back to article Academics warn of EU 'three strikes' back door plan

European law is introducing a "three strikes and you're out" law for ISPs to disconnect illegal file sharers "under cover of stealth", according to legal experts. The EU's telecoms reform package could guarantee the legality of such schemes. The content industry has lobbied to force internet service providers (ISPs) to …


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  1. Conor Turton
    Thumb Up

    Perfectly reasonable

    Personally I can't understand why people didn't think this would end up happening. After all, piracy is being done via the internet on a massive scale and that's easy to solve with the unticking of a box on a screen of the account that's been used to download and share the media.

    For those who bleat on about it being unfair, you can't cry about a law being unfair when you're wantonly breaking the law in the first place which is the reason this has been brought in.

    The account holder will get two warnings before a strike which is more than enough. Now considering that many of these account holders are the parents of the person who has been breaking the law, maybe it'll force them to exercise some parental responsibility for what their kids are doing online instead of using the computer as a free babysitter.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    I'll just download over my neighbour's WEP-protected wifi.

    Mine's the one with the spare DSL connexion in the pocket.

  3. Tom Chiverton

    @Conor Turton

    "you can't cry about a law being unfair when you're wantonly breaking the law".

    Unless, of course, you didn't break it and have just been mis-identified.

    It's impossible (as has been demonstrated in the US) to prove which person did it, which has led to everyone from grandmothers to people with no computer being sent to court. Imagine you (a law abiding citzen) have just been disconected from the internet without due process or a chance to put your case.

  4. Ash
    Thumb Down

    @Conor Turton

    Most of the issues the tech world have with this scheme don't stem from preventing the sharing of copyrighted works, but from the fundamental limitations of such a scheme.

    It will either be too loose, in which case it will block only the most idiotic of the "freetards" or it will be too strict, in which case it will block legitimate content and those running the scheme will get sued.

    Plus, there's the simple fact that the internet routes around failures. Whether automatically by routing around bad segments, or with human intervension by creating new technologies to solve a new problem, sharing of works will never cease as long an open network exists.

    And when it doesn't exist, there is always DarkNet.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Breach of copyright is illegal, peer-to-peer connections shouldn't be

    This is just another excuse for authorities to justify spying on their citizens. Prevention of terrorism, illegal porn and copyright infringement are the usual justificiations.

    Authority hates the fact that I can communicate directly with another Internet user directly, without them applying their censorship, spin or propaganda to my opinions.

    This is all just part of the slow-motion erosion of freedom on the net.

    Fortunately, most authorites are idiots that couldn't organise a thingy-ma-bob in a watcher-ma-callit.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One strike and your out

    3 strikes without a proper judicial process is really 1 strike + 2 fake untested claims.

  7. yeah, right.

    Due process? (@Conor)

    It's called due process, and this law denies that. It's disconnection based on SUSPICION of doing something that MIGHT be illegal. Not disconnection based on actually doing something illegal. It allows a private corporation to summarily target anyone they see fit, without having to justify their actions or prove their case. It's also based on supposed "evidence" whose very accuracy is questionable.

    It's a bad law, no mistake.

  8. Jon Brunson
    Thumb Down

    Re: Perfectly reasonable (Conor Turton)

    What you say is perfectly fine - if a court had found the defendant guilty of breaking copyright (which afaik is a civil, not a criminal offence, and therefore not illegal - someone please correct me if I'm wrong). Unfortunately for those who strike-out, there will be no court, no lawyers, no proof, no anything. All the copyright holder has to do is claim that an IP address is breaking copyright, the ISP match that up to an account and the account holder gets a strike.

    Doesn't that sound scary to you? Shouldn't the defendant get to defend themselves?

  9. Mark

    re: Perfectly reasonable

    And it is perfectly reasonable to ignore a monopoly when you're a free market believer.

    And thereby justify the free copying of copyrighted material.

  10. Ginger

    Prosecuting the customers

    so if they do this to any household who fileshares, will they actually have any customers left?

  11. Brian Mankin
    Thumb Down

    @Connor Turton

    I'm glad Connor Turton thinks this is perfectly reasonable. I hope he will continue to think this is reasonable when three internet trolls have written to his ISP to inform them of his (alleged) illegal distribution of their copyrighted works and he has been disconnected from the internet.

    This law will cause mayhem as political parties, campaign groups and strange religious cults scramble to off-line their critics and rivals on the grounds that the criticism of their particular brand of madness is an infringement of their valuable IP.

  12. Steve

    Re: Perfectly reasonable

    I'll probably be about the 35th person to reply to this post by now, but still...

    Yes, I agree with your comments that if you are pirating stuff then you're fair game. And yes, that extends to checking what your kids are doing and making sure your wireless is secure etc etc.

    My concern is how they will do this. The ISP looking for traffic that resembles P2P is of no use since many legitimate things distribute themselves like this now. And no, I'm not just talking about choosing to download 'linux ISOs' via torrent. iPlayer, 4oD, Skype all use P2P mechanisms to transfer data. Software such as World of Warcraft I believe uses P2P to download updated game content from other users. It makes sense financially for more companies to use it as a distribution method rather than paying for huge amounts of bandwidth to cater for everyone downloading from the same place.

    So the only other option is, as is done now, just acting blindly on allegations made by the industry. Which as we've seen is not 100% reliable. We receive cease and desist letters for IP addresses that turn out to belong to devices such as printers, and/or which are provably not in use (based on traffic logs and network flow data).

    My disagreement is not because of people being warned or disconnected who have broken the law, but those who haven't...


  13. Anonymous Coward

    ineffective law by incompetent people

    Do politicians ever think on the unintended consequence to the laws they pass? The answer is simple: apparently it never enters their mind!

    The "3 strikes out" law will generate many innocent not savvy computer users to loose their connection to the internet. The most obvious example is comprised of 2 words: WIRELESS ROUTER.

    Many people have no idea how to properly configure their wireless routers and how to set appropriate encryption or passwords. What will stop anyone to crack someones wireless connection for file sharing (and please don't make wild claims on traceability of MAC addresses which can be easily modified)?

    I just wish that someone would teach politicians a lesson by cracking their wireless networks and get them banned from using net.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    @ac-Breach of copyright is illegal...

    Prevention of terrorism, illegal porn and copyright infringement are the usual justificiations.

    You forgot "save the children".

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    the law is wrong

    @Conor Turton: You complain about laws being broken, but that's not the problem. The problem are the copyright laws themseleves, which are wrong. These laws aren't made to protect the people, as they should have been. They're made to protect corporate interests at any cost. You can try all you want, but you won't convince anyone that sharing digital content of any kind is theft or any other crime because digital content is fundamentally different from physical goods.

  16. adnim

    Time to change provider

    All six major ISPs have signed up to this, so move to a minor provider. And if/when the minor players are forced to comply, encrypt all your traffic, at least until a law is passed making encryption illegal. Which in my opinion will most certainly happen.

    What one must realise is that money, profit and control come above all else. We are cattle in the eyes of business, and whilst government and multinational corporations are intimately entwined nothing will change for the benefit of the public at large.

    Mark (16:04) has a point, which I would take further... It is essential that the public in general avoid filling the coffers of a monopolistic or profiteering entity. We do have the power to effect change, unfortunately exercising this power means flouting laws that have been set up to protect said monopolistic, profiteering entities or simply doing without the product. I would not encourage anyone to break the law, but I do urge everyone to exercise the power we have as consumers.

    Out of curiosity I looked up Mark 16:04, and this is what I found:

    "And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great."

    Interesting, only the stone has not been rolled away, we are chained to it and until we as the source of monopolistic income do something about it, it is staying put.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    There is a MAJOR problem with this already...

    The Pirate Bay already pollute torrent transfers with Fake IP addresses in the swarm (Ref: Torrentfreak) ... Sooooooooooo Conor Turton , do you have the funds to mount your defence ?

    Personally i would like to see so called "piracy" subject to Criminal sanctions. At least that way there would be the option for legal aid! But then as we already know thats not what they want to happen. all they want is a $$$$$$$$$ up front no questions asked.

    Roll on the first court case where so called "evidence" is produced.

    On another point just by having a web browser are we all not in breech now? After all do you cache web site pages with graphics, content. etc ? TuT...TuT... have you now unknowingly breeched copyright? (Feel free to correct me!)

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    civil or criminal...

    It would be far better if they did make copyright infringement a criminal matter instead of civil.

    The burden of proof in on the prosecution in criminal law... they have to prove you did it... in a civil matter they only have to say you probably did steal your works, and then you have to prove you didn't....

    Without a police raid, without the content of your HDD submitted as evidence i dont see how they could prove the case in criminal law...

    not only that, to get a warrant to execute a raid on your house they would have to give probable cause, and as that probable cause is from IP logs and even now is proven as un-reliable, once a few innocent people get the door bashed in at 6:30 am scaring the kids for life (oh think of the children) it would put the whole thing in its place.... which is prosecuting the knock off Nigels from the pub of the staff canteen at work selling the warez......

  20. T J

    None of this is relevant.

    They have no right knowing what you are downloading.


    Can we please not lose sight of that.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Real Pirates...

    Steal super tankers... not files..

    mine's the one with the cutlass

  22. Gordon Pryra

    Since when did the music and entertainment industry

    Ever do anything for the British People that gave them the right to force laws on us?

    if they werent the parasitic bottom feeders they are, then maybe we should police the people copying files. Using such things as finding out who actually did it, rather then the best guess they currently use.

    But to be honest, these guys do nothign apart from increase the cost of goods due to their adding advertising costs to them. They clog up the day to day running of the internet and email systems with spamm and dubious low level packet inspection.

    For what? The same old shit rehashed and rebranded? Crap non-entitys plasterd on our screens and all over the papers?

    We need a ground war in asia to weed out the surpless people, then we can move on from this crap over their dead rotting bodies.

    A private organisation should not be able to dictate the law to the British People, they should not be able to remove the burden of proof from any case against anyone.

    Any ISP giving someone name and address to one of the companies profiteering from these cases should loose their license as an ISP, and go to jail, and get a good honest kicking

  23. Fred
    Thumb Down

    Stop publishing mindless nonsense

    Read this... and go back to sleep:

  24. Steve
    Paris Hilton

    duck on this stool

    " disconnect users they suspect..."

    Excuse me? only 'suspect' ?!?

    Why not go all the way and re-introduce the ducking stool.

    The real crime is the exorbitant amount the producers charge for their films. How can the pirates charge circa $1 yet we pay in excess of £20? There’s no way all of the other £19 go to the production and advertisement of the film; OK lesser movies have to be supported whilst getting a worthwhile profit, but come on!

    Someone give me a laugh and hack Conor Turton's wireless router.


    Paris because she would prefer people to not share certain media files... ahem!

  25. Mark

    @adnim: encrypted traffic...

    "encrypt all your traffic, at least until a law is passed making encryption illegal. Which in my opinion will most certainly happen."

    They can't and won't make encryption illegal. Https anyone? Criminalising encryption would render all traffic visible and alterable. Online shopping, credit card details, bank transactions, Government data - scrap that bit as they don't use encryption.

  26. Richard Neill

    Open wifi

    What about those of us who choose to leave our Wifi open, as a general public service?

    Or anyone running a Tor endpoint?

  27. Steve Brooks

    suspects as criminals!

    "you can't cry about a law being unfair when you're wantonly breaking the law in the first place"

    The entire problem is here;

    "The content industry has lobbied to force internet service providers (ISPs) to disconnect users they SUSPECT of engaging in copyright-infringing file-sharing after two warnings."

    Not know, not have proof, but SUSPECT.

    So that's anybody. This law is not designed to stop pirates accessing the internet, its to stop SUSPECTS accessing the internet. Maybe they should apply the same theory to speeding and take your licence away if they suspect you have been speeding, how does that sound? Or how about suspected armed robbers, you're carrying a knife, therefore you are a supected armed robber and subject to a curfew, we'll ignore the fact that you are wearing oevralls and are in the process of removing paint from a window, you're still a suspect.

    Hey this is getting really useful, so not that we now apply penalties to SUSPECTS in some areas, maybe it will be useful for the police. The police have a list of suspects for a crime, lets not bother trying to find out who actually did it, just bang the lot up, the guilty ones bound to be ammong them, so job done! 100% solving of all crimes.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    But the intertubes are all FREE

    I don't share or steal, I CONSUME!

  29. Vladimir

    Possible solution...?

    I think history proves how difficult (impossible) it is to ban something. Alcohol during US Prohibition, guns in Ireland and the UK, porn or music or books or drugs or Radio Free Europe or anything, really.


    I have many albums on CD, tape AND vinyl. I have dozens of movies on both VHS and DVD. Now MPAA wants me to buy them again on blue-ray. OF COURSE I've downloaded pirate copies of some of these albums rather than convert from vinyl/tape to mp3 myself.

    What if RIAA, MPAA et al agreed to provide "upgrades" to the newest format for 10 or 15% of the current retail price at any store that stocks the item? Goodbye piracy. Studios, agents, musicians, directors, actors and everyone gets a little more money. Think of the money from back-catalog items that rarely sell now. Think of the profit margins when you consider how cheap it is to press a disk. Studios wouldn't even need to reproduce the liner notes and packaging since you have all that from the first time you bought it.

    In order to prevent abuse, I'm sure the industry would need photo ID, one new copy of each album/movie per person, and either trade in or mark the old format as "exchanged." (I like the "exchanged" mark since I'd hate to part with some of the gorgeous old album art.) Another bonus for the industry would be the targeted marketing they could do with the database of customers thus generated.

    Waddaya think? Anyone got an inside connection with RIAA/MPAA?

  30. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Legal honeytrap in the making

    Given the reasons already outlined here and elsewhere, I believe there is only one solution for those who do not indulge in piracy : set up a server that records all traffic between your computer network and your Internet connection. Have it certified by a notary and have a proper backup procedure for the activity logs.

    The day you get your first notice of copyright infringement, respond with a lawsuit for slander or something similar based on your activity logs.

    Do not accept any deal - go to trial and PROVE that they cannot prove their allegations, ergo, the law is unjust and should therefor be repealed.

    Let's get this ball rolling people - for the sake of all the innocent people who will be cut off because of baseless accusations.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Prank Disconnects

    ... The new prank call

    The new cool way to get revenge on people who piss you off.

  32. Steve

    "The real crime..."

    Going back to what I said in my earlier post about the exorbitant charges, look at what was in the news just yesterday:

    "Marilyn Nair, prosecuting, said Sloper was selling sets of the first six Harry Potter audiobooks for only £6.49, compared to a retail price of about £300. "

    £300 for 6 audiobooks ?!?!!? jeepers f***ing creepers !! Is it really any surprise that there are so many 'pirates' (whatever the sense of the word) and that people are happy to purchase from them instead?

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