The music industry has been fighting issues like piracy and copyright infringement for a very long time now.
After giving up on the pursuit of direct infringers due to bad publicity, and deciding not to target the companies that create software and websites for online file-sharing, the recording industry is now focused on establishing copyright liability that would turn ISPs into copyright police.
At present, if you download a copyrighted file via illegal sources, you are at risk of copyright violation warning from your ISP. This method traces the downloaded file to your IP address to prove guilt.
But it really doesn’t work because if someone else decides to download such a file using your WiFi or hotspot, you would be held guilty for it – which isn’t fair.
So while the entertainment industry could not do anything about pirates, it decided to take sustained legal action against smaller ISPs like Grande Communications — which was sued by 18 different music and film labels for failing to stop pirates from downloading copyrighted works.
In the latest filing of the Grande case, the ISP called this lawsuit an “absurd” plan that forces the internet providers to become “de facto copyright enforcement agents.”
The success of this lawsuit is feared because it would lead to constant monitoring of user behavior online by the ISPs — something that nobody wants.
The most draconian aspect of this lawsuit is the demand to kick out users and keep them offline for alleged copyright infringement. It is not only a technical nightmare but also a potential violation of the First Amendment in the US.
Getting banished from the internet services also means that people would lose access to their online office work, college work, medical facilities and a lot of vital information. And all of this could happen if your roommates, guests, kids or strangers decided to use your wifi for illegal downloading.
So ultimately this lawsuit puts ISPs in an impossible position where they have to banish users based on unverified allegations of infringement or face legal action for the secondary infringement of copyrighted works downloaded by subscribers.