back to article UK ISPs agree to menace their filesharing users

Six UK ISPs are to start sending out menacing letters to hundreds of thousands of suspected music pirates as part of a government plan to tackle illegal filesharing, the BBC reports. The deal and the names of the six are due to be unveiled on Thursday, and the ISPs are also said to have committed "to develop legal music services …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh good.

    I don't care about RIAA generated crap anyway.

    As long as it's just music and I can keep downloading my movies...

  2. Zmodem
    Jobs Horns

    The shadows

    if the riaa etc had any form of intellgence they would create a shadow proxy that blocks the dns all known and found updated serverlist

  3. Anonymous Coward

    slander lawsuits?

    So, over on this side of the pond, if they threaten you for illegal activity, and you aren't doing such illegal activity, that's the door to a huge slander and defamation lawsuit, as well as possibly "lack of due process" depending on the circumstances.

    I assume you folks have no such protections?

    I'd love for Comcast or Roadrunner to send me such a letter, I need to pay off my house.

  4. James Cleveland


    All the way.

    And if the ISPs break SSL, surely they're committing a crime?

  5. sev71

    Donttel lme whatI can do with my ..

    "unlimited super fast broadband"

    is it not enough that ISPs can promise the world and not deliver? who's regulating the wild claims for 'super fast' connections and not so unlimited download?!

    Fair use? is it not fail that I get to download what I want on MY line that I pay for without a 'fair use' policy.

    Even when you download perfectly legitimate files, overstep the fair use limit and you're capped

    I hate ISPs

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    ISPs to harass users

    So the ISPs are being held reponsible for what users do on their network; does that mean then that, as in the case of the Madrid bombings, if a terrorist group uses the mobile phone network to their bombs the network operator is responsible, and can be imprisoned, and sued by the victims? Hmmm... bit lacking on the joined up thinking front, I think.

    Does this mean that we can hold them responsible for spam?

  7. Adam Foxton


    it's up to the copyright holders to educate the public? If they're not willing to take that trouble, then they're clearly not THAT interested in securing copyright- merely taking your money.

    Give it 5 years down this path, you'll be on your phone to your granny and halfway through the conversation you'll get a load of adverts. Or you'll get sued for singing love-song lyrics down the phone (or by letter/email) to your better half.

    And what about child porn, terrorist communications and other such nasties? Surely if the ISPs started to introduce this they'd lose their "common carrier" status and be responsible for every illegitimate bit of data that was sent across their fibers?

    The ISPs should be entirely neutral parties in this nastiness- not giving information to either side and acting as simply a pipe. A nice phormless water pipe style system.

    And is this just not a thinly veiled blackmail from the music industry anyway? And- even worse- from sections of the music industry not even operating in this country? "Do what we say or we will withdraw your internet access!" surely cannot be far from "Do what we say or we'll hit you" or "do what we say or you'll never work in the industry again".

    Indeed we should stop this madness forthwith!

  8. RW

    Easy, easy, easy

    All the ISPs have to do is pull some numbers out of their asses.

    For example

    2006: total files shared: 3,134,223; illegal 2,702,222 (86.22%)

    2007: total files shared 4,448,228; illegal 4,081,249 (92.16%)

    2008: total files shared 2,100,769; illegal 1,645,953 (78.35%)

    See, we're reducing the number of illegal downloads *and* the percentage as well, so give us a cookie.

    After all, isn't the numbers-pulled-out-of-the-ass method what the RIAA and BPI use to generate their statistics? Who's gonna disprove these figures?

  9. James

    Bring on the law

    For ISP users it would be much better to have a law than a voluntary agreement - the rules would get some scrutiny (at least in the Lords), would be open to judicial review, and would as a result most likely require a higher burden of proof than the BPI's say so.

    Mind you, as FACT is convinced that all piracy is funding terrorism they might just decide to lock up anyone that uses the internet for 42 days and be done with it...

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Go for it

    I can promise that any letter from my ISP containing allegations of this nature will be met with a letter in return to their legal department.

    I'm sure whatever they send out will be poorly worded, contain little if any evidence, and will generally leave them open for a good slapping. Especially if it somehow implies they've shared their allegation with a third party.

    I'm not exactly expecting anything as I don't download music, but as I suspect evidence has little to do with their letters I guess there's still a chance one will turn up.

    If so, great. I could do with the entertainment.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What's with the "suspected" bit?, so now you don't even need to actually be guilty to get booted off the net?.

    Oh dear.

  12. Karl

    UK ISP's

    Entanet/Freeola have been doing this for over 6 months now

  13. Steven Raith
    Paris Hilton


    "Mind you, as FACT is convinced that all piracy is funding terrorism they might just decide to lock up anyone that uses the internet for 42 days and be done with it..."

    I've been using the internet for nigh on ten years, am I going to jail? :-0

    Be interesting to see how this pans out - all that will happen is that those who are serious about copyright infringement/funding terrorism as it's now known, will just up the encryption ante, in the same arms race that has been going on for a few years now.

    Aside - if they can tell a secured torrent connection has copyrighted torrent info in it, why can't they find all this child pr0n that they say is floated around on 't net...?

    Steven R

  14. Blackadder
    Paris Hilton

    Good news for darknets!

    Not very useful today but with this new initiative there's a good chance people will start to migrate from insecure BitTorrent to secure Freenet. More users = better performance...

    Paris, because she's an icon... (you get it? :)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yup, yup

    Back to the dodgy car boot sales and reasonably priced pirate dvds that I can plausibly say I thought were genuine.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Virgin 'Bloody' Media, clones and codswallop

    Oh great... so now those of us who have been shafted sideways by VM, first by their dropping of Sky One/News, second by their shite capping system which continues to allow cloned cable modem (L)users to rape their honest customers such as myself out of any chance of getting a decent speed... now this?

    I hope and pray that they dare to drop one of these letters on the doorstep of some poor cloned innocent soul who will sue the shit out of them, and maybe they will pull their finger out and do something about these m***f***ing cloners, and maybe we will get our speeds back.

    Maybe Im a dreamer, but Im not the only one.

  17. Matthew
    Thumb Down

    well all i really download are TV shows anyway

    how do they tell the diffenence on an encrypted connection? oh thats right they can't.. so its bloody rude to effectively call you guilty until proven innocent

  18. Richard Waterhouse


    If my ISP were to send me a letter accusing me of illegal filesharing I would be able to issue a writ against them for libel. However, how would I then prove (as required by law) that the statement they made was false?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Content Doesn't Matter

    I'm sure they won't even look at what people are doing with their connections. Letters will just be sent out to high bandwidth uses. The more high users they can get struck off the better it is for them.


  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let them send their letters ...

    It will just end up with the rest of the junk mail I get on a daily basis - in a landfill

    ISP's have to remember who it is who lines their pockets every month ... and it's not the BPI, it's the customer.

    P*ss off the customer and they'll leave and go elsewhere, I know I diid and it was an EXCELLENT decision to do so :)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you get a letter

    refer them to BBC. Since I downloaded BBC iPlayer, it took over my bandwidth, uploading something to someone even when it is not in use. Cheeky bastards!

  22. JimC

    Isn't "Its not our job to police the internet"

    a fairly risky thing to say to a taxation mad government, who could very easily say " fair enough, we'll do it for you, stuff a massive overhead on your systems by piss poor monitoring and charge you a fortune in taxes whilst we're at it..."

  23. Craig

    Sent away for re-education

    I don't behave like a dirty cheapskate and download my music or films for free. I've been clean for about 4 years now. This is an impressive can of worms which is being opened. I'm in a similar position as the other gentleman who says he'll go barmy if he gets a message of information - perhaps some of us are even wanting to receive some 'education'?

    I can picture the future now...

    Dear Mr Smith-Piehead,

    Stickytape Broadband pride themselves on being industry leaders and are continuously looking to improve their products and performance. Part of these improvements involve us telling you that the Anti-terrorism via illegal music download organisation have marked you down for re-education. Your 3 day course will teach you how to pay for things and not steal them. You've been assigned to a course running in Stoke and the compulsory cost of attending is £1,043. If you do not attend, the army will come and get you.

    All the best,

    Ed Ioted

    Boss of Stickytape Broadband.

    *I am also wondering if these emails will be unsolicited and should organisations like Spamhaus blacklist them. If thousands of people complain they received them mistakenly, you'd hope they'd blacklist them, then tell the ISPs to clean up their contact list so they know they're targeting the right people, and send again.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Boat missed completely....

    Most filesharing now happens in our school's classrooms. All you need is 1 in 30 of our nations spotty youth to buy a piece of music and before you know it they all have it. Kids bluetoothing music like mad during lessons between mobile phones.

    Love to see the RIAA try and ban education or stop and search mobile phone's :-)

    Paris, because even she knows how to bluetooth music to her mates...

  25. Vic
    Paris Hilton do they know?

    Someone enlighten me please. How exactly do they know WHAT I'm downloading? Do they see what sites I've visited and make assumptions or do they look at my bandwidth usage and make assumptions? Or do they snoop on the filetypes and make assumptions? Or do they raid my house when I'm out and nick my machines?

    I'm feeling a little vacant of knowledge of the method by which they decide on guilt and potential disconnection.

  26. Al
    Paris Hilton

    How can they tell if the material is distributable or not?

    As any fule kno, file-sharing isn't just copyrighted material. If I decide to cane my bandwidth by distributing 'legitimate' files, how will my ISP tell? Are they really going to have an army of people taking a copy of whatever I choose to torrent?

    Usual story - extremely crude solution from a government in thrall to big money. Even Paris could think of a better idea.

  27. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    This could all be avoided ...

    ... if the record companies put in place a fair and usable system which they should have done years ago.

    The problem is that they've been overcharging - no way will I pay the same price for a downloaded album as a CD. Afterall - there's no CD production, no artwork, no shipping, no shelf space, no middleman to pay etc. etc. so I simply refuse to be ripped off. I can't remember the exact figure (I'm sure someone round here will have it) which the record company bleated about a few years back that they get back from a CD sale after costs, HMV's pound of flesh etc. I think it was in the region of £1. So that would equate to about 10p a track - which actually is a little generous if its 14 tracks. At 79p a track I expect a free blow job from Paris as well.

    My experience a few years back really sums up the music industry's attitude to consumers - and now why I steal all my music rather than give them a penny. I bought an album by a small indie group I like - to support them and the record label. ALL my music is on my PC as that's how I listen to it - so the first thing I did was try to rip it. Due to copy protection my PC cd drive wouldn't even recognise it. So in order to listen to it ... I had to illegally download it. I emailed the label to ask them about this - and got a very terse reply about how I was committing a criminal act by doing this - and copy protection was there to prevent evil people like me from stealing music. When I'd bought the sodding thing ! I returned the CD for a refund and resolved not to bother buying music again.

  28. Alan


    I just love all these knee-jerk reactions like "when I get the letter I'll sue their asses off for defamation", or "how are they going to tell what i downloaded over my encrypted connection" etc...

    Wait till you get the letter, then see what it says.

    As for "I can do what I like with my unlimited connection". Yes you can, but if you happen to be sharing copyrighted files that are not yours to share then what you're doing is a tad naughty.

    Mine's the flame proof one...

  29. Anonymous Coward

    hrmm, could..

    the last person to leave this inter-wibble-thingy...

    please turn out the lights....

    thank you

    We appologise for the inconvienience. Normal services will resume shortly...

    ho hum, looks like its back to huddling around the camp fire...

  30. Big_Boomer

    Bunch of bloody Thieves

    That's what you are if you illegally download music or movies or anything that is copyrighted. You are thieves, plain and simple.

    You are not "pirates", you are stealing the fruits of someone elses work.

    You may think you are cool but we know different.

    You are a tightwad, scumbucket of a thief and if you get caught I hope they throw the book at you and then insert it where the sun don't shine.

    Do I work for the music industry? Nope.

    Am I sick of hearing tightwads whinge about how their ISP or the government is stopping them from stealing. Oh YES!

    You want music or movies, then fucking pay for them!

  31. Moz
    Dead Vulture

    "Ditch the Snitch Six"

    ... sounds like a damn good name for the upcoming backlash campaign.

  32. Brian Gannon

    SSL wont help

    Can we finally put the SSL / encryption myth to bed? Someone simply needs to download a torrent at the same time as you and they have your IP encrtpted or not. I for one would quite happily see people sharing illegal files booted off my ISP then perhaps people who download large amounts of legitimate data will not be penalised.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    evidence, evidence, evidence

    Folks, the BPI evidence is shaky at best, simply made up at worst. If you're unfortunate enough to be a customer of one of the six ISP's taking part in this charade - switch!

    These letters being a mailshot to all heavy downloaders? Er, no. Don't be fooled into thinking that AnonTelco is that joined up. The Abuse team and the Fair Use team are not the same thing and, in fact, never/rarely communicate other than to say "Hi, I've got yet another mis-directed-by-HellDesk customer for you".

    Feargal Sharkey: I'm most disappointed in you. Musicians are meant to be rock n roll legends, shagging groupies and throwing things out of hotel windows. Musicians are NOT meant to be CEO's of shadowy organisations!!!


    This has been bugging me for a while, so I'm gonna get if off my chest now:

    BPI protecting the rights of musicians: have any of you actually met a real, live, jobbing musician? It's a job, plain and simple, to the majority of the ones I know. A good fun job that allows the consumption of beer and access to pretty women, admittedly, but still a job. We trade on a talent for making a nice noise, in much the same that a greengrocer trades on a talent for recognising a decent cabbage.

    Yeah, we pretend we're cool and we allegedly get hot chicks but at the end of the day we're doing a job.

    I'm struggling to think of a good analogy here, but I guess it's like this: Most jobbing musicians (that I know) are like good/high quality sunday league footballers. We're never going to be well known, and we're never going to be make a lot of money out of it. The best could will make a living, if they're lucky, the majority of us have to supplement that with other things.

    The BPI protects the Beckhams and Ronaldo's of the music industry, and very definitely not your everyday musician. So as a (very much part-time) jobbing musician, do I give a toss about the BPI?


    So let's stop with the "protecting the rights of musicians" lark, shall we? It just pisses me off. If I want my rights protected, I'll join the Musicians Union.

  34. Vernon Lloyd
    IT Angle

    What a Load of B*ll*cks

    Virgin are increasing 4Mbit Broadband to 10MBit free of charge at the end of the month.

    In one hand I have the ability to download 1.25MB of Data a Second or 75MB a minute, or 4.5 GB an hour or 108GB a day. In theory then how long exactly would it take me to get past the fair usage policy? I would imaging less than a day.

    In the other I have a letter threatening me with disconnection due to sharing illegal files.

    What is the frigging point in having 10Mb then for?

    Does the data protection act not protect me, or has the terrorism act overridden that. Will it become illegal to encrypt everything just incase you are sending instructions on bomb making.

    Where will the complete and utter B*ll*cks stop

  35. bob

    Fair Share

    One of the strongest arguments the music industry puts forward is that piracy stops the artist being paid for their work. This argument only holds water if the artist is getting a fair cut - does anyone know roughly what percent of the price of a legal download goes to the artist? Is it the same from iTunes, Tesco, Play etc? How does it compare to CD? Anyone know?

  36. Pete Silver badge

    ISPs not obliged to provide service

    Setting all this moral outrage to one side, and ignoring all the huffing and puffing about what people wish they had the b@lls to do if/when they get "a letter".

    Never forget that you have a commercial agreement with your ISP. They can terminate it, providing they give due notice, whenever they want. If you are suspected of sharing files they don't like - or doing anything else they don't like, they are under no obligation to keep you as a customer. They are well within their rights to cut you off. Giving you a chance to change you behaviour is a courtesy.

    Be thankful that so far there is no sharing of banned customers names between ISPs, nor is there a question on the application asking if you have previously been kicked off another ISPs network.

    While films will continue to be made and distributed by centralised organisations (the cost is too high for an independent model to produce the quantity / quality), music has no such restrictions. As more artists cut out the middle-leech, we can all hope and pray that these acts of increasing desperation are the dead-throes of the fatcats. With luck, in 10 years or less, the monolithic music industry will be dead: replaced by a thriving network of small suppliers who embrace the internet for it's low-cost and reliable transports.

  37. Neil


    Isn't this exactly the same thing as making Smith & Wesson responsible for ensuring that their products aren't used to shoot people, and then rounding up those who do and handing them over to the police?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @craig Shurely some mistake

    Steady on there Craig.

    Everyone knows that you have to be paid 1043GBP to spend three days in Stoke ( on Trent).

    Or to put it another way, if i were guilty of the crime of illegal downloading i would rather keep Her Majesty pleasured rather than spend three days in Stoke.

    Maybe the Government is missing a trick. "You are sentenced to three days in Stoke on Trent" should do wonders for reducing the crime rate, or at least that part of it which ends up with a conviction.

    Note there is no joke alert.

    from Oatcake Stokie


    Users need educating about copyright?

    That would be the same hypocritical ISPs who are proposing mass copyright theft of web pages using Phorm Webwise spyware?

    Infotainment video for ISPs who don't understand why stealing copyright pages might get them into lots of trouble;

    And for everyone else, cut them off. Find a Phorm free ISP.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Steven Raith

    'Aside - if they can tell a secured torrent connection has copyrighted torrent info in it, why can't they find all this child pr0n that they say is floated around on 't net...?'

    Oooh difficult one... perhaps because they aren't 'losing' revenue.

    Oh won't somebody think of the children^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h profits?

    Working towards having a completely pirated music collection here, I'm format shifting all my old vinyl and tape collection onto MP3. Raise the skull and crossbones me hearties...

    F*ck the BPI and Fergal Sharky, bunch of teenage pricks who can be beat.

    Paris, she knows what it's like to have media shared illegally...

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Libel

    >If my ISP were to send me a letter accusing me of illegal filesharing I would be

    >able to issue a writ against them for libel. However, how would I then prove (as

    >required by law) that the statement they made was false?

    Well, there's good news and bad news...

    The good news is that to demonstrate the defamation all you have to do is produce the letter, the burden of proof is reversed in libel cases and it would be up to them to prove they were right.

    The bad news is that it's not a public defamation since it's a private communication and not public you haven't been defamed. If they published the list however....

  42. frymaster

    Problem with a kick-people-off scheme...

    ... is that they _will_ get some wrong. Assuming they're still going down the "BPI gives us IPs and times" route, it relies on the BPI being rigorous enough (checking the downloads are what they say they are, checking the person is actually uploading, checking their uploads aren't mince), and the ISP being rigorous enough (apparently BT's IP-to-user script is a joke, and what happens with cloned cable modems on Virgin?)

    I think this is what VM were trying to achieve with the pass-along-letters-but-do-nothing scheme - hoping to assuage the govt without actually taking action ;)

  43. Brev

    Getting evidence for defamation and libel cases

    Someone asked how they'd get information out of the ISP for evidence of the 'crime' they are supposed to have comitted when they get one of these letters

    Use the Data Protection Act. 1 month for them to give all the personal info they hold about you i.e the traffic records from your IP address.

    It will cost you a nominal sum but a few of these request and the ISP's will be soon backing off as their costs rise.

  44. Ascylto

    Get Beardie

    Mass migration from the Beardie Empire would sort this one out pronto!

  45. Anonymous Coward

    I'm with AC, back up.

    Most ISPs are too bloody lazy to do it properly, they will simply see how much your pulling down, if it's coming via port 6889, then that's that, you get a letter.

    Most will simply see it as a bloody good excuse to send nasty letters to high bandwidth users for the bloody sake of it, regardless of the type of traffic!

  46. Sam

    Six arseholes

    The six are; BT, Virgin, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse.

  47. Fergster

    BBC coverage

    Interesting to see BBC News woful coverage this morning - during their little spiel about illegal downloading which showed people used Limewire and torrent sites there were shots of people using iTunes!!!! Oh yes, buying items from the iTunes Store is illegal!

    Does make me wonder how this is going to be monitored. I use an Apple TV at home and am often streaming god-knows-how-large files over my connection when I choose to watch a HD film. I'm sure that would set off some alarm bells if they were just monitoring your bandwidth use.

  48. Gulfie

    Menacing illegal filesharing, or menacing Bittorrent users?

    There was a time when I downloaded copyright material, but thanks to iTunes I can now buy my favourite individual tracks without shelling out for a whole album, and thanks to the various catch-up TV services on the net I now don't need to download that missed episode of Doctor Who. And of course I have my digital TV card so I can record most of what I want to keep long-term straight on to my PC anyway.

    My use of bittorrent these days is legal downloading - copies of VMWare OS images is the biggest slice. Will my ISP (plusnet aka BT) do some leg work to find out what it was I downloaded before hitting me with a warning? Of course, that would involve interception of my traffic and/or downloading the same torrent themselves - after all who's to say that a torrent named 'ubuntu complete archive 4' isn't actually Dr Who series 4 complete in HD? Or visa versa - something that might sound like an illegally shared file might in fact be legal - "Windows XP SP2" could be the entire OS (definitely illegal) or just the service pack (probably legal). Go wrestle with that one, ISPs.

    All Bittorrent users are about to be tarred with the same, very large, brush because the alternative is commercially unsustainable - the ISPs would have to inspect every torrent and decide if it is legal or illegal. Cheaper to provide that extra bandwidth we were all told we have, methinks.

    I don't think that this approach will work long term - once a couple of legal file sharers have been incorrectly pursued and then sue in return. Either the ISPs will stop. After all, they can't block unidentifiable traffic - for example running Bittorrent using SSL on port 443, the ISP can't tell what it is, the traffic looks no different to any other SSL traffic, just that there is more of it.

    It's long past time that the copyright holders - here I mean mainly the music and film industry - move on from the outmoded licencing terms that they are trying to enforce. Copying and distribution will continue with or without current file sharing technology and the internet.

    Cory Doctorow's "Little Brother" explores the concept of large-scale encrypted information exchange and the likely impact of attempts to control what information is shared via the net. An interesting read.

  49. Geoff Johnson


    Last time it wasn't packet inspection that got people a nasty letter. The BPI seeded torrents of albums and logged the IPs of the people who connected to the swarm. Then they got the ISPs to send the letters to the IPs owner at the time.

    Not sure of the legality of offering to give away a free copy of an album then sending nasty letters to anyone who takes you up on it.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Silver Lining

    Look on the bright side chums. All you people moaning about the shit connection speeds you currently endure due to these little issues of line contention... the throttled bandwidth that results when the likes of VM put caps your line....

    ... there will be a remarkable improvement in your service (If you haven't had one of those llittle letters naturally).

  51. The BigYin

    The RIAA, BPI should go and get a grip

    Why are people file-sharing? The answer is simple; they object to the artificial trade barriers (region encoding), staggered releases, late releases, inflated prices, poor distribution and other (some anti-free trade) practices by the RIAA et al members.

    People want their stuff "on demand". They want to back their stuff up. They want to want the stuff on any device they happen to have (which means that need to copy it about).

    The RIAA et al may bleat that they only "license" the stuff on disc, but that's just legal bull-crap to hide the elephant in the room; their business model no longer works. But rather than change their model to match this new world, the resort to their lawyers (at very high prices) and beat people over the head with a big stick.

    Change the model guys. If you make fair, honest and universal; then people will play ball. Oh, and stop spending millions on moronic "mega" stars who couldn't act/sing their way out of a paper bag.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get Station Ripper

    Forget file sharing for music - download Station Ripper ( ), register and hook it up to, or any of the hundreds of streaming stations and leave it going for a week, throw away the crap you don't want.

    All you're doing is streaming music ...

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    someone in the know

    what are the legal options, possible response, if one receives such a letter and no sharing of any copyrighted material has taken place?

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'lll get a letter

    I dl evry new movei, song, game, program. Die capitalist pigs!

    !!!Not "filesharing users", fileshring is not illegal. debian-40r3-sparc-netinst.iso.torrent!!!

  55. Jigsy

    Interesting development

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it illegal to snoop through data packets without a warrant?

    Well, it'll be interesting to see all the top six ISPs lose their customer base and eventually go bankrupt. (Even though I use one of them ... I think?)

  56. Snail
    Paris Hilton

    Let me buy my content legitimately then.

    As a music lover, its essential that i can move my music between devices, and it will play on anything. As such all the DRM sh## was always in my way.

    I jumped for joy when itunes plus was announced, and again when play, amazon, et al all jumped on the DRM free music bandwagon.

    The issue being, i looked at the selection of music available, and it was shockingly bad. Expecting me to pay £5 for a couple of year album, i can get from the shops on CD cheaper? They are having a laugh.

    The easiest way to combat piracy is to jump on the DRM free digitial music bandwagon properly (ie EVERYTHING, including back catalogue), and make it reasonably priced. So its cheaper to buy online than in the shops, at all times, so prices actually drop in line with the shops, rather than a CD being released at £8.99 in shops and online, and within six months, the price hasn't changed online, yet the CD is loads cheaper in the shops.

    Paris, because she's stared on P2P.

  57. Neil Greatorex

    Have I missed something?

    When did file-sharing or downloading become "illegal"?

    I thought this was a copyright issue...

  58. Andraž Levstik


    Not until freenet actually gets a C/C++ implementation... That's what I'm waiting for... No way am I running a blackbox like java on any of my machines...

  59. John Parker


    From a legal self-protection perspective, this makes leeching much more appealing... unfortuneately if everyone leeches then the p2p system falls down completely!

    AFAIK people have only been charged with 'sharing files', or 'uploading'. Or the occasionaly use of the word 'downloading where the hack/PR person/whoever doesn't understand the difference between the two processes. It's only distributing the pirate materials yourself that is the crime, not acquiring them from another distributor...

    The guy getting his coat, because he looks more like he's rifling through the inside pockets (for some Elton John CDs), rather than putting it on to leave after a particularly bad joke.

  60. Dan


    They're gonna need to start supplying proper proof. From what I've seen of these things so far the proof consists of a filename, ip numbers and time stamps. Simply stating a filename is no good, they're gonna have to prove the content of that file, it's not illegal to give someone a tape with "Lily Allen" written on it if it actually contains a recording of your grandmother singing "Knees up mother brown".

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If they're going to be monitoring all torrent traffic, would a sudden massive spike in torrent traffic be enough to break their DPI gear?

    If they're just joining swarms and listing IP's, wouldn't uploading a bunch of fake torrents make a joke of their system?

  62. Art Hawkes

    licence fee

    Not sure whether the licence fee would apply only to those downloading music. I don't - i make my own music on a digital piano. Do I have to pay, too? Same situation with TV licence - i regularly get letters from Crapita telling me I don't have a licence. I know I don't; or a rod licence or a shotgun licence either. If government wants to help the ailing music [sic] industry, why did they ignore the shipbuilding, car, steel and fishing industries?

    Brown's got his hands in our pockets again . . .

  63. iSuff44


    So they can possibly reduce your bandwidth I heard this morning if you ignore the letter, well I didn't sign anything agreeing to this!

    Still reducing bandwidth is something the ISP's have been doing for a while so maybe I did!!!

  64. Shaun

    Carphone Warehouse

    So much for them refusing to be involved...

  65. dervheid

    You can almost hear...

    the sounds of gleeful hand-rubbing by the Vultures, sorry, Lawyers on this one.

    @ Adam Foxton

    If you listen really carefully, you CAN hear the faint sound of Jack-Boots in the distance, along with a little tapping sound of more of our freedoms being eroded.

    "Memorandum of Understanding". There's an oxymoron if ever there was one.

    More like "Join us, or we'll start to use the big heavy stick with the nails in it to hit you with"

    Be interesting to see how many of the 'usual suspects' have signed up to this.

  66. John Robson Silver badge

    Recognising crypted torrents

    "After all, they can't block unidentifiable traffic - for example running Bittorrent using SSL on port 443, the ISP can't tell what it is, the traffic looks no different to any other SSL traffic, just that there is more of it."

    That's not true - the packet distribution of p2p connections is different from https, or vnc over ssl, or most other things...

    Or they could just join the torrent (and not upload/download anything)

    Personally - I think they missed the boat a few years ago. They'll never get it back, the best they could do now is to read these comments and realise that most people will pay a fair price for a fair product.

  67. Jason Clery


    That's a great idea. Pay the £10, let them show you if they have any evidence.

    With Tiscali, do you think they would have the info in a month? Nope, so its fine time for them. Ditto for emailing thesir support and asking for the address of their Data Protection Officer. Don't provide it, then a complaint to the Information Commissioner goes in.

    I'm tempted to go down this route anyway, just to see what they have on me.

  68. M


    Actually if you download illegal music or movies then you are a copyright infringer, not a thief. Copyright infringement is a civil tort, not a criminal one.

  69. NoOnions


    Perhaps when iTunes and the like start charging fair prices for music people will be more likely to pay for it. 49p for a track in USA, 79p in UK. No way that difference can be justified, even allowing for local laws/taxes.

    99% of my music collection is legit. If I download a track and like it I then buy the legit version. Otherwise it gets deleted.

    Charging as much for a download version (of an album with DRM) as a physical CD from a shop is mad. The companies are simply trying to milk more money from those of us who want to be legit.

    Cut the prices of the downloadable versions (rather than increase profits further) and legit sales will increase. Simple! Never going to happen though :-(

  70. Alfazed

    Danger Morons @ Work

    Well, if the copyright owners were able to notify my child before the download commenced that my child was about to break the law, they would have a water tight case if my child chose to ignore the warning, otherwise they haven't really got a chance.

    Just how is my child supposed to differentiate between copyrighted material and copyright free material ?

    The only way the BPI and RIAA could protect their client's interests would be to ban everyone from downloading any files at all, just in case. And conversely, then ban everyone from uploading files, just in case.

    Considering Fair Use (UK) for artistic works etc, and the use of torrents for file sharing. File sharers cannot be guilty of unlawfully making copyrighted material available to others by uploading to the internet, as has been mooted. The person collecting the material is actually only downloading a few bytes of data from each person who is making the file available. How in hell can the uploading person be in breach of copyright law ? This must really come under Fair Use ! Surely, in order to be guilty, they would have to be distributing the whole file, not merely a few bytes of a compressed version.

    Another consideration is this, the files my children download are not copyrighted by the original copyright owner as they are invariably in MP3 or some other compressed file format. These have been produced by someone else, not the copyright owner (we must assume), who has not copyrighted the MP3 (whatever) file version. If my child makes this file available via a torrent, they are not guilty of distributing copyrighted material, surely it is a version, often of reduced quality from the original.

    Perhaps the BPI/RIAA should be pursuing the file sharers instead for conspiracy to defraud ? They might get a better response from Joe public while carrying out some well needed education, and footing the bill them selves, without damaging every ISP's customer base along with their own credibility.


  71. oliver Stieber
    Thumb Down

    I'd prefer a new law.

    With the agreement there's no burden of proof. with a law they actually have to prove that you were filesharing and not just someone who hopped on you wifi network. Which could be quite tricky if you use truecrypt.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Recording companies' profits are on the slide because they charge too much for a substandard product and have royally pissed off their customers to boot. So now ISPs, who already have a shaky business model and have over-sold a poor product for years, decide to join sides with them in the pissing-off-your-customers business.

    I wonder which way the ISPs' profits will be heading next?

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Parents cower before ISPs technical BSDs (big swinging d**ks)

    Dear ISPs and BPI,

    the Guardian's slant on this was that parents would have to bear the brunt for their children's 'illegal' activities. So, if you can detect and monitor illegal downloads, why not do something altruistic, pro-active, and bloody helpful and block it at source? Surely that would be a gentler, kinder approach. Instead, you've opted for the big-balls approach, wasting paper on letters, simply to wave your BSDs and impress with your snooping prowess. Work with parents, and stop hounding kids who simply poke cheeky holes in your licencing models, digital rights, and yes, hollow BSDs.

    BentheBad, London

  74. MarkMac

    thieves, slander etc

    Comment as usual sharply divided into the "holier than thou" brigade and the "free love" brigade. How about some sense? This is how VM do it at the moment.

    1) The BPI do the initial investigation, identifying IP addys they believe to have downloaded copyright material. They don't need to snoop on your PC, merely set up a torrent client and listen.

    2) They then supply VM the list of IPs and dates. Supposedly, VM review this and decide if they agree the evidence is valid. If so, VM write to the account holder

    3) Er - thats it.

    For the BPI to take it further they'd need to get a court order to release the account detals. Theoretically to get /that/ they'd need some actual evidence but I doubt most judges would be tech-savvy enough to know the difference.

    Now - as for the theft-or-not arguments - they're irrelevant. Copyright infringement is a civil matter and the BPI have to take you to a civil court. Its worth remembering that in such courts its a 'balance of probailities' not 'innocent till proven guilty' - which may make things trickier for both sides.

    But as someone said, how will the BPI know its copyright material? Names mean nothing. They'd have to join every concievable torrent and actually play the files. Othewise I could rename my CV to "Some_rubbish_by_Aylanna_Myles.mp3" and off we go.

    So top guess - they'll target a few popular torrent sites, blanket spam everyone who appears to be using them and hope for the best....

  75. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    Plan of action

    So, a rough plan of action should anyone get sent a letter. 99% of this will go straight through one ear and out the other, but it gives the ISP enough of a "warning shot" to stop signing up to bloody stupid schemes:

    1) Write back immediately asking for proof of the allegation. You are entitled to it. Don't tell them WHAT you require, see what they are willing to divulge first. (Send it recorded delivery - it's more scary and official). Ask them if they are seeking legal action and if not, why not? Surely withholding information concerning an illegal act is illegal too? Or have they reached an understanding with the copyright holder which indemnifies that particular act? In which case, shouldn't YOU be party to that agreement? Should they be threatening you now even if their agreement means that they will prosecute next time? And you might like to request copies of that understanding.

    2) Question the proof in a follow-up letter. Proof should include not only the date, time, IP address, the protocol used, the remote addresses "seeded" and/or "leeched" from, but also an analysis of the content and the fact that the EXACT content downloaded from YOU PERSONALLY is in fact stored somewhere and available for scrutiny. With Bittorrent this will at best mean that they have a few chunks from you personally because getting an entire, unbroken file from a single IP on Bittorrent is quite difficult and likely to lead to them being "frozen out" by your Bittorrent client. Request a copy of that data and the measures used to ensure its accuracy and integrity. If the allegation is baseless, you could tell them so.

    3) Question the ISP's use of the Data Protection Act in sharing (indirectly or not) your personal details with an unauthorised third party without proper consent or authorisation. That's if they HAVE shared the data and/or the letter comes with a BPI letterhead. Just because their T&C's say they "may do" that, they have to have a good reason and they can't just go throwing your details about willy-nilly. Law trumps T&C's.

    4) Question the legality of the monitoring of the connection in accordance with not only the ISP terms & conditions (which are overridden by the law every time) but the actual law. Ask them if they also monitored whether the web page you visited the other day was an infringement of a local by-law. They are monitoring, so they should know (they'll fob you off but you've rammed the point home that they have NO IDEA what's legal or not and are not enforcers).

    5) Question the assertion that your connection was used with your knowledge. E.g. you have a wireless LAN, you may have been infected with a trojan, packet forgery may have taken place inside the ISP's network or in the wider world, etc. your computer needn't even have been on at the time for some of this to have occurred. A speeding offence requires you to identify the driver of the vehicle at the time. A copright offence does not unless a court of law or your lawyer says so.

    6) Question the assumption that what you did was illegal. E.g. if you downloaded an MP3 of a song you already have on CD, (You just couldn't rip your latest DRM'd CD so you downloaded the MP3's from the Internet) there is a quote floating around in the national press from a top-bod at something like the BPI or the record companies that says they are "not interested" in you for that and won't ever pursue any action.

    That's as good as saying "do it" under those circumstances - they've waived some rights there. That's before you even get into any potential fair-use rights. Ask them if they know what CD's you own at home. Ask them if they've verified that the other party are, in fact, the copyright holder or represent them. Ask them if they've verified that you don't already have reproduction, broadcast or performance rights to that data.

    7) At no point admit to anything unless you want to. Much better is to follow basic legal practice and say something like "without any admission of liability or otherwise, the following is also a potential and not unreasonable scenario that has not been taken account of by your procedures". You're not saying that you WERE hacked, but they haven't bothered to check if you could have been.

    8) Make it clear that any changes to your connection or contract which occur as a result of you being "identified" had better damn well be backed up by hard data. "We've moved you onto a higher tariff because you're a heavy user" - fine... you had better bloody well state in writing that you're doing that to everyone who has the same or similar usage patterns and explain your criteria (they won't want to - that'd be effectively modifiying their T&C's which would lose an awful lot of customers once the news got out). "We've slowed your connection" - right... I want an explanation of why you've implemented a unique, non-technical punishment against me personally because of an unfounded allegation by a third-party. It's not like my broadband dropped because someone made the exchange move, you've implemented a course of action against me.

    9) Do a Data Protection Act request on every bit of data held on yourself by the BPI or the ISP. Mention your IP address at the date and time alleged when talking to the BPI. If this does NOT include traffic usage, particular files you've downloaded, etc. then they have a problem - either they provided incomplete information (they are storing information about you on computer and which they are not disclosing to you) or they don't HAVE that data, in which case their whole assertion flies out of the window.

    10) If you yourself produce any sort of content, present a similar ludicrous scenario - you want the ISP to ensure that nobody illegally downloads cracks for the software you designed, that nobody infringes your copyright on your webpages, that nobody downloads your music on P2P either. If they brush you off, send them a nice official legal letter stating it again. It's just as ludicrous an assertion. If they can police for the BPI, but they won't police for you, what exactly are they policing? Who's paying them to police? What if you're a BPI member? etc.

    11) Don't bother to threaten to take your custom elsewhere - that's what they want. Less paperwork for them, less high-traffic customers, customers doing as they are told and not bringing legal action. Tell them that you will continue to use the connection in the way that you have agreed to and you expect them to manage the connection in the way THEY have agreed to. Any further threatening letters will need to include such details as you have requested or you'll be pursuing for harrassment, libel, slander, illegal telephone taps, whatever takes your fancy.

    Anything else that should be added?

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How curious it is to note that an elected member of Parliament (Andy Burnham) has rolled over to all the music industries' demands, whilst at the same time completely ignores many of the Spanish business practices of the industry itself.

    Let's see the banning of region-specific encryption, DRM, and the artificially high price model maintained in Europe (and particularly in the UK) by rules prohibiting purchase from cheaper overseas sources. There should be a quid pro-quo for consumers here and Burnham has ignored the market abuse of the BPI and it's members.

    Not that it matters to me much anyway. There's very little music coming out these days worth listening to anyway. I'll just stick with my existing collection.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    The Six

    ...are BT, Virgin, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse.

    According to BBC. Time to switch!!!

  78. Mark

    Re: SSL wont help

    Aye, so make the connection say "you are only allowed to download if you have the right to the content available". And then you're completely legal. OTHER people may break the law, but that's not your fault.

    Heck, add "and you are not allowed to access this system if you're acting on behalf of law enforcement or any corporation" and get them for illegal trespass computer fraud and all the other lovely things they put the curious under threat of millions of pounds of fines for.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Big Boomer, pft...

    I don't see why I should pay for an idea someone had once. `Intellectual Property` is the biggest crock of shit ever. It means someone can have one good idea and then expect to be rewarded for it forever more, regardless of the fact the artist/creator never has to lift another finger or spend another penny on aforementioned idea. Oh, no actually I forgot the leeches in the middle who spend millions promoting and advertising what is often a mediocre product of the lowest artistic merit - but why the f*ck should I feel bad because some huge corp. decided to spend obscene amounts of money pushing a product? If it was that good they wouldn't have to.

    There is, as they say, nothing new under the sun. Most of the music or films you see are plagarised from previous works of others in some way shape or form.

    If you still struggle to understand the difference between downloading/copying a bunch of data and punching an individual in the face and stealing their car or their wallet, then you truly are some kind of fscking moron. Go spend all your money on generic shit that you watch once then forget about. Have I ever paid for films or music? Of course I have. I go to concerts, where artists actually perform - do some work, and therefore warrant being PAID. I watch independent movies which are not funded by multinational corporations or merely platforms to promote some other fucking product, like almost every hollywood/big budget film, for example. Frankly the sooner we see the back end of the likes of columbia pictures, fox, paramount....the people who make generic, shallow, cash cow productions like Lost, 24, prison break and all that other shit, the better.

    But if it makes you feel better, you go line the pockets of the aforementioned and extolling the virtues of doing so to others - I'm sure you are rewarded with an overwhelming sense of well being, and will possibly even receive a few virgins in heaven when your day is done.

  80. M

    Good Grief

    I can't believe how ridiculous the hardware we're seeing on the shelves in the context of a .79p a track business model. Apple tell me of their 80GB ipod classic:

    "Holds up to 20,000 songs in 128-Kbps AAC format"

    Using itunes to fill this would cost me £15,800.

    If this isn't an admission that the industry knows full well which way the wind is blowing, I don't know what is. Apple are making some money off their hardware, some off their music. Musicians should get involved - sign deals with content providers like apple, not record labels - to promote you. If you're hot, everyone will want your content included in their subscription service. Maybe they'll even pay you a recurring fee to be part of it as they'll need you there to be a credible service. But hoping to keep getting a slice of the pie every single time a track is downloaded is lunacy.

  81. Angus Cooke


    It's a wild stab in the dark but I'll wager you missed your caffiene fix this morning...

  82. nobby

    a good download, these days, is hard to find

    good to see feargal, on the bbc this morning, in his new job, advertising all this, eh?

  83. James Pickett


    "Kids bluetoothing music like mad during lessons between mobile phones"

    Not in my son's school. Mobile phones are not allowed in class, and any taken to school have to be handed in at reception. Simple policy, but it works.

  84. Anonymous Coward

    Knock-Off Nigel

    Just to completely piss off the BPI/RIAA, can't we find some sort of "Hero Of The Year" award we can nominate Knock-Off Nigel for and then vote for him so he wins.

  85. Paul Charters

    All I read was....

    ...6 ISPs have been coerced into agreeing to lose alot of their customers.

    What bothers me most is the implication that because I have downloaded a song, I am assumed to be a pirate. The fact that I bought the CD albums with these songs on a decade ago and the CDs have degenerated into a non-working coffee mat (and not from scratching either) says to me that they sold me a product with the deliberate intent for me to have to pay for it again later.

  86. Szymon Kosecki

    what about privacy?

    I can see good points on both sides of a dispute. My concern however is the privacy of my communications. Even if i only download legal content why is someone intercepting and analysing my traffic. Did someone changed the law to guilty unil proven innocent? This is a very serious issue and another step closer to a corporate police state. We pride ourselves on valuing freedom. well its being taken away from us little by little. btw. using bpi logic every uk male should be prosecuted for Rape. after all they all do have the right equipment...

  87. Alfazed


    Hey jerk,

    if we want music around here, we make it, we don't buy shite just because it is all they have in the shop !

    Ever been to a FREE PARTY, didn't think so.

    I feel sorry for idiots like you, NOT - who cannot tell who is actually thieving your money.

    In your world, I suppose that poor people (and there still are a few) shouldn't listen to music or look at art.

    Get a life paytard!


  88. Bob. Hitchen

    Socialist scumbag government

    The real concern here is not music but censorship. The next music I download will be the first. Where does this end? Just like China? This f of a government wants to control everything including my thinking well it can F off. What I do notice is that the scumbag government doesn't want anyone near a court because it knows it will lose. It wants to put the responsibility elsewhere although they are the real perps.

  89. Anonymous Coward

    crikey although is there a loop hole?

    looks like ti's time to crack the next doors wep, oh sh*t did i actually type that! Interesting point tho, do these ISP intend to upgrade all exsisting wireless kit which relies on WEP to protect their customers?

    I suspect if an expert was brought in to court to show how easy it is to crack a wep protected router the owner of the router could not be held responsible, especially when the router was configured and provided by the ISP.

    mines the one with the hood

  90. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's really going on?

    OK, so, the ISPs know that they're on a sticky wicket on the 'up to 8Mb' and 'unlimited bandwidth' issues.

    Joe Public is getting royally pissed off and sooner or later the ISP's are going to have to stop hiding behind OFCOM - otherwise some Government 'adviser' is going to see that 'really' regulating the ISP sector (rather than using OFCOM as an excuse) could be a bit of a vote catcher...

    What the ISPs want to do is restrict bandwidth by any means possible, because,firstly they have got themselves embroiled in a pissing contest with each other, which has resulted in them creating an unsustainable business model.

    Secondly they are a greedy lying bunch of people whos parents met only briefly, on a very dark night, while drunk and were never formally introduced.

    Along comes the BPI with the perfect excuse to slash 'offenders' bandwidth and/or ditch them as customers while branding them - without proof - as 'criminals' (copyright infringement though is NOT a criminal offence).

    The ISPs don't give a shit about file sharing, or copyright infringement - all they care about is bandwidth.

    And file sharers do tend to use bandwidth. To the ISPs and the BPI this must look like the proverbial match made in heaven.

    The ISPs think they'll get their dream come true - reduced bandwidth overheads while still being able to indulge in their unfair marketing claims.

    The BPI thinks it'll get extra income for it's bosses - the big music media companies - without having to spend out to gather evidence or proof - while branding anyone who file shares a 'criminal' (see above).

    The problem will come when people start requiring the proof neither the ISPs, nor the BPI can provide.

    My prediction? In the next 12 months this IS going to get messy, then 'political'. The BPI's, the ISP's and OFCOM's dirty linen is going to get a very public washing.

    However, as it becomes more embarassing, the government will put their foot down and, while passing some poorly thought out laws that won't be effective, will draw attention to the fact that the BPI represents an industry that is trying to make even MORE money out of an outmoded business model that has completely failed to move with the times - and the ISPs are a group that started out with a risky business model, then jumped into the mire with both feet in a foolish attempt to grab more market share from each other!

    BPI and ISPs? They deserve each other!

    Being a customer of an ISP though, any ISP soon, is going to be hell if you use a lot of bandwidth - more so if you use filesharing protocols, legitimately or otherwise.

    We are about to live in interesting times...

  91. Anonymous Coward

    Wonder when the letters start

    As someone who plays a lot of online games (through PC as well as games consoles), hosts multiple game servers on my network, acts as a seed for legally distributable software (Linux distributions mainly) through BitTorrent, stream radio stations through WinAmp, create my own music which I own full copyright on, and distribute that freely through BitTorrent networks, but who doesn't download illegal material, or host other people's music or films, I'm wondering if I'll be one of the first to receive a letter. My ISP have already tried to tell me I was breaking the law once when I wanted to host my (own) music on their webspace, so I'm banking on receiving a letter soon. Depending on the wording, and whether or not I am told that the copyright holder may seek legal recompense, etc. I may be left in a position where I have to sue myself for copyright infringement.

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How do they know? - answer

    I see a few questions about how they know what you're doing. Here are some answers.

    1) your ISP doesn't know what you're doing. They are taking at face value the claims being made by the music industry and passing on letters to you.

    2) the music industry knows what you're sharing because they installed some filesharing software just the same as yours and they tried to download the songs that they thought were being shared. They noticed that your IP address was one that either offered them a chunk of the song or requested a chunk of the song from them (ie you were part of the 'swarm' in the lingo of some of the P2P protocols) and concluded from this that you must be downloading and/or sharing the song. Then they look up which ISP owns the IP address and write to them - see point1.

    When you run your filesharing software, do you know who you're downloading from or sharing with? If you don't, how do you know that they aren't working for the music industry?

    SSL or 'encrypted' P2P won't help you, because this isn't being discovered by intercepting the data flow somewhere in the middle.

  93. Martin

    And if I can't pay for them?

    "You want music or movies, then fucking pay for them!"

    Temper temper....

    I have some sympathy with you - but frequently I've gone to find a CD or film, or TV program, and it just doesn't exist any more. But hey - there's a torrent. What do you expect me to do? And how, exactly, do I pay for it?

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Bunch of bloody Thieves

    Should know better than to respond to such a blatant trolling, but I have been trying not to write a paper on this subject, and this is far more interesting viz;

    PIRACY! ( enjoy responsibly) is slightly worse than flat theft, in that it is the breach of internationally recognised rights of the art monkey to be reimbursed for being an art monkey, and producing art monketry worth hawking in the first instance. And then reimbursed again for public(which has myriad definitions) demonstrations of that monketry in the second instance. As such, unless you can sit down in court and claim fair use, one has breached the same provisions by playing one's stereos too loud in traffic, them there youngsters with their "cellphone" "boomboxes" on the bus have done like for being young, and so on and so forth. This line of inquiry does not generate money through the cost of legal prosecution-to-investigation balance, and just gives a bad public image to any organisation that prosecutes this right as far as it can, but thats largely peripheral.

    Infinitely duplicable non-degradable digital media has the benefit of being impossible to 'own' because it is both infinitely duplicable (the original existed in RAM for a minute space of time) and non-degradeable ( the original is irrelevant anyway), therefore the right of duplication is imagined as a eternal cash cow for them what made it, and them what distribute it.

    What one exchanges one's money for at morrissons, whether one realises/accepts it or no, is the (extremely) limited right to temporarily duplicate in part or whole the recording which rests upon the plastic lump which one has purchased (and may therefore use as a ballistic projectile for example) for the purpose of sole enjoyment by one. As one may well see, there is much consternation in the form of disclaimers upon the introduction to these digital recordings chastising duplication of any form (and somehow forget to mention the fair use provisions in the process, but thats yet another issue).

    The crime then, being committed by PIRATES! (enjoy them responsibly, for they are delicious) is overstepping the rights what they have purchased for their own personal amusement, and spreading love around their friends, neighbors,enemies, international community, and any alien civilisation within digital broadcast range by largely ignoring the rights of the company. And like any breach of rights, the victims will seek to be reimbursed for at the very least emotional damages.

    That out of the way, about the child pr0n crack;

    Bittorrent is not all that frequently used for distributing that sort of thing; good old http, sometimes with php access restrictions for paying customers does the job just fine. The whole point of bittorrent is trading control for speed and reduced costs, this is not so much a priority for doing something that is so cross categorically illegal, especially when the noun doing it wants money for his trouble. If the noun in question is feeling generous, edonkey and the like is a much better choice, as it requires less organisation, less accomplices along the way, and is a lot harder to both trace and shutdown.

    and finally recommendations to, at the very least not be cut off on principle whilst using bitorrent:

    1. use encryption

    2. use a proxy

    3. use port 22 if you can; with encryption it can (with no indepth investigation) be seen as a secure ssh session between clients and would probably require a warrant to crack. incomming communications are a different problem, so its only slightly useful.

    4. Use courteous limits; i.e. dont set out to download a 3 hour film in one hour, plan ahead. ISPs local network will not suffer so much (and therefore require attention) if you downloading 1.23 jiggabytes over three hours than over 1. That and torrent traffic generates a lot of peripheral communications, which get in the way of other folks legitimate communications.

    5. seed as little as possible. this sucks for the community, but who cares about those PIRATE (enjoy responsibly etc) scum.

    AC because some people might get the wrong idea <.<

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    There is the flip side to your comment, you may be willing to pay for a DRM infected CD that you can barely listen to, not transfer your music (that you've paid the license to listen to) to another device, try getting that CD into your phone to listen to on the train etc.

    Since the BPI/RIAA now spin it as you buy a license to listen to the music, I'll continue to buy my music (license), leave the CD unopened, and download a DRM-free copy to listen to/put on any device I choose.

    When BT or whoever come crying I'm illegally downloading, tough crap, I have a legal license to listen to the music, which I will provide evidence of, if someone else is downloading from me unlicensed, that's their problem.

    Although it won't be long before I jump ship, I have a nice lil script watching for changes on the BT ToS page, as soon as they do, I have 10 days to terminate my contract with no penalty.

    The problem with all this, is that in the process of trying to punish the guilty, they remove the freedoms of the innocent, while the guilty carry on anyway. That I cannot agree with.

  96. Charles King

    Re: Libel

    It's a tricky one, as the libel is originally committed by the BPI accusing an IP address of downloading files. With all the vague threats of sanctions floating around it would be easy to show that this is harmful defamation which has been communicated to a third party. The ISP, however, are the ones who actually put a name it.

    Still, since IP addresses are coming to be considered as private information, you might have a case against the BPI on the basis that accusing an IP is the same as accusing a person.

  97. Tom Maher

    @vic - RE: do they know?

    Usually record companies will pay people / businesses to harvet ip addresses from torrent files. Essentially they do the same thing that the people who are downloading do.

    The 'ip address harvesters' search for a torrent file for a particular album / movie, connect to the torrent, download the cotent, log all ip addresses that were sharing the content, and then verify the downloaded content is the copyrighted album / movie.

    Once content is verified they then flock the details of the ip addresses and content downloaded to the copy right holders and then the copyright holders take legal action to obtain the user details linked to ip address from the isp.

    Doesn't matter if the torrent was encrypted or not (after all the encryption only stops the ISP's from seeing the data not the other 'torrentors') .

    The only option left is to hide the ip addresses from the other torrentors - hence tor.

  98. Steve Ball

    @Andraž Levstik

    Why don't you use the SecurityManager if you're worried about the Java VM?

  99. Dave Ashton


    IANAL but

    s2(5)(a) and (b) of RIPA:

    (a) any conduct that takes place in relation only to so much of the communication as consists in any traffic data comprised in or attached to a communication (whether by the sender or otherwise) for the purposes of any postal service or telecommunication system by means of which it is being or may be transmitted; or

    (b) any such conduct, in connection with conduct falling within paragraph (a), as gives a person who is neither the sender nor the intended recipient only so much access to a communication as is necessary for the purpose of identifying traffic data so comprised or attached.

    basically, cant look at the content. Only who was talking to whom, and when.

    Cant prove what they actually downloaded.

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >copyright infringer, not a thief

    Legally yes, morally you're still a dirty thieving git.

  101. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So you dont own an MP3 player, cos as far as Im aware thats also a bit shakey on the copyright front.

    Answer me this - why should I pay £12.99 for a CD of music thats 20 years old (Roxette)...or £15 for a movie (think that was Jaws or something similar...) of similar vintage? Nothing in the way extra value has been added, and the costs associated with production should have been ameliorated years ago.

    I can go to Morrisons and get *some* old CDs and DVDs for less than a fiver - if the media industry played the same game as the hardware industry and downpriced lines that were getting a bit long in the tooth I'd be prepared to pay ball.

  102. Wize

    What happens when you stop downloads?

    You get people buying shoddy copies down the local market.

    So instead of people getting their personal copy with no exchange of money they will be handing over cash to pirates.

    And we have been told for years that buying films off pirates fuels crimes and pays for drugs.

    So surely the best answer for society would be to allow the non-profit downloads?

  103. Deckard

    The upside....

    So, does this mean I can sign up to BT and get the free Blackberry, then start downloading movies like mad in the hope that they kick me off within a month or so and therefore unburnden me of having to pay them £30 a month for a year and a half?

    This could turn out to be quite a nice way to get out of those 18 month contracts the ISPs are so keen to sign you up to, especially as BT won't cancel your contract because of Phorm issues.

  104. Craig

    View from the media

    Most of what I've seen and read from the media is effectively "these evil downloading pie-rats are stealing billions of £s from the recording industry". The only alternative opinion I've seen is from the Independent:

    Oh, and The Times names the six as: BT, Virgin Media, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse

  105. Mark Leaver


    Sounds like you are a little irate there...

    Definition of a pirate:

    # plagiarist: someone who uses another person's words or ideas as if they were his own

    # someone who robs at sea or plunders the land from the sea without having a commission from any sovereign nation

    # copy illegally; of published material

    # commandeer: take arbitrarily or by force; "The Cubans commandeered the plane and flew it to Miami"

    # a ship that is manned by pirates

    Sorry to say this, but the pirates back on the spanish main in the 1700's stole the fruits of others work as well, as opposed to a privateer who was a pirate for their government through the use of a letter of marquee.

    So... a pirate is a thief, pure and simple... if I download linux (someone else's work) does that make me a software pirate because it is covered by a licence.

    Have you ever walked out of a store after paying a lower price for an item blaming it on the clerks error? well thats thieving as well. The honest thing would be to point out the price and say you got that wrong.

    I disagree with the RIAA's practices and business methodology these days... so I dont buy CD's

  106. OneArmJack


    For €5 a month you can tunnel your traffic via a VPN to Switzerland, with download limits in the 10s of GB and speeds of at least 8Mbps. So for less than the price of an album from iTunes you can download without the BPI knowing who your ISP is and without your ISP knowing what you're downloading.

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Fergal Shark

    Time to download shed loads of Undertones stuff just to annoy that jumped up prat Fergal Sharkey and the BPI. All downloads to be done at local pub chain eatery that gives free WiFi access of course. Let them get the ISP letter.

  108. Andy Turner

    Is it illegal to..

    Download a copy of an album that I already own? When I moved into a flat I had to leave a load of my CDs at my parents house. Quite often when I get the urge to listen to an album I have to download it instead because it's a bit far to nip back home for it! Is that illegal?

  109. Anonymous Coward


    Wow, what a self righteous holier than thou remark to make.

    Are you seriously telling me that you have never bought DVD's from people selling them in pubs or restaurants or parks or just on the street?

    Are you telling me that you have never recorded content onto a VHS tape or DVD from TV or recorded songs from the radio onto a cassette tape and made a copy for friends or family?

    These corporate assholes are telling our government what laws to make and telling them to spy on us legally, they'll most certainly use Phorm or any other legal spyware to watch your purchases, banking, travel bookings, emails, all your thoughts, your photo albums, your friends and families details... support all of this do you?

    Go and give Jacqui Smith a kiss on the backside then.

  110. Anonymous Coward

    What you sign is what you get

    Practically all terms and conditions with ISPs all have some verbage in there regarding downloading copyrighted works or illegal acts.

    All Internet providers contain that wordage, not to be sued for anyone for breach of copyright holders by their users.

    You know what you are downloading, or sharing. You know it is wrong, but do so anyway as there is little fear of being caught. You don't go into the shop and steal anything as you might be caught and go to prison and lose your life and respect, basically.

    What I think will happen is targetting high bandwidth users for long periods of time. Those people will adapt, move to other forms of file sharing, with more protection from snooping ISPs. Like others have said on this comment area.

    Will we see technologies like VPN become more widespread? Why not? I would hate to think an ISP will breach a VPN stream, considering the all the impacts and time it would take.

    Heck I use VPN on my wireless setups for the extra security it provides.

    Will it target and impact distributors of copyrighted theft? I think so, and they will resort to subscription, mail order, computer fairs like in the old days.

    If I get a letter regarding illegal downloading, they better have sufficient proof, or suffer the concequences in open court. After all I agreed to the terms and conditions before I used their service, so I will be expected to be bound by them.

    If you are naughty you will get the letter. If you are clever maybe not.

  111. Frederick Karno

    So we now have another Law enforcement agency...

    The 6 isp's mentioned have always been a law until themselves offering limited unlimited services and trafiic prioritisation etc etc so it comes as no surprise they will toe the government line.

    It is also no surprise that they are also the ones with long contracts that would force money to change hands if people wanted to leave so they are hoping it wont affect them.........however if everyone asked for their mac code it would send the fear of god through them you dont have to use just ask.

    If i was with one of them isp's i would leave on principle but there are few people with principles left.The way i see it the BPI are unable to take people to court which is where these matters should be dealt with,because their evidence gathering techniques are flawed and wouldn't pass muster...............but government who are not the greatest experts on data handling have been lulled into believing that they are.

    For ISP's to be able to say without doubt that you have broken civil law they would have to intercept your traffic if they are going to do this for the music industry they can do it to stop spam,virus's child pornographers,terrorists et al of course there is no pay back to the government for the latter services thats why they aren't done.

    All this is going to achieve is a price rise for the equipment that the isp's are going to install or already have installed and a massive increase in encrypted traffic which gchq is not going to be happy about.The people who actually make money out of copyright infringement don't actually use the net anyhow they distribute through the mail and sell on boot sales and in the pub so is the next move to open all our mail too ????

    Files haring of copyrighted material is a civil offence and should be dealt with under law not by some jumped up unaccountable's who think they are the law.

  112. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I thought it was only libel if they were distributing the printed accusation to other people, but IANAL. If it is libel they need proof that what they said was true, as newspapers have on occasion found to their cost.

  113. Rob
    Thumb Down

    ISPs must love it...

    IPSs cant afford to provide unlimited broadband for the prices they have to sell at now. They would love to speed control their heavy users at peak times with no PR impact on them! This just gives them the excuse to dump their heavy users who they make no money from, all in the name of law, order and truth.

    Boo that for sure.

  114. Kenny Swan
    Thumb Down

    Oh, I get it...

    So this isn't about protecting the legal rights of the artists, it's about the ISPs wanting to make money and get in on the music selling business but realise that people won't pay for what they can get for free? So they look like caring, helpful individuals to the general public and really are just looking after their own business and don't care about artist rights? Classy. It's times like this I'm glad I'm with a small, independent ISP who thankfully still do care about their small customer base and aren't a faceless, money sucking corporation.

  115. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How do you educate the kids ?

    Most of the downloading I would suggest is the kids. I've noticed that now the kids are off on their summer hols, that I've seen the network speed drop by 1/2.

    How do you ever tell a 14-16 kid, that has say a fiver pocket money. That they should not download pirate music as they see it 'for free' but what they should be doing is spending their pocket money on buying the music.

    They see things in a different light. Download the music for free and use their money on topping up the mobile phone talktime.


  116. Matt


    "I dont care about the RIAA generated crap anyway, as long as it's just music i can keep downloading my movies..."

    The MPAA are involved, so sorry

    Zmodem : "If the riaa etc had any form of intellgence they would create a shadow proxy that blocks the dns all known and found updated server lists."

    Thats not how bit torrent works, there is no central server to block.

    Most if the decent trackers are using ssl for their tracker traffic and http browsing while most torrent clients support encryption. These types of statements being released are merely ensuring that the vast majority of p2p traffic will be encrypted rendering this another inert bit of posturing .

    While it is fairly easy for the average user to encrypt all of his p2p traffic these days most people do not do it because the default settings on trackers and clients are left to send data in the clear. Much the same as most windows machines have a blank administrator password.

    So by requiring encrypting by default this little problem will go away.

    Nobody has the resources to crack the millions of encryption keys being exchanged.

    So all in all, just a bit of hype, not a serious problem at all, only the ignorant are at risk

  117. blackworx


    "how do they tell the difference on an encrypted connection? oh thats right they can't.."

    The film/recording industry would join the torrent, verify its contents and log the IP address of everyone in the swarm. I'm guessing that once they have "enough" such circumstantial evidence for any one IP address they'll go after its owner. Moral of that story: if you're sharing lots of copyrighted material and don't want to get caught then don't keep a fixed IP address for any length of time.

    As for ISPs, the time and money required to do all that is why they are (rightly) against having to police their networks. As you say they can't snoop encrypted data, so they'd technically have to do it the exact same way as the film/recording industry. Or they could just go after customers sharing on unencrypted connections (which would still require verification of the files being shared). Or they could just blindly shoot out letters to their hundred odd thousand heaviest P2P users in the hope of scaring those who *are* sharing copyrighted files (and are unaware of the burden of proof) into behaving themselves. I wonder which option they'll choose...

    If I get one of those letters, my ISP will be getting a solicitor's letter in response which, if they read between the lines, will say: "No suh Mistuh Pigopolist, no fish today... So off you jolly well pop and sling yer hook somewhere else." (I like to channel Larry Love in moments like these.)

  118. Eponymous Cowherd

    Re:Bring on the law

    ***"Mind you, as FACT is convinced that all piracy is funding terrorism they might just decide to lock up anyone that uses the internet for 42 days and be done with it..."***

    Yes, they do rather bang on about this, don't they.

    Rather perverse, then, that it is perfectly *legal* to *buy* a dodgy DVD from one of these terrorist / drug pushing "organised criminals" (FACT's own website even states this: but *illegal* to copy your own DVDs for your own use.

  119. Bill Smith
    IT Angle

    @ Brian Gannon

    Cant we use something like TOR to obfuscate the IP address

  120. gothicform

    How libel works

    If you have been libelled, it is up to the person making the allegations to prove it. If you have definitely not been downloading stuff, and no one in your household has either sue them - with the amount of cloned cable modems floating around on Virgin's network for example, it's a disaster waiting to happen.

  121. BatCat

    Damn, my ISP's not one of the six :o(

    From the beeb "BT, Virgin, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse have all signed up." That means all the freeloading idiots will be migrating to other ISPs including mine and hogging my bandwidth downloading crappy quality renditions of crappy films and crappy music. I think I'll write to my ISP and complain that they haven't signed up. Maybe if all the idiots sharing copyrighted material were kicked off, our ISPs wouldn't need to throttle P2P protocols and we could use them more effectively for distributing software or our home produced media...

  122. Anonymous Coward

    @Big Boomer

    .... ANY FULE KNO that file sharing is copyright inringement, NOT theft.

    I am not a thief.

    I may or may not be a tightwad or scumbag.

    But I have infringed copyright.

    Have you ever posted a pic online that wasn't taken by you? Ever copied a CD or taped some music from a friend? Ever kept a TV show on VHS for longer than the permitted amount of time? Ever written fanfiction? Ever downloaded a film or music or anything from the internet without paying for the licence to use it? If so, then you have also infringed copyright.

  123. Anonymous Coward

    To a Tune You Already Know

    He's the sort of man who is always on the take

    Sells for nearly a score what cost pennies to make

    If he invites you home, he will charge you for tea

    Then charge for the toilet when you have to go pee

    He's a rip-off Robert, rip-off Robert

    He's a rip-off Robert, rip-off Robert

    He's a rip-off Robert, rip-off Robert

    Rip-off Robert, sells overpriced DVDs!

  124. Dave Cheetham

    Well said Big_Boomer

    Nice to see the truth amonst the usual rants from the freetards. Hope the ISPs close all their accounts then the internet might speed up to decent rates. And while the ISPs are at it, also close the accounts of the damn Bots that churn out the spam. If you can't keep your computer secure, you shouldn't be allowed access to the internet. Time we had an exam to pass before people could connect.

    All this talk about the music industry making profit, if you don't like it, don't listen to the music. Breaching copyright by filesharing affects small software developers too, so lets forget talk of some moral crusade against fatcats. And don't spew the crap about "I want to try it before i buy". My software, my rules. If you don't like my rules, don't try the software. Your loss.

    So Big_boomer... respect. Nice post.

  125. darren

    calm down

    Dude, Take a mogadon and calm down!! You'll end up blowing a gasket.

    Do I down load illegal music? Nope. Am I bovverd about this approach by ISP's? Too bloody right I am - I move loads of legal data about, some encrypted, some not, some over torrent, some with other methods.

    My concern is that when I'm accused what evidence will be needed to prove or disprove what data I am shipping. Also where does privacy come in to this? What gives them the right to eaves drop on my traffic? Don't the police and security services need to apply for permission - can they just on a whim look and and monitor what I am doing, saying etc?

  126. Josh

    @ Big_Boomer

    What a narrow minded fool you are, you obviously enjoy being shafted by boys in their vesarce suits.....

    I bought music legally until I became frustarted with the DRM infested media they were pushing if I PAY for a albumn I should be able to play it on whatever the hell I like........

    The profit margins these people *expect* to be able to retain are criminal.....

    It's very easy for people to justify to themselves stealing from an indusrty which for years has had open season on rinsing us of our hard earned cash for decades.......

    99% of this nonsense could be solved almost overnight if a reasonably priced DRM free service was available......

    Why hasn't this already been implemented if it'll solve the problem you might ask.......Simple, the industry wants to carryiong on shafting us up the arse..... although by the sound of it you obviously enjoy the status quo........

  127. Justin


    = usenet.

  128. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Buy it ...

    I'd be far happier buying DVDs if I didn't have to spend 15 minutes getting past the bit telling me not to steal it.

    I didn't - I bought it and if they think somebody ripping the movie is going to include their don't steal this disc then they are stupid.

    Stop penalising legitimate purchasers with this rubbish.

  129. Josh

    @ Vic

    Basically one of the Anti piracy mafia's henchmen will be monitoring a particular set of bittorrent swarms the content of which they will have also downloaded I assume to confirm it's perceived legality.....

    All IP's that connect to the swarm will be WHOIS'd to identify there ISP and reported......

    I do wonder though if you don't complete the download is that still illegal?? Anyone know.........

  130. Guy

    @Bunch of Bloody Thieves

    I don't download copyright music, I dont download copyright programs, I dont download copyright films. I also don't buy CDs , DVDs or go to the cinema that much, mainly due to the quality of the product being churned out (theatre is still a lot better), with the earlier comment that it is not feasible to produce so much quantity/quality by small studios, the big studios have the quantity already, but quality is totally lacking....however what I do want to do is use my connection for what I want to use it for, using the bandwidth that I have paid for, be it amateur video (not that sort) iPlayer or the many and varied uses of the internet which are completely legal (for now anyway). All that this is doing is driving people back to organised crime who sell this stuff on street corners (here you are talking about people who are really nasty and don't give a flying fig about the law) and if they get caught they just receive a slap on the wrists. How is this better than downloading off the internet. Whilst I dont condone copyright infringement...please note, not theft, not illegal, not criminal, but a civil matter there does seem to be a market and money in these products (otherwise organised crime wouldn't get involved). One thing that history has told is that banning something usually makes it more popular and hence money to be made in the black market. Provide a good product at a reasonable price and people will buy it. Inflated prices for dodgy products (designer label clothes, handbags anyone?) will mean that people will copy it and sell it at a price that people are willing to pay

  131. glenn


    I'll fucking pay for them when they are at a fair and reasonable price. I'll be fucked if i am going to pay a higher price just to subsidise oversized deals for the likes of robbie williams or mariah carey every time i buy a cd, who are both oxygen thieves IMO.

  132. Anonymous Coward


    Errr no.

    Anyway you're a tool, do us all a favour and go kill yourself.

    I personally have downloaded the entire Morning Musume and Berryz music catalog, but at the same time I've purchased over £400 worth of Morning Musume Concert and stage show DVDs. Why? Becouse like hell I'm gonna collect neigh on 10 albums and 50 singles, especially as the best thing about Japanese idol groups is actually watching them. Not that i dislike listening to them, just that I wouldn't pay for £20 to £30 per cd (when I can pay the same for the DVD) shipping costs being what they are. I've also seen them live 9 times between them. £2000 on flights and a further £400 on tickets.

    Also if a company is too dim to simulatniously release material - fuck em, it's price fixing and they can shuve it up their arses.

    As a watcher of anime and j-drama, if it weren't for the power of XDCC I'd be 5 to 10 years behind the game, I'd only see 5% of what was ever released and that 5% would be tripe selected by yanks for a yank consumer market.

    So get a grip - re the music industry? It's a crock of junk and should look to the example of Hello!Project and Perfume - concerts, merchandise, DVDs, photo books, fashion, trends, stage shows. Musics reverting rapidly back to its pre 1940s state. Long live the live!

  133. Anonymous Coward

    Big Boomer is right you Know.

    I had a quite a different opinion until last year, when a few short videos I had made appeared on youtube, when some snotty little 19 year old taking the credit for them. I'd made them for my website, so that people would visit my site, enjoy the videos, increasing traffic and advertising income. I was livid when this prick emailed me complaining that I had had them removed from youtube. It changed my opinion about "music and video sharing"

    There is of course an easy answer to the high price of DVDs and CDs......don't buy them, spend the money on going to the concerts instead! Cost too much? then don't go or get an education and better job!

    Having said all that I do admit that I refuse to pay £12 or whatever for a CD to get 2 good tracks and 10 tracks of "album filler" MP3 is certainly not the same quality as a a good CD.

    I look forward to the day when there is no copyright infringement on music or videos, as that will be the day that the "six snitches" go under.

  134. Adam Foxton

    @Big Boomer

    I think most of us would pay for the tracks if we were able to use them as we saw fit- for example, being able to play some DRM-enabled CDs on my PC would be nice. My CD player is a crappy little 1W stereo thing from back when I was a student whereas my PC is hooked up to a kilowatt(rms) or so of crisp, clear surround sound loveliness. So forcing me to play my music on the CD player means a return/binning/eBaying of the CD as it’s just a wasted experience.

    However, I've got to dispute your claim that sharing music is theft. If I come into your house and nick your TV then that's theft- plain and simple. If I stand outside your house and watch the TV PPV movies through the window, is that theft? I've not paid to watch the movies but I'm getting to watch them.

    And how about ebaying or otherwise selling off old CDs? The musicians don't get any of the money from that yet you don't see [many] people complaining. Surely by the BPI's method of thinking- "you've got a copy of the music without paying us/the artist" this is just as bad?

    A lot of the whinging about the ISPs and Government stopping filesharing is more that they must be looking through your internet traffic to do that, and there is no societal or legal precedent for them being able to freely intercept your communications. Especially not an outside company representing some industry in another country getting your ISP to pass your traffic along to them. Imagine if details of your mail was being passed across the Atlantic first- would you like that?

    And anyway, as I said earlier, the ISPs shouldn’t be enforcing this as they’ll lose their right to common carrier status. A lawyer-type person should point out to them that if they start enforcing this then they will be required to start monitoring everything to make sure no terrorists, paedophiles, actual thieves, drug dealers or any other ‘subversives’ can communicate over their network. Or if they did communicate over their network, the ISP would be required to track them down and inform the police. And that would make the whole ISP business so, so much more expensive that it wouldn’t be worth it.

    Small sidenote: Some people try-before-they-buy. Ever heard a song on in a shop and bought the CD after that? That’s the basic idea- someone says “hey, ever heard of the xyzs”? and you go “oh, no I haven’t.”, run off home, check them out and then if you like them you can pay for it. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to pay anything and the only thing the artists have lost is someone who isn’t a fan being a bit pissed with the band.

    Finally, most people would be happier to pay for music if the artists got a decent proportion of what you paid for the music as opposed to paying over the odds (someone above said 7.9x the cost per track in the UK between CD and legal download) for a track. Especially when the labels frequently debate the artist’s rights to a share of the income from digital sales.

    Piracy may not be cool, but the greed on the part of the labels is a deadly sin. And this deadly sin is about to kick in to destroy their business models and clear the path for people who understand the modern market.

    Do I pirate music? Nope, not any more.

    Am I sick of hearing fuckwads whinge about this subject (on both sides) with no conception of what’s actually being debated? Oooooh yes.

    You want me to buy a music or movies? Let me check them out before I buy them. And let me watch them or listen to them whenever, wherever and on whatever I want after I’ve bought them.

  135. Jon Kale



    And everyone who's whinging about how it's "too expensive" or how we're being ripped off because a tune costs 79p rather $1: go fuck yourselves or in some other way remove yourselves from the gene pool. Last time I looked at Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, shit like shelter, food and water were basic human requirements. Music, movies, games, TV shows etc aren't: if you think they're too expensive then Just Don't Buy Them. I appreciate that the idea of - gasp - doing without goes against every fibre of your "OMG Information Wants To be Free" techno-libertarian drooling being, but y'know, missing an episode of Lost or not hearing the Klaxons latest opus isn't going to kill you.

    Also notable that most (all?) of the freetards here saying "ooh, but I'll pay a fair price for a fair product" aren't actually either a) specifying what a "fair" price would be (zero pence, perchance?) or b) creating anything of significant value themselves - and no, cute photos of cats don't count.

    See, the way I see it, things is very simple. If you create something, you have the right to say what gets done with it. If you choose to sell that right to a publisher then that's your call. If you choose to market it yourself then that's your call. If you choose to release it under a Free (BSDL, APSL, Creative Commons or equivalent licence) then hey, that's your call.

    But if all you do is consume rather than create, then you're going to have to handle the reality that your opinion about what the creator should do with his or her work is worth... well, let's say that if I took a vast mound of freetard opinions on IP rights and added a fiver, the whole thing'd be worth about two pints.

    Oh, and determining whether you're ripping off copyrighted music or TV rather than downloading Impotent Impala or VMware images is easy because of the nature of p2p:

    * BPI employee connects to tracker offering (say) Coldplay_the_Collection

    * downloads the .torrent

    * starts μTorrent and see which other IPs connect to him/her

    * hands list of IPs over to the ISPs owning the associated netblock saying "can you forward a nastygram to the people who'd leased these IPs at this point in time. Ta muchly..."

    Remember that it doesn't have to catch 100% of file-sharers, and they can afford plenty of false negatives as long as it puts the frighteners on. Much like real crime-fighting...

  136. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Andraž Levstik

    "Not until freenet actually gets a C/C++ implementation... That's what I'm waiting for... No way am I running a blackbox like java on any of my machines..."

    Blackbox like Java? You mean that language with it's now fully open sourced VM? A language that compiles to bytecode that is far easy to interpret and modify than C/C++ binaries?

    I don't see the problem with Java, it's certainly now fully open and Java apps are much easier to reverse engineer than C/C++ apps are. Oh, and it's cross platform to boot.

  137. Law


    if they cut me off after 3 strikes (highly unlikely since I hate bittorrent - usenet all the way baby!) then does this mean I can get out of the 12 month contract they tricked me into?? lol... maybe bittorrent has its uses after all! :)

    PS - people saying high-bandwidth users being kicked might have a point, but the majority of my bandwidth comes equally from encrypted usenet traffic, and in traffic from xbox (demo's, dlc etc), mozy for backups, etc etc.

    I'm waiting to see houses with kids in kicking off because their month of dlc such as movies, demos and game updates through services like xbox live doubles for each machine they have (I know people with a few xbox's in the same house) - if they get kicked off after downloading from legit sites there will be hell to pay.

    Wait until Newsround gets wind - you will have a hoodie revolution!!

  138. Anonymous Coward


    Strikes me that countering this will be a bit like getting off a speeding charge. Sooner or later someone will work out what to say to an officious ISP that stops them proceeding any further - and then everyone will just send back a letter saying that.

    Given any sort of credible challenge, the ISPs won't feel like arguing, since they're only doing this under pressure themselves. Give them a half-decent excuse to ignore you and I'll bet they do just that.

  139. Alexis Vallance

    Not quite

    "Never forget that you have a commercial agreement with your ISP. They can terminate it, providing they give due notice, whenever they want. If you are suspected of sharing files they don't like - or doing anything else they don't like, they are under no obligation to keep you as a customer. They are well within their rights to cut you off. Giving you a chance to change you behaviour is a courtesy."

    In practice, but legally it might not be that simple. You've signed a contract with them, so by booting you off they have breached the contract. Now if you did the same to them, you would have to pay off the rest of the contract (albeit with no penalty - you just have to cover their losses).

    So by them cancelling early, you could take them to small claims court to claim whatever damages you've incurred (if you had a business, the loss of broadband could be considerable). These would involve you disputing their information in court and proving what financial amount you have lost through their contract breach.

  140. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ AC - wondering when the letters start

    ... be sure to sue for costs too mate.

  141. Anonymous Coward


    "Under it, ISPs are reported to have committed to achieving a significant reduction in detecting any illegal filesharing"

  142. jason


    "Why are people file-sharing? The answer is simple; they object to the artificial trade barriers (region encoding), staggered releases, late releases, inflated prices, poor distribution and other (some anti-free trade) practices by the RIAA et al members."

    Sorry, but this is not the reason people are sharing files, people (like me) are sharing files as we would rather not pay for something if we can get it for free. Simple as that.

  143. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re The plan of action.

    The problems with your plan start at step 1.

    >1) Write back immediately asking for proof of the allegation. You are entitled to it.

    No, you're not, they don't actually have to tell you anything.

    >Don't tell them WHAT you require, see what they are willing to divulge first.

    I'd expect nothing, because they don't have to.

    >(Send it recorded delivery - it's more scary and official).

    Pointless, these are big companies, mail gets signed for at reception opened somewhere else and the content will end up at their legal dept. who will then file it.

    >Ask them if they are seeking legal action and if not, why not?

    They're not, because they don't have to.

    >Surely withholding information concerning an illegal act is illegal too?

    They're not making allegations of an illegal act, they're notifying you that your use of their system will result in them cancelling the provision of their system.

    >Or have they reached an understanding with the copyright holder which

    >indemnifies that particular act? In which case, shouldn't YOU be party to

    >that agreement?

    Which act? Why should you be party to all the contracts of your service provider?

    >Should they be threatening you now even if their agreement means that

    >they will prosecute next time?

    They aren't threatening - it's a notification, they won't prosecute, they'll jsut terminate the service.

    >And you might like to request copies of that understanding.

    They might like to save paper and just email their responses.

  144. Luke Mellor

    Easy Out

    Not long ago my ISP shut down my connection because I was suspected of sharing Jumper. The only proof they had to go on is that the copyright holder called them and said that they found my IP address had been sharing it. It was a simple task of calling my ISP (Grande) and letting them know it wasn't me and they turned the connection back on, but they did say that if they had more complaints they might consider legal action. I am hoping that UK ISP's are smarter than US ISP's because I am already looking for somebody else to get internet through.

  145. A J Stiles

    @ Lee Dowling

    Your point 6 is interesting.

    If this is true and the quotation to which you refer exists and was in context, it could constitute promissory estoppel, and thereby officially extend the doctrine of Fair Dealing to include indirect format-shifting.

  146. Jamie

    bbc Iplayer settings

    There is an option to turn this off - quite clearly stated in the BBC Iplayer settings

    By Anonymous Coward

    Posted Thursday 24th July 2008 00:49 GMT

    refer them to BBC. Since I downloaded BBC iPlayer, it took over my bandwidth, uploading something to someone even when it is not in use. Cheeky bastards!

  147. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Alexis Vallance

    "You've signed a contract with them, so by booting you off they have breached the contract."

    Yes, but the contract terms will be changed to allow them to do this after giving you notice via three letters.

    Assuming they even need that, many ISP contracts don't guarantee any service at all and allow them to terminate whenever they wish.

  148. Luke Wells

    P2P is so yesterday

    Have none of you people heard of Rapidshare yet?

    All you can eat downloads (4gig per day)

  149. Andy Grantham

    Rip off the music industry? yep just like they have me!

    I live in Hull and we have our own Telco Kingston Communications beleive me we pay them enough to run their own music industry let alone them being bothered about anyone elses.

    Besides which I don't think the music industry who have ripped everyone off for years have any moral ground to say to people we're stealing from them, if none of us bought their CD's etc. no-one would know who they were to download their MP3's??

    Also how do you define illegal what if I bought an album and have since lost/damaged the CD? am I entitled to download the MP3 and how can you prove/police something like that?

    If artists are concerned that there music is being downloaded they should spend some time looking for where it's available from contact those people hosting it and ask for it to be taken down, then if these poeple don't respond to the warning report them.

    Having said that it's far easier for some lazy ass record company exec to push the work he/she should be doing onto ISP's and the general public, far be it from them to climb down from their ivory towers.

    PS if it's money they want they'll have to claim anything I owe from British gas who now own my soul, thanks Labour Government and in particular Gordon (ex Chancellor) Brown!!!



    Andy G

  150. Anonymous Coward

    dog and pony show

    who else sees this as a show to appease the govt lobbyists while giving ISPs an excuse to disconnect heavy (costly) users?

    Entertainment media just doesn't have the 'value' compared to what the industry has been getting away with charging for so long - and no threats, guidelines or legislation is going to change that.

  151. James

    What they will do

    As far as I can tell this is the way it will work

    1. the isps will not be inspecting your traffic, packets or anything else

    2. the bpi will connect to (say) the torrent on mininova called 'wall-e'

    3. they will note all the IP addresses of people downloading that file

    4. they will forward that list to the isps who will send out the letters

    5. expressly stated is that the isps will NOT give the BPI the names/addresses correcponding to their IP list but will simply agree to send out the letters accoring to that list

  152. Galaxy Bob

    @Jason - I applaude your honesty.

    I have no problem with people like Jason saying he downloads because he doesn't want to pay for what he is downloading.

    I do have to laugh at the people who say they are downloading and not paying for the content because it's some big crusade against THE MAN. Grow some balls and admit you wouldn't even pay for the content if it were 1p/1c per track.

    DRM doesn't bother me. I just hook my iPod up to the iPod connector in my car or burn it to CD if I want to listen to music in the car. I've also not had any issues at all playing CD's on any of my systems, be it on my PC or on my AV kit. Just what crappy CD drives do people have in their PC's?

    Look, stop crying like a little baby about THE MAN and his DRM and admit you are just a freeloader who wouldn't pay for anything they didn't have to.

    Some of you will think I am a mug for buying the majority of my music, but I can afford it and I actually don't mind paying for it. I will admit I have downloaded torrents of CD's and some movies in the past but I stopped doing it as I'd rather watch a HD movie in my living room on a nice big plasma TV with a fairly high end surround sound system than on a 20" monitor in my home office. I also didn't download because of some anti drm bullshit stance, but because I just didn't fancy paying for it.

  153. Anonymous Coward


    If I were (hypothetically) to run a TOR exit node, I would be merely acting as a conduit for network traffic that could originate from anywhere. I would then be in exactly the same position as my ISP.

    Let's see the the rightstards get round that one.

    In any case, how threatening is a letter that says "We think you or someone connected to you might be doing something illegal and we intend to continue sending you copies of this letter and wasting our time and resources until you stop. PS We will not disconnect you no matter what." I'm quaking in my boots.

    The fact is that the BPI/RIAA/MPAA etc are pissing in the wind. We are cleverer than they are and always will be.

  154. Anonymous Coward

    My 2p

    Recorded music just isn't worth what it used to be. The internet changed everything. Like the printing press did before that.

    Why can't people just understand that?

  155. Anonymous Coward

    here's exactly how its gonna work

    Someone (Record Company) posts a Torrent - You download it - Your IP is tracked by "someone" - IP is sent onto ISP - ISP issues a letter saying we have recieved a request for your information from "someone" regarding the download of copyrighted material. Just remember to use ur usual torrent provders not any new "fantastic" ones

    Skull for the death of the illeagal, yet handy, torrent sites

  156. Dick Emery

    uTorrent tip

    For anyone using uTorrent on public trackers. In order to minimize your chances of being caught. Go into preferences, queueing, set ratio to 0.001 then make sure the box underneath is ticked where it says about what to do once seeding has finished. Set the amount to 0 (which means stop once seeding limit is reached).

    Now when you have finished downloading a torrent instead of it seeding all the time (Say you went to bed for instance and left a torrent downloading) it will stop seeding as soon as the ratio gets to 0.001 which on small files is usually instantaneous. Don't try this on private trackers though of you will be screwed ;)

  157. A Non


    It is little wonder why more and more of the public are saying 'NO' to being ripped off by greedy music companies, and are instead using peer-to-peer file sharing technology to download for FREE!!

    With many P2P clients allowing the user to;

    1) Randomize the port used for incoming connections, each time the software is used.

    2)Either Enable or Force Protocol Encryption, to make it difficult for ISP's to track P2P traffic.

    3)Use 'Blocklists', most P2P clients can download and use one. A decent one can be found here: Alternatively free software like PeerGuardian can be used.

    How would ISP's and the music industry implement such a scheme?

    How would they cope with P2P using TOR to connect to the trackers to give a limited measure of anonymity. Or even using a matured I2P protocol in the future?

    Or even 3rd Generation networks such as ANtsP2P?

    The latest version (beta1.6.0) was released on 26 January 2008.

    Not to mention commercial VPN solutions ie Swedish based !!

  158. Spider
    Black Helicopters

    2 faced scum

    is d/l copyright material wrong? of course it is, we all know it, yet some still do it.

    I just wish BERR would get so excited about mis-selling of broadband connections, blatent misrepresentation, of coporations acting as cartels to artificially inflate prices in one country compared to another when most of the time legal downloads come from the same bloody servers!

    one civil infringement nets an individual tens or hundreds of pounds in ill-gotten gains, the other supplies millions (if not billions) to corporations at the expense of the consumer.

    so by all means lets look at the net and how it's policed, but lets have some persective and some all round justice...

  159. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle


    Anyone here actually KNOW the answer to the internet-age-old the UK is is not LEGAL to download but ILLEGAL to allow others to download from you (copyrighted material)?

    So assuming I was downloading from usenet, not uploading and not sharing anything, then I can't be traced.....and any uploads...well - they would just have to go via Switzerland.....

  160. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Galaxy Bob

    If some admits that they "wouldn't even pay for the content if it were 1p/1c per track" then surely both the recording industry and the artist are losing nothing at all?

    I download movies but almost no music at all. My taste sorta stagnated ten years ago and all those CD's are owned and ripped to mp3. But movies - I download them because I can. If I couldn't, I wouldn't go and see them at the cinema and I wouldn't buy the DVD. I'd wait till they came on the TV (Sky* by the way, so I am paying to see them via my subscription there). So how does my downloading a movie* have any impact on the "movie industry"'s profits?

    * waiting for my letter.....

    ** granted I need to not allow others to download from me as they MAY have bought the movie if they couldn't get it for free. This example is me downloading and NOT sharing.

  161. Anonymous Coward


    If you're using DSL and your ISP has it's gear in a BT exchange...

  162. Brian Whittle
    Thumb Up

    usa 0 uk1

    I heard about this on the radio today and there was a spokesman from talktalk on. The interesting thing about this was he said that the record companies supplied IP addresses of so called offenders and asked for the names ETC, but because of the data protection act this is not allowed so all the people will get is a letter saying there is a possibility copyrighted material has been downloaded from their internet connection.

    He went on to say nothing else would appen as it is a possibility that the connection may be open and it may be someone near by doing the downloading and in a house with multi users it would be hard to point the blame.

  163. Mad Mike
    Paris Hilton

    Big Boomer

    'Bunch of bloody Thieves

    By Big_BoomerPosted Thursday 24th July 2008 09:26 GMT That's what you are if you illegally download music or movies or anything that is copyrighted. You are thieves, plain and simple.

    You are not "pirates", you are stealing the fruits of someone elses work.

    You may think you are cool but we know different.

    You are a tightwad, scumbucket of a thief and if you get caught I hope they throw the book at you and then insert it where the sun don't shine.

    Do I work for the music industry? Nope.

    Am I sick of hearing tightwads whinge about how their ISP or the government is stopping them from stealing. Oh YES!

    You want music or movies, then fucking pay for them!'

    Before you start ranting away and having a go at all manner of people, I suggest you get your facts right. They are not thieves, they are breaching copyright. Vast difference. Theft is a criminal offence, copyright violations are civil etc.etc. Therefore, your statement is 100% rubbish. Additionally, running a protected market, cartels etc.etc. that the music industry have been doing for years is actually an offence and controlled by the DTI and Competition Commissioners etc. However, as they're existance is to help big business, they're not exactly likely to help the average joe bloggs being overcharged.

    The truth is that the music companies have been ripping people off (and breaching competition laws etc., running protective systems (regioning) etc.) for years. Successive governments have done nothing about it to stop them, even though it is illegal and therefore the general public are now doing their own form of enforcement. It may be crude and it may be criminal in its own right and maybe two wrongs don't make a right, but that's what's happening and is what happens when governments don't enforce the law, both statute and common.

    Much the same as failure to tackle paedophiles etc. often results in vigilante action. Vigilante action is generally caused by a failure of the authorities to deal with a problem and that is eactly what's happening here.

    Paris.......welll, because she's got more brains.

  164. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The truth is that the music companies have been ripping people off"

    This may well be true.

    But face it, people will continue to ste- I mean "infringe copyright" on music even if the music companies were selling their albums legally for 50p a pop.

  165. Mad Mike
    Thumb Up

    Common sense and legality

    Common sense and legality come into the enforcement of this but seem to have been missed to date. Firstly, is it the process of making a copyright file available for download illegal, or performing the download, or both. In other words, is it the client or the server that's acting illegally. The reason is all wrapped up in common sense.

    When you spot a file for download online, how do you as the client know whether it is copyright or not and therefore whether you may legally download it? You can't. There is no way you can. Even if it's of a recent sony, the legal owner of the copyright may well be giving it away. As a client, you have no idea. Therefore, you either have to download nothing or you have to put the onus on the poster or server end. It's common sense. It's the only thing you can do. In reality, you have to put the onus on the server as if you stopped downloading anything potentially copyright, the web would be unuseable. You couldn't download a single web page as there might be a picture of text or something on there that is copyright etc.

    So, the only practical and common sense approach is to ignore the client (who doesn't know) and go after the servers (who should know). However, this may not tally with the law at it currently stands. There is also the issue of practicality. Trying to protect copyright of these sorts of materials in todays world is, from a practical perspective, impossible. They've been putting all sorts of DRM on things for years and not one of them has worked. The 'community' can get around anything electronic like that and therefore regardless of what the law says and regardless of the moral standpoint, it is from a practical perspective impossible to stop.

    Therefore, only one solution presents itself. That is for the record companies etc. to change their model into something that can either be protected effectively and practically, or to something which people (from a moral perspective) won't try to get around. Take open source software for instance. You can't protect the software itself because it's open source. Therefore, plenty of companies are simply charging for support contracts. You don't pay, you don't get support. An enforceable model.

    Most people have suggested it is not the issue of paying for music that causes the problem, but the fact they are being ripped off. Therefore, this file sharing is simply vigilante action against the ripping off. Not saying it's right, but that's the predominant reason. If the record companies were to offer their product at a far more sensible price, evidence suggests a lot of the file sharing would cease. You could, for instance, offer people access to any track for £10 a month. Record company profits would diminish, but they would still make enough.

    The law is way out of step with technology. For instance, in the UK it is technically illegal to rip a CD onto a MP3 player. How stupid is that? We need to change the law and we need to change the business model as well and the record companies are the people refusing to change. People are quite readily, by using mobile players of various types etc. and the file sharing itself.

  166. Mad Mike

    Tony Chandler

    'But face it, people will continue to ste- I mean "infringe copyright" on music even if the music companies were selling their albums legally for 50p a pop.'

    Yes, some people will, but evidence suggests the majority will not. However, it doesn't alter the fact that the law is so old it ignores the practicalities of enforcement in todays world and the fact that the record companies business model is no longer viable and therefore should fail. Very few people would deny music companies the right to make a profit, but people would like to see it be a sensible profit. As record companies have been breaking the law for years by running monopolies and cartels and restrictive practices (regioning etc.), it is rather hypocritical for them to now complain when people break a few other laws!!

  167. Oliver

    It's my guess...

    ...that they have realised the multifold problems with gathering suitable evidence, keeping expensive databases, sueing individual users etc. This scattergun approach is more geared towards the low-hanging fruit, i.e. those who aren't very good with IT and will be scared off by one wee letter.

    Fergal (the big bollox) says it himself: "Seventy to 80 per cent of people would stop downloading illegally if they knew anyone was watching them doing it,"

    This is just a big publicity campaign. Sit tight, use the newsgroups for a while, and it will all blow over.

  168. Andy Grantham

    Maybe it's time....

    ....the government spent some more money/time keeping our data secure rather than looking after the music industries for them. How come all the big gaming companies haven't gone bust???

    Answer: Because they've kept with times and improved their technology to protect their intellectual property. If the music industry can't/won't do this or spend some time and money on it that's their lookout. In the same way if I leave an unlocked push bike leant against my front gardens fence it goes missing and I ring the police they'll tell me there's nothing they can do.

    Also if any of these artists were original and non-manufactured in any way I would quite happily pay them as the copyright owner for their talent what I am loathe to do is further fill the pockets of the Simon Cowell's of this world for running shitty shows like Plop Idol and cashing in on other peoples IP who's worse me as an MP3 downloader losing the artist a few pence as I didn't buy there CD or you schmucks who think you have the moral high ground because you pay management to listen to the bands you like?

  169. Danny Craig

    Further errosion of your civil liberties

    Since when should it be the problem of ISPs to stop their customers from downloading pirated content. If the music companies give us music in a DRM free format that we can use on any device we life and charge a reasonable price like 50p a track, then only the die hard will bother to keep pirating and there isnt much you can do about them.

    It's like saying it's the responsibility of car manufacturers when someone drives in a reckless manner, maybe the government should insist that car manufacturers install black boxes in our cars, that log everywhere we go and automatically informs the police when we break any speed limits. After all if you've nothing to hide, why on earth would you object?

    Maybe BT should be taken to court everytime their lines are used to arrange criminal activities. Or how about the makers of DVD writers, what are they doing to stop you from burning pirated content to the media and then selling it on, not a lot, i'd say.

  170. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Mad Mike

    I see your point. But the thing about music is - although it seems like it sometimes - it is not essential. If you were being ripped off for something essential like water, it would be a different story.

    If you don't like record companies prices, don't buy the music.

    If you were (say) being forced to pay £5 for a litre of water I'd be right behind the vigilante groups raiding the water towers to help the thirsty. But music, come on...

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