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back to article ISPs demand record biz pays up if cut-off P2P users sue

ISPs are calling on the record industry to put its money where its mouth is on illegal file-sharing, by underwriting the cost of lawsuits brought by people who are wrongly accused of downloading or uploading music. ISPA told The Register today it is worried about the cost to its members if users targeted by rights holders for …

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Pirate

hmm, what to do?

Pay 12.99 a month for a lovefilm account and a few quid more for a licenced vopy of AnyDVD and Robert is your mothers' sibling as they say.

Downloads unnecessary. Course, you could always take your local library to the cleaners as well - who would know?

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Anonymous Coward

It's going to be fascinating...

... to see how they manage all this. Detecting content; establishing copyright; analysing Tor logs (what logs?); hacking SSL connections; decoding proprietary compression; communication by email (I don't trust my ISP with my email address and I certainly don't use the one they provide), central registry of 'strikes' accessible by multiple, different sized, non-regulated, private companies - what could go wrong?

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Paris Hilton

The sooner.....

The sooner people stop buying music all together and cut off these bar stewards lobbying funds the better.

Excuse me Mr Brown but the Government works for me, not the BPI. Our taxes contribute considerably more to the well being of this country than some poxy lobbying group so get a grip and tell them to take a hike.

<rant />

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Flame

I still don't get it ...

The ISPs can't see inside your P2P traffic what is being moved - whether it is copyright infringing or free/libra. So will they issue warnings on behalf of BPI on the basis of an email saying "I was able to download Teenstar Notalent's new album from this IP address"?

Are the BPI saying "it's too much effort to assemble proper evidence so we can prosecute, so instead we want you the ISPs to cut people off without court standard evidence"?

No wonder the ISPs want indemnity against being sued for wrongful removal of service.

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Just trying to look good.

I'm sure the ISPs are just trying to look like they're vaguely on their customer's side.

After all, we know how much they hate people actually using the bandwidth they've paid for.

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Pat

Details

It's always interesting that news stories tend to lump downloaders and uploaders together. However it's much easier to do someone for uploading - all you have to do is join in their p2p network and get a bit of copyright content off them, encrypted system or not. But you still have to go looking - are they planning to get ISPs to do the entrapment?

And what about downloaders? If someone is only leeching, through an encrypted connection, how is anyone going to know about that? Or is the idea to ban encryption and expect ISPs to run packet inspection all the time?

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Anonymous Coward

Silly politicians

The politicians can spend as much time as they want debating this issue and trying to force ISP's into doing stuff to stop pirates. But at the end of the day the issue will be solved by the courts, not by a politician who's taken a "party donation" (bung) from the media types.

All it will take is for one person to take their ISP to court and say "prove I downloaded Britney Spears Greatest Hits!", obviously using an encrypted traffic stream etc.. If the judge sees the law in unworkable the judge won't be able to say "well, you may have broken the law, we can't prove that you didn't actually download SuSE Linux, but what the heck we'll find you guilty of it anyhow".

All any legislation will do is force pirates to go that little bit further in their quest to download crap music from rubbish bands. SSL encrypted usetnet? Encrypted bittorrents? It'll just apply a burden onto ISP's who will have to hand over data to the government who will then promptly lose it, along with your bank details, blood type and how many porn sites you visited this month.

I guess all we can do is hope that the judges we have can see that punishing people without 100% proof they have commited a crime, isn't exactly something that should be done very often. Except for politicians who should be locked up.

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By this same logic...

...Royal Mail needs to start opening people's mail to check for any illegal photocopies of copyrighted material too.

All reports like this do is to highlight how little the government and copyright enforcement organisations actually understand about the technologies they are trying to control. They can't even break into an encrypted packet, never mind actually establishing whether it's carrying encrypted content or not.

I certainly won't be losing any sleep about this.

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Alert

The law must provide a PENALTY for improper use

Any law like this should recognise the capability for abuse -- whether accidental or deliberate.

Above all, the law needs to guarantee compensation to ensure that accusers have PROOF not merely suspicion.

Whatever maximum fine the accused might be subject to, the accuser should first be required to lodge a BOND of TEN TIMES that amount -- and should automatically forfeit it to the accused if challenged and either the accuser cannot immediately provide such proof or, within six years, any methodology used in that proof can be demonstrated to be unsafe.

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I hope they pass this law soon

Not that it will prevent people from filesharing. Of course it won't. No law could ever turn back the clock. But it will speed up the mass-take up of encrypted, anonymised p2p networks such as Stealthnet, i2phex, etc. 90% of p2p users don't feel threatened by lawsuits. So they stick to their old trusted p2p network. But if their ISP cuts their connection just once, they will feel annoyed and turn to a next generation p2p network that ... does not reveal their activities to the ISP. Once these encrypted p2p networks reach a critical mass of usefulness I will finally be able to download content again without the fear of frivolous lawsuits. I can't wait...

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Er

I don't see what this has to do with gubbinment TBH. Shurely this is a private issue between the rights holders and the ISPs. Ah no wait, of course I see the light, this is as good as an excuse as any to 'legitimately' invest in systems to sniff at the content of Joe Public's packets. Of course the scope is limited to possible copyright infringement, for now...

This explains why politicians only ever complain about the big bad Internet 'we must remove illegal material' etc etc. The Internet remains the last bastion that is outside of regulation. The phone system is nicely monitored for keywords, SMS text messages can be intercepted, CCTV on every street corner and so on.

@bobbles31: Absolutely. The thought of additional tax money being spent to assist in the nest feathering of the record industry makes baby seals cry.

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Stop

Decryption not necessary

Actually, they don't need to decrypt the packet, they just need to compromise the bittorrent network.

Connect to "britney spear's greatest hit" torrent, find out all the other IP's that are seeding / leeching and then notify their ISP

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Stop

The dirty little secret...

Is that isp's actually need there to be P2P/Bittorrent available for use by it's subscribers or virtually no one would want or need any connection greater than 5-10mb for todays legit net uses.

When VOD becomes viable there would be a need for the 50mb connections from virgin (which are being rolled out this year) but the major obstacle to decent online delivery of music & video is the record & movie industry who are desperately trying to cling to the outdated models of the past by placng too many drm restrictions on what you can & can't do with your own legally purchased titles that it's simply too much trouble when a free, albeit often times poorer quality copy with no usage restrictions is also available.

Also how is this ever going to actually work? Will the isp's be inspecting every single packet in & out of every customers PC & wouldn't that violate the data protection act?

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Gold badge

And by extension...

I don't know if we have the notion of "common carrier" in UK law, but this would certainly drive a coach and horses through it. The idea seems to be that if ISPs fail to detect offending material, they suddenly become liable for it. Would that apply to child porn, terrrist plots, defamatory material?

Also, picking up on "It's going to be fascinating", how hard to they have to try? If ISPs *aren't* liable for their failures, the only legally sane strategy would be to make no effort to find anything. If they *are*, I can see a dirty war as ISPs try to send dodgy materials through each other's networks and cry foul to the authorities.

Re: David Farrell's point about Royal Mail... Yes and then there's the telephone network and all those private delivery and haulage companies. In fact, why don't we make everyone liable for everything, just in case.

Coming back to my original point, if we don't have the notion of "common carrier protection" in the UK, then we need it rather urgently.

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ASBOs in the post

As long as Gordon 'Stalin' Brown is in charge, the 'good of society' is all that counts. He won't be loosing much sleep over the idea of folk being falsley accused of illegal file sharing. I doubt he'll care too much about the technical issues either, as New Labour is clearly lacking in scientific or IT literacy (they're mostly a bunch of liberal arts, social sciences and law grads after all!). He'll believe anything the record companies say.

Also, as the most monitored Western nation, I doubt he'll mind too much that ISPs will be effectively 'tapping' our communications in a way that would be unnaceptable for snail mail or traditional telephony. Preventing antisocial behaviour at the expense of individual freedoms is precisely what socialism (or rather Neoconservatism - the bastard love-child of socialism and free-market economics) is all about.

I am not really blaming record companies for this move (after all, scr*wing the consumer is what consumerism is all about these days), and the ISPs look like being the innocent victims here. The people at fault are those stupid b*st*rds who voted for Labour last time round.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Decryption not necessary

Correct, there's an explanation of the process in this story: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/31/eu_filesharing_bpi_data/

- Chris

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Stop

Decryption not necessary

"Connect to "britney spear's greatest hit" torrent, find out all the other IP's that are seeding / leeching and then notify their ISP"

And if that ISP is not UK-based ?

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Stop

Government priorities are all wrong

We've got

- kids being stabbed/shot in the streets

- people too scared to leave their houses after dark (or even before),

- kids leaving school barely able to read, count or speak properly

- wars kicking off all over the place

- 'threats' of terrorism

- and plenty of other stuff I can't be bothered to list

....then some BPI croney pipes up about the loss of £1billion (using dodgy stats, and the assumption that downloaders would have bought if it were not free), and the government threatens to do something about it. The technicalities of which leave a minefield of legal problems for everyone but the BPI.

If the governemt dealt with all the above 'proper' issues then the UK might become a little more safer to live in. Stopping people downloading music and video will achieve nothing.

Actually, second thoughts. Downloading is killing the music industry, funding international terrorism and drug trafficking. Better do something right away.

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The assumption...

...here that all illegal downloads are of crap music is hilarious! I don't know if you guys noticed but Brit Brit's last album sold rather well. Me thinks it's classic rock (i.e. Jimmy Page and a bunch of other wankers pension funds), that's taking the hit.

Oh and Credence, don't forget the Credence. That stuff gets stolen all the time.

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Anonymous Coward

The first brick of the Great Firewall of Britain?

If I remember correctly Mr Brown was greatly impressed by the China's firewall when visiting, is the reason the government cares about this issue (apart from some kind of money making opportunity) is it is their test case in being able to monitor questionable content being viewed or downloaded?

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Alert

Defamation

Too right the ISPs should want indemnity against being sued.

If I recall correctly the legal definition of defamation is something along the lines of "the making of any untrue statement that would cause a reasonable person to think badly of another."

So let me see, the BPI have publicly stated that filesharing is stealing. Therefore if they call you a filesharer they are calling you a thief. If a "filesharer" gets disconnected and gets given their MAC on the spot and told to go away and get another ISP then that is one thing (any connection fee is effectively a fine levied without due process - a different matter which will need to be examined under human rights laws guaranteeing a fair trial.) It is a very different thing to have a register of "strikes" that can be accessed by other companies (the ISPs ) or people. Putting an entry on that list is publicly calling someone a thief (in the BPI's own words.) If they get it wrong then that sounds like defamation to me.

If the poor unfortunate mislabelled victim happens to work for a media company or any company with a strong integrity policy (like a bank) they could possibly lose their job for being such a "media thief." Bring on the lawsuits...

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Pirate

Infamy, infamy....

A few hundred BPI-controlled PCs, all downloading popular torrents, send the IP addresses/times to the ISPs once a month. Encryption won't help you.

It's not difficult to see how they could collect sufficient evidence this way for civil "balance of probabilities" cases or "three strikes" disconnect requests, netting tens of thousands of uploaders.

Of course, it will just force people to leech, and I'm not sure the pigs could seed torrents without issues of entrapment (does El Reg have access to any legal advice to shed light on this?).

But ultimately, if the BPI can "succeed" by turning people off digital downloads altogether, people will just share offline (you know, Person To Person). If that happens, the BPI are truly fucked, since they won't even be able to track the scale of the "problem".

What next, stop, search and iPod-check?

John

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Anonymous Coward

Why all the fuss?

All what will happen now is data will be encrypted into some form of legal data.

example = PDF with a mp3 inside anyone. Can already be done with images I wonder if there is a name for it ?

I dub it SodaPOP3!

Again.. no brainer, There is a job out there and you dont need a brain, I want a turn too please. lol

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: The assumption...

Britney's last album is brill. So there.

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Stop

Behind the times...

I presume this is all targeted at that dark magic known as Bittorrent (san encryption, of course).

Has no-one told them that the way now is uploads to fileshare sites like rapidshare and its many, many competitors, usually based in Russia or somewhere?

I'd like to see them stop people downloading zip/rar files.

Whatever they come up with, it'll take about a week for someone to come up with another method. Utterly pointless.

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Heart

Prove

that my machine hasn't been owned! Prove that my sone didn't do it! Prove that my wireless connection hasn't been hacked!

n00bs!

Heart since they can all go CAMPing together!

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Alert

We're all crims now!

Will the isp's actually monitor what type of P2P is being used or will they just assume that if you're using bittorrent at all that you're a criminal? What do they do if it's encrypted data?

IPTV was looking to become viable in the next few years but this may put the kybosh on it as many people will be afraid of an isp mistake & being labelled as a P2P offender & loosing ALL net access.

By doing this many people might actually end up loosing their jobs as they simply wouldn't be able to carry out their job anymore ie homeworking, remote assistance, group working, video conferencing etc and that list is only going to get longer!

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Tom
Silver badge
Thumb Down

What do they mean pay?

The whole purpose of this new system is to make some one else pay, do the work, and be the boogy man. Pay? Don't be silly.

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Go and catch some real criminals!

Another law set to restrict what we can and can't do in our daily lives, just a load more red tape for the police to dredge through.

From a technological standpoint, I would be impressed if this ever got through as the technology investment required by the ISP's would be massive. Thus causing many of the smaller ISP's to have to close. Sure, they could quite easily restrict access to known IP's and restrict the use of know P2P ports. However, what are they going to do about encypted connections, dynamic ports and any other non standard P2P sharing. If the content weren't encrypted, they would have to filter EVERY packet in and out of their network at OSI layer 7. When you consider the bandwidth that the ISP's have and the amount of traffic that flows through them, they'd require a very meaty set of firewalls to control it for them.

Good luck with the legislation, I think they haven't thought about the technological cost to the ISP's at all!

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Go

Am I bovvered?

Portable 1TB external USB drives are very cheap nowadays. I know many people who will be buying them.... add to that rips from Lovefilm or HDTV (of which some titles aren't even available on BD/HD DVD - like Star Wars) and you're done. Besides, one can always leech from non-UK connections.

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Honeytraps?

About the record industry setting up honeytrap Torrents. Is evidence gained through a honeytrap eligible as evidence?

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Anonymous Coward

ITS NOT ILLEGAL!

Downloading copyrighted material is NOT illegal.

Breaking the copyright, by removing DRM or videoing a movie is copyright INFRINGEMENT, not stealing.

DOWNLOADING does not constitute copyright infringement.

Next we won't be allowed to use SKY+ boxes or videos in case we fall foul of this knee-jerk nonsense!

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@Stephen Cole

5-10Mbps? No, without the flash sites and some image blocking, 512kpbs is plenty. WITH flash and no image blocking, you'll only need 1Mbps.

How long does the cable last? How much maintenance is needed? So the monthly charge for just the line should be ~£1 a month. Just reading emails and browsing the web will use a gig or two. At wholesale rates, that's less than 10p a month.

Can't see anyone making any money from that.

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@Decryption not necessary

"Connect to "britney spear's greatest hit" torrent, find out all the other IP's that are seeding / leeching and then notify their ISP"

But why would ISPs be forced to believe an appointed BPI torrent-watchdog? Unless that watchdog contacts the ISP immediately, which is then compelled to check the torrent itself to catch that IP in the act.

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ISPs inspecting traffic for illegal filesharing ..

..would be an interception under RIPA, and highly illegal.

ISPs can look at traffic for purposes connected with the supply of their service. This is normally taken to include virus scans and spam filtering, though there is some question about the latter - but it certainly doesn't include inspecting traffic for illegal filesharing.

What the music/movie biz lawyers usually do is look at publicly available bittorrent information. Whether the download itself is encrypted or not doesn't matter much, it's this publicly available information which is used.

I am of the opinion that the music biz has it's knickers in a twist mainly because revenues are falling - and the reason isn't so much filesharing, though that has some effect, but simply that people do not listen to music as much as they used to.

The movie industry seems less vocal about filesharing, even though percentage wise I'd guess the amount is similar - but people aren't watching less movies.

Another factor may be the cost of downloading a DVD, which is significant, compared to downloading a music track, the cost of which can be ignored.

BTW, a DVD in the post is a much cheaper way to send a a movie than bittorrent - a blank DVD costs 20p, postage 29p, sleeve 2p, so it costs 51p, or two for 71p. Downloads cost about 40p - 90p per GB (you _will_ pay this, in one form or another), so to download a 4 GB movie costs £1.60 - £3.60.

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It seems to me

That the whole history of P2P development has been about making it difficult to enforce copyright and permit piracy. Surely the original Napster model with a central server was perfectly adequate for any kind of *legal* Peer to peer distribution: it was just fatally flawed for piracy...

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Alert

@Stephen Cole - Dirty Little Secret

You've made the same fundamental mistake as both the BPI and the Government, who seem to think that everyone with an internet connection is a private individual who uses it for 'Surfing' <god I hate that term - almost as much as I hate 'blogging'>, online gaming, emailing and downloading copyrighted music.

Sorry to rain on the parade, but internet connections are also commonly used by-

- Home workers using high speed VPN connections.

- Businesses who don't need an expensive leased line.

- Charitable organisations who can't afford an expensive leased line.

- Developers who access internet based source repositories.

- and so on and so on.

Its the same blinkered thinking that assumes all P2P traffic to contain illegally shared copyrighted content. WRONG! OpenOffice is but one of many many projects which now distribute their software using P2P technology.

Is it just me or does this kind of aggressive action smell a lot like the demise of SCO? They couldn't fix their failing business model, so they went all out on hostile actions against their competitors in an attempt to take them down before SCO themselves faded into insignificance ... ultimately they ensured their own destruction, which I forsee for the existing music industry fat cats.

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and to think this government once held such promise...

This is the death knell of a government crippled by incompetence. Incapable of solving the greater problems of society the government squanders its dying breath on the high profile but fundamentally unimportant issue of downloading. RIP the Labour government.

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Anonymous Coward

Starbucks?

So, there I am in Starbucks (for example) downloading Britney's latest album, which I hear is brill BTW, the Stasi log my IP and the link gets banned.... So drink up my latté, off to Costa over the road...

Or will internet cafe's have some special exemption?

Will they count as an ISP?

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Gates Horns

illegal downloading but what about the companies that are acting illegally

It seems the people that are downloading are being made out to be criminals. But in recent times, we have had large legal companies demanding money with menaces, to people suspected of downloading stuff. With out any real proof from a so called forensic company in another country, and this said company has now been banned from operating in it's own country. Due to the fact that it's been deemed illegal, then we have another group who is using a company that might be illegal in main US states. To presue people that are downloading stuff.

Just face it groups such as the BPI and the IFPI are control freaks, and now they can't control what they use. But instead of working with new technologies and finding new ways to control there investments. They are using the goverment to pressure companies who are in the fore-front of new technology, to stop new methods of distribution. So these old boys stuck back in the depths of time, so they can continue to control there own little monoply

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Re: Decryption not necessary

The current torrent applications that I'm familiar with provide no extra protection with encryption because authorities can still connect to the trackers and find IPs, I do agree with that..

It's still a huge can of worms though and will never solve the problem. Somebody already mentioned wireless hijacking, perhaps authorities will find this a weak excuse as they can maybe claim that it's your responsibility to secure your network? I hope not as that all sounds a bit too strict.

What about people who use SSH accounts with dynamic socks proxies / port forwarding - does the SSH provider get in trouble? What if they're not based in the UK? What about using anonymous socks proxies? List goes on.

I'm a bit nervous that I read that ISPs seemed to have resigned themselves to the fate that there will be enforcements. Authorities / copyright holders *won't* win the technological battle, why don't they save themselves the time and give up now instead of proving themselves wrong yet again later on?

I don't know how to solve the problem. But I get the feeling nothing short of agreements between all parties, instead of policing, is the only way to go.

Also, just my opinion, but I feel that comparing this situation to other more serious problems such as murder and wars is a bit of a cop-out. By the same logic that should mean I'm never allowed to complain about improving matters in my own industry or life either as there is always somebody worse off than me. Or am I naive to trust the government to be able to tackle more than one problem at a time? Hmmm......

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Paris Hilton

Britney

Goodness, now we know what music El Reg hacks use whilst writing their stories!

Let me get this right though, the "rights holder" will download a torrent, fire it up and start to download content illegally from that there internet. Now, correct me if I'm mistaken, but is breaking the law to catch a criminal actually allowed? Are there not laws of evidence which will not allow any evidence gained by illegal means to be used as evidence in a court of law? The police for instance, cannot break into your house, search it for the AK-47 you hid under your bed and then proceed to use the AK-47 as evidence?

According to wiki:

Other admissible evidence may be excluded, at the discretion of the trial judge under 78 PACE, or at common law, if the judge can be persuaded that having regard to all the circumstances including how the evidence was obtained “admission of the evidence would have such an adverse effect on the fairness of the proceedings that the court ought not to admit it."

So looking at that, it would seem to suggest that if a case was taken to court, the pigolopists would not be able to use the IP addresses as proof, because the proof was obtained by illegal means. And without the proof of the IP address they would not be able to prove that you were downloading from the torrent so there would be no case to answer.

If anything though, everyone should stop using torrents and start using encrypted usenet, no way for the pigopolists to find out your IP address from that, is there?

Paris, because I remember downloading a.... movie.... of her's from a torrent once, was very dark.....

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Anonymous Coward

Anonymous VPN proxy?

So what's to stop services like Relakks from becoming more and more common?

A datacentre in a friendly country (like Sweden) lets you connect to them through an encrypted VPN and then you use that to surf/torrent/whatever.

Because everything flowing between you and them is encrypted, the ISP can't do any sort of analysis on it.

They'll only hand over logs if it's proved to them that you've broken Swedish law in such a way that you'll incur a prison sentence ("a fine is not enough").

My only question about the whole process is surely it's possible to track the money from them back to you.

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Anonymous Coward

Tiscali

Do you recon this would speed up Tiscali giving you your MAC code to move ISPs?

Phone Call To Indian Operator: "I just downloaded an illegal track/movie/software/other thing...please kick me off"

Indian Operator: "I see no problem sir, everything is good"

Tiscali Subscriber: "But I confess, I want to move ISPs...by internet speed is 0.01kbps per second against the advertised 100mbits"

Indian Operator: "I can't do that sir......"

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Coat

Where the hell is the common sense in this?

Will the last one to leave the country please switch off the lights?

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Anonymous Coward

Corporate compensation culture

for "lost" revenue and "negative" profit centres has a name when governments agree with it - fascism.

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Pirate

@David Webb

"...the "rights holder" will download a torrent, fire it up and start to download content illegally from that there internet. Now, correct me if I'm mistaken, but is breaking the law to catch a criminal actually allowed?"

But the rights holder, being the rights holder, is presumably entitled to download the torrent without breaking the law, since it's not a law against copying, but against unauthorised copying.

Which would (again presumably) make the evidence collection legal.

John

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Thumb Up

Dont' be daft, David Webb

1/ They're not breaking the law. Downloading music is not illegal - but downloading music without the permission of the copyright holder is... As they work for the copyright holder that ought not to be a problem. Saying that, if the bittorrent service made it a TOS that you're not to use it for detecting filesharing..... Then it might be.

2/ The Police can break into your house at any time without permission. But only if they suspect someone is in danger, property is in danger or evidence is in danger of being concealed, lost, altered, damaged or destroyed. With the correct search authority (inspectors signature) they can break in anytime.

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So wrong

We already have legislation in place to deal with copyright infringement, the victims can simply issue a lawsuit for damages. Why on earth Brown thinks he needs to introduce new legislation is beyond me.

Easy solution is everyone vote for the Green Party or the Lib Dems in the next election; the twat in number 10 at the moment shouldn't even be there anyway.

I say Green or Lib Dems because conservative are actually MORE in the pockets of of the Content Cocks than Labour are.

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And your problem is?

OK, so some people use P2P to download OpenOffice.org or whatever, but compare that to the vast majority of you whinging people out there who are disgusted that you might get nicked for stealing music. If - as a few of you seem to feel - all the music is crap, why are you listening to it? If it's good enough to listen to, it's good enough to buy. Yeah, record companies are a bunch of pigopolists, but they always have been. If you want to find good quality music, go to gigs, find your own bands. Don't put up with what you're fed by those record companies. Small bands will distribute their music by themselves on CD's or un-restricted mp3's (or OGG's or whatever). If you do this, then there'll be no need for big record companies, and bands will succeed on their own merits, not based on some massive PR exercise. I don't agree with what the government are thinking of doing, but if you don't 'share' (ah, what a lovely cuddly term) music, there will be no need for this unworkable idea. Flame on. If you're downloading music that you've been told to listen to by a record company PR machine, you've only got yourself to blame.

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