Three strikes for illegal downloaders? Make that 50 strikes...
The debate about illegal downloading is one that will go on and on and on until some P2P'er buckles and ends up accepting a load of money from a big company to sort it all out with some new ideas. That's the way it usually works (if you look at the history of hackers at least). That's why no-one ever believes tech types when they toot on about 'morals'.
Until then, everyone is going to have to put up with the clunky bumblings of various know-nothing government types, all wildly chucking shit at a lake to see if any of it floats.
The latest idea comes from Lord Razzall (who, if you ask me, sounds like a dancehall reggae MC) and his chum (takes deep breath) Lib Dem spokesperson for Culture Media and Sport Lord Clement Jones. Basically, Razzall has put forward an amendment (No.76 - like you even care) to the Digital Economy Bill that cuts persistent downloaders a bit of slack.
The amendment puts forward the idea that these internet rapscallions should be given the smackdown after "the internet service provider has received fifty or more copyright infringement reports about the relevant subscriber from the copyright owner for that period."
Balls to the three strikes idea... and in with the fifties, right? It sounds a bit like an offer from a shop. 'Try Product X for free and then, after a period, you have to start wanking up pennies...'. Of course, it's unlikely that the music and film industries will be keen to be part of a bartering system like this, but if they want to start making money again, they're most certainly going to have to rethink their business model.
However, one point is still not addressed which will invariably irk some folk. Just because someone makes a claim, it does not make it a fact if they repeat it a number of times. I'm pretty sure that most illegal downloaders are quite happy with the current laws (copyright holders taking people to court ) because, basically, no-one is getting the book thrown at them... even if they help millions of people access nicked music.
However, if a happy medium is to be sought, this 50 strike thing is a promising sign. It's certainly better than the BPI request to introduce a no-questions-asked takedown regime which would allow rights holders to remove huge slabs of material at a whim.
That said, the likelihood of the Liberal Democrats getting in power are slim-to-fuck all.