Thursday, January 19, 2006

2P or not 2P2P?

Interesting times in France. Vivendi Universal is the world's largest music company, and yet the National Assembly, rather than adopting a protectionist stance (as some countries might, ahem), has written in an amendment in the transposition legislation for the EU Copyright Directive which makes filesharing legal for "personal use with no direct or indirect commercial purposes." The Association of Audionauts has proposed a levy of EUR2 - 5 on the monthly internet access fees for filesharers above a certain activity level. If enacted into law, this is going to be an interesting one to watch, as it seems to conflict with the general trend towards traffic shaping policies by the telcos. A number of user forums I have seen recently contain messages of distress from file sharers in the UK, whose ISPs have apparently analyzed their traffic flows and now throttle bandwidth back to dial-up levels anytime the ED2K or BitTorrent is switched on. How do telcos maintain the balance if a legal framework comes into being where file sharers naturally expect to be able to share files freely as long as they pay their "price of admission"?

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