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back to article Virgin Media in talks to trial three strikes regime against P2P

Virgin Media could soon become the second major ISP to attempt to implement a "three strikes" system against illegal filesharers in partnership with the record industry. The cable company is in talks with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) to trial a system of warnings, followed by disconnection, for the most persistent …

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On a mission

Virgin really are on a mission to make friends and influence people aren't they? Would it be quicker if they just publish a list of who they aren't selling my data to?

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Pirate

A few words come to mind

...spineless, accountability, wrong, evidence, privacy... please continue

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Sharers, not downloaders?

I hope so, because it's the only way I can watch Lost, after their useless management shafted the whole Sky One debacle.

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Paris Hilton

Linux?

Will it effect non pirate p2p? When Fedora and Ubuntu release their latest guess how I'm going to get them...

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Joke

Maybe they could

integrate it with the Phorm stuff? check your up/downloads and then if they are legal profile you so that you get more relevant up/downloads in future........

Thats if they have any customers left of course?

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Coat

So long as the BPI pays for it....

They can do whatever they like to copyright thieves. So long as they don't expect me to pay for it through my Broadband subscription.

Mines the fireproof one....

Freetards please affix your flames below...

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Paris Hilton

What the BPI/RIAA want...

Is for other companies (Virgin) to nanny users, and prevent them committing nasty acts of piracy, by spying on them, and keeping legitimate P2P programs (eg WoW's update service) from working.

I'll bet Virgin will be left with the expenses, and the BPI wont even phone the next day to say they still respect Virgin (although that name is a bit of a misnomer, given how Virgin sells itself to the highest bidder, eg Phorm and all of their friends).

Remember - piracy is as bad or worse than stealing. So next time you want an album, break into your local Virgin Megastore and physically steal it. that way, not only do you get to keep a hard copy in case the BPI seizes your hard drive, but you also get better sound quality and a lighter penalty than if you were caught pirating.

Paris, because even she would shed a tear upon hearing this.

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Linux

Will it actually resolve anything

People will just start using sites like LoveFilm and rip the movie there and trade with friends. The same thing will happen to music.

If they really want to stop this they should look at cleaning house and charging reasonable prices for what they release.

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Paris Hilton

interesting...

@Martin

I'm guessing (hoping), that they will just download some illegal torrents, start downloading, and then get the IP addresses from the peer list.

But if they do that, are they not then wondering in to the minefield of entrapment, as they will be facilitating the very crime they are trying to catch you for.

If that's the method, this could get interesting!

Also, what they fail to consider is that presently, the only real reason alot of people have for possessing a broadband connection is P2P, illegal or otherwise.

Any paid-for music or shows are DRM-crippled, although it appears some music download services are coming to their senses over DRM.

Without P2P, what is the use of hi-speed broadband?

Paris...why not!

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Happy

mea culpa - NOT

p2p ? dodgy pr0n, fraud, botnets. Virgin can no longer claim to be a carrier. Anything I do which is even slightly dodgy will now be Virgin's fault as they didn't prevent me from doing it.

Not guilt yer 'onor izzit.

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Anonymous Coward

Well...

...I guess I won't be needing their 20Mb super-fast broadband then.

Time to switch to ASDL?

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Thumb Down

The day they do this I cancel my subscription

'nuff said.

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So it begins...

Now UK ISP's are responsible for all content that flows through their network, expect censorship and issuing of take-down notices to go through the roof.

Goodbye internet, you were fun while you lasted.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Simple solution...

...go to another ISP. There must be 30 or 40 out there and Virgin suck donkey balls anyway. With their handy "quit any time" clause, you can just tell them to stuff their unreliable service and choose someone else instead.

I'm also prepared to bet cash money that you'll have to ring a premium rate phone number to protest you innocence should you be genuinely falsely accused. And the person in Bangalore you speak to won't have even heard of P2P, likely thinking you're talking about PSP and saying "this is right sir, you were downloading illegal games".

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Heart

Usenet

I love Virgin with the 20Mbit connection, spend £15pm for unlimited Usenet account with SSL encryption (including commands and headers) that maxes it out at 10MB/s

As long as they keep focused on the P2P crowd, who are communists by nature anyways and need to be watched. Usenet providers have peering servers in the UK so ISP's don't have to spend any money on external bandwidth or deal with notices from rights groups and expensive bandwidth.

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Alert

Torrents

So BPI or Virgin pretend to be a user and then download a list of IP addresses and that is how they will catch people?

Why would that be entrapment?

They would be getting publicly available information if that was the case.

Is it really that easy to catch people downloading torrents?

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Thumb Down

This is the equiv of...

The government forcing car manufacturers to limit their products to 70mph to cut down speeding.

There should be no way that a private organisation, or an industry, should be doing this sort of work. What's next? Banning pgp (again)? Banning certain ports or protocols? Banning freedom of speech?

All the ISP seems to get is a list of IPs to warn or cut off; there doesn't seem to be any defence for the punter - what if a IP has been hijacked? What if there's a wrong IP reported? Is the user still liable to complete a contract period with the ISP? Just now, I can see 4 unsecured wireless networks form my flat, and another 10 WEP connections. I guess they'll be the first to be banned from their ISP if anyone here wants an illegal download...

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> go back to ADSL...

You won't like it. ADSL doesn't hack it for legal net use either these days: the bloatware even on web pages has got so bad...

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Anonymous Coward

Karma

The record companies are just reaping the karma they sowed. For years the record companies ripped everyone off (including the artists themselves not just the consumers). Especially so here in the UK where, even taking into account currency fluctuations, albums were often 50% or more expensive than in the US. The government refused to do anything about this legalised "theft" by the record companies.

As for virgin media, well, with this in addition to the Phorm saga, I guess they have decided they want to lose a few hundred thousand customers. Way to go beardy!

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Pirate

Cough

Cough *Peerguardian* cough cough

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Pirate

Re: "Legal" Downloads

re a couple of queries above on WoW updates, Linuz distros etc.

The BPI are informing Virgin of the details of people dowloading material that they hold the copyright to. They join (e.g.) a torrent swarm for an item they believe they hold the rights to (e.g. the latest Britney album, based on filename) and make notes of the IP addresses that are also downloading the item in question. Once downloaded, they check the item to ensure that it is something they hold the rights to. They then pass the IP addresses for other parties who downloaded the item to the ISP.

So, **in theory**, it shouldn't affect anything that doesn't belong to the BPI, such as Linux distros etc.

The thing you need to worry about there is Virgin using their "network management" on you if you download more than they say you can whilst you're paying for "unlimited" (subject to undisclosed Fair Use Policy).

(no, I don't agree with what the BPI / Virgin are doing here, but let's keep it in perspective, huh?)

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Thumb Up

A title is required.

Any pirate worth thier patch knows about IP filters.. I doubt that there are many Corp IP's not listed already, when its P2P its C2C only.

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jai
Silver badge

non-static ip numbers

but, i don't have a static ip with VM - i've no idea if it changes very often, but it's definately not static

so what are the odds that someone spends all saturday giving away gigabytes of music files and then sunday, Virgin blip their DNS or whatever and then i connect and get assigned the IP that the P2Per previously used, and i get the bill for billions in lost copyright?

is it worth me keeping record of every IP address i'm assigned and in which i was connected, so that should i find myself wrongly accused, i've got records which should match Virgin's own?

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Black Helicopters

This is a title, alright?

Isn't it about time someone created a torrent client that didn't broadcast its ip address to everyone, or at least enrypted it in some way?

BTW: if this already exists, post a link please :)

Anon to avoid the black choppers of ProstituteMedia - newly rebranded!

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Gates Horns

What a waste of money.

If, for the sake of argument, a person was in a position to download material with which they would engorge their eyes and ears; Throwing copyright cares to the wind, because it's free......

Do you really think, that that kind of person, is suddenly going to go out and buy everything they currently pirate? This is a no-brainer - its mostly kids without any money, one glance at the torrent comments tells you that.

I have an enormous cupboard of paid for DVDs, and a huge rack of paid for audio cds, and computer games. I pay for most of them via Steam, perfectly legally even though I can get them from a torrent in 6 hours for free. I am not going to spend any more money on that stuff than I currently do, whether they stop me from DLing torrents or not.

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Paris Hilton

3 strikes is a great way to get out of a contract!

Cursing your isp? Stuck in a 12 month contract?

Get 3 strikes and you're free! ;)

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They'll never do it

Shop their own customers that is.

What does VM get out of this? Clearly it's not money from the BPI.

The broadband market is unbelievably competetitive in the UK. It's *really* not going to be good for business the first time a story hits the press that a 13 year old school-girl was imprisoned / handed a £20,000 fine because VM handed over her details.

This is the usual waffle from the BPI. It would be a huge risk to Virgin with no conceivable benefit. Why would they do it?

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Rob
Paris Hilton

Yousnet

I didn't see anything about virgin actually inspecting traffic though only enforcing the rule if the bpi or whoever inform them a virgin ip was connected to a dodgy torrent, big whoop to me- torrents suck anyway,

paris as shes keeping it SSL + usenet flavoured

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Snail Mail?

My friend in a far flung country with a less invasive ISP will just have to download to a DVD and post it to me. Bugger I hear that the BPI have asked the Post Office to scan all mail for DVD content – now your friendly postman will know what sort of porn you are interested in.

More seriously why are ISP’s put in this position they should argue, up to the Lords if necessary, that they do no different a job to the “Royal” Mail, only a bit faster.

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Unhappy

Note the weasel-wording.

"participating in copyright-infringing peer to peer networks"

NOT

"participating in illegal copyright infringement"

So... if you happen to use DodgyBobsIllegalP2P.com to get your perfectly legal Linux distros, the wording as reported *still* counts that as one of your three strikes.

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@ MichaelG

"So BPI or Virgin pretend to be a user and then download a list of IP addresses and that is how they will catch people?

Why would that be entrapment?"

What they do is start the torrent downloading and then note the IP addresses of the computers they connect to as part of the swarm.

Because when they connect to the swarm they will also be downloading and uploading. If they are making the file available for other people to download, then they enticing people to commit the crime of downloading. "Making available for download" is what they've tried to hit people with when they've sued.

If they argue that they aren't in breach of copyright because they have the permission of the rights holder, they are admitting that anyone downloading the file from them is also legal as it has been legally made available by the rigths holder. As they will be offering the file to all of the IP addresses that they collect (they'll want to make sure that they can prove the file is being downloaded), there could be an embarrassing loophole in this.

"Is it really that easy to catch people downloading torrents?"

Only if it's using a public tracker as opposed to a private tracker or the client isn't set up to report a false IP to the tracker or the person isn't using an anonymous proxy.

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Bronze badge
Alert

Business model?

Sky thought NTL would lose hundreds of thousands of customers when Sky withdrew Sky One from NTL but it didn't happen for one reason: All NTLs customers just downloaded Lost et al instead on the nice high speed broadband NTL was providing cheaply.

The number of people sharing/downloading Lost probably went up by a factor of 10 overnight, and NTL lost very few customers.

If NTL stops people using p2p they will effectively have eliminated their entire business model, and will lose customer at whatever rate Sky can install dishes.

The sort of customer that use p2p are the same customers that have all the channels and NTL's V+ boxes and who buy pay-per-view movies.

If they get rid of p2p they will be left with old people who have the basic TV package and use the phone only during the "free calls" period.

I honestly think this is nothing more that a ruse... "negotiate" with the BPI but don't come to an agreement, then when the BPI try to sue them they can say" Well we tried to come to a deal but you weren't interested".

ironically, the hardcore amongst us using BitTorrent will just tick the "only use obsfucated connections" box. Encrypted p2p means they are wasting their time... the only choice they have to to offer the product at a price people wish to pay.

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@ Neil

re: The only way you can get Lost.

There is the option of paying for it by getting Sky, buying the inevitable DVD box set or waiting for it to come to terrestrial TV (not sure if it still does that, mind)

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Pat

Wonder if the BPI know about this then

Found this on Digital Spy forums. Gotta laugh, entcha. ISTR Highwinds are something to do with Easynews.

Posted in the VM newsgroups:

Hi all,

We've been working on unifying the newsgroup solutions used by our

Internet customers, and are now in the position to announce a beta

trial of the new newsgroup service.

If you want to point your news client at:

* news.virginmedia.com

You can now try out the beta newsgroup server. If you need any help

with how to configure your news client, have a look on our website:

* http://www.virginmedia.com/customers...setting-up.php

Once the beta trial has finished (we'll let you know when), we'll be

proceeding with turning off the old news server feeds (excluding

news-text, more on this below) and diverting people to use the new

server, followed by the decommissioning of the old servers at a later

date.

The unified newsgroup solution is an outsourced platform provided for

us by Highwinds as a result of our agreeing a unified contract renewal

with Highwinds - who we have worked with for a number of years.

The approach we have taken with newsgroup unification is to take the

"best of both" of the previous legacy services, in order to offer

customers access to the maximum number of newsgroups (excluding those

that we can't carry for legal or regulatory reasons), with good levels

of completion and for minimum retention of articles (at least 7 days

for binary articles, 90 days for text articles & 120 days for the

internal groups).

Please do feel free to use the beta service now, and let us know (in

virginmedia.support.usenet) of any issues you experience, or of any

feedback (in virginmedia.feedback).

Many thanks

Alex

--

Alex Brown

Senior Product Manager

Product Management, Virgin Media

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Dear Oh Dear

Sooooooo, I cut down on my monthly bandwidth bill, use that extra budget to rent a seedbox in, say, Sweden and use that for torrenting, then transfer the files to me via FTP, yes? I've been meaning to switch to a seedbox for ages now - as my ISP isn't run by dangerous lunatics, I haven't bothered my arse yet, but maybe I should get ahead of the curve...

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@Mike Crawshaw

However, I wish to make available the music I have at home to play at work.

Because of company liability, I cannot copy the CD's on my work machine. Because I don't know WHAT I want to listen to until I see how the day is going, I can't have my CD's here at work and moving them back and forth is going to scratch and damage them (which, since I don't have any legal ability to make CD copies, and despite this only being LICENSED rather than OWNED, I only have that one copy).

So I've set up P2P to allow me do download my music directly from my home machine to my work machine. With the added advantage that if I have to move desk or computer (after all, the computer is not mine: it's the companies, so I can change machine without being asked or informed) I can still access my computer.

It is stated that this connection is for my use only.

So if BPI were to connect, they would be accessing my computer without my consent. Additionally, they would be making copies of music that they own, so no legal issue on my side there either.

So how do they get to punish me for hacking into my computer and copying stuff they have every right to do so if it were allowed on my behalf anyway?

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Paris Hilton

@Jonathan

They're called Virgin because its the customers who get screwed.

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No Brainer....

Err.... So I guess no one has heard of encryption then... Will they be inspecting IP adresses? or actual packet data? Imagine keeping track of the IP used by torrents? Then you have to look at the data surely? Encryption would make that impossible (depending on strength of course)... I mean it can't be that simple can it? I don't think any ISP can force you to send data unsecured. How would you buy things online then.

Seems to be a simple solution. If they do push this then all that will happen is child porn etc will be harder to find.

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@Fraser

>re: The only way you can get Lost.

>

>There is the option of paying for it by getting Sky, buying the inevitable DVD box >set or waiting for it to come to terrestrial TV (not sure if it still does that, mind)

Good points, and very true. But I can't get a satellite dish where I live - cable (or freeview) is my only choice.

As for Boxsets, that'd cost me £80 when I used to get it in the price of my TV subscription. And I'd have to wait months, avioding spoilers. I may even still buy the boxset - I've got 2 of them already, I'm just waiting for the initial daft price to drop.

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Another point

What makes it illegal, anyway?

If I miss an episode of, whatever, or if I record it on my V+ but it buggers the recording, why can't I go and download a copy of it? Nobody is losing out here - I have the right to watch the program as I have paid my TV subscription, I have the right to record the program. The hardware even lets me archive it to DVD. But I can't download it via P2P?

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Pirate

Not a Virgin

Seems to me like a perfect example of The Strumpet Group placing its own music interests ahead of its customers' privacy.

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Pirate

Usenet

Giganews + SSL = problem solved.

This however does not solve the problem of throttling.

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Hmmm

“ISPs are under huge government pressure to agree to the scheme, or face legislation”

Some cynics may misread that line as:

“Those ISP who behave and fall into line, will be given lucrative government contracts.”

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Black Helicopters

Not all Virgin's Fault

ISPs have been warned by the government to take action voluntarily or the government will create laws to enforce them and it looks like VM were the first to blink. To be honest I'd sill rather it was left to the government, at least then we get a say at the election box and I'm still not convinced the government would want to go after a large proportion of the population (apparently).

I wonder what happens if you're on a quad play service with Virgin Media. Do they only disconnect your broadband? What if you're on a bundle? It could end up costing Virgin quite a bit of money, with no return.

And I wonder what the appeals process will be, after all we've seen from the US that record companies can get it very wrong, after all just because your IP address is in a swarm it doesn’t mean it's you doing the downloading. Then again I'm sure the ISP will argue it's up to you to insure that your connection is not used for copyright infringement.

At the end of the day a lot of people are paying more for the broadband connection/quad play service than they ever did in buying CDs/tapes in the good old days. The economics of the 21st century are changing with people more willing to buy into a service than paying one off charges for products so hopefully a compromise can soon be found.

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Flame

Simple answer to this...

Anyone who is a subscriber of Virgin Media simply gets together on a message board and decides on a download day. Every single subscriber, for that day, downloads as much content as possible, sharing it across the network. What next? Sue us all?

A similar scheme worked in France when it came to clamping cars (everyone simply left their cars clamped and no one could move or park so the government backed down). Okay, not quite similar, but you get the point!

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Double Standards

So does this mean I can have VM cut off every single person who visits a website that has breached my copyright and downloaded material from it... eg photographs? Oh wait, they only care about copyright infringement if it is music or movies!

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Joe

Could the BPI bring down real crime?

How about we put the people behind BPI in charge of the Police? If they tracked down and dealt with the real criminal elements that blight society (muggers, robbers, yobs beating innocents up "for a laugh" etc) with the same single minded dedication they have for bringing some kid sharing songs to trial, then the true crime rate in the country could plummet.

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bob
Thumb Up

What you looking at ?!!

European Human Rights Act

ARTICLE 8

Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Now forgive me if Im wrong but neither the BMI or VM are "public authority" and therefore they are infringing my Human Rights by looking at my correspondance and Im sure a good lawyer could get me a few quid for the "damges"

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Pirate

Re: Simple answer to this...

Except that the whole point of this is make examples of people to deter others. I'm not sure if it’d be allowed to do that through the legal system (at least not as obviously) but it looks like this is going to remain a civil/contract matter between you and VM.

Re: Could the BPI bring down real crime?

Not unless you started convicting people on circumstantial evidence, because that's all the BPI need to try and get you disconnected.

Re: What you looking at ?!!

It looks like there are enough exclusions in the Human Rights Act for just about any eventuality and to be fair it doesn't seem to have stopped this sort of behaviour in other European countries, thus far.

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