As you will probably be aware, the Digital Economy Bill was pushed into law yesterday, with measures allowing Peter Mandelson to demand ISPs prevent access to websites suspected of infringing copyright.
One of the UK's major ISPs - TalkTalk - has vowed to fight the bill. Andrew Heany is the executive director of strategy and regulation at Carphone Warehouse, which owns TalkTalk. Yesterday he posted on the TalkTalk blog, promising to "battle against these oppressive proposals". He went on to re-emphasise TalkTalk's pledges to its customers:
"Unless we are served with a court order we will never surrender a customer's details to rightsholders. We are the only major ISP to have taken this stance and we will maintain it. If we are instructed to disconnect an account due to alleged copyright infringement we will refuse to do so and tell the rightsholders we'll see them in court."
Much of the more controversial parts of the bill have been included in response to lobbying from the BPI. After the bill was pushed through, chairman Tony Wadsworth said: "...we have got the law to recognise that internet service providers, who have benefited so much from creative content on the web, have a joint responsibility to ensure creators' rights are protected."
There is an idealogical dispute here concerning whether ISPs are merely the providers of access to the Internet or whether they should also police the net and censor it when called-upon to do so. TalkTalk and the BPI have been clashing for some time on this matter.
A more light-hearted riposte from TalkTalk, via its dontdisconnect.us campaigning site, is a reminder that the BPI has been objecting to technology that gives people the ability to share music for some time. Back in the 80s the BPI lauched its "Home taping is killing music" campaign, implying the music industry would die unless people were prevented from making tapes. They weren't and it didn't.