Norway Education Minister: there’s no future in fighting P2P

As the IFPI pressures Norwegian ISPs to begin blocking The Pirate Bay, Norway’s Minister of Education has spoken out against measures to fight illegal file sharing. He says that not only is file sharing a good way to discover new music, fighting it wastes resources that could be used to actually pay the artists in the first place.

By Jacqui Cheng
Ars Technica

Noncommercial file sharing should be legal in Norway, according to the Norwegian Minister of Education. Bård Vegar Solhjell wrote in a blog post last week that file sharing is not only a great way to discover new music, but that “there is no future in fighting” against file sharing services.

“All previous technology advances have led to fears that the older format to die. But TV did not kill radio, the Web did not kill the book, and the download is not going to kill music,” wrote Solhjell. He goes on to note that artists should still get paid for their work, and discusses the ad-supported revenue model for streaming music that has worked for radio for so long. When it comes to illegal downloads, however, Solhjell says that those fighting it will only waste their resources. “This means that less resources is used for printing, transport and music shops. It is money that can go to the artists.”

Solhjell’s comments come at a time when the IFPI is pressuring Norway’s ISPs to start blocking The Pirate Bay, lest they face legal action from the record labels. As noted by TorrentFreak, the ISPs have been critical of the IFPI’s demands, and now it appears that they have some allies in the government. The record industry has, however, succeeded elsewhere in Europe in getting ISPs to start blocking The Pirate Bay—we reported Monday that Ireland’s largest ISP has agreed to begin blocking the site as part of a settlement with the Irish Record Music Association.

Norway’s largest ISP, Telenor, has spoken out against the IFP’s request. “We are deeply skeptical of blocking,” Telenor information manager Alte Lessum told the Norwegian-language Dagens Naeringsliv. “Our attitude is that we monitor the network, and not our customers. We think it is a dangerous road to embark upon to block some content. We believe the correct way to go to deal with illegal file sharing, is to facilitate legal downloadable content.”


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