Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Vivendi head calls for 'three-strikes' rule to tackle UK filesharers; Guardian, 10/27/09

Mark Sweney, Guardian; Vivendi head calls for 'three-strikes' rule to tackle UK filesharers:

Jean-Bernard Levy tells the C&binet [sic] Forum that UK should follow France's lead by cutting off internet access for persistent illegal downloaders

"Jean-Bernard Levy, the chief executive of Vivendi, the French owner of the world's largest record company, Universal Music, said the UK government needs to bring in a "three-strikes" policy that would ultimately cut off persistent illegal filesharers.

Levy, speaking at the UK government's Creativity & Business International Network conference (C&binet) today on the issues facing the creative industries as they move to digital production and distribution, said that while it was too soon to gauge the results of the introduction of the "three-strikes" policy in France, it was a necessary step to protect content owners.

"Britain should be more in favour of developing the media industries and even if France is ahead in legislation it should be obvious [that the UK should] be doing something like three strikes," he added.

Levy said Vivendi, despite owning one of France's largest internet service providers (ISPs), telecoms operator SFR, was convinced the tough legislative strategy would not harm internet use. He added that he expected no real reduction in legal web traffic.

"ISPs should be in favour of legislation," he argued, because a lot of the massive investment to increase broadband capacity was going into supplying bandwidth used by illegal net users...

Gail Rebuck, the chief executive of publisher Random House, told the C&binet conference today that the fact that more than 70 illegal filesharing websites were online within 24 hours of the launch of bestselling author Dan Brown's new novel, The Lost Symbol, showed the urgency with which the government must crack down on digital piracy. This number has since jumped to more than 170 unauthorised websites capitalising on the novel, she added.

Rebuck said measures with strong legal backing needed to be introduced to curb digital copyright abuse. She said: "From where I sit, protecting our copyright is the single most important thing we can debate here. We must protect our authors' work."

"I'm very much for the carrot and stick approach," she added, referring to the need for a combination of promoting the benefits of legal content downloading alongside measures such as letters warning persistent filesharers they are breaking the law.

"As a content owner, I am all for the ultimate sanction," she said, indicating support for measures such as cutting off the worst infringers. "Surely the response is not to say goodbye to copyright.""


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