Simon Cowell wants to eat your internet. Well, the UK music industry wants ISPs to kick off the internet persistent illegal filesharers, but ISPs are resisting. For now.
The ISPA (Internet Services Providers' Association) and the Music Publishers Association have been enduring a high-level powwow aimed at settling the tension that has traditionally existed between the two branches of the media. Naturally I wasn't invited, but I imagine there were a lot of thick-rimmed specs, glass-topped tables and excellent sparkling mineral water.
ISPs would prefer a financial penalty to a full disconnection, but it seems that past enmity may not be a barrier to future progress. Government minister Lord Triesman yesterday said talks were "progressing more promisingly than people might have thought". Which is faint praise, but praise nonetheless, and suggests that a deal may be in the offing.
Perhaps not unreasonably, ISPs think that removing someone's ability to surf the net because they illegally share music is on the Saudi side of appropriate response to crime. The web is no longer merely a source of entertainment, after all, but a utility crucial to many people's ability to earn a crust.
But while the government is busy making encouraging noises about investment in internet infrastructure, it is also talking tough about slapping ISPs if they don't clamp down on filesharers. So it's no wonder the web providers are considering caving in to the music-maker's demands. Interesting times.
Officially the ISPA says ISPs are neutral carriers who could not intervene against filesharers. We shall see.