back to article Anti-filesharing laws are go

The government will press ahead with plans to restrict internet access for illegal filesharers, it was confirmed in the Queen's Speech today. As expected, a Digital Economy Bill will aim to compel ISPs to penalise those persistently observed infringing copyright via peer-to-peer networks. If the overall level of illegal …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @as assessed by Ofcom

    *using limited techniques which wont be able to deal with encrypted p2p so TOR, VPNs and other more inventive approaches are valid.

    and p.s. haha on the extra tax.. i managed to avoid that one by not having a fixed line to avoid the existing BT tax, but fortunately it avoids the new BT tax too!!!

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Yay rural fibre!

    When the rural fibre finally gets here, I can finally use the laptop in the barn for filesharing!

    Oh, wait...

  3. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!


    "The cross-party support for the Bill suggests" they are taking backhanders from the BPI...

  4. Gareth.


    "Details of the measures - welcomed today by rights holder organisations including the BPI and the Federation Against Software Theft - are expected on Friday..."

    Why is F.A.S.T actually called F.A.S.T? I’m sure they are fully aware that under English law theft occurs when someone “dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it” (Theft Act 1968). Surely those miscreants who participate in file sharing are, by the very virtue of their name, sharing files amongst themselves. Whilst this is reprehensible, it doesn’t permanently deprive anyone else of the ability to buy the software.

    A shoplifter who takes, for example, a diamond necklace from a jewellery shop is clearly a thief as I can no longer buy that necklace and the jeweller is deprived the revenue he would have otherwise realised from selling it. Someone who is copying software, however, is not a thief because they are merely duplicating the software and are, instead, only infringing on someone’s copyright. Therefore, I propose they should consider renaming their organisation the Federation Against Software Copyright Infringement Supporting Terrorists – or F.A.S.C.I.S.T. (I actually made up the part about supporting terrorists but I’m sure they would approve of this as it could bolster their raison d’être).

  5. irish donkey
    Thumb Down

    So we choose our ISP's based on Price/Service/bandwidth

    And then somebody else chooses can we be trusted to use the internet.

    Download as much kiddie porn as you like but DON'T infringe our copyrights

    Of course I do expect a surge of jobs in the creative industry seeing as how Filesharing will no longer be killing the creative industries.

  6. Anonymous Coward


    What is the point of representative democracy when there is a whip telling the MPs how they must vote? This is a party overriding the wishes of the constituents.

    Mine is the one with the remote detonator to the explosives that Mr Fawkes kindly put in to place.

    Mind ... if this carries on much longer the trigger will be everybody voting for the BNP - that'll put a fire up the backside of politics, if nothing else.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Rural Fibre

    Well whoop-de-doo....and in the meantime I'm stuck using ADSL over some crappy aluminium cabling that was put in "because it was cheap", meaning I can't get a breath over 2Mbps no matter what package I pay for or what provider I go with......and I live in a city!

    How about they sort out fibre connections within heavily populated areas before they start worrying about farmer giles being able to download his tractor porn a bit faster?

  8. Anonymous Coward


    I'm off to seed whatever I can find that would otherwise enrich Feargal bloody Sharkey. The number of false positives the copyright muppets get is ridiculous, and they should not be allowed to run these sorts of kangaroo courts.

    Sorry to the late John Peel and all, but even "Teenage Kicks" in included here. However, I am sure Mr. Ravenscroft would understand, as he was always the king of the level-headed skeptics.

    Meantime, just remember that this stupidity will just make it harder for the spooks, as people start using various forms of encrypted tunneling and semi-steganographic protocol hiding. Eat that, bitches.


  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What title?

    I've no problem with the idea of sanctions being imposed on people sharing copyrighted material, however it's the method that annoys me. Each case should be properly invetigated by DI Knacker.

    If they want to class file sharing along with crimes such as theft then it must be treated in the same way as those crimes and prosecution should be subject to proper legal process. So that goes: Complaint made to police, police investigate, police pass file to CPS, CPS decide whether to prosecute, case comes to court.

    Or are we going to see the same process applied to theft, or at least theft from large corporations? So where it currently goes: Rights holder complains to ISP, ISP warns consumer, repeat until disconnected. Are we going to see: Sainsbury's complain to police that you stole a packet of wine gums, repeat until police send you to jail? I'm sure that's how the civil service would like it to work.

    This government have spent the last twelve years eroding our civil liberties, but I think this one is a step too far. If it's a crime then treat it as a crime. If it's not a crime then it should be a civil matter between the rights holder and the file sharer. The ISP should not come into it.

  11. Anonymous Coward


    "the 50p per month levy on every landline to fund rural fibre optic rollout was confirmed today"

    So when they've finished rolling out fibre in the countryside maybe I can have a good phone line to my house which isn't strung over about 4 people's gardens and can barely support a 2 MBit connection. and is so prone to radio interference that if my router reboots during the day it can't actually maintain a connection after dark.

  12. Dunstan Vavasour

    Software Theft

    What Gareth said. The offence is copyright infringement, not theft. Surely they could be done for misrepresentation?

    Besides, if the offence were theft, the penalties imposed would be much lighter.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    To misquote Proudhon

    Intellectual Property is Theft

  14. Graham Marsden

    Civil law becomes Criminal law...?

    Illegal file-sharing, copyright infringement and so on are *civil* matters. If someone thinks you have infringed their rights, you *sue* them, you do not get the State to *prosecute* them!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Civil law becomes Criminal law...?

    You're forgetting that the law is whatever the Government of the day says it is. They could quite easily make a law which says that anyone found voting against them will be sent to the labour camps, and that would be The Law. One of the things most frightening about the increase in authoritarianism in the government.

  16. Paul 139

    Legal firesharing

    Oh no, no again. My firm uses a gnutella-derived p2p app for propagating a large decentralized store of lefgal documents from and to its hundred or so field agents. Around a third have had warning letters from their home (and in a few cases mobile) ISPs regarding their use of 'illegal file sharing software', along with threats of disconnection and legal sanctions.

    If ISPs can't differentiate between 'illegal file sharing' and just 'encrypted stuff on port 6346', is plod really going to do any better ?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Graham Marsden et al

    Be careful what you wish for. Not a kick in the arse away from some politician to decide that although illegal file sharing may actually be a civil matter the taxes either still have to be paid or those not paying the tax should be prosecuted for tax evasion, which is definitely a criminal issue.

    Or you could just stop stealing stuff.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Well, serves me right...

    ... for not having copied the entire internet while I still could.

  19. The Boy Wonder


    I'm probably not the only one to think this, but if they eliminate most of the illegal filesharing will there be as much demand for high speed internet? Think about it - all these people who go for the latest 20 and 50meg line from the likes of Virgin... it's not so they can sit on Facebook all night, now is it? Who in their right mind is gonna fork out for the latest 50meg cable line just for a bit of browsing and email?

    I can see subscriptions to high speed internet dropping when the ISPs start getting necessarily tough on filesharing. And when that happens... well, they'll be rolling out fibre and a high speed service that not many will bother using. The two policies seem contradictory in my opinion.

    I'm not a big filesharer, but I know I'll be downgrading to the basic package my ISP threatens to cut me off for it.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    @AC, some time or other..

    You think you've seen "authoritarian", especially in respect to surprise buttsecks for private citizens who upset large companies- just wait 'till you see how enthusiastic the Tories are about this stuff.

    If anyone wants me, I'll be in a cave, waiting for the rubble to stop bouncing.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This could be fun

    Since it is theoretically possible spoof IP addresses, it is then possible to send the coppers after the families of the fools who vote for this nonsense. This, of course, will be made illegal as it is illegal to borrow someone's license plate and drive through a series of red light cameras before replacing the license plate.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    once i've stopped filesharing, what do i need my 10meg connection for? General internet traffic and email can happily run on a 2meg line. I used to have 256k 'broadband' for ages and i can't say it made that big a difference for general day-to-day use, just the rare big file downloads took longer.

    the only thing now is the amount of unneccesary shite that websites throw at you is much higher now.

  23. Peter Kay

    @Boy Wonder and AC re big pipes

    iPlayer and Youtube need reasonable bandwidth, and are used by lots of people. Many these days would probably balk at download times for multi megabyte game patches too.

    I'd say most people don't need much more than 2Mb, even though more is good.

  24. Bassey

    Re AC @ 15:20

    "You're forgetting that the law is whatever the Government of the day says it is. They could quite easily make a law which says that anyone found voting against them will be sent to the labour campst."

    No they couldn't. You're just making shit up.

    There is an upper chamber to review all legislation coming from the commons (although Labour reduced their power). If, after its been rejected several times by the Lords, the commons force it through, it still has to be singed off by the Monarch before it becomes enshrined in law. No Monarch would ever sign such a law and would immediately disband any government that attempted to pass such a law. That's precisely why such a system is FAR preferable to a Republic where, potentially, the same party could gain complete control of all levels of legislature and force through whatever it wanted.

    By having an independent body (the monarchy) a lid can be kept on the government and ensure they act for the people and not themselves.

    Okay, I didn't say it worked perfectly, but that's the theory.



    >Intellectual Property is Theft

    Since piracy - the real kind with boats and shit - can be said to be the illegitimate sequestering of goods on their way to a port, I propose that continually extending the powers and length of terms of copyright and preventing' temporarily restricted' cultural items from ever reaching the shore of freedom (the true state of all cultural ideas and expresion) should henceforth be known as 'piracy' since this better fits the definition.

    Piracy: to prevent 'intellectual and cultural expressions' from ever reaching the shores of the public domain by continually extending copyright legislation be means of lies, false statistics, propaganda and celebrity-driven campigning, the duping of gullible or complicit politicians and bribery.

    It's still not 'theft' of course - as anyone who has bothered to spend more than 10 minutes studying the matter before opening their virtual orifices will tell you.

    Thank you for your time.

  26. Frederick Karno

    Devils advocate

    If they are so sure of their methods they would have used them in the courts, they havent .

    What if, they as they say remove 80% of file sharing and the music industry sees absolutely no change in their profits which is what i suspect. What will be their response then ???

    I suspect that the majority of files sharers wouldnt have gone out and bought the rubbish the industry is producing they are then back to square one, and will blame something else.

  27. Svein Skogen

    How about another three-strike

    How about we get a rule that the third time a lobby-organization makes claims based on dodgy evidence, the organization is forcefully disbanded, and the board of directors placed in custody until we can find the time to prosecute them for their lies on legal matters?


  28. Patrick 17

    more business for the Swedish anon VPNs

    Filesharers will just start using Relaxxs, IPredator, and so on -- that's if they haven't already. This bill won't achieve much.

    Though it will be interesting to see what rewards corrupt Mandleson will receive from the billionaires with yachts to whom he constantly seeks to sell the Government's lawmaking services..

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    dont even waste my time, or effort to either download or listen to half the sh*t the people complaining put out (hello lilly allen, sony bmg...)

  30. TenDollarMan


    Theft is definitely the wrong word. Everyone stop talking about it.

    Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 is the puppy that governs present day infringement.

    There are a number of different types of infringement. Section 17 prohibits copying. The next section prohibits making available copies to the public (prolly a ban on bittorrent, etc). There is also a prohibition against secondary infringement (eg ss 23, 24). Section 50A allows for backup copies of computer programs.

    Prosecution for infringement remains at this time something that the owner of the IP must do. Trading Standards will sometimes do it, if they have the cash and the expertise, usually in connection with the prosecution of people selling dodgy DVDs at car boot sales.

    Have a quick look at the BERR paper on Digital Britain, which describes the measures considered necessary to combat P2P (chapter 7 IIRC). Compare this with Mandy's new 3 strikes version, in which he shits all over the recommendations. This should be the basis of any objection to the law: a man not elected to any office since about 2002 is dictating, contrary to the experts, what the law should be.

    Whatever final form the bill takes will be interesting. I know that not all the ISPs are happy to act as the Government's police (Be Internet for example). Australia's attempt to censor the internet didn't work. Academics suggest that hard law like this forces sophisticated technical work arounds (viz the move from Napster style sharing to distributed hash tables etc).

    Those same academics recommend the use of social norms to exert a gentle pressure against infringement (not the hilarious "you wouldn't steal a car" bullshit pressure), combined with a very easy way of licensing material downloaded P2P stylee (called Voluntary Collective Licensing). Studies show that generally speaking P2P pirates in fact spend more on music and software than non-geeks, and furthermore that they don't want to infringe, but choose to when confronted with expensive DRM crippled shit.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Another tax

    "the 50p per month levy on every landline to fund rural fibre optic rollout was confirmed today" - so will that continue indefinately like the existing 'line rental' tax we still pay now even though it's purpose, to roll out copper across the country, was achieved 20 or so years ago...

  32. Triard

    Wow. Seriously?

    I know that piracy is illegal, but at the same time, this fills me with rage. This cuts off so many people from so many different legitimate uses of Piracy. So many people pirate a few songs, and buy an album, but for people who pirate an album, they probably wouldn't have felt that album worth their 15 dollars anyways. No one is losing a sale.

    Keep in mind, that bands only make a dollar per album sold anyways, compared to the rest going to the recording company.

    Plus, there are SO MANY programs that are overpriced. For example, photoshop. It's worth 100$, and I would very readily pay that. It's NOT worth the 600/800/1000/whatever it's going for now.

    Pretty much, leave the laws alone. By putting this particular block on the private sector (Private ISPs), we're moving towards a form of martial law. "You can't have Internet if you do X, Y, or Z!" Riiight.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    But err

    'So we choose our ISP's based on Price/Service/bandwidth #

    By irish donkey Posted Wednesday 18th November 2009 13:54 GMT

    Thumb Down

    And then somebody else chooses can we be trusted to use the internet.

    Download as much kiddie porn as you like but DON'T infringe our copyrights'

    Do you have illegal copyrighted kiddie pron or are you downloading the legal un-copyrighted kiddie pron? What a wank-fest...and who better than the UK govt to lecture on morality.

  34. Steen Hive

    Shurely Shome Mishtake.

    "As expected, a Digital Economy Bill will aim to compel ISPs to penalise those persistently observed infringing copyright via peer-to-peer networks"

    Penalise those ALLEGED to have persistently infringed copyright! The tyranny of property - get used to it, for this is just the start. Once due process and privacy goes, the rest isn't worth jack shit.

  35. Anonymous Coward


    Piracy, theft, whatever, the greedy corps don't give a stuff what you call it, quite frankly, so long as they get their way with the world's governments. So long as the *AA get to make an example of a few people with Knacker right behind them. Copyright is wrong and someone, somewhere does lose out, no matter how you twist or try to justify it, however cutting people off just for "nicking' an MP3 or an AVI? Come on!

    I do hope that after they have cut a large chunk of persistent pirates off the net and they see the sales do not suddenly rocket, as the rest of the world carries on and even increases their copyright infringement fun, they will start finally think that maybe they have got it wrong. Maybe they should be looking to come up with new ideas. I hate iTunes and Apple store, but you have to hand it to the man, he tried and succeeded where others simply couldn't be arsed to even try.

    I suppose in the end the old saying rings true, "Money talks and BS walks!".

  36. Anonymous Coward

    What should of been in the queens speech

    What should of been in the queens speech should of been something like:

    It will become law that ISP's have to deliever a level of service and penalties will be impossed if they fail to provide there customers what they pay for.

    But hey thats only been an issue since day one, but oh poor customers dont have a monopolisticly funded body to pear-pressure goverments and other World leaders.

    I also feel for musicians now as they probably feel like some Americans did when Iraq was invaded for WMD's.

    Oh a sadder note you know that next year some news paper will highlight file-sharing of music using some ISP that supplies the queen. You cant get the staff thesedays.

    All computers on the internet (or any form of external communications) are not secure, be it today, tomorrow or yesterday. Fact. I'd even say music is more secure than most computers on average, scary heh. All internet provides fall short on what they deliver. Fact. I'd even say more ISP's fall short per cusomtomer than music is `stolen` (pre-viewed prior to purchase woulld be more apt on this as well, given facts). But do we want a law so important the Queen of England needs to make an announcment, no apparently :(.

    Pretty sad state of affairs and pending fallout I'd say.

    Oh another note if i had a CD of some artist and I downloaded that same CD track by track in mp3 format in a way were I downloaded it via P2P but didn't share it, would I be breaking the law and also would alot of ISP knee-jerk protectors falg your as a criminal. Interesting times. I see alot of false-positives and thats not factoring people can legaly have open WIFI and WEP still (WEP being same as open WIFI IMHO).

    You can see why ISP's themselfs are not keen to action this, no-matter there reasons it will be a straw that will only start world-war one on the internet on many levels.

    So badly thought out I'm going to cry.

  37. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Big Brother

    What about

    us muppets who buy games through an online system such as Steam.

    I might want to download 6 or 7 gigs of data once a week as I buy new games, are the ISP's going to be able to tell the difference?

    Big point is that the government are going for punishment of the file sharers for infringing the copyright of the film/music/software industry, which rather seems a case of making a civil offence into a criminal one.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Bassey

    'it still has to be singed off by the Monarch before it becomes enshrined in law. No Monarch would ever sign such a law and would immediately disband any government that attempted to pass such a law.'

    I think you're being overly optimistic there. The sovereign has the option to withhold Royal Assent, but it is generally acknowledged this will never happen to a government-sponsored bill. The last time withholding assent was even considered was when George V wanted to veto Home Rule for Ireland. He took legal advice and was told he should not do so unless the security of the nation was threatened by the passage of the bill. That advice holds.

    The sovereign appoints Lords Commissioners who state Royal Assent on their behalf. Most of the time they don't even get involved with the process, instead; convention states the sovereign takes advice of their ministers - if they say grant assent, it is granted.

    All of which is good reason to ask the Americans if we can have a use of their Constitution. There are far fewer conventions and assumptions and a damn sight more transparency.

  39. RW

    @ Michelle Knight

    Quote: "What is the point of representative democracy when there is a whip telling the MPs how they must vote? This is a party overriding the wishes of the constituents."

    Define "party".

    It appears that under the current British political structure, "party" means "a group of anonymous men in gray suits who dictate government policy without regard to (and generally contrary to) the wishes of the populace."

    Once again, I am persuaded that the key to returning Britain to democracy lies in breaking the back of party discipline in Commons. When MPs listen to their constituents and tell the whips to fuck off, things will be a little better than the current Stalinist sideshow.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Fill your boots !

    Its not law yet

  41. Cameron Colley


    So, we can trust the House Of Lords? Is that the same house that Lord Mandleson is in?

    As for old Betty -- there's enough anti-royal sentiment in this country to make her power of vito less than useless. Remember, she's not as young as she used to be and she spends a lot of time in the woods -- perhaps even with her favourite knife?

  42. Mike T

    @ -

    Now we have a meaningful definition for piracy:

    Vote away to get it up there on the page!

  43. Winkypop Silver badge

    Vote with your feet

    I have long ago stopped supporting big music and film labels/companies.

    Popular music is pretty much shite.

    The Hollywood system is even worse.

    Just don't buy/download/steal/use the stuff.

  44. Anonymous Coward

    Time for Plan B

    Yes, that is a terabyte hard drive in my pocket and I am happy to see you (so I can get a copy of your stuff).

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Having a 50 Mb. bandwidth does not mean I've got it to download a load of old crap off the internet it,s to run 3 computers at the same time( router supplied by my I S P ) File Sharing or whatever you wan't to call it has been going on for decades from the 1st. person to tape the top 20 from the radio and then the cassete tape to tape recorders that would also tape a viny L.P and what about the BBC playing all the latest releases as an advert for the record companies and then charging us mugs a £140 year licence fee so bollocks to the authorities' I think Plod is over interested in computers because that's were the dirty bastards can find all the Porn they love to look at and thats probably why all the police forensic labs prioratise porn cases 1st. and leave other lesser cases (No porn ) till last for monthes on end at times.

  46. ShaggyDoggy

    Taping from the radio

    Am I the only one to notice, that on Radio One, especially on the top 40 show, every track has a little 'damage' in it, either a droput, a click, buzz, whatever ?

  47. Chika


    Let's face it, this is the biggest problem with the advocates of this law (no, not Mandy the Bastard. I mean the wHollyWeird system). They are creatively bankrupt (well, the whole shebang has been run by beancounters for some years now) yet still pump out a ton of shite hoping that we will still pay out the exorbitant fees they demand for it and, worse, they are aware that they are in deep because they know that the only real way to kill a pirate is to make it so that it isn't worth being a pirate, yet dropping their prices is too much of a risk.

    And beancounters hate taking risks, don't they?

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