UK ISP Paying for Its Users’ Illegal Downloads

Ars reports on a strange move by British ISP Virgin Media. Facing pressure from the government to cut down on P2P downloading (I guess we can forget net neutrality), Virgin has apparently agreed to use Deep Packet Inspection to monitor its users’ downloading activity and to pay record labels for those downloads.

As I just reported, the UK (and the rest of Europe) does not have the same level of safe harbor protections as the US. But ISPs just provide the pipes. Turnpikes shouldn’t be liable for their drivers’ behavior, and nor should FedEx be held responsible for what its customers send in their packages. Safe harbor provisions should expand, not contract.