ISPs hit back at Saint Bonio

Saint Bonio of U2 has been told to shut up by a number of international ISPs after telling the New York times that Internet providers are a bunch of evil greedy self-serving bar stewards.

The Irish rocker came under fire after suggesting that anyone who downloded music was just as bad as a child molester and should be locked up without trial.

Bonio suggested in his NYT column that ISP's were raking in cash which should go to starving musicians saying, "A decade's worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators... the people this reverse Robin Hooding benefits are rich service providers, whose swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business."

Talk Talk's Andrew Heaney responded saying, "The U2 frontman is seriously misguided. ISPs generate no additional revenue or profit from customers sharing files. In fact we incur some marginal cost due to the extra bandwidth required. It is outrageous to equate the need to protect minors from the evils of child pornography with the need to protect copyright owners. As a society we have accepted that it is appropriate and proportionate to intrude on people's Internet use by blocking access to sites that host child abuse images.

"To suggest that sharing a music file is every bit as evil as child abuse beggars belief. Incredibly, if the Digital Economy Bill as it is currently framed becomes law, it will become legal to summarily disconnect someone for alleged copyright abuse but if you want to disconnect them for accessing child abuse images then you will have to get a court order first.

"The French have now abandoned plans to disconnect alleged illegal filesharers without a court order. This is a major victory for human rights campaigners and we trust Lord Mandelson will take note. Most people think that blocking access to sites that host child abuse images is a good thing. Conversely, less than 10 per cent of us think that disconnecting alleged filesharers without a court hearing is a good idea.

"Bono obviously does not understand how simple it is to access copyright protected content without being detected. P2P filesharing can be spotted (albeit at great cost) but there are dozens of applications and tools out there which allow people to view content for free and no amount of snooping can detect it."

Darren Farnden from Entanet has also added his twopen'orth telling Bonio that he should "stick to singing and campaigning for poorer nations and leave the economics of Internet service provision to the professionals. Those of us within this supposedly swollen, profit rich Internet industry are more than aware of the reality. Consumer demand for the cheapest, fastest broadband continues to increase resulting in even lower profit margins for us 'greedy' ISPs."

On the subject of swollen ISP profits, Farnden says, "I would hazard a guess that these, are yet again, calculated on flawed hypothetical principles that everyone who downloads illegally would actually legally purchase the same amount of music. This is ridiculous. Just because Fred can download 20 songs for free does not mean that he would have otherwise paid for them all.

"Bono is simply demonstrating once again that these industries (namely music and news) do not understand the new distribution models that the Internet has provided and rather than attempt to adapt and embrace the new opportunities like many of his ambitious rivals have (e.g. Radiohead and Ash). He instead wants someone to blame, and that I am afraid is once again, the ISPs."

New Yawk Times
Talk Talk Blog
Entanet blog