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back to article Filesharers petition Downing Street on 'three strikes'

A petition urging the Prime Minister not to introduce "three strikes" legislation against illegal filesharing has made its debut on the 10 Downing Street website. In their campaign for digital freedoms, peer to peer users are demanding that the government doesn't force the issue. But ironically, they are inadvertently wishing …

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Why would the ISP's agree?

The BPI have already been told that if the ISP doesn't do something that is acceptable to them, the gov will force them to do something, so they know they can keep saying "no" until there's something they want no the table.

So if the ISP's don't bother, they save the time and money in useless negotiation and when the government come in, either the gov is going to be blatantly biased and not get buy-in from all sides (that have money, of course), or the ISP are going to be on an equal footing THIS time.

So the ISP aren't really given anything by trying to make a deal. The gov has seen to that.

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Anonymous Coward

Here's a more entertaining take: abusing the system

Not only are the fundamentals used to "convict" you very easy to avoid for the technically competent, I would go further and say that it's thus easy to see that it's also easy to entrap someone who is wholly innocent.

If this idiocy becomes law I predict that plenty of hackers will create victims at a rate of knots, and it only takes one person to be declared innocent and pursue damages for this whole daft idea to collapse around their ears.

There is a reason there are courts and police - it's to enforce due legal process (OK, don't get me started about the quality of judges but let's stay with the theory). I can't see how turning ISPOs et al into juge & jury is going to improve matters, especially for such nebulous purposes.

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Silver badge

I'm almost hoping

It's hard to tell how this will play out but the article brings up a good point. I'm almost hoping that we will see some stupid senseless law which will expose the RIAA and others to ridicule. It might set an example to avoid elsewhere.

I know the constitutionality of cutting someone off has been questioned but one serious problem just occured to me. How can you cut off someone's internet access if that is their only phone connection? I'm not sure about Britain, but here in Canada where this sort of thing is also under discussion, there are many people without a land line, and in the US they have been taking out the copper in some places so a person could be left without the ability to get a phone. Not a safe situation for some people. Just another possible law suit which I'm sure the ISPs want to avoid.

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Stop

Proof?

I might be missing something but where's the verification process? Are ISPs simply going to trust a "rights holder" or will they actually verify that a user is dowloading copyrighted material?

It seems to me that this process lacks accountability and therefore will be abused, a lot.

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Stop

There's one born every minute....

Anyone signing up for this "petition" are basically making the statement "I am a file sharer and this is where i live, come and get me" to the establishment.

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Anonymous Coward

<no title>

Not necessarily. I have signed petitions where I have no personal gain, but just think the issue was a good one to support. I tend not to bother now as all one gets in return is an excuse as to why the government isn't going to comply with the request.

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Happy

Love & Affection?

Do I detect a reference to a certain Joan Armatrading song in this article?

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Anonymous Coward

Be fair Chris

"Since the plans made a splash in the mainstream two weeks ago, the public debate has been awash with technological tosh. Tinfoil hat fantasies about ISPs being forced to inspect every packet have been bounced around with little regard for the truth."

This is bending the truth a bit, what most people have been suggesting is that to implement the system fairly they'd have to inspect every packet although only that is semi true admittedly. Currently just by connecting to a swarm and not downloading anything you could possibly get kicked off the net under these rules, this is clearly unfair, but is the sort of game that's worth playing so that you can have the opportunity to to sue your ISP or the BPI and make a quick buck - setup a video camera, get people round as witnesses, use a customized bittorrent client that connects but doesn't download, compile it altogether and go to court to prove you've not actually done anything wrong whatsoever and sue the living daylights out of ISPs/BPI - this is what ISPs are afraid of hence the current discussion.

As there is such discussion however and as ISPs wont accept the current proposals because of this very problem it may be the case that the BPI realises it is a problem when they realise they're going to be the target of a lot of lawsuits. This leaves them with a few options:

1) Scrap the whole idea, stop lobbying the goverment (unlikely)

2) Accept it and figure not many people will sue

3) Push for packet inspection, or setup honeypot torrents

Now, the 3rd is probably the most likely unless the BPI really are as stupid as they sometimes seem in which case they'll take option 2. If the 3rd option is taken we open up a whole new hornets nest of problems:

- Is it illegal to download a block of a few mb of encrypted material from a swarm when this material encrypted and potentially even if decrypted in no way whatsoever resembles original copyrighted content, the only link between a DivX and a DVD is that when it's put through a player the video on screen looks very similar, when you don't have enough to play the movie and when you then encrypt that data it's more like a random block of data.

- If the BPI are the ones uploading the data to you as a kind of honeypot are they not then by their own definitions giving you permission to download the content off their system anyway? Would this fall under entrapment laws otherwise?

- What if I join a swarm, with a modified bittorrent client, the BPI catcher system requests data from me and I send different data - my own content that falls under my copyright, if the above two points going in the BPIs favour I have now used them to cause the BPI to be guilty of copyright infringement under their own sets of premises. If the data doesn't match what was requested their system will delete it but could I not similarly claim my system deleted their content as soon as it received it and "it wasn't what I wanted"?

The only workable solution is as has been used in the US, where uploaders are targetted and to have a legitimate suit the BPI has to download a full copy of the content off a specific client to prove that they are unquestionably guilty. But even then how do you prove you downloaded a full copy off of a specific system in a swarm and not just partial chunks which are akin to random data when encrypted?

The easier the BPI try and make it for themselves, the more they're opening themselves up as targets. The biggest concern here of course is that the goverment wont play fair and will side with large industry as always such that if I do something wrong it's a major crime, but if a large business commits the same crime it's okay.

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Stop

@Paul Thompson

Or are we saying that we would like some legal process that ensures 'proof' of illegal (important word there) filesharing before threat letters are sent?

Personally I use p2p networks repeatedly, purely for legal downloads Linux ISOs etc.

Further more how can you prove that the person/owner of the line commited the alledged offence not malware wi-fi-leech etc. Or is inability to secure a machine illegal aswell?

First point is more important though: Evidence?

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Petition

E-Petitions are a waste of time anyway, all you will get for your trouble is a "We are right and your wrong" email sent out to everyone who signed, its not even worth it.

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You make it sound so simple...

Surely a more pertinent question is 'what right does the BPI have to monitor my internet activity?' Or indeed 'how are they going to find out *without* monitoring packets?' (as a non-techy person). And then again 'Why should the BPI be in a position to tell people whether or not I am a "good" e-citizen?'

After all, this is an industry body that spreads misinformation and unsubstantiated claims (filesharing costs them $xbn per year) while its members fritter away $80m at a time to sign up the likes of Blobby Williams for another 10 albums. There are data that suggest that filesharing leads to *more* legit music sales rather than fewer, but rather than look at their business model, the BPI and RIASS would rather sue filesharers for 'stealing' their revenue (which is, after all, theirs by god-given right).

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g e
Silver badge

Just hit back with...

A DPA request for all your information used to ID you from the BPI/RIAA/IFPI/etc and your ISP. Then maybe an FOIA request too, if appropriate?

They have to comply under law so if every time they issue a strike based on some screenshot some guy sent them and the BPI gets one then it'll cost them too much to maintain the system.

Like a screen shot is documentable evidence anyway. Photoshop, anyone? You could walk into court with screenshots of .gov IP's accessing anything you like that you faked and ask them to prove that their screenshot isn't fake. What's the chances they made some kind of evidentially acceptable screenshot audit system to prove validity?

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Re: Proof

Anon Coward said: It seems to me that this process lacks accountability and therefore will be abused, a lot.

That is precisely the point. In the US all the threats and lawsuits have been expensive and a PR disaster. The BPI wants to avoid making the same mistake, and a system which is unaccountable, cheap and avoids any encounter with the legal system is ideal.

The best we can hope at the moment is that a few innocents will be disconnected and will sue someone back.

("New" Labour government colluding with private interests to push through quasi-laws without public oversight? Say it'd never happen ...)

Rich.

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Coat

Criminal vs. Civil

As people have pointed out, real evidence is hard, and therefore expensive, to obtain (search warrants, seizure and examination of hard-disks etc.) so we're not likely to be going for criminal prosecutions with this.

However, the civil law on this is less of a problem to ISPs and rights-holders; if they cut off your internet access it will be, at worst, breach of contract by them. The most they will have to do is refund your contract. Home use broadband doesn't carry any guarantees for consequential losses (loss of business, enjoyment of internet porn etc.) so the punter isn't likely to get much in the way of damages, even if he can prove to a civil court that the ISP is in breach of contract when cutting him off.

There is no legal requirement for someone to do business with you, even if you have a contract they can end it without a lot of penalties. Your redress would be in the civil courts (you have to pay for that) when you sue the rights-holder for defamation (i.e. false accusation of filesharing copyright material).

It will be a bit like trying to sue an insurance company that refuses to pay up because you've breached the terms of the agreement (e.g. a false claim); you have to prove the claim is true in a civil court.

How many people get refused insurance or refused a claim for making false claims compared with the number that get a criminal prosecution for the same thing? Its cheaper to go through the civil courts every time.

There won't be many people willing to pay out defending themselves on this; most of them will be happy that its just their internet access and not a $220,000 fine!

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/05/riaa_wins_first_music_sharing_jury_trial/

As with any crime, there will be illegal filesharers smart enough to avoid being caught, but the rights-holders are hoping that the penalties will start to deter the majority of "ordinary" punters who will only break the law if there's little or no chance of any comeback; a lot of these will stop filesharing when they get their first letter.

Innocent filesharers are likely to end up tarred with the "illegal-filesharer" brush and it could be an expensive process for them to clean it off.

Mine's the black one with the feathers on it...

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Joe Bloggs

doesn't know what an anonymous proxy is. I doubt he ever will, it will just be built into clients and you'll never need to know about it. (EarthStation5 anyone?) Probably wouldn't be too difficult to code in a WEP/WPA cracker either.

This will certainly bring 'securing your wireless router' to the forefront, after the first few people fall victim to anonymous users downloading via their connection and having their connection cut off!

There are enough legal loopholes and technological ways around this. It will be interesting to see how they get everyone to thoroughly protect their IP address from any form of abuse. As you pointed out about Joe Bloggs and his ignorance of anonymous proxies, perhaps it should be pointed out that Joe Bloggs also is usually ignorant of securing wifi routers, removing and preventing malware, preventing his kids from installing Limewire etc, etc.

Rather than forcing ISPs to police the networks, they are delegating that to customers, who by and large don't have the requisite knowledge to secure their private networks.

Childish as it may be to mention again that this is an arms race, that doesn't detract from the fact that this IS an arms race and therefore a waste of all these well-paid peoples time and our money, due to the fact that, this time the big army is composed of 'bad guys'.

I'm not taking sides here, other than to point out that this is not really the solution, because as soon as it has mass effect, it will be circumvented, either through law or through technology.

In the mean time, lots of innocent people will be affected and made victims of others 'crimes' as so often seems to be the case with monolithic companies trying to protect their (artists) Intellectual Property.

DRM didn't last either, because it inconvenienced customers who played ball, whilst having zero effect on those who didn't!

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Jax
Alert

Parliment Thorough?

What's with this belief that laws that pass through Parliment are thorough and subject to scrutiny?

Did you read the Hansard in the regards to the National Identity Register debate?

a) They pass motions to cut the amount of time debating the issues, stifling debate.

b) The important ministers (such as the home office) are absent during lots of these debates.

c) None of the debates matter anyway because Labour just bring out the whip and their majority means that too many MPs need to rebel for them to lose.

Thorough my ass. Open yes, thorough no.

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Black Helicopters

Still Not Going to Work

If this is brought in sooner or later then it will just push fileshares to use IC2 protocols quicker which would make it completely impossible for Swarm Data IP Gathering. This tech already exists, it just not required at the moment.

I have no issues with protecting Intellectual Property, I am wealthy enough not to need fileshare copyrighted stuff but i do have HUGE ethical issues with laws or other Spanish Practices that are implemented to preserve the life of business models that should have died years ago. Why has the Government not asked the questions about why Filesharing is so commonplace. Why the industry has not adopted DRM free, multi outlet music downloads or similar. The Government should not be considering protecting people who exploit the market with protectionist policies, restrict healthy competition, act as a illegal price fixing Cartel, refuse to embrace new market paradigms (boutique spectacular) and whose entire argument is built on unproven and contestable anecdotal evidence.

This potential legal mess this will create for the BPI, ISP's will be huge as soon as meets its first stubborn legal challenge and given that the people most likely to be targetted will probably qualify for legal aid (students and such) it will be an even match.

The Political Fallout will be huge as well and it will all be for nothing as the article correctly points out its an arms race they cant even come close to winning once the filesharing community starts including the new protocols on all its sites / tracker and client builds.

They are just setting themselves up for a David and Goliath confrontation but David will this time be the parents of an 11 year old downloading West Life or some crap that the BPI thinks it "would" have made revenue from.

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Paris Hilton

What about those who don't fileshare but have had their MAC Address Cloned?

There are plenty of sites out there with 1,000s of users who advise how to steel someone else’s MAC address in order to gain free internet access, so BPI get the detail of the user which is downloading the music / movies etc and get the ISP to issue and email….. The filesharer who is using the cloned MAC will never receive this instead the subscribed customer does but he can do nothing and has done nothing wrong..

The filesharer continues to download copyrighted content until the subscribers internet connection is disconnected, the guy with the cloned MAC address reprograms his modem and continues downloading while the innocent subscribed customer is left disconnected and having to pay a connection fee to another ISP!!!

How is this helping BPI to stop their material been shared around the world?

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Ian
Linux

Why ISPs would agree

We constantly hear about ISPs and their love of file sharers (Comcast for example) so I think this arrangement may provide them with a great opportunity to kick some people off their networks who are using lots of bandwidth.

However it goes a bit further. By turning p2p into a 'bad thing', the ISP will hope fewer people will do it, saving them more bandwidth. Also, it acts to shift the burden of proof away from the ISP and on to the customer (Oi, you're using bit-torrent what are you up to? etc...).

Getting rid of, or at least reducing the use of, bit-torrent would be worth a lot of money to the broadband providers, they may be keener on this whole idea than people like to think.

</my 2c>.

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Paris Hilton

Is it any rights holder?

In that case, I'm going to claim that the RIAA and MPAA, BPI, et al have been copying my new book or software. All 6 or so of them, in seperate complaints. Then get them booted off the net! Bwahahaha!

Hmmm....

If they analyse the traffic that implies copying to a computer, right?

And if they're having to analyse (DPI etc) it that means they don't know what's in it?

And they'd have to analyse ALL of my traffic- at least for a given time period- to build up a full file (if they just went for filenames, expect a whole load of things labelled "Song1.mp3" up for download!)

So if they're analysing my traffic they're creating a copy of it? Potentially creating a copy of someone elses' software/music/whatever?

Surely then this becomes illegal- or anyone declared a "Rights Holder" (or providing and internet connection) would be entirely permitted to make whatever copies they wanted "For evidential purposes".

Any lawyers/politicians want to take this (sor something similar) up?

Paris because it's one of the few places where the politicians are worse than ours...

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3x2

Just the BPI?

Something that hasn't been made clear to date is if this new strikes system will apply only to the music and film industry. Will this system be open to all rights holders? if so it could quickly degenerate into some IP based DMCA type takedown process without any legal requirements.

It is difficult to see how this protection should only apply to the music biz and exclude all the other "content producers" who have their work shared all the time.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Is it any rights holder?

"If they analyse the traffic that implies copying to a computer, right? And if they're having to analyse (DPI etc) it that means they don't know what's in it? And they'd have to analyse ALL of my traffic- at least for a given time period- to build up a full file (if they just went for filenames, expect a whole load of things labelled "Song1.mp3" up for download!)"

I'm at risk of sounding like a stuck record, but FFS Adam. Did you read the article?

They will not analyse traffic

They will not analyse traffic

They will not analyse traffic

They will not analyse traffic

They will not analyse traffic

They will not analyse traffic

They will not analyse traffic

They will not analyse traffic

They will not analyse traffic

- Chris

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Flame

Freetard Tax

If you don't download music from P2P or BitTorrent, then you've got nothing to worry about.

Policing costs ISPs money. Leeching costs the music industry money. Maybe not as much as they say, but only an idiot would deny it. All these costs add up, and these are passed on to the honest consumer.

Frankly, I don't see why *I* should pay higher prices for legal digital downloads, CDs, and broadband - just so you leechers can continue to infringe.

Don't assume that the rest of us happily pay this "Freetard Tax" because you won't play by the rules.

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Thumb Up

Nice big bonus for Cisco, et al!

So the ISPs will have to upgrade all their backend kit to ensure that they are snooping every single packet coming from their customers, through the network to the target and back. Hmm, that would be a nice big Xmas bonus for Cisco, et al, buying all that kit in to track all that data. Then the extra Oracle/Sybase/SQL Server licenses to hold all the data, then there's EMC/Hitatchi DS for storage, then HP, Sun, IBM for processing the stored data.

If this ill thought out shite actually gets through, I can see a few ISPs giving up and a bloody huge Xmas parties occurring over at all the hardware vendors!

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Fantasy

"That the decisions are being made without public input suits the government down to the ground. It knows better than anyone that laws are formal, thorough beasts, and must be consulted upon."

Sorry, are you talking about some fictional government you'd like to be running this country? Recent laws may be formal but they are not thorough in conceptualisation, debate or anything else. Consultation is near non-existant and where it does happen it is ignored when it turns out to oppose what the government thinks is best (usually despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary). E-petitions being a visible example of this.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Fantasy

Fair enough. That sentence could have done with a "relatively" qualifier somewhere.

- Chris

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Stop

What's the New Business Model?

A few people have commented that filesharers will win this war and therefore the rightsholders need a new business model (I summarised a bit).

What is that new business model then? At the moment the idea seems to be that all music, films and software should be free to download; so how does content get made?

You can't pay for it with a surcharge on ISPs unless that surcharge is applied world-wide; then how do you divvy-up the money?

The simplest business model has always been "consumer pays before consuming" combined with "shoplifters will be prosecuted".

Anon, because I don't want Freetard pikeys to come round and "share" my stuff...

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Ian

@ Paul M

"If you don't download music from P2P or BitTorrent, then you've got nothing to worry about."

So will I expect you back hear saying the same thing when your internet gets cut off because someone hijacked your wireless to download MP3s and you can't submit your tax return which must be submitted online only soon? Or when your immobile Grandmas wifi gets hijacked and she gets banned so she can't order her shopping online which she has to do since the goverment/councils removed funding for personal shopper schemes? How about when your kids drop grades at school because their friend came over and downloaded an MP3 and as such they can't compete with the other kids by using the internet for research at home?

If you think it's going to be just file sharers that suffer you don't understand the problem and should hence just keep your mouth shut. As always, the "If you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about" argument falls flat on it's face here as it does everywhere.

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Unhappy

Further proof required

Before this ridiculous idea goes any further, The BPI & co must be able to provide documentary proof that their so - called losses due to filesharing actually exist.

If they are unable to provide this proof, there is no case to answer.

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DR
Pirate

misinformation?

the misinformation spread by various websites?

I read that article and don't really see much difference between there and what was being written here all of last week regarding how it maybe done and what technical issue are thrown up?

"The only workable solution is as has been used in the US, where uploaders are targetted"

when you down load from a torrent you download parts and upload parts. therefore, when downloading you're also uploading and by your own logic should still be targetted.

"Don't assume that the rest of us happily pay this "Freetard Tax" because you won't play by the rules."

I've bought all the music I've ever downloaded, or deleted it and been glad i didn't waste my money... funnily enough, i have broad musical interests and can't sample all the music I want to buy just by listening to the top 10...

by stopping me from finding good new music all the BPI are doing is ensuring that I won't be buying as man CDs as I used to. since I won't have the access to get to listen to new music.

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Stop

@Ian the leech

>> As always, the "If you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about" argument falls flat on it's face here" <<

No, it doesn't.

I don't leech music, so I don't see why I should subsidize people who do. Your Freetard "right" to leech music is costing the rest of us real money.

Got it, yet?

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@Ian

The old "someone else used my Wi-Fi" defence; why didn't you check your security when you got the first and second warnings?

I agree that we don't want to punish the innocent, but I don't mind punishing the stupid.

The ISP's can always cover themselves by putting a clear "no-sharing" clause in their T&Cs; if you don't secure your wireless you can be cut off. They might not care if you give away someone else's copyright material, but they certainly don't want you to give away broadband (I think that some ISP's already have this in their contract).

If determined criminal-downloaders can't use their own internet connection, then there's nothing to stop them commiting further crimes (hijacking Wi-Fi access) to carry on downloading; catching and punishing these people will definitely be more difficult. Any suggestions from the techies out there?

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@DR

For every honest-John like you though, there's ninety-nine guys who won't bother to buy a CD or DVD; they've already got what they want (free stuff!).

Your argument, that you like to try-before-you-buy, is perfectly valid if it's in the context of workable DRM technology that stops the copyrighted material from working after a trial period. This is pretty much the Microsoft model at the moment, and you're right, it does have its advantages.

Unfortunately there is no workable DRM technology for music and video; the last resort of the pirate is to feed the analogue signal into a recorder and get a slightly degraded result, but how many people will care about that when making their quality vs. free-download buying decision?

Making "sharing" legal will open the floodgates and kill off the revenues for music and film; why buy if you can "share"?

So the options for copyright holders are either try to limit the amount of "sharing" or let the Freetards destroy the recorded entertainment industry.

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Anonymous Coward

@ What's the New Business Model?

If I remember my economics correctly, the 'old' business model works like this:

Price is determined by intersection of demand and supply

Demand is driven up by promos

Supply is then provided by the labels, via mastering, cd stamping/vinyl pressing/etc., boxing, delivery, and all of the other dull stuff that needed to be done.

The label's business, and function, is to provide the service to the customer for doing that dull stuff - this is, in effect, what they take their 'cut' for, together with pushing up artists' sales.

Problem is, that's not actually needed any more. In a free market, there should be no barriers to entry, and so far there haven't been. The filesharing systems provide an alternate delivery method, which the labels/producers were too slow to pick up on.

Doubly bad for the producers is that now delivery is much easier and less costly there is much greater supply, tending to infinity causing the price _of recordings_ to tend to nothing _over time_. Note my emphasis - it is not impossible to make money in this way, in fact a couple of young bands that I've worked with are doing just this, falling back on the even older model of setting their primary target to be live performance and having a dedicated fanbase.

A 'new' business model must take this into account - remember that people _will_ pay money for stuff that they percieve to be worthwhile. OK, not everyone, and not in the kind of scales that the labels are used to making. But then has anybody stopped to think, what are the labels actually doing to _earn_ those kind of profits?

There will always be a demand for music and entertainment, whether or not the 'industry' exists in its current form or not. In a truly free market then there will be ways to satisfy this demand.

As I recall the record labels have only been around for the last hundred years or so but music has been around a lot longer. Also I've seen plenty of articles about the musicians unions opposing any recording for exactly the same reasons.

Again if I remember my economics correctly this is termed 'structural change' - external factors fundamentally disrupting the market. Exactly what happened to the coal miners, English textile industries, etc. And just like then the government comes down on the side of the big businesses.

Btw, I work producing different forms of content for 'content providers' whether of a musical, online, broadcast or filmic nature.

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Anonymous Coward

in whose interest?

Oh, btw, I've never seen how it would be in the ISP's interests to enforce this, other than currying favour, because the only way they can increase their revenues is by selling fatter pipes. Why would you need more than 512k for basic email/web browsing? No, we buy 24meg pipes to download large amounts of content. They'd much rather filter and degrade the pipes to try to stop their profits leaking away.

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Ian

@ Paul M

"No, it doesn't.

I don't leech music, so I don't see why I should subsidize people who do. Your Freetard "right" to leech music is costing the rest of us real money.

Got it, yet?"

Your comment doesn't make any sense unless you're blindingly choosing to ignore the point in which case that simply shows how utterly ignorant you are to the situation. The issue is that via wifi hijacking, trojans, other family members you could be punished. In other words, to put it clearly in a way you will hopefully be able to understand this time - innocent people will get caught up in this and suffer as a result. You could be one of them. You may be a security guru, you may not have wifi and kids and so may not fit this scenario perfectly but there are literally hundreds of thousands that do and if that's you're viewpoint you're basically telling us you just want the whole internet to yourself and don't care about other internet users even if they're legit users all the way through.

On another note, I'm not sure how you can suggest it's costing other people real money for others to leech when most people are signing up to "unlimited" packages - if people using their internet connections in the way the package they signed up for says they can then I think it's the ISPs you need to be complaining to. I sincerely hope you've never needed to go to hospital, or the doctors or seek unemployment benefits or in fact make use of any state facility or funding because I'd hate to think someone was subsidising anything you do.

@ AC,

You answered your own point - all major forms of Wifi security can be broken, using WEP, WPA or even Mac filtering is as worthwhile as having no security at all from a practical point of view. This still doesn't avoid the problem of someone installing a trojan on your PC or simply your kids having a friend round and causing the problem also. It doesn't matter how many warnings you get, anyone who has worked in IT will know that there is a hell of a lot of average joe users out there who week on week will get infected multiple times.

Essentially by saying "insecure wifi isn't an excuse" you're effectively saying you're not allowed to use wifi because wifi just isn't secure full stop. It doesn't matter how many times you setup and resetup up WPA, WEP and so forth, it can still be broken in an extremely small amount of time.

It's a whole lot of turmoil just because the BPI doesn't want people downloading MP3s. Is the BPI going to be the one to train every single person in this country about running a secure system?

The car analogy is quite fitting here for once, if you park your car (wifi) in the street but lock it (WPA) and someone breaks in and steals it, are you responsible for manslaughter if someone is run over with your car, even if it happens 3 times? Arguably with the car analogy it's easier to protect against and catch the culprit but to use that excuse here essentially says "Yeah, we have no actual solution because it's technologically unenforceable for the most part but if innocents get caught up in it's tough because the BPI doesn't want kids downloading MP3s and that's more important than having a proper legal system for dealing with illegal acts".

Still, if it does go ahead I'd imagine it wont be long before Hacktivists hijack MPs and BPI employees wifi and show them first hand the perils of the legislation they're threatening.

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WTF??

Hang on. If the ISP don't want to supply you with a service, they don't have to. You might as well say that your local gunsmiths are infringing your rights by refusing to sell you a gun - when you don't have a gun licence!

That said. I think the ISP ought to have a pretty high proof standard - not just a few screenshots and a fullsome "trust us". I also think the RI ought to have to post a bond of say £80k for each disconnection they ask for. If it is challenged and they are unable to conclusively prove the sharing to a magistrate, then they loose the bond. IE, they'll have to think carefully before acting.

My belief is that this is all just posturing intended to scare people. I don't think they'll actually do it because of the huge practical and legal problems involved.

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Anonymous Coward

re @ What's the New Business Model?

I agree that there's a big change coming, but that change could be the end of recorded entertainment.

Your comments about the labels being the delivery mechanism for music is totally valid (they've only been around as long as the recording technology); now that there's a "better and cheaper" delivery mechanism they could be doomed. They have tried to evolve from being delivery mechanisms to owners of IP; but if the law doesn't protect IP then they have nothing.

I also agree that one future-model for the music industry is to use low-quality recordings to promote live music.

But what about film? How can I sell DVDs (or downloads or whatever) if someone can just copy and "share" it? Film making already has a pretty poor ROI, anything that reduces this will kill it; entertainment is a business not a charity.

(Feel free to comment on how valid Hollywood's contribution to culture is, but I'm guessing the majority of "sharers" aren't downloading art-house cinema)

The sharers may "win", but that could mean that in the future there won't be much to "share".

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IT Angle

how they will be allowed to allow me to download but then say I was not allowed to download ?

If the person monitoring for copyright infringements allows you to download copyrighted material... how can you be breaking copyright ?

Someone please explain, how they will be allowed to allow me to download but then say I was not allowed to ?

How does Downloader -average-Joe tell what he is ACTUALLY going to download, is downloading OR have downloaded ?

Are they seriously going to base it filename only, or is there going to be some leeway that allows Downloader -average-Joe to actually identify what he has downloaded ?

Complaints should be directed at Ofcom or the relevant regulatory body (maybe the Office of Fair Trading or Trading Standards), if you think you have been treated unfairly (in this case a bad strike - IF it ever happens).

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@ What's the New Business Model?

"Price is determined by intersection of demand and supply"

But profit is sales minus cost and unit-cost is total cost of production divided by number of units sold. If the number of units sold is reduced, the cost per unit gets bigger until you can't make a profit. No profit equals no business equals no production (other than by dedicated amateurs).

"Again if I remember my economics correctly this is termed 'structural change' - external factors fundamentally disrupting the market. Exactly what happened to the coal miners, English textile industries, etc. And just like then the government comes down on the side of the big businesses."

Two points about that:

1) The recording industry isn't "big business" (their total UK turnover is about a fifth of Shell's profit).

2) The government didn't exactly help the coal and textiles industries did it?

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"They will not analyse traffic"

So, Chris, how do they know illegal filesharing is going on? There's plenty of legal filesharing.

Ouji board?

Magic 8 Ball?

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@Paul M

I think you may have missed the point.

You don't leech music and, quite rightly, don't want to subsidise people who do.

However, although you have done nothing wrong, you may in theory have something to worry about from someone using your internet connection without your knowledge or consent to download copyright material. Elsewhere, it might have been a fine, in the future it may be a disconnect.

Got it, yet? ;)

On a side note, here's a quote that I can't remember seeing on The Reg:

"Earlier this year it was reported that the government was considering a "three strikes" approach to tackling persistent offenders in the report.

But Mr Burnham denied this was the case and told the FT that the strategy had "never been in the [creative industries strategy] paper"."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7258437.stm

It might be the rarest of events: a disingenuous politician, or it might be that we aren't actually moving towards a three-strike system with the rumbling inevitability that one might think.

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@Ian

"On another note, I'm not sure how you can suggest it's costing other people real money for others to leech when most people are signing up to "unlimited" packages - if people using their internet connections in the way the package they signed up for says they can then I think it's the ISPs you need to be complaining to"

I think Paul M meant that the cost of producing music and films etc. is passed on to a smaller number of paying customers because of "leeches" i.e. "honest people" pay more because some people don't pay at all (exactly the same way you pay for shoplifters); the money you pay to ISP is for connection not content.

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@ AC

"However, the civil law on this is less of a problem to ISPs and rights-holders; if they cut off your internet access it will be, at worst, breach of contract by them. The most they will have to do is refund your contract. Home use broadband doesn't carry any guarantees for consequential losses (loss of business, enjoyment of internet porn etc.) so the punter isn't likely to get much in the way of damages, even if he can prove to a civil court that the ISP is in breach of contract when cutting him off."

Well I'd disagree with that. If your ISP cuts you off after you have told them that you are in compliance with their T&Cs (ie you dispute the BPI/whoever version of 'evidence') then they open themselves up to all sorts of problems. Yes, they can cut you off with no comeback if you breach their T&Cs, but if you aren't then they open themselves up to any costs or losses incurred by you as a consequence - even if their contract specifies that they are NOT liable.

You see, a valid argument would be along the lines of : they disconnected your account, in breach of their contract, with the sole purpose of causing you losses. Unless they have proper evidence then they would lose in court - their threatening letters would be proof of their intention to disconnect you.

So simple tactic no 1 : if you get one of these letters simply respond stating quite clearly that a) you are not engaged in illegal or unlicenced activities, b) you will hold them liable for all losses and costs incurred as a result of their proposed actions, and c) their continued actions as threatens will be taken as acceptance of said terms.

Remember that you can take your claim for losses through the small claims court as long as it's under (IIRC) £5,000 - and in the small claims court things are very much easier for you, and a LOT harder for the ISP. They are NOT allowed to use expensive legal councel, and even if they do, then you will probably not have to pay their legal bills if you lose. And, all you need to show (and it's a 'balance of probabilities' thing, not 'beyond reasonable doubt') is that they caused you harm, they reasonably knew that they were going to cause you harm, and that you've done everything reasonable to minimise the harm caused.

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AUP

Last time I looked every ISP has an Acceptable Use Policy that gives them the right to chuck you off their service if they think you are abusing copyright on intellectual property. So is anything happening here at all?

I mean, this is just another round of bluster from the BPI isn't it?

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Anonymous Coward

Sharing, Revenues and Business models

>>Making "sharing" legal will open the floodgates and kill off the revenues for music and film; why buy if you can "share"?<<

Not really. How about earning some money by actually performing your music? Is it reasonable to record some music and expect that you will be getting money for that one-off work for the next century? Get on a stage, fill in halls and stadiums, play your music and earn all the money you like.

There is also money from radio licensing (the home user could have music for free because he plays the song for his own enjoyment whereas the radio will attach an ad next to it and earn money).

If you are a good musician and grow a big fan base then you can have big income from alternate sources as well (advertising contracts, promo appearances etc.). Trust me, no worthy musicians will starve.

Regarding films; cinema will always be a good income source (TVs are getting bigger and cheaper all the time, but I doubt architects will start building living rooms big as theatres anytime soon). TV broadcasting rights provide revenue as well. Successful films can make enough money out of these sources to cover production costs and make profit. Then why wouldn’t those films be on public domain? Yes, some actors/producers would lose a digit from the >7-digit income figures. Tough isn’t it.

The digital age overturned the established status quo. It put a question mark next to the necessity of having a recording/movie industry (as currently structured). And their greedy pricing policies are anything but helpful. Freeloaders will always exist; it’s human nature. But there is a substantial number of people that would be happy to pay if they didn’t felt ripped-off and knew money would find its way to the people that deserve it. When I found a 14 DVD box-set of Hitchcock films at £22 I bought it and gladly. At the original price of £90 I wouldn’t have touched it. And I don’t think that the movie studio and DVD store thought “Let’s lose some money today” and applied the discount. They simply didn’t make unreasonable profit out of that sale.

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Leeches & Hijacking

"I think Paul M meant that the cost of producing music and films etc. is passed on to a smaller number of paying customers because of "leeches" i.e. "honest people" pay more because some people don't pay at all (exactly the same way you pay for shoplifters)"

Exactly.

Music will cost more. Broadband will also cost more because the ISPs will be forced to hire people to check and process requests from the BPI. WIthout the leeches, they would not be required to do this.

Typical of Freetards not to see this. In Leechland no one takes responsibility for anything, and when caught, people like Ian will bleat that somebody hijacked their Wi-Fi.

Pathetic.

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You want the Parliament to review it indeed

Which, as for anti-terrorist fuss, will end up being the BPI suspicion taken as proof, only you'll be facing heavy financial penalty and/or prison instead of just being disconnected with still the possibility to attack the disconnection decision if it wasn't justified.

So let's make a law, right. This way we're sure it'll end up with random (probably innocent) people being totally stuffed with no recourse possible. Having to pay a few hundred thousand pounds when you're on minimal hourly wage is totally not going to destroy Joe Bloggs life, is it (not to mention prison)? And the only thing you would need for that to happen to you is to own a Windows machine or a not-too-safe WiFi.

Because, let's face it: a law on this matter is bound to be a pile of crap tailored by clueless morons to suit the rightholders dirtier wishes.

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Ed

@Mark -- read the article...

"So, Chris, how do they know illegal filesharing is going on? There's plenty of legal filesharing."

Reading comprehension for the win. The intellectual property holder (or whoever their designated rep is) connects to a tracker for a torrent that is passing out their intellectual property. The IP holder gets a list of the IP addresses in the torrent and then contacts the ISPs of those users.

How is this hard to understand? There is no packet inspection necessary. All they have to do is go to a popular torrent search engine and start looking.

Of course they need to make sure that the content being passed around is actually their protected content.

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