Ericsson: File-sharing is not the problem

Posted by David Gomez

Isn’t it funny how a technology company can claim that file-sharing is evil and it gets huge amounts of press, but when a technology giant says that file-sharing isn’t the problem, it gets very little?  

That’s exactly what has happened recently.
    
We always hear from the fawning corporate media (FCM) about how corporations and governments claim that file-sharing is a huge economic threat. According to them file-sharing is just as dangerous to public as John Dillinger or whatever other terrorist of the week we’re supposed to fear.

And now Ericsson, a telecommunications giant, is openly stating that they think file-sharing is not the root of the copyright problem, and the FCM isn’t saying much about it.
    
So far the only people to cover this news in the roughish tech news site TorrentFreak. The FCM has had little to say about Ericsson’s public statement thus far. I wonder why that is.
    
Here are some great quotes from the Ericsson article:
    
“Current restrictions have forced European consumers into a digital exile. Seeking an appropriate way to access legal digital content, and unable to satisfy this legitimate desire through a legitimate digital alternative, many resort to illegal file-sharing. Economic rights holders spare little expense in pursuing and prosecuting these individuals, and do not hesitate to ask courts or policymakers to mandate Internet service providers (ISPs) and other intermediaries to police such behavior”

“ISPs are being forced to act as digital security agents on behalf of economic rights holders by listening in, screening, surveying and filtering the exchange of information between consumers. Such strict enforcement further damages the prospects of legal digital alternatives by introducing the principle of innovation by permission. It also carries unwelcome echoes of the old Eastern-bloc surveillance societies that modern Europe has decisively rejected.”

Keep in mind that this article was written by Rene Summer, Ericsson’s Director of Government and Industry Relations. He’s not just some Internet whack job; this guy is a big time operator.
    
Here’s the best quote from the article, I can hardly believe that this is coming from a corporation who has everything to gain by sticking with the status quo when it comes to enforcing copyrights.
    
“File-sharing is a symptom of a problem, rather than a problem in itself. This problem is the inadequate availability of legal, timely, competitively priced and wide-ranging choices of affordable digital-content offerings. Consumers also expect to be able to make decisions freely regarding when and how to consume the content of their choice. By clinging to outdated business methods such as windowing and territoriality, economic-rights holders are in fact creating the consumer behavior against which they so violently protest.”
    
You know damn well why the media hasn’t picked up on this huge story right? The FCM, big tech/media, and government don’t want the status quo to change. Copyright enforcement gives them the freedom to be lazy as well as power over people’s lives, and why the hell would they want to give that up?
    
I think Ericsson should be applauded for having the guts to come together and realize that sustainability of the industries they depend is directly linked to consumer choice. The fact they went public and said that the copyright system is jacked up speaks volumes about the type of people they have in their organization.
    
Finally someone in position of real power gets it! Instead of relying on the unjust enforcement of copyrights as a key to doing business, tech and media companies need to show some backbone and come up with a business model that can actually compete with piracy.
    
Sure a business model like that would be difficult to develop, but don’t tell me it cannot be done. We’re talking about multi-billion dollar companies here; they’ve got plenty of capital to give it a shot. How can we ever know if it will work or not if no one has the guts to try?
    
Check out the article from Rene Summer. And tell your friends about it too because apparently the FCM doesn’t want to talk about Ericsson and their sensible ideas.