back to article ISPs demand record biz pays up if cut-off P2P users sue

ISPs are calling on the record industry to put its money where its mouth is on illegal file-sharing, by underwriting the cost of lawsuits brought by people who are wrongly accused of downloading or uploading music. ISPA told The Register today it is worried about the cost to its members if users targeted by rights holders for …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    hmm, what to do?

    Pay 12.99 a month for a lovefilm account and a few quid more for a licenced vopy of AnyDVD and Robert is your mothers' sibling as they say.

    Downloads unnecessary. Course, you could always take your local library to the cleaners as well - who would know?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's going to be fascinating...

    ... to see how they manage all this. Detecting content; establishing copyright; analysing Tor logs (what logs?); hacking SSL connections; decoding proprietary compression; communication by email (I don't trust my ISP with my email address and I certainly don't use the one they provide), central registry of 'strikes' accessible by multiple, different sized, non-regulated, private companies - what could go wrong?

  3. bobbles31
    Paris Hilton

    The sooner.....

    The sooner people stop buying music all together and cut off these bar stewards lobbying funds the better.

    Excuse me Mr Brown but the Government works for me, not the BPI. Our taxes contribute considerably more to the well being of this country than some poxy lobbying group so get a grip and tell them to take a hike.

    <rant />

  4. Dunstan Vavasour

    I still don't get it ...

    The ISPs can't see inside your P2P traffic what is being moved - whether it is copyright infringing or free/libra. So will they issue warnings on behalf of BPI on the basis of an email saying "I was able to download Teenstar Notalent's new album from this IP address"?

    Are the BPI saying "it's too much effort to assemble proper evidence so we can prosecute, so instead we want you the ISPs to cut people off without court standard evidence"?

    No wonder the ISPs want indemnity against being sued for wrongful removal of service.

  5. Geoff Johnson

    Just trying to look good.

    I'm sure the ISPs are just trying to look like they're vaguely on their customer's side.

    After all, we know how much they hate people actually using the bandwidth they've paid for.

  6. Pat


    It's always interesting that news stories tend to lump downloaders and uploaders together. However it's much easier to do someone for uploading - all you have to do is join in their p2p network and get a bit of copyright content off them, encrypted system or not. But you still have to go looking - are they planning to get ISPs to do the entrapment?

    And what about downloaders? If someone is only leeching, through an encrypted connection, how is anyone going to know about that? Or is the idea to ban encryption and expect ISPs to run packet inspection all the time?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Silly politicians

    The politicians can spend as much time as they want debating this issue and trying to force ISP's into doing stuff to stop pirates. But at the end of the day the issue will be solved by the courts, not by a politician who's taken a "party donation" (bung) from the media types.

    All it will take is for one person to take their ISP to court and say "prove I downloaded Britney Spears Greatest Hits!", obviously using an encrypted traffic stream etc.. If the judge sees the law in unworkable the judge won't be able to say "well, you may have broken the law, we can't prove that you didn't actually download SuSE Linux, but what the heck we'll find you guilty of it anyhow".

    All any legislation will do is force pirates to go that little bit further in their quest to download crap music from rubbish bands. SSL encrypted usetnet? Encrypted bittorrents? It'll just apply a burden onto ISP's who will have to hand over data to the government who will then promptly lose it, along with your bank details, blood type and how many porn sites you visited this month.

    I guess all we can do is hope that the judges we have can see that punishing people without 100% proof they have commited a crime, isn't exactly something that should be done very often. Except for politicians who should be locked up.

  8. David Farrell

    By this same logic...

    ...Royal Mail needs to start opening people's mail to check for any illegal photocopies of copyrighted material too.

    All reports like this do is to highlight how little the government and copyright enforcement organisations actually understand about the technologies they are trying to control. They can't even break into an encrypted packet, never mind actually establishing whether it's carrying encrypted content or not.

    I certainly won't be losing any sleep about this.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    The law must provide a PENALTY for improper use

    Any law like this should recognise the capability for abuse -- whether accidental or deliberate.

    Above all, the law needs to guarantee compensation to ensure that accusers have PROOF not merely suspicion.

    Whatever maximum fine the accused might be subject to, the accuser should first be required to lodge a BOND of TEN TIMES that amount -- and should automatically forfeit it to the accused if challenged and either the accuser cannot immediately provide such proof or, within six years, any methodology used in that proof can be demonstrated to be unsafe.

  10. Cambrasa

    I hope they pass this law soon

    Not that it will prevent people from filesharing. Of course it won't. No law could ever turn back the clock. But it will speed up the mass-take up of encrypted, anonymised p2p networks such as Stealthnet, i2phex, etc. 90% of p2p users don't feel threatened by lawsuits. So they stick to their old trusted p2p network. But if their ISP cuts their connection just once, they will feel annoyed and turn to a next generation p2p network that ... does not reveal their activities to the ISP. Once these encrypted p2p networks reach a critical mass of usefulness I will finally be able to download content again without the fear of frivolous lawsuits. I can't wait...

  11. Robert Harrison


    I don't see what this has to do with gubbinment TBH. Shurely this is a private issue between the rights holders and the ISPs. Ah no wait, of course I see the light, this is as good as an excuse as any to 'legitimately' invest in systems to sniff at the content of Joe Public's packets. Of course the scope is limited to possible copyright infringement, for now...

    This explains why politicians only ever complain about the big bad Internet 'we must remove illegal material' etc etc. The Internet remains the last bastion that is outside of regulation. The phone system is nicely monitored for keywords, SMS text messages can be intercepted, CCTV on every street corner and so on.

    @bobbles31: Absolutely. The thought of additional tax money being spent to assist in the nest feathering of the record industry makes baby seals cry.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Decryption not necessary

    Actually, they don't need to decrypt the packet, they just need to compromise the bittorrent network.

    Connect to "britney spear's greatest hit" torrent, find out all the other IP's that are seeding / leeching and then notify their ISP

  13. Stephen Cole

    The dirty little secret...

    Is that isp's actually need there to be P2P/Bittorrent available for use by it's subscribers or virtually no one would want or need any connection greater than 5-10mb for todays legit net uses.

    When VOD becomes viable there would be a need for the 50mb connections from virgin (which are being rolled out this year) but the major obstacle to decent online delivery of music & video is the record & movie industry who are desperately trying to cling to the outdated models of the past by placng too many drm restrictions on what you can & can't do with your own legally purchased titles that it's simply too much trouble when a free, albeit often times poorer quality copy with no usage restrictions is also available.

    Also how is this ever going to actually work? Will the isp's be inspecting every single packet in & out of every customers PC & wouldn't that violate the data protection act?

  14. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    And by extension...

    I don't know if we have the notion of "common carrier" in UK law, but this would certainly drive a coach and horses through it. The idea seems to be that if ISPs fail to detect offending material, they suddenly become liable for it. Would that apply to child porn, terrrist plots, defamatory material?

    Also, picking up on "It's going to be fascinating", how hard to they have to try? If ISPs *aren't* liable for their failures, the only legally sane strategy would be to make no effort to find anything. If they *are*, I can see a dirty war as ISPs try to send dodgy materials through each other's networks and cry foul to the authorities.

    Re: David Farrell's point about Royal Mail... Yes and then there's the telephone network and all those private delivery and haulage companies. In fact, why don't we make everyone liable for everything, just in case.

    Coming back to my original point, if we don't have the notion of "common carrier protection" in the UK, then we need it rather urgently.

  15. Shabble

    ASBOs in the post

    As long as Gordon 'Stalin' Brown is in charge, the 'good of society' is all that counts. He won't be loosing much sleep over the idea of folk being falsley accused of illegal file sharing. I doubt he'll care too much about the technical issues either, as New Labour is clearly lacking in scientific or IT literacy (they're mostly a bunch of liberal arts, social sciences and law grads after all!). He'll believe anything the record companies say.

    Also, as the most monitored Western nation, I doubt he'll mind too much that ISPs will be effectively 'tapping' our communications in a way that would be unnaceptable for snail mail or traditional telephony. Preventing antisocial behaviour at the expense of individual freedoms is precisely what socialism (or rather Neoconservatism - the bastard love-child of socialism and free-market economics) is all about.

    I am not really blaming record companies for this move (after all, scr*wing the consumer is what consumerism is all about these days), and the ISPs look like being the innocent victims here. The people at fault are those stupid b*st*rds who voted for Labour last time round.

  16. Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Decryption not necessary

    Correct, there's an explanation of the process in this story:

    - Chris

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Decryption not necessary

    "Connect to "britney spear's greatest hit" torrent, find out all the other IP's that are seeding / leeching and then notify their ISP"

    And if that ISP is not UK-based ?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Government priorities are all wrong

    We've got

    - kids being stabbed/shot in the streets

    - people too scared to leave their houses after dark (or even before),

    - kids leaving school barely able to read, count or speak properly

    - wars kicking off all over the place

    - 'threats' of terrorism

    - and plenty of other stuff I can't be bothered to list

    ....then some BPI croney pipes up about the loss of £1billion (using dodgy stats, and the assumption that downloaders would have bought if it were not free), and the government threatens to do something about it. The technicalities of which leave a minefield of legal problems for everyone but the BPI.

    If the governemt dealt with all the above 'proper' issues then the UK might become a little more safer to live in. Stopping people downloading music and video will achieve nothing.

    Actually, second thoughts. Downloading is killing the music industry, funding international terrorism and drug trafficking. Better do something right away.

  19. Will Leamon

    The assumption... that all illegal downloads are of crap music is hilarious! I don't know if you guys noticed but Brit Brit's last album sold rather well. Me thinks it's classic rock (i.e. Jimmy Page and a bunch of other wankers pension funds), that's taking the hit.

    Oh and Credence, don't forget the Credence. That stuff gets stolen all the time.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The first brick of the Great Firewall of Britain?

    If I remember correctly Mr Brown was greatly impressed by the China's firewall when visiting, is the reason the government cares about this issue (apart from some kind of money making opportunity) is it is their test case in being able to monitor questionable content being viewed or downloaded?

  21. Anonymous Coward


    Too right the ISPs should want indemnity against being sued.

    If I recall correctly the legal definition of defamation is something along the lines of "the making of any untrue statement that would cause a reasonable person to think badly of another."

    So let me see, the BPI have publicly stated that filesharing is stealing. Therefore if they call you a filesharer they are calling you a thief. If a "filesharer" gets disconnected and gets given their MAC on the spot and told to go away and get another ISP then that is one thing (any connection fee is effectively a fine levied without due process - a different matter which will need to be examined under human rights laws guaranteeing a fair trial.) It is a very different thing to have a register of "strikes" that can be accessed by other companies (the ISPs ) or people. Putting an entry on that list is publicly calling someone a thief (in the BPI's own words.) If they get it wrong then that sounds like defamation to me.

    If the poor unfortunate mislabelled victim happens to work for a media company or any company with a strong integrity policy (like a bank) they could possibly lose their job for being such a "media thief." Bring on the lawsuits...

  22. John Latham

    Infamy, infamy....

    A few hundred BPI-controlled PCs, all downloading popular torrents, send the IP addresses/times to the ISPs once a month. Encryption won't help you.

    It's not difficult to see how they could collect sufficient evidence this way for civil "balance of probabilities" cases or "three strikes" disconnect requests, netting tens of thousands of uploaders.

    Of course, it will just force people to leech, and I'm not sure the pigs could seed torrents without issues of entrapment (does El Reg have access to any legal advice to shed light on this?).

    But ultimately, if the BPI can "succeed" by turning people off digital downloads altogether, people will just share offline (you know, Person To Person). If that happens, the BPI are truly fucked, since they won't even be able to track the scale of the "problem".

    What next, stop, search and iPod-check?


  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why all the fuss?

    All what will happen now is data will be encrypted into some form of legal data.

    example = PDF with a mp3 inside anyone. Can already be done with images I wonder if there is a name for it ?

    I dub it SodaPOP3!

    Again.. no brainer, There is a job out there and you dont need a brain, I want a turn too please. lol

  24. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: The assumption...

    Britney's last album is brill. So there.

  25. Joe K

    Behind the times...

    I presume this is all targeted at that dark magic known as Bittorrent (san encryption, of course).

    Has no-one told them that the way now is uploads to fileshare sites like rapidshare and its many, many competitors, usually based in Russia or somewhere?

    I'd like to see them stop people downloading zip/rar files.

    Whatever they come up with, it'll take about a week for someone to come up with another method. Utterly pointless.

  26. Dave


    that my machine hasn't been owned! Prove that my sone didn't do it! Prove that my wireless connection hasn't been hacked!


    Heart since they can all go CAMPing together!

  27. Stephen Cole

    We're all crims now!

    Will the isp's actually monitor what type of P2P is being used or will they just assume that if you're using bittorrent at all that you're a criminal? What do they do if it's encrypted data?

    IPTV was looking to become viable in the next few years but this may put the kybosh on it as many people will be afraid of an isp mistake & being labelled as a P2P offender & loosing ALL net access.

    By doing this many people might actually end up loosing their jobs as they simply wouldn't be able to carry out their job anymore ie homeworking, remote assistance, group working, video conferencing etc and that list is only going to get longer!

  28. Tom
    Thumb Down

    What do they mean pay?

    The whole purpose of this new system is to make some one else pay, do the work, and be the boogy man. Pay? Don't be silly.

  29. Peter Rossi
    Thumb Down

    Go and catch some real criminals!

    Another law set to restrict what we can and can't do in our daily lives, just a load more red tape for the police to dredge through.

    From a technological standpoint, I would be impressed if this ever got through as the technology investment required by the ISP's would be massive. Thus causing many of the smaller ISP's to have to close. Sure, they could quite easily restrict access to known IP's and restrict the use of know P2P ports. However, what are they going to do about encypted connections, dynamic ports and any other non standard P2P sharing. If the content weren't encrypted, they would have to filter EVERY packet in and out of their network at OSI layer 7. When you consider the bandwidth that the ISP's have and the amount of traffic that flows through them, they'd require a very meaty set of firewalls to control it for them.

    Good luck with the legislation, I think they haven't thought about the technological cost to the ISP's at all!

  30. Steve

    Am I bovvered?

    Portable 1TB external USB drives are very cheap nowadays. I know many people who will be buying them.... add to that rips from Lovefilm or HDTV (of which some titles aren't even available on BD/HD DVD - like Star Wars) and you're done. Besides, one can always leech from non-UK connections.

  31. Magnus


    About the record industry setting up honeytrap Torrents. Is evidence gained through a honeytrap eligible as evidence?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Downloading copyrighted material is NOT illegal.

    Breaking the copyright, by removing DRM or videoing a movie is copyright INFRINGEMENT, not stealing.

    DOWNLOADING does not constitute copyright infringement.

    Next we won't be allowed to use SKY+ boxes or videos in case we fall foul of this knee-jerk nonsense!

  33. Mark

    @Stephen Cole

    5-10Mbps? No, without the flash sites and some image blocking, 512kpbs is plenty. WITH flash and no image blocking, you'll only need 1Mbps.

    How long does the cable last? How much maintenance is needed? So the monthly charge for just the line should be ~£1 a month. Just reading emails and browsing the web will use a gig or two. At wholesale rates, that's less than 10p a month.

    Can't see anyone making any money from that.

  34. Alex

    @Decryption not necessary

    "Connect to "britney spear's greatest hit" torrent, find out all the other IP's that are seeding / leeching and then notify their ISP"

    But why would ISPs be forced to believe an appointed BPI torrent-watchdog? Unless that watchdog contacts the ISP immediately, which is then compelled to check the torrent itself to catch that IP in the act.

  35. Peter Fairbrother

    ISPs inspecting traffic for illegal filesharing ..

    ..would be an interception under RIPA, and highly illegal.

    ISPs can look at traffic for purposes connected with the supply of their service. This is normally taken to include virus scans and spam filtering, though there is some question about the latter - but it certainly doesn't include inspecting traffic for illegal filesharing.

    What the music/movie biz lawyers usually do is look at publicly available bittorrent information. Whether the download itself is encrypted or not doesn't matter much, it's this publicly available information which is used.

    I am of the opinion that the music biz has it's knickers in a twist mainly because revenues are falling - and the reason isn't so much filesharing, though that has some effect, but simply that people do not listen to music as much as they used to.

    The movie industry seems less vocal about filesharing, even though percentage wise I'd guess the amount is similar - but people aren't watching less movies.

    Another factor may be the cost of downloading a DVD, which is significant, compared to downloading a music track, the cost of which can be ignored.

    BTW, a DVD in the post is a much cheaper way to send a a movie than bittorrent - a blank DVD costs 20p, postage 29p, sleeve 2p, so it costs 51p, or two for 71p. Downloads cost about 40p - 90p per GB (you _will_ pay this, in one form or another), so to download a 4 GB movie costs £1.60 - £3.60.

  36. JimC

    It seems to me

    That the whole history of P2P development has been about making it difficult to enforce copyright and permit piracy. Surely the original Napster model with a central server was perfectly adequate for any kind of *legal* Peer to peer distribution: it was just fatally flawed for piracy...

  37. Anonymous Coward

    @Stephen Cole - Dirty Little Secret

    You've made the same fundamental mistake as both the BPI and the Government, who seem to think that everyone with an internet connection is a private individual who uses it for 'Surfing' <god I hate that term - almost as much as I hate 'blogging'>, online gaming, emailing and downloading copyrighted music.

    Sorry to rain on the parade, but internet connections are also commonly used by-

    - Home workers using high speed VPN connections.

    - Businesses who don't need an expensive leased line.

    - Charitable organisations who can't afford an expensive leased line.

    - Developers who access internet based source repositories.

    - and so on and so on.

    Its the same blinkered thinking that assumes all P2P traffic to contain illegally shared copyrighted content. WRONG! OpenOffice is but one of many many projects which now distribute their software using P2P technology.

    Is it just me or does this kind of aggressive action smell a lot like the demise of SCO? They couldn't fix their failing business model, so they went all out on hostile actions against their competitors in an attempt to take them down before SCO themselves faded into insignificance ... ultimately they ensured their own destruction, which I forsee for the existing music industry fat cats.

  38. adam

    and to think this government once held such promise...

    This is the death knell of a government crippled by incompetence. Incapable of solving the greater problems of society the government squanders its dying breath on the high profile but fundamentally unimportant issue of downloading. RIP the Labour government.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So, there I am in Starbucks (for example) downloading Britney's latest album, which I hear is brill BTW, the Stasi log my IP and the link gets banned.... So drink up my latté, off to Costa over the road...

    Or will internet cafe's have some special exemption?

    Will they count as an ISP?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    illegal downloading but what about the companies that are acting illegally

    It seems the people that are downloading are being made out to be criminals. But in recent times, we have had large legal companies demanding money with menaces, to people suspected of downloading stuff. With out any real proof from a so called forensic company in another country, and this said company has now been banned from operating in it's own country. Due to the fact that it's been deemed illegal, then we have another group who is using a company that might be illegal in main US states. To presue people that are downloading stuff.

    Just face it groups such as the BPI and the IFPI are control freaks, and now they can't control what they use. But instead of working with new technologies and finding new ways to control there investments. They are using the goverment to pressure companies who are in the fore-front of new technology, to stop new methods of distribution. So these old boys stuck back in the depths of time, so they can continue to control there own little monoply

  41. Steve McGill

    Re: Decryption not necessary

    The current torrent applications that I'm familiar with provide no extra protection with encryption because authorities can still connect to the trackers and find IPs, I do agree with that..

    It's still a huge can of worms though and will never solve the problem. Somebody already mentioned wireless hijacking, perhaps authorities will find this a weak excuse as they can maybe claim that it's your responsibility to secure your network? I hope not as that all sounds a bit too strict.

    What about people who use SSH accounts with dynamic socks proxies / port forwarding - does the SSH provider get in trouble? What if they're not based in the UK? What about using anonymous socks proxies? List goes on.

    I'm a bit nervous that I read that ISPs seemed to have resigned themselves to the fate that there will be enforcements. Authorities / copyright holders *won't* win the technological battle, why don't they save themselves the time and give up now instead of proving themselves wrong yet again later on?

    I don't know how to solve the problem. But I get the feeling nothing short of agreements between all parties, instead of policing, is the only way to go.

    Also, just my opinion, but I feel that comparing this situation to other more serious problems such as murder and wars is a bit of a cop-out. By the same logic that should mean I'm never allowed to complain about improving matters in my own industry or life either as there is always somebody worse off than me. Or am I naive to trust the government to be able to tackle more than one problem at a time? Hmmm......

  42. David Webb
    Paris Hilton


    Goodness, now we know what music El Reg hacks use whilst writing their stories!

    Let me get this right though, the "rights holder" will download a torrent, fire it up and start to download content illegally from that there internet. Now, correct me if I'm mistaken, but is breaking the law to catch a criminal actually allowed? Are there not laws of evidence which will not allow any evidence gained by illegal means to be used as evidence in a court of law? The police for instance, cannot break into your house, search it for the AK-47 you hid under your bed and then proceed to use the AK-47 as evidence?

    According to wiki:

    Other admissible evidence may be excluded, at the discretion of the trial judge under 78 PACE, or at common law, if the judge can be persuaded that having regard to all the circumstances including how the evidence was obtained “admission of the evidence would have such an adverse effect on the fairness of the proceedings that the court ought not to admit it."

    So looking at that, it would seem to suggest that if a case was taken to court, the pigolopists would not be able to use the IP addresses as proof, because the proof was obtained by illegal means. And without the proof of the IP address they would not be able to prove that you were downloading from the torrent so there would be no case to answer.

    If anything though, everyone should stop using torrents and start using encrypted usenet, no way for the pigopolists to find out your IP address from that, is there?

    Paris, because I remember downloading a.... movie.... of her's from a torrent once, was very dark.....

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anonymous VPN proxy?

    So what's to stop services like Relakks from becoming more and more common?

    A datacentre in a friendly country (like Sweden) lets you connect to them through an encrypted VPN and then you use that to surf/torrent/whatever.

    Because everything flowing between you and them is encrypted, the ISP can't do any sort of analysis on it.

    They'll only hand over logs if it's proved to them that you've broken Swedish law in such a way that you'll incur a prison sentence ("a fine is not enough").

    My only question about the whole process is surely it's possible to track the money from them back to you.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Do you recon this would speed up Tiscali giving you your MAC code to move ISPs?

    Phone Call To Indian Operator: "I just downloaded an illegal track/movie/software/other thing...please kick me off"

    Indian Operator: "I see no problem sir, everything is good"

    Tiscali Subscriber: "But I confess, I want to move internet speed is 0.01kbps per second against the advertised 100mbits"

    Indian Operator: "I can't do that sir......"

  45. eddiewrenn

    Where the hell is the common sense in this?

    Will the last one to leave the country please switch off the lights?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Corporate compensation culture

    for "lost" revenue and "negative" profit centres has a name when governments agree with it - fascism.

  47. John Latham

    @David Webb

    "...the "rights holder" will download a torrent, fire it up and start to download content illegally from that there internet. Now, correct me if I'm mistaken, but is breaking the law to catch a criminal actually allowed?"

    But the rights holder, being the rights holder, is presumably entitled to download the torrent without breaking the law, since it's not a law against copying, but against unauthorised copying.

    Which would (again presumably) make the evidence collection legal.


  48. Gordon
    Thumb Up

    Dont' be daft, David Webb

    1/ They're not breaking the law. Downloading music is not illegal - but downloading music without the permission of the copyright holder is... As they work for the copyright holder that ought not to be a problem. Saying that, if the bittorrent service made it a TOS that you're not to use it for detecting filesharing..... Then it might be.

    2/ The Police can break into your house at any time without permission. But only if they suspect someone is in danger, property is in danger or evidence is in danger of being concealed, lost, altered, damaged or destroyed. With the correct search authority (inspectors signature) they can break in anytime.

  49. Alexander Hanff

    So wrong

    We already have legislation in place to deal with copyright infringement, the victims can simply issue a lawsuit for damages. Why on earth Brown thinks he needs to introduce new legislation is beyond me.

    Easy solution is everyone vote for the Green Party or the Lib Dems in the next election; the twat in number 10 at the moment shouldn't even be there anyway.

    I say Green or Lib Dems because conservative are actually MORE in the pockets of of the Content Cocks than Labour are.

  50. Nipsirc

    And your problem is?

    OK, so some people use P2P to download or whatever, but compare that to the vast majority of you whinging people out there who are disgusted that you might get nicked for stealing music. If - as a few of you seem to feel - all the music is crap, why are you listening to it? If it's good enough to listen to, it's good enough to buy. Yeah, record companies are a bunch of pigopolists, but they always have been. If you want to find good quality music, go to gigs, find your own bands. Don't put up with what you're fed by those record companies. Small bands will distribute their music by themselves on CD's or un-restricted mp3's (or OGG's or whatever). If you do this, then there'll be no need for big record companies, and bands will succeed on their own merits, not based on some massive PR exercise. I don't agree with what the government are thinking of doing, but if you don't 'share' (ah, what a lovely cuddly term) music, there will be no need for this unworkable idea. Flame on. If you're downloading music that you've been told to listen to by a record company PR machine, you've only got yourself to blame.

  51. Anonymous Coward


    Well, seems we will be seeing even more encryption on connections now. It isn't like it affects us or anything ,just wastes people's time and money setting up ways to spy on connections that will not even work for most downloaders intelligent enough to know what they are doing.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Decryption not necessary

    "Actually, they don't need to decrypt the packet, they just need to compromise the bittorrent network.

    Connect to "britney spear's greatest hit" torrent, find out all the other IP's that are seeding / leeching and then notify their ISP"

    So they track you IP, it shows you were downloading a file called "britney spear's greatest hit" are they sure:-

    1) You completed it's download, most pop stuff music never complete's

    2) You may just be in the queue and it never starts downloading.

    3) Your "britney spear's greatest hit" iso file turns out to be 'hot sexy babe in a threesome" from a country thay doesn't have restrictions.

    Until the file has completly downloaded isn't it just jumbled up fragments of 1's and 0's, so not actually britney. Although she seems to be a little jumbled up at the moment from her own doing.

  53. David Cornes


    You all crow about encrypted connections, how henious all of this proposed legislation is, how pigopolist the BPI et al are (which indeed they are), but at the end of the day you all seem to be defending the indefensible: that love 'em or hate 'em, you ARE downloading copyrighted content created/performed/owned by others, without any attempt to pay for it.

    And yes for those downloading free legal stuff well you've nothing to worry about from all of this.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @infamy, Infamy

    quote "What next, stop, search and iPod-check? -John"

    YES, the US Border Guards (Zonengrenze) are currently enforcing a 'stand in this cubicle whilst we vet *ALL* of your data' for travellers. some arrests.

    >torrent p2p via TOR<. I'm going to be downloading many many legal torrent copies of Ubuntu 6.10 and legal torrent copies of Ubuntu 7.04 and legal torrent copies of Ubuntu 7.10 and legal torrent copies of Ubuntu 8.04 beta, and the odd House MD Season 4 now up to episode 12, which C5 haven't yet scheduled? some nifty data mining algorithms will be needed. I will out of courtesy mostly avoid 18h -21h. probably then I'll be using my legal AppleTV system2 when it is ready.

  55. Roger


    Is there some way to install a honeypot? So several computers that download legal stuff, hoping the owners are wrongfully accused of downloading illegal stuff. All downloaded files should be kept, including logs, and after been shutdown, the ISP can be sued.

  56. Greg


    By Magnus

    Posted Tuesday 12th February 2008 14:08 GMT

    About the record industry setting up honeytrap Torrents. Is evidence gained through a honeytrap eligible as evidence?

    That question is precisely why they WON'T go to the courts for evidence. They'll just get you disconnected without judgment or court.

    Of course, YOU can then sue them for the disconnexion, and that's why the ISPs want to be assured the pigopolists will pay if things go wrong, but in the meantime, the fact that evidence is admissible or not is irrelevant, since you won't get a judgment.

  57. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: So wrong

    "Why on earth Brown thinks he needs to introduce new legislation is beyond me."

    Because adding to the existing pile of poo is so much easier than reducing it?

    As a thought experiment, imagine if there was a rule that said you can't pass a new law unless you remove a similar quantity of existing legislation. There's sufficient dead wood in our legal system that it could be done without any unpleasant side-effects, but I'm under no delusions that it wouldn't be a *lot* harder for the politicians.

    Since politicians just *lurve* to be seen to be doing something, we end up with buckets of crap legislation and initiatives like this and no progress on the hard problems facing society. Perhaps it shouldn't be just a thought experiment. Perhaps we should be trying to find a way to measure "quantity of legislation", so that this idea *could* be written in at a constitutional level. Hey, even "number of words" might do for starters.

    No "Joke Alert" icon, coz I'm not joking.

  58. Mark


    The RIAA have sued people who have no computer and no internet. they've sued people who were dead.

    What makes you think that they'll only be finding people "nicking" music this time?

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not A Problem...

    Just use a cheap proxy service like Your Freedom and to the BPI it'll just look like somebody from France downloading the latest Britney album. I suppose if you're a cheapskate and not too fussed on speed you could also use TOR.

  60. Alexander Hanff

    re: David Webb

    You forget one thing in your analysis of entrapment and that is the rights holders (or agents thereof) are not breaking the law when they download the content and therefore the evidence is admissible. Let me explain why:

    1. Downloading is not illegal under British legislation, only uploading.

    2. As the owners of the rights or agent for said owners, they can do what they like with the data (upload, download, put on a chip and place it under the ass hide of an elephant) and are breaking no laws.

    Whereas I agree this whole argument from the BPI and the thought of government legislation to make big businesses even richer is ludicrous, we have to make sure we get our facts right about why it is wrong and the rights of the consumers.

  61. Alexander Hanff

    Original Works

    Another point many people seem to fail to realise is that in the UK copyright law only covers copying of "original works". Therefore a copy of a copy under British Law is not illegal as it is not a copy of an original works. Of course it takes someone with balls to use this defence in court and of course requires that someone actually gets taken court for infringement so they can submit a defence.

    As soon as someone rips a cd or dvd the resulting files are no longer original works and therefore dissemination/distribution of copies of this copy are not illegal and are certainly not covered by copyright legislation.

    In reality, the only person liable for infringement is the person who originally ripped the content which to my understanding would be pretty much impossible to determine.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @@Decryption not necessary

    >1) You completed it's download, most pop stuff music never complete's

    You don't need to have copied it all, every part is copyright.

    >2) You may just be in the queue and it never starts downloading.

    They'd become a seed and record who actually takes a chunk?

    >3) Your "britney spear's greatest hit" iso file turns out to be ...

    They keep the log and check the content when they've got a copy.

    >from a country thay doesn't have restrictions.

    If you're in the UK, it's the UK restrictions that matter.

    Given that you're a thieving git anyway, just use a neighbours naively unlocked wifi connection.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ISPs will lose out

    Oh no, my premium fast internet is cut off. Fine, I'll just get a slow speed for free off Sky or Orange. So that'll be musicians *and* ISPs losing out :)

  64. Giles Jones Gold badge

    There's only so much money

    There's only so much available money in the economy. Where do they get this ludicrous figures from?

    Do they think we have £800 million between us all sitting in our bank accounts which we're not spending on CDs because we pirate them?

    Of course not, if you don't buy a CD or DVD you buy something else, you spend it on your house, your car, your kids, clothes, food, booze, electronics, games consoles etc..

    Therefore if people don't download then some other market area gets hit.

    The music industry has devalued music by giving it away in magazines, music is everywhere, in adverts, in the background of TV shows.

    As for films, there's so many bad films and so many idiots in cinemas with their mobile phones and laser pointers it's no wonder people would rather see films at home.

  65. John Murgatroyd


    But is this not a government that "authorised" the police to listen to, and record, conversations that prisoners (remand and convicted) had with their legal advisors ?

    So, what value legal rights and laws of evidence then ?

    Face it, this government is a collection of elected and non-elected people of extremely dubious morals.

  66. Hayden Clark Silver badge

    Ah, such touching faith in the legal system

    All you guys wondering how they will prove it. The ISP won't have to.

    1) T&Cs are changed so that disconnection for "suspicious" activity is OK, and no appeal

    2) The traffic sniffer need only check for unidentified protocols and data, on long-running connections

    3) The only customers hurt are the high-users anyway, so no loss.

    The ISP will *need* to do this, otherwise they will get prosecuted under the new laws for aiding and abetting.

  67. Mick

    Unacceptable pressure on ISPs

    So the ISP's have become the policeman, monitoring everybody, but the content owner only has to find somebody who succeeds in breaking the law to successfully sue them?

    I'd like to see the real police operate on that system!

  68. Peter Fairbrother

    Re: Honeytraps

    "About the record industry setting up honeytrap Torrents. Is evidence gained through a honeytrap eligible as evidence?"

    In general, the Courts can exclude such evidence, or (in a criminal case) find the accused not guilty because they might not have committed the offence if the honeytrap or incitement wasn't there - but they very seldom do either.

    The "ricin plot" is a case in point - the only chap found guilty was enticed, almost certainly with the connivance of the UK Police, to get castor beans by an informant in Algeria (who had been tortured btw), but presumably the Court found that he was a nasty shit anyway and deserved to be punished.

    However in the case of downloading from honeytraps there is probably an implied permission from the rightsholder to make copies, so it wouldn't be unlawful anyway. :)

    I am not a lawyer, this is worth only what you paid for it.

  69. Dam
    Thumb Down


    You fail.

    You rant about legal P2P being bullshit:

    My brother downloaded the WoW installer via P2P, I downloaded the Sabayon linux distro via P2P.

    You rant about people claiming music is crap, yet listenning to it:

    Ever heard of ? legal, woo.

    Now why on earth would I want to download an album (let alone buy it) when there's only 2-3 tracks I like, and I can listen to them freely ?

    You rant about small bands:

    Hey I actually bought the albums from Ultramax (see after listenning to a few tracks on ...

    And it's all DRM free.

    That's the kind of stuff I'll gadly buy, the rest can fade from existence as far as I'm concerned.

    Now about the technical matter of identifying IP addresses.

    EVEN if ISPs were somehow allowed to decrypt data, or accept logs from torrent-grabbing bots as proof, all they get is an IP address.

    And behind this IP there might be:

    - an open or unsecure wifi , not everyone's IT litterate

    - a zombie

    - guests

    What's more, *I*'d gladly pay $5-$10 per month to legalize what few downloading I do from time to time.

    Give me a global license to download DRM-free stuff and I'll happilly cough up.

    Insist I must watch DRM-crippled stuff on Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate Premium Double Plus Max Platinum Limited Edition (beta) and I'll tell you to fuck off.

  70. Colin Jackson


    How do I know if a file is copyrighted or not unless I download it? For all I know, it might be available legitimately. In fact, even after having downloaded it, I still have no real way of telling if it's copyrighted, or if the rights-holder has opened it up for public use.

  71. Steve

    Re: entrapment/honeypots


    "...the "rights holder" will download a torrent, fire it up and start to download content illegally from that there internet. Now, correct me if I'm mistaken, but is breaking the law to catch a criminal actually allowed?"


    "They're not breaking the law. Downloading music is not illegal - but downloading music without the permission of the copyright holder is... As they work for the copyright holder that ought not to be a problem. Saying that, if the bittorrent service made it a TOS that you're not to use it for detecting filesharing..... Then it might be."

    But if they then offer it for upload, they are either implying that permission is granted for others to download it or they are offering a copyrighted work for download without permission.

    So, the downloader is innocent or the record company is guilty of a worse crime than the downloader.

  72. J

    bloody title

    "example = PDF with a mp3 inside anyone. Can already be done with images I wonder if there is a name for it ?"

    Steganography. Or was that a rhetorical question?

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fighting windmills

    This is a battle the recording/movie industry has lost, they are just too stubborn to realise it. Not now, they lost it years ago.

    So they should spare themselves the cost and anxiety and instead of lobbying to introduce such (unenforceable) bans, they should sit with the governments and discuss a total reform of the copyright legislation along the lines of ‘reasonable’ and ‘fair’.

    Their only chance of winning would be the invention of a time machine, to go back in time and try to stop the digital age.

    Change happens, so adjust your obsolete business models and get on with it.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >all they get is an IP address.

    >And behind this IP there might be:

    A connection, which then gets cut off. It doesn't seem very reasonable, but

    that appears to be the proposal.

    >What's more, *I*'d gladly pay $5-$10 per month to legalize what

    >few downloading I do from time to time.

    So generous of you, I'm much stingier, I'd only pay them 50 cents a

    decade, I don't see why they don't bite my hand off with that offer.

    >Insist I must watch DRM-crippled stuff on (blah blah) and I'll tell you to fuck off.

    Right, so they make an offer that you don't accept and you tell them to fuck off, you make an offer they don't accept and you just steal the stuff anyway?

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey Freeloaders

    Crimes have punishments. Deal with it.

  76. Anonymous Coward


    Not that I think this threat will ever get skis let alone wings, there are surely enough "Big Bad Brother" restrictions on liberty in the UK now to make anyone start jobhunting on or or whatever takes your fancy.

    I did it 2 years ago (i.e. emigrated from the UK), and although my chosen country of residence (Malta) has bandwidth overload problems with its sub-Med cable link, it will be a cold day in hell by the time the Maltese government decide they ought to find out what P2P means, let alone legislate against it. Meanwhile, my local ISP gives me 6Mbps with 40Gb/month for about GBP28/month. Not cheap but torrents ahoy :)

  77. Turbojerry

    New Business Plan

    1 Buy UK nodes of a botnet.

    2 Download illegal files to those hosts and wait for users to be disconnected.

    3 Set up law firm to sue ISPs.

    4. Profit!

  78. RW


    The record industry is quick to scream "that's illegal" but whether an act is illegal or not is something only a trial in front of a judge, and possibly a jury, can determine.

    Allegations are meaningless until proved in a court of law.

    As for honeypot torrents, so the torrent says it's Britney's latest—but is it? Again, proof that the actual torrent is Britney's latest is required.

    There's an old story about Abraham Lincoln that is marginally relevant: in a meeting of his Cabinet, he was moved to ask his Cabinet members "If a dog's tail is a leg, how many legs does a dog have?" To which they responded "five". The Great Man replied "no; calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."

    Calling something illegal doesn't make it illegal. And as another comment reminded us, calling copyright infringement "stealing" doesn't make it theft.

    Unfortunately, given the Stalinist attitudes of Britain's present government, I have every expectation that such concepts as "proof", "due process", "innocent until proven guilty", and "freedom from self-incrimination" will be tossed on the trash heap of history, the better to help entertainment industry executives pay for their cocaine.

    Good ol' NuLabour: what, there's a problem? Let's make it a crime, quick!

    This kind of silliness has to STOP.

    Sorry, Paris, not today.


    Mssing the point

    I'm sure ISP's can traffic shape p2p to 1kbps per sec or less and render P2P virtually unusable, they have ways and means to do this because it helps make there networks more cost effective (working on the assumption P2P contributes heavily to bandwidth).

    So ISP's really wouldn't want to start collecting logs on who did what where and waste huge amounts of time and effort chasing a few illegal downloaders, when a simplier solution already exists.

    The only people this benefits is the record industry who really ought to be coughing up for it. I suspect the cost of investigating isp customers would cost more than the actual money they'd recoup...

  80. Mark

    @John Latham

    Hey, what's wrong with this:

    For my own use I have my music availble on my own machine. The connection attempt says Something along the lines of

    "The data contained on this site is for my personal use only. You are not allowed to access it."

    But there's no password or protection mechanism.

    Now, this sort of disclaimer is in widespread use all over the internet and in EULA's et al, and accepted. See the BNetD vs Blizzard (You lost me as a customer, Blizzard, with that) for how just acccessing the system is deemed to be acceptance of contractual terms.

    So the disclaimer is backed up with a lot of common law use and caselaw.

    Now, no encryption or login required is, currently, no defense against accessing someone's network via WiFi. So just because you don't have to know a secret is not saying "hey come in, help yourself" as far as the law currently available is concerned.

    In fact, there's that banner stating you can't access. See copiepresse vs google for how, even if there's another way to control dissemination, there's no need to use it.

    So any access by any of you thieving pirates to my music made available by some LimeWire protocol is NOT distribution on my part. It is entirely for personal consumption. And any access made is done DESPITE my wishes. So clearly, I am not sharing.

    Anyone see any problems *legally* speaking with that? It seems 100% in line with current law and comon use of the law.

  81. Mark


    > Right, so they make an offer that you don't accept and you tell them to fuck off, you make an offer they don't accept and you just steal the stuff anyway?

    Well, since copyright is a civil matter, and civil case is for redress, NOT punishment (at least in the UK), if the lost sale was never going to happen, there's no loss and therefore no redress.

    Unless you want activist judges making the law up to suit themselves...

  82. Billy Goat Gruff

    Is downloading copyright stuff illegal in the UK?

    Really, I want to know. I can't understand why people say authoritatively that it's copyright infringement to make a copy (and thus illegal?) and others say that the UK allows downloading since you're accessing a copy (and thus, like receiving a physical copy, is thus legal?).

    I know there's no answer because the laws and case law are a bit fuzzy but I'd really like some guidance from 'the representative of the people' as the government declares itself as opposed to the representative of the lucrative board jobs that the government appears to be.

    If the goverment or courts can't tell me what law is being broken without it having to go to court then I can't see how I can tell.

    I don't actually download anything illegal, I don't seem to have this addiction to CDs or mp3s that the rest of you have. I just don't like the constant pointing to US laws as if they apply to here (yes I suspect a UK downloader that breaks US law can be extradited and held at guantanamo and EU law supersedes UK law)... but can't the UK make up it's own mind about whether *downloading* a *copy* and *making* your own copy of the copy is *currently* illegal?

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up steganography

    On the wiki page for steganography there is an image of a tree.

    By removing all but the last 2 bits of each color component, an almost completely black image results. Making the resulting image 85 times brighter results in an image of a kitten.

    I thought that was proper steganography.

    "changes to the carrier (the original signal) due to the injection of the payload (the signal to covertly embed) are visually (and ideally, statistically) negligible; that is to say, the changes are indistinguishable from the noise floor of the carrier."

    do we use the same term for the well known casual 'rar in picture' trick?

    copy /b picture.jpg + secret.rar newpicture.jpg

    I quite like the name 'SodaPOP3' actually

    Anyway,,, My opinion on the P2P subject...

    Monitoring and cutting off net access = bad;

    Monitoring + broadband tax/all you can eat music/collections agency reimbursing content creators = (conceivably) good.

    Freedom = best (for downloaders, but unfair to others)

    C4 is nattering on about this subject as I type, not a word about alternative options, just stating the companies' line as usual...GRRR!

  84. Mark
    IT Angle

    Definitions of freeloading

    Did Cary Sherman do any work copying the disks sold? When Cliff Richard learnt how to sing or play music, did he continue to pay his teacher for the benefit this learning has had on his wealth? Did Britney spears mix her latest CD and if not, is she giving the studio engineers a continuing payment for making the CD listenable?

    If not, then by demanding they continue to get paid for each and every copy made, THEY are freeloading off the work done by others.

    Next time you flush your lavvie, tip the plumber for the benefit of a free flowing toilet.

  85. Les Matthew
    Thumb Up

    @Sarah Bee

    "Britney's last album is brill. So there."

    Isn't that a one month posting ban offence? ;)

  86. eee333


    I was laughing like mad @ some of the comments here.

    Which millenium do you lot live in?!

    £0.90 per gigabyte???!!!! Yes you are living in the rip-off country but not on Mars!!! For £25 a month you can already afford to dl 7gb over 3G network (mobile!!!).

    *dedicated* server with virutally UNlimited traffic costs just about £30 a month, and that's non-UK.

    This all the fascinating plan of our beloved rip-off gov has though got one tiny little flaw.

    1. You buy dedicated (or even VPS which is cheaper!) server outside UK and preferably outside EU.

    2. You install there BitTorrent client.

    3. You download/upload to your heart content and size of disc space allocated there.

    4. Any public info available about you on trackers will be about your machine, which is for yourselves stucked somewhere in 90's is called THE SEEDBOX.

    5. You have total traffic (up/down) on your seedbox of about 0.5-1.0 *Ti*Bytes per month (that is REAL value, not some dream, get back to year 2008 for gods sake, it is not 90s dialup anymore!!!).

    6. All traffic exchanged between yourself and the box is NONp2p one, easiest option is SSL-encrypted FTP access, cheap and cheerful.

    7. PROFIT!!

    In fact, some guys have been using such method already, for last 1-2 years. It is down to the fact that although ISP improve on downloads, they all by large suck at uploads and thus are very bad for trackers requiring your up/down ratio to be, for instance, over 0.5.

    Again, this option will cost you about £30 per month, which is already cheaper than, in this rip-off country, price of new line + rental + unlimited broadband.

    The author would like to present youselves an amusing fact:

    last year during one freeleech week he was able to leech over 100gb of data *per week*, and this low amount was only down to line/ISP problems which severely undermined my datarate :( (and yes, it is british ISP with such good downloads, not all that gloomy in this rip-off country:)

    If one has good upload (2-3mbps) it is possible to download about 100gb a week on a continuous basis, about 400-500gb per month.

    Good luck with sharing!

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Broken record (companies)

    It won't help reverse the law, but I am going to absolutely laugh my bloody arse off if this law is passed and CD / DVD sales continue to drop.

    The record companies are square wheels in a digital age and deserve to die miserably. They won't have anybody left to blame when they go bust, and we can at least have the satisfaction that we were correct in blaming the bland, overpriced output for the failure of these companies

    FFS I hardly even bother to download music anymore because there is so little coming out of any interest. Simon Cowell has done more damage to the music industry than filesharers.

  88. Peter Fairbrother

    Re: Is downloading copyright stuff illegal in the UK?

    No, it is not illegal to download copyright material for your own use without the permission of the rights holder - but it is unlawful.

    It is making another copy without authorisation from the copyright owner, which is an infringement of copyright. This is a civil tort (wrong) - but it is not a criminal offense. It is not theft, legally speaking. The police can't arrest you for it, you can't be convicted for it, but the copyright owners can sue you.

    Supplying copyright material is sometimes an offense, it depends on the circumstances. Generally speaking, if you do it for money you can be busted.

    Incidentally, ripping a CD for your own use is probably technically an infringement too, but you are unlikely to be successfully sued for it.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Usenet ?

    Who needs P2P when your ISP runs a reliable news server and lets you download 100 gig a month ?

    Just as well that BPI haven't figured out Usenet yet :)

  90. David Webb

    More Britney!

    In reply to to the replies to my post which was replied to. Another post on El Reg somewhere points out that a fake news story was posted about a record label putting their library on the internet, the record label replied "we can't do that, we are not the rights holder, the artists are also!".

    So, in relation to that, the people who connect to the torrent to download (and upload) Britneys music are not the rights holders by any means, the rights to any music is held by many people (I would guess any how), so unless they have permission from the rights holder to share the file (which would mean, that by connecting and sharing the file they transfer the rights to sharing?).

    So no, I don't think the people who connect to a torrent and share a file could do so within the confines of the law, and if they did such a thing, would be sharing a file with people on a system designed to share with the permission to share the file (if they had such permission)

  91. MYOFB

    UK takes tough stance on piracy

    My reply . . .

    I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day . . . I've been here before and it's pretty repetitive. BTW I didn't go to the cinema to watch it . . . despite all the hype, caught up with it on TV years later and found I'd saved myself from throwing good money away.

    Anyway back to repeats (& bleats).

    Apparently I'm a pirate, not just your ordinary pirate but, on reflection, a life-long one. You see, I was naughty enough in my youth to listen to Caroline, the PIRATE radio station, record music from a crappy radio to a crappy cassette recorder by holding them together and I've recorded films from TV by using a VHS tape recorder. Lately I've done similar nefarious deeds with CD's, DVD's and a PVR. And do you know what? I shared them with all my friends!!

    How naughty can someone be?! Am I guilty of innocence or am I innocent of guilt? You decide.

    So, back to the point in hand. Legislation is being mooted to force participants of a certain business genre to curb the actions of the subscribers/buyers of their product to protect the viability of another business genre.

    So how does that work then, physically and morally??

    Government to ISPA members, 'We want you to police all your pipes and cut the cord on anyone engaging in XYZ activity for the greater good of humanity . . . Oh and the RIAA, MPAA, BPI, IFPI members and anyone else who rattles a sabre under our nose.'

    ISPA members to Government: 'So what you're asking us to do is, to commit suicide or worse still, Hari Kari in public? Ok, on your head be it. Aaargh, Splarrgh, Oooh, that's the life blood pumping out of our business onto your shoes, Oops sorry'.

    And the bright light begins to shine as they pass over to the other side, ISPA's last words to their tormentors are . . . 'Where's your future now Gordon but more importantly . . . where's your business model now RIAA, MPAA, IFPI, BPI, et al?'

    Finally, I've read all the analogies like the 'Post Office opening all letters, highways and crow bars, but there's one analogy missing . . .

    The Beeb (and other broadcasters) will be held similarly responsible for policing what I and others download/record/timeshift from your many 'outlets' and share with others. You will be compelled to prevent me and others from engaging in such activity and 'cut us off!'

    Is that ever going to happen . . . perhaps, perhaps not.

    How does the cold steel of the knife feel against your throat?

    About as pleasant as the sensationalist crap you churn out to keep your license fee monopoly does to ISPA members I suspect.

  92. Fluffykins Silver badge

    Does this mean

    That Sony will have their access to t'Internet cut off if it's proven they nicked someone's code for their little DRM foray.

    Last time I checked their site was still up, but it's probably only a matter of time.

  93. Gav


    Copyright Laws!!!! So if it's OKAY for the Goverment to F**c* up big style and download our information to cd's on numerous occasions losing them does that mean we can shut them down?

  94. Dom
    Paris Hilton

    Oh dear.....

    I have seen it mentioned on other sites that the film companies are quite happy for people to download films. Why? Because the quality is usually crap - especially when played on plasma/LCD HD TV's. HD take-up is on the rise. If you have invested in all that hardware, you don't want to play crappy lo-res downloaded movies. The movie studios are banking on that you will either want the "proper" copy and go out and buy the DVD/Blu-Ray or just not bother at all.

    As for the music industry, I used to be (many years ago) a motorcycle courier. There where many, many times (sometimes 2-3 times a day) I would pick up suspicious packages from known "drug areas" of London, for delivery to the top executives of various music companies. These companies run on Columbian marching powder. If their profits go down, they can't afford to buy their illegal drugs. That's why they are coming out with stupid figures of how much money they have lost. Downloaders are an "easy" target for the unwilling to change behemoth that is the music industry.

    Apple have embraced the internet with legal downloads, so there IS money to be made for the music industry, just in a different way. But they don't want to change.....just yet. I have no sympathy for them.

    I feel sorry for the ISP. They are caught between a rock and a hard place. And with some companies starting to push video on demand, just looking out for someone downloading for an extended period of time won't be enough. What about Sky by Broadband? That uses a P2P client to LEGALLY download and share films and TV programs. This is a minefield - I hope the ISP's get their way and receive huge indemnitys from the music companies. Maybe loosing a few of these indemnitys will make the music industry take a long hard look at itself - and then we can all move forward.

    Paris? Just because!

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too right

    ASBOs in the post

    By Shabble



    By Anonymous Coward

    If every civil servent was into "the making of any untrue statement that would cause a reasonable person to think badly of another" there'd be noone running the country and then where would we be-(if we locked them up for a bit for being lieing cheeting bung taking bastards)

  96. Peter Fairbrother

    Re: Unbelievable

    I said that downloading DVDs costs 40p -90p per GB in the UK, and I stand by that. It's an average range, for the average person, not for a monster torrent leech - in many circumstances it will cost more, and only vary occasionally will it cost less.

    For instance, to change from a 20 GB/month limit to a 40 GB/month limit will cost about £10 per month more with most UK ISPs - that's 50p per extra GB. Considering that two ISPs are involved in most p-p transfers, that's 100p per GB in total - but the average punter's costs to themselves are 50p per GB, _if_ they use their limit, which is unusual, and 75p per GB if their up/down torrent ratio is 0.5. Never mind that the average torrent ratio has to be more than one...

    UK ISPs who allow downloading at 400 GB (or even 100 GB) per month do exist, but they are rare or expensive, and the cheaper options are disappearing rapidly.

    In your case, your seedbox costs £30 per month, and your UK ISP probably costs about the same. That's £60 per month, and from your description I guess you get about 100 MB of content in the average month - which means your costs average 60p per gigabyte of content.

    Told you, you will pay that much (or even more), in one way or another.

    "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of backup tapes" - or overestimate the cost of sending DVDs in the post.

  97. night troll

    @ Anonymous VPN proxy?

    <My only question about the whole process is surely it's possible to track the money from them back to you.>

    You pay for it with a single use debit card bought from your local shop's paypoint with cash. Therefore no trace.

    Just a thought about the paying a monthly fee for d/loading. What happens then if your ISP then "traffic shapes" your connection, is he interfering with your legal right to d/l the content you have paid a licence for?

    If this became the norm how could the ISP's cope with the increase demand for bandwidth?

  98. Martin Usher

    The other use for torrents

    for the record, I'm one of those users of Bit Torrent who's never used it for downloading music or videos. The media corporations probably overestimate piracy by just assuming that any shortfall between their estimated sales and actual sales is "obviously" a loss due to this cause. It may be because people just aren't interested.

    There's a limit to the amount of media that a person can consume. Once they've got to the limit then new stuff is only acceptable if it can displace older stuff. If the older stuff is good then it just doesn't get displaced. Also, we don't need to keep buying the same stuff over and over -- unlike LPs digital media doesn't wear out; I've got all my Led Zep records from 30+ years ago, why do I need to buy them again (and again)? (Could this be a little problem with them coming out of mechanical copyright?)

    I am concerned that the media people are in bed with some dodgy types who are planting Trojans and generally carrying on poking around on peoples' systems. These guys obviously think that they can make the law to suit themselves -- they have a God given right to make money and Heaven help anyone who gets between them and their birthright.

  99. eee333

    @Peter Fairbrother . Re: gigabyte cost

    I can see your point. However, do not add line rental and other things into cost consideration, as they to be paid in any case, even with 2GB/month download.

    ISP with huge traffic allowances are not expensive.

    For instance, adsl24 provider price plan: 30GB/month peak - 300GB/month off-peak, and all that for £17 per month (+VAT). This price would be similar for similar plan for any other ISP owned by Etanet company.

    Even Virgin Media has no download caps per month, and does throtle the speed of heavy users (traffic management) only during peak times i.e. 4pm-1am.

    And the last but not the least -- BE*, with unlimited downloads, practically no traffic management, and real (not modem!) speeds reported by various users upto 16mbps.

    You see, like in my case, I have to pay for new line as well, so I'm payng out roughly £20 to BT anyway, and let's say cheapest ISP would give me 2GB or 3GB per month. With reasonable bandwidth (8mbps) that would cost me £15 anyway! So, why not to add _three_ pounds extra and have higher (!) bandwidth and unlimited downloads?!

    So after all calculations I'd estimate price per gigabyte for an end user here in UK of about £0.10 or less. If you disagree, then switch your ISP and see for youself.

    Most of the ISPs here are indeed very bad for heavy downloaders, however it is more like their problem (and british love of high mark-ups in general).

    And now the killer fact:

    who said that the seedbox, or *indeed the broadband itself* it to be used, or, most importantly, paid by, a single user? :P

    I live in shared household and the total cost of broadband for me is under £10 per month with all BT charges and taxes included. For that I get roughly 200-250GB per month, 100gb above regarding to just one particular week last year :P

    Happy leeching!

  100. Anonymous Coward

    The good old days

    Back in the 70's we used to file share like rabbits. Back in them thar days we used cassette tapes to copy long playing records (LPs). Tapes were passed around amongst peers. They were copied, swapped, bought, sold and traded. All this was done hand to hand (h2h). No logs, no ISPs, no detection, apart from the odd complaint of scratched recordings, snaps & pops or a dodgy copy of a Blue Oyster Cult LP.

    Pengiun. They like oysters of any colour I'm told.

  101. Spider
    Thumb Down

    go ahead punk make my day

    Wait for the first ISP to be caught out working as a lapdog for the recording industry and watch their subscribers migrate...

    conversely, watch the uptake for the first one that tells 'em to get fecked....

    there's your market forces for you...

  102. Steven Hewittt


    My old man still calls up his mate from the local boozer and asks him for xyz release on DVD for £3. The same way people have for the last 15 years +.

    Does that make my old man a criminal or pirate?

    What about me that does it over BitTorrent instead....?

    And for the record, I've brought 5 DVD's this year and been to see around 6 films at the cinema.

    For music I buy less, cause it's mainly crap. Though I did by Chicane's album a few weeks back after hearing it on BitTorrent.

  103. Eddie

    1908 all over again

    When the British Red Flag Manufacturers Institute tried to get a law passed that all car manufacturers should confiscate their customers cars because they were exceeding 4mph and depriving their members of flag selling revenue, and 100's of flag carriers would be out of work.

    It's thanks mainly to the "downloaders" and their quest for more speed we have anything above 1mb connections now. The knock on effect to the UK economy from higher speeds far exceeds the piffling £1bn the BPI claim they're losing.

    If a law was passed and could actually be made to work, most people would be renewing their connections at far less speed & cost. Filesharers will be the driving force for fibre to the home and even more speed - the bloody useless Government isn't doing anything about keeping the UK in the 21st century.

    A second point the Government need to ponder if such law was passed is suddenly half the population becoming wise to encryption and using proxies - not just for nabbing a few torrents but all Internet use - they'd have to spend a £1trillion upgrading GCHQ to keep reading our emails, etc.

    I'll get my coat now and I think I'll do 80mph down the motorway after just paying the plumber cash in hand for fixing the boiler. I'm a bad boy :-)

  104. Spearbox

    Sheer entertainment

    I'd like to publicly thank all of you for entertaining me over this last hour or so with your comments and insightful views. I've never spent so long reading about one article.

    On a quick side-note, I wonder what will happen with the likes of rapidshare, megaupload, yousendit, speedyshare, and the likes who host hundreds of thousands, if not millions of copyrighted materials zipped into .rar/.zip files.

    /salute, viva el reg

  105. David

    Why not just have the post office open every letter and parcel too?

    I suppose they could also ask the post office to open, and scan every letter and parcel just in case the end user or sender (who would have to provide passport / photo ID and finger prints to post the letter) might write something dangerous or send a photocopied item of literature which could be subject to copyright...

    Or, heaven forbid, a CD-R

  106. Anonymous Coward

    Monitoring invasive?

    Surely ISP's and search engines (well lets face it, Google since it is the most popular probably) monitor where we go, what we buy, what we search for etc.

    They do it for marketing and for throttling purposes (fair use of unlimited service).

    That being the case, surely any contracts would allow for monitoring of this kind?

    Then the only problem is disclosure; and to whom.

  107. Chewy
    Thumb Up


    Totally agree. The majority of people who use P2P do not download Linux torrents or use CVS/SVN for source code. The fact is if you want music published by a major label you have to play by their rules. The alternative is to buy second-hand music (remember that) or buy music published by independent labels.

    Personally I don't care that the major labels or rich rock stars are losing money. The people who are losing out are those who work then make music and gig in their free time. Even bands who care not one bit about making vast amounts of money need to cover their costs somehow - home studios and guitars cost money.

    The fact is that the BPI should be irrelevant by now, but the file sharers are keeping them in the limelight. Their business model is obviously failing, but it should be failing because people buy from the artist directly.

  108. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    If I go to a shop and use it's wi-fi connection to download a ton of music, then leave - what then?

    Then the buggers watch me on CCTV in the shop, leaving the shop, waiting for the bus, sitting on the bus listening to my mp3 player, getting off the bus, walking down the street...


  109. Jim Morrow

    Why not just have the post office open every letter and parcel too?

    > I suppose they could also ask the post office to open, and scan every letter and parcel just in case the end user or sender (who would have to provide passport / photo ID and finger prints to post the letter) might write something dangerous or send a photocopied item of literature which could be subject to copyright... Or, heaven forbid, a CD-R

    Hey, that's a great idea! This would have stopped the Revenue from losing those Child Benefit CDs. And it would also put an end to terrorism, drug dealing, illegal immigration and benefit fraud. Not to mention curing cancer and stopping global warming. Why isn't the Daily Mail screaming about this and why isn't the government introduced this yet? Are they waiting for ID cards?

  110. James Pickett


    ""We still need to establish the proof points"

    (In voice of Zoidberg): "Ah the proof points, I always forget the proof points"

  111. Dam


    "The fact is if you want music published by a major label you have to play by their rules. "

    Oh yeah ?

    Who's the customer here ?

    Customers lay the rules.

    If I'm not happy with their rules I'll just buy elsewhere, this is the law of offer and demand to its simplest.

    This is why legal download companies are switching to DRM-free formats.


    Just a lil' side note for the sake of it:

    Mid december I came accross the test of PC game "The Witcher".

    I started grabbing the demo from fileplanet at a whopping 80kbs speed; fook that.

    I checked on torrents and newsgroups, no *demo* to be had there, but a full game.

    Ah well, I took the full game from newsgroups over an encrypted connection for which I pay monthly, around 1200kbs is much nicer.

    Install game, play for a few hours, like it.

    End result ? I asked my gf for the Collector (and pricey) edition for Xmas.

    P2P nets them a sale yet again.

    I can quote some games I bought after getting them "illegally" (either before ADSL was widespread via friends, or by downloading nowadays), by chronogical order:

    -Baldur's Gate 1 & 2 + addons

    -Icewind Dale 1 & 2 + addons

    -NWN 1 + addons


    -Temple of Elemental Evil... basically the whole Dungeons and Dragons series really.

    -Total Annihilation

    -Jagged Alliance 2.

    -Dungeon Keeper 2.

    -Silver (a nice RPG actually).

    -Black and White.




    -Supreme Commander.

    -Two Worlds.


    -and The Witcher lately.

    Hey I was almost forgetting, World of Warcraft.

    Yeah right, girlfriend and I wanted to try it out but there was no Demo offer yet, downloaded a version via torrents, installed, played 30 mins on a private server and we both got ourselves a copy + account.



    They need to stop considering everyone like thieves really.

    I consider games I download more a demo version to be honest, seeing I get full versions at around 1mbs via newsgroups, as opposed to 2gb demos at 80kbs via fileplanet.

    Don't like ? Uninstall and remove the heavy ISO.

    Bioshock ? beeeh, I'm definitely glad I didn't buy it, played it a full hour before uninstalling.

    F.E.A.R ? Same.

    This reminds me I need to write to the editors of the Witcher and tell them to put a demo available via torrent and newsgroups btw.

  112. Simon Greenwood

    Don't tell us - tell your MP

    Just a quick reminder - get your MP's details from and explain to him or her that this idea is unworkable, and that you will be following their response if it becomes an act, and if they vote for it, you won't be voting for them. For that matter, irrespective of whether you vote or not, telling your MP what you think is the only way to get through to the legislation-happy fools who are making this country a joyless hole to live in.

  113. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >Well, since copyright is a civil matter, and civil case is for redress, NOT

    >punishment (at least in the UK), if the lost sale was never going to happen,

    >there's no loss and therefore no redress.

    It would be damages and such an organisation would have to demonstrate and quantify the damage done, it's not necessarily the cost of a lost sale. Not least of course is their legal fees.

    (Most of these cases would be small claims in the UK so legal fees may not be payable of course)

    >Unless you want activist judges making the law up to suit themselves...

    Of course not, that's why the government is going to bring in stupid regulations that bypass the whole legal position. The ISP level cut off will not involve judges or law for that matter.

  114. 3x2

    Sound like a plan

    The Reg (or anyone else) have not made it clear yet how this will all work. As far as I can see at the moment the music industry will do the monitoring then having found the "offenders" will send details to their ISP who will then take action.

    Easy so far but then we need a central register of net users for the ISP's to control. It would be the only way to prevent users switching and leaving their "records" behind. On top of that we need systems in place for maintaining those records, issuing warnings and even an appeals process for those instances where the information was in error. Will there be time limits where records are deleted or will they be lifelong?

    I suppose my point here is that all of this is beginning to sound very expensive and no doubt those costs will be passed on to the consumer. As I don't use their product (music biz) why exactly am I being required to pay for them to police their own problems? Will I be able to get a cheaper connection If I don't "offend"?

    I can see the problem the music industry has but in the end it is just that - their problem. Quite why we will all be expected to effectively pay an MP3 download tax when most of us don't download them is beyond me.

  115. Mark


    How do you know what most of the BT traffic is? Are you a backbone supplier and already inspecting all packets?


    So that's just a guess, then.

    Oh, and JonB, yes, what damage is done when the record company

    a) wasn't getting a sale

    b) didn't expend any effort making the copy


    A friend of mine like David Bowie's early stuff but not the later stuff and it wasn't getting much airplay. Too expensive to buy a CD on the off-chance.

    He saw a CD of 15 Bowie albums (recent ones) at a flea-market for £5 and bought it. Turns out he doesn't like Bowie's latest stuff.

    Now, the only loss they made was the £5 for the "taster" and they didn't want to sell it, so that was their fault.

    If "lost opportunity to make a sale" is a genuine loss, then for about forty years the last recording by Adrian Bolt and the London Philharmonic of Host's "The Planet Suite" was out of print and unavailable. By edict of the label.

    By not printing for forty years (only recently have they made a CD and they managed to screw that up, probably because the master was buggered by being unused or they had no master and this is a 2nd-gen copy), they denied Adrian Bolt and his estate any chance of getting money for his work.

    Real damages, apparently.

    The revenue agencies hold on to money because "they can't find the artist", such obscure acts as Dolly Parton or Madonna.

    Real damages for which they were not punished.

    So why should I care about similar damages on their part?

  116. N

    That old chestnut

    When somethings good & fair, people use it for example, consider public transport outside London:

    Its generally expensive & crap because its late & never goes where you want it to, so we use our cars.

    If the music & films were the right price in the first place and we wernt ripped off left right & Chelsea, then there wouldnt be an issue because the majority of us would just buy it.

    Theres always going to be a small minority who think otherwise, regardless of all the obstructions & controls who would of course acquire it anyway.

  117. John Murgatroyd

    Surely not the beeb as well

    So, does this mean that aol will report me for using the bbc iplayer p2p stuff ?

    This is obviously going to be a lot of fun....

  118. Xpositor

    Armed Police Response to Pirate

    You see, this is what happens; you download questionable (either in authenticity or quality) music, copy to your MP3 player, listen to it at a bus stop and armed police pounce. What are they going to do -after- such a law is passed?

  119. spezzer

    on the subject of stealing...

    ...can someone remind me how the revenue made from music sales is divvied up??

  120. Chewy


    Well simply because programmers and open source enthusiasts are a minority. Just as I am guessing then so are you, but if you want a bet on who is right then I'm game. It's not as if you need to inspect packets as most people use websites to download the torrent.

    There are plenty of way to try out new music - and Amazon are good for previewing music. There is a difference with a "try before buy" approach a minority of unauthorised file sharers take, and the case of some children who have never paid for music in their life.

    Fair point about "out of print" music though, although some of this music is available through the artist themselves - sometimes even for free.

    @Dam - well no the buyers don't make the rules that's the point. You can't go into Tesco and take anything you like for free. I couldn't expect to break into your house and take what I liked could I? You are within your rights as a consumer to avoid companies you don't wish to do business with, which includes members of the BPI/RIAA.

    It seems that anybody who attacks unauthorised file sharers is automatically lumped in with the BPI/RIAA.

  121. Simon Buttress

    Joke icon, because the idea of this law is.

    Why? That's the question. It won't stop piracy, piracy will evolve as it has done, and is doing, to other forms not monitored.

    And I for one do NOT welcome our new packet sniffing overlords.

  122. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Damage done includes the cost of legal representation to protect their rights, it may be expensive. They may be able to demonstrate damage to their bsuiness, I guess this is where all the conflated billions of lost sales comes in.. Peer to peer systems would do you enormous harm in this case because you would also be making it available for upload (unless leeching, but then you'd have a tricky defence there) thus conspiring in a group to damage their business.

    I agree though that I doubt getting caught downloading a single CD would be expensive in Britain. But most of those that do download, have hundreds of CD's.

    There are a lot of people simply nicking stuff, and obviously some solution has to be brought to bear, other than the frankly ridiculous "I'll give you a fiver for everything you've ever produced." suggestion.

  123. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A true story.

    15 years ago, I purchased maybe 4-5 Albums a year, this was mainstream music that I would hear on the radio.

    In 1998 I discovered Napster and MP3 downloading.

    Since then I have been subject to more varied types of music and ever since 1998 my purchase of albums has been in the 10-15 per year range.

    Basically, If I like what I download, I buy the album.

    Ok, I never buy a single and probably never will, but in all fairness, the last single I purchased was back in 1983.

    Exposure to newer types of music and bands must be the best thing to come out of filesharing, I cannot be the only one with this story to tell, I am sure lots of other downloaders of music, also purchase more now, than before.

    I don't know the figures of lost revenue from downloading music, but by looking at those houses on MTV cribs, it's not doing any harm that I can see.

    If I was a new artist trying to make it, I would put my stuff out there on the p2p networks, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    The record companies don't know how easy they have it, their music is being distributed worldwide in seconds, if people want to buy the music, they will.

    Stopping people downloading wont stop people copying. Remember tapes?

    My advice is, by all means download something to evaluate it, if you think it's worth the money, and you have that money, buy it.

  124. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Did Cary Sherman do any work copying the disks sold?

    Not sure who she is, so I can't comment.

    When Cliff Richard learnt how to sing or play music, did he continue to pay his teacher for the benefit this learning has had on his wealth?

    Cliff would have paid his teachers on a per lesson basis, this is how teaching is paid for (do you pay your school teachers now you've left? no?) There is no requirement for payment after the event.

    Did Britney spears mix her latest CD and if not, is she giving the studio engineers a continuing payment for making the CD listenable?

    There are two ways that studio engineers are paid, one is per session, so no further payment required, the other is by sales, so in answer possibly he is getting payment, although it would more likely be from the label, rather than the artist. It is the same with session musicians.


    Next time you flush your lavvie, tip the plumber for the benefit of a free flowing toilet.

    No need, you pay for the design work done in the toilet, particularly its flush mechanism, when you buy the toilet - you don't seriously think that you are only paying for the constituent parts do you?

  125. Anonymous Coward

    Smoke and mirrors

    I am a musician. I stand no chance whatsoever of being "discovered" by a record label, so I am quite happy to see the complete destruction of a top heavy, greed driven cartel organisation, that has lived off the talents of others for generations, strangely, people will still make music, as they always have done.

    I just joined Be* from Tiscali, the bandwidth shapers, who were very reluctant to give out a MAC number until threatened. Be* routers have presets for most of the P2P networks as default, make your own mind up about what that means.

    This has very little to do with music, and everything to do with surveillance, because as the Tories found out years ago, you can do what appears to be the right thing, whilst proceeding with your own nefarious little agenda. Tories = Labour.

    Vote Liberal if you like, the civil service will not change, and the fat money men will still be fat money men, governments exist to continue the Status Quo (pardon the pun)

    Small victories, we will do what we have always done. Find a new way to do what we want. Go retro, copy from your local library, blockbuster (tm), whatever, it's all a smoke screen, until we all get our RFIDs implanted, which we will promptly hack.

    Wireless peer to peer local community networks anyone?

  126. Dam


    "@Dam - well no the buyers don't make the rules that's the point. You can't go into Tesco and take anything you like for free. I couldn't expect to break into your house and take what I liked could I? You are within your rights as a consumer to avoid companies you don't wish to do business with, which includes members of the BPI/RIAA."

    You miss my point.

    My point is, they can make up as silly rules as they like.

    In the end if customers don't like them and choose to take their business elsewhere, the labels end up selling nil.

    Hence: the customers "make" the rules.

    It has been literally years since I last bought music on CD (or at all, with the exception of this album last year) and I hardly ever download any.

    Actually thinking back on it I think the last CD I bought was Nyana from Tiësto say what, 4 or 5 years ago.

    And it's got absolutely nothing to do with downloading, it's just that:

    - I'm happy with the music collection I currently have

    - I'm happy to put a comical movie in the drive, toggle media player classic's display to NULL, and listen to it in the background

    - Web radios work as well as our old radios and don't imply buying anything

    - One can actually record tracks from web radios in all legality, google for "streamripper".

  127. Mark


    The point is that Cliff would not be enjoying a continuing stream or the ongoing pleasure of creating his own music if it had not been for his teachers.

    So if the normal method of paying for someone doing something for us (like, entertaining us or teaching us) is a one-off payment then to gain more, more work must be found, why doesn't this apply to Cliff et al? He doesn't do a lick more work to get the single "Devil Woman" to the public, so why does he get paid?

  128. Mark

    "programmers and open source enthusiasts are a minority"

    As are artists who have a *job* as artist.

    And most of those are buskers.

  129. Mike Clayton

    So the ISP's will go bust, or at least end up putting the prices up

    Why's that I hear you ask

    for the sake of argument lets say they can see what it is your downloading (ignoring all the legal issues)

    Well if we have a one strike system then well at least half the customers will get banned and at that ponit the other half will say hang on I am no longer going to download anything I may as well reduce my broad band to the lowest package, no point in having all that bandwidth and nothing to use it for.

    if its a three strike system then its the same again only the ISP' may keep all their customers and just losse all the revenue.

    Oh and if they decide to use the old "you have downloaded 50GB of data you must be doing something illegal" well hold on a minute a lot of Broadband users have xbox 360's and they go on live and as you can now download HD movies at 5GB a go there is going to be a hell of a lot more people creeping up into the multi GB downloads

  130. Mac


    I'm no expert but from the multitude of sources I've tried to gather information from over the years I believe most artists will make around 1p per album sold in physical media from their record deals (a really amazing deal apparently is about 10p). To make this the artist has to spend time in the studio, this used to be weeks/months but from what I understand is now more likely days for the newbies, longer for the 'big guns'. They almost never master their own records (think radiohead are one of the few if only to have done so) so the record company can rightly lay claim to some the creation aspect of the record and thus gather revenue. It used to be the case that almost everyone from managers to producers used to pop in to the studio to play a couple of triangle notes so they could get some performance rights on a track. Add to the fact that like book publishers the record companues will usually negotiate as part of any deal the sole distribution rights (should they wish to distribute it) for a long long time.

    These record companies behave much like loan sharks for artists. You get signed on a £x album deal for an advance (loan) of £x. They determine the interest rate of that advance and will spend that advance usually without the express consent or knowledge of that artist on marketing, travel, legal, clothes etc etc. In other words, they are as good as lawyers at the billing process.

    I remember once reading that a judge had said during a record pricing dispute trial (the outcome of which was dropped after the RC's agreed to pay a fine of over $600m to settle and to claim they were blameless) that the record companies accounting practices for computing royalties were ridiculously complicated to the point of being delibrately obfuscated. More difficult to crack than some mafia money laundering cases I believe was the soundbite from a DA department.

    The record companies usually determine the amount of studio time an artists receive and the timing of it with the option to accept or reject the material submitted to them thus ensuring they have a measure of control over the length of any deal in years and the content an artists puts out (while the interest builds nicely on that loan). Sprinkle on top of this complete and total control over the distribution chain and you got yourself a nice little racket, save for the one or two pesky lawsuits for racketeering and price fixing which cost a few hundred mill.

    Now enter the digital age. Cheaper and cheaper end to end cost of CD's vs Tapes and Vinyl plus distribution with any physical media at all, all good so far. Pass those savings on to the artists or customers did they...?

    Not sure what the situation is rgd distribution media royalties but if it is similar to the issue that has caused the hollywood writers strike for the movie industry then I guess artists are not doing so well on that front, another score for the RC's

    So .... Why don't I save my money on buying the RC's sh!t, go to a gig where I can expect to pay anywhere from £5-£50 depending on the venue and artist, I'm led to believe that this is where artists make their money. I can also buy tshirts, cd's etc directly from them. Moreover with things like myspace and iTunes even the little man can have mp3s for sale or to help gather interest in the gigs and make more than a traditional record deal would net them.

    Whilst it is a slightly dubious thing to hang a point on cos it's a one off, Radiohead have publically stated that they made more from their little pay what you want experiment than they have done from record sales with parlaphone from their entire 15? year careers. I'm not trying to say that is the norm but they must've sold tens of millions of albums over that period and received a very very small percentage for that to have been the case.

    so why don't we all get together, government, artists unions and consumer groups (no RC's please) and decide to create a univeral tariff of some sort where the artist's union can collect say around 2p per album, doubling the average artists coffers, increase the amount the chancellor can get his paws on and put this nasty protectionist business out of pasture where it belongs.

    I want to support artists and see them get the money I'm willing to pay for their music. £5 for everything they've ever done is a hell of a lot more than they currently make so why not go down that road.

    In an age when I can carry around 20k albums in my pocket, the value must readjust itself to that if things are to go legit. Otherwise people keep taking it for free. Who has about £200k in the other pocket to pay £10 each for all those albums ..... only the RC execs, that who!


  131. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Music Business

    As the late great Hunter S. Thomson said:

    "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."

  132. Phil B
    Thumb Down

    P2P - Easy target. Apathetic government

    Hmmm. Odd how P2P has hit the news.

    Yet the billions of spams sent daily that costs the industry worldwide hundreds of millions of pounds daily seems to be an issue that no government cares to talk about.

    Most of the spam is funded by organised crime yet doesn't no one seems to take this menace seriously.

    You can't even report an E-crime to a police station!

    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. 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.

  133. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >£5 for everything they've ever done

    I'll give you a quid for everything you own, it's not like there's any other way I'd buy it.

    What's that? "No"?

    Ah I'll take it anyway, what's your address again?

    The record companies may be crap, but the solution to that is to simply not buy any of their products, not to go aorund stealing anything that isn't nailed down.

    What donkey ends their comment with "Next!" like you've dismissed the argument, you haven't.

  134. Mac

    @ JonB

    Eeeeeeeeee Awwwwwww ;)

    Sold for a pound! Now I'll just 'copy' everything I own to a million or two disks and sell them for a pound too for the next 75 fact if I don't live that long my kids will collect them on my behalf. Pretty good deal I think akin to the chess board grain of sand. It doesn't sound like much but I'd likely do far better out of it than the current business model.

    I agree with you that you stop buying their products and not steal, just because they have been getting away with some pretty dubious business practices for a long time does not make them in the right to protect them. What I don't agree with is the way in which they are trying to deseperately protect their existing business model through legislation before their coffers run out and leave ISP's and the public shafted by their death rattle.

    Begone foul and greedy business suits and let a more diverse and exciting industry replace it where artists get our money for appreciating their efforts instead of the IMO useless middle man 'steal' it all.

    Theives! ... oh sorry


  135. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "...The point is that Cliff would not be enjoying a continuing stream or the ongoing pleasure of creating his own music if it had not been for his teachers.

    So if the normal method of paying for someone doing something for us (like, entertaining us or teaching us) is a one-off payment then to gain more, more work must be found, why doesn't this apply to Cliff et al? He doesn't do a lick more work to get the single "Devil Woman" to the public, so why does he get paid?..."

    Teaching and creative arts are different things, they work in different ways. Being a musician [analogy alert!] in much more like being a small inventor, you can choose to be like the guy who invented matches and let everyone have your invention for free, or you can be like Henry Crapper (IIRC) who licenced the Turbo-flush toilet flushing mechanism. There are many inventors who can't afford to exploit their inventions and licence them to others, who produce them on the inventors behalf. These licences, like in music, last for a certain amount of time, after that they are considered 'fair game'. Another example of this is how the pharma industry works, develop a drug, produce it for however long you are allowed to, then accept that generics will be made.

    We won't get good musicians, making interesting music, if we don't have a licensing system for music. (This is unless somehow a benefactor system starts up, which is highly unlikely.) The majority of popular music will either end up being computer generated pop-tat, or guitar bands. You can't make descent music without descent instruments/equipment and you can't get them if you can't make money from your music.

    If you don't like the current licensing terms (and I am not suggesting they are anything like perfect), don't buy from BPA/RIAA, that is the surest way to bring about change in the system. If, however, music is consistently stolen from them, this only serves to suggest to them that their output is worth bothering to steal and therefore worth their while promoting the bands who make it and prosecuting the people who steal it/offer it for theft.

  136. Jenkins


    I agree with most of what you are saying but I think it's a mistake or at least misleading to say;

    "..[Radiohead] made more from their little pay what you want experiment than they have done from record sales with parlaphone from their entire careers"

    I have only seen one statement regarding this issue, in the Wired interview with Thom Yorke*, and he states the following;

    "In terms of digital income, we've made more money out of this record than out of all the other Radiohead albums put together, forever — in terms of anything on the Net. And that's nuts. It's partly due to the fact that EMI wasn't giving us any money for digital sales. All the contracts signed in a certain era have none of that stuff."

    Digital income. Not "Record sales".

    "These record companies behave much like loan sharks for artists"

    This I do agree with. Steve Albini's old essay "The Problem with Music is relevant here;


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