The culture secretary Andy Burnham has repeated government threats to legislate against ISPs if they don't voluntarily agree a system with the music and film industries to disconnect illegal filesharers. Ahead of the launch of the government's culture strategy document* today he warned that rules would be imposed in April next …
Is it just me that finds this incredibly disturbing?
The idea of the government legislating for what I may and may not download (beyond current laws covering pron etc) is pretty frickin worrying. Coupled with the fact that government should be actually producing something useful like, oh, I dunno, an integrated public transport plan as a way of demonstrating their professed love of oversimplified environmentally friendly policies ("CO2 bad!").
"Under the system actually being pushed, copyright infringement would be identified by rights holders by joining a BitTorrent swarm, for example. They would then send a list of IP addresses to the ISPs who would send out two warning letters to their customers. Being detected filesharing illegally a third time would mean disconnection."
I may be being dumb but what will this mean for people whos ISPs use floating IP's?
I mean honestly, how will they know the difference between a legal download (iso distribution of linux on a torrent) and a video? And then what happens when the 'mainstream' way becomes encrypted and distributed to the point when no-one can tell what data is being transferred, and aren't web-servers just file sharing anyway?
As so many people have mentioned before, technically it's going to be pointless.
It isn't clear that there's any incentive for the rights holders to come to a voluntary agreement with the ISPs if the government is already promising legislation to do exactly what the rights holders want. That's a pretty one-sided negotiation.
Bypassing the courts, AGAIN?!
Once again we have another punishment done by bypassing the courts. The rights holders can monitor IP addresses now, pick the repeat offenders and sue them for lots of money.
That goes to court, has a judicial process associated with it, has the opportunity for appeal, both sides are heard by a person experienced in the law. You know, I think the word was 'justice' or some such?
They can even do it in small claims court if they wish.
What is it with the UK, always making little mini punishments that bypass the courts and appeals process. ISPs are supposed to be some vigilante organisation that dishes up proxy punishments on behalf of 'rights holders'? Some sort of judge and jury and executioner cutting off the net? And they're supposed to verify the veracity of the claim and the authenticity of the 'rights holder'? I don't think so!
Dumb. If you want to create a penalty for that, put it in a lower court, e.g. like littering and put a proper legal thing behind it with proper appeals etc.
We had a case recently of RIAA suing an 80 years old grannie when she obviously had nothing to do with it, and trying to appoint a legal guardian to little kids. It's the legal process that protects those people from RIAA showboating, but ISPs won't protect their customers from scattergun attacks like that.
All that will happen is RIAA, BSA and MPAA will send out scattergun claims to every file they see that happens to mention their clients products.
e.g. sharing "Office.zip" will result in an automated claim from BSA whether it contains MS Office or pictures of a new office. The ISP won't investigate each incident, and you've bypassed the court so there's no review there and no appeal possible.
Three SPURIOUS strikes and you're out!
How will appeals work ?
So what's going to happen when you get warning notice for runing a Tor node ? If you're not doing the sharing how to you get strikes undone ? Whats the standard of evidence ?
For that matter if all thats required is a screenshot of a torrent swam then what happens if I fake one up showing somebody else is sharing my home movies - can I get that person disconnected ?
But if the BPI joins a torrent swarm...
...aren't they then making a copyrighted work available for download due to the nature of the BitTorrent protocol? Is this then entrapment?
And if it's being offered by a representaive of the rights-holder, does that count as the rights-holder granting permission for others to download it?
for gods sake
Is there nobody in a position to explain to the government that this is an arms race that simply can't be won by something so cackhanded and slow as legislation. By the time any laws come in they will be totally obsolete. What a bloody waste of time and money.
"what will this mean for people whos ISPs use floating IP's?"
Erm, if you know when the alleged 'copyrighted content' was downloaded, then you can tell who had what IP at that time (ISPs will keep a record of each IP's user at all times, obviously). D'uh.
The bigger technical issue is distinguishing between my (completely legal) torrent packets where I'm sharing my home videos between my friends and family, from the (possibly dubious) torrent packets being shared with the various pirate download sites I use.
And it's only going to get harder to detect as when the new obfuscating torrent protocol goes live.
people with unsecured wireless, internet cafe's, Starbucks, universities etc... will these all be disconnected when somebody using their network downloads copyrighted material?
Who will pay for the investigation to find the culprit?
How will the copyright owner provide the proof required? It will need to be legally rock solid proof for the ISP to kick somebody off without them being sued for wrongful disconnection in return.
This is just another stupid idea from a government who really don't understand the technology involved and should really be concentrating more on something that matters to the people who voted them in, instead of pandering to big businesses that are no doubt offering them directorships in return.
Perhaps if MP's were barred from using private health schemes, public schools and cars they would actually do something useful for the country instead of themselves.
Paris, because she's simple minded and only interested in what's best for herself, much like the people who run this country.
Well I can see some 'interesting' test cases ...
Juts imagine if a few people with enough cash were to deliberately trigger this.
Get the first letter - write back to the ISP telling them that the allegation is false.
Get second letter - write back to ISP telling them that allegation is false and if they follow through and disconnect you then you will sue them for breach of contract and a shed load of other stuff.
At this point, many ISPs will spot the hole being dug and refuse to go to stage three - system collapses.
Get third letter and cut off - sue ISP for malicious breach of contract, go to court, ISP is unable to defend it's position and loses. Brown stuff hits the fan and flies everywhere, ISPs then will not follow through with future reports for fear of losing and having all the legal bills that go with it.
Having won that bit, continue on to sue the BPI (or whoever it was told the ISP you were sharing illegally) for libel - after all, telling your ISP that you are breaking the law when you aren't would constitute "making a statement to a third person with the effect of lowering their opinion of you".
Then the biggie - take the UK government to the ECHR for passing a law which allows for forfeiture without a due legal process.
Of course, too many people will just roll over and take it. But if enough people hold fast, then the situation will end up back with the BPI (or whoever) actually having to produce evidence that is good enough for a court.
The bypassing of the courts is worrying.
The record industry have a great record of failing to identify a user by IP. Grannies in the states hauled up for downloading gangster rap for example.
So when they do get it wrong, and you get 3 strikes, who do you appeal to? ISPs like Tiscali have a pitiful record of customer support, and that's just when you want to use your internet connection for something simple, like browsing the web!
I think BBC's Watchdog had better go nightly!
Encryption and all that sort of thing won't help with the methods they are using.
The way they work is like this...
1) Do a torrent search for one of their artists
2) Start downloading this torrent with their favourite bittorrent client.
3) Look at the peers they have. Write down the IPs.
4) Check the IP ranges against the ISP list they have
5) Fire off letter to ISP with IP date, time and the details of the torrent.
I assume (hope) that they do bother to verify the content of the torrent before sending off the letters.
However, there are of course ways to avoid this... Block lists. Most good bittorrent clients support one or more.
Here's a situation for you (nothing new)
I own the ENITIRE back catalogue of Iron Maiden in various formats, some of which it is economically unfeesable to convert to a format which can be listened to on modern equipment. I therefore visit mininova or thepiratebay or torrentreactor and download the tracker for the entire Iron Maiden catalogue, because technology has progressed past the point that my original PROPERLY LICENSED media is supported commercially.
When they send me the lovely letter saying I am a nasty nasty piewat, do I write back and tell them I own the license to listen to the music, but as some of it is on Vinyl I am aquiring a digital copy, or do I ignore it?
When they disconnect me, do I sue?
Is this an issue for the ISP to decide, the Record companies to decide, or the courts to decide?
"what will this mean for people whos ISPs use floating IP's?"
As far as I know, it means that the ISP will look at their logs to see which user account was using that IP address at the specified time.
Of course, if it comes down to it, we'll just do what we used to do (until somebody writes an effective anonymiser) - we'll get a copied disc from a mate. We were trading films and music by tape/disc long before this piece of idiocy.
NO MORE NEW LAWS
can this goverment stop making new laws pls we do not need more crimaile offences and actions we need actual govenence
(acyulaey I think I may start a politcle party with that as my slogen)
There is no way this will be possible.
It will not take long before people are using proxys or some form of encryption to transfer the files or changing every file so the file name is the same, that would be very funny actually.
Lets change all torrent files to freefilesforeveryone.rar with just the link containing the actual files that way if every file is the same name then they could never find the "illigal" ones.
Precedence ie. Common Law
Despite what they may think, someone would have to stand up in court and prove that you downloaded something. They basically would hope you bottled it before getting to court, however you just have to be brave and hang on in there. Just like with unfair bank charges where the banks take you to court and then dont show up or drop the case at the last minute.
Like most of these barmy laws that Labour dream up, they tend to get chucked out in the House of Lords anyway.
Since p2p is so last year for downloading material, I cant wait for this bit of well thought out legislation to hit town, should be fun to watch!
Has anybody heard of Darknets (see I2P, Tor, etc)? It amazes me that they actually think that they have a solution.
Then there are the ramifications of moving a huge volume of traffic into the dark on identifying people who are actually using darknets with serious criminal intent.
A better solution would be a three-strike for politicians? First time accepting money-spending lobbyists: Removal from parliment for 6 months. second time for 2 years, third time: Life in prison without parole.
Would solve the entire problem, internationally, methinks.
Because having the IP address of someone they say was connect to a bittorrent swarm isn't enough for them to get damages in court they will just bypass that step and get your service cut off instead. While it may be true that only the basic idiots would get caught using these simple methods it's still a bit of a joke.
What a load of Tosh
This is just a license to knock anyone off line at anytime screen shots can be manufactured and how can you go and prove that you weren't sharing something at the times and dates they allege.It would mean you would have to keep detailed records of everything you do when online.
I don't file share but i'm totally and utterly against this.....perhaps we will all have to have webcams giving constant screen shots showing what we are up to to allow us to be on line.
ISPs (or their broadband wholesaler) keep records of when and to whom each IP address is allocated, so, as long as the rights holders' investigator supplies both the IP address and the time of the alleged infringement it is trivial to determine the customer involved.
IMHO, catching infringers is a better solution than attempting to block them. Blocking will, because of the nature of the beast they are trying to block, be a very blunt instrument and will impact a large number of legitimate users.
Trouble is, blocking is cheap, prosecuting is expensive.
Added to that, this is this Government's whole attitude to law and order. Far, far, easier and cheaper to attempt to prevent illegal activity by denying *everyone's* rights than putting money and effort into catching those who actually commit the crimes.
"what will this mean for people whos ISPs use floating IP's?"
re "Erm, if you know when the alleged 'copyrighted content' was downloaded, then you can tell who had what IP at that time (ISPs will keep a record of each IP's user at all times, obviously). D'uh."
What if the time on my PC is wrong when I take the screen shot or produce the log that shows the IP addresses? Perhaps I'm in another time zone and they forget to take that into account. Maybe I want to get back at a competitor and produce fake evidence using their permanent IP address.
Real irrefutable proof will need to be produced for this system to have any chance of working. The only people who can provide that proof are the ISP, and even then it only shows the IP address being used and does not prove that the person that ip address belonged to at the specified time is the person who actually downloaded the files. That would require a police investigation and forensic examination of their PC for evidence. Anything short of absolute proof will result in thousands of court cases against the ISP's.
Who will pay for it all? Most copyright holders won't go to all that trouble when they will be facing an uncertain result and huge costs.
Does not compute.
Yet another little known career politician, who will be happy now that he has his face in the papers.
It's amazing that it only takes him one sentence to show how he has a complete lack of understanding of the guiding principles that make a society democratic and a totally mutated understanding of the concept of liberty. Not to mention a level of understanding of the Interweb that technically is referred to as 'piss poor'.
In other news today apparently our prisons are rammed to the rafters, totally over capacity. Hardly a surprise when Mr Burnham's Ruling Elite Party has criminalised everything that we bloody do and still wants more.
Informed comments have been made time and time again on this website regarding the feasibility and the legitimacy of regulation like this. Also the entire model of the recording industry itself has been correctly identified for what it is. Slow to respond ill managed and vacuously deficient in understanding the nature of the changing market.
How is it that the denizens of the El-Reg readership and its authors can identify the issues involved here. Filter out the rhetoric and provide a realistic appraisal of the situation with all it's fallacies and assumed implications and perversities. And yet HMG with an army of focus groups, think tanks, quangos and parliamentary comities time and time again can only to come to an industry serving conclusion that screams systemic failure of the system?
Their are two possible answers here. Either the Government is corrupt and owned by Industry and no longer serves the people or the Government is incompetent to a level that should really nullify their right to govern.
I suspect that both are true and suggest that neither is surprising.
Useless and ignorant
"We need to find a balance which allows rights holders to target the criminals raking in huge profits from this crime without threatening basic civil liberties or dramatically changing the relationship between internet service providers and users".
Another politician who has little idea of the facts and throws an ignorant comment into the ring to garner support/publicity.
Filesharers, in the majority, I am sure don't operate for financial gain. Last time I looked, copyright infringement was a civil offence, therefore not a crime.
Unauthorised trading in copyrighted material is a crime - and we have sufficient bodies to deal with that offence. They're called "the Police".
By all means, target those who sell copyrighted material without consent - you can probably find them down the local car boot sale or street corner.
But I'm afraid that using *free* software to download *free* copyrighted material to use on your DRM *free* device does not by default make you a criminal* interested in making profit, no matter how you try to convince yourself and other (simple) like-minded folk that it does.
The arrogant, coked up execs in the Recording industry missed their chance to make money from downloadable distribution, that's their fault, not ours. And you, as OUR public servant, should not be supporting legislation to prolong their archaic, dead and rotting distribution model. Thank you.
*Whether it makes you a "criminal" for downloading said copyrighted content is a different story...:)
Why THREE ?
Who came up with that magic number, and why is it always quoted without derivation or justification ?
What's wrong with two ("if I have to tell you ONCE more ...") or four ("I've already told you TWICE, I won't tell you again ..."), for example ?
I believe that licenses are media specific. The music industry generally does nothing about people transferring music between formats (including between CD and iPod for example) but it is still against the terms of your license.
I believe there have been plenty of stories even here on el reg about various music industry attempts to sue/prosecute people for transferring legally bought CD music onto portable mp3 type players.
"I own the ENITIRE back catalogue of Iron Maiden in various formats, some of which it is economically unfeesable to convert to a format which can be listened to on modern equipment. I therefore visit mininova or thepiratebay or torrentreactor and download the tracker for the entire Iron Maiden catalogue, because technology has progressed past the point that my original PROPERLY LICENSED media is supported commercially.
When they send me the lovely letter saying I am a nasty nasty piewat, do I write back and tell them I own the license to listen to the music, but as some of it is on Vinyl I am acquiring a digital copy, or do I ignore it?"
Technically, when you bought a vinyl LP you only acquired the right to listen to the music on that LP only. Ownership of an LP (or CD, laser disc, DVD etc) does not automatically give you the right to convert the music into another format. Even if you own an original CD/LP/etc, your mp3's are only legal if they too have been paid for - whether they are self ripped or downloaded, it doesn't technically matter. Of course this is only a black & white view of copyright licensing. It has been well established (in the discussion surrounding a recent ongoing filesharing trial) that the industry is not (currently) interested in pursuing folks who rip their own mp3's, but who can say how long that will last?
Of course the funny thing is, P2P has probably done more to crush the terrorist pirate CD/DVD industry than anything the government ever did.
Isn't the solution for legal downloads
to revert to a P2P solution like the original Napster one where there's a central server that logs what happens... You can then readily prove what you were accessing and that it was all legal... After all the Napster model didn't go out of fashion because it didn't work, it went out of fashion because it was too easy to track down the pirates. It would work just fine for Linux distros, games updates and all the other 0.1% otr whatever of p2p traffic that's legitimate.
although their are some very savvy ways to get around this, using proxys and encryption (to some extent it would help) even if the record company/isp did manage to track the ip to a user and disconnect him on the 3rd warning wouldnt he just be able to go to another service supplier, sign up to them and start downloading again untill he becomes traced agian by another Riaa agent
Would also point out at least they give you a warning letter first, its about the only good thing since u can appeal the desision if the record companys thought their profits were a little low that month and just submitted a list of random ip's and times to the isp for cival proceadings
the flag cause were all pirates at heart
"people with unsecured wireless, internet cafe's, Starbucks, universities etc... will these all be disconnected when somebody using their network downloads copyrighted material?"
You should secure your wireless. Take the first warning letter as a memo to self to do same.
Any multi-user type sites (like internet cafes, universities etc.) should really be using a firewall of some description and really should be (1) limiting what software can be installed / run on their computers and (2) logging and investigating any "interesting" traffic patterns corresponding to any connected computer not owned by them. If indeed they allow 3rd party computers on their network.
I also suspect that most of these groups you mention would have a different relationship with their ISP and not be subjected to the 3 whines and your out policy.
This is geared towards reducing casual file sharing by home users.
Hi Paul : maybe answer to your question
"I may be being dumb but what will this mean for people whos ISPs use floating IP's?"
The answer lies in provisioning logs and dhcp lease databases.
The ISP for which I work keeps a 6-month record of all customer dynamic IP's. It's the law in NL.
Democracy at work
Pretty soon it will be like living in a cold war era communist country.
Come to think of it why don't they just emulate China and build The Great Firewall of... hmmm.. I think we may need a different name China already has that one.
Stuff this, I'm off to learn mandarin and how to make fireworks.
Cover's of songs? (i.e. by a tribute band)
So what happens when my friends band does a cover (NOT graphical artwork!) of something well known - lets say Def Leppard's "Hysteria" - then puts that on the net for people to check them out?
Let's call it "Def Leppard - Hysteria.mp3".
Would the BPI people just go by file name? Would they actually fully download the song and listen to it as verification? Even if they do, would they realise it's NOT Def Leppard's performance of it?
How did they verify the legitimacy of the "evidence of file sharing" for these first few people they've already disconnected?
Not saying it's impossible, but it sounds like it would certainly be difficult to get properly verified evidence.
This is going to be a spectacular cock-up
Lest we forget who's running with the ball here, Andy Burnham it was who was, along with Tony McNulty, wheeled out to discuss the more technical bits of the ID cards scheme on the Today programme,thus being in my personal top 10 for people who've caused me to shout at the radio.
It always amazes me how naive those in charge are around technology. Is there a peculiar mindset with those who strive for power these days - didn't technology used to be what got it (sharper sword, better armour, better communications)?
Legislating for Utopia doesn't work - if it did, I'd be lobbying for compulsory hovercars (what do you mean they don't exist???) and for every British citizen to claim whatever they liked in expenses from businesses who trade here but don't pay taxes here (claiming disposal costs on all those AOL CDs from the last decade should at least start paying for the Montana bunker)
***"even if the record company/isp did manage to track the ip to a user and disconnect him on the 3rd warning wouldnt he just be able to go to another service supplier, sign up to them and start downloading again untill he becomes traced agian by another Riaa agent"***
I assume some kind of blacklist would be involved to prevent 3 strikers from going to another ISP. This would probably be address (street address, that is) based, so the perpetrator would have to move to continue downloading.
Potential problems involved for people moving *to* a blacklisted address, though.
re 3rd party computers and firewalls - I take it you never went to university? Time and time again University servers are found with thousands of illegally downloaded mp3's on them. You don't need to use a 3rd party PC, and universities also use p2p and torrents.
as for "You should secure your wireless"... try assuming that I'm an innocent granny who's router was provided by Sky. The default username and password required to log onto my router has been compromised through no fault of my own, because as has been reported elsewhere, Sky made a rather large mistake when deciding what to use. Then I start to receive nasty letters from my ISP about how I'm breaking the law and they are going to cut me off. I don't know what to do or even who to contact because the people I would have contacted are the ones accusing me of a crime.
Not everyone knows how to reconfigure their router. Most people hardly know how to use their PC properly.
As for being geared towards casual file sharers - surely the major file sharers are the ones they should be concentrating on and not the casual home user?
"or four ("I've already told you TWICE, I won't tell you again ..."), for example ?"
Do you mean "I've already told you TWICE, I'll only tell you once more"?
Adding nothing to the debate
But Andy Burnham is a muppet. Did anyone see his painted, plucked face stammer through Question Time a couple of weeks ago? I have never seen a dimmer, more plodding example of the kind of weak-minded, inexperienced social sciences graduates who form the bulk of our junior ministers.
Guys Guys, You're pigeon holing yourselves as overwieght forty something IT support lackies
Iron Maiden? Def Leopard?
Maybe if you were all downloading something decent I would be sympathetic.
"This would probably be address (street address, that is) based, so the perpetrator would have to move to continue downloading."
True, but wait a year or two and everyone has a UTMS telly-phone.
"I'd be lobbying for compulsory hovercars (what do you mean they don't exist???)"
actuley they do but the goverments thinks that if we all ad personal planes liek that there might be some acdents
Any one remember eDonkey. If you go to the web page you will see that the RIAA think the have shut it down.
Tell that to the 600 odd people on my eDonkey clients queue.
Cover's of songs? (i.e. by a tribute band)
the way bt works is working agents here
they join a suspect swarm
takje note of the ips in it
when they have got the files being shared by the swarm they analise them
it tey are copyrighted they keep moniteriung the swarm and send out the letters to isp
"So what's going to happen when you get warning notice for runing a Tor node ? "
The Government hate things like Tor and darknets. They undermines their ability to monitor what we do. I would therefore imagine that .gov would regard any disincentive to people running such nodes as a plus point of this idea. The same for anything that scares the fear of **** into stupid people and gets them to secure their wireless. The other poster was right, when the masses are driven into the dark the volume of traffic will impair the ability of law enforcement to track serious criminals there. Guess running or using a darknode will be a crime soon.
Yes, I do find it ironic that P2P has done more to break the link between piracy and organized crime / terrorism than the Government ever has. Just goes to show how the industry will use any argument they find convenient to advance their aims regardless of what their objection to something actually is. I seem to remember something all those years ago in sunday school like "the devil can cite scripture for his own purpose."
Oh well, I'll sign up for a certain well-known virtual ISP and get "broadband Swedish style!" 5 Euros a month is cheap enough. The stupid thing is that the music and movie industries could probably have most of the 5 Euro a month payments themselves if they made all this legal.
Coming to a PC near you very soon.
The Minister for Corporate Grovelling has issued the following statement.
"The government has considered submissions from the advertising industry which relate to a marked decline in revenues from internet sources. After careful and protracted examination of the industry's proposals the government is minded to introduce legislation that will impose a modest 'click quota' on internet users. The initial quota will be 20 clicks per day per user, and compliance will be the responsibility of ISPs who may pass any additional cost burden on to customers.
The click quota will be subject to review on a monthly basis in consultation with the advertising industry."
In the House of Commons today NuLabour MP Joshua Lickspittle congratulated the minister and asked a question: "Does the minister not agree that his proposed legislation could be further enhanced by banning troublesome software such as Firefox, Adblock, Adblock Plus and blocking lists?"
The minister indicated that he was ruling nothing out at this stage.
Re:Guys Guys, You're pigeon holing yourselves as overwieght forty something IT support lackies
That's because we *are* overweight, forty something, IT support lackeys.
No charge for spelling corrections, BTW ;-)
the difference us and shoplifters
... is physical courage.
And if ISPs finger the wrong person?
Will the record companies be willing to share the fines imposed by the court? Or will they be busy buying another archipelago for Cliff Richard.
(slightly offtopic, but what is it that makes Andy Burnham quite so inherently slappable?)
- Product round-up Ten excellent FREE PC apps to brighten your Windows
- Hi-torque tank engines: EXTREME car hacking with The Register
- Review What's MISSING on Amazon Fire Phone... and why it WON'T set the world alight
- Product round-up Trousers down for six of the best affordable Androids
- Chromecast video on UK, Euro TVs hertz so badly it makes us judder – but Google 'won't fix'