It seems the PRS want to fine ISPs for allowing copyright infringing material to go over their network!
This is just plain crazy, but trying to explain that to them may be tricky.
1. An ISP is a mere conduit - like the postal service. We do not control what passes through our network and do not want editorial control over it either. Allowing packets to flow freely is what we do, and providing that unimpeded communications channel is key for the growth of the internet and UK commerce generally.
2. Even if an ISP was to try and track and stop copyright infringing material traveling over the network, it will simple go underground and start being encrypted. Surely we can't be fined for sending encrypted data over our network as we have no way to know what it is. So it would be ineffective anyway.
3. If any such law was drafted as badly as the DEA, where the definitions means our customers are clearly communications providers (not internet providers or subscribers) meaning we are not an internet provider under the Act, the fine would be ineffective anyway.
4. Even if you thought such a fine could be effective and morally right some how, then who do you fine? After all, the infringing material will typically traverse a hosting company, a transit provider, an ISP, a broadband carrier network, etc. As an ISP we are responsible for a couple of meters of cable and equipment that routes traffic - all the rest is transit providers, other ISPs, peering networks, or our favorite telco. The infringing traffic travels over the tiniest part of it's way over our network...
5. Lets look at it another way - the media industry make money from on-line sales. Just look at iTunes. But as an ISP, I am not paid by iTunes for sending non-infringing material over my network. They are making money at my expense using my network for free. If the media industry want to fine ISPs, then all ISPs need to charge the media industry for this, as well as access to their web sites from our customers too. If we are forced to find a way to monitor infringing traffic I am sure metering legitimate traffic will be a doddle. And if they won't pay for that, then we just block access to their web sites and iTunes and so on.
OK, for the avoidance of doubt, we are not planning to block access to iTunes, it is just an example of how they need us too and how they should not bite the hand that feeds them...