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Rory Cellan-Jones

The Digital Economy Bill - does it add up?

  • Rory Cellan-Jones
  • 20 Nov 09, 09:26 GMT

This morning I joined a clutch of damp, sleepy and dishevelled hacks - sorry, bright-eyed and enthusiastic fellow journalists - at a briefing at the Department of Business in Whitehall about the Digital Economy Bill.

In brief, this sets out to take Lord Carter's Digital Britain report and turn some of it into law.

Amongst the main measures:

• Action against illegal file-sharing forcing ISPs to take action against infringers. This includes the controversial measure which could see repeat offenders cut off

• Allows the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act to be amended if in future new communications technologies allow content to be copied in new ways

• New duty on Ofcom to encourage investment the spread of next-generation broadband. Part of this involves that £6 telephone tax - but that will be introduced via the pre-Budget report

• Digital "safety measures" to stop firms registering domain names for illicit use

• Age ratings on video games to be made compulsory for all games aimed at players aged 12 and over

Now the most controversial elements are of course those measures against unlawful file-sharers, and the ministers were subjected to a series of questions about the possibility of repeat offenders having their connections suspended.

They were very keen to stress that this was the nuclear option - first of all internet service providers would have to send out letters to those spotted file-sharing on their networks.
The content owners will have to pay a fixed fee, set by Ofcom, to have that letter sent to the ISP's customer.

If that didn't work, then the secretary of state would have to go to Parliament before the ISPs could be forced to press the suspension button - or use other technical measures.

That decision would only be made if the lesser measures failed to cut unlawful file-sharing by at least 70%. But the ministers seemed pretty unclear about the timetable for that 70% reduction - and even less clear about how it would be measured.

While the government says it has the support of the Conservatives for these measures, it has already received some friendly fire from Tom Watson, the former digital minister who is worried about those powers to amend the copyright act, and from the big ISPs, notably TalkTalk.

Stephen Timms, the minister for Digital Britain, insisted that something like 90% of the ISP market supported the policy - his maths seem questionable - and that in any case new business models were making file-sharing less attractive.

On the question of rural broadband - a hot issue I know for some readers of this blog - there was a promise that the £6 landline tax would go a long way to making sure that 90% of the country would get access to fast broadband by 2017.

That new tax, though, will only be implemented if the government manages to get a Finance Bill through before the general election, against fierce opposition.

So two big ideas in this bill - that content owners should be able to pursue file-sharers with severe punishment, and that major public investment should go into next generation broadband. But given the fuzzy timetables and determined opposition, will either of them come to anything?

Update 16:00: In this morning's briefing Stephen Timms suggested that the majority of the internet service providers supported the anti-file-sharing measures - indeed, he claimed that ISPs representing 90% of customers were backing it.

But so far today I've received statements from both ISPA - the internet providers' trade body - and BT, which Mr Timms cited as a supporter, and neither has been exactly enthusiastic.
ISPA secretary general Nicholas Lansman said:

"ISPA is extremely disappointed by aspects of the proposals to address illicit filesharing. This legislation is being fast-tracked by the Government and will do little to address the underlying problem."

Whereas John Petter, managing director of BT Consumer, said this:

"We believe abuse of copyright is wrong. However, we have real concerns about the government's plans and the lack of legal protections for accused individuals. We believe that technical measures are not the way forward and that a system of court fines for repeat infringers is preferable. Such an approach would not only protect innocent people, it could also create a fund that could be used to support the UK's creative industries."

The music and movie industries have welcomed the bill - but it looks as though the government faces quite a battle with the ISPs.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    What can they do though if you just reroute your ISP through another country? This plan has failure written all over it.

  • Comment number 2.

    Can I just ask what about computers that have been taken into a botnet where the owner has no idea that their computer is actually accessing illegal file sharing sites?

    Is the government really naive enough to think that expert illegal file sharers, those that do it for profit by pirating CDs and DVDs, have no way of masking their IP addresses from their ISP? This is a government making all the right noises but going after enthusiastic amateurs.

    Best way of dealing with Piracy is for those same record/movie companies that are bleating about copyright infringements to make the content they churn out more affordable and not trying to sell us the same tired old compilation CDs or the nth sequel of "Saw" for over a tenner. Stop ripping us off and stop paying half-arsed, self-indulgent "talent" extortionate amounts then having a go at the general public for wanting to sample it before parting with their hard earned cash.

    Rant Over

  • Comment number 3.

    My views on the "main measures" -

    • Action against illegal file-sharing forcing ISPs to take action against infringers. This includes the controversial measure which could see repeat offenders cut off

    --------

    Unenforceable, and I would sincerely hope that ISPs don't bend to the will of the likes of a certain Mssr Geffen and Mandy.


    • Allows the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act to be amended if in future new communications technologies allow content to be copied in new ways

    -------

    Correct me if I'm wrong but it hasn't been amended to take into account the copying of music to various current technology items, shouldn't they be doing that first?


    • New duty on Ofcom to encourage investment the spread of next-generation broadband. Part of this involves that £6 telephone tax - but that will be introduced via the pre-Budget report

    ------

    Just another tax on the people, and it will affect the poorest who don't even have a broadband connection more than it will the affluent who do have a broadband connection and you can guarantee that it will increase year on year at above inflation amounts. It is too little and the monies should be coming from the network owners, i.e. BT, they make vast profits and very little of it is ploughed back in the network, instead it ends up in shareholders bank accounts so they can swan off to some sunny climate multiple times a year.


    • Digital "safety measures" to stop firms registering domain names for illicit use

    ---------

    And how is this one going to be policed?

    • Age ratings on video games to be made compulsory for all games aimed at players aged 12 and over

    --------

    Games already have age ratings and anyone who does a bit of research can easily find out what a certain game contains in the way of content. Age rating legislation is not required, education of the people, i.e. parents, is required.

    One has to ask ones self if Labour or any of the members of parliament, be they Labour, Tory, Lib Dem, or Other actually think these proposals through and if they actually have a clue about the real world inhabited by the people working hard to make them and their business cronies rich!

    Get off our backs, stop taxing us to death and get the broadband infrastructure back into public hands or legally force the private companies to plough every last penny into it until we have the infrastructure that can compete with the likes of Korea.

  • Comment number 4.

    “It includes a power that will allow the Secretary of State to amend the CDPA”. Why should the public accept an unelected and twice disgraced politician being given the power to rewrite laws, when it’s abundantly clear that he doesn’t understand the issues?

    How can the arbitrary target of a 70% reduction in file sharing be judged when no accurate measurements are in place, and there's no timescale?

    Why is independent research on the benefits of file sharing being ignored in favour of biased “industry estimates”?

    What exactly is a ‘first tier tribunal’? If that phrase does not mean ‘a court of law with a judge, jury and a presumption of innocence until proven guilty’, what is the justification for throwing out one of the major pillars of the British legal system?

    The factsheet refers to “Educating consumers” on “the importance of copyright and advice on how to secure their Internet connection” and “society should benefit from the increased awareness of the importance of copyright”. Isn’t it morally wrong and an abuse of power to favour a pro-copyright political stance by mailing political propaganda to alleged infringers? Why should consumers not open their internet connection over wifi as a service to the community, and why would they not be treated as common carriers when they do so?

    What possible justification is there for allowing libraries to lend audio books in digital form, but not music or films? Why is file sharing a good thing if the government do it through libraries, but not if the public do it?

  • Comment number 5.

    I don't mind paying £6 tax for better broadband for everyone but this Digital Economy does very little for the real issues in IP, in content ownership and in access for all.

    What is the government response to last mile issues? Our broadband is designed for consumption and not for content creation. This needs fixed. Free broadband is all very well but who's paying for the computers and the electricity required to make use of this?

    On the IP question - are these extreme measures going to be for the protection of content owners individually or are they just going to be a vehicle for large content-aggregationc companies to fill their own coffers and make examples of the ignorant? Is there to be legislation that fines from copyright breach go to the owners and not just the aggregators?

    Who did the government consult on this? The content aggregators, the established copyright owners. What about the little guys? They may not be big names now but they will be in the future. What about their opinions.

  • Comment number 6.

    Most worrying is the plans to allow copyright law to be amended, with no future debate or vote in Parliament.

    According to the Government's own consultation document, the alleged damages from software piracy in corporations is a staggering 144 times greater the alleged damages from all of music, film and TV piracy by individuals! Why is so much effort being put into the latter? It's also worth noting that plans to limit the speed of the connection unfairly treat media differently - downloading video (not to mention essential Windows updates) will be made harder, whilst downloading many software programs of smaller sizes will be unaffected.

    Will the rule apply to companies' Internet connections - will they get disconnected if they're found using pirated software (or say, when EMI hosts Lily Allen's pirated "mix tape")? Or is it a case of one rule for them, and another rule for us?

    Incidentally, what's the BBC's stance on licence payers who download BBC-produced material (i.e., material they've paid for)? Perhaps something they've missed on TV, and are simply using the Internet as a form of timeshifting, no different to videotaping it? I do hope the BBC won't be going after licence payers.

    cimota: Details of the consultation, and a response, are at http://www.berr.gov.uk/consultations/page47141.html . You can see full details of who responded at http://www.berr.gov.uk/consultations/page51696.html . Basically, anyone can reply to a consultation, but they're not widely advertised, and in practice the responses are heavily made up of lobbyist organisations...

  • Comment number 7.

    In the actual bill, page 13, appears to allow the Secretary of State to impose a technical obligation on ISPs for reasons other than copyright infringement.

    While the measures are talked of being applied to a single person, what is to stop the measures being used to block a complete website?

    Is this a way of adding to law a Digital D notice

  • Comment number 8.

    I'm amazed that the massive Digital Britain exercise should boil down to this. I took part in one government session designed to help Digital Britain capture some of the excitement and ambition that digital networks offer. Yet the end result appears to offer very slim pickings indeed. Even the RIAA have given up on chasing individual filesharers...

  • Comment number 9.

    The whole Digital Britain process was a farce and the main person to blame is Stephen Carter who came with a dud report and then quickly left the building to avoid getting the blame.

    Most of the stuff in the Bill is never going to happen either - a new tax just before an election? I don't think so.

    And the file-sharing stuff is pathetic. Labour are so out of touch that they don't realise that this is going to cost them lots of votes amongst the P2P crowd.

  • Comment number 10.

    I wouldn't trust anything the government says about it being the "nuclear option" or only being used as a last resort.

    If the powers are there, the government will use them, and quite probably for far lesser offences than the spin tried to make us believe at the start.

    Just ask Walter Wolfgang.

  • Comment number 11.

    Just a thought:

    In the old days of the GPO, if you were abusive or carried out any illegal activity over the phone, then the GPO had the right to cut you off. As far as I know, that is probably still the case.

    This was a very well know aspect of the system and was used, often and quite happily without anyone from the press or anyone from human rights group muttering a single word about it.

    So, what is the difference between someone being cut off then and being cut off now?

    It strikes me that the person from BT ought to be careful about this subject if someone decides that illegal file sharing is contravening BTs own terms and conditions...

  • Comment number 12.

    The fail is strong with this one.

    Problem 1 is that IP addresses are pretty bad for identifying a user. They can relate to anything from an individual computer, (this is what the government is *hoping* to hit), but in the *real world* also cover network printers, routers, and even entire networks. With wireless technology, they can even relate to entire buildings, neighborhoods and villages. So, the letters being sent out will have to deal with a whole range of possible devices and setups, and could end up being hundreds of pages long if they deal with every possibility. Oh, and they *WILL* send out daft letters about your laserjet printer being detected filesharing.

    So, clamping down on the basis of IP addresses is doomed to fail. 1 IP does NOT mean 1 computer, or 1 owner.

    Problem 2 is that they're relying on the ISP's own records. These are often... incomplete to say the least - all the ISP cares about is the direct debit income. They only have what BT and their own users give them. Odds are good that letters will be sent out to the wrong place entirely, before shutting off internet access to a random household. Ironically, ISPs can then point to the copyright holder for giving false info, they don't want to reveal how bad their own details are.

    Problem 3 - EASILY beaten. It's been pointed out above, but this is an arms race that's been going on since Napster, and fileshares have pretty much been winning so far. With encryption switched on by default and perhaps a VPN link (or something similar) to another country, this isn't going to work.

    Problem 4... GOVERNMENT IT PROJECT. Woah, that should set off some warning bells. Guess who'll be paying for this one, eh? What's more, it's clearly been badly planned out, using all sorts of naive assumptions.

    Anyway, the fact is that the way to win this has *always* been to give people what they want, at a better quality than available from P2P. People won't generally mind paying micropayments, 20p-50p per view or so, if the quality of service is better. The problem is that too much of the media is addicted to pumping out in-you-face advertisements. Just watch your typical DVD for this!

  • Comment number 13.

    I think the most controversial element is no longer the measures against file sharers, but the powers inserted at the last minute to allow the Secretary of State to amend the law at will and to appoint anyone to police online infringement in any way. In other words, it gives Mandelson and his successors a blank cheque to do anything they like, or anything the entertainment industry persuades them is in the interests of the economy, or anything which any international copyright treaty demands, without going back to Parliament. I'm alarmed at giving this much power to politicians who've shown they don't understand how to balance the legitimate rights of content producers with the legitimate rights of society as a whole.

  • Comment number 14.

    So the "2 meg" "universal" service "commitment" is now dead and buried ?

  • Comment number 15.

    Sigh...

    This is just more complete nonsense from the space cadets high above, who need to understand that they don't understand.

    Oh, and for everyone's information, sharing copyrighted material without permission is *not* illegal. It is unlawful.

    Illegal = criminal act, e.g. assault, robbery, fraud etc.

    Unlawful = civil infringement, e.g. commiting breach of contract, which could become a criminal act, for example if you got sued for breach of contract and a court ruled against you, fined you and you still refused to pay up...

    Downloading copyrighted material is not theft, either. According to the 1968 Theft Act:
    'A person shall be guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.'

    Totally different things. Please don't muddle the terms...

    Downloading a copy does not permanently deprive the copyright holder of said product. (But taking a physical copy from say HMV *is* theft) All it does is deprive them of a potential sale, in the same sense that buying second hand games and CD's and DVDs deprives them of a potential sale. Hmmm...I don't see them going after places like Game Exchange...yet. But they may be next on the radar...

    Oh, and to close, it is still unlawful in the UK to rip a CD or DVD you have legally purchased in the shops and stick it on your iPod or or mp3 player; in fact there is no difference between doing this and downloading it via p2p. Despite what most people seem to think, there is no such thing as a fair usage policy allowing yuou to make x number of copies. I guess then everyone in the UK who has an mp3 player is guilty of copyright violation then. So is mandy going to try and throw us all in jail???

    Good, eh?

  • Comment number 16.

    One of the original aims of Digital Britain had seemed to be a revamp of fair use to make it fit for a Digital Age (as StargateHitchHicker - post 15) mentions, it is dissappointing that as far as I can tell the bill has nothing to define fair use.

    How many millions own an MP3 player? And a CD collection that is now on that player...I do wonder if sometimes these figures are included in the piracy stats.

    There is no carrot and stick approach, all it seems to be is stick. Hence why people are moaning, including those who do buy all their music.

  • Comment number 17.

    Ill though out, what if by using a proxy server for example, someone used my IP address repeatedly, how could I prove it was not me downloading.

    The problem that should be addressed is the fantastic prices that these companies charge for their software, whether music film or application.

    If it was cheaper there would be no problem with downloading. For instance why is a blockbuster film on release, fifteen quid at tesco and three months later it is sold for three, this shows blatant rip off practices.

    If file sharing is somehow stopped their will be no need to upgrade the internet in this country as nearly all traffic apart from social sites is file sharing. Anyway what is to stop anyone copying CDs and films from their friends, this is all that will obviously happen, and has ahppened since the days of taping the top twenty on portable cassette recorders, and those who used to sell bootleg records, this government are idiots.

  • Comment number 18.

    Apart from physically spying on people, the only evidence that will indicate that somebody is file sharing copyrighted works is by IP address. Identifying people this way is very flawed.

    IP addresses are attached to computers, not people. In various torrenting software the IP address is as easily changed as pasting text into a textbox. This can also be done on browsers, download accellerators and even via the operating system.

    As demonstrated by an ISP recently (I think it was TalkTalk) who showed how simple it is to get access to somebody's Wifi connection, and thus use their IP Address, it would be incredibly stupid to consider an IP address as undeniable evidence.

    There's also the chance of a user unknowingly downloading dodgy software which would turn their computer into a proxy, allowing others to do things on the internet "through" the computer without any clear indication. Once again the IP address is not indicating which person is actually doing things online.

    And who will be collecting these IP addresses? I'd assume it would be the content holders and not the police as this is a civil issue rather than a criminal one. How will evidence be presented to the ISPs? It seems like the content been given a direct method of attacking joe-public, with very little checking done to make sure it's even correct.

    The government should work for us first, not the Big Content by caving into their demands. When the ISPs and the IT community are crying out that this wont work then.. well, what can you do if the Government is directly defying the public and experts on an issue. Find one which wont.

  • Comment number 19.

    The problem is the public do not understand the issues and see it all as technical and complicated. That means little real debate and or influence from the electorate.

  • Comment number 20.

    First of all, I hope that the bill refers to 'illegal file sharing' and not just 'file sharing'. There is an important distinction. Just because you use a peer-to-peer network to share files does not mean you are doing so to infringe copyright. If it does make the distinction in the bill then your following comment needs to be clarified;

    '...first of all internet service providers would have to send out letters to those spotted file-sharing on their networks.'

    It may seem a point of sementics, but it is an important point.

    As to policing this - it's virtually impossible and is actually seems to me to be just a political statement from those who do not understand the technical committment in trying to do this properly. To make sure that letters are only sent out to those who have shared a file illegally would mean analysing each and every file that has been shared - ISPs will certainly not be able to bear the cost of this. Even then, with the knowledge that the offence has been committed, ensuring that the actual person who perpetrated the crime is prosecuted would then also be virtually impossible and costly. As to the comment from Stephen Timms that "90% of the ISP market supported the policy" - I very much doubt it, I would love to know how he worked this number out!

    The next part that interested me was;

    "Digital 'safety measures' to stop firms registering domain names for illicit use"

    I have not read the bill (and perhaps I should), but I certainly want to know more about this. How is 'illicit use' defined? If you register a domain that you think might be quite popular and then use it for Domain Parking, is that then illicit? I can understand this if it is simply to stop people buying a 'trademarked' name site in the hope of selling it back to the trademark holder - although I believe there is enough legal precidence hear to allow succesful procecution anyway?

    I think that the telephone tax (or something like it) is the only way we are going to get the investment for a decent broadband infrastructure in this country. The only sad thing about this is the governments lack of ambition in this area. The broadcast and communication industries are going to make heavy use of the internet in the not so near future and it is important that we have the infrastructure to support it if we are not to be left behind.

    At the end of the day this seems like another smoke and mirrors bill from this government that will not actually achieve very much but will get them some press in the run up to next year's election.

  • Comment number 21.

    Realityleak wrote :

    Can I just ask what about computers that have been taken into a botnet where the owner has no idea that their computer is actually accessing illegal file sharing sites?

    Quite simple. Since the PC owner is either too lazy or too stupid to take even the most basic precautions against viruses, botnets et al then they should have their PC confiscated and crushed.

  • Comment number 22.

    Ladies and Gentlemen of Great Britain. Your house of Commons has abandoned you.
    You just have to hope and prey that the Lords or the EU will slap this down. Your rights to a fair trial, and for laws and rules to be properly debated and discussed are on the line because of an unelected parliamentarian and a record company executives sordid meetings on a yacht.

    It makes the Deripaska meetings from a few years ago look positively clean cut.

    We can only hope this highly contentious attack on the basic civil rights of British people can be defeated and prolonged by ISPs, and hope that The Unelected Dark Lord Mandelson will have to shamefully resign for a third time.

  • Comment number 23.

    Good afternoon all.
    I tried to stay quite on these boards because I am annoyed at the lack of follow-up on the Ubuntu 9.10 review that was promised by Rory weeks ago (and the lack of coverage of OpenSuse 11.2 and Fedora 12 releases) but I am compelled to post as this is a topic which I feel strongly about. Here goes:

    Post #20 raises a very good point - something I have said repeatedly until I am blue in the face - NOT ALL FILES SHARED VIA P2P ARE ILLEGAL!!! Yet this bill seems to assume (remember, ASSUME = ASS out of U and ME) that all P2P traffic IS illegal (or unlawful, or whatever it really is, I will go with unlawful here for argument's sake). To determine if a file that is being shared is being shared unlawfully, the ISP must

    - Inspect the current packet of data and match with the other packets until a full file is created (as I am sure you're aware as a tech correspondent P2P allows the sharing of multiple files at a time, each file comes from or is uploaded to a different source/target in chunks as opposed to full pieces) - this is also presuming the traffic is not encrypted of course, as then, they have to break that encryption to get to the payload
    - Compare the file that's been shared with a list of current files, determined to be "unlawful" to share

    ... before then taking action, be that sending letters out or using the "nuclear option" of disconnecting or suspending the (possibly compromised) IP or MAC address from their network.

    OK, so, apart from the storage that will be needed and the fact they could be intercepting perfectly legal ordinary files (eg a 4GB linux ISO image) and obtaining private data. If someone grabs a torrent of say "lost" I know there are many sources, so it's not always going to come down as "lost series 4 episode 4.avi", it could be part of a passworded RAR file or the full AVI file, or MPEG, or VOB, or just renamed to MP3 so when the computer that inspects the final file as a whole tries to read it, it will say "not a valid file" and ignore it. The end user of course, will know to re-name to .AVI or whatever.

    OK, so the ISP has managed to find 3 petabytes to store the world's P2P traffic, the next problem is "how do they know the content being shared is breaking copyright"?

    I am sure if it's something to do with our government, will involve a giant database of some description. So then, the ISP then queries the DB for the file just downloaded "lost - series 4, episode 4.avi" - was there a match? OK, so perhaps not, the insertion of a comma between series and episode made it fail the match. So a wildcard search is performed, how does it know what to look for - each word being a keyword?! So everything then that matches "lost" or "episode" or "series" is returned. OK, that's 20 million or so results - can you imagine how much processing power the query alone will need and the DB being govt written (as with ANY database) will be prone to errors and omissions. After all, a human must be involved at some point.

    What's the difference between me recording on my Myth TV box a programme and me downloading via P2p the same programme? Myth may have screwed up the recording somehow (disk error for example) - I'm not going to spend £30 on a series from a shop just for one missed episode! Sure, a lot have "catch up" and "on demand" but not every episode of every show is available. Not to mention, the infrastructure behind all this must be creaking as it is, to ask another 7m (estimated) downloaders to suddenly stop using P2p and use on-demand services, BOOM goes the service or the network.

    Ok, so the ISP has stored the download, compared it to the entry in the DB, it looks at the IP address of the connection and sends them a letter saying "stop that please". I move on now to the next POF. Talk-talk's recent hijack experiment is a great example of how people's wifi can be piggy-backed without their knowledge. The downloader then just moves on and finds someone else's unsecure connection to use - Joe Bloggs then has to prove somehow he hasn't done anything. Guilty until proven innocent - after all, the ISP has all the evidence. However, their evidence is flawed so can not be used in a court of law should Joe dispute this (presuming the other point of due process is followed and not just bypassed totally) - as others mentioned, IP spoofing and proxying can be used to disguise the real downloader.

    OK, so this would mean that Joe's PC would be confiscated while digital forensics went through to search for traces of the files. That would expose EVERYTHING that's EVER been on that HDD - even after being formatted, every website he's visited (ever) and every cookie, including bank details, private information and so on. Let's not forget, this guy is innocent.

    To the chap who said the "PC owner is either too lazy or too stupid to take even the most basic precautions against viruses, botnets et al then they should have their PC confiscated and crushed."

    OK, so that must include billions of users around the world who don't care about how their PC works, they only use it for MSN or Facebook or whatever and don't KNOW about how to truly secure a PC. Narrow minded statement my friend, think before you post next time please. Not everyone will be as adept with computers as you might want them to be. (This is partly thanks to MS - dumbing down PCs and wanting one of each desktop in the world).

    Anyway, back O/T...

    So poor Joe, his PC is being forensically examined, his internet cut off - what must the neighbours be thinking when a police transit and forensic team show up at his home and confiscate his computer equipment?

    All that, because someone didn't want to pay a tenner for a "greatest hits" album that they've probably already got (don't forget that our current system says you're a criminal for making your own compilations)?

    Oh and meanwhile, the real pirate is already a million miles away using another un-secured network to do his bidding.

    You can not stop file-sharing (see Napster's history and where we are now), embrace it - stop pumping out clone after clone after clone (see x-factor - don't you think that the essex girl is very much a Leona clone, and that wally, Olly is a Will young clone?) and wondering why people are not buying music - BECAUSE IT'S AWFUL!

    Free music, more people listen, more people like, more people go see them in concert where they are happy to pay for the experience (although not at the inflated prices being asked JUST TO KEEP THE RECORD COMPANY'S POCKETS FAT!)

    I see that after all this time, home taping did not kill music.
    Oh and as for the guys who have said that the Gvt are ignoring sound technical advice from people in the know to go along with their own policies - so true - just look at the cannabis farce not so long back.

    I leave now but before I go I say to the people, stop buying music. Show the corporations where the real power lies - with each and every one of us - TOGETHER we can fight the real menace to society.

  • Comment number 24.

    @23 - Good post mate!

    I read the other day that having an unsecured wireless link may not be a good defence as it is the line owner's responsibility to make sure that wireless broadcast equipment attached to it is secure.

    That's a bit like someone stealing your car to commit a crime and you being prosecuted for failing to secure it properly!!

    This government makes me laugh really - spends a fortune on advisors and then ignores them all when they don't advise what the goverment want to hear!

    This latest bill, rather than based on sound advice and what is achievable sounds more like one drawn up over brandy and cigars on a big 'entertainment industry' moguls yacht somewhere!

  • Comment number 25.

    This simply will not work.

    Filesharers will either move to servies like HTTPTorrent, or use proxies and VPN.

    Everyone else in the country will have a chance be falsely accused of filesharing they have not done, because of dynamic IP addresses that everyone uses and of course a lot of people having unsecure WiFi networks. Maybe even because of someone else in their own house if a family has a shared internet connection - which all homes do, even if everyone in the family has their own computers.

    All of this from a twice fired unelected politician. What a great country this is!

  • Comment number 26.

    ...Continuing from before, let's hope this gets stopped in June 2010!

  • Comment number 27.

    To post 24 (thanks for taking the time to read through my Sunday ramblings!); I quote "I read the other day that having an unsecured wireless link may not be a good defence as it is the line owner's responsibility to make sure that wireless broadcast equipment attached to it is secure."

    This is true; the WLAN is your responsibility to secure; indeed, most are now-a-days off the shelf BUT websites like remote-exploit.org provide tools and documents on how to crack the most employed WPA and WEP security used by most users/WLANs.

    In the past few days alone, I have managed to break the three "secure" WLANs around my house and successfully been browsing various websites and resources using their WIFI. Nothing dodgy I must add, but the tools are there in the wild and no amount of legislation can un-do this.

    So poor Joe, he's taken all the precautions he can - not being computer literate, he's just using a local firewall (windows firewall for example), but that only applies to that PC that it's running on and not other computers in the network.

    The ISP can see using traffic shaping, who is using what but things like the TorProject.org have software free to download which routes HTTP traffic through other TOR servers - the ISP has no idea what's going on as the user's not connecting directly to these torrent sites and their P2P traffic is already encrypted so the ISP does not stand a chance!

    As has been said previously, the metting between Geffen and Mandy seem to have produced this by the back door - what makes it worse is that Mandleson's been DISGRACED not once, but TWICE and yet he is back and seems to have even more power than ever, seriously, what gives?!

  • Comment number 28.

    Within minutes of this bill becoming law someone will be round the corner from no.10 Downing Street (or another prominent MPs palace) using their WIFI to torrent a few choice files.

    I have been in the IT industry for nearly 25 years now and I haven't heard anything as ludicrous as this in all this time (and that is saying something).

    Trying to stop illegal/unauthorised file sharing or trying to prove beyond doubt who the perpetrator was is never, ever going to happen.

    The next thing this lot will try and do is say they are putting an end to prostitution or going to democratise Afghanistan - ah...

    Mandy has obviously got the clout to bring in a few favours from his mates - otherwise he would not got anywhere near the government again, yet alone be made a Lord. I find it quite funny really as it is the kind of thing you expected from the Tories in the 80's - Keir Hardie would be turning in his grave...

  • Comment number 29.

    As a current University Student, I am quite lucky in that I can afford to pay for my music and films on iTunes. However, I can understand why people download. It is generally younger less well off people. As you get money then you don't worry about a few pence for a song or two. I am the name on my student accommodations broadband, I know for a fact that one or two of my house mates download a massive amount of music and films, How can I be penalised in this case when I have very little influence over those in the house!

 

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