TalkTalk has hit back against declarations from the BPI – the trade body for the music industry – that Internet Service Providers should be doing more to stop illegal music sharing, namely by disconnecting customers that continue to engage in such practices.
The BPI has gone so far as to say if ISP’s do not join the fight against music piracy, then the government will bring in legislation to force them to comply, according to the BBC.
Chief executive of Carphone Warehouse Charles Dunstone curtly responded to the proposals by saying: "TalkTalk rejects music industry threats and refuses to become internet police."
TalkTalk maintains that the monitoring required to ascertain who is illegally file sharing would represent an impingement of its customer’s rights and would restrict freedom – and that it will fight any move that would compromise those rights.
"Our position is very clear. We are the conduit that gives users access to the internet. We do not control the internet, nor do we control what our users do on the internet,” continued Dunstone. “I cannot foresee any circumstances in which we would voluntarily disconnect a customer’s account on the basis of a third party alleging a wrongdoing."
Meanwhile, the BPI said: "At the heart of this issue is ensuring that creators are fairly rewarded in the digital age, and we passionately believe that working in partnership with ISPs to develop first-class, safe, legal, digital music services is the way forward. But such a partnership can’t succeed if an ISP refuses to do anything to address the problem of illegal downloading on its network.
"We believe that any socially responsible ISP should, as a core part of its business, put in place steps to help their customers avoid engaging in illegal activity, and deter those who knowingly break the law."
While other ISPs have not been so vocally against proposals by the BPI, any such action would presumably need the full backing of all ISPs to be in any way effective.