied by illegal downloads – downloaders are their most expensive customers, and they also now are expected to act as the unpaid Internet Police on behalf of multi-billion dollar companies.

You will never eliminate illegal downloads, but there is a lot one can do to reduce them, and as Ralph said, you have to make content available as the market demands.

Every movie ever produced should be available for legal download for a reasonable cost. Even maybe when they are still showing on the big screen. Many will still want to see it on the big screen due to atmosphere etc, but people want choice as to how they view a movie.

TV is even worse. Some shows never get shown in NZ. Others come months or years late. Start selling episodes and series over the Net, as soon as they are produced. Gone are the days when TV channels decide when you get to see TV programmes.

The music industry does have more of a right to feel aggrived as almost all songs are now available for easy legal purchase online. However there may still be more they can do to meet market demand – such as a say $250 annual fee to download all the music from one or more studios you want for personal use. The fee could be split amongst artists based on market research of popularity. You could have ISPs offer a download service for $25 a month, where the ISP keeps $5 and the studios say $20. The ISP would then probably locally cache all the songs legally which would reduce their traffic costs and provide them an incentive to stop illegal downloads as those downloads will cost them revenue and increase costs through international bandwidth.

There are lots of innovative solutions out there. None will solve the problem entirely. But forcing ISPs to terminate Internet access to users merely on the basis of alleged infirngements is not the way to do it.

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