back to article £15 a month for legal P2P?

Over a quarter of file sharers would pay £14.50 a month for a legal P2P service, according to new survey of UK downloaders. A quarter also agreed with ISPs blocking web sites as a countermeasure against infringement. But around a third of pirates (34 per cent) reckoned that ISP threats would make no difference at all to their …


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  1. Knasher

    Willing customers.

    To be honest I probably much for a music download service as I'm not really a big customer of the music industry. That being said if this included both video and software I would gladly pay around €25 a month. Although for me that would probably signify a cut in the amount I spend in a month, and provided the service was good enough (high quality encodes, no drm, the ability to watch on whatever I wanted whenever I wanted - I would probably be willing to pay up to €40 a month)

    I think the existance of sites like rapidshare and their ilk prove that, not only is it possible to compete with free (after all they are competing with torrents), but people are willing to pay something for what they consume. Obviously a legal equivilent would need to charge more than whatever rapidshare charge a month, but the largest cost with download services must be bandwidth and a p2p service would avoid that, so possibly they wouldn't have to charge all that much.

    I think a far more interesting question to as is if it is possible for the creative industries to make money with a service like this. Honestly I suspect it is, but they really need to start looking at this to see if it is. After all, if the executives in the music industry can't figure out a way to make money off of music, then they really shouldn't be executives in the music industry to start with.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They're joking

    Well, I have to admit it; as an ubuntu user I hooked up to Ubuntu One and have actually spent more than £10 on album downloads. It makes more sense than entire tracks. The system also makes it dead easy to print CD case covers and burn a CD for the car, so I like it.

    The immediacy of it is even better than buying CD's from Amazon.

    So why spend £15 a month when I don't actually consume that much music? I spend about £30 a year, I guess.

    The CD's that come through the post usuallly have a case that is smashed, so the joy of ordering and owning a brand new CD is badly tarnished; and it is getting harder to get the music I want from the high street. The best I can do is order it and have to go back to the shop some days later to pick it up because they are carrying less and less in stock.

    No, the days of physical music media are close to over. The problem is, however, that I have a large enough collection now that I don't feel the need to consume masses of new music. I'd just rather buy it as and when I find it.

    The idea of an album on an SD card is something I think I'd go for now. It would make CD exchangers in cars nearly redundant. I'm just about starting to come around to that technology.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    I already do

    It's called a usenet subscription biatch


    Conflict of Interest

    A key issue is how the communications industry reconcile their responsibilty to respect the privacy/security/integrity of data communications with the crazed amibitions of the media industry.

    The inherent contradiction is that the telcos involved claim they must examine everything all users send/receive in order to check for naughty P2P traffic (only some of which, if any at all, will actually be copyright infringing).

    Bollocks to that. Because I won't tolerate it. The content of my communications is no business of any telco or media tycoon (article 8 ECHR). If my telco does this I will move my account.

    The truth is that telcos can already determine whether someone is infringing copyright by joining a P2P network, and noting the IP addresses of participants. When you point that simple fact out, telco execs (and civil servants who cling to them like flies) go curiously silent, exchange nervous glances, and start twitching.

    Mass communications interception is not required.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Conflict of Interest

      >> The inherent contradiction is that the telcos involved claim they must examine everything all users send/receive in order to check for naughty P2P traffic <<

      I don't know any who make that claim. And they positively don't want to, because it's expensive and pointless. Ask ISPA.

      Have you been eating the cheese that fell behind the fridge again?

    2. I didn't do IT.

      Re: Joining a P2P network

      Unfortunately, you are making the assumption that all P2P traffic is illegitimate, which is a falsehood. In order to learn if participants are, in fact, infringing on a copyrighted work, the telcos must also download the entire file, check it, and then determine if it infringes. Given the attitudes of sharers, "avatar_hq_widescreen.avi" might be a custom ubuntu release, while "linux_image_1058668_dvd01.iso" might be a copyrighted movie. Just to p!ss off the "pirate hunter". ;)

      If, in fact, the work downloaded is copyrighted, but is NOT under license from one of the organizations this "pirate hunter" is affiliated with, they themselves also just infringed without cause ($250,000 fine and/or 10 years for the individual who did it or a case brought against the management of the "pirate hunter" org for EACH infringement in case of automated downloads). This MUST be tracked because without transparent logging (chain of custody), any such "pirate hunter" org would not be able to use any evidence in courts. The next required independent audit would highlight these works and would notify said nonaffiliated copyright holder (for a small fee, to be sure).

      Then they must determine the location of the individual IPs and determine if copyright law THERE allows any action for infringement of said work; it is my understanding that several countries are not signatories of the Berne Convention (or other international copyright treaties), nor does Interpol have total jurisdiction. Therefore, participants from such areas may not be prosecuted for copyright infringement.

      Of course, this also assumes that there is no proxying, IP obfuscation, MAC address spoofing, etc, etc. that would turn an IP only detection scheme on its ear.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Good news I suppose

    At least the music biz FINALLY appear to be thinking sensibly about online business models. Hopefully this will mark the beginning of the end of retarded DRM implementations and shotgun copyright litigation targeted at their own customer base. Assuming they actually get anywhere with this newfangled "thinking" lark....

    1. PirateSlayer

      I agree...

      ...I love this new paradigm too.

      Next I am going to suggest that I want to pay £14.99 for a house. Who knows where this business model can evole to!!

  6. Ned Fowden

    my own opinion

    as a downloader, I would not have bought more than half the music I have done if it wasn't for the ability to download and listen to an entire album in the comfort of my own home, i never did like visiting HMV and standing around listening to pop crap on public headphones while other people stand around tutting.

    plus, I have no plans to change my current buying routine ... listen, like ... buy CD ... not downloads, never downloads, always the CD or DVD.

    as for the future, i think it would make sense for most artists to release online as downloads and through stores to ship CD's and other merchandise.

    oh wait, that is happening already ... so, the recording industry is embracing the technology available already.

    the same goes for movies ... if i like it, i'll buy the DVD ... i don't go to the cinema any more or less than I ever have (except maybe in my teens when i obviously had more time).

    I can't be alone in doing that ... surely ?

    I do believe in supporting the artists which is why I do buy what I like ... although i am questioning why I bothered to buy 30 seconds from mars' last 2 albums

  7. Mike Brown

    yes yes yes

    i would love to see a legal p2p option. £15 p/m would be perfect. id sign up in a hearbeat.

  8. Red Bren

    44% don't like music?

    Perhaps the 44% who don't buy recorded music cannot find what they want, either because their tastes are not catered for or they don't like the way the product is packaged and priced?

    How many of the 44% go to gigs? How many of the 44% listen to the radio?

    This looks like a huge untapped market. Instead of just selling high-priced, low-quality, DRM infested pap, perhaps the music industry should try selling what people want at a price they are prepared to pay. Start with a loss leader to get the punters in, then watch the profits rise as the economies of scale kick in.

    1. Steve Ringham

      "don't like it"? - more like "can't find it"

      Given the enormous range of recorded music available IF YOU LOOK FOR IT, I would suggest that a lot of that 44% don't know what music exists past the crap we endure on daytime radio, and the shite acts churned out through X Factor and Britain's got talent.

      The problem is not one of tastes not catered for, it's one of visibility. It's why I've believe there's more justification for keeping the non-commercial programming of stations such as 6Music and getting rid of chart and major label centric commercial daytime Radio 1.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fair enough music not the be all end all for some

      Seems reasonable, but when we have so many distractions in life already, making time to find music outside your comfort zone can be hard, so often easier to stick with what you know, especially if it's going cost money.

      To some music simply isn't important, everyone has different priorities in life. I do love music and after photography it's my main interest. I go to club gigs to support artists, mainly death and thrash metal, but the music is still within my comfort zone. Like the old tape-trading days, I rely on a network of mates to help inform me of new things slightly outside my comfort zone, as being a married-with-kids bloke I don't always have time to spend hours wading through stuff on MySpace.

      I suspect a large percentage of that 44% don't have music as a priority in their lives. My wife is like that, she will listen to any old rubbish ( she calls my heavy metal, "Dog Music" as it sounds like a pack of dogs trapped in a room ), music is simply a background noise to sometimes drown out the world and me singing/grunting my music!!!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    maybe the industry should just quit complaining

    and ignore the piracy.

    Any claim they make to lower profits or sales is demonstrably false. They're doing just dandy, especially considering that 90% of their customers are broke and soon to be homeless. So why can't the record labels just STFU about the tiny spec of dirt on the back of the otherwise flawless Lamborghini that is their sales figures?

    If I had banged every model in the Playboy mansion, I wouldn't punch Hugh Hefner in the face because one of the beds wasn't made.

    To put it another way, If I owned every building on my street, I wouldn't cry my beady little eyes out if someone broke into one of them and stole 50 pence worth of string from the broom cupboard.

    Do you follow me?

    1. Jolyon

      Problem for some

      It may not be a problem for the industry and it probably isn't such a big deal for Bono or the Rolling Stones but for someone at the beginning of their career it might be crucial.

      I know someone who used to buy a lot of music - always pirated plenty by recording off the radio, taping from mates etc but bought the stuff he really liked. Now he downloads it all without paying anyone.

      Not all musicians can rely on income from live performances and fees from radio play, film soudtracks or use in adverts is not reliable - particularly for someone who is yet to establish themselves.

      It's fine to look at record companies and think we could do without them just as easily as they can do without these small losses but if we want quality new acts coming to our attention then either they have to be able to run A&R operations or (preferably) the artists have to be funded directly by the people who enjoy their music.

    2. PirateSlayer


      I also think the police should ignore small crimes, the tax office should ignore small tax evasion, hospitals and doctors should ignore small illnesses, fire services should ignore small fires, armies should ignore small rebellions, shops should ignore small shop lifts, restaurants should ignore small bill bailers, courts should ignore small crooks, chartered accountants should ignore small accounting discrepencies, structural engineers should ignore small structural problems, chemical engineers should ignore small chemical incidents, air traffic controllers should ignore small safety incidents, schools should ignore small child abuse, hygene officers should ignore small infractions.

      God. If everyone, you know, just ignored like, the small stuff, you know? Like, the world would be so much mellower. Ya follow?

      1. Circadian

        @Pirate Slayer

        Y'know - that *does* sound like a much better place than the one we live in where petty jobsworths do their best to make life miserable for everyone else...

  10. Reality Dysfunction

    but what does your 15 quid buy you....

    I would I guess happily pay out 15 quid a month to have access to all current and archived UK/US (dont watch much UK TV) TV and on release ( DVD) movies ( I do still go to the cinema but only 6-8 times a year for the big screen spectaculars) not really bothered about music as its all gone Pete Tong in the last 10 years but I guess there are still some few good ones out there.

    What would you do about things like the licence fee though?

    Personally I dont have a TV, still watch some time shifted TV via online players but the Beeb just isnt worth the insurance on the toddler target never mind a licence. What would the Millions who do have a TV think of the online "relative" freetards, why would you pay for a licence twice? who decides on the split? would this be a mandatory broadband tax?

    how would it all work????

    would UK bods now be allowed to share files (we payed for the access but to what? to some badly resourced archive of junk or to be allowed to share files between us (in which case how do you stop others outside the uk or wherever pulling the data down) I know that P2P sharing is much faster than any of the current UK online TV download sites and if this was more ubiqitous this would be even faster

    1. M Gale

      Re: But what does your 15 quid buy you...

      I've been saying this about the BBC for years. If instead of a TV license, it cost the equivalent amount per year for one household to have access to the entire BBC archives going back all those decades, I'd pay for it. Bite the bullet and put adverts on the smaller (ie: not BBC 1 and 2) TV stations for the "free" version, with the same old guaranteed no-adverts-anywhere if you're paying the sub. You can keep the government mandate on what types of programming should be produced, so you won't get a slide into cheesy bland commercial crap. You could log into iplayer from wherever you like in the world. Anyone could buy a "BBC License" (sounds so much better than "TV License") from anywhere in the world, too.

      It's still not too late, Auntie. You can become a real worldwide media giant and show people like Murdoch how it's done. Or alternatively, carry on swiping every UK TV owner's money through a tax that's increasingly resented. Your choice.

  11. Big Catastrophe

    I don't like a fixed cost system

    Everytime I hear about a fixed cost system, I think: Who does this benefit most? I think that this suits the record industry far more than it does the artist.

    Think about this for a minute...The record companies must continue to exist to determine what cut each artist gets of the music/videos downloaded in a fixed cost system.

    If however we promoted better value tracks (not the existing 99p per track which is exhorbitant), free of DRM, in a range of formats to suit users needs, then the profit could go directly to the artists.

    In this modern world the only use fopr a record company is to promote an artist and help get them gigs. This could be done on a percentage of take rather than by tying them to the current format of contracts.

    I buy very little music or DVD's at the moment purely on cost grounds. What I do buy, are DVD's once they're in the £3 price range rather than the initial £17 'newly released' cost and as for music, I buy this when I find an appropriate offer - never iTunes, sometimes Amazon but more often online shops seeling discounted CD's.

    How it can be than I can purchase a CD, have the physical thing mailed to me and get higher quality music at a massively reduced cost than buying it on iTunes is beyond me - example 12 track album recently purchased online for £2.79 on physical CD compared to iTunes cost of £11.88 - is the world insane?

  12. weegie.geek


    Spend 15 quid a month on this "legal p2p" with the restrictions that go along with it, be it selection, devices you can use or watch it on or whatever?

    Or spend 15 quid a month on a seedbox, usenet subscription etc, and do all your p2p "in the cloud"?

  13. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Labels love it

    The reason labels like this is because a flat fee means they don't have to actually pay any money to the artists.

    If you download a track by band X then band X get a cut.

    But a general download tax means all the money goes to the RIAA/PRS who take a cut and pass some on to the labels that are in their club (so non to small labels).

    The labels then pass on some to their current favorite artists by some formula they get to decide - so it becomes a way of underwriting the launch of their latest boy band.

    It also gives labels a continuing reason to exist in an age when a band can do a deal with itunes directly.

    In Canada there is a tax on blank CDs to pay for illegal downloads (go figure) but the money goes to the equivalent of the RIAA who spend most of it on fees. - the rest they give to Celine Dion.

    Meanwhile an indie artist that sells their own CDs have to pay a 25c levy on each disc.

    1. JimC

      @Labels Love it...

      Yet another self justifier showing their ignorance... Yes, all the money in Canada from their RIAA may go to Celine Dion (although I doubt it), but that's because there is a complex formula and so on behind it to allocate the money, same with PRS, all the rest of them, which is where the admin fees come from. These superficially simple things are difficult to run: consider the difficulties in counting radio play fees for instance. Now consider how much trouble it would be to establish who is downloading what on bit torrent and the problems multiply...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Internet Not so untraceable

        I would somewhat agree with you, except that radio as a distribution technology has subtle differences to the internet in which case your comparison would fall short. While distribution cost has similar characteristics, the problems that occur with a one way broadcast system are not there for a two way system such as the internet. Problems of tracking usage on the internet is much more that of the users than the technology. Bittorrent may be slightly difficult to track, but consider that this is because P2P/distribution technology on the internet is being driven towards less traceable solutions by obvious causes. Of course, even on the internet with it's two way advantage nothing is perfect. I can personally think of several potential exploits with usage tracking, ways to prevent them, and ways to evade prevention. Overall, with the right measures imposed inaccuracies can be reduced to a level that is statistically insignificant. You could argue "but that's not perfect" however nothing really is. The current system is also certain to be inaccurate with measures taken to reduce this to an acceptable level. In this respect, your objection to "label's love it"'s comment would be justified. If the case he reports is true, that would be a problem with the labels and the regulation of their system rather than the notion of a flat fee altogether.

      2. killzone

        alternatively's time for major artists to man-up and quite expecting to earn millions of pounds a year... at the end of the day it's just a job... why should they get a million pounds a year for doing a spot of work when for example a nurse, doctor, paramedic etc save lives and earn between 20-100k and do a hell of a lot more work into the bargain.... same goes for footballers and other celebrities.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only good pirate... dead or in prison.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Orlowski's article with comments enable... can't miss it!!

    So I should give £15 to someone with the expectation that the content I want is actually provided by someone else of their own will (a peer).... what if the content I am looking for is actually not shared by anyone? Can I get the £15 back?

    I am obviously missing something...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More lossless, please

    I'd download music more often if they actually offered FLAC downloads. Don't see why I should pay more for a lower-quality MP3 when I can buy the CD and get free shipping. (Aside from the immediacy factor.)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    is this a title?

    had a think about this, and id still gladly pay the £15 as long as all the normal places to do p2p downloading still exist. Not some crap drm invested music biz website.

    Id actually pay £30 if it included films and TV.

    with the tax on blank CD's to cover piracy, does this mean that as long as im buying a few blank CD's every month, im except from prosocution and can download happily in the knowledge that im contributing to the BPI?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Probably a bit high

    15 quid is at the upper end of usenet pricing and I'd guess only the really heavy users would pay that.

    A tenner a month seems reasonable but it has as much chance of happening as Ed Balls being elected leader* of the Labour party.

    *I use the word in the loosest possible terms.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    what does my 10p buy?

    I mean, am i getting a fully encoded wma/wav file or some 28k variable bit ripped mp3?

    am i getting a full hi-def movie download with no drm or some 200x300 flv file that's mostly dropouts?

    I can't see this working just because I don't think they will have the full blown pristine copy of the movie or music out there for me...

    anyway, me dial-up won't handle the load.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It already is legal!

    As far as I was aware P2P is legal, as is Usenet services - what is not is the downloading of copyrighted material - which is probably 99% of their use!

    Now, if as I understand this, they provided the equivalent, but most of that monthly charge went to towards the copyright holders, then problem solved.

    A lot of people would happily pay handsomely upwards of the current £15-£20 for an unlimited usenet account for quality of media / files.

    But, I can't see this ever happening - they will want to restrict and control it so much for fear of the leecher who downloads day and night. What they need to understand, is those people would otherwise not buy the music/video whatever anyway - so they are still making money that otherwise they would not have done. That's where I feel they will fail.

  21. Matt 13

    If i paid 15-30 per month....

    Id expect my downloads to not be throttled or capped... and id have fricking steam pouring from my router as I downloaded 24hours a day, 7 days a week, all the current releases as full HD un-DRM'd files....

    if not, feck em, ill just stick to buying the odd film.......

  22. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    There are decades worth of musician's complaints about how the PRS calculates royalties.

    But it's basically done on most record/album sales -> most likely to have been on air -> that artist gets most money.

    When they calculate over the long term all the money goes to Pink Floyd (because DSOM has been in the charts for 100years) , if they use that weeks top10 listings it all goes to latest X factor winner.

    Either way it's a bit annoying for the local band that is playing in the surviving independent record shop.

  23. Vehlin

    TV and Film Downloads

    Any solution offered has to offer TV programmes the moment they've finished broadcasting in the US, if they don't do that then they're ultimately not going to deter the pirates. Sky are showing some US TV shows within days of the US, but they're still being pirated because people want the episode now, not in 4 days time. It may seem like a trivial time difference, but time is money as they say.

    The same has to go for films. The era of delayed distribution has been killed by the internet, it needs to accept it and move on.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    P2P is already legal

    and I already pay a monthly sum for my internet connection.

    If somebody thinks I have infringed their copyright, they are welcome to take me to court and try to prove it, but they can stick the three strikes bollocks up their arse for all the good it will do them.

  25. The BigYin

    Too much

    Personally I can't keep up with what is legally available now. £26 (license fee +p2p) for all you can eat as I am already there. I have about 60hours of recorded movies and 15 DVDs I can't find to watch. I doubt I am atypical.

    We do not need more garbage, what we need is less stuff of much higher quality. Where are the hard-hitting docus? The actually challenging and educational science programmes? Singers who can actually sing?

    Even the current online costs are too high. £1 for low quality MP3s? Sod off. I'll buy the CD (or DVD) and rip it myself. Once I by-pass the region lock, which is nothing more than a restriction on free trade.

    The big labels still do not get that the world is actually global and their business model is dead. Hence the push for ACTA and related to bring in electronic borders and, generally, screw the consumer over. Again.

  26. Dave Cheetham

    I will believe it when I see it!

    All the freetards here posting how they would happily pay each month for their downloads are talking utter crap. The moment P2P became legal they would swap to another one where they didn't have to pay and forget all about their posts here. Freetards are scum! Always will be!

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Too costly

    I get my Music from charity shops for around a £1.

    I buy less than 10 a year. In the past I have purchased vinyl, cassettes and CDs. I shared music with my friends on tape and now USB sticks. Back then I foolishy paid full price and often had the same album in all three formats.

    The music industry can go ...

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Too costly

      OK, you spend £10 a year on music and none of it is new.

      I'm surprised the market researchers aren't beating a path to your door.

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