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Rory Cellan-Jones

BPI v ISPs - who's won on music piracy?

  • Rory Cellan-Jones
  • 23 Jul 08, 23:34 GMT

Just two days ago BskyB signed a deal with Universal to set up an online music service and I asked whether the fast-growing broadband provider would be doing anything in return to crack down on filesharing. Well now I've got my answer. Sky is one of six major ISPs to sign a memorandum of understanding with the music industry to reduce the ilegal swapping of music online.

The deal was brokered by the government and is being unveiled on Thursday morning. Among those companies to have signed up is Carphone Warehouse, whose boss Charles Dunstone sent the music industry away with a flea in its ear a few months back, insisting it wasn't his job to act as an internet policeman.

So victory to the BPI, the music industry trade body which has fought long and hard to get the ISPs to to recognise their duty to cooperate in the campaign against piracy? Err, not quite.

All the ISPs have promised to do is to send letters to those customers identified by the BPI as persistent filesharers. And these letters are described as "Informative", designed to let people know that what they are doing is illegal, but not to threaten them with anything - much like the letters that Virgin Media has been sending to some of its customers. What the BPI wants - and it's been telling anyone that would listen that it had the government's backing on this - is a "three strikes and you're out" policy, which would see customers who ignored repeated warnings disconnected by their broadband providers. I've spoken to two ISPs in the last few hours and both have made it clear that they certainly will not be threatening customers with any such thing.

Now these letters may have an effect on some who receive them, particularly parents who are informed that the teenagers are upstairs sharing their music with the world. Indeed I'm told that a trial shows they work in around 70% of cases. The trouble is that the other 30%, what you might call the hardcore filesharers, will not be deterred. That issue - dealing with the repeat offenders - will now be discussed by the two sides with the media regulator Ofcom.

I've also heard that the business minister Baroness Vadera has spent many hours on the phone to ISP bosses, urging them to sign up to this deal. Whatever the BPI may say about the threat of legislation if the ISPs don't play ball, it's clear the government wants to avoid that at all cost. After all, any kind of voluntary "pact on piracy" sounds a lot better than framing complex laws designed to turn millions of internet users and the companies who supply them into criminals.

Oh, and that story running in one newspaper about the government favouring a £30 tax to download music seems to be wide of the mark. It sounds like the "iPod tax" idea floated by some parts of the music industry - and even they admit that it is now a non-starter.

The BPI has a carrot-and-stick approach in its dealings with the ISPs - you crack down on pirates, and you can have a stake in what is still a pretty lucrative business. So far, the ISPs seem to be grabbing the carrot - while avoiding the stick.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I don't agree with downloading any music illegally, but the BPI are becoming far too greedy and causing part of the problem themselves.

    For example, cd-wow.com - a fantastic site that allows us to buy cheaper CDs. However, the BPI doesn't like the idea that we can save money and buy elsewhere and took them to court (http://www.bbc.co.uk/6music/news/20070529_cdwow.shtml%29. This isn't standing up for fair trade, this is just pure greed. It's OK for record companies to manufacture their CDs in the cheapest market but not OK for us to buy them in the cheapest market! If CD prices (and DVD for that matter) weren't so high, maybe more people would be prepared to buy from the UK and not download them illegally.

  • Comment number 2.

    I would imagine that the bulk of the music and game file sharers are in the normal 15 to 25 bracket.

    So, they will just email tracks to each other instead.

    Or transfer the files using MSN

    "... letters to those customers identified by the BPI as persistent filesharers"

    Small point - how have the BPI gotten hold of private records to be able to identify persistent file sharers?

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm wondering how the BPI will explain itself to its members when its valiant campaign makes not one iota of difference to their bottom lines, even with total compliance.

    Will they react by creating a product that's actually worth paying for, cut out the redundant middle men and adopt a sustainable business model?

    They have commoditised and over produced their product to the point where it blows about the culture like worthless Zimbabwe dollars. It no longer holds a special primacy as a cultural signifier, that gave it the value it once had. It is as ubiquitous as white sliced and discarded burger wrappers.

    As for BERR, they may have the patronage of Gordon Brown, but they seem to specialise in developing policies that hold the general electorate in disdain, for example their dismissive attitude to concerns about Phorm, giving us more reasons not to re-elect the Labour government.

  • Comment number 4.

    "I don't agree with downloading any music illegally, but the BPI are becoming far too greedy and causing part of the problem themselves."

    I agree fully with that comment. If films or music cd's weren't so expensive, I think more people would buy them rather than illegally download them.

    I understand that artists are in it to make money, but I think they would make so much more money if they lowered their prices. With the inflation rates soaring, food prices reaching as high as the moon (not to mention the petrol), it makes it harder for the lower class to afford the luxury of two or three dvds a month.

    I must admit, I have downloaded one or two albums in the past because I didn't have a spare £20 to buy them. I've purchased those albums now, but I would have not needed to download them if the price wasn't so expensive.

    £20 may not seem a lot, but to most people, thats enough to put food on the table for a few days.

    We all need the little luxurys, especially when you want to just unwind a little. So I completely understand the people who illegally download, but at the same time, should buy the cd or film.

    The problem will NEVER go away and the BPI need to face that.

    Lower prices = more sales

  • Comment number 5.

    "Oh, and that story running in one newspaper about the government favouring a £30 tax to download music seems to be wide of the mark. It sounds like the "iPod tax" idea floated by some parts of the music industry - and even they admit that it is now a non-starter."

    Sorry which newspaper? Anyway that'll be academic by later today. Then we'll know for sure if artist and/or consumers have been sold up the river on this deal.

    Anyway the tax idea which has been so instantly rubbished everywhere ain't so daft - but does need a bit of tinkering. A form of licensing of ISPs transforming them into MSPs or Music Service Providers is actually a viable way forward. PlayLouder right here in the UK operate just this.

    But forget about £30 - thats just blatent scaremongering. Any viable business model must respect the money supply and would therefore need to depend on a fixed percentage of profit. That percentage would have to be regulated in order to create a fair market and allow for growth, and there is no getting away from the fact that government would be required to intervene at some point in the process. But lets say around £3 rising to £5 per month on the average 8Gb ADSL bill.

    How would it work? Surprisingly simple. Count the clicks on the official P2P tracker site in order to divide up the artist revenues. Of course users could visit non-legit tracker sites, but then you don't get the best quality official download. No point in bypassing because users wouldn't get any saving - they still pay the same "all you can eat P2P" to their MSP.

    Currently the UK is best placed to develop the idea which could ultimately be expanded to incorperate a global rights-clearing-house feeding various MSP tracker sites. If proven succesful for music this then could be expanded to incorperate movies, series-runs, games, etc. Live Sports is another huge market as next-gen P2P comes on stream. Again a locally regulated differential pricing structure would be required.

    Fot music generally this would herald the prospect of developing a true pop-chart where, for example, UK hip-hop will benefit as currently it represents a very high proportion of unpaid-for-music. We would see the music industry reconnect with its audience again.

    The industry would also have to accept a smaller slice of the cake for middlemen. Currently, according to Gowers, artists are expected to see only 8% of revenues. Under the new business model artists should see at least 17%, and possibly as much as 45% depending on add-value features and promotion.

    Bandwidth will initially be a contensious subject, however P2P media server appliances already exist for around £60 which could be configured by MSPs to maintain smooth and level download speeds and not require bandwidth-shaping out on the network.

    The potential is there. So today will government show that they understand what needs to be done? Or will parties remain in their entrenched legal positions? We shall see. In any case does "three strikes" at least for existing ISPs, but not MSPs, get us closer or further away from a solution? The devil will be in the detail.

  • Comment number 6.

    There are plenty of ways to avoid being detected - programs like PeerGuardian, which prevents government/BPI computers connecting to you and discovering you are downloading music.

    And, of course, anyone can encrypt their P2P transmissions.

    If these letters go to anyone sharing over P2P then I will be particularly annoyed to get a letter because I downloaded the most recent version of linux a few times.

    If they are supposed to be targeted to only copyrighted materials, there are so many ways to avoid detection (which, no doubt, will get added into P2P applications quickly).

    It will simply become a money sink for the BPI to keep up with the more innovative file sharing industry. They'd be better changing their business model to embrace P2P in some way. Record companies have already said money in the future will be from live performances - so why keep threatening P2P users?

  • Comment number 7.

    If people want to really support the artists they admire, they would attend their live performances. Thats where the bulk of an artists' income comes from...not the pittance the record companies give them. I long for the day that the majority of artists are publishing their own material themselves and cutting out the parasites. They could afford to significantly lower the price and still make more money than they do now. If they went for a 'only available by download' route, with less frequent 'exclusive' CD purchases, then this price could be even lower, and both the consumer and artist would be happy.

    On a final note, most illegal downloaders wouldnt be buying the CDs/Downloads anyway, so the BPI would still be facing 'financial ruin**' (** said, with almost a straight face)

  • Comment number 8.

    One very important fact to remember is that music for downloading via P2P can be hosted on systems that are outside Europe in countries that are hostile to the western view of copyright.

    It is not possible to take legal action against these countries as they will simple ignore any such threats as laughable. In fact you don't even have to download the music you can buy it over the counter in shopping centers and get a reciept!

    My point is that there is NO WAY to stop illegal downloads the Music Industry needs to adust its buisness model and offer downloaded music really cheap making it not worth messing about with P2P clients.

    As a previous poster pointed out not all P2P traffic is illegal by any means. To tell what it being down loaded the ISPs would have to inspect the data which would be an infingment of privacy in istself illegal.

  • Comment number 9.

    I think they have overstepped the line here, and I think this will not work.

    As has been previously mentioned, it is very easy to stop people from looking at your P2P activity, and its also easy to use proxies if you download from non-P2P sources.

    Also, if its just people who use P2P, are they gonna start calling people who use QTrax pirates as well?

    This system will fail, and when it does the BPI will just look stupid and hopefully they will stop trying to do stuff like this.

    I mean, they are also completely ignoring evidence that heavy downloaders also are heavy music buyers.

    I hope to see this go down the pan within the coming months.

  • Comment number 10.

    I suspect three things will happen

    a) these 6 ISPs will lose customers as people migrate to less irritating providers.

    b) there will be formal complaints from people recieving letters in error or due to actions of a 3rd party.

    c) the p2p'ers will shift to encrypted torrents - always assuming that most of the hardcore sharers haven't already.

    And if the three-strikes idea is ever put into action, wait for the serious court action.

    So you cut off an entire household because of one person's actions - would you also lock up an entire family because one child was shoplifting? Or take away mum and dad's driving licenses because granny had been drink-driving? Or deny the whole household access to the supermarkets? And will the big shopping websites be pleased when they start losing customers because of this?

  • Comment number 11.

    I reality is this not just a toothless token concession?
    Should the 6 ISP's exert unwelcome pressure on their file sharing customers, I would suggest that those ISP's not signed up will be the ones to benefit from a migration of custom.

  • Comment number 12.

    Yet again the BPI completely misses the point. Rather than embracing new technology and working to create decent DRM free download services at a reasonable price they play bad cop and threaten to make ordinary members of the public into criminals, (yes I know that copying music is trictly speaking illegal, but we've all been doing it since the invention of cassette tapes).
    When CD-Wow can provide a physical CD of an album for £6 including shipping (a CD that I am free to convert to MP3 and put on my iPod or stream to my internet radio) why would I want to pay more than that for a digital copy that limits what I do with the songs?
    As I understand it the majority of the cost of a CD is for it's manufacture, so surely it is possible to provide download services at a reasonable cost, (say £2 an album), and still make the same profit. If I was risking a couple of quid for an album I might not like I wouldn't mind, but £8-10 a time is a bit steep.

  • Comment number 13.

    P2p encryption, file-hosting, e-mails....there are many workarounds around this pointless measure.

    The BPI and ISP's have been drinking too much creme de menthe.

  • Comment number 14.

    "Small point - how have the BPI gotten hold of private records to be able to identify persistent file sharers?"

    They use a modified BitTorrent tracker to get ip's of people sharing files then give this IP to the ISP's who look up who it belongs to. However it has proven that this isn't very accurate. This was demonstrated in America with a University having a printer being sent a file sharing warning. The paper can be seen here:

    http://dmca.cs.washington.edu/uwcse_dmca_tr.pdf

  • Comment number 15.

    Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. In this case neither the BPI or ISPs will win.

    I often download music (illegally?) using bittorrent.
    I will listen to it (a bit like listening to a friends copy or hearing it on the Radio/TV) and if I don't like it I don't keep it . The BPI have not lost a penny. However, if I do like it I end up buying CDs, in some cases I have ended up buying complete back catalogues of artists I had never heard before. I may also end up buying their DVD concerts and even going to see them in concert. The same is true by the way for films (or more particularly TV series). In the last month I have brought the complete box sets of Green Wing, Peep Show, and Tony Hancock since viewing a few (again illegal) downloads. So in this case the BPI and Movie equivalents have made money from this new fangled 21st century form of advertising. I think the problem is that the BPI still think in mid 20th century business terms (or are just greedy, and wearing blinkers).

    Another issue occurs here. I have a stack of artists on vinyl. Most of these I have replaced with CD, thereby making the BPI more money. However, many of these are not available on CD in this country, but I found (illegal) copies on the Internet which I have downloaded. Where is the problem here - I have already paid for the rights to play this music by virtue of buying the original rights on vinyl.

    So, because of the outdated thinking of the BPI, they will possibly find there actions actually cost them income.

    I also said the ISPs would not win. Why? well Virgin Media are constantly trying to get more money out of me to upgrade to higher speed broadband. But if they persist in this action, I see no reason not to downgrade and save some money - after all, why would I need the speed which they actually advertise as allowing me to download a music track every four seconds!

  • Comment number 16.

    There seems to be an ongoing theme here and it's one which I totally agree with. The record companies (and the BPI as their mouthpiece) rip of consumers. They're set the higher cost for music in the UK for many years but with the internet with have access to a free market with consumer choice. If other industries tried to lock down their sales as the BPI have there would be national outcry but for some reason it's accepted.

    I don't agree with illegally downloading music and am tired of the same lame excuses trying to justify it, but I honestly can't blame those who resent paying high prices per track/cd than the rest of the world. The BPI hasn't addressed this to my knowledge and blames anyone but themselves for the problem.

  • Comment number 17.

    Shame that the Government and ISPs are more concerned about helping the 'poor' music industry executives at the BPI, and are not in the slightest interested in ridding the internet of disgusting sites that host child pornography and other sub-human sites as a matter of utmost priority.

    These disgusting websites can be blocked, very easily, at ISP level so they never get a chance to be viewed by the people that want to see them. The fact that they are too busy helping out the greedy music industry is, quite frankly, disgusting.

    I hope the BPI collapses, I really do. They are irrelevant in this age of the internet, and so they should be. Leeches of the highest order, clinging onto successful musicians, taking their big slice of profits and then crying poverty when people want to have a digital copy of an album they have on vinyl, CD, tape.

    Good Riddance to the BPI, RIAA, and any other mafia style organisation that produces nothing but expects reward.

  • Comment number 18.

    #5

    UPDATE

    "Sorry which newspaper? "
    The Independent. So BBC would you please link that?

    "But forget about £30 - thats just blatent scaremongering."
    Oops.
    That's per year not per month. So Actually this is cheaper than the £3 to £5 er month that i put down!

    And BBC, The Independent are careful to use the word "licence fee" and not tax. Please note.

    @Rory Cellan-Jones
    Surely the BBC cannot be trying to keep the truth from us eh?

    Is this a case of "oooh i'm the only licensed broadcaster in the village!"

    Tut tut BBC. You should no better than to rubbish licensing. Worried about your monopoly now eh?


    Sign me up now!

  • Comment number 19.

    What seems to be severely lacking in this debate is a perspective from musicians. David Byrne has written a very good article that explains how our present circumstances are favouring the small artist over the large labels.

    Article in Wired magazine:
    http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/magazine/16-01/ff_byrne?currentPage=all

    Regardless of the illegality of it, file sharing has meant that a lot more people are listening to more music and more varied music. This is good for music ultimately, and it is simply a case of artists finding new ways to make money. This may well mean that the traditional big bumbling record labels will have to go, but the artists themselves have already profited more than they ever have done under the old regime.

  • Comment number 20.

    It's a bit worring that the ISP's are getting to getting to reduced or halt the sharing of music download.

    If they can do it for music why won't they get together to stop spam emails which surely must be a bigger problem, or does this mean we'll just end up with more spam because there's more bandwidth available because people will stop downloading music ?

  • Comment number 21.

    The record industries current business model is dead, superseded by the internet. After all, the likes of BPI do nothing except distribute and promote music, both of which can be done via the net.
    All their talk of needing money to develop new bands is ridiculous. Surely musicians that want to play music will continue to play music. If they are in it just to be rich then no loss there. Not that there isn't a huge amount of money to be made from touring and merchandise, especially if the industry didn’t take a cut.
    Would the music industry ever have offered a contract to 'The Artic Monkies' without their prior success on the Net?
    The biggest argument for file sharing - Radiohead.
    Practically give an album away online, then release the cd and it still goes to number one. I'd love to hear BPI explain how that is possible.

  • Comment number 22.

    The news article says that letters will be "sent to net users suspected of illegally sharing music"

    So they "think" you might be "illegally" sharing.

    What about the concept of proof before levelling accusations?

    I hope everyone who gets one of these challenges their ISP for proof.

    If I ever get a letter like that from my ISP then I'm going to ask for a formal apology from their MD and then I'll move somewhere else.

    Also like Laurie_M I have a lot of material on Vinyl which I've paid for once but apparently if I want digital copies I have to paid for it all again...

  • Comment number 23.

    This news comes only a couple days after the UK Film Council published figures on the size of the UK’s Video on Demand market (see chapter 12 of their 2008 Yearbook). Despite there being 13 million UK households (53% of the total) with a broadband connection in 2007, ‘the online VoD market remained small with estimated revenues of around £700,000.’

    Industry research estimates there were 127 million digitally-pirated movies in 2007, which cannibalised the official market to a value of £53 million. The time is ripe for some concerted action, whether that involves carrot (attractive legal downloading alternatives) or stick. http://www.biggerpictureresearch.com

  • Comment number 24.

    In the short term this may look like a good result for the BPI but long term I'm not convinced. As far as I can see both the major ISPs and the BPI are heading for long term trouble; short terms tactics and longer term strategy don't seem to be meshing very well.

    In a sense the music industry are partly responsible for their own problems. Two decades of aggressive marketing that commoditised music has led to an audience who treat it in exactly that way.

    Quite a few of the posts on here raise legitimate points about the mechanics of detecting so-called pirates as well as the dynamics of the music market. The latest news doesn't seem to address any of this. Indeed, if the youngest are the ones most responsible (and that's an interesting research question in itself), then we may find that those who do this most often will simply find other more covert methods to do this. Encryption has already been mentioned, but other methods like steganography are also available and are likely to become more common. What happens then?

  • Comment number 25.

    They just do not get it do they. The more they fight file sharing, the more the file sharing will be driven underground.

    The BPI have proven time and again that they are slow at reacting, whereas the P2P communities aren't. There is still no music site free of DRM in this country. They want full control to the point in harming consumer freedom, and want people to buy the same material on different formats. They won't stand for it. People have every right to download digital copies of material they already own, to use personally in the best way they see fit. Until they realise that (which they never will) then they will never, ever win.

  • Comment number 26.

    "You wouldn't go into a store and a cd would you? Well internet piracy is exactly the same"
    A famous quote that many members of the BPI and MPAA have uttered word for word.
    So lets examine this statement.
    Some people won't go into a store and steal a cd. Some people will. So this statement is already aimed at honest people!
    Now when the CD has been stolen from the store, the store has lost a product that it has bought, to sell and to make profit on. There is a missing good that if goes missing persistently, can threaten the business.
    Now lets say someone has downloaded a movie on the internet. They weren't bothered about it too much. They didn't go to see it at the cinema, and they didn't want to pay for it on DVD. They were quite happy to wait for it to come on TV. But then they found away they could watch it for free rather than wait for it to come to TV. So they download it. They didn't like it and thought it was rubbish. Probably why they didn't go and see it.
    So show me the missing goods and missing revenue. The person was never going to buy, but since it was free why not?
    Surely they would have been the ones robbed if they had paid for it? If they truly liked it then they would have gone out and bought it.
    The BPI and MPAA seem to be operating on the hypothesis that the customers would have bought there products, which is now way to run a business. You do not assume your product will sell. Chances are if they didn't go and see it, or buy it straight away then they are not that fussed about watching or listening to it.
    Best send out letters to anyone who owns some form of TV recording device, reminding them they can only keep the recorded property for a set ammount of time.
    Now this all applies to downloading illegal tracks. What about uploading them? What the BPI is demanding is to throw both uploaders and downloaders together. So I'll use one of their riduclous analogies on them. Mr.X sells copied DVDs at his market stall. Mr.Y has just bought one. There is a police raid. Who comes off worse?
    Obviously Mr.X. But in the online world, the person sharing the file would not be making a profit. However they are the ones that allow p2p and torrent sites to work. Is it fair that both uploaders and downloaders are treated equally. Well according to the law they have both commited different offences. In fact the person who has downloaded the file may have comitted no offence if he already owns the downloaded material (or buys it in a certain ammount of time).
    So sending out letters to these people is an attempt at bully boy tactics. Now I pay my TV license, but have any of you ever had the threatening letter from saying they are going to take you to court if you don't have one, and that you are criminal, and they'd be sending a man around to shoot you or something? Its the wording of it all. I got those letters at uni where I didn't have a TV, and was tempted to go and buy a TV and not pay for a license for being threatened when I hadn't done anything (obviuosly its says somewhere on the back in small print that if you don't have a TV your fine).
    The ISPs letter could well have the same effect here. We must remind you its illegal to illegally download copyrig . . .
    Now since its the BPI supplying the lists of downloaders to the ISPs, there are going to be a lot of people who don't even know what p2p is that will get letters. The BPI say they have an excellent program for finding illegal file sharers. This program managed to think a printer that was 'talking' to photocopying maching was filesharing (at a uni in America). Maybe the clue was in the name. Now what I want to know is how does this program differentiate between legimate p2p material (yes p2p is perfectly legal, its called the internet) and that which is not. Easy for catching the uploaders as they can download it off them and then view the file to see it is genuinely a copy. However just because it has the name doesn't make it an illegal copy, so they need the whole file as proof. But then they've downloaded an illegal copy, can they please be thrown off the internet. They could argue that they own the property so whack something of your own in a file called 'latestdirtyindiealbum.rar' etc and sue them!
    Now how do they know what has been downloaded. Yes they can see something is benig downloaded. If it is them doing the uploading to catch people out, they are in fact, as owners, legitmately giving it away for free. If they can see someone is downloading something from someone else, who can they prove that the file downloaded is an illegal copy of something.
    And this is where it all falls down for them. It has only ever been people who upload music and films that have been sued. People who download exclusively should be alright. So sending out a letter to Mrs.Smith because she used a peer to peer network to recieve a video of her grandson playing at the park (by the way this is not a paedophilia video!) which is comlpetely legal, is most likely to either cause her undue distress, or lead to her telling her ISP to **** ***.
    These letters will accomplish nothing apart from speeding up the evolution of p2p and torrent. If I recieve a letter I will be sending one back accusing my ISP of commiting war crimes because they have been used to send some communications across a battlefield.

  • Comment number 27.

    ISP's like this idea as they just send out the letters to their heavy users thus trying to scare them into using their "unlimited" connection less.

    ISP's do not like file sharing only because it uses their over sold bandwidth costing the ISP.

    If everyone would just stick to a bit of web and email then they will be happy to provide 100MB connections that nobody can actually utilise.

  • Comment number 28.

    Also I would just like to add that the figures that the organisations use are most likely incorrect. How exactly do they know the exact ammount of file sharing? They will have taken a sample space, which has a high rate of sharing, and then multiplied it up to the correct population. As a former maths and stats student I can tell you that you can use statistics to show anything you want, and just because a certain pattern might fit between two things, doesn't mean that they are related.

  • Comment number 29.

    If downloading music via BitTorrent is illegal, and the BPI is using BitTorrent to obtain the IPs of other people using it, then arent the BPI also committing an illegal act? I always thought that only the appropriate security services were allowed to indulge in criminal activity in order to catch criminals, not record companies.

  • Comment number 30.

    I made this comment on HYS but it may not get in there because rather than ranting on about this person is stealing or that person is stealing, it's a sensible solution.

    We already have a solution of sorts. Facts - music is out there. People will copy it. People will listen to it. Hopefully a lot of people will pay for it.

    When you listen to music on the radio or on the internet or on one of the on-demand services like last.fm or here on good old auntie, the artist gets paid because those services are licensed with the Performing Rights Society and Mechanical Copyright Protection Society. The Beeb pay this from our license fees, everyone else pays it through advertising and affiliate click-throughs for iTunes / Amazon / whoever.

    The point is that what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

    If my ISP can know that I am downloading music over p2p then rather than slap my hands for doing it, they should be charging me. And that money should then be going to the artists who produced that music.

    The MCPS/PRS should devise a per megabyte royalties charge for ISPs which the ISP can then pass on to customers who use p2p. And that's it. No silly letters. No dragging grandmothers through the courts. A sensible, mature, grown-up solution. How much would it be? I dunno, a few quid per month. It's the same as what they do for radio broadcast, tv broadcast etc. It's far better to regulate than to prohibit. Why criminalise kids? They want the music, let them have it, charge a little money for the privilege. There is no problem.

  • Comment number 31.

    @Steve Farr

    A couple of quid a month? So you have your vanilla connection (which can't do peer-to-peer without lots of hacking and using proxies and god knows what) and then you have your "normal" package which is £2/month more with the rest going to the music protection society.

    Yes they can whine that mp3 quality is poor (it is) and that these copies may not have been official downloads (but hey - you're getting paid, no?) and in the end we can start to focus the debate where it REALLY matters within music:

    Why are there so few opportunities for the talent that exists to come through?

    And maybe with this increased revenue we could start to invest in new talent, in new acts, in new music, rather than just waiting to see what we're spoonfed by the record companies / the PR hacks employed by bands to pump them on the internet. Just a thought.

  • Comment number 32.

    One of the big errors here is the idea that the BPI represent the whole of the music industry. Closer to the mark would be that they represent the industry side of things not the musicians who are actually producing the work in the first place. They don't represent me or any of the many musicians i know. Their actions are stifling the very market that i'm get into. How does that help the artist or the consumer?
    The mainstream music industry is trying to use protectionism to enforce an outdated business model. Guess what, that won't work. They are beginning to wake to this and some of them are coming up with subscription ideas and the like, but they have to realise that the whole model needs to change. The internet is an open forum and there are plenty of talented people out there, i think ultimately it will mean less money shared between more artists. So we will have fewer megastars (no great loss i reckon) and fewer industry people (also no great loss) but more musicians and more music.
    If the BPI et al actually got their heads around this and worked towards this end then they'd have a lot more support.

  • Comment number 33.

    the music industry is to blame for its own problems, and its war against customers is not going to win it any allies

  • Comment number 34.

    anybody else completely bored the music industry bleeting on about this issue?

    if they focused on playing catch up and gave some real alternatives to visiting a music store, perhaps they would start to change the way people get their hands on their music...

    perhaps music sales are dropping regardless of file sharing, perhaps people have more in their lives now than they did in the eighties and spend their time playing games, surfing the net or watching the hundreds of tv channels instead of 4 there used to be...

  • Comment number 35.

    The really strange thing with the the world wide recording industry is that it is acting like a totalitarian regiem, and is actively trying to attack it's own consumers.

    It really heads back to their old business model of the entire 20th century, where they had the consumer over a barrel and price fixed to a massive degree.

    The internet introduced "competition" in a strange way, and instead of moving to meet this with higher turnover of sale at a lower percent of profit (ending up with much higher total profits over all) they record companies are doing everything thing can to have their cake and eat it.

    This include crushing people privacy rights, as well as directly and patently illegal things such as the infamous Sony Root-kit issue.

    It just goes to show how money can buy you the law.

  • Comment number 36.

    the usual idiots are wheeling out pathetic justifications for stealing I see.

    If you actually enjoy music and movies and games, why are you all so determined to avoid paying for them, and forcing those companies who create them out of business?

    Can't you see how stupidly self-destructive that it?

  • Comment number 37.

    "if they focused on playing catch up and gave some real alternatives to visiting a music store, perhaps they would start to change the way people get their hands on their music..."

    so you haven't heard of itunes then?
    keep up kid!

    what's the next excuse you have for stealing other peoples hard work eh?

  • Comment number 38.

    "the music industry is to blame for its own problems, and its war against customers is not going to win it any allies"

    I see...... so is my local corner shop to blame for shoplifting?
    Far be it for the average british citizen to take any flipping responsibility for their actions!

  • Comment number 39.

    "I think they have overstepped the line here, and I think this will not work."

    Whereas the people knowingly taking other peoples work without paying are still on the right side of the line?


    GROW UP.

  • Comment number 40.

    I think people need to see this from the ISP's perspective for a second. They are not willinly signing up to help enforce BPI's stupid claims or attempt at legality, they are simply aggreing to send out letters which they themselves agree is ultimately pointless just to basicaly shut the BPI up.

    Effectively by agreeing to this step, they can claim they have been working with, and not against, the BPI when BPI eventualy (and inevitably) take this to through the courts to try and force the 3-strike rule.

    Maybe it won't work out that way, but if you look at it from this point of view then the reality is that this could actually turn out to be a good decision as it could very well reduce the chances of BPI getting their 3-strike rule placed - something which all the ISP's have already made clear they are very reluctant to do.

    This was basicaly Virgin Media's argument for doing the letters in the first place.

  • Comment number 41.

    Hi Susan,
    Its good to hear someone arguing the other side of the argument.
    First off, I think you have to make a seperation between music, film and software.
    With the advent of home studios an album can be produced for very little, and distrubuted on the net. If its good, the word can (and has) got out and before you know it the artist(s) are huge.
    Where does the current industry model fit into that?
    Yes, there will always be people who want to 'own' the album physically.
    Currently, the majority of the mainstream music industry do about as much for music as mc donalds does for food. Mass produced, unadventurous, money making safe bets. I can think of nothing better than using the internet to let 'the people' decide what is good and bad. Musicians will still be able to make huge money touring.
    This will obviously not work with the film/software industry


  • Comment number 42.

    #36 - #39 Susan King:

    Too many rants doesn't help your argument.

    Calling people idiots who give their opinions on a subject which is discussed worldwide, and who are very often in agreement doesn't help your argument.

    Accusing people (who may or may not be infringing copyright) of stealing shows your complete lack of legal knowledge.

    Sounding like a BPI stooge also doesn't help you argument.

    If you wish to reply to my comments then please use a coherent argument, and possibly in only one comment box.

    #30 uptoeleven:

    I understand your comment on royalty charging, and putting forward your solution, but there is a fundamental flaw in your idea. P2P is totally legal, and as there is no guaranteed way, even with deep packet inspection, to detect what is being transferred, how can you charge royalties for data that isn't covered by royalties. I think a lot of Internet users would be a bit miffed if their ISPs started billing them for downloading the many forms of royalty free software, or for downloading royalty free music - and come to that from watching the BBCs iPlayer. P2P could also catch Flash based adverts which are commonplace on most web pages these days, so your charging system could also end up billing you for watching adverts.

  • Comment number 43.

    @Susan King

    The BPI don't want you to know about LICENSING. They want you to think the pro-licensing lobby are supporting the freetards. Which is NOT true.

    The BPI are like the corner shop who begrudge paying the bills of their suppliers and charge huge unjustifiable mark-ups on out-of-date produce. Then they run a mob gang that go around closing down other corner shops.

    Shop lifting might be wrong, but then you have to ask how we got here!

    The industry should stop ripping off artists for a measly 8% of revenues. Licensing is about respecting the money supply, making sure artists get paid and charging consumers a fair and regulated price.

    It is not freetardism to suggest that it is wrong to criminalise music consumers. The BPI PR hype which the BBC seem to be blindly reporting has distorted the debate for too long now. Its about time we had some common sense debate.

  • Comment number 44.

    BPI said: "Musicians need to be paid like everyone else."

    Musicians should be paid, but NOT everyone else in that music industry. Musicians see less then 10% of CD sales and they see even less from "legal" Internet music downloads.

    BPI need to disapear or wake up. Charge people 30£ per year for unlimited filesharing would be fine. We want the unlimited piracy download tax. That is about £3 per month per user, charge people through taxes.

    They can forget about it if they think they can stop people or scare people. People are going to share files anonymously using encrypted p2p networks if they the ISPs start spying. Installing an anonymized p2p software is just as easy as it is to install and use BitTorrent, Kazaa, Limwire, eMule or napster. BPI, don't do it.

  • Comment number 45.

    I used to purchase a lot of music from iTunes, but i became increasingly disastisfied.

    The sample rates are POOR, 128kbps is not good enough to spend 79p a TRACK! I can't use the music how I like (DRM means i'm restricted in how and where i can listen to my music), i don't get anything tangible and they don't even offer to let you download the song again if yours gets deleted, corrupted or whatever. If my computer falls over, i lose my (crap quality) mp3. If my CD rack falls over, i pick up my CDs and still have brilliant audio.

    79p is NOT cheap for a song. £8 is not cheap for an album considering you get rubbish quality and nothing tangible. If i buy a CD for £10 i get a physical CD, i get a box, a booklet, a sample rate of 44100Hz. Plus, i'll copy it to my computer and put it on my iPod at 320kbps sample rate, i know its illegal, but what can they (the BPI) do?

    I will stick to CDs until music is offered DRM free, in a lossless audio format and at a reasonable price ie: 15p a track or £3 an album.

    I just can't believe the greed of the music industry.

    PS: don't sue / disconnect the users, do it to the providers of the illegal service.

  • Comment number 46.

    I don't fileshare myself but like many posters on this blog think the BPI are the problem not the solution. They wish it was still 1990. Well it ain't. To mix metaphors, that genie cannot be put back in the bottle.

    If the BPI announced that ALL the money from filesharing "licences" would go to the musicians and songwriters (maybe less a small admin fee) one would have more sympathy for them. Don't hold your breath...

    Oh, and filesharing copyright material is not a criminal offence, it's a breach of that copyright. We have discussed the difference ad nauseam on this blog recently.

    And all news media breach copyright every day. I'd risk a small wager that there are hundreds of breaches of copyright on the BBC website. It's impossible to police.

    What BPI really mean is "give us more money"!

  • Comment number 47.

    Oh, and also, artists may see less than 10% of music sales, but that is because they are paid up front to produce albums.

    Robbie Williams got paid £80m for 6 albums before they were made in his contract with EMI. So obviosuly the record label will take most of the profits from CDs to recoup this.

    EMI take the risk by paying large up front to hopefully make money later from sales. I don't have a problem with that, but they just want TOO much from the consumer.

  • Comment number 48.

    I think the point is missed.

    Like it or not filesharing is here and here to stay.

    I dont partake myself, but I see enough on my customers computers to know which way the wind is blowing?

    The battle was never between the ISPs and the recording industry - theyre both on the same side.

    And their battle is versus the consumer

  • Comment number 49.

    @5 SteveFarr

    You raise a very good point. Your measurement of royalties is a little crude, in reality you would use the tracker stats to find this out, you could really find out which songs had actually been downloaded, rather than the link clicks (which can be very inaccurate).

    It sounds like a great idea, all users pay £5pcm ontop of their broadband subscription and get access to a 'private' torrent tracker (where users are encouraged to seed), then users would get excellent service, all downloads would be tracked by the tracker and users could use the music how they like, unlimited downloads and DRM free, i think that would get near 100% sign up.

    Its a shame that the music industry just don't like trying something new.

    @20 Schnof
    It's not quite that simple, blocking bitTorrent is pretty simple as it uses specific ports to connect to the internet, where as e-mail all goes through the same port regardless of whether you would class it as spam or not.

    I don't think that ISPs should block anything, I'm paying for a connection to do what i want to do with it (if you get spam, sort it yourself), if i do something illegal, let the relevant authorities deal with it. But don't pass on my details unless the relevant court orders it.

    @36-39 Susan King
    Can't people like and enjoy something but see that they are being abused as consumers because they are being charged unfairly or the system is limiting how they use the product? Users want a product that isn't out the legitimately, that is the problem.

    There are alternatives, but when they are also over priced or not offering a proper service, then really they aren't alternatives at all.

    You clearly have your view point, but by lacking the ability to even understand or address peoples' points maturely simply make others group you with the BPI because you appear to be unwilling to listen and take on board what people are saying.

  • Comment number 50.

    #49
    @pigeonfriend

    You're right about the tracker stats of course. Please excuse my "count the clicks" simplification of the process - its what most people can relate to.

    Update

    The BBC again completely failed to present a balanced view in their 6 o'clock News tonight. No mention of the proposed license model. The BPI it seems are having all the PR in their favour.

    The Radio 4 Today Programme did handle things much better with Feargal Sharkey talking about 2 quid a month legalised P2P...
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_7522000/7522793.stm

    Finally Billy Brag has talked about licensing in The Guardian's CiF blog...
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/24/downloads.netmusic

    Enjoy.

  • Comment number 51.

    BBC News 19:22

    BPI got another shameless plug.

    Interview with a freetard who goes out and buys a CD if he likes it otherwise deletes the music. This kind of smugness only serves to make downloaders look stupid of course.

    Still no mention of licensing.

    Still no voice for artists/musicians.

  • Comment number 52.

    Laurie M,

    I buy vinyl. Haven't bought a CD in years. I asked the BPI about this via email as I'm a Virgin Media customer and they informed me it was illegal. As is ripping music to ipods at present!

    I told them the record industry was out of touch and consumers sick of being milked by 'best of's and limited editions with one extra song. They told me record companies play a huge role in the industry - basically PR/marketing as far as I can see.

    SubPop offer free download codes with some of their vinyl albums, as did a recent Daniel Johnson album I bought. I would be quite happy to go to court with a stack of vinyl and compare it to any mp3's I downloaded. If they sued me for that it would prove once and for all that the they only care about the ££.

    In general I am against filesharing, well on a large scale anyway.

  • Comment number 53.

    Do I as an artist earn any money from they sell of CD's?

    Yes I do, but it isn't enough to pay the bills, so I play at local pubs/clubs and make my money there (wich does pay the bills).

    I used the P2P (internet) to promote my music over and over, to great succes I might say.

    I don't belong to any record company, I don't want to, I saw the contracts they wanted me to sign, no thanks.
    And thanks to an indepentend CD producer I can make my own CD's (with all the freedom), and sell them at the preformances I give in wich way I get full profit from them, selling them at only 4 pounds 50 with a small profit of 3 pounds.

    Would I have been more succesfull if I did sign up with a recordlabel, maybe don't know, but do I really want to? I now live in a nice home in the centre of town, can do my shopping on my own. Offcourse some people will reconize me but that's okay, but I don't have to live in a 32 room palace and never able to see the outside world by other means than a TV. I can hang out with my family, friends etc without being scared to get papparazi fotographers on my back.
    Also I don't have any artistic freedom when I do sign.

    That all can come to an end whem this kind of stupid stuff is going on, and I have to beg to the recording industy to please contract me (old way).. and get rejected over and over again, that's the spirit lads..

    The BPI and recording industie is all about wich artist will make us the most money..

    I hope more artists are going to get out of the industrie and start for themselfs, using P2P (internet) for promotions, because that's the way to enjoy the artistic freedom we need.

    With that said, I uploaded and downloaded a lot of legal content trough P2P I hope I do get a letter from my ISP, we will see who will win the case before a judge.
    And if they presist on me stopping P2P activities than I don't need that 20MB line I'll downgrade to a 2MB line how about that, saves me some money also..

  • Comment number 54.

    BBC 9 o'clock News

    Well done BBC, you finally got band in the studio!

    Er, but the band from from the Dragon's Den. Not exactly representative though eh?

    These new kids haven't exactly engaged with the music industry in a conventional manner though, and they clearly haven't researched all the options.

    Come on Beeb, still waiting for someone to mention the word *License*!

    Get Feargal back on! We want Feargal! We want Feargal!

  • Comment number 55.

    Normally I read whats here but don't normally post myself, either due to lack of knowledge, the subject not being of one of sufficient significance to me to motivate me to do so or .

    However some of the comments here illustrate the number of people misinformed or happy to miss the point.

    In short, the BPI are wrong and out of touch and large sections of the public appear to have no understanding of what p2p software actually is and what their rights are relating to it.

    The first thing to clarify is that p2p software is in no way illegal, file sharing is not illegal and downloading music is not illegal.

    The illegal part relates to the data concerned. If the material you are sharing or downloading is copyrighted, then you are breaking the copyright, that is the illegal part. If I write a book and put it on the internet to be downloaded, anyone is allowed to. If I write a song, the same applies. If I create anything, file for copyright then distribute it, you can download it as long as you stick to the license (normally this means paying me, and not redistributing it for profit or as your own work)

    This whole thing is centered around copyright law, not misuse of software. If the BPI gets its way and starts disconnecting people for file sharing, then they are going to get hit by a whole avalanche of legal challenges, most of which they will lose. Whilst at university we used p2p software on the local network for a number of uses, but the one that used the most bandwidth and resulted in the largest downloaded files was the sharing of graphics files that we were working on in group projects. Since the BPI or anyone else cant examine what im sharing without breaking the law anyway, I can only assume that a warning would follow noting I had been file sharing, telling me what a bad boy I was. A warning for legally using a legal copy of some software to distribute the latests copies of my own work with co-authors working on the same reports? And threatening me with disconnection unless I stopped? Yeah, that will stand up in court.

    Back to the music issue:

    From where I stand, it appears that no one here is demanding free access to all the media they want, but they are acting in response to what they perceive to be a horrendous deal from the record industry distributors.

    The complexity of exactly what you are entitled to do with music or film once you have purchased it, and exactly what it is you are purchasing are complex, but rather than bickering about what you can and can't do, the BPI and others should be focusing on the gulf in their stance, and where their market stands.

    Currently if I buy a piece of music, I don't own the piece of music, I own a copy of it which I can use as I please (pretty much) as long as its not being used for the general public or my own profit. I AM entitled to copy it, within certain restrictions but these are so hard to enforce as to be impossible to police, and breaking the restrictions is not a criminal act, it is a breach of copyright which is a civil matter anyway. Plus they would have to prove you had broken them. This has been the status quo since cassettes came on the market, and will NEVER change. There will always be a way to copy music, as whatever hard format is available to industry, will become available to the mainstream consumer with a couple of years as hardware manufacturers seek to maximize their markets.

    The problem is that the deal with digital music is very very different. There are now ways to download music legally, however the formatting of them is so restrictive that it almost violates copyright law itself. Formats such as iTunes (though not just iTunes) seek to make it as difficult as possible to use their media in the same ways as any other form of purchased media.

    You cannot sell on a downloaded file in the same way as a CD, which is fair enough at first glance as they cant be sure you deleted your copy, but then they can't be sure you didn't copy the CD either...

    However restrictions of use of a digital file to one machine are a big issue. If I buy a CD it works in any f my CD players, whether at work, in the car, in my lounge it doesnt matter, the CD plays. Limiting of iTunes downloads to only operate on iPods is farcical, no one seeks to tell me I can only play that CD on one brand of player, why should mp3's be any different?

    This isjust one example of the problems. Should the record companies choose, they could end the problem once and for all.

    Offer a service that allows downloading of music without digital rights management rubbish, charge a fair price, (given that once a data file is made everything else is profit to be distributed among the relevant parties,) a decent (CD quality) bit-rate and a decent set of rights with your legal copy (such as the right to burn it to a CD should you so wish) and a huge market would develop. Imagine something like HMV online where you could buy a CD with say 20 tracks on it, but rather than having to accept someone else's choices you could choose your 20 and have the compilation emailed to you legally, with a decent quality. Or pure downloads, either way, there is plenty of room for the industry to make more money than ever before in a way that engages the music community rather than tries to fight it.

    The problem is a system like this would also allow smaller artists to approach big companies and sell their goods, and shock horror they wouldn't need a label. As long as they are securing enough downloads a week to make a profit for the distributor on keeping the data on their hardware it will remain. Maybe thats what the big labels are afraid of?

    As for comments like

    "If you actually enjoy music and movies and games, why are you all so determined to avoid paying for them, and forcing those companies who create them out of business?

    Can't you see how stupidly self-destructive that it?"

    The choose to ignore the fact that downloads could be used as a free marketing device, but they would rather fight it.

    "so you haven't heard of itunes then?
    keep up kid!

    what's the next excuse you have for stealing other peoples hard work eh?"

    See above notes on restriction of use of currently available downloaded formats, and getting a fair deal for the consumer. If you choose to be a toy for the big companies to milk into their purses its up to you, but many who can avoid being ripped-off will.

    "I see...... so is my local corner shop to blame for shoplifting?
    Far be it for the average british citizen to take any flipping responsibility for their actions!"

    Please go and read about ethics, it is commonly considered to be operating within the highest ethical plane if you act on what is morally acceptable and right for society rather than obeying the law of the land. Some laws or trading practices are unjust. We're people never to stand up to these kinds of situation, the excuse "I was only following orders" would come in to play a lot more.

    To take this a step further, I will apply my own wildly inappropriate analogy (to compete with copyright theft/theft links)

    We're the law of the land to say that copyright theft were a capital offense, punishable by death, would you then say the guilty should take responsibility for their own actions and face the death sentance without complaint, or would you concede that perhaps that was one situation where the law may need to be changed to better fit with what society considered acceptable.
    Hopefully you would choose the latter.

    From there, if the law or prevailing custom can be wrong on one occasion.... you see where i'm going with this. Think about it.


    "Whereas the people knowingly taking other peoples work without paying are still on the right side of the line?"

    Consider the vast number of artists who distribute for free via p2p to promote live tours where they, as artists can make some money, and compare that to the record companies signing artists, doing very little to help the creation of the music, but using "publicity" to retain 90% of the profits and consider then who is taking other peoples work and not really paying for it, and then trying to protect their precious golden goose from the evil free market... and reconsider where your line is.

    I know here that I have picked on the responses from one person, I have done this not to grind an axe but to highlight the distinct lack of public awareness of the situation. Then again, on one side you have the masters of publicity so its not hard to see who's views will be most widely distributed.

    GROW UP.

  • Comment number 56.

    You think its bad now???

    Wait until VirginMedia let people lose with their 50mb broadband.

    Sorry Fergal, my money is going towards a better cause ... a faster line speed!

    See you 'out there' :o)

  • Comment number 57.

    Non physical albums should be a fiver, then more money would go to the artist/label. You have to set an affordable limit to a product easy to pirate. I do not remember too many complaints in the C90 era where it was commonplace to 'tape' a friends album/s.
    If an ISP does not sign up to this act then they will simply make more money from the people leaving the ISPs who punish. This is a good news story for independent broadband suppliers.
    If people CAN share then they WILL share. Sharers will revert back to things like Hotline etc where they run virtual servers etc. Heavily encrypted data decoding by the ISP will be very expensive and next to impossible to police.

  • Comment number 58.

    another method not mentioned is news groups totally untraceable, the BPI and your ISP would have to hack into your machine to find out what you have been downloading (can i hear lawsuit in the wind), or get a court order to have your machine and or premises searched by the police, which no judge would allow on circumstantial evidence like an ip address which changes every time you reboot your modem.

  • Comment number 59.

    The BPI aren't concerned with raising revenue for the artists ...they are merely concerned with lining their own fat pockets!

  • Comment number 60.

    The BPI is thankfully an almost irrelevant organisation these days. In the past they had their little monopoly where they could rip off both artists and consumers to feed the fatcats. These days bands realise they can promote and distribute their music themselves and have no need for these parasites any more.

    This continued ploy of criminalising young people are the death throes of an organisation struggling to justify its continued existence. The sooner we see the back of the BPI the better.

  • Comment number 61.

    Guys, don't be suprised by the BBC not having balanced reports on their news programs.

    Its been ages since i've read an article on the BBC i felt was honest and balanced, the best example i have is of OiNK (a private torrent tracker that got taken down) (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tees/7057812.stm%29

    Their news reports were incredibly one sided and when i watched them, there wasn't ONE accurate fact about what OiNK actually was or did.

    I would like to think its because the journalists are ignorant, or they just feel the viewer doesnt have the brain power to understand whats really going on... But they probably do it on purpose.

    These comment boards are the only place where a balanced (or at least accurate) view can be taken from.

  • Comment number 62.

    This infringement of privacy is becoming a joke, the more the BPI and the ISP’s rant on about illegal downloads the more net users will look at a way of getting round these spying techniques.

    It’s very easy to stop your ISP knowing what you’re doing online by simply signing up with one of the many virtual private networks / VPN’s and creating a VPN connection on your PC.

    These services are sometimes referred to at “Darknet”, and the more they try to police the net the more users of the net will rebel by crossing over to the darkside.

    Using a VPN not only hides your browsing activity but also all your applications activities as well ?

    I’m currently using a VPN when I was posting this response and have no problems revelling my ip address as 83.233.180.31 as there is no way this will lead back to me.

  • Comment number 63.

    This is another shocking initiative that reduces freedom in the UK and that puts people under surveilance.

    The BBC (TV news in particular) has done a very bad job reporting this as a measure against the "piracy problem". Music piracy is a problem only for the major record labels. It's a great thing for consumers and for independent artists!

    The BBC reported that the "music industry" is in a crisis. This is just wrong: Profits in the "recording industry" are in decline, but the music industry as a whole is doing great. Music consumption has never been so high. Today many people have hundreds or thousands of music tracks on their PCs and mp3 players. How many people ten years ago would have had such a vast collection? How many of these collections would have included tracks by independent artists, DJ sets, podcasts, etc.

    This is a bad law by a bad government who is putting the interest of big record labels before people's choice and s privacy, and before the interest of independent artists.

    The BBC has done a poor job. It has been acting as a megaphone for the government and for BPI, rather than reporting objectively the facts and informing competently its audience.

  • Comment number 64.

    @ Susan King

    You seem to have your very strong opinion that doesn't look loike it can be swayed, unfortunately you are passing opinion on a subject you don't know much about.

    For instance, you mention these people are not paying someone for their hardwork.... Honestly, just how much do you think the artist earns per single and per album? I am not going to say you live in cuckoo-land, but instead you are very misguided.

    The facts of the matter is unless the companies start using the profits properly by paying the artists what they deserve (50% of all sales for a start instead of the measly few % they actually get) and a giving a product which is value for money then this will continue until the artists themselves are producing their own music and EMI etc are a distant memory.

    I download music illegally, and if I like the music I buy the music... same for movies.

    If I don't like it, then I don't buy it. Try before you buy is a legal right, and noboby... not you, not the music industry is ever going to get me to give that up... even if the British Government rules it out of our law!

  • Comment number 65.

    @Susan King continued....

    The artists make most of their money from Live sets in case you are wondering, Live sets which are independent of their labels.

  • Comment number 66.

    Digital Rights Management: isn't this the real issue? Illegal downloads don't have it, so (if you had paid for them) you would have something for your money which you could keep, use with different hardware, put on new storage media etc. With DRM you have paid for something which, in my experience, can lose all its value in weeks or months. Music with DRM is effectively an inferior product which nobody would freely choose unless it was cheaper and/or more convenient to acquire than the DRM free alternative. So, as donprestoni said earlier, the music companies could gain by abandoning DRM (which after all isn't on CDs) and selling high quality competitive products in the marketplace. Yes, some people will distribute these illegally, but I think most people would pay a fair price for a quality product that was convenient to buy. Music companies should not complain about losing sales when they are not even in the market.

  • Comment number 67.

    P2P OR Not P2P?


    That is the question, whether anyone is actually listening for or bothered by the answer is another thing entirely.

    Virgin Media's stance is not surprising considering it's roots within the music industry, but as so many before me have said, it's only a matter of time before the BPI loose out completely. Unless of course the music industry can embrace the Internet and it's appeal to the masses.

    However, I think I have found something which appears to contradict Virgin Media's approach to issue of piracy.

    http://www.virginmedia.com/help/videos/video5.php

    The above link takes you to a Virgin Media page which shows a demonstration video of Virgin Media's V+ service.
    The video cearly states at 2 Mins 26 secs, that the users can create a copy of pre-recorded TV programmes onto DVD writeable media utilising the V+ service.

    I find this contradictory to the recent stance of the service provider. who will penalize people for downloading TV programmes, Movies et al, but actively gives people the facility to create their own pirate copies of tele-visualized content, content which they do not own.

    It's just another faux-pas waiting to be erased from the public arena by a company that is too large and too confused, just like the rest of them.

 

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