RIAA Negotiations Continue… Disconnections Still Improbable

Major labels – through their RIAA emissary – are continuing to negotiate with ISPs over enforcement-focused measures.

Those talks are reportedly progressing with various parties, though disconnections appear unlikely with most providers.  On Wednesday, sources from within AT&T and Comcast told C|Net that discussions were continuing, and could result in mailings to infringing users.  The discussions follow a sharp move away from lawsuits against individual file-swappers, in favor of ISP-driven oversight.

On the record, an AT&T spokesperson noted that disconnections were not on the table.  “While I’m not in a position to comment on the RIAA announcement, we believe that consumer education is a key component to enabling customers to find and use legal methods to access the content they want,” the representative stated.  “We have also consistently said that automatic cutoff of our customers is not something we would do.”

Earlier, Verizon told Digital Music News – also on the record – that disconnections were definitely not a possibility, and that agreements were not in place.  “The RIAA seems to be out there discussing these agreements, but we’re not aware of it, whatever it is,” Verizon executive Eric Rabe said shortly after the holidays.

Elsewhere, Comcast seemed more willing to cooperate with the majors.  “Sharing and copying music which is unauthorized is like stealing,” a representative stated around the same time.  Meanwhile, agreement details could surface within a matter of weeks, though access providers are undoubtedly nervous about stepped-up monitoring, filtering, or other consumer-unfriendly enforcement steps.