UK broadband provider TalkTalk says about half of its customers who have peer-to-peer (P2P) filesharing activity on their home networks are unaware that it is happening. The ISP says this is due largely to teenagers downloading without their parents’ knowledge or to others piggybacking on its customers’ internet connections. TalkTalk says the findings show how difficult it is to identify those who are deliberately filesharing illegally, supporting TalkTalk’s view that proposals to disconnect persistent filesharers are unworkable.
“I think that the principles of the government’s policy to disconnect illegal filesharers are wrong because you cannot identify who is actually guilty,” says TalkTalk’s products and strategy director, Sylvain Thevenot, talking to StrategyEye. “Practically it is unfeasible as well because we would have to go back through a huge number of logs, and even start logging data we don’t collect yet.”
Thevenot says TalkTalk is planning to release tools for parents that will let them put parental controls on P2P activity. However, incidences of hijacking by people outside a customer’s household are also likely to be higher than most people think, he adds.
The poll of TalkTalk customers found that around 20% who use P2P filesharing do so because they want access to content that is not yet available in the UK. These customers say they would pay for the content if it was on offer legally. Thevenot says the international nature of the internet means that eventually online rights will have to be harmonised so that content is released at the same time globally. “You can’t say the internet is different in the UK from the US,” he says, adding that harmonisation “is inevitable”.
Around half of those polled say they don’t think online music offers value for money. The figure suggests the music industry may have to reconsider its pricing structure for digital downloads if it is to reduce illegal filesharing. The poll found that only around 10% of those surveyed would continue downloading regardless of value or accessibility.
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