back to article Small and mobile ISPs may avoid new filesharing laws

Regulators are considering creating loopholes in the implementation of the Digital Economy Act to allow small, mobile and Wi-Fi ISPs to avoid its copyright enforcement regime. A suggested threshold system would take into account an ISP's size and the costs of compliance before imposing the Act's provisions against unlawful …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Not bad

    Who will be keeping a list of exempted isps? I suspect people will be changing isps monthly since the influx will stop them being small for long.

  2. MrHorizontal

    What's a 'small' ISP?

    This is need to know knowledge for anyone who cares about their privacy, more in response to this fine article than P2P snooping:

    I think you'll find these 'small' ISP's will have a rather interesting proliferation of customers.

  3. Joel 1
    Big Brother

    Rights holders do not provide sufficient information

    One problem is that rights holders do not give sufficient information to track down the file sharers. I have been sent various notifications about alleged file sharing violations, but they always simply give me an IP address (which is our gateway address) and no further information about what the alleged connection was made to at the other end.

    I have logs which will allow me to determine which user has been causing the infringement, but I require more detail to be able to pursue it. This is particularly difficult because the infringement notification is usually for someone offering to serve, but not actually transmitting any bits - and any which are transmitted will be split up between numerous addresses in the swarm.

    If rights holders expect any action to be taken, then they need to give source IP, destination IP and appropriate ports and timestamps to allow us to have any chance of passing their infringement notice on.

    On each instance we have received the infringement notification, we have immediately contacted the rights holder (or their representative), asking for the further information we require. To date, none have even had the courtesy to reply.

  4. Bayleaf

    Hang on

    "no desire from the music and film industries to impose the Act on small ISPs.". Who is running this, the industries or Offcom. Oh, sorry, forget I asked that.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds great

    Eventually someone will wholesale bandwidth allowing people to become their own ISP.

    Why wants to join my AnonymousISP #73017?

  6. Andrew Jones 2

    As an internet cafe owner.....

    As an internet cafe owner with currently only 2 terminals - but possibly going back up to 4 again if the year is good to us -

    how does the new Act affect us?

    I know I am not the only Internet Cafe in the area who is worrying what this new legislation will mean?

    Currently Downloading anything other than Document Files is not permitted, software is not allowed to be installed (without permission) and all our traffic goes via the PublicIP server system.

    There does not appear to be any guidelines anywhere as to how the new rules will affect us, as we currently require absolutely no personal information what-so-ever to use the system (all users are expected to accept the T&C's of using the system)

  7. z0mb13e

    And that ladies and gentlemen...

    is what is wrong with politics. A bill gets passed into law without any real scrutiny, without regard to the 20,000 odd members of the public that sent letters to their MPs. The bill is passed by a tiny fraction of the house and then they say they will figure out the details of implementation later?

    While it is a sweeping generalisation and I try to avoid them unless for comedic value. I feel compelled to state that MP's and politicians are a bunch of fucking stupid, short sighted, self serving pointless waste of MY FUCKING TAX!

    Soz about the rant... fingers crossed for a hung parliament - at least they will all be too busy bickering amongst themselves to pass any more legislation...

    1. John Lilburne

      When it comes to a rant ...

      Just substitute your favourite politician for Haslerig

      A preparative to an hue and cry

      [Haslerig hath outstript the Earl of Strafford, in traiterously subverting the fundamentall liberties of England, ... and better and more justly deserves to die therefore, then ever the Earl of Strafford did ... by which tyrannicall actions the said Haslerig is become a polecat, a fox, and a wolf, ... and may and ought to be knockt on the head therefore],%20John,%201614?-1657%22&offset=44&max=301

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge


      Exactly. I wrote to my MP for Dundee West and guess what? He did not reply and did not attend the vote.

      Whether you are on the P2P side or the fights-holders side of the debate, I would hope you can see that the DEB has been a travesty of legislation as it was rushed through without adequate scrutiny, and by MPs that in the whole know f*ck all about the ramifications of a number of the key points.

      Best thing that could happen is a hang parliament (or Liberal victory - some chance) that results in fundamental changes to how law is made. No more 'party whip', an end to rushed-though legislation, and some method of ensuring that concerns voiced to MPs are actually considered for once.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Problem is...

        The damage may already have been done - who in a hung parliament is going to withdraw this legislation pending proper analysis of it? We appear to be bashing out the details after the fact - a hung parliament could be beneficial to industry lobbyists wanting some extra <cough> provisions inserted because, well, if they're too busy in-fighting to make crap legislation, they'll be too busy in-fighting to argue about anything useful, because without all-party support, being seen to be pro-or-anti anything will serve only as ammunition for the opposition party to twist into some sick points-scoring competition.


        What we REALLY need is a party who will repeal most of the laws made in the last, say, eight years and who will think about what is actually required and how they wish to achieve it.

      2. Plasma

        Re: @z0mb13e

        I wrote to my MP too, and she failed to reply. Until, that is, I submitted a Freedom of Information request which she is obliged to reply to.

        Turns our 22 constituents contacted her about the DEBill, 16 against and 6 for. She voted FOR the bill, because she "thought the government were taking the right approach". Checking out her history, she's toed the party line on pretty much every single vote about everything ever.

        Hung Parliament FTW (if that works as a concept!)

      3. Richard 12 Silver badge


        I also wrote to my MP.

        He did at least reply - and then voted with the party whip, even though he couldn't give me any arguments *for* the bill and agreed with me that it hadn't had enough debating time.

  8. An ominous cow heard

    Small ISP = ?

    Small ISP = anyone smaller than BT Retail, please?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      a definition of small

      A fucking electron microscope will be needed to count BT Retail's customers. It's the only equipment which can work on such tiny things.

      Paris icon 'cos she can cope with a the biggest customer base.

  9. Frumious Bandersnatch
    IT Angle

    where is it?

    The suddenoutbreakofcommonsense icon, that is?

  10. Mectron

    since P2P piracy

    is at the lower end of severity of a criminal act

    1. If a right s holder suspect piracy he should complain to POLICE

    2. Police will process it when all other higher priority cases are solved.

    3. If a rights holder is breaking the law (break and entrering, illegal snooping, honey pot etc.,,,) he instantly lost any (c) and all it's right go to the public domain.

    See? not that hard to solve the problem and no need to FORCE ISP to serve KNOW and PROVEN ILLEGAL interests such as the RIAA/MPAA

  11. Chris Hance

    This cannot pass.

    It actually encourages competition, instead of forcing everyone into the clutches of our corporate masters. Somebody obviously forgot to bri... er, explain the issue to the right politician.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Filesharing... at no end of a criminal act.

    Filesharing of copyrighted material is currently an infringement of the civil rights of the holder of the copyright. It is not a crime, and the police will not get involved. If caught, you might be sued in the civil courts, but at no point would you be facing a criminal conviction.

    Beware though; as a filesharer, you may be in danger of being labelled a 'freetard' by one of El Reg's resident journos.

    I agree with you. It's not that hard to solve the problem. In my humble opinion, all it would take is for filesharing to be granted a compulsory blanket license, as happened the last time technology caused an adjustment in the core value of music. I speak of the invention of the radio, some 90 odd years ago.

    I'm sure the paytards would disagree with me though.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Actually, there isn't a problem to solve. At all.

      Not in legal terms anyway.

      There's already multiple methods rights-holders can use to enforce copyright or punish copyright infringement*.

      They've been around since the start of copyright as a concept, and they are still available. The burden of proof isn't very high - "Balance of probabilities" - and they're pretty cheap to do (£40 or so, plus the lawyers which they already have)

      British Sky Broadcasting have no trouble going after people who use various nefarious methods to receive Sky channels they shouldn't, so why is it so hard for other rights holders to do the same?

      *Not theft. There's no such thing as copyright theft, with the possible exception of somehow managing to fraudulently get a copyright assigned to them instead of the rightful owner. I'm not even convinced that would count.

  13. John Tserkezis
    Thumb Up

    No problem.

    I see the handful or so of large ISPs serving everything bar P2P traffic, and the remaining hundreds of thousands of itsy bitsy teeny weeny ISPs serving the rest.

    All this will do is improve the pirate network resiliency. Take one tiny ISP down and you take out perhaps a few dozen users. Only hundreds of thousands to go. Whoo hoo!

    I can't complain too much. I live in Australia where you usually have the luxury of choosing who will point fingers or not. The only thing we have to worry about is our to soon to be implemented Internet Filter, and heck we don't even have to get out of our chairs to work around that one.

  14. Jonathan Dixon


    And what about the micro ISPs that do not own their network . There are lots of WISPS out there powered off banks of normal ADSL lines from BT, O2, Orange etc?

  15. Francis Davey 1

    No need to worry just yet

    @Andrew Jones 2: at the moment the bill doesn't affect you and your business because not only has no code of practice governing the initial obligations been approved one is yet to be drafted. As this article explains, there's still a lot of detail to fill in. That detail will, crucially, decide whether you will have anything to do at all and, if you are required to do anything, precisely what.

    This is why lawyers are generally not rushing forward with guides to the DEA - anything we write now would be full of so many ifs and buts its not likely to be particularly helpful.

    That is already the situation for an open wifi operator, as I observed a while ago, in theory you could be made to do a lot of work recording details of the use of your system, but in practice you aren't, see:

    I hope to post some more useful analysis of the DEA as the codes of practice become clearer.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    If you don't want people to "share" your stuff...

    ...don't put it on the internet. In fact, don't release it at all.

    Most musicians wouldn't be musicians now if they hadn't got tapes of recommendations to listen to. Sharing music is how musicians LEARN.

    Musicians who argue that people should are not necessarily wrong: but excessive. Person copies file from someone else -> possibly likes music -> possibly buys more stuff -> possibly goes to gig. The musician does not really lose (if the musician handles his/her business; obviously if a label handles it, THAT'S where the complaints might start...).

    The DEB's a joke; there will always be loopholes; people will always be able to copy things. We can only hope the government will consult people with some sense-

  17. Anonymous Coward

    I am Spartacus!

    I have a router, a firewall, a switch, a web server, a DNS server, and a network of computers.

    I provide connectivity to a community of ungrateful internet users at 1 Privet Hedges.

    I am an ISP.

    PS. I have bad tempered poodle, it is a Dangerous Dog.

    PPS. /facepalm

  18. Anonymous Coward

    poor artists

    it's just not fair that they can't earn even more money. There 1000's of pounds aint enough.

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