back to article Double whammy: The music tax based on deep packet inspection

"The innocent man must be punished!" - Mark Corrigan "If you start treating everybody like criminals, then pretty soon everybody starts acting like a criminal," says PRS economist Will Page, referring to the Spanish digital music experience. Spain is the best warning yet of what happens when you slap a clumsy music tax on …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    If they impose a tax / levy...

    ..then I will start downloading material "illegaly". After all I've paid for it.

    So I will go from someone who buys music, to someone that "steals" music.

    Yup, great plan.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Indeed. Why pay twice? I'm not currently a freetard, but this would certainly convince me that I'd paid enough times already.

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Just like Spain

      Yes, as said, Spain has the Canon tax. You pay it on anything that may even slightly be used to infringe copyright. For example, the CDs, DVDs and memory cards that I have to buy for my photography as a copyright creator, but also my camera equipment, and even PC speakers!

      People here say "Well I've already paid to copy it, so I will..."

  2. Number6

    Page is Correct

    If I end up paying towards an ISP levy to cover filesharing then you can bet I'll join the party and benefit from some of what I'm paying for.

    It's a bit like the threat to tax people on work-provided car park spaces in a misguided attempt to discourage people from driving to work - if I'm paying for it then I'm going to get the maximum benefit from the space and drive to work every day, rather than use the bike if it's a nice day.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    "Freetards bring home no more revenue

    than a granny who only uses her connection for Hotmail".

    Then that's because Andrew Heaney's pricing model is a pile of crap.

    Charge by resource consumption, and excessive freetarding goes away (and/or your revenue from freetards goes up). And when your revenue goes up, you have more to invest in your infrastructure.

    Flat rate unlimited internet access is madness. It simply doesn't work because Freetards and Grannies have different usage expectations.

    And the more bandwidth you provide users? The more you realise flat rate pricing is an utterly broken, utterly unsustainable model.

    I'm off to turn the tap off back home. Its been on for a week to fill my pool. Meanwhile, I usually leave ALL the lights on at home to avoid wear and tear on the switches. And the gas is left burning day AND night so I don't have to buy matches. And I pay 10p/day for this unlimited utility service.

    1. copsewood

      If there are many "flat rates" in what sense are they flat ?

      Just review the consumer and business connectivity products at a selection of ISPs, and you'll see that different speed/usage specifications are available for different customers at different prices. Chances are that Lil Granny can find an offering that costs less than the one which would suit Bill Moviebuff who wants and can get a much higher Gb/month cap without rate limiting. ISPs are increasingly rate limiting heavy users until they upgrade to a higher cap at a higher monthly fee.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Pricing structure

      Thanks for saving me the typing.

      So, er, would one of the 5 (as I write this) morons who voted down this eminently sane post care to advance their Nobel prize-winning (for surely such a reversal of natural economic law would be worthy) theories of just how ISPs ought to be able to make money appear out of their arses rather than having to earn it by charging for a service?

    3. Mark 65 Silver badge


      Absolutely agree.

      "Despite what TalkTalk's Andrew Heaney says, ISPs really, really hate freetards - they run up most of the transit costs, but despite their evident appetite for media consumption, these subscribers bring home no more revenue than a granny who only uses her connection for Hotmail. "

      Well if ISPs didn't oversell backhaul so much it wouldn't matter would it. If I've paid for 30GB of bandwidth I shall damned well use it - we have a contractual agreement and I paid so I shall. Dont like that or chose to sell "unlimited" bandwidth connections? Tough shit.

      If they bring home no more revenue then your business model is utterly stupid and you deserve to fall by the wayside.

  4. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Moola 2 musos

    I think a lot of freetards would take a more sympathetic stance towards paying for the stuff they downloaded if there was an assurance that what they did pay went to the musiciands who had created / played that stuff, rather than to the large corporations.

    So if someone downloaded a track and then got an email from the band along the lines of

    "Dear Mr. Freetard, we noticed that you downloaded one of our albums yesterday. We hope you like it. Normally we'd make about £1 if that CD was sold in the shops. So, tell you what, rather than have our record label haranguing you for 20 grand to pay their lawyers, why don't you PayPal us a quid and we'll call it a day?"

    If the entire music industry could be brought down to that level, 2 good things would happen: the musicians would get more money, paid directly to them and lots of record company employees and their lawyers would have to get real jobs.

    Now obviously, someone would have to pay the costs of recording the album in the first place - and that would need some organisation. However, for all the music that is deleted or unavailable to buy there is nothing but a win all round. Maybe some of the revenue from online "real-price" sales of that could be used to bankroll the next generation until they become profitable in their own right?

    1. Dave Bell

      An extra little detail

      Many contracts between bands and record publishers require the band to pay for making the recording. Big money, and big costs, for the musicians. There was a time when that might have seemed a good idea: some groups in the late Sixties were very inefficient in their use of expensive recording studio time.But it means that your idea makes a lot more sense.

      Though there's still the problem of getting publicity, so that a recording sells.

      1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

        Er, you do know what "publisher" means, right?

        "Many contracts between bands and record publishers require the band to pay for making the recording. Big money, and big costs, for the musicians."

        Yes. Because a publisher exists to *sell* the work. They're not *supposed* to be The Royal Bank of Sony: they'd much rather bands came to them with *completed* works.

        These up-front advances on royalties are exactly the same thing as advances paid to novelists. They're basically a *gamble*—taken by the publishing company, record label, whatever—that the content creator will *make a profit* from sales and gain that advanced money *back*. And then some. It doesn't always work. In fact, it works very rarely. All the flops are effectively subsidised by the occasional hits.

        If you asked any businessman in another market to look at this model, they'd think you were stark, staring mad.

        The *correct* solution is to *kill off the advances* and let publishers revert to their original, long-ago business model of simply taking a completed work and getting it into the shops, be they online or bricks-and-mortar.

        If the artists think they're that bloody awesome, they can pay for their own damned studio equipment and living expenses until they "make it big".


        Enough with this "poor, starving artist" bollocks too. If you're good enough, there *will* be people willing to help you. Just learn to make contacts and be frugal. You can record a perfectly saleable album with just a microphone, a guitar, a laptop, and a quiet place to work.

        Hell, people have recorded entire albums entirely on a computer. If you can't—or, more likely, won't—hold down a McJob long enough to pay for the equipment, which is far, far cheaper today than it once was, then you're doing it wrong.

        Quit relying on credit. Let the publishers deal with the *publishing*, and do the rest yourself.

        1. scrubber

          And in the real world...

          Artists present record companies with demo's, or an amateur effort, and the record company decides it will make more money from a polished product and so hires a studio, proper sound engineers and all the other people that make an album sound good.

  5. Tom 7 Silver badge

    The real villains in this

    are the music industry parasites.

    If you hijack a market space and make the customer pay 10 times the 'cost' of product you severely restrict its sales potential.

    Most musicians get less than 10% of the sales price of their work - if they haven't been completely screwed over in the contract department already.

    If you were to pay a similar markup for milk - how much would you buy at £20 a pint? How many dairy farmers would be left? Now consider how many musicians the music industry has really helped and not shafted big time

    1. Steen Hive
      Thumb Up

      Quite Right

      The top two richest people in the worldwide "music rich list" can't play note between them - they're not creators, they are a coke-snorting, talentless waste of skin.

      Pay creators all you want, but never pay a record company anything if you can avoid it.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      "If you were to pay a similar markup for milk - how much would you buy at £20 a pint? How many dairy farmers would be left? Now consider how many musicians the music industry has really helped and not shafted big time"

      Go and take a look at the state of UK dairy farming, and the way the big dairys treat farmers then re-think that...

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re Milk by AC

        I live on an ex-Dairy Farm next to two dairy farmers. Both get screwed by big industry monopolising someone else's creativity/production.

        If Milk was £20 a pint they'd be out of business a lot faster than they will be if things carry on as they are. A percent or two of dairy farms might just make a profit. They live in the false hope that capitalism will offer them an honest return.

        A lot of young musicians live in the hope that the RI will give them an honest return. A percent or two seem to become very rich. The urge to make music is a lot stronger in people than it is to make a loss at dairy farming so the RI can cream off a lot more off the top.

        I can expand almost indefinitely but what is there to rethink about the original post?

  6. Tom_


    What angers me about all this talk of music related legislation and fund raising is that it's not what the internet is for or about. It's just one minor use of the internet that some people exploit and many others don't care for and aren't involved in.

    Hey, music industry, nobody cares. Shut up and shit off.

  7. The BigYin

    Even if it were legal...

    ...the creators wouldn't get paid "Hollywood Accounting"/"RIAA Accounting" and all that. Just ask the likes of Michael J Straczynski who gets nothing from the continuing "Babylon 5" revenues. Or Peter Jackson who had to sue New Line Cinema in order to get his share of the profits.

    This does not excuse piracy of course (just in case anyone thinks I am advocating that) but it goes to show that the *entire movie/music industry* is screwed from the very start and the argument of tax/Deep Packet Inspection/DRM/whatever as a measure to protect the income of the creators is utterly fallacious.

    The *only* reason the RIAA/MPAA/BPI etc are fighting this is because the free flow of content from the creators (pretty much) directly to the consumer screws the revenue stream of the big corporates. Despite the fact that this method of distribution is actually better for those with the talent!

    The pirates are providing the service the people want. If you want to get rid of the pirates, then you need to provide a better service (without screwing with people right to fair use).

    As others have said, if people feel like they have already paid for it - they will just reach out and take it.

    Check out the likes of Jamendo and Magnatune for some idea of how it could work...

    1. Luther Blissett

      Thinning the middle man

      Traditionally contracts have specified preferential returns to the companies, so artists get paid only when sunk costs have been covered. This tends to make the best selling artists most conspicuous in their personal consumption, and it can hardly surprise that this involves egregious aesthetic expense - tasteless is as tasteless does. Yet recording an album may have a budget typically anything between $5k and $250k, and marketing the same again. Once a deal is signed, the company makes the decisions. Is it worthwhile? Many anecdotes say no, unless you hit the BigTime. It would be interesting to know if any serious business research has been done into how effective record companies are at productizing their 'ideas' (artists) compared to other product types.

  8. Gordon is not a Moron

    The four horsemen are on their way

    I will put my hands up to being the occasional freetard, but with an ISP levy I'll be subsidising the more frequent freetards which isn't right. Also the non-freetards will be subsidising me, for something they never do, which is bang out of order.

    The idea of giving a license to an ISP is good but needs a few changes. The license needs extending beyond just music to include films,tv, books etc. The pricing needs to be looked at closely as the ISP's will still be competing with free "services" whilst the production\distribution costs of the copyright holder are going to be zero. Price it too high, no-one uses the service and the copyright holders turn around with the "all freetards are thieves" canard, to demand shutting down the internet.

    And why the horsemen? Well I'm agreeing with Andrew about something, so the Apocalyse can't be far behind.

    1. Chris Campbell

      Re: The four horsemen are on their way

      "I will put my hands up to being the occasional freetard, but with an ISP levy I'll be subsidising the more frequent freetards which isn't right. Also the non-freetards will be subsidising me, for something they never do, which is bang out of order."

      I will put my hands up to the occasional visit to the hospital, but with my taxes going to the NHS I'll be subsidising the fatties and the clumsy people, which isn't right. Also, the really healthy/careful people will be subsidising me, for a service they never use, which is bang out of order.

      Get the point? All taxes are the same, we all pay it, but don't all get equal benefit from it, sometime no benefit.

      I'm still against a tax on ISPs (or anyone else) that is used to fund the music industry. My main issues with it are in the distribution of fund between artists, and that fact it will kill the genuine music business, because effectivly - through the tax - everyone has paid for every peice of music ever created in the past and present.

      1. Gordon is not a Moron

        Re: All taxes are the same

        Oh no they aren't. NI , PAYE & Council Tax are ostensibly there to keep the lights on and provide the basic normal stuff we expect from the Government. The duties and booze, fags, luxury foods & fuel are as much social engineering as revenue raising, these things are bad for you\others therefore we'll make you think twice about buying them by artifically jacking the price up. The ISP levy is a social engineering charge which goes to the music companies and not the Government, well except for the VAT that'll be put on it.

      2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: The four horsemen are on their way

        Good point.

      3. Anonymous Coward

        erm... ok...

        You pay taxes to the NHS because health care is expensive - the tax is there to level out the costs to everyone - this is fair.

        Paying taxes to subsidise those who STEAL is not the same. The product the people are stealing is perfectly within their means (or they can just do without). Paying to allow these people to indulge themselves in an illegal activity is not fair.

        Many rich people have boats - perhaps we should tax everyone to provide funds for the upkeep of these boats? Maybe we should tax the poor so the rich can go on holiday? - it's your logic.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: erm... ok...

          "You pay taxes to the NHS because health care is expensive - the tax is there to level out the costs to everyone - this is fair."


          "Paying taxes to subsidise those who STEAL is not the same."

          That's cloud cuckoo land.

          The proposed tax is to subsidise the very rich as a reward for sweet FA.

        2. Gordon is not a Moron

          re: erm... ok...

          just two minor, tiny points. Downloading copywritten material is not stealing, nor is it illegal.

          Copying a CD is not the same as stealing one. If you steal it, there is lost revenuve plus the cost of buying replacement stock, by copying it the revenue is lost but there are replacement costs. The record labels probably prefer that people shop lift rather than copy, as they take thier cut out of the wholesale price when shops order stuff.

          Also it's not a criminal matter but a civil offence, so it would be unlawful and not illegal. Civil cases have lower burden's of proof ( guilt based 'on the balance of probablities' and not 'beyond reasonable doubt') and lower penalties to along with it. The record companies want the to keep the civil burden of proof but impose criminal penalties.

          The judge in the $67,500 torrenting fine knew the difference

          as did the Dark Lord Peter Mandelson, when he was pushing the Digital Economy bill through.

  9. Wommit

    Daft idea

    I drive to the station, but park my car on the road as the station car parks are just legalised extortion.

    I buy CD's and DVD's, bought four CD's last Saturday, got three DVD's the weekend before. However if I'm forced to pay a levy for P2P sharing, I'll download a bittorrent client and go for it. I can get a 500GB portable HDD for less than £60, I've lots of USB ports spare.

    Give me the choice of paying to legally download and I'll look at what's on offer, the price and the limits (there's bound to be some) and compare these against the stuff I like, the amount I want and how much I want of it.

    Then I'll make _my_ choice.

  10. Captain Underpants

    Heh, I can see where this is going

    "Oh, it's a levy to compensate us for rampant piracy!" Except of course that the numpties claiming that piracy is the only source of damage to the entertainment industry never seem to know about things like newsgroups or IRC, it's just the Napster du jour they bleat about.

    But anyway, say this gets brought in. What'll happen? The same feckin' thing that happens with the tax from booze and fag sales. Will it all be earmarked and spent exclusively on tackling the issues which we were told could only be addressed by having these taxes?

    Will it fuck. It'll go into a big pot and get spent as seen fit by a bunch of elected types or their duly appointed representatives, who like to think they know what they're talking about and tend to get fleeced by salespeople who know a good opportunity when they see one.

    Saddest thing of all is that the ISPs are probably secretly dying for this - it'd be a great excuse to raise prices now that they've all realised that the race to be the cheapest provider was a mug's game, and now every punter out there expects to get their broadband for about £2 a month. Which is great for muggins like me who'd quite happily pay substantially more for a reliable, decent connection (Virgin Media's 50MBit package currently gets me ~17MBit, and I'm in central's not bad, but it's also not really what the name suggests it should be, is it?)

    Feckin' telcos, man.

  11. Jeff 11

    DPI is pretty useless...

    BitTorrent - 'Enable protocol encryption' - DPI nullified. This sort of crap might make it a default.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      encrypted or not...

      ...Speaking as someone who works with deep packet inspection. Encrypted or not, P2P sticks out a mile, it may as well have a big bright neon sign pointing to the traffic. Encrypted simply means it's harder for us to see what is travelling over the pipe, but in most cases the endpoints have their file listings unencrypted so that their files are discoverable.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pfft, never happen

    That will be like saying if you walk through a shopping centre, you have to paysome monies to the music industry because some people knick CDs.

    Besides this stuff is soooo counter productive, the last time I bought a CD was Gorillaz, Deamon days, I put it in my PC to rip the tracks to MP3 to add to my library and it wouldn't let me because of some bullshit DRM.

    I haven't bought a CD since.

    In fact I haven't bought any music since but that's mainly because nowadays it's mostly whiny, mamby pamby, bullcrap sung by pretty looking simpletons, but that's another rant altogether.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Pfft, never happen

      OK, so you don't like music. You don't buy music, and you're out of touch with modern tech (DRM disappeared ages ago).

      None of this really qualifies you as a music consumer, does it? Or put another way, you've sort of opted out of the debate about what kind of music services we want.

      1. DavCrav


        No it doesn't. It opts him out of a debate UNLESS he's going to get shafted with a tax even though he has nothing to do with the industry. Which was the point of the article, surely?

    2. Gordon is not a Moron

      Re: Pfft, never happen

      Hate to break the news to you, but that Gorillaz CD you bought, part of the cost to you is an "insurance" put on price by the store to cover defective\stolen stock so to use your words

      "you have to paysome monies to the music industry because some people knick CDs"

      1. Just Thinking


        High street retailers sell stuff for £X.99

        Minor costs such as shoplifting don't affect the price at all, unless they are big enough to affect X. That's even before you talk about loss leaders, 3 for 2 etc

      2. Anonymous Coward

        @ Gordon is not a Moron

        Indeed it is, it’s the shop selling the goods that have to have many kinds of insurance, not just to cover against theft.

        But it's all besides the point. Shops are just covering the cost of running their shop by selling stuff at a price point that makes sure they turnover enough money to pay for their running costs, WHEN SOMEONE BUYS THEIR STOCK, I don't have to pay it when I buy cake from the shop next door.

        The music industry (producers, not shops) are suggesting you pay them money regardless of if you're even remotely interested in their product and that is ridiculous. Why would a few big, bullying corporations get to have their own special, Government enforced, un-touchable revenue stream? It's absolute bullshit.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tip of the iceberg...

    Of course, once they get these rent payments then they will put the rent up next year, and the year after that too. Naturally, it will NEVER go down. What crazy landlord lowers their rent? Rents go UP over time, not down.

    So they gain a guaranteed income (of which they will want more and more) and since they are guaranteed this income, whether bands succeed or fail, whether a song sells or not, then the motivation to progress is all but virtually removed. No new music is needed, just a hefty back catalogue which they already have.

    Thus, It automatically becomes far easier to simply find an excuse for putting the rent up, rather than sinking money into risks that may or may not succeed. That is a given, for that is business. Except...

    Then the Movie industry will want their tax.... then the book industry... then the software industry... etc. etc. Anyone and everyone will be wanting a rent paid to them too. Why not? It's the same for them as well as the music industry. Come one, come all! Pay one, pay all!

    All of a sudden you are beholden to half a dozen industries and you were never allowed to utter even a single word in defence. Shut up and pay up.... or else!

  14. Citizen Kaned


    sure, add a tax on my broadband. then watch as i stop buying music and just downlaod it. after all, if you are charging me for something im not doing, i might as well do it eh?

    isnt this just like the fact there is a tax/levy ion blank media. so my company gets ripped off every time we send a client a cd or dvd.

    @ "Charge by resource consumption, and excessive freetarding goes away (and/or your revenue from freetards goes up). And when your revenue goes up, you have more to invest in your infrastructure." - i just downloaded 2.5 gb of data for a game (updates to bf2 lol) - are you saying that that should cost me extra? when normally i dont download anything other than paid for mp3s from

    1. The BigYin

      @are you saying that that should cost me extra?

      I think they are, and that makes sense. It's extra use. Just like if you decide to wash the car in a metered water area, that costs you more.

      What we'd need, of course, is clear pricing (e.g. £1 per GB of part there-of). Not some confusing tiered bollocks with add-ons etc like they do for mobile phones.

  15. Anonymous Coward


    Well, the increasing use of encrypted connections and VPNs will render any taxed based on DPI technology to determine who downloaded what a short term initiative only.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    tax on isp's?

    morons. thats a ridiculous concept. as mentioned it would push people toward downloading, and away from actualling buying music. And it punishes the innocent.

    All i ask is to be able to pay £20 per month, to download all the music i care to listen to from wherever i want. Why wont anyone take my money?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    enough is enough

    I recently bought a couple of CDs which i'll never listen to. I already have the music illegally downloaded, but I really enjoyed the music from this particular artist, and wanted to buy it. On reflection, what I wanted to do was show my appreciation to the artist by means of a financial contribution for the music i listen to. If only that musician had one of those 'click here to contribute' buttons i could have given them 20 times the amount without any additional cost to myself.

    Its time to destroy the music industry, safe in the knoweldge it will rise from the ashes in a new form and artists will all be better off because of it.

    Anonymous because my last ounce of desire to purchase music legally has finally been snuffed out by the industry and i'm off to fill up my hard drive while i still can!!

  18. envmod

    beat them at their own game

    let's all stop bothering with music that you are supposed to pay for and instead switch to downloading music from people that are happy to give it away for free. there are many excellent net labels out there who provide free music and are commited to that.

    may i suggest this one -

    also Swishcoteque Records and Futonic Records. it's all good stuff and it's all totally free. and there are thousands and thousands more netlabels catering for every style of music you can imagine...

    fuck all the artists who want money for downloading a recording of their music - times have moved on.

    i myself am an electronic music producer and am more than happy to give away downloads of my tracks for free - I make money on live performaces and am soon going to get into selling merchandise etc as another revenue stream. I would never dream of trying to charge people for the tunes though!

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: beat them at their own game

      OK, you're a hobbyist. You're happy being a hobbyist. That's very nice.

      "fuck all the artists who want money for downloading a recording of their music - times have moved on"

      But some people are simply more talented or popular than you (or both), and they do deserve to be paid for that popularity. Everyone can sell T-shirts or play live, that hasn't changed.

      You're proposing taking away a right ... just because you never cracked the big time? That won't wash.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I believe Lady Gaga said...

        ...that she wasn't too fussed about people downloading her music because she makes her real money from touring and concessions.

        So using the music as a giveaway hook to get bums on seats for gigs is a business model that does scale up; and isn't just a hobbyist thing.

        Conceding a right is never a good thing, of course, but that right -once a sensible means of allowing a reasonable time for an idea/work to make money for the creator- has now been so thoroughly raped by the rights-holding companies that it's very hard to take seriously anymore.

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: I believe Lady Gaga said...

          "Conceding a right is never a good thing, of course, but "

          There's always a "but". That particular "but" would earn you a punch in the face from any artist who isn't as big as Lady Gaga, but still deserves payment from performance and downloads. Someone who doesn't aspire to be a millionaire, but deserves to have the time to work on their music - not work in a call centre.

          Since your justification for taking away this right is based on emotion not logic, your argument falls down.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Well firstly...

            I wasn't putting forward an argument, pro or con, really...just pointing out that giving the music away and making money through touring and concessions works for small artistes and scales up for truly big artistes too. It's a business model that does, in fact, demonstrably work.

            It's not going to work for everybody. Not all artistes want to go touring. Piracy is going to happen. Therefore some other model must be found that works for them. Retail through Amazon and iTunes, maybe. A website with a donate button.

            I also wasn't arguing in favour of taking away the rights of an artiste either...just pointing out that the current system is broken. The original system of 15 years to make some cash worked and was fair. The creator got to make some money, then the work joined the creative commons where we could all have a play with it. Incentive for the artiste to keep producing and we as a society were much richer. This death+95 years stuff stifles creativity across the board and it is this that it's hard to take seriously. It's guaranteeing an income to people who had nothing to do with the creation of the work at the expense of all of us. Removing the right entirely would be better than what we have now; but I would propose resetting the right to creation date + 15 years. That's plenty of time to make money from a product and it would curtail most, if not all, of the resentment felt by pretty well everyone on the subject of copyright. Because it's fair to everybody. There would still be piracy of course...society has acquired the habit now...but I think that they would be less popular than now.

      2. Marcelo Rodrigues

        Not quite

        I believe he's saying we should go back to the state of affairs of... 1700? Until recently we couldn't record music - so the artist income was provided by playing it live!

        Don't get me wrong - I do believe the artists should be able to charge for the music. But I really believe your argument is flawed. An artist is (or should be) more than able to maintain itself by playing live.

        1. Will Leamon

          Costs and Benefits

          An artist should have the right to decide what he gets paid for and how - it's his work. Look at it this way, touring is incredibly hard on an individual and their family. Many, many people will not do it no matter how much money is involved. So you're saying these people have no right to dictate the terms of their own creative distribution?

        2. Mark 65 Silver badge

          Added bonus

          The shiter music acts of our times wouldn't get as much money from live performances and so would hopefully die a death sooner.

          1. copsewood

            Outdated unenforceable rights

            "So you're saying these people have no right to dictate the terms of their own creative distribution?"

            The law that gave landowners who produced hay the right to supply a bale to be carried in every taxicab in London was finally got rid of several decades after taxicabs had stopped being pulled by horses. Not that this right was enforced or could be enforced in respect of motorised cabs, its just that it was obsoleted by that technology.

            The right of copyright owners to control distribution made perfect sense when there were only a few dozen printing presses in the country. This didn't cover the hand copying of books: Had I the time, I could legally copy a book in copyright by hand with a pen, ink and paper and distribute it.

            Now that everyone has access to technology which can make perfect copies with trivial ease, the legal right to control reproduction makes no more sense that that of landowners to force motorcabs to carry bales of hay.

            But this isn't saying that the creators of the copyright content being reproduced shouldn't benefit from the market in the reproduction devices and bandwidth which their effort helps to sell. Once the latter principle is established, it becomes possible to consider the question of the appropriate system that translates the value added in these markets into the hands that add that value, and once an appropriate system is in force we can all then move on.

            1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

              Re: Outdated unenforceable rights

              When a rightsholder can't control the reproduction (or attempting to do so is uneconomic), then they license the works.

              Copyright stopped being purely about copies about 150 years ago.

  19. Mystic Megabyte

    More copyright material needed

    The solution is that *everybody* records an original song or poem, using a random lyric generator if necessary.

    Get your copyright on it.

    Get a bittorrent client that will automatically upload it with any track being sought.

    Claim your share of the royalties, as you have no contract with a record label then all monies come to you.


    (Vogon poetry could get into the charts like this, not that you would notice any difference!)

    1. copsewood

      popular material will be downloaded more

      And this will show up in the sampling. Not many people will download Vogon poetry. Also you don't need expensive and involuntary deep packet inspection if a large enough sample will accept a small discount or some other incentive in exchange for the hassle of hosting a download program which reports to the performing rights societies information about what is most popular.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Vogon poetry.

        Hey, i would (I have a neighbor i dont particularly like)

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Music copyright infringement in Spain is now rampant"

    Oh no it's not. Music copyright infringement in Spain doesn't happen because we pay a tax on recordable media, in return for which we are legally entitled to make private copies of copyrighted works for private use. The tax, in theory, gets divvied up between various artists compensation schemes.

    The music, or whatever, is both licensed and paid for up front, so get off the freetard bandwagon. It's not theft. It's not freetardery. It's not infringement.

    There are, of course, 3 flaws in this cunning plan:

    1) This is Spain, so the chances of a large lump of cash making it's way to it's intended destination without mishap is pretty limited, in my experience.

    2) The tax wasn't thought out that well and should probably be higher. I don't, however, recall being consulted whether the tax was a good idea at the time; and I would suggest that if the Artist's organisations didn't negotiate a proper settlement at the time, then that is entirely their problem. Maybe there's an artist's union who can sue them for incompetence. Given that the tax was mandatory and also taking into account the music industry's treatment of people in general (also in Spain with the assumption that media is automatically going to be filled with downloaded goodies); bitching about it now is probably not going to garner much sympathy.

    3) Having slapped a mandatory tax on on the population in return for a concession (the ability to legally download media); the population would be daft not to take advantage of that concession. I have to pay that tax on media whether or not the data I'm going to store on it is mine.

    But it's not freetardery, or whatever negative-connotation buzzword you want to use this week. The artist's associations fucked up the negotiations and failed to secure adequate compensation. Sooner or later, the concessions will stop (with the tax -mysteriously- remaining in place) and we in Spain are filling our boots while the sun shines.

    1. Just Thinking

      Not sure

      I think that the main flaw in the Spanish system is that it is fundamentally unfair to make people pay for music they probably don't even want just because they have an internet connection or need to use blank media.

      The reason the tax isn't "high enough" is because there are limits to how much unfair tax you can impose on people before they do something about it.

    2. Oliver 7

      I'm with you

      I agree with you and, if we see that kind of implementation in the UK, we will most likely see the same behaviour predominate.

      However perhaps the tax is so 'low' because there would be no way to properly compensate the rights holders, or to put it another way, the rightsholders have such an inflated idea of the value of their content that they could never be satisfied.

      The main problem, in my eyes, with digital content is that it is reproduced and distributed at a comparatively tiny cost however it is charged at virtually the same price as physically distributed content. The Internet is slowly bringing economic realites to bear on rights holders but they're fighting it all the way.

      1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: I'm with you

        The value people put on a song doesn't diminish because the cost of reproduction is lower.

  21. Ocular Sinister

    I've said it before, but I'll say it again

    A big, portable hard disk when you go to visit your mates is a far more effective way of pirating music/films/whatever. Leave it copying while you go to the pub or whatever - a few hours later you've swapped! Taxing/blocking/dicking around with the internet won't stop piracy or even slow it down. Heck, it wouldn't surprise me if more people pirated things this way nowadays anyway - I certainly haven't used torrent or similar for years!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Happy Paying

    Well I'm happy paying for products where I can however I'm in a situation where I can pay £30 an episode for something in a foreign lanugage 6 months after it aired, after shipping and theft taxes probably £45 per 30 minute episode.

    Or I can get it subtitled and free upto a week after it aired.

    Now I was a supporter of the models created by crunchyroll however in the UK you pay the same as a yank and only get a 1/3rd of the series.

    IMO if a distriubter doesn't distribute to your region they can get fucked.

    As to music I have a vast stolen collection of a few groups, however I also have several thousand pounds worth of merchandise and have seen a several of thousand pounds worth of concerts. I don't see much point in paying £30 an album, £10 shipping and £10 import tax.

    Fortunatly nowdays companies like AVEX have very good youtube accounts, of course shit companies like Sony lick balls. But hey ho that's life.

    Of course there are then TV shows that'll never be shown in your region, that goes back down to if they wont distrobute to you they can get bent.

    As an aside i can understand people downloading most western music as at best it's substandard and the performances are boring, and when it comes to TV shows it's hard to figure out why someone who has skyplus shouldn't be allowed to download a yank series that will air on a channel they have access too. They wont see ads and they already pay for the channel so why should they have to wait 6months +

    Anyway DPI is a crock of turd, seeds will just move to encrypted only channels combined with compressed and password protected files rendering dpi a waste of time simply punishing the masses by increases in cost of service and likely degrading service due to processing overhead.

    1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      Planet Logic: A planet invisible even to the Hubble Space Telescope.

      "As an aside i can understand people downloading most western music as at best it's substandard and the performances are boring..."

      If it's so shit, WHY WOULD YOU DOWNLOAD IT? Why waste hard drive space—which is most assuredly NOT free—on something you dismiss as dross?

      Oh, right: you're a hypocrite. Gotcha.

      1. DavCrav

        Why download it?

        Because it is shit, but not quite so shit that it isn't even worth downloading for free? Also, you can delete it to free up room for more of said shit.

        On the flip side, if you download "all" modern music, you might find some good stuff, which you can buy, go to concerts, etc.. The current music industry model is that you should pay for all the shit as well, on the off-chance that you find something good.

        I'm making no comments about morality or anything, but I can see why some people don't take this music industry line. Also, some people are arseholes who wouldn't pay even if it were good. How about: both extremes in this debate are arseholes, and you can guarantee that the people shitted on by said arseholes will be the reasonable people in the middle.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Learn to read

        I didn't say I downloaded it, just that I can understand why other people do. I mean when I did listen to western music a lot I tended to record it on tape from the radio and then play it again and again and in my mates car etc. I used to have a sizable collection of Rage against the machine, chilli peppers, and soad cd's until i left them in a bag in a pub never to be seen by me again.

        Anyway reading is too hard for you, so go back to dribbling.

        Nowdays my combined western music folder includes 101 top classical tracks as purchased from iturds, the amatuer transplants (again from iturds) and incredibad (iturds once again).

        Anyway I love how stupid people take a single paragraph then obsess over it, take a comment as a whole genius.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  23. Anonymous Coward

    unlicensed media

    And how, pray tell, does the ISP know if their DPI has found "unlicensed media" or simply found a copy of your "owned" media? They can't ever know. Even if they took apart the file bit by bit they would never know. Therefore, they would never have a legal way to differentiate one type of media from another. I can see that going nowhere.

  24. Eugene Goodrich

    Rent-seeking at its finest.

    This almost explains why the labels haven't made a functioning online sales model: they'll get their money far more easily if music revenue becomes a tax, and if piracy is the wedge then they'd want to support that.

  25. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  26. Doug Glass

    This Sort of Thing ...

    ...will continue and prices will continue to rise as long as people will pony up the coin. I haven't bought music since vinyl platters were phased out so the corporate money grubbers are doing without my hard earned retirement stipend.

    Too much legitimate free music to pay for it. If you got to have CD x or soundtrack y the pay the price and STFU. The only truth you tell is with your pocketbook; the rest is bullshit smoke and mirrors stuff to make you think you're really protesting.

  27. jake Silver badge

    This is just an attempt ...

    This is just an attempt at the recording industry regaining a monopoly on the distribution channels. It won't work. That cat bolted out of it's stable years ago, and it ain't going back into the can any time soon.

    Note that I'm not commenting on the right or wrong of copyright infringement, merely pointing out that the RI can no longer control the distribution channels.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)


      No it isn't. The proposal comes from the songwriters, not the recording industry.

      Reading too many blogs that rant about the RIAA can rot the brain ;-)

      (You're right about major labels losing control of distribution, that's why they're trying so hard to regain it via private deals with music startups, with opaque accounting.)

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re-read mine, Andrew.

        I didn't say RIassA, I said RI ... Last I looked, musicians/songwriters were a subset of the recording industry.

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re-read mine, Andrew.

          Your insistence on viewing the industry as a monolith that speaks with one voice and has the same interests means you're blind to the internal conflicts, getting up to speed on these will give you a much better picture. Indies, majors; publishers, labels.

          1. jake Silver badge


            Now, *that* was an interesting nix.

            Methinks one of us needs to look within ... But whatever. Follow your bliss.

            1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

              Re: Fascinating.

              I invited you to think more deeply about the music business, because you'd made a beginners error. And you replied with a link that's eight and half years old.

              Funny how often people do that, or link to the Steve Albini essay, which is 18 years old.

              Why is there is no new thinking in Freetardia, just the same old whinges? Because thinking about things reveals complexities and contradictions which don't fit on a bumper sticker or badge?

              1. jake Silver badge


                "I invited you to think more deeply about the music business, because you'd made a beginners error."

                No. I didn't. You interpreted it as such. Again, re-read mine for content. (My highschool band and I recorded at Rochdale in the late '70s & early '80s, not that we were any good ... one of our singles was broken on the air by John Peel in 1979 (with reason ... I'm playing it now, and it's AWFUL! ::grins::) ...

                "And you replied with a link that's eight and half years old."

                Age doesn't make it any less correct. Remember, it's the perspective of an industry insider. I think she has more of a clue than you or I ... drop her an email, I have. She's a LOT more approachable than most celebretards. Might make for a good "interview article".

                "Why is there is no new thinking in Freetardia, just the same old whinges?"

                There is plenty of new thinking, if your eyes are open to it. It's the so-called "logic" of old & tired business models that, for the most part, are the same old whinges[1].

                "Because thinking about things reveals complexities and contradictions which don't fit on a bumper sticker or badge?"

                Re-read the link (which I won't repost (today)). Think about it, with regard to your complexities and contradictions. There are no bumper stickers or badges ... just the opinion of a long-term industry insider. I'd write my own variation, but I'm not as loquacious as Janis ... she has already put it a LOT better than I can.

                During the meanwhile, I have a funny feeling you & I would enjoy a conversation over a pint or two. Relax & have a homebrew :-)

                [1] c.f. "home taping is killing the recording industry" et ali.

  28. Hans Upp

    By strange co-incidence

    This appears on BBC news today (read through)

  29. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    If Dettica and DPI is the answer

    You know they have *got* to asking the *wrong* question.

    And what's with "former" spook outfit.

    They still seem hand in blouse with GCHQ (and the meglamanical "Mastering" the Internet) and are owned by that bastion of transparency BaE Systems ("Bribes, what bribes? Saudi slush fund? You're speaking a foreign language. la la la I can't hear you.").

  30. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Ah, yes

    Back about 1981, the motion picture industry concluded that VCRs were a threat to its revenues and proposed that it be compensated by a tax on recording tape. What I chiefly recall is that MPAA hired one of the first bipartisan super-lobbying firms (Decter and ???). I don't think it succeeded.

    My problem with such proposals is that downloaded music is not in general an enhancement to my quality of life, it is a subtraction. Most of the the music I hear in public--from car radios, from leaky earphones, in Borders, Whole Foods, Starbucks--is not what I would choose to listen to. At best it leaves me indifferent, commonly it irritates me. And I'm supposed to pay for this?

  31. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    I would pay to download stuff

    If I *could* pay to download stuff.

    Today I bought 4 DVD's that are probably on a torrent site somewhere. I bought them because I like movies and I want more made. If I could browse new releases and back catalogues, I'd buy more DVDs. Why can't I pay, download it, watch it on my DVD player, laptop, or whatever I choose to watch it on. So give me what the illegal distribution would give me for convenience and flexibility, just give me a payment option. How hard can that be?

  32. heyrick Silver badge

    Random thoughts

    I feel it is futile to demand to have exactly what you pay for, in a sense that if you're a shining example who has never downloaded a track "illegally" (and this includes watching it on YouTube), to say "I don't want to pay to support the freetards". For there are some that will not (or perhaps cannot) download media, and then there are those who suck more than they can possibly watch in their lifetime. Is it unfair? Perhaps. But it is more or less how social security and taxation work. I don't pay less because I have no children needing educated, and likewise I don't pay less because I don't spend every waking hour ripping off movies.

    So long as such a levy is "acceptable", I think it would provide a reasonable peace of mind for knowing that you aren't going to get threatening emails out of the blue for some minor infraction, perhaps something we weren't really aware of, or something somebody else (kids, for instance) did. I would normally believe that copyright is something that should be defended, but the way it is being handled right now makes me question the very validity of it all.

    As for the levy. Well... Perhaps this is best handled by 'secret' negotiations with the ISPs to work out an acceptable cut, and then the media punters can back off screwing with laws and privacy and such. Just, you know, back the hell away. But do NOT announce the licence deal. Just, back away. Why is this important? Because you and I know EXACTLY what would happen if news broke that downloading was a free for all. It would be best just to neither confirm nor deny. People who wish to "take the risk" can go ahead, those who think it's a crock can never touch a P2P client. And everybody pays "a little". I'm not sure I'd give even "a little", but it might be the best means of satisfying both sides.

    Oh, sure, you'll complain. Why should you pay for so-and-so to download camcorder versions of movies that haven't even been released. Well... how many of you are getting the bandwidth you are paying for? And I mean reliably. It is no good saying you get your full 8 megabit if that's only in the early hours, on a full moon.

    For the freetard bandwidth issue, I was under the impression that all the good stuff was on usenet. I remember comp.sys.acorn.binaries and such in the late '90s, the thought of having a gigabyte-sized file to contend with fills me with dread! Are the binaries still chopped into 16K or 32K chunks? UUenc or MIME? D'you know how much baggage something like that adds? P2P (or anything binary-based) is positively efficient in comparison!

    @ AC "Happy paying" - you quote £30 for an album and £10 shipping. Lucky you! I looked up an album on and the album cost about £20, and the shipping cost *more*! This isn't to content with importation issues (do I pay yet more on customs/duty?). In the end an actual real live Japanese person got the album in Tokyo and brought it back. Hardly the ideal solution, but in comparison... [PS: said album is on my local Amazon for about £40, need I say more?]

    Finally - for everybody bitching about Spain's levy. You might want to ask yourself if it is not something in the Spanish mentality. In France, we pay for media copying. On every single damn CD, DVD, USB memory device and SD card. Some sites/catalogues list prices for France and Belgium, the latter being maybe 3-4 euros cheaper. Just like in the UK, certain authorities are pushing to make filesharing be a criminal offence punishable by death. And if such laws are brought into force (aka the HADOPI is-it-isn't-it game (dopey indeed)), there is absolute resounding silence on the matter of repealing the obligatory levy on media. I guess, at the end of the day, the media companies want to be paid for EVERYTHING, regardless. Fine business model, isn't it? Do you think it will not go unnoticed if we're suckered for paying a levy against an action that is illegal? Is that not in itself illegal? You wanna count my packs of DVDs (for recording stuff off British telly) and SD cards (photography) and multiply that by "sort-of-three-euros"? God's sake, the question isn't "why should I download", but more "why aren't I?". I am *paying* already. And now they would want to make me pay AND be a criminal too. All I can say is remember what the French did to their royals. They might be cack at wars, but "Vive la revolution!" (today being, cough, Bastille Day and all!) is something the French do with flamboyance.

    That said, that such a situation has come about shows what a bunch of useless idiots are running the country. But, hey, that's not news - we could point to pretty much any government and insult it. It's what they're there for...

    [and if you've actually read this far, smile, for I upvote your patience and reading abilities!]

  33. Eddy Ito
    Thumb Down

    Oh shit!

    My cable ISP is bad enough and drops to below 500 kbps when the freetarders get on in the evening. A tax would clinch my switch to DSL.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why so worried?

    Last I checked, music was still being made. I'd even say that because of technology there's more people enjoying and listening and making music than ever... never has it been easier to make an album, promote one's self, or even learn how to play an instrument. Cds still sell, vinyl sales have only increased in the past few years, companies are making a profit selling mp3s... It's a good time for music, WHY on earth would we need to have a tax to support it?!

  35. SDoradus

    Nesson's tactics are beginning to look better

    Did anyone notice Andrew's reference to an earlier article (Kick me again, RIAA) in which he "failed" the tactics of defence attorney Nesson? "He failed to show why disproportionate statutory damages are harmful, which could have had a lasting constitutional effect."

    It looks like Nesson won after all. The judge (Gertner) has just issued her ruling; Nesson has established the constitutionality defence can prevail - that is, arbitrarily high statutory damages are indeed a due-process violation.

    Hm. Actually I have some sympathy for Mr Orlowski's position here, particular in as much as Nesson's client still wound up with a US$60,000 + bill. But the constitutional precedent is frankly huge, and if the client writes a book he'll probably wind up in profit from the affair.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Nesson's tactics are beginning to look better

      That isn't the case Nesson was fighting.

      A minimum amount would have sent the message that the law is an ass. Judge Gertner didn't do this, quite the opposite:

      "I reduce the jury’s award to $2,250 per infringed work, three times the statutory minimum, for a total award of $67,500. Significantly, this amount is more than I might have awarded in my independent judgment. But the task of determining the appropriate damages award in this case fell to the jury, not the Court. I have merely reduced the award to the greatest amount that the Constitution will permit given the facts of this case."

      Note: greatest amount, not minimum amount.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What can DPI See?

    What is the capabillities of DPI? What can it detect and what cant it?

    Surely using encryption would resolve this issue?

  37. Toastan Buttar
    Thumb Up


    "Legal services like Spotify might stand a greater chance of swimming, as opposed to sinking, if they did not face the challenge of competing with illegal, free services,"

    Spotify is THE way to listen to new music on a try-before-you-buy basis.

    Search -> Click -> Listen. Instantaneously.

    It kicks illegal file sharing in the arse.

  38. PGregg
    Big Brother


    Why attempt to decriminalise something which is not criminal in the first place?

    Another important thing to know is that you can not contract your way out of a criminal act. i.e. No two parties can agree anything is allowed or permitted, if it is a criminal act. If the Music industry wants to criminalise the public for P2P, then it can never commercially levy, tax or contract against that action.

    The original article's reporting appears to have bought into the whole "copyright infringement is really theft/piracy" argument and fails to point out, that legally, the definitions of the terms are clear and not the same.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Decriminalise?

      The point is that black markets have often been turned into legitimate markets, and P2P file sharing has great potential to be a legitimate market. Yes, this can be done by contracts, and no primary legislation is needed.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    intentionally left blank

    It's projects like which really make me smile. Produce an album funded by crowd-sourcing funds, and then release it completely free and under creative commons. Nice approach! The amazing thing is, not only did they get the 100% funding, people continued to fund after the goal was reached. Cutting out the middleman and getting the publicity this way is a really nice step and is the equivalent of investing in the artist(s) you like rather than investing in the fattening of some trumped up record label.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: intentionally left blank

      How lovely, but they're basically hobbyists, and this isn't really working out for hobbyists.

      (Public Enemy have scaled back their fundraising target yet again...)

      The middleman still adds value, some reasons were explained here:

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