back to article Ofcom creates piracy havens at small ISPs

Ofcom has decided that only fixed line ISPs with more than 400,000 subscribers will be forced to comply with the Digital Economy Act's controversial anti-filesharing provisions. The communications regulator has informed the Internet Service Providers' Association of the benchmark, and said it intends to publish rules within …


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  1. JasonW

    C'mon Chris, the whole story...

    "The Code will initially be limited to ISPs with around 400,000 subscribers"

    Note the word "Initially". Implies further action.

    "So downloaders who migrate to an ISP not included in the soft launch of the Code will eventually be covered as Ofcom follows the traffic."

    Ah, there it is, next sentence.

    1. Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: C'mon Chris, the whole story...

      C'mon, try reading the whole story. E.g. this sentence:

      "However, a mass migration of copyright infringers to smaller ISPs is likely to prompt Ofcom to cast its net more widely."

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Buy your DVD's/CD's 2nd hand

    if you must buy them. It is the only way we can collapse their business model.

    That gives a big two fingers to the BPI...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I still don't buy the whole thing, record company and movie company figures looks to have held up very well in this recession so i recon the whole file sharing piracy crusade is just an act to generate new law and create work for lawyers and sell DPI.

  4. Matt K


    ...does this mean that, initially at least, the multitude of BT white-label resellers will be exempt providing they're under the 400,000 cap? (i.e. the restrictions apply at the business level, not depending on who owns or provides the infrastructure)

  5. a_c_g_t
    Big Brother

    Offcom or Offalcom?

    Well, it's not really suprising is it that the holes in the net will just keep getting smaller. The metaphoric cast of the net even in deep sea fishing is the expensive and time consuming part.

    Once the nets cast it will just keep on cathing the smaller and smaller tiddlers. Although I cannot condone illigal file sharing. To me Ofcom is a puppet and only ever seems to have teeth when big business decides to put it's hand up Ocoms jacksie to make it do anything. Otherwise it's a toothless nightmare.

    The plus point to all this (if there is one?). All those freetards (I like that analogy!) is

    a) Although there will be a few that filter down to down to more specialist ISPS. In the mind set of many of the freetards they see £14.00 a month as expensive I am sure a good percentage of them wouldn't see any benefits in moving to an ISP charging the £30.00 for what they see as a comparative service.

    I mean they are freetards and as such hate to pay more for something in the 1st place.

    b) It may be the wake up call some need to realise that "you get what you pay for" and will then start to badger Offalcom to do something about the service given by some of the ISP's.

    Initially don't you just love that saying? A smorgus board of beurocratic red tape to come. Please read our 300 page T & C before you enter into a contract with the ISP.

  6. M Gale
    Black Helicopters

    Freetards flock to small ISP...

    ..small ISP becomes not-small ISP. "Problem", if there be a problem, fixes self.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Become your own ISP ?

      Not that difficult nowadays, given an offshore virtual server can be had for the cost of a legit DVD a month. Apart from that all you need is a VPN.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Where are the legal downloads then ?

    So the BPI want to persuade consumers to access copyrighted works lawfully.

    Where are the legal, BPI sanctioned, P2P, download - to -own without restriction services. ?

    In exchange for Ofcom agreeing to send warning letters, the content industries must be compelled to offer these services.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Without even thinking

      Erm, iTunes? Just one I can name off the top of my head - hasn't had DRM for a while as I recall, is most definitely "BPI sanctioned" (whatever that means) and you own it without restriction.

      It's not P2P (well, it uses Akamai's nodes as far as I remember, which is pretty close) - but what advantage would that give you anyway? So far iTunes' servers have been able to saturate my connection just fine without it.

      There are plenty of reasons this bill is wrong, don't muddy the waters by making insane arguments like "I have no legal alternative" - what you mean is "I have no *free* legal alternative" which just makes you sound silly.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Glad to hear I can download full length bluray movies off iTunes now

        I'm glad to hear I can download full length bluray movies off iTunes now.

        Or is iTunes not really a sensible alternative to what you get for free?

        As far as I've seen, most "paid for" downloadable content comes into the low res or nasty sounding categories.

        Always makes me chuckle to see the anti copying adverts that show poor quality on illegal downloads. I find the illegals I've seen have perfect quality and the legal content is shite.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Shift the goalposts

          "I'm glad to hear I can download full length bluray movies off iTunes now."

          Sorry, I mistakenly assumed you were talking about audio services, thus the mention of the BPI? You know what the BPI is, yes?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Two words...

    Seed box.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Filesharing over 3G?

    Yeah right. I have never got a 3G signal good enough to support more than basic web browsing.

    (Except wierdly, the once in the middle of a field in Derby, dunno how that works)

    If course, it may be better in the Metropolis. Personally, i try to avoid going further south than Birmingham except where absolutely nessesary.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Once the nets cast it will just keep on cathing the smaller and smaller tiddlers."

    A fish is a fish is a fish. However, I suspect it is more likely to start drowning dolphins than catching small scale file sharers.

    Look at it this way: if the ISPs / governments / IP groups can identify file sharing then why aren't they going to court asking for money a lot more than they do now?

    So at the moment you have file sharing figures based on a few assumptions, such as the figures plucked out of the air by the record companies and the assumption that most, if not all P2P and large file downloads are illegal.

    Now, we all know that piracy is rife, it always has been, just back in my day we would need magnetic tapes and a bit of effort to copy albums / computer games / record songs off the radio whereas now it is just a case of point and click and you may as well download as much as you can even if you aren't really interested in most of it.

    But that doesn't mean that piracy is as big a problem as the or government tell us it is - to be brutally honest both those groups have serious ulterior motives for controlling and taxing the interweb and very few morals between them.

    So, the article states: "If these do not reduce copyright infringement by 70 per cent in a year"

    But how will they know? It is not like fake Gucci bags where they can count the fakes and see the levels of counterfeit, or shoplifting where you can see discrepancies in stock accounted for - If only 100,000 people buy Lady GaGa's latest musical offering, is that because the rest of the 7 billion people in the world didn't like it, or because they are protesting against her record company's stance on the web or because they pirated it?

    How can you say piracy is down, unless you can absolutely tell who is pirating what, and in that case you don't need to bother with letters and threats, you just go to court and get your money.

    All you can tell is is sales are up, but there are a lot of factors that affect sales (quality of product, not pissing off your customers by calling them thieves and cutting their interweb), not to mention the small likelihood that every act of piracy is a lost sale - which it clearly isn't, the reformed pirate may not have the money to buy or they may not want whatever it is enough to actually pay for it anyway.

  11. Tom 35

    If these do not reduce copyright infringement by 70 per cent in a year

    So they have found some way to measure this? Or are they just going to use whatever numbers the record companies pull out of their butts.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What are they on?

    "the administrative overheads of matching IP addresses to customers and sending out letters would have been disproportionate to the level of copyright infringement on their networks."

    Errr....If I call up my ISP and give them my phone number the little indian (sorry that's politically incorrect, they could also be big indians) can tell me my IP address...Given that it's just a simple query.

    I would imagine that the same table that is used to look up the phone number also has my address...I must be stupid, but how is running a query that takes <15secs to write and run causing much cost? given that any company with any clue on what their business is doing will already store this info?

  13. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!

    I'd like to register as an ISP?

    My customers? Well there's just the one, me!

    I provide the service via radio link, yes wi-fi that's right.

    If companies can do this why not people?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Didn't the tories pre-election say they wanted to get rid of this labour-close quango anyway?

    When's that going to happen then?

  15. Nerd King

    Freetard answer

    For the less-skilled freetard the option is to use the neighbour's unsecured wifi for any porn/warez. For the more-skilled freetard, this is precisely what aircrack-ng is good for :) Penguin cos she gives me love.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ubuntu 10.04 Transmission encryption

    It seems that the latest Transmission torrent client that came with my 10.04 is already supporting encryption and you can specify encrypted channels only.

    All this new, expensive technology they want to bring in and that packet analysis that Virgin is trying out is all going to be totally useless. They'll have to go back to the old fashioned snoop and report.

    But even then they'll have problems because the basic Transmission client also supports proxy requests, so even the snoop and report brigade are going to have problems.

    Why the heck don't they just give up and do what they should have started doing in the first place ... come clean about their own greed and then edicate the people to make freetarding a social no-no.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Thick of It.

    These Media Morons don't get it. £20 for a Blu Ray Movie is not an acceptable price for the majority of the UK population. 3 hours work @ £7.00 hour is not worth one Movie. Can they no realise this?

    People more often than not don't buy media for two reason 1) Price 2) Effort.

    Okay so people can get things for free from the Net, the Media companies will never be able to compete with "Free" on a purely monetary basis. Fine I get that, but carrying on regardless trying to sell things at extortionate prices whilst implementing a Holocaust of Disconnection and court orders isn't going to make you any more money and will probably kill sales rather than increase them.

    The solution is in offering a service and a cheap price either by Unit or Volume via micro payments or subscription fees. So what does that look like? Simple really 8GB 720p/1080p MKV's @ 10Mbit speeds with no DRM for around £1.00 - £2.00. If I get back from work of an evening after earning £50 that day am I going buy a £20 Blu Ray, Download a "Free" copy I have to wait days / hours for or download a £1.50 copy from a fast server within 60 minutes...?

    I don't mean to sound clever, but it's not rocket science.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Too greedy

      Whilst not condoning the actions of the illegal downloaders, I do feel the media industry's greed has been their downfall. They sold DVDs at more than the cost of VHS cassettes, when the latter cost more to manufacture. They sell BluRays at a huge and unjustifiable premium over DVDs.

      So you are absolutely right. The PS3 video store seems to be approaching the right kind of price threshold - although even they are taking the Michael with their High Def premiums.

  18. Annihilator

    Define "70% reduction"

    How are the measuring this? It will *always* happen, you can't count all of it, you can't measure a reduction, so what the hell sort of benchmark are they pulling out of their @rse to define a 70% reduction?

    As an example, I could (if I tried) find 10 cases of infringment today. If I look for 11 tomorrow, does that mean infringement has gone up 10%, or does it just mean I looked for 11 and found?

    Utter f*&%ing fail of a "law" - we can but hope that Nick Clegg grows a pair and challenges it as he promised in the run-up.

    There's a guy that turns up at our pub with a bag full of dodgy DVD's. I reckon instead of nicking him, the police should follow him round and cut the balls/ovaries off whoever buys one from him - that'll sort it.

  19. RW

    A fundamental issue

    It's just fucking music and movies: entertainment; nothing more. Stuff that makes not a whit of difference to anyone's health or safety. And the industries that generate this trash are fairly small in the context of entire economies. Oh, I know, Hollywood would like us to think that they are the center of the economic universe, and it appears they've managed to persuade any number of people of this, but saying something and conning a few suckers into believing it doesn't make it true.

    Why on earth is the heavy hammer of criminal law being prostituted in the service of mere commercial entertainment??? Just who have the media companies successfully bribed? These are companies with more money than they know what to do with, with a very long track record of ripping off the very artists they claim to be so concerned about. Maybe it's true that the real motivation is that the loss of the excessive profits acquired thanks to their dubious ethics means they'll not have as much money for nose candy.

    Britain, according to the headlines I read, is seriously afflicted with feral teens stabbing all and sundry, yet its government assigns scarce (soon to be *much* scarcer) law enforcement resources to entertainment.

    This is plain nuts. Time for government to say "we're repealing all the criminal laws about copyright and you guys are on your own. We have more important things to do."

  20. Anonymous Coward

    This won't work.

    VPN anyone?

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