back to article Government piles filesharing pressure on UK ISPs

The government turned up the heat on internet providers today, warning that laws to force disconnection of illegal filesharers are already being drafted for a parliamentary debut in November. Lord Triesman, the minister for intellectual property, said that if ISPs can't agree a voluntary scheme with the music and film …


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  1. Mike

    Filesharing isn't necessarily illegal?

    Not ALL of the content of filesharing traffic is illegal - filesharing can be used perfectly legally to transmit and share user-created data...who is exactly going to determine which of the many (many many) packets of data flying back and fore are illegal and which are not?

    It won't work...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    good too see

    It's good to see where "our" governments loyalties are.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This confirms that the Government....

    cares much much more about money than the health of tghe nation. IF, and I say IF, the Government can so very quickly threaten legislation against ISP's for allowing file sharing WHY has the Government in 10-15 years not legislated to bar ISP's from carrying newsgroup named such as "alt.child-porn" etc etc etc etc ??. The reason is that they really care only about money and big business, just like a NEW Labour Government does !! Gordon Brown should find out what FOAD means and go and do it along with his whole Government.

  4. Gilbert Wham

    I'll be fascinated to see...

    ...exactly how this is going to work. All one need do if they block p2p protocols is spend 10 euros a month on a seedbox somewhere else, use that to do the transfers and pull what you want off over a VPN. Or, wait a few weeks for some enterprising soul to come up with a new app that makes a mockery of all their efforts.

  5. Justin Case
    Paris Hilton

    Love the blackmail

    Typical Nu-Lab: volunteer to do things our way or we will legislate to make you. WTF is the difference?

    (Paris because she is a beacon of sanity in a mad, bad world)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's all about the perception of a victimless crime...

    Paedophillia obviously has a victim; comparing the two is ridiculous at best; sickening at worst.

    Unfortunately we're unable to see the effect of file sharing, the music industry seems to be doing just as well, there aren't any musicians (with the exception of Britney, and we must use "musician" incredibly loosely here, speaking of loose...) who appear to be in any trouble.

    Until the public perception of big fat music companies charging huge amounts of cash for records changes, this will always be viewd as a victimless crime.

    I think the solution is for the industries business model to change rather than try and control something they can't.

    I've lost track of where i was going with this and cant be bothered to write any more..fill in the blanks...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    as an aside - I couldn't give a toss, apparently you can buy a server in China for £50 a month.

    So I'll buy a Chinese server, set up a vpn and download everything to that via xdcc and bittorrent then just vpn it down to me.

    Or I'll use perfect dark

    Government can go ---- itself.

    Not that I download anything but fansubbed anime anyway.

  8. b166er
    Black Helicopters


    Hey, AC, I thought your post read - It's good to see where "our" governments royalties are.

    Gilbert, that's spot on also (seedbox)

    No-one uses anonymous networks yet for filesharing, because they are too slow. They are too slow because not enough people use them... catch22. If they force people to use anonymous networks, then their speed will improve and they will become more popular... snowball. And then they'll be well and truly fked (at least at the moment, they can fine the odd person 222,000), better close the interweb thing now.

    cop'n'robbers, eh? plus ca change

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sigh @ MPs

    what an arse face!

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Won't affect me... I already VPN through Sweden to bypass my ISPs ridiculous traffic shaping - that affects both torrents and perfectly legitimate downloads / online gaming.

  11. 3x2

    From an ISP's view

    I still can't see how this will work in practice. An IP packet is just an IP packet so how will the ISP's distinguish an infringing packet from any other?

    Packet inspection is a none starter. Quite apart from packets containing no application related information is the fact that billions/trillions of packets flow

    round our networks every day and inspecting all that data (assuming it's not encrypted) and looking it up against some sort of database is just not practical.

    You could perhaps look for patterns of activity but this wouldn't tell you that it was infringing activity.

    So what are they left with? Traffic volume? This would be a major problem for ISP's trying to sell bigger faster net access packages. Many types of site would soon

    be out of business (in the UK at least). Media vendors would go the same way - how do I distinguish a legal TV download from an illegal? How will they distinguish

    my patching up a fresh install of XP from me downloading Hero's?

    If the content producers are not careful they will have outlawed the very technologies they may need to exploit to stay in business.

    I know what my answer to a "stop or be disconnected" notice would be (downgrade) and my ISP won't like it.

  12. Neural9

    I have no problem with legislation

    Firstly, I have no problem with filesharing becoming ditched. However, in order to do this I think practices in the music & film industry need to change.


    1. No more withholding of releases. When it's out, it's out whether it's broadcast on TV, released on a DVD or in a theatre. I think we're all sick of being treated badly because we're this side of the pond or that you want to make even more money by staggering format and geographical releases. We'll pay for different formats (i.e. cinema) if we want to watch it at a cinema - not just because you make more money by doing it that way first.

    2. You need to provide it digitally and of highest quality. There is no purpose to us owning DVDs anymore, hidef or not. Computers are more than capable thank you and we don't play the bluray game. Media Center all the way. Even a basic xbox will do it now.

    3. You need to provide a better service than a bittorent network. We want to be able to download at full capacity without delay. You can really differentiate yourself here and make us feel like we're getting something better than we get now.

    4. Pricing. Don't be daft. We want a movie at £8, an episode at £2.50 and a season at £30. Charge us extra for extra work you've done - content like "making ofs" or similar. If it's old, drop the price. Let us buy the basics.

    Don't put us in a position where we reduce our consuming of your products and suddenly realise that we don't need your products any more. A bit like the waste of money that is Sky.


    Agree to this legistlation and watch your high-paid subscriptions dissapear, people find more insecure wifi and increase the development of trjoans that connect to the bittorrent network to provide plausable deniability so that ISP traffic is inadmissable in a court of law.


  13. Steve Browne
    Black Helicopters

    Be interesting to find oout how it will work

    I mean, the ISP sees a load of packets, so they are going to examine each one to see if it is a copyrighted product being distributed unlawfully, yeah, right, thats OK then. The thing is, distribution of copyright material is quite lawful and is an every day occurrence on the internet. El Reg has a copyright notice on this page, presumably, by filling in this form I am granting first serial rights to El Reg enabling them to publish it.

    I just cannot see how there is any means at all of dynamically identifying copyrighted material which is being distributed illegally.

    Still, it does give HMG a means of spying on the whole population, OK most of the population. With their penchant for ID cards, DNA databases, cameras (speed and surveillance) I suppose it is just one more totalitarian step. Stalin would have been proud.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most of my life...

    most of my life I couldn't justify the cost of music and I didn't bother. Then I spent time in Germany where it cost a third what it did here and I bought several CDs. Then eventually it became more and more accessible to download music and I started listening.

    If they take that away I'll just go back to not listening to music. The only purpose it serves is to drown out whatever everyone else is blaring out at full volume anyway, let's see a reduction in music in this country. It's about time.

  15. James Summerson

    Legal Filesharing

    Doesn't the BBC iPlayer use p2p technology? How are going to monitor all ISP traffic without breaching Data Protection? Can't they see what a massive fcuk up this is going to be?


  16. Lickass McClippers

    It'll never work...

    ...I'm not in the slightest concerned. Frankly, this Gov doesn't know what the fuck it's doing on a daily basis, what makes them think the can keep up with the l33t kidz and their hax0r skillz..??

    This is nothing more than Bandwagoning by The Liebore Party, and they want to be seen as 'doing something about it' in front of their Colonial Cousins...

  17. Michael Compton

    True face of democracy...

    I do not remember the general populace getting up in arms in regard to file sharing so why are the governments getting so deeply involved. Just highlights that democratic governments are just as bad when it comes to cronieism. Corprats and Politicos are only out for themselves and know they only need to throw a bone or two to cover ur eyes in wool.

  18. oliver Stieber


    download the torrent file using tor and then setup your bittorrent client so that it does encryption.

  19. Stephen

    So does this mean...

    ...that when I play Quake Wars I will lose my internet access?

    Seriously, when an ISP can't tell the difference between a P2P packet and a non P2P packet how the hell do they think this will work? Typical government, bunch of proper wankers with no grasp on reality, I was under the impression that our MP's were supposed to be 'of the people' - guess I was wrong :(

  20. Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: So does this mean...

    ISPs can tell the difference between P2P and non-P2P packets. The technology is called deep packet inspection, and is already deployed by BT, Virgin media and others for bandwidth throttling and traffic prioritisation.

    - Chris

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Tech angle too far?

    Alot of the comments above ask "how could this work" at an automatic packet inspection level, but maybe our low-tech govnt will simply force ISPs to be at the beck and call of the RIAA / MPAA equiv. Selling us out to big business as usual.

    Of course any prohibition will not work, offer an alternative and i bet alot of people would be more willing to pay something. I only tend to download US tv shows before they are shown in the UK, but that is more to do with liking the cinema experience or a DVD when it comes along.

    Still on the bright side it will spur innovation in alternative possibly encrypted technologies, which can only be good for our freedoms & privacies.

  22. Les Matthew

    Re: Re: So does this mean...

    "ISPs can tell the difference between P2P and non-P2P packets."

    But can they tell the difference between legal P2P packets and illegal P2P packets?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Chris Williams

    But not over ssl...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Chris Williams

    Deep Packet Inspection will not work. Quite a few bittorrent packages already support encryption. As more ISPs begin to filter traffic, more people will use encryption. DPI cannot tell if encrypted p2p data is legal or not, file-sharing or not. I use p2p to obtain Linux disc images & game updates (via Steam). Even attempting DPI on encrypted bittorrent data will require a crazy amount of expensive hardware. Their only option will be to throttle ALL encrypted data which will lead to mass complaints.

    I use Virgin Media and never have problems with bandwidth throttling of my bittorrent data.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re : ISPs can tell the difference between P2P and non-P2P packets.

    Yes, but how can they tell the difference between what are legally shared bits and illegally shared bits?

    Presumably they would also have to be able to decipher encrypted packets before they could attempt this??

  26. Tony

    Eh, before p2p

    why don't they shut off access to all the spam-spewing bots out there?

  27. Anonymous Coward

    re: So does this mean

    "ISPs can tell the difference between P2P and non-P2P packets."

    True for non encrypted packets, however if the packet is encrypted (very easy to turn on in clients such as azureus) they can't.... The only way to get round this would be to bring in legislation baring this practice.....

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    More snooping by HM Gov

    "We're not prepared to see the kinds of damage that will be done to the creative economy," Triesman said.

    I dont think many people will argue that the creators deserve to be paid, the argument many people have is that they object to paying over the odds to subsidise marketing and advertising and media companies who treat the artists themselves like crap.

    This isnt about music, it is about control and civil liberties and government attempts to micro manage our lives down to the last detail.

    Call me a black helicopter now please.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Corrupt little ....

    It's noticeable that our public servants seem to think action to support failing and unwanted record companies is more important than chasing down and stopping spammers.

    Any politician who makes this case is corrupt and in direct opposition to his duty to carry out the public will. They need to be punished, and hard.

    Spammer first, abusive companies second, copyright last.

  30. Dazed and Confused
    Black Helicopters

    It's all Skype's fault

    The .gov boys are just trying to find a way to ban Skype because they can't tap the conversation on it. Skype using P2P so it needs to be banned. The fact the the record industry will then give Gordon pot loads of money for banning doesn't really come into it. Oh and Billie boy will probably chip in to to stop Linux distributions, err, being distributed.

    If they can't tap the Skype calls they can't find the terrorist and people who might not want to vote for them.

    So it's gotta go.

    Expecting politicians to understand that they can not write a usable law against something is as naive as your typical MP.

  31. Jack Hughes


    "ISPs can tell the difference between P2P and non-P2P packets."

    Yes, but as Les points out, they can't tell the difference between legal and illegal P2P packets. Also, encryption should also prevent them from telling P2P packets from those, say, from when you are accessing your Internet banking or purchasing something online.

    If they were investing in deep packet inspection technology, then they may as well also use it to shape the traffic flow (which DPI gear is perfectly capable of), reducing the bandwidth available to other high data resources such as video streaming or those they do not like (the BBC's iPlayer, for example).

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Copyright, as implemented now, is out-moded

    > The minister was speaking at the launch of the government consultation on new

    > copyright exceptions following 2006's wide-ranging Gowers Review of intellectual

    > property in the UK.

    Can we have some real journalism round here, and have a link to where the government is taking feedback from the public as part of this consultation. A well organised collection of rants from the public could well push these threats the otherway.

    There does indeed need to be a way for creativity to be financially rewarding, and the government should protect that method, but I feel that the way copyright is currently implemented is totally unfair to the customer.

    A DVD writer can cost less than a new DVD movie, we all have computers that exist to copy data. The music and movie industry for many years now have been taking advantage that once the large investment tech is made, duplicates cost next to nothing to produce. Now computing tech has fallen in price so much that the average man on the street has more computing power in their phone than a 70s supercomputer, it is unfair to tell us "no" when it comes to copyright when the technology is saying "yes, you'd be stupid not to".

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Slight over-reactions

    Regarding most of the comments, I don't believe they're talking about getting ISPs to monitor and disconnect users off their own back. They're talking about a scheme whereby ISPs will sign an agreement that says if one of the companies in the music industry prove that a subscriber has been downloading their content, the ISP will agree to disconnect them. Much in the same way that BT would disconnect someone's phoneline if it's being used for illegal activity. The onus to discover the illegal activity is still on the police, RIAA, Sony, BMG etc. or potentially share a "blacklist" of illegal torrents etc. If they don't do this, the government will legislate against it and force the ISPs to do it, probably without consultation.

    (off topic) DPI and traffic shaping etc will probably still exist, as we get closer and closer to the "subscriber" internet, whereby packets of different types will "cost" more or less depending on their priority. I can completely understand this model - you're paying for (usually) a contention ratio of 50:1 - if all 50 users max their connection, what would you prefer to get through first, a Skype packet or a torrent packet? To be honest I think this would be a better solution to traffic shaping - simply prioritise whenever the backbone from the exchange is congested. It's what you pay for, but a more elegant way of solving the problem

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Kids fairy tails anyone?

    1) Story of King Canute (arch.)


    2) The Emperors new clothes (H.C Anderson - out of copyright I Think :)

    Politicians really should read these things as most kids learnt these at kindergarten. Just what the UK needs - more half arsed new labour laws. Gordon - try enforcing the old ones like grannies getting mugged or more guns on UK streets than Baghdad on a Saturday night.

    When my mobile phone can hold 20 albums this puts the value of content in perspective. That makes it cost more than the phone !

    Your Francis Urquhart ;)

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Anti-Record Industry Lobby

    Why don't we all get together to buy a few politicians like the record industry does? Send your MP £5 to not support increasing this copyright madness. Maybe even promise them theres another £10 in it for them if the laws fail. Seems to work for the record comanies.

  36. Morely Dotes

    Illegal filesharing?

    Fine, no problem. After the arrest, trial, and conviction of an accused illegal filesharer, the ISP can disconnect him without notice.

    Any time prior to conviction, however, the ISP is liable to find themselves facing civil charges of defamation, should they disconnect someone for "illegal filesharing."

    Another useless, unworkable law that will punish only the legitimate ISP. Apparently UK politicians are at least as stupid (and venal) as US politicians.

    And I (in the USA) will continue to use BitTorrent to share Linux distros - which is purely legal, Mister "Lord" Triesman. I suppose UK residents will be forced to pay the Microsoft tax (probably by having Inland Revenue collect it, and paying Microsoft directly out of the National Treasury).

  37. Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Copyright, as implemented now, is out-moded

    Filesharing is not part of the consultation, and so the consultation is not relevant to this story.

    The consultation is taking submissions on the series of new copyright exceptions, as the sentence you quote makes clear. This report is based on my own interview with Triesman and comments he made during a Q&A session at the announcement of the those new exceptions, as well as sources on either side of the debate.

    On a broader point, if a simply posting a web link constitutes "real journalism" these days, we're in more trouble than I thought.

  38. Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Slight over-reactions

    You're much closer to reality than some of the tinfoil hat brigade. At present ISPs require rights holders to get a court order to identify people they have detected sharing copyrighted works. It's quite easy to do so, although fallible because of dynamic IP pools etc.

    What the government and record/film industry appear to want is to have a agreement or laws where the rights holders can approach the ISP without involving the courts. The ISPs will presumably check the allegation themselves, then warn the filesharer to stop.

    If he/she persists, they'll be kicked off the network, rather than be hit with the fine they might receive in civil court. Make no mistake; whether voluntary or by legislation, this is looking a very likely scenario.

    The result is a system that makes it quicker, easier and cheaper for BPI et al to pursue their fight against copyright infringers.

    Arguably, for most major BitTorrenters - who likely consider net access a very important service - losing net is a bigger deterrent than potential court fines, which rights holders have not sought en masse (in the UK at least, the US is a whole other story).

    It's also an easier political sell to boot people off the net than clog up the courts. I hope to tackle the habeas corpus-type questions it raises in these pages soon. I can't think of any similar system in commerce or law.

    An interesting question would be what'll happen once someone is kicked off. Will they get a MAC? Will they be able to join another ISP straight away, or might they be sin-binned for a while via some list of illegal file sharers circulated among providers, or blacklisted permanently even?

    Interesting times ahead.

    Of course, there's ways commited geeks can anonymise their filesharing completely, but they're a small minority among an increasingly mainstream problem for record and film companies.

    P.S. To all those telling me that deep packet inspection can't distinguish between copyright and non-copyright files, and that encrypting torrents is easy, thanks, but I kinda knew that ( I was just letting Stephen know that his gaming can be distinguished from P2P.
  39. Greg

    Use two ISPs

    I plan to pay for TWO ISPs and have my computer send and receive all the 1s over one of them and all the 0s over the other. Hey Mr Triesman - decrypt that, if you can!

    (and if you manage, please can you burn me a copy? Ta)

    Magic Carpet please....

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    it is even more steps down the

    "Guilty with no right to prove your innocense."


    Back in the day people had to prove you did something wrong, now days it's easier to get you done for something you didn't do becouse the accusers don't need to prove anything.

    <rant +1>

    "This person got these files! My lord"

    "I see, well obviously they stole them, robbing you of thousands of pounds by giving them to hundreds of people. You can't prove any of that and neither can I infact nobody even bothered to investigate but hey this is a 21st century democracy - we don't need to prove anything!"

    Much like

    <rant +5>

    "This rag wearing Arab is a terrorist suspect, we will hold him, revoke his freedoms, supress his rights to information and fair trial, becouse this is the west and we can do stuff like that without fear of repercussions! Evidence? No we can't show you any evidence, isn't the fact he speaks foreign and wears a teacozy enough to prove our point!? Of course it is!"

    <Rant + 10>

    Jeez I love that we're such a free, honest, just society, that the citizen comes first, that men who have sex with bicycles in their own room end up on sex offenders registers. That your dna ends up on databases forever after being found drunk in a bush. That they stand by you when threatend by money grabbing s---heads. The record industry and its cronies arn't capitalists. Capitilists know how to inovate and provide. Their just gangsters leaching off a servial state.

    <Rant over load>

    F--- labour, f--- the tories, f--- the lib dems, f--- this shitty country. Once I can speak a new language I'm out of here. Theres no place here for citizens, just mindless slaves. Barcoded and tracked, raped left right and centre for the good of gangsters.

    <Rant Critical level>

    ---ing ----s

    Welcome to the West. Please Suck this old encumbants c--k, he hasn't invotated or provided anything to society for 20 years but we think he still deserves all the pie.

    <Rant concluded>


    Whatever, I hope they all get cancer. Every last one of them.

  41. Mark Boothroyd

    ISP are just being asked to bad users, not monitor them!

    A lot of you don't actually seem to have read the article!

    The government is talking about adding laws to force ISP's to ban users who repeatedly share copywrite material.

    It is not asking the ISP's to monitor the users themselves.

    The monitoring will continue to be done as it is done now, by companies employed by the record and movie industries to infiltrate p2p networks and report on who's sharing what.

    So as far as I can see, no real change other than if you do get caught, you might get kicked of the net and unable to get another connection in the UK (in addition to any fine etc.)

  42. Michael Compton

    Re: Re: Slight over-reactions

    Its the fact that large lobbying groups can achieve these sort of results where as the peoples opinions don't really seem to hold much water that is the worrying and sickening part.

    They have asked to be cop, judge and executioner, proverbally of course :), and they are going to get it. Don't remember people asking for speed camera stealth taxes, costly invasions, 'high score' system for police, sorry targets, or a creeking NHS.

    We have to remember we are talking about entertainment here not military/state secrets. And its over priced entertainment at that if u ask me.

    In days of yore artist where not in it for vast quanities of money but rather a love of medium within which they choose to express themselves.

  43. Andrew

    Re: Re: Slight over-reactions

    > Of course, there's ways commited geeks can anonymise their filesharing completely, but they're a small minority among an increasingly mainstream problem for record and film companies.

    The same was said about MP3 and bittorrent itself a while back, somebody will make it easier for the mainstream user. The whole thing will go deeper underground and get harder to track. The only people that will really suffer are online roll playing games and people like me who download OSS via. bittorrent, although I will just fall back to FTP or rsync if this goes ahead.

    I highly doubt it will ever get anywhere. As with all these things it is too little too late.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Ranting over woohoo I feel releaved.

    I can almost say I've never downloaded a holywood movie, almost, sadly I did aquire a copy of 300 just to see what all the fuss was about - man it was rubbish. Anyway that slight indescretion I don't download anything that I'd expect to be of interest to any license holders from the UK. Of course I do violate copyrights downloading fansubs - but as far as I'm concerned - if the Japanese license holders don't want to sell their series at a reasonable price they can go swing.

    Seriously only the most sort after and loved series are translated, then only years after the origonal air date.Then they're mostly commercial rubbish (Naruto, one peice, bleach - please kill me.) This year 4 series have been announced for release in the uk WOW one of which is 7 years old LOL. Now compare that to the number of series I was watching last anime autumn season - 17 series. Of which at best 1 will ever get a UK release (in 3 or 4 years) and maybe 5 will get a US release (in maybe 1 or 2 years.)

    So I download fansubs. It's the only choice I have, bar learning Japanese and importing the DVDS (and my friends that is unbelievably expensive as anime DVD's in Japan are only for collectors really.) I do actually have about £3000 worth of legit anime dvds. Along with about £1000 worth of figures and £1000 worth of Concert DVDs.

    I don't actually agree with copyright infringment if you have a viable alternative (local cd and dvd sales) If it's too expensive don't buy the stuff - go without it's not that hard, western music, films and series are tosh anyway (except firefly that was good.)

    Anyway onto my point. I don't think it's at all fair to accuse people of being paranoid, wearing tin foil hats etc.

    As citizens of this nation we mostly invest quite a bit (say about 50 -> 70% of your pay) in taxes and additional costs (vat, direct tax, tax built into the price of products etc.) We helped put the government where it is. We're the citizens darn it! So when a whole business sector is acting unfairly and abusing its customer base, crushing emerging businesses, refusing to modernise. When a whole secter is doing that. We'd hope that _our_ government would go "hey hold on a second, I think the public has a point here - I think you may be acting unfairly."

    We'd hope that _our_ government might say "You have to provide for this need, I mean you are a business and the customers want this service, so why pretell arn't you providing it?" That's the crux of why we're so tired of it, why we're all so angry and dissilusioned.

    Becouse _our_ politicians don't stand up for us, they don't think of us as citizens. They think of us as a problem to be solved. It's sad, and frustrating and there is nothing that we can do.

    I believe in copyright, I write a bit and I'd be annoyed if someone else used my material for their own ends (never gonna happen as everything I write sucks) but copyright is there to protect artists. So that artists can benefit the public. But there's something wrong. Very wrong with the way things are now. Very wrong indeed.

    Is this the kind of government we deserve, the kind of government we wanted? Tories, Labour or Lib Dem. Becouse let's not forget that the Tories want to give the music industy money to make happy songs.

    O well... back to apathy

    Anonymous Superhero

  45. Claire Rand


    dare say the implementation will be outsorced as ussual.

    they prob hope to find them CD images HMRC lost at some point and nail someone.

    this will be another law that allows investigations beyond all reasonablness for the offence, hardly ever used for what it is stated and probably used to pressure ISPs more than the actual users.

  46. alphaxion

    surely the demand for such p2p services hints that the market is missing something

    because if people are downloading TV shows and movies that are being withheld from our market surely it means people are fed up of being the last to get it legally.

    Also, what about people wanting to get their hands on content that has been broadcast via traditional TV but will never see the DVD press because they won't really sell in enough quantity to be economically viable for release - plenty of docu's, one offs such as comic connections, ancient tv shows that aren't "hip enough" to even get reruns etc or were just too "taboo" or un-PC to even think about releasing to our "sanitised" markets now (swear words beeped out at 10pm, you can't be serious!) means classic and original programming gets sacrificed to the trite gods of "reality" scripted programming (I really can't believe how many people think that everything that happens in the big brother lobotomy lab isn't scripted! and by scripted I don't mean in the traditional sense where everything they say is written for them, but rather a more ad-lib style where events are scripted but the dialogue is made up by the cretins within and then TV editors snip away at the footage to make it seamless).

    Release everything for download and give us a subscription fee and let us decide what out of their library we want to watch, the programming control genie is out of its bottle, we wish to plan what we want to watch ourselves now!!

  47. Anonymous Coward

    P2P is so Old School

    P2P is so Old School, everyone is now using blogs with links to Rapidshare type storage sites.

  48. Anonymous Coward


    Following the 'free' days of Napster. Napster had to pay the music industry a big wedge as compensation for the loss of revenue etc.

    So does that now mean, all the downloads we all have that we made through Napster are now royalty paid ?

  49. This post has been deleted by its author

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "ISPs can tell the difference between P2P and non-P2P packets. The technology is called deep packet inspection, and is already deployed by BT, Virgin media and others for bandwidth throttling and traffic prioritisation."

    No they can't - look again at the RFC's there is no such thing as a "Bittorrent" (or any other) packet - just IP packets with an IP header and data.

    VM do not shape on content (because it is impossible) they shape on volume and only at "peak" times.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    presumed innocent

    The problem is that this proposes that the rights holders can go directly to the ISP without you getting any right to respond or hear the complaint before you are kicked off the connection.

    All these companies have is a list of IPs which is NOT evidence of any wrong doing and they are asking for bans for that without giving any further evidence. There are many situations where it could be perfectly legitimate.

    Firstly the IP logged may not even be the user in question...

    a) dynamic ip address pools

    b) filesharing/proxy trojan

    c) IP spoofing

    There is no evidence of who was using a given computer even when they have pinpointed the specific machine.

    Then there are situations when the file was misrepresented by someone else...

    What if someone renames the file to something you could legitimately download/share? Theres no way to tell if it is illegally shared content until completed and by then you have already shared it.

    And also there is the problem of who is the rights holder. When you go into your local shop and buy a DVD you don't ask them to prove that it was legitimately manufactured. Online its a different matter. How are you to tell between a legitimate website sharing information with an illegitimate one? If someone gives you the right to download this movie/album/whatever how are you to know that they don't hold the rights to do that?

  52. alphaxion


    actually there are scary machines that can determine the type of traffic down to the user level (there was a big one released by an israeli company last year iirc) by inspecting the data within the packet, check what type of data it is if it can read said packet and shape the traffic in accordance to the policies set upon it.

    The easy way to beat that is with encrypted traffic.

    Then, there's the port information as to what it's travelling over, but then again that could be easy to solve too by using different ports such as 443, however if the data in the packet doesn't match up with what it is expecting the structure to look like upon inspection it can be treat as suspicious and logged and then slapped into some sort of traffic rule too.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Everybody loses

    it occurs to me that one of the likely impacts of such legislation is that suddenly a large proportion of the tech Generation will regard having high speed broadband connections as redundant.

    The ISP's will suddenly be fighting for market share of users demanding low value 1Mb or less bandwidth and are suddenly unprepared to pay for anything more.

    I don't think it's unreasonable to suppose that it could even impact the widespread rollout of high speed "pay" services. It could conceivably affect the entire financial business model of the internet if ISP's, advertisers and content providers can't get into people's homes because people have emasculated thier own bandwidth and usage. Ironically it could even impact the rollout and profitability of legal content.

    I think it's Microsoft who keep telling us that progress is all about improving "the experience". If people lose their utility from the 'net and either reduce thier usage of give up using it, where will society go to next?

    At least the BPO will be able to pat itself on the back for a job well done.

  54. Sam

    Re AC

    "as I already VPN through Sweden to bypass my ISPs ridiculous traffic shaping "

    Where can one read up on this method?

  55. rd232


    As I understand it, the legislation is about allowing the record companies to finger internet users, and be able to legally force ISPs to ban the internet users based on company evidence alone (presumably on the basis that the user has breached the ISP terms). Whether users could migrate would depend on the law - would the banning ISP have to provide a MAC code, and would they (or the record companies) be allowed to share info on banned users (would raise legal issues if not covered explicitly in the law).

    Problem1: identifying copyright violation (especially if encryption is used)

    Problem2: linking violation with an ISP account (dynamic IP, wifi stealing, etc)

    Problem3: linking violation with a person (teenage son downloads something, dad loses home business?)

    Problem4: proving intentionality (trojans, downloading wrong thing, etc)

    All of these are non-trivial (except possibly the last one - you can probably legislate it away by declaring it doesn't need to be proved). They'll probably pass the law anyway. Question is, what will they do if/when the first case of mistaken ban is publicised?

    Incidentally, aren't there perhaps Data Protection issues over record companies accessing P2P data?

  56. Anonymous Coward

    Enrypted Torrents

    Ok, Time for everyone to start using encrypted torrents, Id like to see them filter that.

  57. Guy Heatley
    IT Angle

    Dawn of the Idiot...

    I can't wait to see how this will work in practice - its going to be a hilarious failure. If you were ever in any doubt that politicians know nothing about IT, this should finally convince you. What's more they seem on a mission to prove their own stupidity.

    Why don't they just try to pass laws against a branch of mathematics, or a law of physics? "We have decided that objects moving towards the centre of the Earth at 9.8 m/s2 are illegal, this will help to stop accidents and prevent terrorism etc..."

    Dawn of the Idiot...

  58. Ian

    @ Chris

    "What the government and record/film industry appear to want is to have a agreement or laws where the rights holders can approach the ISP without involving the courts. The ISPs will presumably check the allegation themselves, then warn the filesharer to stop."

    Any idea how this is going to actually work? The current methods of identification can at best identify the internet connection used by IP address and not the actual person who did the illegal P2P downloading in the first place. Are we going to start making whoever pays for the connection responsible for all traffic on it? Are we then responsible for making sure our home wireless networks are secure? What if mine uses say WEP for security, something the average joe can only assume is a good thing but that us professionals know can be broken in under 5minutes, am I still liable if a wardriver hacks into my system and downloads via my connection? Let's face it - it's going to happen, what better way to persist with P2P file sharing than to just use your neighbours connection instead and avoid all legal blame. Even Mac address filtering can be bypassed with ease and WPA is the only real semi-working wireless security and even that isn't perfect.

    Are we seriously going to go as far as putting our kids education at a severe disadvantage, taking away the biggest research tool there is simply because they downloaded the latest Britney Spears or whatever MP3? (Okay don't answer that, I know downloading Britney Spears stuff should be a crime of bad taste in music but you get my point)

    Something really needs to be done here but what? With Labour and the Conservatives on board, the only two parties that have a hope of getting in (but still parties I simply will not vote for) we're powerless. We need a large public media outlet that can reach out to the average joe not just the tech community (Sorry reg, no slant on you!) such as the BBC to put forward the sheer blindness and corruption that the Conservatives and Labour are showing in this case. I think most major newspapers are however unfortunately in with the movie/music industry though so there really seems no hope there. I may be wrong but I seem to remember The Reg posting years ago about how something like 6 million people in the UK have illegally downloaded movies, that's 10% of the UKs population - something is very wrong to be punishing these people, I'm not convinced that large a percentage of people even break other laws that are perceived as foolish and worth ignoring (even tho arguably not depending on your point of view) such as speeding, underage drinking and so forth.

    This is something a massive portion of the general public clearly want to be able to do and I'm sure almost all of which would be happy with something similar to the originally proposed French £5 internet tax before the movie/music industry got their bribes into the French government to prevent such a sensible idea.

    These laws are old people's laws, laws by people too past it to understand the technological era and people we don't want in power. It's similar to the situation in the US with Hilary Clinton who has no clue about how people under the age of 50 live their lives but alas many younger people are kept out of important roles in politics by the very old boys club that's the problem. It'll change eventually, but not until it is us, the generation that understands technology that is in power. That's not to say that as we age we wont turn out the same bitching at whatever the kids are doing at that point in the future but the point still holds.

    There's always encrypted usenet, it doesn't even have the multiple connections signature that P2P does and is hence indistinguishable from any legitimate data transfer. On the political front I of course wont vote Labour or Conservative but my vote is only one of many, does anyone know what the Lib Dems stance on technology is - i.e. do they actually have a clue about it and understand it or are they just as bad?

  59. SImon Hobson Bronze badge
    Thumb Down

    @Chris Williams

    >> If he/she persists, they'll be kicked off the network, rather than be hit with the fine they might receive in civil court.

    So in summary, instead of the copyright holders having the inconvenience of gathering admissible evidence, they will be able to have you kicked off the net with little or no practical means of defence.

    As others have already pointed out, the RIAA/MPAA/etc/etc have already demonstrated their fallibility (eg suing granny with no computer etc) so we can have zero confidence in them acting responsibly. This puts ISP in a difficult position - do they comply with the 'request' or not.

    They are damned both ways ! If they comply and kick off a user then the user would have several legitimate legal charges to throw at them - breach of data protection, breach of confidentiality, libel, recovery of damages, ... (that's just what comes to mind right now).

    If they don't comply then they are damned as well - money talks.

    I REALLY cannot see what is wrong with the current situation.

    If there is REAL evidence, then the copyright holder or their agent can already approach the ISP and the ISP can already contact the user. This breaches NO law, and does not compromise confidentiality.

    If the result isn't satisfactory to the copyright holder, then they can go to court over it. Surely getting a basic court order to reveal the subscribers identity cannot be costly ? If the evidence is there, then surely all they have to do is present it in court, five minutes later they've got an order and can carry on.

    The accused has the choice - they can respond at the first contact (so not much different than what is porposed) and there is still no court involved, or they can carry on and take it to court. IF they are breaking copyright and go to court then it's their own fault if the costs end up higher - but if they are NOT then they have a right to a fair hearing.

    No, this legislation is a minefield and carefully designed to shift the burden of proof onto the accused - just like so many other laws passed by this government in the name of 'streamlining'.

  60. Anonymous Coward

    Lets do it!

    This is one stupid idea. Even if it did work and everyone stopped fileshareing, what would happen?

    Well people will do what they did pre internet and go back to buying bootleg CD's,DVD's, X at car boot sales or from the man in the pub... The criminal gangs who make money from this must be actively encouraging the government to crack down on filesharing. :p

  61. b166er


    Love it!

    @sam - google ???!!??? ;p

    That's not really very helpful Sam, eh?

    I reckon you could hire yourself a server in Sweden with a generous amount of monthly bandwidth, then install a bittorrent/ed2k client on that server to obtain all the 1's and 0's you are seeking. Finally, you could use your compromised ISP connection to vpn into your Swedish server and retrieve/stream your 1's and 0's to a local machine. However, that wouldn't stop the Swedish server operator revealing your IP address, were they to receive enough pressure. (So if you're really paranoid, you could daisy-chain several servers together and operate them as an anonymising proxy. (For the hyper-paranoid, couple that with privoxy and you could probably do anything you wanted without any likelyhood of retribution.)

    You gotta feel for ISP's at the moment, we're their only friends and that's because until now they've given us what we want. There are ISP's that will still turn a blind eye (unless they receive a cease and desist, in which case they forward that to you almost appologetically and suggest that you tone it down a bit), however, if these lot have their way, ISP's will have to take a much harder line. There's really no stopping any of this now though, as mentioned, encrypting p2p clients or use of remote servers or open wireless connections are 3 simple solutions to this and that's without the pressure really being on yet. Necessity is the mother of all invention and as sure as the cops can learn a new trick, the robbers will learn a way around it.

    If they really want to solve this problem, it needs to be addressed at the societal level. Perhaps we've been too well conditioned to consume, and now that we're finding ways to consume more than we could ever legally afford, they're trying to 'traffic-shape' our consumercalifragalistic desires. You can't dangle a whole bunch of carrots and then complain if the horse is feeling greedy. The only ways out are to:

    a) starve the horse

    b) make the bunch of carrots cheaper, or

    c) stop making carrots

    As far as the content (what a tasteless word that is) owners are concerned, a) and c) are out of the question.....

    I could go on, but what's the point?! ;p

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    cull them all. thats all i have to say on the matter

  63. Michael

    Re: Everybody loses

    Already prepared for this ... Currently running "Citadel" bbs on a linux box from home periodically .

    Anyone for Telnet?

  64. Shakje

    If it goes through

    I will remove and shred all media on my PC, before downloading as much legal media as possible, encrypted over P2P. If my connection gets cut off I'll sue.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You can only be warned so many times...

    Given the general belligerency of the responses and the implicit suggestion that you should have the God-given right to download with impunity it's only natural the government will resort to harsher and harsher means to crack down on file sharing. The straw-man and other esoteric arguments to justify breaking the law is absolutely typical of white-collar crime. We're talking about bullshit arguments about "victim-less" crimes for fuck's sake. I don't know how many times it has to be driven into the heads of people: you have no right to steal. Eventually you won't even be able to log-on to the Internet without an ID card and a police chaperon. If you can't accept the basic fact that stealing is wrong then be prepared for the police state you're going to awaken. This "principled" stand over theft is completely imbecile.

  66. Paul Talbot

    No, Chris, no...

    "Arguably, for most major BitTorrenters - who likely consider net access a very important service - losing net is a bigger deterrent than potential court fines, which rights holders have not sought en masse (in the UK at least, the US is a whole other story)."

    Here we go, you seem to be falling for the old arguments hook, line and sinker. Let me just go through the problems with this one sentence alone:

    * BitTorrent is a protocol, not an illegal substance. I'm a "bittorrenter", but I don't download illegal content. I use torrents for upgraded Linux distros (I usually install a new one every couple of months to test out new ones, upgrade, etc.), watch LEGAL downloaded material (e.g. using Miro (, which uses a torrent-based backend) and to download WoW patches (Blizzard's downloader uses torrent traffic).

    * Right holders have not sought fines in the US because they don't have to yet. They are prosecuting civil, not criminal, cases which have a far lower burden of proof. They don't want to start prosecuting criminal cases as they will then have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the people they are suing are guilty. They simply cannot do this with just an IP address, and they rarely have any more compelling evidence.

    * Given both of these facts, why should I potentially lose my internet access because an ISP is "requested" to block me with no other evidence than the fact that my IP address has been transferring torrent traffic? If the aim isn't to block torrent traffic completely, how exactly can my ISP correctly determine which traffic is legal and which isn't (hint: they can't). Am I meant to abandon every useful service "just in case" some remote computer thinks I might not be following certain rules?

    * The whole "sue people" actions are what are killing their industry at the moment anyway. I currently avoid RIAA music due to their actions, and I know I'm far from alone. The rootkits, DRM and actions of suing customers are the things that have lost them my money, not P2P.

    All in all, this is doomed to failure, will result in large numbers of innocent people losing internet access and unjustly branded as criminals, and yet will not make a dent in the fall of CD sales. Movies will most likely follow suit if their representatives go down the same path.

  67. Matthew

    What it really comes down to...

    Charge a proper fair price for the album/video/dvd/track and make sure a fair amount of this goes to the supplier and for the love of god forget the 800-900% markup you stick on the items.

    Cd's should be in the range of £4 to £8

    DVD should be in the range of £2 to £10

    Tracks on itunes and the like should be £0.20-£0.50

    Make the goods a fair and reasonable price and you remove the incentive to steal from the majority of people that are doing it now.

    Personally speaking i dont mind paying for artists work but im not as has been mentioned before.

  68. Jimmy

    Not invited to the party.

    "In an interview with The Register following his speech, Lord Triesman renewed his warning. He said: "There is no objective reason why they [rights holders and ISPs] cannot arrive at an agreement. Whether they have the will to do so is another matter."

    Am I alone in thinking there is something ironic about a former radical left-wing activist (now elevated to the peerage) sitting down with a pair of rip-off merchants, neither of whom are able to deliver what their customers want, in order that they can come to an cosy agreement about how they will further dilute the usability of their respective products. The missing guest at this party is, of course, the customer.

    The New Labour rules of engagement are as follows:

    Citizen, please bend over and drop your shorts while one of our partner-shareholders puts it to you in the nicest possible way.

    Thanks to our Light-Touch-Regulation (tm) technology you will hardly feel the pain. The whole experience will be further enhanced by our Economic-Trickle-Down (tm) technology which allows everyone to enjoy the benefits of Nulab capitalism.

    On the other hand you might think that you are being shafted and pissed on. I couldn't possibly comment on that.

  69. Lee
    Jobs Horns

    Big Issue?

    I think not - just record live from internet radio or internet TV. We used tapes for the same reason when all we had were radio, TV and Betamax/VHS.

    I remember when the old 8 bit systems used tape loaders. The games would cost 0.99 pence for an old release and 1.99 pence for a new release. That was back in '86. Then cost even less than that before then and that is when the technology was ultra new. Games cartridges cost more but the extra cost was worth it because the games loaded near-instantly. Using a calculator to compare the value of money from 1986 to 2006 (can't do it for 2008 yet):

    0.99 pence from 1986 has 2006 worth of £2.00.

    1.99 pence from 1986 has a 2006 worth of £4.03

    I don't think the games industry can justify charging between 40 and 60 pounds for a game. And likewise, the music and video industries. Most file sharers who breach copyright legislation either a, can't afford the original product; b, can't justify paying the cost of the original content; c, don't care about the rights of the artist; d, consider themselves justified because they feel they've already paid for the item by TV license, previous ownership of a copy of the media (or they have the media but not to hand); e, one of any hundreds of reasons. In other words, people have different reasons.

    The only people who will suffer are those who are not tech savvy enough to find alternative ways to get (re-get) media without paying and/or those whom would not buy the media in the first place (many people download entertainment because they can yet otherwise wouldn't ordinarily have an interest in the media).

    Personally, I have a mixed opinion as to the justifiability of people file sharing copyrighted material without a legal basis for breaching copyright. The whole copyright, marketing and distribution system needs to be reviewed. Not many people have solely a single place to play media; not all media players play all content type. What do people purchase when they buy media. Do they buy the right to hear, see or load the content with only one device and only have physical ownership of the plastic/silicon on which it comes; or do they buy some other user license? Isn't the idea of portable media that it is "portable." Portable has two meanings: 1, to be movable and 2, to be transferable. The whole issue is currently ambiguous. A more important question about media rights, should a producer be obliged to provide replacement copies of media damaged post purchase regardless of the period between purchase and damage; or should people be able to re-obtain previously purchased media via file sharing provided they have proof of previous ownership?

    BTW: most modern media isn't worth having anyway. People should stick to real music as produced in the 60's, 70's and 80's; old Spectrum, Atari 800 and Amstrad CPC games have a quality modern ones don't; and who didn't like the Birds and the Exorcist?

  70. This post has been deleted by its author

  71. Slaine
    Black Helicopters

    where does it stop?

    this very website is guilty of sharing comments, input, references, links and quotes from TV, film and music, not to mention some rather delightful images of a certain celebrutant of the doubleX flavour.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spot On Mr Coward:

    Spot on:

    "it occurs to me that one of the likely impacts of such legislation is that suddenly a large proportion of the tech Generation will regard having high speed broadband connections as redundant.

    The ISP's will suddenly be fighting for market share of users demanding low value 1Mb or less bandwidth and are suddenly unprepared to pay for anything more."

    The ISP's themselves have already worked this one out, obviously.

    Say goodbye to the "8MB" (In reality your actual connection will be closer to 2MB nationally I believe) pay for 2MB and receive 2MB; dunno where Virgin / NTL's 50MB service figures in all this - got it wrong again eh lads? lol

  73. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Progress ...... at Full Wwwarp Speed Ahead, Cap'n?

    Surely filesharing allows for speeded up building of Creative Economy upon Intellectual Property.

    Whenever Produce is protected to focus exclusive reward streams, it merely encourages wannabe clones "reinventing the wheel" rather than feeding Innovation.

    For an artist, producing more original art isn't a problem, is it.

    "The thing is, distribution of copyright material is quite lawful and is an every day occurrence on the internet. El Reg has a copyright notice on this page, presumably, by filling in this form I am granting first serial rights to El Reg enabling them to publish it."

    ... Steve Browne Posted Tuesday 8th January 2008 16:27 GMT


    That may just be a Copyleft Right, virtually granted with our submissions of "amateur" poster content. And would/should music and/or anything else for that matter, be any different because someone wants to pay for it to make exclusive use of it for profit?

    " Frankly, this Gov doesn't know what the fuck it's doing on a daily basis, what makes them think the can keep up with the l33t kidz and their hax0r skillz..??

    This is nothing more than Bandwagoning by The Liebore Party, and they want to be seen as 'doing something about it' in front of their Colonial Cousins..." ........ Lickass McClippers Posted Tuesday 8th January 2008 16:45 GMT

    And in a such a Brave NeuReal Wwworld as they have no Valid Positive Input into, doing the Funky Headless Chicken routine cuts no mustard. As a newbie, one would normally sit at the front, pay attention and learn the ropes. Although if they're slow learners or are intellectually challenged within themselves/glass ceilinged by third party considerations, they can hardly expect to stay in the Master Classes. Maybe that is their Real Concern?

    It would be typical of a Government led by someone who when asked what was the hardest part of the job would reply persuading people to do something which they didn't want to. I thought it was their job to provide the people with what they want. Or do they conspire to think that they will Lead as an short-sighted Autocracy?

    "not to mention some rather delightful images of a certain celebrutant of the doubleX flavour." ..... Slaine, was that a deliberate spelling mistake? If so, I couldn't possibly agree. :-)

  74. Svein Skogen

    This could prove interesting.

    I sincerely hope they guinea-pig this in Britain and not elsewhere (as here). When the entire ISP business collapses, and they see that there is exactly _ZERO_ increase in the purchases, this will give other national bodies the "hint" that the recording business has other problems than "illegal downloads", such as a complete and utter lack of any content worth purchasing. I'll _CONSIDER_ purchasing music _IF_ something NEW worth buying appears FROM a media-company that HASN'T spreaded malware such as rootkits, and it appears on a media that A: cimplies with the standard it appears on (most of the CD protection schemes fails to comply with the CD AUDIO standard!), B: in no way includes "traceware" (watermarking the file to be able to track a single customer is unacceptable. Period.) C: Does not, in any way, include DRM. If the media companies cannot deliver anything without breaking atleast one of these three basic requirements, then it's obvious to me that I can live VERY WELL without touching their garbage. Stopping the protocols won't make me purchase their stuff.

    As for the region-coding of the DVDs, the only GOOD reason for this, is different levels of censoring (some blood+gore not allowed in civilized countries, some natural things not allowed in some uncivilized parts of the world). All the "stagger the releases" corporate reasons can be summed up in another biblical word your part of the world SHOULD know: "Greed". It's a _SIN_ (and no, I'm not a religious nutcase).

    While we're talking about greed, it's also time to make another change. Make the artist receive 25% of the album price. But keep the payment to the artist the same per album as it is today. 25% to the artist, 25% to the distributor, 25% to the record company, and 25% tax. Guess what: the time that the record company could siphon up 99.999% of the album price is over.


  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aside - 8 bit games?

    "I remember when the old 8 bit systems used tape loaders. The games would cost 0.99 pence for an old release and 1.99 pence for a new release. That was back in '86. Then cost even less than that before then and that is when the technology was ultra new. Games cartridges cost more but the extra cost was worth it because the games loaded near-instantly. Using a calculator to compare the value of money from 1986 to 2006 (can't do it for 2008 yet):

    0.99 pence from 1986 has 2006 worth of £2.00.

    1.99 pence from 1986 has a 2006 worth of £4.03

    I don't think the games industry can justify charging between 40 and 60 pounds for a game."

    Hello moron. I know a couple of people tied into the games industry from days of old, and days of new.

    Take Rareware as an example - previously Ultimate.

    The days when Tim Stamper and family could knock out an adventure game with three staff a domestic C64 and a couple of Midi keyboards, then send it off to be published are now gone. Long gone. I think the hardware costs, building costs and staffing costs of keeping their people looked after [to stop them jumping ship] are a bit more than a few bottles of cherry cola and a non stop Rush mix-tape.

    On the other hand I also know of a couple of people in the industry who get worked to the bone, stupendous amounts of unpaid overtime at Crunch [70 hours weeks for three months straight anyone?] with buggerall in the terms of Health and Safety at their workplace, atrocious dev machines for 3D rendering that they have to fight tooth and nail to get upgraded so that it will run the software at a decent lick etc, so that the head can go buy his new F430 Challenge Stradale.

    I don't deny that there is stupendous amounts of profiteering from the publishers and developers in many respects, but even taking this into account, the cost of making games has jumped [and always does, and always will] by an order of magnitude with each generation of hardware they get played on - please come back when you are grounded in something close to reality, you complete buffoon.



  76. Svein Skogen

    Noone are denying the worker conditions

    Noone are denying that the actual creators, be that musicians, photographers, programmers, or otherwise creators, are generally SHAFTED by the publishing industry.

    This is exactly why our current copyright laws NEEDS to be remade. They aren't doing what they are supposed to do.

    The intent behind the copyright laws, was to make sure the creators didn't get shafted by the printing shops. This was when the printing was a lot more expensive than it is today.

    However, the publishing syndicates, along with the recording industry (when that was created), the movie industry (even newer), tv-industry, and video-games industry have turned that around. Instead of the creators being protected against greedy publishers, today the greedy publishers are protected from their customers. Since most of the industry-owners that are contributing to the campaign coffers of the politicians (what would be called "corruption", if it happened in a country we disliked!), are the owners of those inbetweens, the laws has been changed so much that the original creators no longer has any rights (see: slave labour), and the customers have even less rights (remember, we're being degraded to "consumers". This is to stop us from having the rights granted by law to regular customers. Wait and see.) While the administration of the publishing corporation can siphon off enormous money. At the same time, those publishing companies are using every trick in the book to avoid their only real expense: Investment in productions. Their regular trick is to set up a new daughter-company for the production, and use that company to BORROW money from the banks. Then if they decide to pull out, they kill off that company (making sure the company owes its parent company more money than it owes the bank), getting rid of the debt, getting rid of the workers, while grabbing the "Intellectual property" as a downpayment for the debt. Thus, the banks (who run the real risk) and the workers are shafted, while the main company grabs even more money. This is made possible by the loopholes the bought-and-paid-for politicians have greased in the stock-laws, bankrupcy-laws, and copyright laws.

    So, we see that more laws than the copyright-law needs an overhaul. Unless we start off by closing off the loopholes for corporations to donate politician-money through the names of their employees, and close all the other laundering-holes that allow corporations to pay for politicians, there is no point in fixing the copyright-law itself. They WILL break it again. As long as corporations have more rights than individuals, they WILL KEEP ON breaking it. And as long as we more-or-less have corporate ownership of the worlds largest military force, the rest of the world has a problem, unless it accepts the law-changes they are spoonfed. Notice however that the same greasing-laws are starting to appear as EU-directives aswell. And notice how the EU-council are "appointed" by career-politicians, instead of being elected by the people. The way the EU is set up, European "consumers" have even less rights than the US ones. (Atleast the US ones can elect their senators). Even for a non-EU-member like Norway, the EU-directives are spoonfed through the EEC, which was forced on the Norwegian population (we had a general election for EU-membership, voted no, and six months later we were an EEC-member instead.), and no politician has the guts to say "let's shred the EEC agreement" before an election. Atleast they had the integrity to say no to a change in our constitution. (the rejected change would more or less surrender sovereign rights from Norway to the EU. Last time those rights were removed from Norway, was when we got some German visitors a while back. I sincerely wish we could treat those EEC people as we treated Blücher.)

    So, back to the subject: Are we going to see those rules for "file-sharers"? It wouldn't surprise me one bit. Given the way politicians are being paid for, it wouldn't even surprise me if we get a "media purchase act", adding a levvy to all recordable media (including hdds), to compensate for downloads, and then get laws that make it a criminal offence to download, probably punishable by half-a-lifetime in an outsourced re-education-camp run by the media syndicates. This way they get to shaft us both ways.



  77. Lee
    Jobs Horns

    Re: Aside - 8 bit games?

    Hello Anonymous Coward who called me a moron and buffoon,

    Had I said that a game should not cost much more than a fiver then yes, I would agree, that am both. I agree that game production has changed over the last 20 years and that more people are involved in producing more elaborate games on ever more complicated electronic machines. I know that those games take longer to make now than they did whey back when. But, to me it would seem to be a fact that (generally speaking) the artists are underpaid for their work and the only benefiters of such high cost games are businesses and shareholders.

    In real terms the cost of hardware manufacture has gone down. A C64 now costs about £30 to buy with 30 built in games. Admittedly, it is without a keyboard and tape and is so much smaller that it comes built into its joystick. I am, of course, talking about the C64 DTV. Generally, the cost of hardware remains the same while the size of the components decreases, the power of those components increases and, as such, the value of the product increases (non-monetarily) compared to the price paid.

    I could not find any statistics showing (or raw data from which to obtain) a mode average weekly individual income for 1986 and 2007 with which to prove that the cost of computer software media (inclusive of software, packaging and marketing et alia) has risen out of proportion to average income and production costs but I'm sure that if you compare the 2.00 pounds cost of a game in '86 relative to the average weekly income in 1986, then compare the 60 pounds cost of a game in 2008 relative to the weekly average income for 2007, then compare the comparisons, you will find that the 60 pounds cost of todays games is unjustifiably a greater proportion of someone's income than was the cost of a game in 1986. I suggest the mode average for comparison because it reflects the most common income where as a mean average unfairly includes the exceptionally wealthy and exceptionally poor (which do not balance each other). Alternatively, divide 60 pounds by 5.00 pounds (the cost of a game now and the cost of a game in '86 in todays money).

    There are many pros and cons for file sharing and I believe that the whole issue should be looked at from the perspectives of both the commercial party (artists, manufacturers, marketers, retailers and the rest) and the file sharers. It should not be a slanging match but a debate where those who represent the sharers have temporary amnesty from arrest for crimes committed and their admissions while in debate not used against them.

    And Svein, I totally agree with everything you wrote.

  78. Anonymous Coward


    Pass me the emigration papers.

    This gov't wants to hunt file sharing when it is a blatant rip off for anyone in this country.

    Twice the price for software from M$ and anything you buy is a rip off.

    The army is underfunded and ill equipped but no one is sacked for mismanagement.

    Prisoners (assuming they get that far) are better off than pensioners (three meals a day and free TV, heating)

    Pension provision is a joke.

    Crime is up, judges are still as pointless as ever.

    Police are ineffective and under staffed so part timers are the norm.

    Health and the NHS are pathetic

    and you can't hunt a fox.. unless you prove two dogs are enough.

    But don't worry, they are clamping down on illegal file sharers...

    This countries gov't is a f*cking joke

  79. This post has been deleted by its author

  80. Craig

    Not just movies and music tho

    You can download any number of copyright infringing files from any number of industries (books, comics, games, ringtones, tv, porn (which I don't think is part of the traditional movie biz), etc etc)

    So not only is blanket legislation infeasible, the deals to be brokered includes an infeasible amount of parties.

  81. Joe Stalin
    Thumb Up

    File sharing Pah!!

    I just signed up to blockbusters home delivery service. They deliver to my door all the dvds I want and I post them back, after I've ripped them of course. That way I get the movie/series and all the extras not just the main feature.

    And when the goverment bans all file sharing the ISPs will go bust because P2P is the only service that people really want, and we all go back to the digital stone age. Sky broadband was advertising on the TV last night, one of their selling points was you could download movies tsk! tsk!.

  82. Cameron Colley

    RE: You can only be warned so many times...

    Of course you can legally steal -- the government do just that from us every time we're paid, and a corporation called the BBC is allowed to demand money from people with menaces.

    Then there are the record companies who's contracts mean that new artists loose all rights to their own work -- forever.

    So, from a moral standpoint I'm not sure what you're trying to say?

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Grasping the invisible nettle...

    How exactly do they propose to enforce this? Especially with encryption and VPNs being the obvious method to bypass blocking. BitTorrent is a few years old now and it never had encryption on by default, and even when its turned on its still blockable by traffic shaping. The next generation protocol that eventually replaces BitTorrent will likely support encryption and have it enabled by default and I bet it will also allow for the port numbers to be readily changed.

    That might not be so easy to deal with, to say nothing of people using VPNs to connect to servers abroad.

    If legislation is going to force ISPs to monitor the activity of users and crackdown on what they are doing then those users will increasingly go down the encryption and VPN route to protect themselves and someone will write a client to make it easier for the end user.

    How will the ISP's be able to respond? Decrypt and inspect all Encrypted packets for P2P? Assume all Encrypted traffic is bad and block it all?

  84. Michael

    Intellectual Property

    One thing I find very interesting in the whole debate about IP is the whole " if you pirate , the industry will die " argument . IP isn't just about ripping cd's or music ... there is the question about innovation ,benefit to the community, among other things ...

    A standard question asked to a Scientist , for example would assume he/she was in favour of ip. Some scientists DONT like it ( they prefer to get published and read more often.). I would certainly be in favour of a drop in royalties to major corporations after 5 years, with the rest going to a performers trust ( at a lower rate ) after that. Patents should be negotiable. (Depends how much /where you are investing), and the whole patent trolling practice should be outlawed ( three strikes, your'e out -applied directly to the lawyers) .

  85. Anonymous Coward

    File Sharers The New Terrorists?

    In order to support these new laws we should forget about catching burglars and rapists. After all they just affect ordinary citizens. It is far better to plough resources into busting file sharers for downloading an album that they wouldn't have bought in the first place.

    Get the file sharers off the streets because somewhere there is a record executive who needs a new gold plated mobile phone.

    I guess file sharers can join terrorists in the list of phantom bogey men that need lots of government intervention and new laws but actually affect a tiny percentage of the population.

  86. wabbit02


    Bit torrent - encrypted or not, running on standard ports or not can be identified and filtered/ shaped. Its expensive - which is why simpler systems are being placed in the network by Telcos in the mean time. There are also ways of assessing the legality of the torrent - but this again increases the cost.

    That aside the legislation appears to be (as other people have stated) not aimed at enforcing such systems at the network level, but ensuring the easier identification, prosecution and punishment of the end sharer.

    How will this run in practice is the interesting question - will it increase the burden on the tax payer through more criminal cases being bought by the BPI or will it be to create a civil crime where all the BPI has to do is pass reasonable information to the ISP for a disconnection to be carried out - which could be covered under both T&Cs and in legislation (meaning no suing them guys).

    what makes me laugh the most is that the mobile telcos are introducing prepay all you can eat data bundles - these will continue to get cheaper over the next few years as this legislation is introduced as will mobile data speeds increase. Prepay = no contract = limited traceability. The EU will also continue to push down prices and increase competition in this sector.

    I for one am glad that the governments ineptitude has continued to leave open cast mine holes in its thinking.

  87. Duncan Barr

    To Lee- at least get your facts straight!

    0.99 for old games and 1.99 for new ones?!!

    Erm no- budget (Mastertronic, Firebird) games were eithrt 1.99 or 2.99 for premium titles.

    Full price titles tended to cost 7.99 for Spectrum, 8.99 for CPC464 and 9.99 for C64, although pricepoints for premium titles (Eg Elite, Knight Lore, Lightforce) would cost 9.99 or even 14.99.

    Considering game nowadays can cost millions of pounds to develop I dont think the current pricepoint of around £30-40 (retail not rrp) is too bad when you consider how much titles REALLY cost 20 yrs ago, rather than prices you choose to pull out of the air to suit your arguement.

  88. Steve Evans


    I'd be interested to see this in action...

    Given the dire support offered by most UK ISP's, you're lucky if the person at the other end of the support line can understand English, let alone understand a technical issue.

    I remember having a huge argument with a large budget ISP about packet loss. Their support staff suggested I check my DNS setting in internet explorer. I asked how they expected this to impact a traceroute to an IP address, and could they talk me through doing it on IceWeasel. (debian's firefox)

    Needless to say I assume I received a blank look from somewhere in India.

    So would the record industry get a hot line number to a "real" techie? And how long before someone manages to find it and share it with everyone else?

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Government for the record companies

    I think a lot of people would feel less aggrieved if David Triesman combined his crackdown on illegal filesharing with a prosecution of the music and record industry’s habitual product overpricing policies in the UK market. It’s not uncommon for both HDDVD & BluRay movies to cost upwards of £30 at the moment and the pricing of both CDs and legal online content still needs serious review.

    It is only right that any initiative to prosecute illegal firesharing should go hand in hand with a removal of these “spanish” practices adopted by the industry. At the same time the Government should remove the industry’s ability to region-protect media content, and remove make it legal for consumers to purchase legal media from anywhere in the world, instead of protecting the legal framework that allows the record companies to prosecute companies like CDNow simply for importing cheaper legal product in from abroad.

    However, as usual it’s clear the Government is clearly just batting for the lobbyists, rather than considering the subject widely and fairly. In addition whilst prices for content are maintained in the UK at these artificially high levels, the incentive remains for people to continue to bypass the legal material, to take their chances in downloading free content, and to develop and adopt new technologies which bypass attempts to identify it.

  90. Steve Welsh

    Well Bollox to the Government

    Such as they are!!

    I work for a certain (anonymous) organisation that last September tried to unilaterally impose various obligations and restrictions on its staff.

    I can tell you that it just /did not happen/!!

    So what will they do? Sack us all? Don't think so - they will be left in charge of a defunct and non-operational organisation, and will be personally held responsible by both their ex-staff and their ex, and current [other people that I can't identify].

    If the ISPs just stand up to HMGov, and say 'It's not going to happen.' It won't happen.

    Sorry the lid came off with Napster - how long ago is that - 9-10 years? And the sooner that all the ***king idiots that have made a hansom living out of ripping us AND THE PERFORMERS off realise that they are dinosaurs, and that they should just slither back into their $$$$$slime$$$$$ the better it will be for humanity.

  91. Matt Hawkins
    Thumb Up

    Allow Consumers To Download Legal Content

    "As for the region-coding of the DVDs, the only GOOD reason for this, is different levels of censoring"

    This is not a reason for region-coding. The UK is in the same region as Japan, Arabia and South Africa. They all have completely different censorship systems and different languages.

    Region-coding is there for one reason and one reason only. Price fixing. I have never seen a rational argument to say otherwise.

    "(some blood+gore not allowed in civilized countries, some natural things not allowed in some uncivilized parts of the world)."

    This seems a little snobbish. You will find in most Western countries that violence and gore is far more acceptable than "natural acts". People getting their brains blown out is far more acceptable than people getting blown. One is illegal and one is perfectly legal. Which one gets censored?

    While the content providers attempt to prevent consumers paying for their content they can hardly act surprised when consumers consider downloading it.

    Give the consumer the ability to purchase content for a price that fairly reflects the cost and people will jump at the chance. iTunes has proved that people will pay for stuff that is available for free.

    More people would pay if the price was fair. £0.79 per track? Why is this the same as physical media when the distribution cost is so much lower?

    People want to download media. They like the mechanism.

    Give us the mechanism for a fair price. But they aren't going to do that because it is all about keeping certain people rich. Whole layers of the movie and music industries are redundant and they are fighting for survival. They are the coal merchants fighting electricity ... they are the farm labourers fighting the combine harvester ... they are the typists fighting the PC ... times have changed and the industry will have to adapt.

  92. Anonymous Coward

    Another way

    This idea should appeal to the Web 2.0 crowd, the open sourcers and pretty much anybody fed up with the way things are run.

    Open source it (to a point)

    I'm not talking having thousands of contributors to actual movie content. What about replacing the media monsters with a group of people (fans) that want a given movie made. They act as stockholders for a corporation that hires the producers, directors, script writers, etc to actually to put the thing together.

    The corporation is a one-shot affair that is created for the sole purpose of making that one movie for the benefit of its stockholders, then maintaining the intellectual property rights of said intellectual property - repaying the shareholders an ongoing dividend based on initial investment vs current revenue. Place a 5 year cap on the content produced after the time of release and enforce putting the content into the public domain after that point - release encryption keys and so on. The point being that if the movie was decent to begin with, the fans would keep it going.

    If I could vote with my own money before the movie even gets made based on a movie premise that I actually want to see, I won't end up being stuck with "blockbusters" that very few people care about with little actual entertainment value.

    A potential sticking point for doing things this way is what about licensing other intellectual property? The recent spate of movies being based on comic book characters is a good example of this. Why not simply have the fan consortium buy the license from the copyright holders with the stipulation that the corporate bylaws will apply and the movie content will be released to the public domain, not rights to generate any further content. The license is to make content for that one movie only and a sequel will require another license.

    There are lots of other potential holes that would need to be addressed but it seems a better way of getting decent content and avoiding the copyright nonsense altogether. Money talks and the consumer regains all the control. Bad ideas simply never get funded, good ideas are funded over and over and the existing performers, producers and other people involved and all the existing infrastructure is kept with the exception that the RIAA and MPAA are left out of the loop entirely.

  93. Daniel

    RE: @ aside

    What games are you buying for £60!?!?

  94. Ed
    Dead Vulture


    What about my SSL encrypted Usenet access? How are they going to examine the packets there? The technology will work around the restrictions, whatever happens...

  95. M W

    This could really screw up Blizzards World of Warcraft Updateing

    Since it uses P2P to download the updates, so that the load on the servers is drastically reduce..

    Another LEGAL form of P2P !!

  96. Mark

    Re: Filesharing is not part of the consultation

    So what the fuck is Triesman going on about filesharing here then?

    If filesharing isn't to do with copyrights, why is it a copyright infringement activity? If it IS to do with copyrights, why isn't it in the consultation?

    Or is this "consultation" along the lines of "do you want a little bit stronger IP protection or a lot stronger IP protection?"?

  97. sean

    Lets see..........

    ISP's already limit packet data from certain sites, you're subject to a FUP and pay more for a faster speed.

    The entertainment industry are now activly uploading to torrent sites tracks/movies/TV shows with digital signatures and tracking cookies to trace "main offenders" also your IP address can be tracked from source.

    What more can ISP's do or the Gov for that matter.

    All they have to do is enforce the laws that are already there !!!

  98. Oliver

    'Ha ha never catch me!' brigade are missing the point

    This comment's a bit late to the party but most here completely miss the point so it's worth pointing out. As someone above says, it's not the ISPs that will have to monitor the traffic, it's the companies the RIAA, etc pay to snoop on you that will.

    If they upload copyright protected content to you, they will be able to verify the details with the ISPs and have their (wicked?) way, encryption or no encryption. Only the tech-savvy will be spared. It may be interesting to see whether they would have to use registered IPs to do the uploading from, which could then easily be avoided by using programmes such as Peer Guardian 2.

  99. Anonymous Coward

    Have they considered...

    ...that the illegal immigrants who pedal dodgy DVDs in pubs will just have a larger income and thus will be more likely to illegally enter this country? The knock on effect of laws like the one being suggested hasnt been thought through. Similar to the smoking ban. Now all the smokers are outside smoking under the heaters which increase carbon footprint.

    Short-sighted old bean. Perhaps forcing the industries to charge significantly lower amounts might encourage legal purchasing.

    (Strokes VPN tunnel to seedbox)

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