Until now, an amendment existed that prevented EU member countries from barring persistent file sharers from the Internet. Today news of the removal of that amendment has been made public and is believed to have stemmed from pressure from member countries keen to adopt tough anti-piracy laws.
“Barring from the Internet” effectively means that individual countries would be able to ask internet service providers to remove users deemed to be persistent pirates without needing a prior court order.
Two countries already pushing forward with new legislation include France and the UK. The French have just revised it’s “three strikes” system and approved plans which could see pirates removed from the net for up to a year with a judge ruling. While the UK’s file-sharing policy, to be announced next month, is also likely to include a clause about disconnecting persistent offenders.
The move is likely to shock and disappoint most of the European population. That said, I predict an immediate change in online habits until stories of bans start to leak to the press. The legislation is also filled with significant hurdles and difficulties, particularly for the ISP’s. Developing “anti piracy” systems to detect which of its customers are persistently file sharing is no easy task. It is also not in the best interests of the ISP’s to help the governments, and while in some cases they may not have much choice, rest assured they will sway their allegiance to you, the customer, after all they’d be losing business otherwise.
Additionally, I still stand by my rather controversial view that while business models in the music and film industry need to change to match this new world we live in…nothing comes for free, or at least it shouldn’t. Business models such as those from companies like Spotify will need to prove they can succeed and provide solutions that while might not make as much money for record labels and studios as they once did, will still cover costs of production and give those involved opportunities to profit from other revenue sources such as gigs, merchandise and so on.