Published Jul 02, 2008According to those in the know, talks between record labels and ISPs in the UK indicate that consumers could see legal P2P services by the end of this year or early 2009. The story goes that an Under-Sectrary at the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory reform named Shriti Vadera (whos a Baroness FYI) threatened both parties with the type of regulatory intervention that they despise, motivating the two sides to try and hammer out a deal. If something is worked out, the UK would become the second country in the world (after South Korea) to offer legal file-sharing.
The proposal is likely to be some kind of subscription based service that would allow users to share songs with each other at will. The songs being downloaded and shared would then be tracked by the ISPs in order to distribute royalties according to an agreement with the labels. If a service gets set up like they envision, it would offer a number of advantages: because all sharing would be above the board, neither the copyright owner nor the users would have any interest in making music hard to find, which would eliminate many of the irritating lengths one has to go to to find good music.
Additionally, the ISPs would be able to better manager their networks, as current P2P protocols like BitTorrent wreak havoc on network resources. All that said, I suspect there will be some catch. As much as the industry is losing money, I cant imagine theyd sign on for no-strings-attached file-sharing at any price not to mention the nightmare of trying to negotiate the royalties in a fashion that pleases everyone. More info can be found by clicking here.