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Ofcom's code on file-sharers

Rory Cellan-Jones | 17:15 UK time, Friday, 28 May 2010

On a quiet Friday afternoon, Ofcom has slipped out a story of some significance for those who followed the progress of the hugely controversial Digital Economy Act. The regulator has to explain how the measures against unlawful file-sharing will be implemented.

Ofcom codeYou can read through the code here - and Ofcom is inviting responses. I've pulled out a few highlights.

• Ofcom says there will be a three-stage notification process whereby internet service providers will send letters to people accused by content owners of copyright infringement. After a third letter, the ISP's customer can then be put on a list submitted to the copyright owner - although, at that stage, they will still be anonymous. The content owner can then choose to get a court order obliging the ISP to identify the customer so that it can take legal action.

• Ofcom is keen to stress that it will act to protect the interests of consumers, ensuring that allegations are based on credible evidence and then advising the subscriber how to challenge the charges and how to protect their wireless network from being hijacked.

• In the first stage, the code will only apply to ISPs with more than 400,000 customers, though that will cover more than 96% of internet users. That may reassure universities, libraries and other public institutions which operate wireless networks - there had been suggestions that they'd have to close them down. Ofcom makes it clear that if there is evidence of infringement beyond the big ISPs, the situation could change.

• Who will pay? The Department of Business has just completed a consultation on a plan which would see 75% of the cost met by the media owners and 25% by the ISPs.

Of course, the really controversial part of the act was the power to order the suspension of a suspected offender's internet account. Ofcom points out that was always a reserve power, which could be introduced if the secretary of state decided it was appropriate. That now means the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt; Ofcom says he "has not indicated his intention to make use of these provisions at this time".

I wondered whether this meant the coalition had decided to soften the Digital Economy Act, but an aide to Mr Hunt made it evident that this was not the case. It had always been clear this was a reserve power - and there was certainly no intention of repealing the act, as some campaigners had hoped.

The Open Rights Group has responded angrily to Ofcom's code, calling it rushed and unclear, with no clear line between the notifications and potential disconnection regimes. But the picture painted by some opponents back in the spring - thousands disconnected without due process and all public wi-fi networks closed down - currently seems unlikely to come to pass.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Wow, its awesome how an industry could get the government to do its dirty work for them (Well in this case get the government to get another industry to do the dirty work). Someone please explain this to me. What about those using their phone lines, cars or places of work to commit crime?

    The main issue really is privacy. I wonder what the courts are there for. If you suspect Mr A of stealing from you, go to court with your evidence (legally acquired). But no, we wont do this, we'll get Mr A's ISP to give us details of Mr A's data traffic (without Mr A'a consent or a court order) which would give us the evidence we need to get a court order) to threaten him.

    I think this is just a way of the copyright holders, trying to get in on the act. They should have adapted to new ways of distribution a long time ago and they didn't. Now they want to scare those who have provided the alternative (although illegal is some respects) to their outrageous prices and restrictions on what you can do with what you've bought. And then try to bring in their 'new' models to get more money ala Napster ala Itunes.

    Someone please correct me if i've got this completely wrong.

  • Comment number 2.

    What I don't understand is that if they have the power to do this how are they not arresting more people for accessing illegal pornography. Surely that would save a lot of minors having harm done to them. No instead they use their powers to criminalise the general public.
    The other thing I really don't understand is if a person who downloads music spends twice as much on music as a person who doesn't and if 75% of the costs of this project is being paid for buy the copyright holders then surely aren't they suffocating their own industry with this bill?

  • Comment number 3.

    The big issue still surrounds what Ofcom considers to be "credible evidence". If it's just IP addresses then we're all in for a rough ride; expect to see lots of people unjustly accused (like now with ACS Law) and those who have their WEP keys hacked and other people using their broadband connection...

  • Comment number 4.

    I can appreciate that this is a very difficult issue to get round.
    The biggest issue that annoys me is they seem to be going about the whole route of;
    "Line them all up and shoot them all. This way we will be sure to get rid of the guilty ones, even though innocent people will be killed too....oh well..."
    And ironically; the main offenders are smart enough to make themselves as untraceable as possible.

    Although a WPA2 password secured router is 'more secure' than one without a password encryption - they are NOT hack-proof. It isn't too difficult to hack a WPA2 secured router, and this action from Ofcom will give hackers more incentive to hack more home networks.
    So really, a high majority of the people that will suffer this new procedure, will be the victims of hackers.

  • Comment number 5.

    In the first stage, the code will only apply to ISPs with more than 400,000 customers, though that will cover more than 96% of internet users. That may reassure universities, libraries and other public institutions which operate wireless networks - there had been suggestions that they'd have to close them down.

    Suggestions from Ofcom. It appears that if the hotspot's upstream provider is a large ISP then Ofcom propose to hold the hotspot responsible for their users, and are explicitly warning people to stop running open WiFi or face the consequences:
    http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/security/358342/ofcom-warns-off-free-wi-fi-providers

  • Comment number 6.

    Hmm… So again in this world we have the “Shoot now, and ask questions later” routine forcefully shoved in our faces and told to like it.

    Now, I am not fan of the Digital Economy Bill but from what I understand is this:

    People who do download illegally do so as a “taster” of the albums. I know a few friends will download a couple of tracks from artists they don’t know of, and if they like them – they will then buy (yes that’s right, I said buy, as in: money, as in: cash, as in: what your accountant likes to see) the album.

    I am also not ashamed to admit, that I have also done that in the past… that is how I discovered Lincoln Park, which of whom I am now a fan of; and I have purchased a few of their albums with my hard earned money – you know, that stuff your accountant likes to see.

    This bill is nothing but to keep the music producers happy and to shut them up.

    You see, the main problem I have with the bill, is that it is unlikely to work that well. Mainly because copyright infringers will just find yet another way to transmit music and other content over the interweb, that will go under the radar. The music industry will then be up in arms over this new fangled thing not know what to do, and then go back crying to the government saying how all them bad people are being mean to them.

    Also, another thing just popped into my mind, and that is what about legitimate services that use bit-torrent or other p2p technologies such as iPlayer for legitimate means? What will happen to them? I mean, according to the government all p2p is wrong, right? How can you reliably tell one piece of media against another? How do you know that the scanners won’t throw a false positive (kinda like when a legitimate email goes to spam box) – I mean programmers can’t even get the spam thing right, so what about DPI? (I know it’s a different kettle of fish, but the principle remains)

    Now I would say something constructive about the whole thing – like the government needs to have a long sit down and think about what they are doing, and that this bill could lead to a lot of people being falsely accused, but the government does not care about the people it governs, so I won’t bother.

    They don’t seam to care that wireless routers can be hacked, and that this is what professional counterfeiters will be doing when this bill takes over, and that the person who was unlucky enough to have their WiFi hacked now have to foot the bill.

    They also don’t seam to care about the poor companies that provide wireless hotspots for customers like Hotels, café’s, coffee shops etc; or in my case, my flat comes with Internet thrown in, maybe my landlord will just stop giving me and the other residents internet as part of the package.

    The government wants’ people online huh? I have a feeling this will remove more people from the internet then anything else I can think off.

  • Comment number 7.


    Those that wish to use their phones to commit crime use pre-paid mobiles.
    Those that wish to use their cars to commit crime cover their number plates.
    counter-measures seem to be developed before the

    Most of what you say is entirely correct: however mandating the ISPs to monitor all traffic between subscriber and destination is a technical measure that is years too late.

    The vast majority of illegal file sharing on-line uses the bit-torrent protocol. Many of the most popular bit-torrent clients have built in encryption as standard and have done for several years (often being enabled as default) - meaning the ISP will see nothing.

    Evidence required would have to be more than your IP address. As has been pointed out by Bloodbadge, WPA2 wireless is not hack proof. Most routers log little information in terms of when settings were changed. Simply providing the defendants wireless router secured with WPA2 to the court and stating "it was hacked" casts reasonable doubt: making this a perfectly credible defence against a plaintiff who's only evidence is a log of the defendants IP address.

    The only thing that can be counted as solid proof of copyright infringement is to actually find pirated material in the possession of the defendant. External hard drives are ubiquitous and cheap, as is software to permanently erase data from hard drives. Because of this the chances of successfully finding copyrighted material are far less than that required by the rights-holders to justify payment of the court costs for permission to seize equipment from the defendant.

    OfCom and sponsors know all this - and are hoping harsh talk will scare people into securing their wifi networks, and threatening letters will dissuade people.

    Whilst we all have different views on the ethics of copyright infringement as opposed to rights to privacy, expressing outrage is simply not productive. These measures were bound to happen. If anyone reading this is outraged by the new powers, please, funnel your outrage into taking the time to research on-line privacy measures, and pass that knowledge around. Even better knowledge to pass round would be to show the legal, perfectly free alternatives to breaching copyright, such as spotify and youtube but to name a few.

  • Comment number 8.

    "internet service providers will send letters to people accused by content owners of copyright infringement."

    Interesting phrase. It seems clear that the ISP's can't act on their own until a content owner has complained and named a particular individual. I suspect that in most cases, the "content owner" won't know precisely who has downloaded the offending data. How exactly will they find this information out?

    In any case, regarding music as one example, the vast majority of music I have downloaded I consider to have already paid for, by buying it once on vinyl, and again later on CD. If they think I'm going to pay for a second or third time, just for the convenience of having the same music in a different format, they can think again. It's not like I was given much of a choice about new formats: you try buying the hardware to play vinyl records (and stylus needles, etc) from the High St these days. They practically forced us all to adopt the new formats, then complain when we now refuse to play along. Just how many times are they thinking we will put up with this?

  • Comment number 9.

    @8 Graphis.

    Totally Agree!

  • Comment number 10.

    @ Graphis.
    Not unlike most purchased items from retailers, you purchase music (a vinyl, cd, tape, etc) there and then - WITHOUT a life-time guarantee.
    Due to economy growth, we are expected to upgrade and keep up-to-date with the times.
    If you purchase a CD, and in 50 years time they stop selling CD players; you don't HAVE to re-purchase the song; because it's your fault if you have sold your CD player or it has broken, as these electrical appliances don't have a half-life.
    I think that it is pretty reasonable to purchase songs again (in different formats); just how it is reasonable if you buy a blu-ray player and need to purchase a brand-new HD-TV.

    @brightengineer
    'Sample downloading' isn't seen as acceptable these days, due to numerous free sources on the internet that allow users to listen to, watch (and discover) bands for free before having to spend any money.
    I admit, back in the "ol' days" of '99 - '03, I MIGHT have participated in a bit of music downloading; but it wasn't as frowned up on, back in the day...

    As for Ofcom's apparrent negligence to recognize the issues relating to personal network security; I find it very irritating and un-fair although I really can appreciate the complexity of some situations, of actually gaining enough proof to prosecute an individual for illegally downloading content from the internet.
    Although ISPs have complete log archives of user inbound and outbound bandwidth activity; somebody with access to a personal router has complete control over network IP logs and inbound and outbound activity events that go through their (or somebody elses if they are hacking) router.
    Again; somebody with a good knowledge of Computing networks and technology will most probably be able to find a way of hiding router logs; or they can even mask their IP addresses via online services...

    In a nut shell - I don't think this plan will work =/

  • Comment number 11.

    @ no.8 – Sadly I think because whilst the technology exists to trace and catch people who download illegal pornography, whilst morally right it makes nobody any money. If you are going to send a letter to someone saying they have download x number of songs, and they must pay up some silly amount of money, or simply pay a smaller figure to stay out of Court and we will go away, and enough paid up, the lawyers make some, the music industry get a little and thus it becomes almost profitable together with taking the moral high ground on copyright.

    What I think we as a society, the Government, the music industry – everyone – must accept is theft is going to happen. It could be downloading content from the Internet, which let us face it many of us think ‘oh come on it was only the last episode of Lost’ and not compare it to going into a shop and walking off out with something you’ve not paid for. But how much stuff does get nicked from shops – where the risks are higher and punishment greater – but it never will stop people doing it.

    This may seem a silly idea – but I like the sound of this: So you go on downloading at your leisure music, films and T.V shows without paying a penny. You might do this for over a year. One day you get a letter, it states that you have been found to have illegally downloaded a bunch of stuff and you have two choices:

    1. A court order will be obtained getting your ISP to hand over all their records, you will be taken to Court whereupon if you loose the case your have to pay fines coupled with the other sides costs. If you win and can show you did not download such, you will have to pay your costs for fighting such action. Legal aid would not be granted in such cases and so likely result – You loose. You pay a lot.
    2. You are given the option to buy at a higher price than the high street price the content you downloaded illegally. You will be sent the DVD’s, CD’s etc or their cases. You feel pretty angry at yourself for doing it and you got caught, but hey you got the content and you knew you should not have done it really and end result you have to pay for it with an added ‘slap on the wrist’ but now have the physical copies

    Not all would be caught, not all those caught would have all the content they got discovered – but if was implemented and then say it happened to me – I’d think damn it, haha they got me but fair cop gov’ here is some money and now I have that box set anyway.

    Just a random idea...

  • Comment number 12.

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I have now encrypted my torrents.

  • Comment number 13.

    The entrepreneurs will not have ANY trouble getting around this. Solutions are already in use.

  • Comment number 14.

    So how does the snooping bit work? Will they just spy on users of a particular service (eg bit torrents) or does the music industry get to spy on everytthing everyone does? Either way a lot of entirely innocent and entirely private traffic is going to get monitored (and decrypted?) by an arbitrary group of people?

    What happens to all the false positives? ISPs run a minimal overhead service - it was hard enough changing the bank details with my (well respected) ISP. Can you imagine having a technical debate with them about the content of millions of IP Packets sent several months ago?

    All very worrying for the innocent and entirely avoidable for the guilty. I imagine it will all fall down in the Human Rights Court but not before a lot of innocent people have been snooped on and penalised

  • Comment number 15.

    Well, as far as I can see, I can no longer run my online business, which is entirely unrelated to the music industry, as a result of this change.

    Why is this?

    1) I use a home connection, which occasionally transmits and recieves information using a number of different protocols, including peer to peer.

    2) As part of my work, I sometimes have to email invoices to customers, which, by necessity, include their personal details.

    3) I am not authorised to disclose these personal details to 3rd parties, such as the music industry.

    4) I live in a shared house, and I cannot vouch for the actions of the others resident in that house.

    So - the end result is: I can't be sure whether or not my internet usage records will be subject to an unevidenced search on the part of the music industry's lackeys. As such, I cannot use my (legal, legitimate) connection to send ONE SINGLE PIECE of personal data, as in doing so I would be in violation of my duty to maintain the privacy of my customers.

    BPA/OFCOM - thanks for putting an innocent out of work. I'll do the same to you now, if it kills me to do it.

  • Comment number 16.

    @Steve
    This shouldn't be an issue with you running your business.
    Since you are running an official business that is paying tax, and transferring third-party content - having the permission of your customers and the people that it applies to, then you will be breaking no law(s).
    Only companies that contact the ISPs and request to notify + take action against an internet user illegally downloading and/or sharing content that is copyrighted to their company - will this effect your business.

  • Comment number 17.

    LOL @ the pirates, pirates apologists and lefties that don't believe in intellectual property rights all trotting out the same crap and FUD. Listen to them squeal.

  • Comment number 18.

    @8. At 00:47am on 02 Jun 2010, Graphis wrote:
    It's not like I was given much of a choice about new formats: you try buying the hardware to play vinyl records (and stylus needles, etc) from the High St these days


    My reply:
    I agree with most of what you've said appart from this bit I've quoted.
    Buying a record player is damn easy (and this is coming from someone who owns more vinyl than CDs). Granted buying a new record player for under £100 is hard, but the devices are still easily available.

    And if you can't find a record player, then pick up a cheap belt-drive DJ turntable - it's pretty much exactly the same technology but with a pitch controller thrown in too.

  • Comment number 19.

    17. At 09:45am on 03 Jun 2010, PhilT wrote:
    LOL @ the pirates, pirates apologists and lefties that don't believe in intellectual property rights all trotting out the same crap and FUD. Listen to them squeal.


    My reply:
    Just out of interest:
    * do you have a mobile phone ring tone or wake up alarm that you copied from a CD you owned?
    * have you ever borrowed a CD or DVD from a friend to listen/watch?
    * have you ever lent a CD or DVD?
    * have you ever had around a dozen people (or more) around your house for a BBQ, dinner party, etc and had a CD or the radio playing in the back ground?
    * have you ever copied / backed up your favourite CD to your computer or MP3 for convenience?
    * have you ever copied your favourite CD so you can have a copy in your car and a copy at home?
    * have you ever recorded a TV show or movie and then watched it more than once?
    * have you ever created a home movie and accidentally caught some music or TV in the video (eg there was a radio on or the subject was watching TV)?

    All of these are technically breaking at least one law - be it copyright, public performance or whatever.
    Everyone breaks copyright laws - it's virtually impossible not to in todays media rich society. So the problem isn't us "apologists and lefties", it's the fact that the government keep allowing content holders to dictate legislation.

    In the US, there's countless cases of the (IIRC) DMCA chasing after unsuspecting individuals and organisations for completely irrelevant offenses (eg a police station that had the radio on in the waiting room as it was legally classed as a "public performance").

    At the end of the day, these laws are purely about protecting the rich, not about consumers nor the artists wishes. It's purely about greed. And that is why us "lefties" complain.

    Create a law that both protects the artists and the consumers, then we'll be happy.

  • Comment number 20.

    The problem in all of this, it seems to me, is linking the gathered evidence (the IP address) to the person responsible for the download. Who gets prosecuted - is it the broadband account holder?

    Take myself as a fairly typical example. Family of four - myself, wife and two teenage children. Six PCs in the house, all broadband-enabled, most of which are used by more than one person. Now I don't have the time, the tools, the knowledge or, to be honest, the inclination, to police every nuance of broadband use on the account. I believe they have the right for me not to snoop on their on-line life to that extent.

    So even though the person responsible for the download whould be unknown, I would get prosecuted. Correct? And telling my children that they mustn't download copyrighted contect would have no effect, they're teenagers after all - angst & rebellion are part of the hormonal surge.

    To take a car analogy, what happens if a car is caught by a speed camera and the registered owner can show that he/she genuinely did not know who was driving the car at the time? The case gets dropped doesn't it? Why is the situation with software piracy any different?

    I suspect that the people who download the most copyrighted material will know enough to cover their tracks with encryption, proxies at whatnot. The people who will suffer are those such as myself who don't have the knowledge to secure and police their home networks effectively.

    It all seems badly thought out. Legislation introduced without due process because of pressure from media moguls.

  • Comment number 21.

    My main problem with this act is that it has been ill thought out and will only affect the casual file shares and those who have had their WIFI connections or their computer systems compromised in some way.

    The majority of experienced file sharers host their torrent sites overseas, download and upload using strong encryption and store their copyrighted data on encrypted disks.

    Having the ISP's monitoring this traffic is pointless as the accused can hide under the veil of plausible deniability and simply say "prove that I did it". I cannot see a court granting a warrant to search the accused premises based on a large volume of encrypted data transfer (there are plenty of legitimate peer to peer services; in fact the BitTorrent protocol is one of the main delivery vehicles for open source software including Fedora and Ubuntu).

    The government should be investing the money in educating the general public on basic data security and concentrating on investigating those who host large repositories of copyrighted material and make profit from it. It's likely any profit made from sharing copyrighted material (including donations) is used for organised crime.

  • Comment number 22.

    Ofcom I reckon are scum and greedym what you dont take in to account are there are hackers who hack peoples wireless connection,if they use theirs and Ofcom decide they have been downloading shared illegal stuff they will get charged, its rubbish to be honest. Also we have privacy laws so that these big companies dont watch what we do, I mean would you want a company reading your emails. Also file sharing can be legal if its your own product, tracing each persons ip and what they download I think is or was illegal, this is not Chinam we should have our privacy as we Pay for it. Like the other guy said this money they invest on this pointless thing they should be spending on education and the health system

  • Comment number 23.

    Okay first off, lets not blame OFCOM for the rules. They didn't make the legislation the last Government did. This was done after a high ranking Peer met an American Businessman in a villa in the Mediterrean. But I'm sure there was nothing illegal going on. It's not as if the Peer in question was forced to resign on numerous other occasions because of "questionable" stuff.

    Secondly both Parties of the "New" Government announced displeasure with this bill, when it was being passed but they have not sought to repeal it.

    Thirdly a lot more people have broken copyright law than they would believe. Ever recorded a movie on TV and then kept it (as mentioned earlier). Ever played your music loud enough for anyone else to hear (not just the barbeque scenario mentioned). This is in breach of PRS regulations. Look around at your Doctors/Dentists next time you go. If they have a radio on they will have a PRS licence displayed! Have you ever changed your music medium? Eg did you ever make a tape so you could listen to it in your car (Now it would be a mix CD)? Have you ever converted your CDs into mp3s, so you play them on your iPod/Generic mp3 player?

    The fact that companies like Magpie and eBay exist on second-hand goods show that people are getting rid of their old stuff and you can guarantee that it's not just because they're fed up of it, but that they've backed it up and are now looking to make some cash.

    Oh and for the record, how often are we to be fleeced by Music Companies/Film Distribution companies. I bought The Wall on Vinyl, I bought it on tape, and again on CD (extortionately for a 15 year old album) should I then pay again because this time they've bothered to actually digitally master it so it plays correctly on the CD player. And according to BPI if I want it on my mp3 player I have to pay again.

    I've bought 4 different versions of Star Wars Trilogy. Am I again supposed to buy the BluRay, with no offer of a discount for the previous mediums. What about the different version of newer movies. Lord Of The Rings brought out an initial version, then an extended version (at £35-40 each), now I've read that there is supposed to be an Ultimate Version coming out (Empire Magazine). Why wouldn't people then say I've had enough and get a downloaded version at the same quality, without any of the warnings that you cannot forward through, for a fiver, or just download them themselves.

  • Comment number 24.

    I download content using bittorrent, have done since the days of napster when I first got the internet a good 10 years ago or so and I use encryption. Is this bill going to stop me? No. Am I worried about getting a letter through the door? No. Would I pay a settlement fee? No, I'd tell them to get a court date set.

    I get sick of artists expecting that they should get millions of pounds from any old tosh that they serve up good or bad. If you get 25k a year then you can happily live and get by. Do the sums and it would probably work out to be a fraction of a penny for each copy sold.

    Another thing that I always find funny when anyone calculates the "money lost to downloading". The assumption is always made that each illegal download would correspond directly to a bought cd or track. It doesn't. If people were forced to pay for content at the crazy prices asked then the figure would probably be around 10% of the figure calculated.

  • Comment number 25.

    More madness from the nanny state!!1 Everyone knows that people who know they should pay for something but decide to get it free instead actually spend more on the things they are getting for free! Everyone knows that if you don't like the price of something it is the fault of the person selling it and you should get it free! Everyone has committed copyright theft so all copyright laws should be scrapped...the fact that I have watched something I taped on TV means people should be able to watch the latest movies for free!

    I think I'm anonymous on the internet so my crimes should all be allowed! I don't work for free but everyone in the entertainment industry should! Ignorance is an excuse! I I I I I I WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 26.

    Quick comment about the technicalities of how they are actually going to do this. I haven't read their actual strategy so am guessing but wanted to clear up a few misconceptions.

    First; it's not the ISP's role to police or do packet sniffing. As some have mentioned -- torrents are usually encrypted so that's a waste of time anyway. The ISP's only "work" is to serve up the details of IP addresses when evidence is presented to them. Anything beyond that would not be technically feasible I can assure you all.

    It will be the music industry that does the sniffing. And as most of you will know; this is pretty much impossible from a technical stand point. Their two vectors of attack are

    1) monitor popular torrents and download the list of IPs from it's "swarm". Most of you think that because you are encrypting your traffic that you are hiding your IP address. This is NOT the case most of the time and by having your address associated with a torrent will constitute evidence as far as they and your ISP is concerned. There are technological ways around this although most people are currently unprotected.

    2) they need to grovel cap-in-hand to third party hosting companies such as usenet and web based ones such as rapidshare for details of who has downloaded copyright content. These third parties as far as I'm aware are not obliged to say anything and likely won't for fear of losing popularity and ad-revenue which is their core business!

    So this is very simple to get around i.e. stop using p2p technology. Be very wary of p2p technology that claims to hide your IP address...

  • Comment number 27.

    I'm not exactly worried about this. I run through three proxies and all incoming/outgoing traffic is encrypted. The only thing my ISP can see is how much data I use. The argument has always been that CDs/DVDs are too expensive, so p2p became popular. It's pretty much the norm for everyone I know.

    If you want to support an artist, go see a gig. For every £10 album, the band will see at best 50p. For every £15 ticket, the band see £1...plus merchandise etc. Obviously it varies, but that's a rough guide.


    The funniest part of all this has to be the actual wording of the rules. Downloading copyrighted content has NEVER been illegal; SHARING it is. So seeding/uploading is the crime, not downloading.



    Most of the comments here in favour of the Bill are from middle-class, Twitter-using twits and therefore irrelevant.

  • Comment number 28.

    @aidy, no my gripe is that we have been actively fleeced by the record industry for years, and this was a state that the record industry thought would last forever! When CDs came out and people were encouraged to "upgrade" as the music sounded better. The price was £15 for a CD or £10 for a Cassette, even though a CD cost less to manufacture, store and transport. Now today a Digital Download costs 79-99p, so if you wanted the equivalent of an Albums worth of music, worst case Now 75, you would be £31.60 to £39.60! Now no musician is seeing that amount of money, it is purely the record industry. This is why they are squealing. Successful artists used to get a £1 for every record sold and had to pay all the costs for videos, marketing, etc themselves. This is why touring has always been more profitable for them, together with the merchandising. If you want to support your favourite artist you'd do better to buy stuff from their website as they'll get a bigger cut of the profits.

    The problem is similar with the Movie Industry, but I love headlines which state that 2009 was the best ever year for the Cinema Audiences and in the next breath that downloading is hurting movies!

    The internet hurts movies in worse ways than downloading. It used to be if you wanted an opinion on a movie you had to watch Barry Norman and Jonathon Ross (how biased is someone who's wife makes movies, and therefore needs the production companies), now you can go on forums the day a movie is released and get instant reviews, which you trust because the person isn't being wooed by the industry. This sort of thing causes Avatar to go into the multi-billion mark, but duff movies like Imagine That, Year One, etc to lose big style. Instead of just relying on a "Name" people actually want to watch something enjoyable.

  • Comment number 29.

    @Tim Scarfe #26

    "It will be the music industry that does the sniffing. And as most of you will know; this is pretty much impossible from a technical stand point."

    You'd actually be surprised how easy it is :) They just host files called "Lady Ga Ga Poker Face.mp3" and "Iron Man 2.mpg" and collect the IP addresses of people who connect to download it. Nothing particularly hi-tech is needed.

    "they need to grovel cap-in-hand to third party hosting companies such as usenet"

    Usenet is not a third-party hosting company, it is the name as a specific distributed network. The usenet posts you have downloaded are available usually to your ISP (if you use their usenet severs which obviously wouldn't be very clever :) ) or any specific usenet service provider you wish to use, but they will pass on your data to appropriate authorities.

    @Ross #27

    "I'm not exactly worried about this. I run through three proxies and all incoming/outgoing traffic is encrypted"

    Yeah, proxies and encryption....you're totally safe. After all, no-one has ever been convicted of downloading child pornography...and most people who are accessing this stuff are just downloading it right off websites but are protected by their proxies *rolls eyes* Proxies only offer protection to target servers who want to know direct clients, they offer no real protection from the law as proxy firms will most certainly give you up when the police come knocking. Yes, yes....I know...not the proxy services *you* use cos you're 1337...you're the most knowledgeable guy in the universe and if only everyone had your knowledge then people all over the land would be free to consume as much child porn as they want.

    "Downloading copyrighted content has NEVER been illegal; SHARING it is. So seeding/uploading is the crime, not downloading."

    It is prohibited under Section 17 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, but let's not let facts get in the way of your abundant internet lore. Although it's certainly true that unless you're caught downloading a lot of things you're unlikely to come to the attention of the police, we're not talking about the police and criminal convictions here...this code of conduct is to help copyright owners bring legal action against infringers, not for the police to prosecute, so the burden of proof is much reduced.

    @scooter #28

    You can save your attempt to justify criminal activity for someone else. Listen to any criminal and they're full of why "it wasn't me...."

  • Comment number 30.

    @aidy of course I'm a criminal. The BPI et al have made it impossible for me not to be. When I taped movies off BBC2 as a child, I became a criminal. When I then continued my collection off Sky movies I continued my life of crime. When I got an mp3 player and converted my CDs into mp3s I continued with my life of crime.

    This is the problem the BPI and the Movie Industry have, by their own actions, made everyone feel that crime is okay! They will never beat this feeling as they have spent too long fleecing their customers.

    Don't believe me ask anyone who has any sort of mp3 player where they got the music from. Ask anyone if they have The Beatles on their mp3s as they have never been available on Digital Download! Yet this is a Copyright Theft under BPI as it is a Medium Change which you did not pay for!

    So yes as I have been branded a criminal I may as well stay the course, but don't try and pretend for one second that I am involved in Drugs, Prostitution, Car Theft, Shoplifting or anything else that they have tried to accuse people of.

  • Comment number 31.

    Yes scooter, and we all also go over the speed limit accidentally, but the police know this is often unavoidable and there is no malice there which is why they don't arrest everyone they see doing 31 in a 30. Instead they apply the law to the cases where it is deserved, where there is potential harm and malice. The law they used to arrest people doing 50 in a 30 is the exact same law they ignore when they see you doing 62 in a 60.

    In the same light, FACT and other orgs have gone on record saying they don't care if you rip your CDs to your MP3 player despite it being "illegal". The law is not going to be applied in every case...however it is there so that it *can* be used against the offenders who are doing harm and are acting with malice; the people who are knowingly and willing downloading content for free that they know they should be paying for.

    Your attempts to muddy the waters and turn attention from bad behaviours by highlighting the lesser behaviours of others is actually quite juvenile and as I said in my other post…something that every criminal does. You're really nothing special.

  • Comment number 32.

    @Aidy - please, you're giving smug people a bad name. Try and back up your arguments with fats, fool.

  • Comment number 33.

    @aidy you may wish to check your facts with respect to speeding. If you speed you are a criminal, there is no ifs, buts or maybes. Police have discretionary powers with respect to enforcing this, eg leeway over speedometer errors, analogue readout not being 100% precise, etc, but if you do 34 in a 30 zone you get ticketed and points on your licence, as you are driving in way unsuitable for the road, generally due to the urban nature.

    However I love the way you are equating a hazardous and potentially lethal activity, in the same vein as copyright theft. Have you considered getting a job creating the next advert for FACT?

  • Comment number 34.

    @Ross - you can't spell and consider childish insults to be arguments. I think I'll ignore you.

    @scooter - my facts RE speeding were spot on, don't blame me if your reading comprehension is lacking. I also never likened speeding to copyright theft...that is just another part of your cliche straw man argument.

    If only you stole more books and less movies and music :)

  • Comment number 35.

    @Aidy Good idea! I'll get myself an e-book reader and then I can download all the books I want!

    And as for my comprehension "...we all also go over the speed limit...", seems to me to be committing a crime. Speed limits are designed as an "absolute" (the clue is in the word limit) not a maybe or it depends on whether I'm feeling like I'm causing "...potential harm and malice..." but whether I can read the speedometer in my car. Possibly The Highway Code may come in helpful.

    The fact that you raised speeding as an example of crimes being committed, either intentionally or not, is why people will then say that you are equating speeding to copyright theft.

  • Comment number 36.

    Or you could go to your local library...

    RE your poor comprehension, you are arguing as if I had said that speeding was not an offence. Something I would never say, ergo you are conducting a straw-man argument. What I did say was that the law was not always applied and people were not always arrested. At no point (go back and check) did I say people were not committing crimes. As I said...don't blame me for your lack of comprehension.

    RE equating speeding to copyright theft...again go back and you'll see that I did not equate the two crimes, I equated the way the law was applied to both crimes and I stand by that comparison.

    Now....to the library!

  • Comment number 37.

    Go to http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk and express your thoughts on the DEA now.

  • Comment number 38.

    You see, the main problem I have with the bill, is that it is unlikely to work that well. Mainly because copyright infringers will just find yet another way to transmit music and other content over the interweb, that will go under the radar. The music industry will then be up in arms over this new fangled thing not know what to do, and then go back crying to the government saying how all them bad people are being mean to them. Also, another thing just popped into my mind, and that is what about legitimate services that use bit-torrent or other p2p technologies such as iPlayer for legitimate means? What will happen to them? I mean, according to the government all p2p is wrong, right? How can you reliably tell one piece of media against another? How do you know that the scanners won’t throw a false positive (kinda like when a legitimate email goes to spam box) – I mean programmers can’t even get the spam thing right, so what about DPI? (I know it’s a different kettle of fish, but the principle remains)

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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