ISPs outraged at music download licensing plan

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ISPs outraged at music download licensing plan

Proposals to charge ISPs for illegal file-sharing slammed as 'ill-conceived'.

Internet service providers and mobile firms have reacted angrily to plans to charge them for illegal file sharing by their users.

Music labels and artists' organisations have proposed moving away from prosecuting individuals who upload music to charging ISPs for acting as
"intermediaries".

The Association of Independent Music (AIM) outlined its proposals in a discussion on copyright reform that focused on solving the thorny issue of file sharing and copyright.

Last week AIM presented its ideas to the government's review into intellectual property. 

The suggestions included building on the legal file sharing model, and introducing some form of collective licensing similar to the current UK radio licence.

Licensing would allow ISPs to host file sharing for a fee that would go to record companies and musicians. 

The charges could even cover hardware, such as Bluetooth devices, that can be used to transfer music files. 

But ISPs and mobile firms have reacted angrily to the proposals, which they describe as an extra tax on their services.

Brian Aherne, a spokesman for the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) called the plans "ill-conceived", and said that the industry would resist any attempts at implementation. 

"We have not been consulted on this," he told Media Guardian. "AIM is asking ISPs to participate without asking their opinions."

The mobile industry also claimed that it had not been consulted on the proposals. 

The music industry is standing by its plans. "We really need to introduce additional rights and create relationships with those currently profiting at our expense," said AIM chairman Alison Wenham.

Wenham claimed that some technology firms promote legal music services knowing that customers will download illegally.

But ISPA rejected these claims. "ISPs do not condone illegal activity," said Aherne. "We do not support abuses of copyright and intellectual property theft."
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