back to article ISPs told to keep filesharer naughty list

The details of internet users who are accused of unlawful filesharing three times will be recorded on a blacklist so record and film companies can target legal action, rules published today reveal. Ofcom has opened consultation on a draft of the code of practice for enforcing the Digital Economy Act's (DEA) copyright …


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  1. 46Bit


    I'd guesstimate that sales of offshore VPNs by UK customers will gradually ramp up to several tens of thousands of % of their current amount.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Final straw

      Now the copyright mafia have managed to pressure the government to impliment a "naughty list" it's the final push I needed - I've been pondering getting an offshore VPN for a few months now, but I'm not pondering anymore because I'm definitely going to get one.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Putting your P2P client on a VPS somewhere sensible is probably a better option than sharing VPN with the hoard that's imminent....better bandwidth, its cheaper than most services, you own the logs that matter and know you aren't renting from an RIAA honeypot.

      For instance, Spain has ruled that P2P filesharing is entirely legal so long as its not for commercial profit [Google for the caselaw on] - plenty of good DCs there where <10 euros a month buys you an unmetered 10mbps.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      First thing I thought too..

      Giganews already gives away their VPN with the Diamond service, and it is VERY good.

      (Although I moved away from premium usenet for now).

  2. Trevor 10
    Thumb Up

    At last, a work from home business that actually pays

    Upload a bunch of large files with various linux distributions in them named after current high profile films, albums and software to as many public places as possible.

    Wait for the infinging letters, appeal, collect the rewards.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Awesome plan!

      What a cunning and quite brilliant plan! I plan to fill mine with random bytes(*) and keep them around in case I need to provide evidence the files I'm sharing aren't actually copyrighted movies. Short of the company that is making the allegation downloading every single block from me to check whether it forms a valid compressed movie, I'm sure to attract erroneous allegations. I hope the damages award is substantial!

      (* and one of them definitely won't be a hidden Truecrypt volume)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Even better

        Do as suggested above but rig your BT client not to send the first block - That way nobody will even be able to decode your "compressed" file :)

    2. Slackness
      Thumb Up

      Did cross my mind that one...

      5 star sir!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Lol I see a new con brewing. Nice of the government to make life easier for blackmailers and con artists.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Line 'em up!

    Line up those innocent Grannys with no internet, ready for legal slaughter!

  5. DI_Wyman

    I'm on..

    ..the case, already have some official looking headed note paper!

  6. Stone Fox

    wtf happened to our legal system?!

    "accused of unlawful filesharing three times"

    So, Guilty until proven innocent?!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Sadly no

      There is a Presumption of Innocence and the accused will have the option of a Tribunal.

      But since the freetard is 99.9999 per cent Guilty, why bother? This just makes broadband more expensive for non-freetards - most people.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    I, for one, welcome our new postal based IP enforcers.

    I'm currently pounding my downlink (that's not a euphemism) in order to beat the introduction of this (only 41 albums I can't be bothered to rip from vinyl to go).

    1. Scuby

      Fair usage rights?

      If I went and bought the vinyl\DVD\BD etc etc, and then download the same content as opposed to ripping it myself (which in the case of Vinyl is pig to do), then as far as I am concerned, that would be fair usage rights.

      Thoughts, comments, not that I'll give a crap personally, just wonder how many people will agree or disagree.

      1. Subban

        I agree with you..

        ..sadly the courts likely will not, the UK has no fair usage rights. If you get a reasonable hearing/judge then let us know how it works out.

        I've done exactly the same though a number of times though, downloaded tracks rather than rip them off cassette or vinyl, generally folks that know what they are doing have done a better job of it than I could.

      2. Steven Hunter

        How quickly we all forgot...

        How quickly we all forgot

        They tried selling you a CD and then offered to let you download MP3 versions of the exact same songs while you were waiting for to arrive in the mail. They got sued out of existence for their troubles.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Big Brother

        Nice try...

        @Scuby: "If I went and bought the vinyl\DVD\BD etc etc, and then download the same content as opposed to ripping it myself (which in the case of Vinyl is pig to do), then as far as I am concerned, that would be fair usage rights."

        ...but you're not just downloading. The basis of P2P is that you share the chunks you've already downloaded to other 'tards while you download the rest. Thus, you're publishing copyrighted information and uploading it. "Fair use" certainly does not extend to uploading copyright content to allcomers, whether or not you may feel entitied to downloading it for your own personal use.

        This'll be why they explicitly talk about peer-to-peer networks rather than just "downloading" the naughty stuff.

      4. The Original Steve


        I'm also wondering this... I've brought various CD's in my past that are scratched to shit. Also CD's that are missing from jewel cases (although legally brought) so feel it's OK to download xyz album again as I've already paid for it.

        Don't 'they' always harp on about it's a LICENCE i've brought not the media...?

        Anyone know the legal position on this?

        1. Doshu

          The AC above

          Might have a point there. If you're using a P2P client, then you're more or less (insert gray area here) sharing some bits you've already downloaded.

          I'd be of a mind that if you've already paid for it then you're entitled to a free download, but (copy/paste same gray area here also).

  8. Anonymous Coward


    there's a surprise

    Can someone make sure ACS:Law are informed that they've just been handed the entire UK internet populations arses on a plate


  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Digital Economy 2.0

    1) I make up a large list of random timestamps and, say, the entire IP range some ISP uses, and say they've all been seen muddling around with ch1ldpr0n.7zip, and get two of my friends to do the same.

    2) we each ask for one third of the range's associated IDs

    3) and, well, sell them.... profit!

    I can see the businessplan in that alright. Truly, copyright holder industry innovation at work!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Excellent - name and shame

    So freetards who are too dumb to use crypto will become public targets? It doesn't get much better.

    I now have an incentive to become a copyright holder. More fun than shooting ducks at a funfair

    1. The Original Steve

      And by "crypto"...

      ... you mean encrypting the downloading / uploading of the torrent I presume?

      Which does fuck all to protect you from this sort of thing. Try looking at your torrent swarm... see them there IP's?

      Offshore VPN FTW

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge


        you deserve it if you still use torrents. I mean FFS.

  11. Anonymous Coward


    So where are the penalties to be applied for false accusations ?

    I suggest 10% of the copyright holders annual gross profit to be given to anybody falsely accused of unlawful filesharing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I agree...

      Any released and failed prosecutions should be fined, hopefully this will stop them blindly accusing everyone.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Backwards legal system.

    I tend to agree with Stone Fox. This is certainly guilty until proven innocent! What a load of <insert expletive here>!!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reasonable Costs

    "If the tribunal finds in the ISP customer's favour, rights holders and ISPs can be ordered to pay compensation and reasonable costs."


    Is that "reasonable" as in the $1,920,000 in statutory damages that record labels were originally awarded in the Jammie Thommas case?

    1. Subban

      Bit of a difference between

      what the US award and the UK, in principle though I know what your saying, and no.. They get to destroy someone's life but in return would barely get a slap on the wrist.

      Reasonable costs would be phones calls you made. travel costs to get to the tribunal if physical presence is required and that pal, would be about yer lot. Fair does not come into these things in my experience.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      An IP address along with a timestamp and a filename IS NOT EVIDENCE.

      You really don't get it do you.

      What's evidence got to do with this law?

      Presumably all they'll need is a screenshot showing the details you've quoted. I'm sure some of the more innovative scammers out there will have a field day. If they can set up whole website frontends/databases to fleece concert goers, faking a few screenshots can only be a business improvement!

      Still the top prize goes to any one capable of getting an MP to suffer 3 strikes. The more important the politician, the better. May I nominate Harriet Harperson (not that she's important, or ever was).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "evidence ..."

      Quite agree. Can anyone explain how these constitute evidence? They do amount to an accusation (at least that a file of a certain name was transferred), but they do not indicate content. More importantly, incontrovertable proof of the veracity of the evidence is needed.

      The rights holders have to prove their accusation and I can't see that being possible unless the ISP can verify the transfer. And that is only possible if they log all traffic in detail for a substantial time. Can they? Do they?

      If the answer is 'no' to either, then the charges should be easily defensible.

      Or am I missing something here?

  15. Tony Pottrell


    The law refers to "illegal fileSHARING"... If you were to disable the uploading of your favoured client, whether this would still be classed as sharing? Surely in this instance you're simply downloading a file?


    The first letter...

    Dear Ian Livingston of BT Webwise,


    After two instances of mass commercial copyright infringement in 2006, and 2007... we petitioned the Prime Minister, and reported your behaviour to the Police and Crown Prosecution Service.

    But still you ignored our concerns, and proceeded to infringe our copyrights for a third time in 2008. You copied and processed our intellectual property without licence, and sold commercial intelligence obtained from our creative work to a spyware developer.

    We sincerely hope that you are now able to resolve the issue by taking swift and appropriate action.

    Thank You

    The World Wide Web Developer Community.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Dear World Wide Web Developer Community...

      I don't have to take any notice of pleb laws as my friends are more important than yours.

      Its good to talk. Have a nice day.

      Ian Livingstone

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's just an efficiency drive...

    Given that neither police nor courts always have much to do with actual justice these days, they're simply dispensing with both and moving from innocent until proved guilty, over to innocent until accused. A perfectly understandable move to increased efficiency by cutting out the middle man - i.e. due process.

    And - be fair - it's not as though there's one law for the powerful and another for the rest of us...

  18. Anonymous Coward

    ISP 'monitoring' is utterly wrong

    Copyright Infringement on the Internet is the new "wheel clamping" of this decade.

    We all know where wheel clamping has ended up - Government 'allow it' then legislate against it when they realise the companies TRUSTED to enforce it have *surprise* ABUSED their powers....

    EXACTLY what will happen here with these letters....

    History repeats itself in disguise.

    If the copyright is being broken then why not sue the old fashioned way like they used to??

    No? Why not? Oh because they have to provide court-grade "evidence" from IT professionals with proper qualifications that have been CRB checked and are trustworthy people. Also solicitors sign their name and REPUTATION on every letter so they wont be too hasty making any "mistakes"

    With the new system any old cowboy "rights holder" can log on and start threatening people. Who protects consumers from unqualified accusers saying "you're guilty because we say you are" At least with the court option you can guarantee that will be the fairer option.

    ANOTHER BRITISH DISGRACE. An utterly pathetic cave in to brown enelope lobbying.

    If this enforcement was to be fair it should protect all rights holders, NOT just the obese pigs of our society.

    They get "all this protection" what do the consumers get? Not even a whiff of fairness.

    Record label 100...... consumer NIL.... who negotiates such bullshit in their favour ?????

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Just cos you vote once every five years

      doesnt mean you have any say in this democracy - you need the money to lobby politicians on a daily basis for that. And what better incentive than an out-moded business model with nothing to sell to incentivise them to lobby/bribe and cajole.

    2. g e

      Who's allowed to accuse?

      As a copyright holder, .e.g. I make some crap tune on a bontempi, can I accuse someone of distributing my tune?

      Or do I have to have enough money to take someone like Mandelson on a luxury holder to qualify ?

      Anyone know?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    reasonable costs...

    "If the tribunal finds in the ISP customer's favour, rights holders and ISPs can be ordered to pay compensation and reasonable costs."

    Like for Libel and Slander?

  20. Christian Berger

    WLAN Meshes

    So, uhm how long untill those people set up their own WLAN meshes, Cancel most of their ISP contracts and use a single line to use a foreign VPN provider?

  21. Tron

    The moral high ground...

    Record companies selling non-original tracks on compilations. Fraud.

    ISPs advertising 'unlimited' internet services that have caps. Fraud.

    Built-in and designed-in obsolescence for increased profit when we need to reduce waste.

    And of course, record companies targeting a juvenile audience with sexually explicit pop videos.

  22. James Woods

    who sends the letter

    I can't seem to find it in the article, perhaps im blindly looking over it.

    In the US for instance, it's a felony to threaten legal action to someone if you are not the one that would be filing the charges against them. So for instance if im using Comcast internet and Comcast sends me a letter threatening legal action on behalf of another organization, not only is that a criminal charge but you could also sue the beejesus out of them for doing it.

    It's known as extortion, racketeering, and a few other things over here. It would seem to me that the ISP would have to be the one sending the letters because if not they would be guilty of sharing subscriber information with third partys.

    Subscriber information has been protected territory for a long time, alot of people believe that 99 guilty people should walk free to protect the identity of 1 legitimate person not violating any crimes.

    You guys need to have the same legal system we have with this type of thing, show the bullies who the boss is.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @James Woods

      Interesting. Bit OT but In the UK Readers Digest (both before they went bust in the UK and following their buyout) have made a *career* of running competitions, including sending out books, then *billing* you for the cost if you keep them. this includes handing details to a debt collector. Said DC then starts sending out threatening letters of the "We will charge costs etc" type.

      AFAIK this contravenes something like the "Distance Selling" act in the UK but in the US the threat itself would be illegal.

      Just a nice comparison of UK and US law.

  23. Anonymous Coward


    "following a report that your internet connection had been used to illegally share copyright material" [snip] "YOU MAY BE ADDED TO A COPYRIGHT INFRINGERS LIST"


    A "copyright infringers list" is not a "copyright infringement list".

    The headline of the letter is wrong - if you send this I would expect people to sue for libel you.

    A "copyright infringement list" is a list of people that a letter about copyright infringement has been sent to (as per the DEA).

    A "copyright infringers list" is a list of people who are saying *are* copyright infringers.

    Publishing a list of people that you believe to be anything is a very bad idea unless it has been established these people actually are. Even if you see someone infringing copyright a solicitor could argue that you didn't see them at all, perhaps you only saw something similar and thought you saw that - perhaps it was someone else? A court decision would help.

    So feel free to add people to your list but don't be surprised when they sue you for libel.

    Anyone want to tell me I'm wrong and explain why?

    "You do have the right to appeal this letter and the report"

    Evidence consisting of an IP address and a timestamp is roughly the same as evidence consisting of a car registration plate and a timestamp.

    The unique registration / address is an identification, and the time of an alleged event is just that.

    Proving my car should have been the only car with a registration at a given time sounds simple but my solicitor might argue the plate could have been cloned and ask for details about the car (colour, make, etc). As IP addresses can also be used to people who shouldn't be using them (BGP) I'd like to see evidence this didn't happen. (I know this is unlikely, but it is not impossible - perhaps I was one of the unlucky ones)

    I'd imagine the DVLA doesn't store car records in flat text files that multiple members of staff can access / change. Where does your ISP store its RADIUS logs?

    Its one thing to say ISPs needs to keep their records, but are these records kept to a standard they could be used as court evidence?

    BitTorrent works by splitting files into blocks and transmitting those blocks.

    If your evidence is that I transmitted certain blocks to you, then you can prove I had those blocks but not very much more; the blocks alone are unlikely to form a copyrighted work until you gather a number of them together and put them in a certain order.

    If you didn't get a substantial number of concurrent blocks from me then I can likely find another file that the binary data you did get from me appears in.

    Actually proving in court that people are sharing files is difficult, time consuming, and costly.

  24. henrydddd
    Thumb Up


    Long live the freetards.

  25. irrelevant


    It's still open to consultation. I suggest people go here:

    and follow the link to the consultation documents themselves, and read them.

    As well as the filename, they mention using a filesize and hash (md5?) of the file to identify the copyright content. Whilst it's quite practical to manipluate any random linux distribution to have the same size and hash as a DVD of the latest hollywood blockbuster, it is a little more work...

    What I would suggest though is that anybody whom is interested in this actually responds to the ofcom consultation - the more they get, the more they have do to get it ready.

    As for whom can claim infringement? As long as you can provide each ISP with an estimate of how many people you are going to be accusing over the next year or so, and stump up the costs involved, then you are able to claim. Of course, this means it's of absolutely no use whatsoever for 99% of all creative enterprises out there. This is plainly and squarely aimed at the big Hollywood studios' use. Maybe this is is a point that can be mentioned in the consultation process.

    I've written software, and seen it pirated.but this does absolutely nothing for me.

  26. Armus Squelprom

    offshore VPN

    It's time has come - even if you're not infringing Hollywood's precious profits, nobody should have live under this sort of suspicion-based surveillance regime.

    Perhaps the new govt will have the cojones to overturn this madness before it goes too far (eg Dangerous Dogs Act).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Any recommendations for Offshore VPN that score well on the privacy front?

      Offshore VPN here I come!

      If anyone has some recommendations for good ones (with privacy a high priority) that would be appreciated.

      I'm fed up with various parties (ISP Government etc) thinking that they have a right to monitor what I do online (and offline for that matter!)

      I'm sure the nothing to hide nothing to fear crowd will be out in a bit, but I think we all know that flaws with that argument. Oh and I'm sure somebody needs to think of the children...

  27. B Ward

    Can anyone spot a flaw?

    People move houses all the time. This will fuck over the next owners. Sadly resistance to this type of legislation has been not good. When the innocent start getting falsely accused I hope it will create an end to this unwelcome corporate influence over our legal system.

    1. weegie.geek


      Why would it affect the next occupiers of a property, exactly?

      People are blacklisted, not addresses. Timestamps will prove who was the registered occupant at the time.

  28. Peter Hood

    Wifi security

    ISTR reading reports that in Germany innocence is no excuse; all Wi-Fi traffic must be properly encrypted. I don't know if by that the legal system intends WPA (plus the little TKIP matter) not WEP, but I reckon the same will happen in the UK. IP numbers though. Hmm. Now for lots of technically minded people to explain the flaws in this, and in the latest technical developments in cracking WPA (not WPA2). Politicians and civil servants seem to have a touching faith in IT when it's being explained to them by someone with an agenda. Perhaps a night or two down the pub would be better than having an account with my local friendly ISP.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    why not just use SSL on everything

  30. Uplink

    Notice of infringement

    Dear article author,

    I accuse you of copyright infringement. I have no proof, but I enjoy accusing people of things. Now, you only need to more like me and you're toast.


    - Your accuser

    That being said, what stops you being accused for the sake of accusing? I mean, it's the accusation itself that counts, not any proof, so sooner or later everyone in this country will receive a letter like that.

  31. Semaj


    I doubt if the new government could do much with this. I expect that it's all already been signed off. However is it not fair game for their great reform act if they are still doing the whole "we'll ask the public" thing?

  32. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Perhaps deliberately you don't mention if accusation = false

    or whether there's anything to stop, well, anyone from randomly accusing every IP address in the UK of illegal filesharing, and thereby voiding the Data Protection Act amongst others by compiling a great database of UK addresses and personal information.

    Did you say to get in on the consultation?

  33. TeeCee Gold badge

    More Pirates in Hull?

    I blame the football.

    Obviously what happened here is that at the start of the last Premiership season, the entire population of Hull went: "Thar'll be Hull down on the horizon thar for sure, me hearties".

    Once the timber-shivering takes hold there's no way back......

  34. TkH11

    Labour still got their hand in

    Who runs this quango called Ofcom? They're a joke. Probably someone who has close links to Labour.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I've said this before but I think it needs saying again:

    It only takes one person to get hold of XYZ on disc/USB stick and suddenly they can distribute it to their group of friends without going near the internet by physically giving them a disc/USB stick with XYZ on, who can then distribute it to their groups of other friends...

    A 2.5" 500gb drive can easily hold 100 DVDR image files, or nearly 700 avi films (regular 700mb size), and it's pocketsize...

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