"Lord Carter of Barnes, the Communications Minister, will propose the creation of a quango, paid for by a charge that could amount to £20 a year per broadband connection." This from a report in the Times Online. The report continues:
The agency would act as a broker between music and film companies and internet service providers (ISPs). It would provide data about serial copyright-breakers to music and film companies if they obtained a court order. It would be paid for by a levy on ISPs, who inevitably would pass the cost on to consumers.
I saw the following on the Open Rights Group mailing list and asked permission to reproduce it. It is CC-BY-SA like the rest of this blog, but credit goes to Neil Dunbar (neil.dunbar AT pobox.com)
I'm guessing that GovThink(tm) on this one goes along the lines of:
1) Piracy is bad. Piracy makes the music industry sad. Sad music industry equals sad rock stars. Sad rock stars means no celeb endorsements. This is REALLY BAD.
2) Punishing piracy is hard because they have to go to court. Court is expensive and asks for weird things like "proof" and "evidence". Rock stars are rich and beautiful, so obviously always tell the truth. Court is bad.
3) Proposal: punish pirates when rock stars say they are pirates. And they must be pirates, because otherwise the rock stars wouldn't say so.
4) ISPs and telcos will get sued when rock stars make mistakes. Rock stars don't lie, but sometimes they make boo-boos. ISPs and telcos employ lots of people, who pay taxes. Taxes are good. Proposal (3) is bad.
5) We have to Do Something, because we said we would. Doing Nothing is bad. We can't do proposal 3, so can we say we're doing something like proposal 3, but not actually do it?
6) Proposal: Make ISPs tell pirate customers off, even if they aren't pirates. Make a new agency which will Do Something (To Be Determined). Get the rock stars to pay for it; and this is good, because they will like the agency and what it will do. And they are rich, so can afford it. Over to you, culture czar Feargal.
7) Rock stars are now sad and annoyed. Sigh. You can't please some people.
Well it amused me.