Dave McClure, president and CEO of the United States Internet Industry Association (USIIA), didn’t shy away from the contentious topics at this year’s iWeek.
iWeek is an annual conference organised by the Internet Service Providers’ Association of South Africa (ISPA).
In his keynote entitled, “US Perspectives on Internet Policy: Opportunities and Challenges in 2010” he immediately delved into issues like net neutrality, copyright enforcement and privacy.
While speaking about copyright enforcement issues, McClure made specific mention about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
The ACTA doesn’t include South Africa, but McClure warned that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should be on the lookout for clauses in future trade agreements with the US that seek to make ISPs responsible for their users’ browsing and downloading habits.
McClure said that this push, as well as the push to criminalise copyright violations, comes from their entertainment industry that’s seeking to make as much money from copyright violations as possible.
He said that they want to shift the costs of prosecution to ISPs and law enforcement agencies. According to McClure the entertainment industry is resisting the changes caused by the Internet in the way entertainment is delivered.
The Internet and ISPs are the meteor and the entertainment industry are the dinosaurs, McClure said.
McClure said that the entertainment industry is snapping at anything and even suing their own clients for copyright infringement.
“Where have you heard of an industry that [sues their own customers]?” McClure asked.
Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General of ISPA UK, mentioned alternative music licensing models that have developed, where users can now pay a monthly fee to download as much music as they want.
Peter Sunde, one of the founders of The Pirate Bay spoke at last year’s iWeek where he stated that copying is an integral part of human nature.
When asked about the impact on artists he said that copyright only protects a small portion of individuals and companies.
Sunde suggested a model where the personal use of copyrighted material such as music should be free while commercial use can be charged to support artists.
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