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Darren Waters

UK takes tough stance on piracy

  • Darren Waters
  • 12 Feb 08, 08:42 GMT

The news that the UK government is considering legislation to ban people from the net if they are found guilty of online copyright theft is a dramatic escalation in the battle against "piracy".

Music on computer discIf the law were enacted it would turn ISPs, like BT, Tiscali and Virgin, into a pro-active police force who would have to monitor traffic on the internet in order to look out for copyright files being swapped online.

This legislation would mean the UK would have the most stringent and prohibitive anti-piracy laws in the world.

It would be a technical challenge for ISPs to do this. Monitoring traffic that is shared using file-sharing tools like BitTorrent is perfectly feasible - as the programs use specific internet ports. In fact, ISPs already monitor file-sharing traffic across the net in order to shape the flow of information - prioritising certain bits of data over others.

Knowing where to look isn't the problem; knowing what to look for is. Every day many terabytes of data are being shared over the internet using file-sharing tools. Individual packets of information can be inspected - but who can tell if Person A is sharing an MP3 file of his own band performing with Person B or if it's the latest Kylie track?

Would all digital content have to be watermarked? Would ISPs have responsibility for this? If not, who would?

And there is evidence that more people are encrypting files that they send over peer to peer networks, making it difficult to know exactly what they are sharing. That may give rise to further suspicion but will ISPs be given powers to force users to decrypt their files?

Internet service providers have long been loath to become the net police - for obvious legal and financial reasons. They see themselves as passive conduits, like a road network or the postal system.

The global record industry has been quick to back the government's proposal.

"It is simply not acceptable for ISPs to turn a blind eye to the piracy on their networks which is at such a rate that there are 20 illegal music downloads for every legal track sold," said John Kennedy of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industries.

Digital rights activist will be outraged by this move, I'm sure. Monitoring our internet traffic will have huge privacy issues.

No-one can deny that the scale of copyright theft is mammoth. A cursory glance at a website like The Pirate Bay revels thousands of films, TV programmes, albums, software programs etc being shared across the net.

But there is legitimate debate about what this means to the global content industry and to consumers. Does it signal a seismic shift in the way people want to pay, use and share their content, and what we understand by copyright? Or is it wholesale theft that needs to be stamped out user by user by user?

UPDATE:

As I suspected, there are already warnings about the privacy implications of this proposal as well as warnings about how big a technical challenge it would be.

Patrick Charnley, solicitor in the media group at international law firm Eversheds, comments: "In practice, however, the government's proposals may prove difficult to implement. How, for example, would an ISP deal with a person downloading legal peer-to-peer content ?

"If an ISP has to monitor exactly what each user is doing on sites normally known for their illegal content, not only may this be an unacceptably onerous task, but it may also land the ISPs on the wrong side of privacy law."

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 10:00 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Antonio wrote:

Big Brother Government (trying to protect the profits of their paymasters !) - getting their 'stasi' to spy on the people - report illegal downloaders today - what tomorrow ? spy and report on people passing 'free speech' ??!!.

  • 2.
  • At 10:01 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • George wrote:

This is all well and good, but will just lead to a hike in internet prices as the ISPs have to spend huge amounts on new technologies to enforce this.

  • 3.
  • At 10:44 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Adrian Hall wrote:

the internet is not just a right: it is a fact of life in the modern world. baning someone from the internet is unjust irrational.

I am sick of stating my views on anti-piracy "activists". the fact is that the internet is changing the world and if a business wants to compete suing the customers is a bad idea. if you don't want me to download something, convince me to buy it.

  • 4.
  • At 10:45 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Neil wrote:

I'm not sure what to make of all this, personally I seriously doubt that this is possible not only technically due to the affore mentioned encryption that the majority of BitTorrent clients employ for the most part to evade ISP traffic shaping and some USENET servers provides but also logistically since as afore mentioned we're talking about terabytes of data per day passing though an network - that's an awful lot of data to process.

It's also noteworthy that if such legislation is enforced then EVERYONE can expect to see their monthly fee paid for broadband internet to rise sharply so that ISP's can afford the extra staff to process this enormous amount of work as leaving something as delicate as customer relations to computers is a no-no.

On the topic of piracy then obviously stealing is wrong, I hold my hand up and acknowledge that when I download a movie via ThePirateBay I am in effect stealing. However I also believe that our copyright laws are out of date and need some form of reform to acknowledge fair usage but of course such reforms would need to be respected by downloaders to be worth while. This however is another topic and one that is addressed by the torrent weblog TorrentFreak.

  • 5.
  • At 10:52 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • nick wrote:

Will this mean all companies that make crowbars will be liable for any theft/damage done by their product?

Or perhaps knife companies having to check users of there knifes to make sure nothing illegal is being done with them.... i think not

  • 6.
  • At 11:01 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Lee wrote:

Every few years a new threat appears. This is the most severe so far, however everytime a new threat is issued, more people start file sharing and they get smarter.

First we had the p2p networks like napster, they shut napster down and hundreds spawned with millions more users. They started hitting them and targetting users, people swith to torrents and millions more join in. Now they want to target the networks.

People will find a way around it again very quickly (look at iphone cracks for example) and if everybody is now going to pay for it... everybody might as well do it.

Exactly how is the ISP supposed to keep track of what all their users do all the time?

Can you imagine the post office opening, reading and indexing the contents of every letter?

This is a ridiculous idea, the ISP has no more liability for traffic passing through their network than Amey highways has for people driving down their roads with no insurance.

  • 8.
  • At 11:08 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Mark V wrote:

I think that all "service" providers share responsibility. The crowcar/knife argument doesn't hold water as alcohol providers have a liability as do many other retailers.

The big problem here is that this should have been stamped on years ago by the record companies and film studios. Once the fox is in the henhouse the damage is done, if they had locked up the first filesharers for ten years then that would have stopped it.

I mean Tesco and HMV don't let shoplifters walk out the door, they prosecute. I'm sure even "crowbar" retailers take payment for their goods.

Nowhere in the article do I see evidence that the green paper intends to penalise those who "download". The verb used is "share", which is not the same thing. But then I guess it wouldn't be much of a story for the beeb...

  • 10.
  • At 11:11 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Sam wrote:

Perhaps if this countries prices weren't such a rip off, we wouldn't be doing this sort of thing, and even then I'm sure the people with any savy will be importing products to again, get the better prices.

High street stores are just too much now for games, DVDs and music, the industry has to realise this before any of the pirates will stop their downloading.

  • 11.
  • At 11:11 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Geek wrote:

Simply stupid.

While they are at it why not:
Force the Royal mail to inspect all CD/DVD shape parcels to make sure they aren't pirated.
Every Market/Car Boot stall should be inspected (and I don't just mean the random Trading Standards Checks) to make sure they don't have any Pirated Material hanging about.
Also surely swapping Stickers and Trading cards in school playgrounds should be banned, those kids should be buying extra packs to comlpete there sets not simply swapping them for free in full unaltered quality.

While I'm on this soap box (which I'll get off soon!) how exactly is downloading a movie/album for free helping organised crime. Always wondered about that but often the Internet Download Piracy and Buying a dodgy DVD from some bloke in the pub are combined which is wrong.

OK rant over...

  • 12.
  • At 11:11 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Max wrote:

This is most definatly a bad thing. I thought the whole point of the internet was that it was open and there were no police. Isn't this a little bit like the Great Firewall of China. How long until we are blocked from searching for certain things?

  • 13.
  • At 11:12 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Richard Fish wrote:

There is a simple answer to this, get as many innocent people banned as possible by using unsecured wireless networks set up by uneducated home users. Or crack weak security ones.

Once innocent people are getting banned for these sort of acts it will all crumble and end up being a sticky mess.

What a shame that his is more of the UK goverment giving less of the UK people what they want. The Brown era really is looking brown.

  • 14.
  • At 11:13 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Gordon wrote:

A couple of years ago when I was using dial-up a small file was surreptitiously planted on my computer over the internet which racked up telephone charges which I was held liable for. When I spoke to British Telecom to report it, they said they could not offer compensation as the profit of these illegal 'calls'did not belong to BT but that they were only the provider. I said they should be held responsible for allowing such an illegal activity on their lines but to no avail. At the time I knew another 3 people who were charged a total of around £700 through the same scam! This was only the people I knew who were 'robbed' by this activity. If the change to online laws were to happen would this mean that the telephone provider would be held responsible and be able to be sued for this?

  • 15.
  • At 11:14 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • s wrote:

sure.. stop d/ling pirated stuff.

and what do you see in the carpark in your nearest supermarket?

some bloke who's selling dodgy dvd. you can bet they can just get a master dvd from somewhere off the post and not have to worry about isp tracking what they are doing.

if china can't monitor most of what people type, let alone what people send, what makes them think uk can?

I'll be dead happy for my isp to open every single email, encrypted or not, that belongs to the riaa and what not, in the name of looking for pirated stuff. and then read them all.. and then for an irresponsible employee to leak all them mail.

  • 16.
  • At 11:14 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Pete wrote:

Another great New Labour initiative. Next we'll see a database of every citizen's fingerprints and DNA. Oh sorry, that legislation's already been passed.

If the government is - backed by the record industry of course - going to enforce such daft legislation, does that mean that (in order to keep the playing field level) that the government will then ALSO enforce the Royal Mail (and all other couriers) to open every item of post that they handle to ensure that they too are not facilitating any form of piracy?

  • 18.
  • At 11:19 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • James wrote:

Completely media sounds bites... Sorry, it will never work.

The people who create file sharing software love a challenge, if you monitor data on a certain port, they will just change the port and/or the data (for example, it will become encrypted).

I agree with the (blog) statement about the postal service/road, etc. should the royal mail open every letter to check that your not sending a copied CD? I don't think so.

  • 19.
  • At 11:21 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Andy wrote:

If this does in fact come into force it will be pointless in having the fast speeds that some ISPs offer. Will these ISPs reduce their speeds along with their pricing to suit a user that does not download illegal content? High speeds are not necessary for email checking and casual web browsing. Its therefore in the interest of all ISPs to stand up to the government and reject what is being proposed in order to preserve their networks and profit margins.

  • 20.
  • At 11:22 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Gordon wrote:

This is technically very tricky and may actually be illegal. The entertainment industry needs to realise that (whatever they tell you) Lawyers do not have the answer to this problem. But it's just possible that artists do.

People pay extra for Branded trainers and colas (for example), rather than supermarker brand stuff at 1/5th the price. You have to be subtle about it, but you can convince someone to pay extra for "the real thing". People just have to think that they want an "original", rather then a "copy".

But setting the lawyers on everyone in sight is probably easier than actually fixing your defective product.

When did it become the job of the ISPs to police the internet? Everybody knows the figures of loses made by the entertainment industry are made up. I don't defend piracy but I am also against things like this.

  • 22.
  • At 11:23 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Jane wrote:

As an old fogey of 40+, I still recall the fuss made by record companies about people taping LPs, singles, etc. They claimed that they were losing money because the people doing the taping would have bought the records if they could not tape them. In the case of my friends and I, this was certainly wrong. We couldn't afford to buy all the records we wanted to listen to, so we still wouldn't have bought any more, we would have just stuck with listening to them at each other's houses. By buying blank tapes we were actually putting something back into the economy!
I would think today's teenage file sharers are quite possibly using BitTorrent etc in the same way.
As to older users, the record/film/software companies are not doing themselves any favours. In a way, the file sharing services are giving them free advertising: if I like an .mp3, I may wish to find out more about the band concerned, I might even book a ticket for a live show (I can't share *that* on the net!)
I have heard they are also moaning about You Tube. Are they mad? You see a grainy video and think it looks good, but the quality is rubbish. The solution? You go out and buy the DVD!
Grow up, record industry!!

  • 23.
  • At 11:23 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Richard wrote:

This proposal is insane. Pirates can deploy encrypted protocols faster than ISPs can deploy monitoring technology.

money spent developing an anti-piracy system will likely be voided by the enterprises of people who like a programming challenge and who work for free.

If the ISP makes a false accusation and pulls the connection of an innocent person, the ISP will eventually bear the legal costs.

If the ISP fails to intercept pirated data, then who is liable?

More to the point, if you punish something that over 6 million people do, you will only ever be able to prosecute a minute fraction at any one time.

How then do we know these powers will be used to protect copyright rather providing a license to force offline any given `undesirable' while turning a blind eye to the many others?

  • 24.
  • At 11:25 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Chris wrote:

Instead of forcing the ISPs to police the content downloaded by their customers, wouldn't it be much simpler to introduce a levy on ISPs - analogous to the one imposed on blank cassette manufacturers in the 1970s ?

That way content providers can allow consumers to use the existing infrastructure to share copyrighted material - and they receive a proportion of ISP income to reflect the fact that it is the availability of their material which prompts many internet users to sign up for broadband services.

And the whole idea of copyright violation goes away because downloaders are explicitly paying for copyrighted content as part of their ISP subscription.

  • 25.
  • At 11:28 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • E Crusater wrote:

Funny isn't it, how the Government can contemplate this kind of control to protect the profits of big business but not to catch the purveyors and downloaders of child porn. some moral compass you have there, Gordon.

  • 26.
  • At 11:28 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • simon barfield wrote:

bring on the police state.

  • 27.
  • At 11:29 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Matt wrote:

Can't wait until the next general election to vote big brother out. What a joke. Violent crime is rising, drug use is rife, terrorism has gripped the globe and their worried about people trading files online?

Surely the government is elected to serve the will of the people and if the vast majority want to download then the government should legalise it, not ban people from the internet and spy on them. Gatso camera's for the internet are here, what's next? One in the front living room too?

  • 28.
  • At 11:29 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Ex-Top40 radio onto tape recorder wrote:

This is typical of the British Govnt to propose such draconian ideas. The entertainment industry needs to move into the future and embrace what the market wants. TV Broadcasting as we know it is dead. We want to watch what we want when we want to watch it and not waste 20+ mins of every hour on adverts. FACT. Apple Itunes moved with the times and now controls the official MP3 download market. Next it will be paid subscription for unlimited ondemand instant tv shows and films. Hopefully, sport viewing limitiations will be removed to allow this for sport as well. I want to be able to watch just my football team in my home every week.(I have never paid for any Sky TV b4, but would pay for this!! COME ON SKY) Profits are actually increasing from people legally buying entertainment. Some people will always want it 4 free, you will never stop this. (tapeing the top40 off the radio etc). So instead of alienating your customers become the market leader in developing a product that meets the needs of the modern world, at a fair price that we will pay for and you can make your huge profits. Stop blaiming piracy for your refusal to move with the times.

  • 29.
  • At 11:29 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Jono wrote:

Even if you don't encrypt, how can you properly inspect a packet or packets and know what it is part of - how can you be sure that that individual piece being sent over bittorent is part of a song or part of a Linux ISO without actually assembling the whole file and decoding it? And how can you assemble the whole file reliably? I don't know the internal workings of the bittorent protocol, but as it assembles files out of order and you can potentially have multiple torrents active at once, it isn't impossible that the packets sent don't include enough info to reassemble the whole file. I'm wittering now, but you probably see what I'm getting at.

  • 30.
  • At 11:30 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Trebor901 wrote:

This is totally wrong, yes downloading pirate software is against the law but to ban someone from having internet access is rather pathetic

  • 31.
  • At 11:30 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Mike Hulden wrote:

I do not see Indian , Chinese or African industry getting any money either way ...Its mainly USA. The downloaded films usualy are of a much lesser quality then the origonals and are by far not compeating with the Original. The only reason that this should be taken to court for ,is that "Western media producers" incl Microsoft are producing at prices that are only obtainable by People in EU and USA etc with a job....
Please Get real , from where does a teen from Africa or Asia get 150-300 Euro to buy a XP or vista program . So as long as the prices are discriminating ,as long there will be a LARGE DEMAND. Fair marketing creates fair customers.

  • 32.
  • At 11:30 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Wesley Williams wrote:

I'd be very interested to know how an ISP could decide what was a legal download and what was not. For example, play.com launched a totally legal mp3 download service today and closer to home the BBC and Sky both provide digital video download services which use P2P technology. So even if an ISP can detect that a packet moving across the network is a piece of a video or music file, how in the hell are they supposed to work out if it's a legal packet or not? Technologically impossible! Oh and why not let the post office open our mail while we're at it.

  • 33.
  • At 11:32 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Annikk.exe wrote:

The proposals are absurd. This is like saying "lets make it illegal to breathe air that contains more than 25% oxygen". How are you going to monitor this, exactly?

The argument that ISPs can detect torrent traffic because it uses a specific port is so moot it's not even funny. Any good torrent program allows you to specify a custom inbound port, and also includes built-in [optional] encryption. Then there is the new torrent system the makers of pirate bay are working on, which serves to further anonymise the pirates.

Since the RIAA and similar organisations forced Napster to shut down, I have not purchased any music legally - out of principle, and out of spite. I will resume occasional legal purchases when they stop riding us.

Trying to prevent piracy goes against human nature. The majority will always choose to obtain things for free, rather than pay for them. My fellow humans and I will fight this every step of the way.

  • 34.
  • At 11:32 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Jonathan wrote:

There is also an issue here about what causes some elements of piracy.

Many people in the UK have HD television sets now but the amount of HD programming is minimal. The only way (for example) to watch American TV shows in HD is to download them - when they eventually come to UK TV they are only broadcast in low definition.

For the movie industry, movies are shown in America many months in advance of the UK frequently so people are left with the choice of downloading something they really want to see now or waiting an ages (sometimes six months) to see it here.

None of the above excuses theft, but a pro active solution from the media companies would be to easily enable this content to be accessed at a fair price at the same time and at the same quality all over the world.

  • 35.
  • At 11:33 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Stuart Webster wrote:

This is not really enforcable. It would just change the way people download their software, you can easily connect to a binary news server using an SSL encrypted connection, then nobody not even the ISP would know what you were downloading. I dont think any ISP is ever going to Block Usenet. It would be like blocking HHTP so people couldnt get to dodgy sites.

  • 36.
  • At 11:34 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • T wrote:

I will hold my hand up and admit it. I've downloaded stuff from torrent sites before (mostly episodes of TV shows that are on in America but that I would have to wait months or more for here). However, what I download is for my own personal use- I don't burn it to DVD and flog it to my mates- and I delete it once I've watched it.

This plan is unfeasible and certainly unworkable- extra cost to the consumer, plus a fair proportion of the net-using populace would be struck off. Downloading is extremely prevalent: loss of revenue to ISPs there. Besides, who is going to monitor the information? Policing the internet is a fool's errand. For every site that will get closed down, ten more will spring up.

  • 37.
  • At 11:35 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • dripfeed wrote:

Argument: the entertainment industries lose most of their revenues to people who copy media rather than buy.

Garbage.

VERY FEW of those who copy would buy if they had no other choice. It's a fact that the software industry has known for years.

If you make copying a product impossible, the vast majority of people simply live without the product.

This proposal beggars belief. It comes as no real surprise however, given this country's slow, creeping slide into fascism.

How do so many sociopaths end up in our government? I don't think I've ever been more despised as a citizen.

  • 38.
  • At 11:38 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Encrypted wrote:

It is not possible for ISP's to use brute force decryption on all the encrypted streams. This would be well beyond there server power and the only people in the uk who currently able do this are GHCQ.

  • 39.
  • At 11:39 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Ashley wrote:

The idea that the record labels and film studios lose a significant amount of money from illegal downloads is preposterous.

First of all, to try and stamp out the myth that it is like stealing from a shop, the vendor loses no stock and has no production costs for the copy that has been made: the copy does not cost the vendor anything.

Secondly, the assumption that the people downloading music or films would pay for them if they could not get hold of them for free is baseless. A guy who downloads an album from ColdPlay for free is not likely to be the same guy who would head down to HMV and fork out 15 quid for it. Someone who downloads a shaky-cam film of a new release for free is really not the same guy who cares about paying 7.50 for the cinema experience.

What we are witnessing is the dying throws of a dinosaur. The labels and studios are desperately trying to cling on to business models that no longer work: pinning it on illegal downloads is a great deflection technique that is working wonders with their geriatric board members and our technophobe politicians. People want on demand; they want choice; they want what they want, when they want at a price they are prepared to pay. If that price is £0, then look at other business models to take advantage of it, for example in-film advertising, adverts tacked on to legal downloads, reducing marketing costs, rental, the list goes on. The meteor has hit (or the volcano exploded or whatever ;-) and the dinosaurs are slowly dying off: roll on the evolutionary explosion of the small and the nimble. If Google can make vast amounts of money from mouse clicks in this new world, then there is a bright future in online film and music.

Innovate, don't legislate!

  • 40.
  • At 11:42 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Alex Bowers wrote:

It's nice to know that the government is willing to spy on its population to protect the profits of record companies and its tax revenues but has not made the same suggestion to spy on people sharing child pornography or happy slapping videos on the internet. The truth is that, for either case, this plan is unworkable due to encryption, proxies and anonymous sharing of wireless networks. Not to mention cost...

  • 41.
  • At 11:42 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Chris wrote:

Modern Britain.

Another day - another law - another mess.

  • 42.
  • At 11:44 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • sean wrote:

they will never stop us !

  • 43.
  • At 11:46 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Angelus_27 wrote:

I think the media industries business model/copy write model is outdated, this is no different from when the cassette record was first released, from when the VCR became mainstream, or when the CD Recorder became mainstream; media companies were afraid they would lose revenue because people could copy music, record programs and films off TV and copy music and other media respectively.
The market managed to adapt then they found new revenue streams embracing the new technology rather than stopping people using it, they should be willing to adapt now as the world won’t stand still! The world has moved on and they need to move on as well!

Quite how the government expects ISPs to monitor every bit of traffic that passes through their network is anyone’s guess.

It is again indicative of the music industry’s insistence on spending their money on lobbying for legislation to protect a failing business model, rather than adapting to the changing face of music.

They need to realise that it's not just about CD sales. It's about the artist as a package - merchandise, tours, fan clubs and the music.

  • 45.
  • At 11:47 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • John H wrote:

If implemented, this will kill the web stone-dead in the UK.

The story always gets reported as a matter of evil "pirates" sitting in their bedrooms sharing thousands of movies and music tracks. But how do you draw a line between that and someone posting a copyrighted image on their Facebook page, or forwarding an email containing copyright material to their friends, or quoting from an article in a blog post, and so on.

Two predictions as to what will happen if this comes in:

1. It will do almost nothing to combat unauthorised copying and sharing of copyright material.

2. It will randomly and arbitrarily penalise people who will find themselves cut off from the internet and blacklisted because their children (say) got caught sharing a few songs online.

The moment a politician starts saying "three strikes and you're out", you know you're about to hear something ignorant, populist and dangerous.

  • 46.
  • At 11:50 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Jason wrote:

What if I'm an MP downloading MP3's from one of my constituents, would my fundamental rights to privacy be protected then>

  • 47.
  • At 11:50 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • mel wrote:

will i be banned from singing if when walking down the street i decide to start humming my favourite tune or should i charge the record company etc because i am advertising their songs, this will be the death of the music industry! and should only the rich be allowed to listen to music, i say start writing and playing your own music get together with a few freinds, just play!! ITS FREE!!

  • 48.
  • At 11:50 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • A N Onymous wrote:

Not only would this enforcement be extremely costly for ISPs to implement, but it would also impact their business in other ways.

Many ISPs currently market their more-expensive internet accounts to file-sharers on the basis of 'unlimited' monthly usage. If illegal file-sharing is to be stopped by these methods, then home users may only require cheap low-use internet accounts.

Can you imagine any other industry where companies are forced by legislature to take their top products off the market, and then ban their most-lucrative customers?

  • 49.
  • At 11:53 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Robert Seddon wrote:

One might have imagined that the government, traditionally holding an effective monopoly on policing, would see less advantage in privatising it. I am curious, though, to know whether ISPs' staff will now take the same oath as Special Constables:

'I [SAY YOUR NAME] do solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm that I will well and truly serve the Queen in the Office of Constable, with fairness, integrity, diligence and impartiality, upholding fundamental human rights and according equal respect to all people; and that I will, to the best of my power, cause the peace to be kept and preserved and prevent all offences against people and property; and that while I continue to hold the said office I will to the best of my skill and knowledge discharge all the duties thereof faithfully according to the law.'

For such is the proper nature of policing.

  • 50.
  • At 11:53 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Paul Fleetwood wrote:

I'm just glad that the government are listening to their electorate, as everyone I talk to says the amongst the top governmental priorities should be protecting the out of date business model of the music industry.

Seriously, It would be nice if the monopoly and mergers commission had a little look at the BPI, as I find it astonishing that all albums seem to have roughly the same price, regardless of how old they are and how much they cost to produce.
It's almost like the public have been taken for a ride, and have grown sick of it.

  • 51.
  • At 11:57 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Sharon wrote:

Lots of good comments which I agree with..
Consider that the UK suffers more than the US because like most things in the UK, DVD's and CD's are far more expensive than in other countries.

If you don't want me to download it, entice me into buying it by lowering the stupid price.

Don't forget you'll also have to ban DVD rental as well because people will just copy those instead. I agree that it will be the kids trading cards next.

A Jolly good wheeze to pass more ridiculous costs and taxes down to the end consumer

  • 52.
  • At 11:57 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • David Watkins wrote:

Im sure most of the country would rather use this said technology to find and arrest pedophiles that send and share child porn, but as usual the government wants to yet again turn a blind eye to such things and concentrate on prosecuting the general public.

  • 53.
  • At 11:58 AM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Nom wrote:

It won't work.

Every time the legal enforcement route is tried, people find a way around it. One encrypted file looks like another. And they are all invisible via an encrypted link to a proxy server. Other techniques will be developed.

The net result will be a massive increase in ISP charges and a huge political cost for the government.

The entertainment industry needs to ajust its business model for the information age.

  • 54.
  • At 12:02 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Lee wrote:

As stated above by George, prices will rise because of ISP's having to enforce it, then after the estimated 6 million people have been caught and banned from using the net the prices rise once again resulting from the loss of customers.

Sams got it spot on, the fault lies with companies overcharging us for goods in the first place, lower the prices and it may result in less pirating

arghhhh me matey.

  • 55.
  • At 12:03 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Jonny Pepmen wrote:

I think it is quite simple, there needs to be a compromise. Give net users a realistic quota. If you go over the quota then you should face punishment. That way they get what they want and record companies reduce their losses. As far as I am concerned this is the best solution.

  • 56.
  • At 12:04 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • miza wrote:

A new bit-torrent protocol is already on its way, more secure and very difficult to decrypt this("stuff stance") was seen coming from miles away, I will bet you anything this wont work.

  • 57.
  • At 12:04 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Lee wrote:

As stated above by George, prices will rise because of ISP's having to enforce it, then after the estimated 6 million people have been caught and banned from using the net the prices rise once again resulting from the loss of customers.

Sams got it spot on, the fault lies with companies overcharging us for goods in the first place, lower the prices and it may result in less pirating.

  • 58.
  • At 12:09 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • cj wrote:

big brother strikes again - yes downloading is illegal and the film/record companies lose money through people doing it, yet they still pay actors, directors etc millions for each film - they're hardly on the breadline now are they?! this country is getting worse and worse for controlling people.

  • 59.
  • At 12:17 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Tony wrote:

This idea is ill-conceived and simply ridiculous, and in the extreme. The UK government are pandering to the whimsical demands of the music and film industries etc. No doubt, their sole desire is to relieve themselves of a burden that could potentially open them up to future legal challenges by forcing a 3rd party to undertake both the cost and possible risk of implementing a unnecessary and totalitarian solution. It's mooted ideas such as this that go a long way towards demonstrating that the UK government and it's members are undemocratic, technologically myopic and simply don't want to hold a hot potato. But perhaps more importantly it demonstrates their commitment to the idiology that monetary interests and a lack of liability reigns supreme.

As you say, people could simply encrypt all data sent over P2P networks and other channels, after all it is a trivial process. What would the government do then... Extend current legislation concerning failure to reveal passwords to cover P2P data? Absurd! (Anyway, there are possible methods one could employ to circumvent this legislation). Then there is the issue of increased costs that ISPs will bear, which will no doubt be passed on to the consumer.

There are so many potential flaws and privacy issues with this idea that, were it not so serious, it would be laughable. It's just hilarious that the UK establishment believes every word that issues from the media behemoths (who IMHO could have approached this matter far more sensibly over the years).

Perhaps if many large media and software companies took a long, hard and honest look at their pricing structures and profit margins they would note that they are perhaps a large part of the problem.

3 words spring to mind; Head, bucket, sand.

  • 60.
  • At 12:18 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • AA wrote:

When will the "entertainment industry" wake up?

  • Prices are far too high, epsecially outside the US. I am supposed to pay £15-£20 for a DVD, but see some Hollywood celebs swanning about on the red carpet in $10,000 dollar outfits?
  • I purchase some music online, but I am limited to the players I can use to listen to it?
  • I'm supposed to throw away all my old DVDs, player and TV then buy all the stuff I treasure again, on a different format that no-one can agree on - HD-DVD or BluRay.

Meanwhile, a few enlightened folks ( Prince, Radiohead ) give away their stuff in order to create further demand.

If you want to stop piracy, get rid of the treasure. Arrrr!

  • 61.
  • At 12:23 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • I Masters wrote:

Yet another proposal from a Government that is so out of touch with the public is has completely missed the real problems!
There are far bigger problems on the internet than illegal downloads; what about child pornography for example? Ban the user(s) who access that material!
Oh yes and where is this money supposed to come from that's going to pay for this internet police... oh yeah, the already over-taxed consumers!

Bring on the General Election!

  • 62.
  • At 12:34 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Rene wrote:

I think Radiohead got it right recently by asking the consumer to contribute whatever they liked in order to download the album. However, why not go one step further and ask for the contribution AFTER the consumer has had a chance to listen or watch and then give what they feel is an appropriate fee according to their enjoyment. At least this way something can be earned and the ability to give in return will appease many a conscience.

  • 63.
  • At 12:41 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Harry wrote:

The closest comparison I can think of to this are the pirate radio stations of the sixties. Those only went away when what they were doing became legal, why do the record companies/government think it is any different this time. People have found a way to work around the system, all that can be done is to change the system, not to sue people back into the old one.

  • 64.
  • At 12:51 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • John wrote:

I am in complete agreement with David Watkins (comment no 52). If this technology is so easy to implement, why isn't it being used to catch people who download child pornography rather than protect the interests of big business. Yes, piracy is wrong and illegal, but surely the Government have bigger fish to fry?

Also, presumably this will also apply to people who download TV programmes - I download a few programmes from the US that aren't available over here, such as the Colbert Report. Am I going to be subject to prosecution now? A ridiculous idea.

  • 65.
  • At 12:51 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Stefan wrote:

"big brother strikes again - yes downloading is illegal"

Is it? A lot of people are under the distinct impression that uploading (i.e. sharing) is illegal, but downloading is not (except specifically in the case of Child porn) - and the media don't exactly help by using the term "downloading" almost universally.

This is completely unworkable and ISPs would never agree to it even if it was - ISPs know the people paying for their best services are those using them for Torrents.

Besides which, with the new torrent music/video streaming system being tested, you'll be able to watch all these movies online without having to download them - I'd like to see them regulate *that*!

Still, if the government's record on IT projects is anything to go by, no wonder they don't see how impractical this idea is.

  • 66.
  • At 12:51 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Scouse wrote:

E Crusater wrote: Funny isn't it, how the Government can contemplate this kind of control to protect the profits of big business but not to catch the purveyors and downloaders of child porn. some moral compass you have there, Gordon


Could not agree with this more, I think the 'real criminals' should be suffering, not the people with little or no spare funds.

I have a passion for music, but apart from the occasional CD I buy, I gave up buying music on the same large scale I used to before I even got my first internet connection, and before Napster even appeared.

The Music industry bombed out a long time ago by overcharging for inferior material. Look how many artist's are now leaving the major companies to realease music how they want, Radiohead said pay what you want, people did...

  • 67.
  • At 12:54 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • CLOUGH wrote:

is downloading/sharing files any different to taping off the radio years ago?This is the way i look at it!I appreciate it is technically illegal but they told us that years ago with tapes and then cds and videos etc.The record/film companies all survived that and are still making millions or billions of pounds a year.
If there was no market for their pproduct then they wouldn't keep rreleasing stuff would they?

  • 68.
  • At 12:55 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Dan wrote:

What a completely ludicrous idea. The fact of the matter is that the way society consumes media is increasingly centred around the internet. From music to books, TV & films everything can be obtained online & the failure by groups such as the MPAA or RIAA to put in realistic, legal alternatives mean that people will opt for the illegal route. Lets take for example iTunes; they offer music files for 79p at what is these days a pretty shoddy 128k quality in some bizarre file format that only allows you to listen to it on your own computer or iPod. Or you can opt for the illegal download - 320k quality mp3s which you can play wherever & whenever you like. Come on RIAA, it doesnt take a rocket scientist to work out which is more appealing!
Of course the role of the ISP needs to be examined here too. Why are companies still providing 5GB monthly caps on their services?! Many people surely download that in a week or less nowadays?!
I think this whole proposal is just a ridiculous attempt to cover up the real facts as to why people download illegally - both the media giants & ISPs have failed to put in realistic, affordable & legal infrastructures for downloading media. The pirates are offering what the people want and as such until companies such as the MPAA step up their game, illegal downloading will continue for the foreseeable future.

  • 69.
  • At 12:59 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Alex Bennee wrote:

It won't work. These sort of technological measures are just going to
encourage an arms race between the ISP's and their monitoring
technology and the P2P networks. The original decentralised peer to
peer networks where developed as a response to the legal attacks on
Napster. They realised that a central server was s single point of
failure and routed around it. The same will happen with the attempts
to monitor traffic. Already many protocols have started using
encryption to stop ISP's snooping on the traffic to shape it, I don't
expect the trend to slow down.


You would have thought the entertainment industry would have learnt
from the DRM debacle. It appears they are slow learners.

  • 70.
  • At 12:59 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Compton Mofo wrote:

Yes, I think the idea of a levy on ISPs or blank media is a great one. Like most people, I'm more than happy to pay for the illegal activities of others, and would like to dig my pockets deep to subsidise them!

  • 71.
  • At 01:08 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Martin Hammersmith wrote:

It would be very easy for an ISP to blacklist sites that are known to be hubs for file sharers. Perhaps an external (government) body could identify the sites and thus take the onus off the service providers.

Of course sites would just move, but then that's part of the fun!

  • 72.
  • At 01:08 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Steve wrote:

'Filesharing' and complaints about it have been going on since the printing press was invented, threatening the livelihoods of scribes.
Technology moves on. Businesses either adapt or die.
Many people pay £40+ monthly for subscription TV. The "licence fee" is obligatory for "free tv & radio"
I suspect a majority of downloaders would pay an additional premium to their ISP for download entitlement as in a licence fee or subscribe to a legal download site if the price & content was desirable.
If the comments posted here are representative of those received, then not one has been for this proposal.

  • 73.
  • At 01:09 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Andy wrote:

Mel,

If you are selling pies at a market kiosque while singing the song you mentioned, you have to pay (or you broke the law) !

Seriously, that's under existing legislation... I'm not an expert but I think that's how it is at least with shops that sell musical instruments and similar businesses.

A customer who tests the sound of a guitar he's thinking of buying usually plays a few solos of famous songs, and that is classified as a public performance. The shops obviously can't monitor the numbers of copyrighted songs so they're forced to pay flat monthly or yearly fees to the record companies.

Mad ?

  • 74.
  • At 01:12 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Richard wrote:

Minor pedant - it's not theft but infringement. They are different things.

Things have gone too far towards the whims of the corporations. All this to protect their business model. There aren't many jobs for which you and your family get paid for 70odd years after you've done the work! We have to save our earnings now.

Copyright was meant to strike a fair balance - to promote the creation of art work. Originally it lasted only 15 years, then the music fell into the public domain where it was free for others to take it, use it, expand on it. This was a good compromise and the extension of copyright has caused the public domain to suffer.

The technical lock downs we are now seeing are hindering the technology industries for the benefit of the media industries. Media greed prevents technology companies making more useful devices and perhaps making the economy more money than the media industries would lose.

Worse is the scale of punishments. It seems cheaper to rob a bank and murder a few people than to copy a DVD for personal use. This is not a good example of punishment in proportion to crime. The screens at the start of films talking of years in jail and millions in fines are a joke because of this.

  • 75.
  • At 01:15 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Daniel wrote:

We should probably ban VCRs, Recordable DVD players, MP3 players, camera phones and dictaphones. Just in case.

  • 76.
  • At 01:20 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

If all music must be watermarked, how can I watermark MY stuff so it can be heard? Or is music production only for the big boys now?

And if I CAN watermark it, what stops a pirate watermarking their pirated version so it cannot be found?

The idea of mandatory watermarks or DRM is either unworkable or a government ban on expression. Neither way works.

  • 77.
  • At 01:23 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Steve wrote:

'Filesharing' and complaints about it have been going on since the printing press was invented, threatening the livelihoods of scribes.
Technology moves on. Businesses either adapt or die.
Many people pay £40+ monthly for subscription TV. The "licence fee" is obligatory for "free tv & radio"
I suspect a majority of downloaders would pay an additional premium to their ISP for download entitlement as in a licence fee or subscribe to a legal download site if the price & content was desirable.
If the comments posted here are representative of those received, then not one has been for this proposal.

  • 78.
  • At 01:28 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Schmidt wrote:

Soon we'll be needing licenses to use the internet.

  • 79.
  • At 01:28 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Anonymous wrote:

I completly agree with E Crusater, Surely finding the people responsible for child porn is more important than some mutibillion dollar company losing a fracton of thier profits....
The Government needs to get real and find a way of stopping the people who are actualy abusing the internet....

  • 80.
  • At 01:33 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Darren J Moffat wrote:

This is silly, people who drive to the local supermarket and steal a physical media CD don't lose their driving license they get a punishment suitable to the crime committed (fine or jail sentence). The internet isn't something special it is like the telephone or a road a communications media. What is even worse though is that there appears to be no suggestion that the "three strikes" were actually being dealt out by a proper legal authority. ISPs should however be able to terminal a contract for providing internet access if a user abuses the terms of use - that however is a civil matter. Theft (which is all that illegal downloading really is) is a criminal matter. The two areas of law are separate for a reason and need to stay that way.

  • 81.
  • At 01:36 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

If all music must be watermarked, how can I watermark MY stuff so it can be heard? Or is music production only for the big boys now?

And if I CAN watermark it, what stops a pirate watermarking their pirated version so it cannot be found?

The idea of mandatory watermarks or DRM is either unworkable or a government ban on expression. Neither way works.

  • 82.
  • At 01:39 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • wgj wrote:

over the past 5 years because of the internet I have spent more money on music than i did in the previous 5. this is because i have been able to tap into more artists than i would have normally. while i may not buy the cd's, my concert going has increased dramatically because of the new artists I've discovered, giving money not only to the artists and promoters but to publicans, hoteliers, transport operators etc. i've even started buying the nme again recently!. Everyone's a winner.

  • 83.
  • At 01:41 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Dan wrote:

This is such a nonsense, I can't believe people are getting worked up about it.

To even begin to make this level of traffic analysis possible without a drop in speed that would damage business competitiveness and customer relations would take a level of investment that the telecoms industry simply couldn't afford.

The government has no cash either. It's already £43.6 billion in the hole and wondering how it's going to sell the current tax rises it has planned to a public who have simply had enough.

With all the will in the world, this simply cannot happen. There just isn't the money to do so. The best they could hope for is a random test that might catch 1 person in a few thousand.

Why aren't they going after the kiddie porn ringleaders who have had a field day since the internet appeared in popular culture? I guess everyday people give far less trouble when caught than international criminals, and are far better for the arrest figures.

  • 84.
  • At 01:43 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • nicola wrote:

I completly agree with E Crusater, Surely finding the people responsible for child porn is more important than some mutibillion dollar company losing a fracton of thier profits....
The Government needs to get real and find a way of stopping the people who are actualy abusing the internet....

  • 85.
  • At 01:43 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • yealol wrote:

someone up there hit the nail on the head, quantity, the more people that file share, torrent or whatever, the harder it will be to find them, and if they cause problems in court to slow things down the courts will just throw the cases out

its happened with this whole blame culture, judges just pointing out how rediclious a case it and stopping things there, if courts have 6million cases all lasting weeks or months its just not going to work

this is just the same as parking fines and speed cameras etc etc, if its something many people do and just pay the fine for the system works, but if they stop paying and go to court the authorities will crash and burn

on the technical side, the average company solving a weakness in its system takes weeks to release a patch, the average hacker has an update out the next morning which works around that patch.

  • 86.
  • At 01:46 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Eric wrote:

I think this is a great idea downloading music and so on is piracy if you get caught good.I hope they get all of them filesharing as this would speed up the connection speeds no end.

I pay for my music and movies and get fed up with piracy driving up prices for dvd's and music cd's.

  • 87.
  • At 01:47 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Tony wrote:

Hi,

Just wanna point out that the UK is probably "the" most expensive country to actually buy all these media items from, why on earth do you think we will be the toughest to deal with this "crime".

A few random points to add though:
1: Cinema in London IS the most expensive in the world - plus the service in the Cinema is terrible!
2: Remember that famous Disney/Pixar film, ratatouille! Was released in UK Cinemas 2 weeks before the USA DVD release. . . Rest of europe got the DVD waaaay early too . . hmmm so if the entertainment companies really wanna ensure consistency why not release worldwide? Probably because milking the UK makes the most money.
3: If I can record TV shows on my VCR, DVDR or my Digital Hard Drive (even through my PC, BBC iPLayer!!) then why can I not share them online also . . surely this encourages more people to watch the shows? Which is what the studios want?

Entertainment Studios. . . stop paying artists absurd amounts of money, then you'll be richer!

  • 88.
  • At 01:48 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Jo wrote:

I wish the US television companies would recognise that there is a worldwide market for their products -- people who would be willing to pay to watch US TV drama when it airs in the states, not years later when they finally get round to issuing a UK box set.

The BBC do at least provide a legal, timely, way to view their programmes online (and so they should, seeing as we've already paid for them through the licence fee). But even they appear not to have noticed that they are providing a much worse resolution than is easily available illegally.

People are not idiots and the media companies need to wake up to the fact that the internet means we're in effect all one global market. That particular genie is out of the box now and it's not going back in!

  • 89.
  • At 01:48 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Rosko wrote:

Here's a suggestion, stop bleating about privacy and Big Brother and stop stealing copyrighted material, like it's your inalienable right.

If you don't there will be no music industry worth two sh*ts in a couple of years and nothing worthwhile left to steal.

Idiots..

  • 90.
  • At 01:49 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Paul Elliott wrote:

Please god get your facts straight.

Saying that p2p traffic ONLY uses set ports is incredibly ignorant, its 2 seconds work to move onto another port with all current clients. Therefore basically an ISP would have to monitor every packet passing through them, which is NOT feasible and certainly wont be for a very long time.

Then you speak about copyrighted music being somehow watermarked so the ISPs can differentiate a legal track from a legal track? Whats that you say? We only have to remove the DRM from a track to be legal? Well thats never been done before...

You cannot force people to decrypt, as that says a great deal about freedom of speech, and also does this mean businesses would have to decrypt all traffic, such as VPNs? I somehow doubt it.

Really, as someone with a blog on the tech site here I would have expected you to have some modicum of knowlege, but obviously this is too much to ask.

This piece of 'legislation' is complete crap from the word go, and is a kneejerk reaction from people who completely fail to understand the internet or how it works. Whilst governments and politicians themselves stick in the dark ages, we will see a lot more suggestions along these lines I am afraid.

The big companies would do well to remember that things are only worth what people will pay for them.

  • 91.
  • At 01:49 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • simon hedley wrote:

Remembering the arguments about illegal taping of vinyl records in the 70s & 80s, this would be like banning people from shopping because they once bought a blank tape.

  • 92.
  • At 01:50 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Big Billy wrote:

Privacy laws and technological solutions will defeat this proposal.

This idea sounds like it has failed before it has got off the ground.

  • 93.
  • At 01:50 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • David Louis wrote:

If this happens, will it mean ISP's will be liable for every virus/worm or piece of spam that fights to enter my inbox on a daily basis. If so then bring it on! (Does anyone know a good lawyer?)

But wait.. If ISP's are to made responsible for the traffic their networks carry, will the government be responsible for every criminal who uses their network of motorways/roads for transporting stolen goods?

  • 94.
  • At 01:51 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • darren wrote:

whats the difference in downloading and programme, watching it then deleting it compared to sky's or virgin medias on demand service ????

  • 95.
  • At 01:52 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • David Louis wrote:

If this happens, will it mean ISP's will be liable for every virus/worm or piece of spam that fights to enter my inbox on a daily basis. If so then bring it on! (Does anyone know a good lawyer?)

But wait.. If ISP's are to made responsible for the traffic their networks carry, will the government be responsible for every criminal who uses their network of motorways/roads for transporting stolen goods?

  • 96.
  • At 01:54 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Steve wrote:

Who are the crooks here?

Why do i have to pay twice as much for a DVD as someone in the USA?
Why are they allowed to price all CDs and DVDs the same, and prevent retailers from discounting?
Why is the price of a download song (79p) the same as buying them on a CD? (20 on average x 79p = £15)
Why if i pay to watch or listen to something on TV should i be penalised for listening to it again on my mp3?
If they know where all this pirate stuff is coming from (bit torrent?) why don't they shut them down and leave me alone?

Why do they pay some 2 bit actor $50million to make a film, pay another £500 million to film it and distribute it and then expect me to pay over the odds for it so they can make a billion profit? The fact is that they have lost the fundamentals of business - customers no longer want to pay the price for their product, banning internet users won't increase sales because these people, mostly teenagers, can't afford it.

I propose a total boycott of all CDs DVDs etc for 6 months. Buy nothing off them and see if they change their ideas.

  • 97.
  • At 01:55 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Marian McSeveney wrote:

Isn't it ironic the government spend half their time crowing about broadband trying to increase the uptake of users in the UK and the other half either trying to ban 6 million of us from our ISPs for downloading or forcing the price up due to the knock on cost of monitoring. Have they really thought this through. People will just get round it by finding unprotected wireless networks or just getting a friend or relative to sign up , or are they going to get BT to disable ADSL on our lines too.

  • 98.
  • At 01:57 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Ian Scott wrote:

Did we just move to North Korea? Or China? Or Burma?

It appears so.

  • 99.
  • At 01:59 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Steve wrote:

What i find particularly aggravaiting is that when i do go out and purchase a legal DVD I am given an unskippable advert telling me of the evils of piracy and buying knock of products. Seems even when doing the right thing your still under suspicion.
I also always chucke at the F.A.C.T warning at the begining of any film at the cinema. 10 years in prison for recording the film. I could kill someone and be out in less time.

I still think back to the little pirate logos on cassetes from the 80's telling us how copying music was killing the industry. There still here and making money hand over fist.

Lets face it, your never going to stop piracy, its a fact of life. If some one makes a product you can be certain that some one will find a cheaper way of getting it.

In one way piracy could be seen as a motivating force. It's driving companies to come up with new and better product time after time.

  • 100.
  • At 01:59 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • TNT wrote:

I think this is a great idea downloading music and so on is piracy if you get caught good.I hope they get all of them filesharing as this would speed up the connection speeds no end.

I pay for my music and movies and get fed up with piracy driving up prices for dvd's and music cd's.

  • 101.
  • At 02:01 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Guy Whitehouse wrote:

The government's ideas are wrong. First, some downloading, though illegal actually drives legal sales as Professor Lessig has demonstrated in his book Free
Culture. Second, some licensing schemes allow sharing of copyrighted content with others, so how would ISPs tell the difference between this scenario and
the classic illegal sharing of music? Finally it would divert ISPs resources from monitoring what they really ought to be investing resources in, i.e.
monitoring those looking to use the Internet to groom children for sex.        

  • 102.
  • At 02:01 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Jules wrote:

For years the music industry ripped off the consumer with overpriced CD's, banging on about the artist having a right to earn their money when most of it went to the record companies, who, when CD's were invented reissued all the old vinyl albums at FULL PRICE, £16+ even 25 years or more ago.

And then they wonder why people are against the industry as a whole - we're not over the barrel any more, in fact the boot is on the other foot.. only this time it's the rich boys complaining, so the government bends over backwards to do something about it. Or so they think, these ideas are totally unworkable.

  • 103.
  • At 02:02 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • TNT wrote:

I think this is a great idea downloading music and so on is piracy if you get caught good.I hope they get all of them filesharing as this would speed up the connection speeds no end.

I pay for my music and movies and get fed up with piracy driving up prices for dvd's and music cd's.

  • 104.
  • At 02:06 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • edward russell wrote:

When will the government stop the record and movie companies selling us the same stuff over and over again " with extras and bonus tracks? who holds the moral high ground here?

  • 105.
  • At 02:06 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • nick wrote:

All these millions/billions (depending on who you believe) that these companies are allegedly losing because of pirates, it does make you wonder how much profit they were making back when you're only choice was to buy that cd dvd or go to the movies. I cant remember any of these firms cutting prices when they were making millions - can you? And now we're going to feel sorry for them? um nope!

  • 106.
  • At 02:08 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • les wrote:

sharing movies and music has been going on since the days of vhs, betamax and cassette decks.....now its all digital but nothing has changed. checking the data being downloaded won't work other than the "up to 8mb" speeds which were not getting anyway being reduced to dial up speeds again! check out the new Qtrax site, FREE movies and downloads being paid by advertising on the site with money going to EMI, Warner, etc. if they got money from the advertisments on Pirate Bay (nice to see Tesco advertise there) would than not make it all legal?

its another stupid idea just like DRM, see that got dropped quickly.

  • 107.
  • At 02:09 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Simon C. wrote:

Don't forget!

Home taping is killing music

  • 108.
  • At 02:10 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Mr Wiseman wrote:

Perhaps the government should concentrate on online spammers , scammers, child abusers, drug dealers, porn dealers, gun dealers etc first. Crime that really effects people. But no they still pander to the corporations who have fake assumed losses. That are not loses at all, because the downloaders won't buy the stuff. Even if they can't download it for free. In fact it will probably back fire on them and they will lose even more profits. As the word fails to spread about their IPs.

Not to mention the fact that the other day I caught an unauthorized person on my wireless network. I know all about network security hence they were soon kicked off but Joe Public doesn't stand a chance. Especially when all wireless networks are vulnerable. Wireless just is not secure at all.

Still while I'm not listening to music and watching tinsel town movies I guess I will have more time to spend hacking instead. Perhaps I can track down my details from those 2 cds or even hack the national ID database and sell everyones details and make myself a tidy profit. Got to get my compensation for data protection infringement from somewhere as the government don't appear to be doing anything about it.

Looks like I will be waiting for ever for the Government to compensate me for their IT Crimes against society.

  • 109.
  • At 02:10 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Ian wrote:

Bittorrent data is not generally encrypted only the header in an attempt to defeat ISP traffic shaping.

All the enforcement agencies need to do is to start a torrent download and the IP addresses of all those in the swarm are revealed. No need to decrypt anything. Probably better explained here. https://torrentfreak.com/bittorrent-encryption-myths-071108/

  • 110.
  • At 02:10 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Alf Hartigan wrote:


Does anyone really believe our musicians are starving because people share their music?

If they are starving, it is generally because they are unsuccessful, and, being unsuccessful, people rarely share their music.

  • 111.
  • At 02:11 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • edward russell wrote:

When will the government stop the record and movie companies selling us the same stuff over and over again " with extras and bonus tracks? who holds the moral high ground here?

  • 112.
  • At 02:12 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Daniel Head wrote:

I've been encrypting nearly all my data for over a year now, even my email server supports SSL encryption. Nearly all my downloading is done via Usenet which is encrypted via SSL, not only does this increase my privacy, but is also circumvents any traffic shaping as my ISP are unable to tell what type of data it is.

Internet users will always be 3 or 4 steps ahead of the authorities.

  • 113.
  • At 02:13 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • LS wrote:

ISPs trying to inspect every packet on the network is like having the pirates tip ink into the oceans and asking the coast-guard to extract it again.

If one million people encrypt their data over the network, then each person needs to make one encryption to send their message and one to receive it.

whereas the one ISP needs to make one million decryptions to see what is being said in each message.

People have come up with algorithms that mean a file takes one or two seconds, or ten or twenty to decrypt. That isn't a big inconvenience for the end user who can let his computer decode the file.

but the ISP has to put that ten or twenty seconds of computer time into every message they want to monitor, and they won't have the capacity to make blanket searches because using encryption multiplies the work the ISP has to do by the number of customers it has.

ISPs infrastructure works on the assumption that they hold the data for as short a time as possible before passing it on, otherwise they overflow.

  • 114.
  • At 02:13 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Erol Asim wrote:

This will never work - the majority of people download illegally - the ISP's will be out of business if a majority of people has there internet service banned.

For even thinking this up, Gordon Brown and his party must go.

Why must it be the governments responsibility to protect the music and movie industry? Why can't they do it themselves?

  • 115.
  • At 02:13 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Sam Davies wrote:

In the early days of digital music files, record companies were swift to label CD ripping as theft and copyright infringement with the promise of a prison sentence for anyone caught doing it! If only they had been smarter and predicted the enormous rise in the popularity of this modern digital format. They could have been major players in its development and therefore moulded the format to their advantage to ensure the revenues from the sale of mp3s were maximised. Instead, the market leader in legal downloads is iTunes, which is not a record company, only to be outdone 10 to 1 by the massive quantity of illegal downloads. The record companies are trying to correct their mistakes, and they aren't doing a very good job of it.

  • 116.
  • At 02:13 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Boris wrote:

OK I admit it
I illegally downloaded *****'s 7th album to replace the CD version I lent to someone and she has'nt returned it.
however due to a bit of a mixup with my setting up of the torrent, I also downloaded some tracks from their 1st and 2nd albums.

Which I've now ordered from amazon because I thought "Hey good stuff"

So by downloading some stuff, the record company has racked up 2 more sales.
2 sales it would'nt have had before.
Are you listening Mr Record company execs?

Oh and having MP3 copies of music you've already got is NOT illegal.

  • 117.
  • At 02:15 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Ian wrote:

Bittorrent data is not generally encrypted only the header in an attempt to defeat ISP traffic shaping.

All the enforcement agencies need to do is to start a torrent download and the IP addresses of all those in the swarm are revealed. No need to decrypt anything. Probably better explained here. https://torrentfreak.com/bittorrent-encryption-myths-071108/

  • 118.
  • At 02:16 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Daniel Head wrote:

I've been encrypting nearly all my data for over a year now, even my email server supports SSL encryption. Nearly all my downloading is done via Usenet which is encrypted via SSL, not only does this increase my privacy, but is also circumvents any traffic shaping as my ISP are unable to tell what type of data it is.

Internet users will always be 3 or 4 steps ahead of the authorities.

  • 119.
  • At 02:18 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Jules wrote:

I work for a large company and our technical data is being illegally sold on ebay and available on some file sharing tools. The licenses are stripped and data is given away. Is this ok? Why should technical information, which the company has spent years working on, be stolen and used for free? As someone said, would you walk into a shop and steal a cd? No! Then why steal the information from the internet?

  • 120.
  • At 02:19 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Sam Davies wrote:

In the early days of digital music files, record companies were swift to label CD ripping as theft and copyright infringement with the promise of a prison sentence for anyone caught doing it! If only they had been smarter and predicted the enormous rise in the popularity of this modern digital format. They could have been major players in its development and therefore moulded the format to their advantage to ensure the revenues from the sale of mp3s were maximised. Instead, the market leader in legal downloads is iTunes, which is not a record company, only to be outdone 10 to 1 by the massive quantity of illegal downloads. The record companies are trying to correct their mistakes, and they aren't doing a very good job of it.

  • 121.
  • At 02:23 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • craig wrote:

In response to No11. I agree totally with what they say regarding helping organised crime....this is a feeble excuse so people who are not up to speed with sharing feel that it's really really wrong.

The majority of criminal use would be the addicts who sell them at car boots and markets for there dealer to pay for there next fix.

It's also about time the "it's killing new music" excuse was cleared up as well, When did the industry just throw caution to the wind and sign an unknown....Oh I know Kate Nash........DISCOVERED THANKS TO THE INTERNET. I reast me case.

I feel the answer to piravcy is VERY easy...
The cost to download...say a film, 10 to 20p for the blank DVD & about the same for the DVD box (should you want one). The most costly thing is TIME. waiting for the download to finsh, then converting it from the standard AVI so it can be read on a normal DVD player.

The answer, make DVD's or CD's so cheap that it is NOT worth the hassle, Radiohead started the idea so come on everyone else.

  • 122.
  • At 02:23 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Lemon & Lime wrote:

Does this put a nail in the coffin of windows home server with a secure connections?

Doesn't bit torrent allow ssl connection methods?

Will https traffic have to be intercepted as well, or will I just have to pass all username and passwords to GCHQ to save them time, or direct to the NSA.

Either way, the money men tried to kill kazza and only drove it deeper underground.

Yours, Bitter and Twisted.

In my household there are 4 PCs connected to the Internet, and 5 people who use the Internet daily.

I myself run a business from home.

If any one of those 5 people gets caught doing something illegal this proposal cuts off the other 4 innocent people as well.

I doubt that would stand up in court for more than 5 seconds. Punish the innocent?

If someone uses my phone line to make an illegal phone call the courts would not agree to cut off the phone would they?

As to the decline in sales the recording industry say is due to file copying, that claim has been proved time and time again to be false.

Music sales and profits are down as people are buying other things which use up their expendable cash, DVDs, Computer Games (the rise in game sales in enormous, and the rise in sales of games co-incides with the fall in sales of music) and such

Profits are down as supermarkets sell only the popular CDs and sell them cheap.

  • 124.
  • At 02:24 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Justin wrote:

This is both absurd and ridiculous in the extreme, and yet another example of the government trying to capitalise on current media hype in order to make it look like they're actually responding to the needs of their voters. Although there is a considerable amount of Brown-bashing that is well-deserved here, I sincerely doubt anything would change with a different party in power.

How is this going to impact on other ways of using P2P downloads? Take World of Warcraft, for example, with its 10 million users worldwide. Every patch is normally downloaded with P2P technology - how will an ISP distinguish between this data and illegal content? Considering the fact that Blizzard's game and patches are all copyrighted by Blizzard, how is this data going to be any different to anything else subject to copyright?

Simply applying a blanket download limit for users is not the answer either - users who legitimately download more than 10Gb a month because they're gaming online, be it PC, Hexbox or PSs/PS3 should not end up getting penalised just because the government is so narrow-minded and reactionary.

Complain about Big Brother all you want - the truth is that it's here and has been here for years. And to be honest, the reason why it is here is largely due to all of us. Our government should be accountable to us, not the other way round. Like it or not, any downloaders of copyrighted material are in the minority compared to the voting public. I agree, in the grand scheme of things downloading material is hardly a big issue, but it is something that will get passed unless we fight it through the legitimate legal challenges instigated by our elected MPs. They're elected by us, NOT by the entertainment industry. Perhaps it's time we made them realise that...

  • 125.
  • At 02:27 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Dave wrote:

I have thousands of MP3's available on my hard drive. Anybody want any, they are cheaper than i-tunes :-))

  • 126.
  • At 02:27 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Daz wrote:

Downloading programs will just evolve encrypt the data and people will download as before.

Already some bittorrent trackers use ssl encryption to bypass filtering of traffic.

  • 127.
  • At 02:28 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • F.B wrote:

Ever thought that people might download things illegally because of the price? As stated before, for one legal track there are 20 illegal tracks but the artists producing music still seem to be doing relatively well. They're not exactly poor are they? By that logic, maybe they should be more concerned about making music than the size of their wallets.

Also, if you wish to have any DECENT anti-virus software it costs you (often per year) so if you can't afford this, and want your pc to be protected then I can see a viable option emerging.

Basically, the ridiculous price of things is a major factor in the piracy business. Companies less worried about their income and more concerned about customer satisfaction would almost certainly lead to a fall in the piracy market.

  • 128.
  • At 02:28 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Stuart wrote:

I'm definitely not losing the industry money when i download music, films and TV shows.
why?
Because if i couldn't then i'd probably not bother getting hold of it. This means i wouldn't discover a band were great and pay to see a gig, where i would buy booze, which would make the government a shed load of money, or alternatively i may have driven there which would make even more.

The idea is interesting especially as it seems to be worded that the sharing is the problem, not the downloading. It is often put in these things, but is more often written up as downloaders suffering. I may be reading this wrong again but i am sure they say it is the sharers - the uploaders - who will be chased down. Now the thing here is the cases that have been taken on this have showed it to be very hard to prove that someone was actively offering files for downloading, and not merely publishing a list of the files they have on their computer, which were then systematiclly stolen by other users.

Overall the plan should be unworkable. I am fairly impressed though with the spead that US TV shows have started to come over to the UK in recent months. Rather than the normal months or years, it is becoming more like a matter of weeks before we get them over here, this MAY do something to stop me downloading them each week from the USA or France in the case of the final series of a favourite show due later in spring.

Pricing is also a massive issue. for films it costs about $7-8 to go to the cinema in america, thats £3.50 -4.00 however it tends to cost £6+ to go to the cinema in this country. DVD's are also massively more expensive, and so are CD's and even paid for legal downloads. Until this is addressed it is simply not attractive to buy things, when you can get them for free.

  • 129.
  • At 02:30 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Anonymous wrote:

"If the law were enacted it would turn ISPs, like BT, Tiscali and Virgin, into a pro-active police force..."

Maybe, but not a very effective one. End users who want freedom to DL what they wish would just factor the cost of a proxy service with broadband speeds into their Internet fees. This would be an extra £5 a week approximately.

The gentlemen in Hollywood allegedly stole the motion picture industry from Edison anyway, so they are long overdue a cut in wages.

And of course, I have never downloaded anything illegally myself (heaven forfend!) but this whole practice gives all those musicians and singers who insist they are in it for the art, not the money to prove it.

  • 130.
  • At 02:31 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Mark Tom wrote:

This may mean the end of the net in the UK, loads of people are doing it and it may also effect the users who are downloading it legally.

This could destroy the net for the UK.

  • 131.
  • At 02:31 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • craig wrote:

In response to No11. I agree totally with what they say regarding helping organised crime....this is a feeble excuse so people who are not up to speed with sharing feel that it's really really wrong.

The majority of criminal use would be the addicts who sell them at car boots and markets for there dealer to pay for there next fix.

  • 132.
  • At 02:32 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Bill wrote:

Why is the UK always the first to introduce these stupid, idiotic, non enforceable ideas which will cost the tax payer more money for the green paper to be reviewed and implemented and then more money to use a capped service which we paid to get introduced all in the name of keeping the big fat businesses happy. This government could do well to remember that we put them where they are and we can quickly remove them.

Other considerations, was this not an issue in the 80's with the VHS cassette, and yet they still sold blank cassettes and recorder's

  • 133.
  • At 02:33 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Jonathan wrote:

The producers and the TV networks don't get it. I started torrenting in 2003 because I got fed up waiting for Channel 4 to maybe broadcast the West Wing at some time after midnight. The technology exists for me to watch a show a couple of hours after it's aired in the eastern United States. I'm not going to wait. I want it now, on demand. I don't want to be told that certain content is only available to US residents. It's not that sort of world any more. I would gladly pay for what I watch - and in a way I do, by buying the boxsets when they come out - but I'm going to watch it my way. Figure out a way to charge me for it, and I'll pay it.

  • 134.
  • At 02:37 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • the laughing biker wrote:

This is going to be very expensive, far better if ISP's put 25p on to the bill and pass it on to the film and phonographic industry...

What next - monitoring all the clipart, photographs, essays etc that are pirated too?

Why should the phonographic and film industries get their own way? Because they get the lion's share of the money from legal downloads and want more!

I have no problem with it going direct to the artists - so, if 25p is the answer... then let's set up an artist's trust that covers, music, film, art, literature - all areas of piracy... not just the big boys!! That will stop greed and... allow for the artists to receive what is rightfully owned by them and not contracted out, rightfully or wrongfully from their industry lawyers

  • 135.
  • At 02:42 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Martha wrote:

Where does the figure of £1 billion of lost revenue for the music industry come from? Are they assuming for some reason that people would otherwise buy the music if they couldn't download it? As a student (like the majority of illegal sharers, I suspect), I can dispel them of this misunderstanding. If I couldn't download music, I still wouldn't have the money to buy it.

  • 136.
  • At 02:42 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Al wrote:

When ordinary consumers have a protected right to reclaim the money spent on a film they did not enjoy or a film that did not meet their expectations, as consumers do with other products, then I will see a legitimate excuse for protecting the film maker's interests. I know many people who download pirated films, and in almost every case if the film is good most of those people will pay to go and see it, sometimes many times. In the case that the film isn't good, they simply don't keep it, why should people have to pay for poor quality products that they do not enjoy?

I do not believe proposed legislation such as this one shows evidence of a 'big brother' government. I believe it shows an inherent level of naivety and a huge lack of insight & understanding by governments.

  • 137.
  • At 02:42 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • gwenhwyfaer wrote:

"Can you imagine any other industry where companies are forced by legislature to take their top products off the market, and then ban their most-lucrative customers?"

I can, but only one - the consumer gun industry.

I think that says it all.

I am originally from Bulgaria and I do agree with the fact that file sharing is 100% illegal! But I just honestly cannot tell you if it's seriously possible to control the world or in this case UK of filesharing! You have to understand that Information Technology (The Internet) has changed THE UNIVERSE not just the World! People can and do even Educate themselves online for free! What you see in science fictional movies is turning into reality! You have to believe that within 3 decades not centuries from today when you go to your travel agent you can order flight tickets to the moon or mars for 30,000 euro not 30,000,000 euro I am being very Highly Serious! The HUMAN MIND IS UNLIMITED! THE INTERNET CAN TEACH YOU OF ANYTHING THAT INTERESTS YOU!!! WHEN I WENT TO SCHOOL to Study Business Administration:E-COMMERCE as any student I have to buy books but when I am on a tight budget as many other students why bother spending over 800 dollars when I can download the books for free in .pdf format for Adobe Acrobat reader to open it for me on my laptop! The .pdf files are exectly as the professinal printed copys of the books except I am not goint to print them out! Why BOTHER!!! AND MY BOOK BAG IS ALOT MORE LIGHTER SINCE ITS ONLY MY LAPTOP!!!

6 BILLION(THE HUMAN RACE ALL AROUND THE UNIVERSE) CANNOT BE CONTROLED BY SEVERAL 100 THOUSAND(POLITICIANS ALL AROUND THE WORLD)

  • 139.
  • At 02:44 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Kevin Sangeelee wrote:

It's absurd to suggest that illegal transfer of copyright material can be significantly reduced in this way.

We'll see ISPs forced to spend money on ineffective monitoring, we'll see a rise in encrypted packets, we'll see increased use of anonymising proxies, and we'll generate business models for proxy services based in China and Russia.

This mindless legislation will leave everyone a loser to some extent, and will not significantly reduce the level of file-sharing.

  • 140.
  • At 02:46 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Ali Bannatyne wrote:

"Be a Government Informer!
Betray Your Family and Friends!
Fabulous Prizes To Be Won!"
- Red Dwarf

  • 141.
  • At 02:47 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Gordon wrote:

I have been downloading TV shows from US sites for a while now, it hasn't changed my buying habits or TV watching habits. I have SKY and have done for 10 years.

Now I download the shows I want to see from the web(3 months early), then watch them on SKY and often buy the series when it comes out at a reasonable price. A TV series is £18 from the US or £45 from a UK internet shop, no wonder people don't buy them.

All this downloading is starting to effect the industry for the better, they are starting to release shows in the UK/US at the same time or at least closer dates.

  • 142.
  • At 02:49 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Fred Bloggs wrote:

ISP can't possibley police this sort of thing as they themselves are not trustworthy. Just look at the 'up to x mbps speed' issue that is still going. One ISP (you know the one I mean) blocks access to some legitimate sites at peak hours as they are used by some for file sharing. The way they do it is to remove the network address entry for the sites making it look unavailable when it is perfectly contactable via other ISPs (a practice which is actaully against the fundemental agreements of being an ISP as set out by the internet's governance body!).

  • 143.
  • At 02:58 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Chris Phillips wrote:

This is ridiculous! Will they monitor every picture, music file, video and piece of text against a database of every single produced copyrighted work ever? Impossible to implement and pointless as it wont increase sales of legal entertainment. I work in the media industry myself. We need to be POSITIVE towards customers, sell products at reasonable prices and not assume our audience are criminals!

The Internet is a beaufiful untamable beast - the only place left where one has complete freedom of choice. No, I am not condoning wrong doing, simply supporting ones right to choose.

Somebody above had a very good idea. Make so that you as the consumer have to pay a levey for your net access. The levey is changed by the IPS and then passed on the the "Record and Movie" companies. This way there is no need to pass new laws. And leaves the the ISPs to do the job of looking for child porn, terrorism and so on. The "Record and Movie" companies see a return in moneys. And don't have to lift a finger to get it. Remember. When you download a movie or song. You don't get the extra stuff that you would normally get in the shop. IE Box, booklet singed covers and so on. So you will only end up with an inferior or lesser product from what you can get in the shops. I Also think that the way that the "Record and Movie" companies release there products does not help. If they was to release all there products at the same time and not months later to places out side the USA would help.

  • 146.
  • At 03:14 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • cybercid wrote:

a complete non starter. the logistics of enforcement are mind boggling.

the government should get real and concentrate on real issues. the country is going to the dogs and what do they pounce on? music downloaders. really.....

  • 147.
  • At 03:14 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

What if someone who is a TV licence payer downloads something produced by the BBC - will that come under this?

  • 148.
  • At 03:16 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • INFORMENT wrote:

Mr Brown thats six million voters you have lost come to think of it are they in power with that many votes, this is not about music or film downloads thats the sprat to catch the mackerel as one of the other posts said it is about policing the Internet control of free speech, freedom of information worldwide, no government in the world has been able to as yet stop the flow of information, this is the real mission more laws less freedom for everyone!! yes that includes you!! downloader or not once you allow a valve to be inserted we will be restricted further and further
you have been warned police state UK is on its way

  • 149.
  • At 03:18 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Jason wrote:

Why can't the Producers and manufacturers of copyright content settle for a smaller slice from a greater audience instead of trying to control the masses? Release on the web and take a smaller fee and add in some advertising? Please lets remember that more controls will only encourage rebellion. It will not work.

Is it ok to download kids fighting on well-known websites and not ok to download a piece of music? A terrible state of affairs were in when the corporations are in charge of what we do. Ban those sites promoting violence first and then lets get righteous over music and film.

I suspect the government will push this through to keep the record companies happy.
The ISP's will keep the government happy by putting something in their terms and conditions.
The customer will keep the ISP happy and agree to the terms and conditions by checking a box when they signup with the ISP.
Then the whole thing will be forgotten about and people will continue to download and share as usual.

  • 151.
  • At 03:20 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Paul Elliott wrote:

Please god get your facts straight.

Saying that p2p traffic ONLY uses set ports is incredibly ignorant, its 2 seconds work to move onto another port with all current clients. Therefore basically an ISP would have to monitor every packet passing through them, which is NOT feasible and certainly wont be for a very long time.

Then you speak about copyrighted music being somehow watermarked so the ISPs can differentiate a legal track from a legal track? Whats that you say? We only have to remove the DRM from a track to be legal? Well thats never been done before...

You cannot force people to decrypt, as that says a great deal about freedom of speech, and also does this mean businesses would have to decrypt all traffic, such as VPNs? I somehow doubt it.

Really, as someone with a blog on the tech site here I would have expected you to have some modicum of knowlege, but obviously this is too much to ask.

This piece of 'legislation' is complete crap from the word go, and is a kneejerk reaction from people who completely fail to understand the internet or how it works. Whilst governments and politicians themselves stick in the dark ages, we will see a lot more suggestions along these lines I am afraid.

The big companies would do well to remember that things are only worth what people will pay for them.

  • 152.
  • At 03:21 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Mark Thompson wrote:

Wow, the Government have no idea how stupid they sound for even suggesting this. It proves once again that they just do not understand technology in the slightest. It would be completely unworkable, because lets face it, who or what is going to monitor the billions of downloads that happen every day. Even if they did manage to come up with a system to monitor it, how long would it take to implement ? because I bet the technology would evolve much quicker than whatever system they implement years from now, and by the time it was implemented it would likely be looking for the wrong thing because the downloaders have moved onto using downloads via SSL, proxy servers, Encypted downloads etc.

Oh, and if it ever worked, the ISP's would be the big losers in it anyway, lets be honest here, we all know what people who have 20+meg internet connections are doing. If they ever brought this in I would just downgrade to the cheapest 1meg service available because lets face it, all that would be left to do is check my email, a bit of online gaming and browsing.

  • 153.
  • At 03:25 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Brian Brown wrote:

How long will it be before someone uses the unprotected wireless network of a Government minister to download loads of illegal files and get the minister's ISP to tell the police and cut them off?
I can't wait for the newspaper headline, and the inevitable plea of "It wasn't me Guv".
When will New Labour learn that computers are not the solution to everything that is wrong with the world?
People share music files because the alternatives (£12 CDs or 99p per track downloads) are a clear rip-off. The music industry could solve the download problem overnight by simply charging a reasonable amount for their products.

  • 154.
  • At 03:27 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Paul wrote:

can i say radio head

  • 155.
  • At 03:31 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Tom Green wrote:

The theme tune to this story should be from Baddiel & Skinner Unplanned.

It'll never work. It'll never work.

So users. To avoid bigbrother
1. Encrypt all your traffic
2. Go through a VPN if possible
3. Contact your MP. (First make sure they aren't paid for by Big Content)
4. Oh and open your wifi to the public [as BT recommended]
(then you've got a defence)

  • 156.
  • At 03:34 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Brian wrote:

You may think that this is pointless, that it'll never work that, there are too many people doing it for this law to be effective.

But, if you're a cash strapped Government needing income, and you've identified an activity that is illegal but millions of people do it; why, you slap a fine on it and watch the revenue roll in.

These proposal are deliberatly harsh so they will go to review and then the compromise will be a fine for the people caught. Then, like speeding, you'll have to prove innocence or pay up your £60 internet tax.

  • 157.
  • At 03:37 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • tony wrote:

Not practicle,not sensible,not workable...porridge !!!

  • 158.
  • At 03:49 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Rick wrote:

The solution would be to phase out broadband completely and just have everyone on dial-up. That would keep the media corporations happy, which must be the main priority. There would then be no need to start spying on people. I see dial-up as the next big development for the net.

If it's illegal to download music simply because it loses the record company/artist/PRS a potential sale - then you might as well lock me up for doing something just as bad: I buy my music from charity shops or off eBay. I am effectively losing them money by buying pre-owned (and, most often, near mint condition) goods from which they will receive no royalties. True, they'll have received an initial royalty from when the album was originally purchased, but it won't keep their valuable shareholders happy, will it?

Then again, if less people bought the throwaway discotrash that dates so quickly and invested instead in today's quality artists (of which there are many - the charts isn't all junk), the record companies wouldn't be in this mess and the music world would usher in a new era akin to its glory days of the 60's and 70's.

General rule of thumb - if an artist puts their new album out on vinyl, they obviously have long term plans couple with a sound faith in their music, seeing as how they want to appeal to record collectors.

  • 160.
  • At 04:03 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Robert McAuley wrote:

The reason people are downloading music is because the albums and singles are so expensive. The record companies make so much money compared to what they spend that they can afford to lower the prices dramatically.

People will buy records if they are value for money.

  • 161.
  • At 04:13 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Gaz wrote:

One refers to "copyright theft", but IMHO the problem is with the present copyright law. Why should ownership of rights remain after the investor has been given sufficient time to cover their costs and make a reasonable profit ? Does Ford think it can sell the same car and be paid for it again and again for years to come ? Does your plumber keep coming back for payment again and again for work they did on one occasion years ago ? By all means rigidly enforce a ban on copying for a reasonable period, but the existing arrangement is just biased in favour of those who can ensure the status quo remains.

Meanwhile I have doubts the ISPs can comply for any length of time. Whatever is done to catch the first few hundred, the systems will change and they will be back to square one. In any event, policing should be done by the police, not ISPs, nor employers nor neighbourhood watch, nor community support officers, nor suchlike.

  • 162.
  • At 04:19 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Stephen Farrell wrote:

Simply laughable.

Another attempt by government and business to intrude into our private lives.

  • 163.
  • At 04:20 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Sam wrote:

Anything to keep the profit model of the record companies on life support.

Record companies are stumbling around like the dying moments of the baddie in a rubbish B Movie. They had spectacular profits in the 90s by charging absurd prices on their CDs and are now telling us all to play nice when we say we don't want to do that anymore.

The economy isn't a museum for obsolete business models.

  • 164.
  • At 04:21 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • hooby-mooby wrote:

this is proposterous! will never happen...not in the forseeable future anyway

  • 165.
  • At 04:23 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • With-held wrote:


Ridiculous and totally unworkable.

Any & everyone who uses/has used a web browser connected to the internet is/has infringing copyright - you're browser retains for example a copy of every image in it's cache. Most images and web pages are copyrighted. Does this mean every user has to be banned & yes that would have to include every MP & record/film exec who has "surfed the net" too ?

Also don't forget it's LEGAL to make a "backup copy" of any cd/dvd etc you have. If someone then borrows this from you, Just who is breaking the law ?

  • 166.
  • At 04:27 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Perhaps if movies didn't cost £25 a throw and actors in Hollywood weren't paid extortionate amounts of money that they cannot possibly spend sensibly then more people would be inclined to actually pay for stuff.

  • 167.
  • At 04:30 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Benji Zax and the Alien Prince wrote:

Why have DVDs come down in price from £25 to £5 but CD Albums are Still £10 ?

If you can answer that then people may stop and actually listen.

  • 168.
  • At 04:32 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Matthew Begley wrote:

This idea of looking though all internet data send by people in the UK would take a huge amount of processing power. It would also be a huge violation of our privacy. It would be like the post man opening all your mail then letting the police of what they found before they put it through your door.

The idea of banning people from the web is like cutting someone from the water mains. The internet is for many a social lifeline and others their main income stream. It also the only free area of expression left where people listen. I think it should be a human right in the 21th century to have internet access free of limitation.

  • 169.
  • At 04:32 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Marc wrote:

If this legislation is carried through, many internet users will stop their subscriptions or migrate to lower speed ones. This will adversely affect internet providers. These providers are big players like e.g. BT. These guys will vehemently lobby the government not to implement this as much as the record and movie industry lobbies the government to go ahead with this. See who will win.

  • 170.
  • At 04:40 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • lucky wrote:

Ok people it is time to start boycotting the music and film industry. Stop buying cds and dvds
It is time to make a stand against these bullys. I will never ever buy another cd or dvd now as long as I live. Lets show these media giants just how well they will do without people buying thier rubbish they keep spewing out at rediculas prices. Do they think that people are stupid, they have been riping us off for far to long now!!!

  • 171.
  • At 04:43 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Matt wrote:

I notice quite a few people don't seem to understand that if you have an internet connection, there is a single person or entity responsible for paying for it. This means that if criminal activity (paedophilia, terrorism or illegal downloading of music tracks for example) went on using the connection it would be the person responsible for the connection that would be responsible for the crime.

If you have children, it's up to you as a parent to prevent them committing murder whenever they feel like it, just as it is your responsility to prevent them illegally downloading music. Either bring them up right, or dont allow them to use the internet.

Some musicians do find they don't get invested in. The reason for this is that their record sales are low, despite having a large number of fans. This can mean that a band is dropped because they are unprofitable, not because the band is not good, but because the fans simply don't buy the music.

This seems to me to really illustrate exactly what has been forgotten by the industry we call the 'Music Industry'. In Industry we produce a product that we try to sell for more then it cost to make. This profit allows us to invest in other products to make more money and return the investment of the shareholders. If we invest in a product that does not sell, we stop producing it.

What we don't do is pay individuals with pretty low artistic ability $50 million to give us 5 albums over the next ten years that will not make a profit. It's simply an unsound investment, and any executive who did that (*cough* EMI & Robbie Williams *cough*) should be fired.

What we then don't do is to look at a decreasing trend in buying singles (who would buy one when the song is on the album, and the remixes are rubbish) and wrongly assume that it's music 'piracy' that has caused this. It's not; it's lack of decent content.

Then to stoke the flames further, we don't have a hissy fit and insist that unless all the people who don't think our product is worth the money DO pay for it, we will stop them being able to use the internet.

As I own the VHS copy of around 100 movies that as I have no VHS player (and they are not produced any more, nor do they connect to my PC hardware) I should be legally allowed to download someone elses backup copy of a movie, as I own one licence anyway, and this is to all intents and purposes a copy of MY copy. This works for software. I once broke the CD for one of my games, and just downloaded a copy which was perfectly within the law.

Because the music/film industry has had what seems to be a conspiracy to inflate the prices of CDs / DVDs they have had an interest in maintaining the high prices even after their development costs are met. Many websites sell copies of chart CDs for as little as £6.99 which must still make a profit, or they would go bust. If they can make a profit selling for such a price it's inconcievable that they require any more CDs to be sold at £15.

Once you purchase a music track you should be able to listen to it in whatever form you want, so ripping to a hard drive, burning a compilation CD for the car, playing on an MP£ player, or setting up an MP3 as a ringtone (heaven forbid) should only require you to have made one single purchase. Why should you have to buy multiple licences to listen to the music through different devices?

It's this attitude that has forced the public and the media companies to loggerheads, each with a 20+ year history of thinking the other is simply thieving scum. Business needs to stop treating its customers and potential customers with such distain.

Personally I don't buy music because most of it is low quality rubbish that given the right studio environment even a school orchestra could produce. Everything sounds the same, and nobody innovates. I download so I can listen to the song once to check I'm right. I invariably am, unfurtunately.

I wont pay for tosh, and I want to know if it's tosh before I buy it. If you wont let me find out legally, I will find out illegally, either that or you shoudl be able to take CDs back to the shops and state "Nah, it was a bit naff to be honest, I want a refund".

Record companies; your call?

  • 172.
  • At 05:20 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • pedro de la fiesta wrote:

People do something if they can get away with it. Some people steal. Many people steal. Little things like pens. Some people speed, even though they know it could kill. Some people drink and drive or use their mobile phone and drive. If the law says its illegal to share files where the owner of that file did not give the right for them to do so its illeagal. So now you complain if you are punished?
you should all be ashamed of yourselves. I'm sure you all speed and steal pens and drive while making a phone call or even worse while texting. The question is are you prepared for your punishment if caught?

  • 173.
  • At 05:24 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Ryan Usher wrote:

This is big brother being backed by an by a dying record industry to gain some control over the internet media explosion.
Its absolutely unworkable and illegal in terms of peoples privacy.
This week we've already hear'd about phone tapping now this.
They won't be happy until they have cctv and microphones in our bedrooms and bathrooms it seems.
Poor, poor music industry!! Ahhh..
but I remember you telling us what to listen to as big media giants that you once were, giving people no choice at all, doing nothing for music as an artform and killing diversity by pushing some of the worlds most awful records on sheeplike consumers who'd buy a bag of magic beans with their life savings if someone said it was good on the telly!!
Now we have all the choice and diversity we could possibly wish for on the worldwide net they just don't like it now do they?

  • 174.
  • At 05:29 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Compton Mofo wrote:

Whats this 'music' thing you're all talking about? All I remember is something about 'Home Taping' and a 'killing' a few years back...

  • 175.
  • At 05:32 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Andrew Lindop wrote:

a standard avi movie file is about 7-800 MB, more if better quality.Bit torrents are generally useless and download at like 20k a second and thats when they are running quick. Why would anyone bother downloading massive files using this slow method. I'd rather just pay £5 and get something from the high street to enjoy. I spent days getting a copy of the film control through torrents and I bought it yesterday for £15 from WH smiths. Piracy in some cases encourages future purchase. Only the usual rubbish that is churned out is downloaded deleted and binned and who is the loser there. I wouldnt deliberatley go and buy rubbish.

This is just another draconian measure proposed by this Government with no consideration whatsoever to privacy. It seems the Government only has one answer to everything, monitor people and punish them.
Despite this being completely impractical it will probably get put through without consultation and the ISPs will struggle to do this and have to just chuck a set number of people off each month, (maybe they could chuck their more difficult customers off?).
After reading the fist 28 comments they have all been on the same side, like most privacy issues the public are concerend but not listened to.

  • 177.
  • At 05:45 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • monkey wrote:

Is it illegal to download a film i've already bought the DVD of? I've done this on many occasions because it's more convenient to have it on the computer, and i don't have to sit through any copyright notices before i watch the film. Similarly, i can download an MP3 with far higher quality, and that doesn't contain any DRM for free, and is thus vastly superior to anything i can get by paying for it.

When the record/film industry starts trying to sell me things that are at least on a par with, or better than what i can get for free, i might be a bit more willing to pay their exorbitant fees.

As it stands there wouldn't be any point in me buying most legal MP3's, as i wouldn't be able to play them on anything, thanks to DRM's shunning of linux.

Also, the mere fact that they can afford to take all these small cases to court, does rather imply that they have more money than they know what to do with, so why are they complaining?

  • 178.
  • At 06:03 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Steve Porter wrote:

With legal downloads in America costing 79c
and 79p here, for the same track, Gordon Brown should be going after the corporate greedies, not crawling to them. People in this country are fed up being ripped off and no wonder they download illegally. I will not be voting Labour next time - this is the last straw.

  • 179.
  • At 06:12 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Derek Taylor wrote:

Very amused, I am sure every ISP can inspect ever packet sent over the internet. It's a goverment IT project then we know it fail since the last one still has problems and should have gone live years ago.

  • 180.
  • At 06:15 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • carl wrote:

The internet it's self is free and no one own's it so the government can't take away what is not there's to take and it's not illegal to share but to make hard copy's or use the copyrighted material and as if they will take the time to make it happen and ip blockers can stop them finding out anyway

  • 181.
  • At 06:43 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Steve wrote:

I want to download a film that has just been in the cinema. I can find it on various download sites such as bittorrent, torrentspy, piratebay, or others.
Am I the one who should be charged with illegal downloading?
I certainly think not.
If the internet offers the possibility to download "A FILM",that should not be downloaded, then it is the responsibility of the producers of "A FILM" to ensure that this film cannot be downloaded. By anyone.
Failure to comply only suggests that the film companies accept that people will willfully download whatever is made available to them via the internet - be it the latest Hollywood hit, or more.
Basically put, if it is available, I can download it.
If producers and the powers that be want "A FILM" to be less available, then they should start thinking about how to ban the networks that provide this service, instead of prosecuting the people who can, after payment of a certain fee, access these same sites and download films.
As for me, if I can get it through the internet, I will. Free of charge of course, due to the failings in the system at present...
Thankyou.

  • 182.
  • At 06:51 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • plasmacutter wrote:

It's obvious MP's promoting this don't care about false positives.

The old fogies believe p2p as a whole should be illegal, infringing or not.

The problem is the internet IS ENTIRELY p2p.

Every single protocol is designed to allow any member of the network to share information with the other... it's fundamental to the internet's very structure.

As such, every single protocol can be used (or abused if that's your stance) for copyright infringement.

This is something the old fogies and the technologically clueless don't understand.. to the peril of the very existence of this technology

  • 183.
  • At 07:02 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • TREVOR wrote:

Welcome to Britain the worlds largest Prison if you want any privacy better to choose any other country or nation in the whole world unless theres a war on obviously, damn it thats narrowed it down. Soon the government will be looking in your rubbish bin for not recycling and you could be looking at getting a 5-7yr stretch, that is if theres any room left by then, with all these downloaders. How would they put an extra 6 million people in prison over night. The society we now live in reminds me abit like 'Demolition Man'. Anyone Else?

  • 184.
  • At 07:07 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Ed wrote:

I belive that this move by the governement is outragous. Of course I dont agree with pirate downloads, the plain fact is that its stealing. But as soon as you enter a path where your monitering peoples trafic where will that lead. It isnt rite that this should ever be implemented, It should be the distributers of the data that should sucure it better. I know its not a simple task, as soon as a new security system comes out its hacked the next day, but thats life, but that would be no harder then implementing this proposed system by the government!

  • 185.
  • At 07:11 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Darren W wrote:

At 05:45 PM on 12 Feb 2008, monkey wrote:
Is it illegal to download a film i've already bought the DVD of? I've done this on many occasions because it's more convenient to have it on the computer, and i don't have to sit through any copyright notices before i watch the film. Similarly, i can download an MP3 with far higher quality, and that doesn't contain any DRM for free, and is thus vastly superior to anything i can get by paying for it.


I have heard that it is perfectly fine to download a film if you own the original disc (but I am not a legal eagle!). But then if there is money to be made by the government you can bet you'll have to pay again.

  • 186.
  • At 07:12 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Kris wrote:

copyright infringement != stealing.

if you download a cd, you haven't taken food off the artists table.

just because you downloaded it, doesn't make it a lost sale. however a lot of people who download actually buy MORE music. but this isn't understood by the music industry so it's back to playing the old record which is as broken as the model that created it.


when napster was around I personally found a LOT of music i would have never contemplated buying, my cd collection now I have a disposable income is testament to this.

paedophiles and terrorists are too hard to catch, so they go after the file sharers.

this echoes the mess that SCO inflicted on the computing world when their business model failed - they sued EVERYONE but thankfully they lost and the world is a better place without them. perhaps one day we can be free of this idiocy and the artists (the people we're stealing from allegedly) can start to benefit again. After all, it's not as if they actually see any of the money from traditional music sales.

dinosaurs will die.

  • 187.
  • At 07:16 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • martin smith wrote:

there is a very simple answer to all of this record companies need to drastically decrease the prices of albums and singles and also dvd prices need to decrease if this is done then im sure many people will go back to buying them rather than downloading them for nothing illegally

  • 188.
  • At 07:22 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Willing To Pay wrote:

The thing that annoys me is how often I want to be able to pay a reasonable amount for video-on-demand and how often the content is just not available, or is priced at a prohibitive cost. The film studios in particular are still living on the dark ages. Why does Universal force me to pay £18 for a download version of About A Boy when I can get it from Amazon for £6? And why can't I legitimately download most new releases to rent when I can rent them from LoveFilm, and can rent other titles via download? There are third party companies queuing up to make this content available in a secure and legal way, the *only* thing the studios need to do is release the content and watch the money pour in.

I just want to sit on my sofa, pay my money, and watch Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. Don't punish me for the studio's failings.

  • 189.
  • At 07:25 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Haupp wrote:

If this happens (even though its practicaly imposible) does anyone of you "6 million" fancy going on a protest rally in london. Im pretty sure that we could get 100x more people to go than what went about the war in iraq.

In 50 years time we are all going to be electronicaly tagged at birth an locked in "cages" like animals the way things are going. Its been happening slowly for years and we all seem to just go along with it. It really is sad.

  • 190.
  • At 07:36 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • david h wrote:

This is a sinister and unprecendented proposal and in true New Labour style it looks like you will be guilty as charged without the hassle of the courts. I knew it was only a matter of time before New Labour got their claws into the Net. Within 5 years it will cease to be a 'free' medium in this country, it will be completely regulated. It won't be worth using except for the basics of your life like emails and finance. New Labour despise anything they can't control.

  • 191.
  • At 07:42 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Pookie wrote:

...not to mention the clever technique more and more software developers are incorporating with built-in torrent clients in their software/games to let the users spread critical updates amongst themselves to ease server loads etc, and the other numerous legal/non-copyrighted files shared on normal peer-to-peer web sites.

The logistics for any such operation is simply beyond feasible scale. Besides, if these transfers were to happen over a secured encrypted line it really isn't as simple as "letting the ISP's decrypt the files". Decryption of any encryption format worth its salt takes days...per file...

It is also worth noting that the only people that don't seem too worried over music downloads are most musicians and the listeners.

  • 192.
  • At 08:04 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • David Howell wrote:

There'a a fair logic behind this, but it'll just never work. Or if it does, it'll come at a cost to society as a whole, rather than 'only' musicians... and I say that as a songwriter myself.

  • 193.
  • At 08:07 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Gavin Cosburn wrote:

Its big brother time again & people say we are miles apart from Russia!!

Its simple, prices low for the genuine article then more people will buy intead of downloading.

  • 194.
  • At 08:10 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Moz Verdent wrote:

This technology has left the music and flm industries behind. They will have to look to their business model as neo-Luddite govermnent policies will just fail.

  • 195.
  • At 08:11 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Peter Milford wrote:

This is unlikely to force ISPs to actively monitor traffic in order to identify illegal downloads - if, in reality they could. Sniffing packets at wire speed is expensive and this would require very high capacity sniffing.

What happens at present is that the rights owners identify the IP addresses of users uploading files - making files available for others to download. Robots find these sites and identify the IP address and then the contacts details for that address range. Automated emails are then sent to the ISP - who can check the IP address to find the user at the time of the alleged infringement. ISPs then typically send out emails to advise customers of the infringement. In most cases the infringing materials are removed and that is the end of the matter.

Current discussions are leading towards a voluntary progressive scheme - much as set out within the leaked paper. There is no current likelihoood if summary suspension or termination, rather a progressive sequence of advice notes before any terminal action.

  • 196.
  • At 08:13 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • john balshaw wrote:

yeah yeah... the goverment trying to gain more taxes on dvds music ect.we all know downloading copyright material is illegal but people will always do it, one way or another. my suggestion is if they have to gain more revenue for the record/film industry just put a small charge like 10 pence on every 1GB down loaded per month example download 30gb=£3.00 per month and let people download what they want.if you think 6 million people downloading 30GB per month would produce a massive amount of revenue and would solve everybodys problems.

  • 197.
  • At 08:22 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Neil Townsend wrote:

Of the #168 who took the time to post a comment here, how many wrote your MP a letter?

This is simply a non issue in the mainstream. The majority don't understand or care and the young don't vote.

As for the legislation itself. It has been doing the rounds for a few months now. In theory the ISP's need to decrease average bandwidth usage at peak times so filtering is attractive. However they do realise how infeasible and more importantly costly these proposals are.

At best they will be part implemented. They will be circumvented and abandoned shortly after, like all government IT projects.

  • 198.
  • At 08:26 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Matt wrote:

If the UK government is going to cut off 6 million (10% of the population) of its users from the internet, the UK economy is going to collapse.

Also, so the ISPs are going to monitor internet traffic, this would include monitoring whether you're checking your bank details or downloading a movie, what if the monitoring software got into the wrong hands while you're checking your banks statements.

  • 199.
  • At 08:30 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Storm wrote:

This is pointless. There is a whole plethora of ways that you can protect yourself against being spotted.

Node networks for http downloads.
IP Filters to block snooping agencies.
Obfuscated packets. (encrypted files on p2p networks)
Port forwarding unusual ports for p2p.
Using encrypted VPN connections.
Encrypting the files you send (of which there are immense numbers of ways to do.

And even if suspicion is warranted such as high volumes of data transfer both uploaded and downloaded, there is always plausible deniability and file shredding programs. Unless the government gives the ISP's the same status as MI5 for snooping on peoples computers and eavesdropping, its never going to happen.

Pointless, unworkable and another step towards a totalitarian police state dictated by industry and its political cronies.

  • 200.
  • At 08:35 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Renard wrote:

Like many people here I feel this is silly, it's like prosecuting the postal system for delivering a letter bomb.

Yes, illegal downloading is wrong and against the law but i believe the media companies are working against themselves and driving people to do it. To prevent piracy many artists post 30 second clips from two or three of the songs on their new album. That is by no means a true representation of the music, so, you download the album... ilegally.

Like someone else on here, the internet has introduced me to many new artists that I may not otherwise have known about. If only I was able to know more about the band BEFORE forking out £12.

The best use of downloads I see is as a try before you buy service (assuming they brought down the high prices)

  • 201.
  • At 08:39 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Callum wrote:

I'm just remembered a humourous quote.

"Keanu Reeves was once paid $20 million to star in a movie, but piracy is bankrupting us"

The industry fat cats are not getting enough cream - thats the main problem.

I mean Simon Cowell with a personal fortune of £50 millions isn't struggling for a bob or two.

  • 202.
  • At 08:42 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Julian Hall wrote:

Having worked previously for an ISP in Technical Support, I question seriously how on earth this can work? It sounds very much like politicians pushing their own agenda with little or no knowledge of how practical their aims are technically.

Paul Elliott was spot-on. Most P2P software will allow the user to specify their own port, if only to get through their own router.

In Computer Shopper #242 there is an article on this issue which points out that the BBC's iPlayer uses P2P. Will ISPs block the iPlayer port? I don't think so or the BBC will choke them, therefore P2P users will configure their systems to use the same port.

MSN Messenger is widely known to be used for P2P with its' Shared Folders function. Will ISPs block the ports MSN Messenger uses? And cut their own throats in the process?

For this to succeed, the ISPs would have to inspect every single data packet going through their systems *and* establish if the file were:

a) Copyrighted
b) Being sent/recieved by the owner of said copyright
c) actually contains what the filename suggests

How is identification of the file going to be achieved? File name? That's easy to change. Indeed it is entirely possible that people could poison the data by falsely sharing files with a particular filename that has nothing to do with the content, in order to discredit the whole system.

Equally it is entirely possible to send / receive files split into chunks which can then be reassembled by the recipient.

If a user shares a file that constitutes 10% of a copyright track, how can this be proved?

The only people this will hurt will be legitimate users of the internet. I well remember when the ISP I worked for introduced server-side spam filtering on the mail server as a trial. It was swiftly dumped as inspecting all the email traffic degraded the service. In the same vein, ISPs compelled to examine every packet of data sent through their systems will see a similar degradation of service.

The BPI et al are acting like doctors treating a symptom. They are not in the least interested in the *cause*, which is that consumers increasingly see music (especially) as over-priced compared to movies.

  • 203.
  • At 08:58 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Mav wrote:

This seems totally unworkable. What next, as most media that is produced worldwide holds a copyright, does this mean there will be a blitz on people who own a video recorder? Technology moves on and the sooner the record industry figures out that most people prefer downloadable content for use on their Mp3 players etc the better it will be for the consumer. If more music distributors joined it with trailblazers such as Itunes and Amazon, the better it would be for the consumer and (hopefully) the cheaper songs/albums etc would become. Maybe if people werent charged so much in the first place (£12 for a CD, double or more what is charged in other countries), perhaps they would not download illegaly.

  • 204.
  • At 08:59 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Zakariya wrote:

It is a ridiculous idea that has the potential to seriously infringe on the privacy of many internet uses in the UK.

To assume that everyone who uses peer-to-peer networks are doing so for illegal activities would also be plain naive.

If such an idea was to come into force I can see many improved encryption technologies being used for file sharing to avoid detection.

  • 205.
  • At 09:01 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Zakariya wrote:

It is a ridiculous idea that has the potential to seriously infringe on the privacy of many internet uses in the UK.

To assume that everyone who uses peer-to-peer networks are doing so for illegal activities would also be plain naive.

If such an idea was to come into force I can see many improved encryption technologies being used for file sharing to avoid detection.

So how can we stop this from happening, there are groups like the EFF who fight for privacy rights and freedom of the internet, also writing to our MPs and ISPs will help.

Lets do something about it before it happens, there are more of us than them. Make a difference.

  • 207.
  • At 09:08 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Liam McCombes wrote:

This is completely stupid, they will need to cut half of Britain from the internet.

  • 208.
  • At 09:23 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Emanuel goldstein wrote:

As this is obviously the music and movie industry fearing its own demise may I take this opportunity to recommend people vote with their feet and the last vestige of ego not overtaken by western consumer society.

The movie industry is scared, it is spinning around attacking anyone near it - the best thing we can do is to stop consuming totally. Stop buying music other than from independant sources. Dont buy dvd's or go to the cinema, go see local plays or find some new way to amuse yourself and give your life validation.

If your ISP bows to this scheme leave, or go to a free ISP and let those we pay a fortune for "unlimited downloads" wither on the vine.

If you must consume join a program like bookmooch which is a physical torrent system for books and hopefully in a few years the movie and music industry will be reformed through starvation or it will wither and die.

We call for an end to this state of affairs - long live a little bit of autonomy.

  • 209.
  • At 09:31 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • beanie wrote:

What makes people want download films/music/software illegally?

Simple:- RIP OFF PRICES.

If the entertainment industry wants to make sharing of music etc illegal, then they should reduce the price to level where people won't bother and buy legal cds etc.

  • 210.
  • At 09:58 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Bod wrote:

No, No, No. you got it all wrong...

The real reason is that people are moving away from sitting in front of the T.V. being spoon fed ads and propaganda. I personaly dont want the opinions of idiots trying to sway my opinion. I want to see what I choose to see when I want to see it.

And if users dont sit in front of the "TV" sucking it in. Then the powers that be dont got any more control on how i shop or spend my money.

Its all about controling the public with a carrot and stick. The carrots are the goodies like films, sport, and programs that have many spellbound, while being spoon fed every 10 mins with ads telling me what to buy or bias chat shows that try to from my opinions on current issues.

What there trying to stop is people switching off the tv and getting media from the net. By doing so they loose influance over me.

This is just another form of control by fear, which seems to be the way Nu Labour like to do things. Kinda copying the way things are done in the New World Order of the USA.

Bring it on ! and lets see how well the ISP's fare against 256bit encription.

I just knew it was coming to a head when Vistas DRM told me i couldnt copy my own music to my mp3 player because of copyright infringments. And when I say my own music I dont mean my personal collection i pay for. I mean "My own music I created." Can you believe that. That was the day i wiped Vista and loaded Linux for the first time.

Peace Bod

  • 211.
  • At 10:00 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Govt. Think Tank wrote:

What an excellent suggestion. Who better to regulate the internet than Service Providers. After all...

i) Service Providers make almost no money at all.

ii) They have a reputation for average to poor service.

iii) They already enforce Fair Usage Polices in a complete haphazard, dishonest and indiscriminate way.

iv) They are notorious for doing absolutely nothing to protect their users from outside threats.

I can't wait for the legislation.

  • 212.
  • At 10:02 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Alistair wrote:

A CD is about £10 and provided you buy a decent one will get listened to 50+ times. Even a crap one will get 5 listens.

A see various comments about CD's being expensive. They are £10 this is not expensive a McDonalds is the best part of a fiver. CDs were £15 10/15 years ago .

In contrast to CDs a DVD is about £13 and needs to be special to get watched again. Start pricing DVDs at a sensible price (£3/4) and people will buy them and not go to the hastle of P2P/streaming/burning/converting.

  • 213.
  • At 10:02 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • William Shales wrote:

So, ban me from the motorway, because I went a little over 70 a couple of times.

Ban me from the bank because I brought a couple of those plastic pens home with me. Those IKEA pencils are great, I've got hundreds of them. maybe I'll build a table out of them.

How do I do my online banking or access e-Government services if I'm banned from the internet ? That MUST be a breach of my human rights. Proper criminals are always claiming breaches in their rights if they don't have Sky in their cells, or 5 meals a day, or free methodone or whatever.

Stuff the mainstream media. I used to listen to the radio avidly. The local commercial station was always on in the car and sometimes at home. Since I started listening to podcasts (even before I got broadband) I haven't listened to the radio station for more than 2 consecutive songs this YEAR ! When I'm travelling I've got my ear buds in listening to content that interests and educates me.

There's a lot more interesting content out there ... discover podcasts, learn about a new subject, learn more about a subject you already know something about, get watching YouTube (You've been Framed - on Demand), learn a foreign language, hell, even generate some of your own content to educate others and share your knowledge if that takes your fancy.

Get your arse off your sofa, and don't just settle for vegging in front of the telly watching someone else's (usually big corporations) ideas of what you should be interested in.

Of course now I'm wondering what bombshell the government are going to drop in the next couple of days. It usually happens ... release some contentious story and then quietly release some other piece of scandal that conveniently gets 'buried' as item 6 on the news.

Speaking of human rights, and data protection ... why are government departments now starting to collect census data (religion, sexual orientation and ethnicity), and what are the chances they'll ensure it's correct and kept up to date ? Data protection act ? pah !

  • 214.
  • At 10:08 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

I think most of the comments here more or less sum up the consumer feeling. I think it is time for the record companies, and the studios to sit up and listen. Give us value for money. Simple.

Oh, and the government - surely you have more pressing matters than dancing to the tune of the corporations? Do you want me to start listing where the British government should be focusing it's attention? Thought not.....

  • 215.
  • At 10:10 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • John wrote:

6 million in the UK are file sharing, it's going to take the the a mighty long time to get round to them all.

I pulled out my calculator to see just how long it would take them to sue all 6 million P2P music file traders at a rate of 75 a day. 6,000,000/75 = 80,000 days to start suing each person or 80,000 days/365 days in a year = 219 years to subpoena each person.

Will the record / film industry have any money left in 219 years will the they still exist then.

  • 216.
  • At 10:21 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Mattypants wrote:

I've read a few comments suggesting that people actually think that downloading music and films 'illegally' is morally wrong. It speaks volumes that large corporations have managed to convince the populace that it is wrong to refuse to line their pockets.

The internet is an opportunity for humans to exchange experiences, culture and ideas with one another without having to pay the elite for the privilege (apart from ISPs).

In fact, we should be moving towards cooperative, not-for-profit ISPs, regulated by the users. That would be closer to a democratic world wide web...

Right i think the whole copyright thing for digital media should be dropped unless the digital media is to be used as someone elses work or is going to be used to make money as the music that people download off the internet helps the artists fan base so why should it be a issue becuase it is still helping them its like you have to give to resive

  • 218.
  • At 10:40 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • SR wrote:

As it has been said before this is a fruitless exercise, and in my eyes nothing more than a PR exercise to show that the government are trying to do something. What it boils down to is the government being pushed by the music/film companies and IFPI to do something. However is it really in the ISPs interest to allow such regulations to be passed? With such a high percentage of users downloading would this mean an ISP could loose it's revenue by terminating so many contracts? Who monitors the data that's captured by the ISPs? The privacy implications on this is huge. The technology is here and i use it on a daily basis, however i know how easy it is to get round it as well. Don't encrypt your data, just camouflage it. There are programs out there that change the signature of file say from an mp3 to a standard text document. To scan this kind of packets you're looking at deep level packet inspection and this is a huge overhead on the network capacity and would cause such a bottle neck that the ISP would fall over.

This to anyone with the right knowledge only show the government trying to be proactive with no clue.

  • 219.
  • At 10:44 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Anonymous wrote:

If the material that record labels was currently putting out was actually any good, then they might see their profits go up.

Anyway, the logistics of organising a system such as this will just cost far too much, and no doubt slow down internet connections due to all the real-time scanning. Completely absurd.

  • 220.
  • At 10:59 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Baz wrote:

I represent one of the many millions of users who continue to buy music and video content that I consider to be worthy of my hard-earned cash, while at the same time downloading music, TV shows and movies via P2P.

The argument that I'm somehow getting something for nothing, effectively stealing, is oft-quoted but flawed: I would never buy anything that I download, most of it is just fairly trivial entertainment that beats the majority of the rubbish available through conventional channels (TV and radio for example) hands down.

It's only stealing if I would otherwise buy it - yet such assumptions are made, quantified monetarily and 'statistically' to reinforce the notion that 'outrageous losses' incurred by 'bad people' must be stamped out. It just doesn't wash. The same arguments have been used by the computer software / gaming industry for years and they don't stack up there either.

It's important to stand up and be counted in this debate, because our rights and freedoms are being steadily eroded away. Function creep abound; it starts with downloading and ends with our ability to freely and privately conduct our lives online as we (think we) do in real life. In the same way that home taping didn't kill music, nor does P2P/downloading kill the movie and music industries, it just eats into their margins and provides a more appropriate distribution of wealth. I'm fine with people getting paid, but this endless spiralling greed for the few at the expense of the masses creates a rich-poor divide that is uncivilised and unnatural.

Quite how government involvement in this issue can be justified is laughable. Just because something is deemed 'unfair' by a group of individuals doesn't empower them to involve their government in legislating their arguments. There's plenty in our country that's unfair, and it's left to 'edutainment' TV to act as judge and jury because it's beneath governments to get involved. Issues like our ever-declining standards of education (Dispatches, 11 feb). Isn't it strange that governments always come to the rescue of the wealthy and the corporates?

If corporations want to protect their wealth and investment then leave them to it. Copy protection, DRM etc. etc. are their right and privilege to protect their investment. Crying 'unfair' because the public are defeating their efforts (read: waking up) should not be a call for government involvement.

  • 221.
  • At 10:59 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Andre wrote:

perhaps the government should concentrate on the speed shambles. As everyone still sells "unlimited broadband" & "8Mbps broadband" but no one seems to get these services!

  • 222.
  • At 11:05 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • bifter wrote:

An interesting fight is brewing here between the ISPs and the Music/Film industries. Like most here, I would be appalled if the government ever enacted anything that made the ISPs liable for monitoring the traffic across their network.

The ISPs would obviously resist - just as the Post Office is not liable for the contents of the mail and the telephone companies are not liable for peoples' conversations this puts the ISPs on dodgy legal ground (I could see the European Court of Human Rights being involved at some point). Also, some reports indicate that 95% of internet traffic is file-sharing, so the ISPs would hardly kill the goose that laid the golden egg would they? Never mind the exorbitant costs of the technology involved and the fact that it, most likely, wouldn't work.

The Internet is changing the whole commercial model for 'content'. People want more flexibility, affordability and fairness from content providers and they aren't concerned about outdated copyright concepts.

The traditional film and music companies really haven't grasped the reality yet and their consistent attempts to penalise people who don't subscribe to their commercial model is having a ruinous effect on their image. In fact, like a classic science fiction movie, every time they shoot the piracy monster, it just seems to suck it up and become even stronger!

  • 223.
  • At 11:18 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Danny wrote:

This just wont work... If copyright content can be reliably and efficiently spotted, what about sites like YouTube? It is not illegal to download the content, only to store / use it locally. How are ISPs supposed to know if you saved it or not?
How about iStockPhoto, the previews are copyright, but how do you decide if you want to purchase without viewing the preview (which would of course be illegal). What if someone mailed restricted content to you? You wouldn't know until you downloaded it (ie, just checked your mail!).

I am a web designer, if I correctly copyright my own work, would I actually be able to download (view) it? If not - why not? I designed it. If I could - why? What makes my intellectual property less important than Madonna's or Elvis's?

There are too many loopholes here, 'piggy back' downloads, sites with unknown copyright tags embedded, malicious redirection to effected material (a whole new strain of UK only virus?) and the ever present threat of software failure over new / unknown file formats.

Piracy of copyright material is not to be condoned, but placing the onus on the ISPs is just a 'cop out', an attempt by the government to be 'seen to be doing' that could potentially make the internet unusable in the UK

  • 224.
  • At 11:21 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • carl preston wrote:

The internet it's self is free and no one own's it so the government can't take away what is not there's to take and it's not illegal to share but to make hard copy's or use the copyrighted material and as if they will take the time to make it happen and ip blockers can stop them finding out anyway

  • 225.
  • At 11:26 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Donald McCaskey wrote:

Piracy does cost the industry money, but only to the extent that it stops them being able to charge what ever they like. I remember when DVDs were £20 - £25, and that was for a bog standard version with a single disk and no extras. Now the average price is around the £15 mark. I remember when CDs were £13 - £15, now you'll pay £8 or £9. Far from causing DVDs and CDs to cost more, piracy has ensured they cost less.

The scare stories that piracy will kill the music/film industry and ensure new acts aren't finaced? Well, I've been hearing those stories for over 20 years now. The industries are still here, new acts are still being financed. The difference now, though, is that it's all about the fast buck and delivering a quality product isn't even a secondary consideration.

  • 226.
  • At 11:41 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • Dave B wrote:

Lets face it by the time this becomes law its going to be exactly like parking and speeding.

Download illegal music....on the spot fine for £60. 3 points on your internet license. £5 to the music industry and £55 to the government to pay for all the hardware needed by the ISPs to detect the illegal traffic.

The big difference is that in order to run my internet connection I don't have to drive on UK roads. I can just offshore my connection.

How?

SSL VPN to my root server in a safe country.

Power up my BGAN satellite ground station. After all thats how the BBC gets news reports out of hostile countries.

  • 227.
  • At 12:03 AM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • pbhj wrote:

Two things.

1) Piracy involves ships ... this ain't piracy, not even theft, it's copyright infringement which is not even a crime but a tort.

2) Whither the European Convention on Human Rights Article 8 which includes the phrase: "[respect for] private and family life, his home and his correspondence".

I think tapping all my online dealings is an infringement of my right to a private life.

Moreover this will give carte blanche to those in positions of power in ISPs (or their ISPs) to wiretap everyone - I don't think my business correspondence should be opened to free observation by third parties, nor things like my online tax returns.

Invasive and overbearing.

  • 228.
  • At 12:37 AM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Tim wrote:

Let's follow this piracy thing to it's logical conclusion:

6 million becomes 12 million becomes 24 million, to the point where only one copy of a CD or DVD has to be purchased for all the sharing to take place. People don't bother going to the cinema or the record store, and soon there is no market. No market and artists stop trying. This would kinda force the media companies to change their business model! It is their inertia to change which is part of the problem, and they do not have the wits to see what is in front of them.

One could consider the ISP fee, or payment to a downloading site (e.g. megaupload) as subscriptions, but none of these charges go to the media companies. All these folks need to get into bed with each other and contrive a business model that works for all internet users and supports artists, at (reduced) prices people are prepared to pay. In this way the really honest folks don't lose out, and "pirates" would significantly reduce. Now if you still "have to have" the physical media, the companies have a double sale on their hands :)

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em !!

  • 229.
  • At 12:40 AM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • zoee wrote:

Makes me laugh.. The government and music industry seem to have no clue what so ever how the Internet operates. I wish bt or sky broadband would write up a bill to how much this would cost them. How much they would have spend on training and manpower alone. Then trying to enforce it...
Music industry are so silly, I would pay for online live concert of amy winehouse or for unlimited access of my favorite artist music downloads for next 2years providing was first to get.. That is the way to go.. I refuse to pay for music which i can copy on to CD from the radio anyway..

  • 230.
  • At 01:16 AM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • simon wrote:

I have surfed the net from its early days and no matter how governments try to clamp down ,there are to many people out there who can write new programs , there are already programs out there where by you enter though one door through a private network and out of another door that closes behind you and any one chasing exits out of another door might as well be a million miles away from where they need to be ,you could use a vpn this makes you invisible ,it would be like driving down a road and it suddenly disappears . I think this would cost isp millions .


  • 231.
  • At 01:27 AM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Ami wrote:

I'm a hefty downloader of Japanese anime, I have to download a lot of stuff simply because it is not available to buy i the UK. When things do become available to buy (buy getting licensed to Uk / us companies) those downloads always stop. I am worried that my liking for something I cannot legally buy here would earn me a reputation as a person who downloads copyrighted materials. since I carry out my entire social life using the internet too that would be something I would not be able to cope with.

The downloading of Japanese anime as far as i am aware though is not an illegal act unless the anime in question has been licenced for release in the US /UK market.

  • 232.
  • At 01:37 AM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Shane wrote:

The providers of the music need to make it cheaper to download and own.

Asking the same price for an album or film in a retail shop as a Internet download site is ridiculous.

There is no Disk, no printed artwork costs no cover for the disk. Therefore it stands to reason it should be cheaper. I am not advocating theft in any way, all I am saying is if the Studios rip us off it stands to reason the public are going to do it back to them. Charge a fair price and the public will not download. Simple as that.

So how can we stop this from happening, there are groups like the EFF who fight for privacy rights and freedom of the internet, also writing to our MPs and ISPs will help.

Lets do something about it before it happens, there are more of us than them. Make a difference.

  • 234.
  • At 04:55 AM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Alex wrote:

It's snowing where I am right now, I'm going outtside to count the snowflakes!!! In essence this is what the government is going to attempt. Silly blokes, this task is laughable.

It's clear that the tyranny of the media industry is not dying gracefully; just like a dictator stripped of his weapons, it's flinching and bawling with absurd, impossible solutions and propositions as to why society should still listen to it.

We have free, open source, mathematically sound methods of encryption; we have sophisticated methods of misdirection and complex routing; we have impenetrable privacy.

This system we've built as a society does not support dictatorship; it supports freedom and thrives on goodwill and trust.

The media industry has insulted us for long enough; it's time for it to wake up to the new landscape and begin trusting us as consumers. At the moment, the industry seems scared that the public will steal every work they produce. No, we won't, but if there's a consistent pattern of extortionate charges or attempts to hamper our freedom, then we'll become disgruntled and show mutual disrespect by not paying a penny.

There's a lot of gloom surrounding this whole situation. However, once the media industry is ready to offer us its trust with respectable demands, a beautiful, sustainable system will form. We are human and we have conscience, but we also have pride. We will not stand for attempts to subvert our freedom or steal from us, but we will honour and wholeheartedly support fair trade. It is that simple.

No, actors and artists will not earn the absurd wages they have done over the past decades. This has always been a clear and unjustified manifestation of greed; an artifact of the degree of extortion the industry applies to its consumers.

Trust us with open media formats and reasonable charges and we will return with our custom.

  • 236.
  • At 09:41 AM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Guy Whitehouse wrote:

The government's ideas are wrong. First, some downloading, though illegal actually drives legal sales as Professor Lessig has demonstrated in his book Free
Culture. Second, some licensing schemes allow sharing of copyrighted content with others, so how would ISPs tell the difference between this scenario and
the classic illegal sharing of music? Finally it would divert ISPs resources from monitoring what they really ought to be investing resources in, i.e.
monitoring those looking to use the Internet to groom children for sex.

  • 237.
  • At 09:49 AM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • GuiltyDragon wrote:

This will never happen. It's far too costly and far too easy to work around.

If it did ever happen to my ISP, I would simply switch ISP immidiatly. There are far more options than the big names like Virgin and BT.

Either that or I'll just emmergrate to Canada.

  • 238.
  • At 09:56 AM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Micky.B wrote:

P2P networks are for sharing. It's like me getting sue'd for lending a friend a music CD or DVD. Ok ban the people that use it to make a profit but what about the rest?

  • 239.
  • At 10:01 AM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Nick wrote:

Can I just correct all those who've commented on the claims that anyone buying pirated CDs & DVDs is funding organised crime?

I think you'll find that since September 11th 2001, you'll have been funding terrorism

A small, but important distinction. ;)

  • 240.
  • At 12:34 PM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Dave wrote:

Given that the only proven cost of piracy is anti-piracy measures, this idea is not only morally dubious, but also economically dubious.

  • 241.
  • At 12:40 PM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Marty wrote:

At the risk of playing devil's advocate, I must ask: who do downloaders think they're kidding?

Surely no one is actually convinced that downloading copyright material is anything BUT stealing. You didn't pay for it so you don't get to have it. End of story.

Did we think this would last forever?

Do we think that we have some sort of 'right' to download things we haven't paid for?

Of COURSE the government wants to protect corporate income - any economics book will explain why.

And privacy has ALWAYS been invaded in the process of upholding the law.

Sure, we all download copyrighted material. Sure, we've all gotten used to it. But that doesn't mean it's okay.

On a lighter note - i suspect people in 'the scene' will find a way around any countermeasures anyway.

  • 242.
  • At 12:43 PM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Euphoric wrote:

I can just see it now at BT server exchange .

" Dave we got another 50 Terabytes of packets you need to sort through , make sure you search for the word *.mp3 "

LOL .

Most of the Downloaders are gonna be under 18 imagine the legal paperwork involved, they just gonna get a new ISP or get someone else to pay for the bill.

  • 243.
  • At 12:49 PM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Jonathan wrote:

Just wondering if this will still affect websites such as youtube/stage6/Google video. Would this green paper include watching Streaming media? Obviously it would be the host that has the responsibility to police their own website and not the person who watches the media online. Is this correct?

Thanks

  • 244.
  • At 12:57 PM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Dan wrote:

First they ignore you, then fight you (sue individuals, get government to force ISPs to do their dirty work for them), then (hopefully) we win.

Cheap / Free content available on-demand worldwide instantly. No geography based price-fixing or time fixing.

In short my preferences are...
*Cheap / Free (1p-£1 per episode)
*No DRM
*On Demand
*No Geographic Price fixing
*No wating MONTHS for US shows to come to UK.

*probably other things I've forgotten.

  • 245.
  • At 01:41 PM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • John Kivlin wrote:

If ISP is truly behind the government regarding removing this type of content, how then is News Groups able to survive, A Number of ISP's run their own news servers which are replicated around the world, there are far more illegal downloads available from them than there are torrents. And these are on the ISP's own servers. Doesnt that hold then liable to prosecution also.

This kind of policing will never work, BBC Click also uses P2P to transmit its content, this could be interpreted by your ISP as illegal when infact it is not.

  • 246.
  • At 01:46 PM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • David wrote:

this law is all well and good but is there any sort of exemptions such as viewing content online so say there was a new show out and a website had them epsiodes of that show to watch online technically i feel you wont be commting the offence becasue the content isnt being downloaded to your pc and what about the pay as you go tv serivce from topup tv content is downloaded to your box weekley with the 9.99 subscription u pay

  • 247.
  • At 01:50 PM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Jeremy wrote:

it's a little sad to watch these silly people fail to grasp, even a tiny bit, what people expect these days.

the RIAA etc have had a decade or more to sort themselves out and provide a realistic business model for the internet age, what have they managed? absolutely nothing, apart from blaming their inability to move with the times on evil 'pirates' and shout and threaten anyone that will listen.

A subscription model is the only thing that will work now. we have available on demand media from the net, that cant be taken away no matter how ignorant gov's or anyone else might try. TV is dead as well, but at least those networks have actually noticed what's happening in the world and are (slowly) getting on with working on the net rather than ignoring it.

  • 248.
  • At 01:55 PM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Nye wrote:

Hang on a mo. This sounds fantastic. I'm a semi-pro photographer, and so far Ive had several of my images ripped off. They are mine so I own the copyright - does this mean that if this proposal goes through I can ask - no demand - that every ISP in the UK looks out for my images and blocks the net connection of anyone who downloads them? At no cost to me of course beyond just telling them what my pics look like.
Imagine what its going to be like when everyone can enforce IP and require ISP's to block content, not just the media giants.

  • 249.
  • At 02:20 PM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Phil B wrote:

Hmmm. Odd how P2P has hit the news.

Yet the billions of spams sent daily that costs the industry hundreds of millions of pounds daily seems to be an issue that no government wnats to talk about.
Most of the spam is funded by organised crime yet doesn't seem to be taken seriously.

If the government wishes to legislate the internet in the UK, lets see them tackle the issue properly instead of targeting P2P with a knee jerk reaction (Oink being my example). Of course P2P users are easy targets - spam requires much more investigation to find the perpetrators.

Sounds like our government are taking the easy option out for a quick fix.


  • 250.
  • At 03:04 PM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Steve wrote:

Under Human rights legislation do I not have a Right to privacy? Do I also have the right to be innocent until proven guilty?

ISP's being forced to monitor me is a dangerous precedent. Suddenly I have no right to privacy with regards to Internet use, if I use Peer to Peer downloads to download a legal file such as an Open Source Linux Distribution or a Public Domain Music file, will I be presumed to be guilty of piracy until I prove my innocence... That is unacceptable in my opinion.

I do not like the idea of anyone monitoring me, much less someone passing judgement on me as a Pirate due to using certain software of which there are perfectly legitimate and legal uses.

1984 was a warning for the world, not an instruction manual for future government policy.

  • 251.
  • At 03:10 PM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Baz wrote:

I think you'll find that since September 11th 2001, you'll have been funding terrorism

Oh paleeze. Thats exactly the kind of rubbish propagated by the industry to "win hearts and minds". I could equally argue that buying DVD's has funded the western regime's wrongful carpet-bombing of innocent iraqis.

That such nonsense be packaged as news and referenced as 'evidence' is a frustrating by-product of our dumb-down society.

I actually agree with most of the comments here, as well as this post.

I do agree, what if I want to share legal files? Also, I think that less people would pirate if rates on software such as iTunes were lower. To be honest, £2 for an episode is far too high. Perhaps, £1 would be fair. Until that happens, I'll just stick with my TV. I don't want to risk piracy, and I don't want to pay insane amounts.

One thing, remember, if you are going to pirate anything, you should remind yourself that you are doing a lot of damage. If you really like the content, go pay for it to show your support. Why I buy CDs, I want to show my support for good artists.

  • 253.
  • At 05:16 PM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Tim Richmond wrote:

the only real question this raises for me is...

Who is advising the government on there technical issues???

The reason I ask is they should be instantly sacked for being incompetent.

Or maybe...

This is just a way of creating another stealth tax by charging a levy on data transfer.

The most of the people who download movies and music poses technical knowledge that the majority internet users do not.

To understand how to find the correct files and recompile them into watchable / Listenable formats for free is the reserve of the minority.

This issue as far as I can see has been caused by the very slow internet speeds we have in this country that has prevented full video on demand services being launched on a subscription basis.

I am sure that the majority of people would pay £40 per month for a service that allowed them access to similar content that the more enlightened minority of power users get already.

If a tax is to be laid down let it be a tax based upon tech knowledge or rather the lack of.

  • 254.
  • At 09:43 PM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • redshift wrote:

as long as you have to pay for something...people will find a way to get it for free...

  • 255.
  • At 09:47 PM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • web pirate wrote:

as most people have mentioned on this blog the cost of music and video compared to other countries is un justified.
i use itunes but didnt like the fact i could only play it on my pc or ipod! so many years ago i wrote a small program that strips the drm from itunes music so i can play it on any audio device.
am i breaking the law??
NO because i own the file i modified.
i dont own the music but i have not modified the music.
most of the music downloaded is in the mp3 format which is of poor quality compared to cd.
i use ogg vorbis which is near cd quality.
its like most movies on the net often filmed via a video camera and of poor quality but it lets you try before you buy
just look at china the electronics capital of the world they have been trying to stop it for years.
1% of china buy music!!
i think robbie williams and others need to take a pay cut and deliver the goods then they may break even
just my 2ps worth

  • 256.
  • At 10:05 PM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Troc Ster wrote:

What a stupid idea. Privacy laws will have to be re-written from the ground up.

Also ... will it include sharing across the UK border and then, how can UK legislation even apply ? It may or may not be illegal to share in the source/destination country.

  • 257.
  • At 12:23 AM on 14 Feb 2008,
  • Richard wrote:

One thing the music companies etc forget is that the main way "new" bands come to be we known nowadays is through the net, indeed some acts have even been "discovered" through sites such as myspace and facebook.

Now if a act was signed by EMI for example and they released a "debut" album which contained tracks that had previously been released by the act themselves online for free, would the downloading of these tracks then be consided as piracy due to the fact they are now on a "official" cd??

  • 258.
  • At 02:12 AM on 14 Feb 2008,
  • Jaz wrote:

Music piracy could be stopped over night. Build a wireless networked ipod, connect it to a server farm run on behalf of record companies that allows the user to choose from 100,000s of albums on the fly. Charge monthly subscription fee. Nobody would ever need to illegally download again. Record companies would share revenue based on the number of plays per track. The stats this would provide would be worth lots to marketers too. Different subscription rates could allow unlimited, limited access etc. Even stream advertising - I'd hate this but you'd bet that advertisers would love to deliver ads into your headphones.

  • 259.
  • At 02:26 AM on 14 Feb 2008,
  • Simon wrote:

This will never happen. This article is almost laughable to read. It is far too hard to implement. The government are truly ignorant if they believe the internet and P2P could ever be "policed" in this fashion. Media Defender has been trying to crack down on piracy for 10 years on the internet and its been completely fruitless. All this amounts to is ISP wanting to cut down their internet traffic thus raising their profits because at the moment most of the bandwidth is used for P2P.

  • 260.
  • At 10:44 AM on 14 Feb 2008,
  • rayemond wrote:

I am not working and on a low income. Being a big music fan I download illegally from the internet.
However this has only stimulated my apetite for music and broadened my tast.
It has caused me to spend more on legal copies than I would have befor.
When the music industry claim they are losing they mean they are not making as much profit as rhey did last year or the year befor.
They have not actualy lost money.
This could be because they have been forced to bring CD prices down in the UK market more towards what was being charge abroad. For years they were ripping the British music consumer off.
This is the "loss" they are probably talking about.
Perhaps that is what

  • 261.
  • At 12:09 PM on 14 Feb 2008,
  • Al wrote:

The business model of selling reproductions of musical performances, began with the the invention of the phonograph. The model is around 100 years old.
This was viable because the cost of reproduction equipment and availability of knowledge made it unfeasible for the average listener to generate their own copies.

This model is no longer sustainable. It is not possible distribute your product to the public, together with the ability to ultimately process it and at the same time, prevent end-user duplication. Technology has rendered this model obsolete.

How did musicians earn a living before this model was conceived by business? They would travel and perform. They didn't even have the internet as a way to publicise their work. Now, they can do this cheaply and on a global scale.

Perhaps Bono wont be able to own as many houses this way, but is there anyone reading this that honestly considers this a bad thing?

  • 262.
  • At 12:44 PM on 14 Feb 2008,
  • Lucien21 wrote:

The legislation is ludicrious and completely unworkable.

However it does bring out all the old argument to justify piracy.

* Well I would never have bought it in the first place.

- Probably true in a lot of cases, but surely if it is worth your time and effort to download it and you are getting some kind of enjoyment out of the product, then the artist or company deserves some kind of remuneration for it's product.

You might argue over the price being to high etc, but that's no excuse for taking a free copy.

Entertainment is a luxury item not a necessity. If you can't afford to buy lots then you rationalise and decide what you can afford to buy and ignore the rest. (Lack of money is not an excuse for stealing - unless it is life or death and you are stealing food)

The companies need to realise they need to offer an incentive to purchase just as much as a punishment to stealing. Offering extras on the Movie/CD etc for a reasonable price, offering the items online (like the BBC Iplayer or Itunes etc for low prices), cut out the delay between worldwide releases all would go a long way to cutting out piracy.

It would be interesting to see how many people in the UK are downloading Lost Season 4 as SKY are broadcasting it within a couple of days of the US showing.

  • 263.
  • At 01:44 PM on 14 Feb 2008,
  • Andrew Marr wrote:

Bit torrent has been encrypted for quite a while, most ISPs can filter this but can't whats inside the packet as it uses throw away encryption keys so changes everytime a client/server connection is made.

The real problem would be knowing illegal from legal. The BBC iPlayer uses P2P technology so their servers don't get overloaded with people watching TV shows from the last week. If ISP's filter packets using this protocol then whats stopping bittorrent or other file sharing programs from emulating this protocol.

For that matter whats to stop file sharing programs emulating any protocol the programmers want by hiding the true data inside something else or sending bad data everynow and then to confuse any decoding software other than the client side.

  • 264.
  • At 02:57 PM on 14 Feb 2008,
  • Andy wrote:

Wouldn't all this effort by the government to stop people downloading be better spent trying to combat the issue of child porn on the internet?....I suppose not because nobody is loosing money over that..

  • 265.
  • At 05:32 PM on 14 Feb 2008,
  • Mike wrote:

First, p2p information is not normally encrypted. Merely the data header. So please dont assume that because you have turned on encryption on your torrent software your ISP cannot see what it is you are downloading/uploading.

My advice is to open up your wi-fi connection on your router without a password. Your defense then is that someone has piggybacked your bandwidth.

Failing that a VPN tunnel will be reasonably secure. GCHQ have already admitted having problems with VOIP!

  • 266.
  • At 11:12 AM on 15 Feb 2008,
  • Max wrote:

What this highlights again is how hopelessly out of step some parts of the media industry are.

If you want to watch a specific US produced TV show you have two legal options in the UK. Buy into a subscription from a certain satellite TV provider or wait for it to come out on DVD.

Now that means that you have to pay for content you don't want or wait a long time.

There is a third way. The media companies make available a good quality video file of the show for you to down load for a reasonable fee. A file size of about 600Mb - 1Gb would give a quality as good as broadcast standard on a good size TV.

Ah but they don't. So what can you do. Well the alternative is that you can download this for free off the internet.

If there are that many people downloading illegal content to watch the exact material they want I would as the layman expect this market to be huge.

But no instead they pressurize government into draconian measures that will allow ISP to get rid of customers who actually use there "high speed broadband" (cough). And reinforce there traffic management which is already punishing those who have the the cheek to use there full bandwidth.

The BBC are showing how this is done with I-Player, and Lovefilm with there downloads. But how could the ISP's distinguish this from anything else. And the internet community is such that someone will always find a work around.


  • 267.
  • At 12:04 PM on 15 Feb 2008,
  • Sim wrote:

Ok, I download music, and films. though not much; as I can always hear stuff for free on the radio!

not only is this proposal in breach of the Un declaration of human rights (art. 11 i think) but it is fundamentally wrong, before the law even comes into it. The government is meant to enforce the will of the people; that is the purpose of elections. So how is this doing that? I do not want to be spied on in my own home, when I am not even suspected of a crime (or am i suspected just because I own an Internet connection?)

Business economics 101; Goods are ony worth what the customer is willing to pay for them. The industry is still working on the margins that used to be used for cd sales, which were extreme. If a trach only cost 10-20p, then it simply would not be worth downloading illegally would it? especially if the quality could be guaranteed. The number of sales would go through the roof, voilla, healthy profit, and the singers still get their diamond encrusted toilet seats.

Unfortunately, the sign of bad management is resistance to change and improvement.

Are there any GOOD managers/ execs out there actually willing to try something different? Trust me. It will pay off.

  • 268.
  • At 04:04 AM on 16 Feb 2008,
  • steve b wrote:

how much is it to download legally?
75p each track? an album for about £10?
when legal downloading happened i was full of hope which was dashed when i realised the price.
while some people think this price is ok, i think this level of charging is an effort to make actual cd's still a viable purchase. 'why download when you can have the cd for the same price?'
there used to be a time (i'm showing my age now) when you used to know a guy that could get you a floppy disk for a fiver with all sorts of illegal stuff. these days with high prices and big brother watching, are we going to go back to that?
maybe you wont be able to cheaply download the films and music but maybe copying your mates will be the only answer again. DRM be damned, if all else fails do we have to go back to the long winded 'tape to tape' actual audio copying method?

the point of this rant is to say that no matter what controls are in place, people still want goods at a reasonable price (or free).
rather than charging 75p why cant it be 15p?
*actual costs*
group records music
record company promotes
record company uploads music to web
record company collects revenue
*needless costs*
cd production
cover artwork and printing
distributors
retail outlets

so where exactly does all this extra money go?

  • 269.
  • At 12:58 AM on 23 Feb 2008,
  • Andy Richards wrote:

I will gladly admit I download music. However, if I like the music, I buy the CD. If I don't really like the music, I delete it.

I agree this is on the wrong side of the law legally, but I feel morally and ethically justified in doing this.

  • 270.
  • At 09:12 PM on 24 Feb 2008,
  • Martin wrote:

Pesonally I object to paying £10+ to watch a film in the cinema unless I'm confident I'm going to enjoy it (I've been conned by slick marketing that fails to deliver far too often).

Therefore I subscribe to the p2p "try before you buy" idea.
I still buy dvd's & go to the cinema, but generally only after I've previewed it.

  • 271.
  • At 02:27 PM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • kj wrote:

Hey, what about extremly rare and obscure cult music currently unavalable on CD, unavailable in the UK, or OUT OF PRINT stuff?

Download is good for those reasons, and some artists, especially foreign Progressive Rock bands allow users to download most of their music for FREE, would we get cut off downloading something like that?

Instead of cutting users off, what about looking at various alternatives that are fair to both downloaders and music bosses.

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