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back to article UK.gov backs ISPs on charging content providers, throttling P2P

The government today rejected any prospect of US-style "net neutrality" laws to prevent ISPs from charging online content providers for traffic prioritisation, or from restricting bandwidth-hungry protocols such as BitTorrent. In his Digital Britain report, Lord Carter said givings ISPs the ability to charge for guaranteed …

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Boffin

SO has Britain innovated anything in the last 100 years?

I'd say pretty much "no", at least as compared to the US. Maybe Lord Carter should leave the 19th Century.

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Go

The Fat Lady ...

... is clearing her throat.

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The Old Argument.

"Ofcom has in the past acknowledged the claims in the debate but have [sic] also acknowledge that ISPs might in future wish to offer guaranteed service levels to content providers in exchange for increased fees."

No mention of offering guaranteed service levels to the paying consumer who wishes to view said content.

I wonder if said content providers could have their fees reduced if the consumers cannot obtain their product due to the ISP failing to deliver the bandwidth and speed advertised...

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Anonymous Coward

NN comment looks weirdly out of place

That comment on p22 of the report looks very out of place coming as it does just after action number 2 on access to ducts. It must have been cut and paste it from someplace else - or his old buddies in Oftcom pulling a fast one and avoiding work.

It looks an accidental edit. The US NN debate is badly run - it mixes mis-selling, openess and a belief in infinite peak hour capacity. The UK should focus on transparency of service parameters and pushing ISP to publish planning rules in the T&C, while they learn how to assure services.

I am not sure the authors would have enclosed this if they understood it - must be a mistake.

There are too many other good things in this report to destroy it with what looks like a mistake.

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Anonymous Coward

net

Net neutrality has always seemed weird to me, however what has to happen is that ISPs must tell you what each package includes.

If it say UNLIMITED BROADBAND £10.99 A MONTH! Then they should have to give unlimited broadband 24/7/12.

I think what we really need in this country is a "NO MORE BULLS**T" Campaign. Tell us the truth, you buy £10.99 toilet water broadband, only gets interwebs, streaming don't work, live with it, IWF filtered phorm enabled web browsing.

Should be the same with laws just announce "We're f---ing you and your future and there's nothing you can do becouse the Tories all do the exact same becouse we're all in it together!"

Wonder if they'll block propper file sharing apps like winny, share and perfectdark.

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Anonymous Coward

In other words

The government want leased lines for everybody with guaranteed QoS. Have they any idea how much they cost? It isn't simply going to be a case of an extra £5-10 per month

Please can everyone sign the petition to force an immediate general election so we can force Brown and his monkeys out of office.

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/GoToCountryNow/

In theory, in a democracy, once the population has had enough of an incompetent government they can demand an election regardless of how long the term in office still has to run.

In practice we know Brown doesn't consider the public important enough to listen to and will continue to twist the law as long as he can to get the maximum amount of time before the law states an election must be run

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Anonymous Coward

(untitled)

So long as I can opt for no iPlayer at £0 / month that's cool.

But I bet a pound to a pinch of shit it won't be like that.

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Stop

Unaccountable censorship by the back door

If a service's users generate bandwidth, then charge the users for bandwidth. Don't start discriminating based on protocol, content or address, or trying to charge both ends of the chain.

Under the proposed scheme, I see a situation where any service could be slowed down to the point of unusability, if the ISP in question fancies that they can blackmail it into paying for delivery (BBC), or if it is not playing ball with their advertisers (dephormation.org.uk), if it's competing with their other businesses (VOIP) or if they simply don't like what it says (anything).

Where's the accountability in all this? Or are we leaving it to the invisible hand of the market that has served us so well recently?

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Unhappy

Best legislation money can buy

it seems pretty obvious to me that the content Industry has had a massive hand in getting certain sections added (the Quango paid for by the subscriber)... they could have put in a flat download anything you like fee, but no... and the ISPs have had a hand in getting the non-neutrality added so they can charge website owners more for "guaranteed" better service...

this whole package stinks...

but it'll be sold as a bill or rights to "broadband" for all...

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Unhappy

eh ?

Maybe I'm missing something here but...

1) Won't we web-publishers just move our webhosts from UK-based to US-based ISPs? (and therefore bypass the content provider's charge). This would do for UK ISP's what the no-smoking law did to UK pubs!

2) I pay for extra bandwidth already after being 'throttled' years ago due to my previous providers' "unlimited broadband" duplicity. So what else is new ?

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Black Helicopters

Packet Inspection

The only way to guarantee different service levels for different traffic is to use Deep Packet Inspection to see what kind of traffic is flowing. This all plays rather nicely into the hands of Phorm and collating information in the Uberdatabase.

I'm sick to the heart of this surveillance society already.

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So once we're all using Tor, then what?

And if no-one decides to take up the ISP fascinating offers?

And if we all decide to go for the lowest-price package that an ISP offers?

After all why spend any more money than necessary when you won't be getting a proper service.. just because an ISP says that they are giving you a better service how can you really tell.

ttfn

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Anonymous Coward

Tiered can be OK

If I buy a 2Mbit connection but some site e.g. VOD service pays my ISP to have an 8Mbit connection to me (presumably when I am paying them for video) that is OK.

If I buy a 8Mbit connection and the ISP wants to charge the BBC extra for high quality IPlayer e.g. 4Mbit/s that is NOT OK.

The tiered service should always be on top of the rate already paid for by the customer.

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Anonymous Coward

Man in the middle deception

Selling both ends of the pipe like they have no linkage is double selling. It only works as long as you can keep the deception going.

If Sky pay ISPs to prioritise their packets over BBC packets, then BBC should sue Sky and the ISP for tortuous interference in business. It is no different from Microsoft paying ISPs to NOT bundle Netscape Navigator.

The ISP is not laying new cables or any infrasture, they are simply selling priority on their existing infrastructure and the only way to do that is to downgrade others. i.e. attack their business.

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Erm .....

"unless Ofcom find network operators or ISPs to have Significant Market Power and justify intervention on competition grounds"

Yeah, just remind me again, who owns the all exchanges, most of the the backhaul, and practically all of the the last mile copper ? Is it just one network operator ? I mean, because if it was, I think it would be pretty obvious that they would have "Significant Market Power", especially, if, say they were also the UK's largest ISP. Or is that just me ?

The company under discussion here is already wielding it's"Significant Market Power" by using a combination of it's own QoS-a-liciuos TVOD service, streamed from it's own servers and therefore never crossing the wider internet with all the bursty traffic problems therein entailed, and extremely aggressive traffic throttling policies which kick in between 16:00 and 23:00 weekdays and which see average non http transfer speed drop from 100Kbps, which is on the the unacceptable side of slow in any case, to average 5Kbps*. Weekends are worse.

.I'm not sure how I feel about the whole net neutrality thing, although I fail to see how making innovation more expensive will encourage it, but if Ofcom can't see that BT, the UK's practical monopoly network operator and default ISP of the masses doesn't have "Significant Market Power" then they aren't fit for purpose.

* Some may be tempted to say that this is simply congestion at busy times, it is not, as a quick look at the traffic graph shows, transfer speeds cease to be bursty and clearly never rise above a given maximum pf 10Kbps during the entire 7 hour period. However, even assuming that I were wrong about this, and this was simply an artefact of congestion, then who the fuck do ISPs think they are to charge content providers and consumers extra for access to additional bandwidth that simply doesn't exist ? Either way is a massive fail.

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Stop

Give us what we pay for!!!!!

Why should content providers pay more? Take the BBC for example, as it is funded by us the licence player and delivers public service broadcasting. If the BBC had to pay to provide the service would it not end up having to either increase in the licence fee or a reduction in spend on other areas of their work???

I agree that the consumer should get what they pay for i.e. if they sign up for "unlimited" broadband then that is what they should get. It is no good for the ISP's to go crying to Goverment or the regulator complaining that there networks are being placed under undue strain to provide such content.

Open and transparent Pricing and T&C's from the ISP's is what is required. With a guarantee that they will deliver the service paid for 24/7/365. Then the consumer can decide what they want and what they don't and pay the appropiate price!!!!

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Anonymous Coward

anyone?

anyone know of a good country to move to for a sysadmin with datacenter experience?

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Unhappy

Oh well....

....thats iPlayer use over for me. I thought I paid for that service already, not going to pay for it again.

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Ash
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iPlayer?

Who cares about quality?

The only quality difference i've noticed between normal and high quality iPlayer is I need to turn down the volume on the latter.

Rubbish.

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Gates Halo

Why play ball?

Why should the BBC play with the ISP's? Work a sweet deal with on or two ISP's and simply do not service the others. "They charge too much to deliver out service at a reasonable speed." Simple cop-out.

This will not create innovation, it will create back-room deals and further segregate the haves and have nots in relation to broadband performance.

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Sorry, Nulab...

...but this will be the last straw for even your most ardent supporters. You are so voted out at the next election.

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Anonymous Coward

iPlayer

iPlayer content could be transmitted on a separate multicast network rather than clogging up the internet. Although I have to admit I doubt that there'd be enough people willing to pay for such digital television broadcasting to make it viable for the BBC to do it, unless there were some kind of bizarre tax on receiving equipment or such like...

Broadband is so broken in Britain that I'm ditching it. It's just not worth the money.

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Boffin

Time for google and MS to become ISPs in the UK then

Google will give away their ISP service, funding it from advertising which they can link to the customers account because they have the IP and customer details. They would then charge microsoft a fortune for the monthly updates!

Microsoft will then respond in kind and launch their own ISP service so that their customers can access the cloud.

....and existing ISPs won't stand a chance given the size and capital of these two giants.

Oh, hang on a minute. Few ISPs are making big profits at the moment. Perhaps this is their tactic. Get bought out by Microsoft and Google! /sarcasm

Back to reality for a moment though, it's all about enabling UK ISPs to charge content providers for delivery of the digital media. (bbc, itv, and every other global content provider) because BT and the other ISPs can't afford the backbone.

20 million uk people watching tv shows at the same time would generate 512kbits x 20m = 1000 x 10 gigabits. That is a lot of fibre and a lot of bandwidth. (Multi-cast can help but it doesn't solve the problem because different people are watching different shows and are at different points in the stream.)

As the BBC iplayer adoption continues it's current growth rate, the uk internet will continue to be becomes slower and slower and more expensive/restrictive.

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Tiered Service - There goes any chance of fast broadband

How do you increase profitability when your customers use all your supply on a all-you-can-eat service? Simple,

1) lobby the government and persuade them to implement a two class system.

2) Set the charges for the higher system at a level where the level of users just maximises your revenues

3) Use the low uptake figure to prove that there is no demand for a high bandwidth service.

4) Take the extra money and don't invest!

This is how the X.25 data services were run, until PIPEX offered IP bandwidth at 1/10th the X.25 prices

I also learnt that trying to beat the major telco lobby at politics is impossible.

Peter

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@AC

AC, Google is your friend. A Japanese study of inventions in the 20th century found that the UK was responsible for over 50% of inventions that had a world wide takeup, or have you forgot important inovations like, i dunno, radar?

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urk

net neutrality is the ONLY sensible choice - gah ISPs and their false unlimited labels

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It's all very simple

Look, we're not getting enough of your money, so just bend over and give us some more. The pols aren't getting enough kickback from the isp's, so you're going to have to ante so they can make their payments. Nothing new here.

Nothing to see. Move along or we'll have to tase' you bro'.

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Bingo!

When I tell my friends that the UK government can be guaranteed to spoil a piss-up in a brewery, they take some convincing. Thanks you for furthering my argument.

The point of 'net neutrality' (although, in fact, there's no such thing) is that customers get the bandwidth they pay for (or as close to it as the SP can get away with). Those poor, condemned souls who spend their every waking moment chunking huge amounts of data around the 'net pay for a lot of bandwidth. Those who use the 'net for casual entertainment and communication pay for less.

Result? The SPs in the US have worked very hard to provide bandwidth in every possible market. That's how they make their money (not through content charging, not through 'traffic management').

Contrast and compare with poor old Blighty - where they're just about down to regulating and taxing farts. SPs have the power and the money and so - with the Easy Purchase Plan for MPs and Lords - they get to decide how and how much they can put the screws to their customer bases.

Brace yourselves, my British friends. You may all get 'access to broadband' but very, very few of you will be able to pay for it.

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Unhappy

The end of iplayer?

iplayer is now using more bw than p2p and we know how much ISPs hate p2p !

So as growth continues and the ISPs start charging the BBC, the been will have to start charging end users for iplayer usage

....or will have to reduce the amount of content available

....perhaps diverting funds away from programmes towards bandwidth fees.

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Stop

TV License

As far as I am concerned, having to pay for a TV license should cover any costs coming from the BBC, including iPlayer, being that it pays for the content rather than the medium on which that content is broadcasted.

It would only take a year or 2 for a HDD freeview recorder to pay for itself if they are talking about charging £20 a month for a better service, and even then I am only considering the BBC, and not the other multidudes of (mostly crap) channels on freeview.

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Re: Packet Inspection

"The only way to guarantee different service levels for different traffic is to use Deep Packet Inspection to see what kind of traffic is flowing. This all plays rather nicely into the hands of Phorm and collating information in the Uberdatabase."

Sadly, there is another way. Once everyone starts using encrypted channels to bypass the deep packet inspector, the ISPs will start throttling by source address. At *that* point, it will no longer be possible to view news.bbc.co.uk, not because *that* page is a bandwidth hog, but because the BBC also have the iPlayer elsewhere on the site, so *.bbc.co.uk will be added to the blacklist.

Of course, any ISP with half a clue could do better than that, but where would we find one of those?

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Fire that man

£20 a month to watch crappy BBC repeats, stuff that gets repeated ad nauseam on BBC3 anyway?!

Jesus, that man obviously has no concept of money.

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Anonymous Coward

Nothing but vested interests

It seems to me that this report includes requirements from ISP's, content providers, record companies, movie studios and central government. In fact the only people I don't see represented here are the public - the poor bastards who use the internet.

The article quotes Carter as saying the debate on net neutrality has been stronger in the US than in the UK. Well is that any surprise? What has Carter or the Government done to initiate any debate on neutrality? Do they even give a shit?

Once again the Government proposes a structure of control, regulation, QUANGO's, charges/taxes and pandering to a range of commerical interests almost to the exclusion of the consumer. Absolutely bloody typical of New Labour.

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Competition

Almost shocked that I'm suggesting this, but how about we let the market decide. LLU and BT wholesale was supposed to encourage a competitive marketplace for ISPs. If that actually works and we have enough regulation on truthiness in advertising then the whole net neutrality debate becomes moot. ISPs that limit bandwidth or throttle protocols will then fade as more open ISPs take their business.

Now can someone explain why BT are forced to offer LLU and wholesale bandwidth but Virgin cable isn't?

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Stop

Why are people suprised?

the is the Gov that introduced the M6 toll. You know, that road where each year, as the numbers using it fall, the price goes up, making it a fast road for those that can afford it.

The rest of us peasants sit in traffic jams.

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Dysfunctional / Anti-Competitive...

How exactly does a restrictive measure "encourage" innovation. This will stifle innovation creating a dysfunctional UK broadband network that leaves its users unable to compete in the innovation race against nations that have fast uninhibited access.

Sounds to me like another punitive measure by paranoid 20th century media corps fearful of losing their grip on tightly controlled distribution channels.

What is required is for the media companies to update their business models to keep pace with technology rather than forcing a doomed last-stand attempt at restricting the pace of technological change.

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Anonymous Coward

@Julian Bond

>Now can someone explain why BT are forced to offer LLU and wholesale bandwidth but Virgin cable isn't?

BT's network was built with public money.

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Boffin

@ AC US Troll

"SO has Britain innovated anything in the last 100 years?"

NOT really. Only the entire fields of computer science and cybernetics, and the most commercially successful microprocessor architecture in the world. We should stop pretending to be relevant.

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Charging from the wrong end

I fully expect tiered services to kick in some day. Some ISPs already charge per Gb, and some have different rates for different times of day. It's to be expected. But the charges need to be to the user, not the content provider. Let me decide if getting a good quality service to content x/y/z is important to me. If it is, then I'll (have to) pay. Charging the content provider means I have to find an ISP that's in bed with providers x, y AND z. If they are niche providers there might not be such an ISP and now I can't get all the content I want.

This stifles innovation in high-bandwidth services because new players in the market must strike deals with at least all the major ISPs before they stand a chance. That's going to be expensive. So we'll just have to put up with content from the big guys and the little startups just can't get in the game.

Rupert Murdoch must be loving this.

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Stop

Bad bad bad, unless...

...there are provisions for minimum quality of service in legislation.

I have no problem with charging people more for heavy bandwidth use/guaranteed bandwidth and QoS, as long as it doesn't affect the consumer in any way other than positively. As far as I can see, this is what we should be going for, a legal minimum service which must be provided by consumer (and business) users.

I would suggest a distinct lack of throttling and all broadband contracts to have a guaranteed 24/7 minimum bandwidth, e.g. 200kbps download on a 2mb line etc.

Exclamation because this will need a lot of public pressure, but why should it always be the large companies that get their way, where is the upside for us!

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Anonymous Coward

Charging for i-Player

So the BBC is in favour of charging for i-Player. Doe that mean I no longer need to pay my licence fee??

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Does this mean...

...that the torrenters and freetards will all fuck off to the 'States? Oh, I do hope so.

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UK is not competitive

We have been a very affluent state in the past, which has led to arrogance and the government attitude to all this shows extreme arrogance... having a second rate broadband network where you bribe the different carriers to take your content is more like the third world country we are becoming.

I'd be taking my business elsewhere, like europe, the US, Russia, Asia, India...

Also if the BBC thinks they are getting anything on top of the license fee, then they can go F*** themselves. I am getting rid of my tv anyway, too many repeats and adverts.

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No surprise here

Andy Burnham is so far up the music industry's arse that he could be their dentist.

BTW. Does he remind anyone else of Una Stubb's timeless interpretation of Aunt Sally in Worzel Gummage?

http://www.andyburnham.org/galleryimages/full4.jpg

(Warning twin tw*t action)

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Dan
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I would have thought.....

,,,, forcing net neutrality, thus creating a starting point of an even field of a higher (ie not throttled back) service would create even more innovation 'cos companies would really have to go above and beyond to differentiate themselves. If biased traffic patterns become standard due to greedy companies, a company offer a neutral traffic model will become unusual and "innovative". It's almost creating the potential for fake innovation spin.

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dek
Coat

Out of retirement...

...to sign the petition calling for a general election. I consider No 10's petitions a waste of time but here's hoping.

That's Brown rooting through my pockets for the last of my pennies.

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licence fee

why are people saying "I've already paid my licence fee why should i have to pay again?"

it is the isp's that are saying pay more, it should be "ive already paid for my internet why should i have to pay again?"

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@Julian Bond

"Now can someone explain why BT are forced to offer LLU and wholesale bandwidth but Virgin cable isn't?" because BT was originally publicly funded to be the country's only telecom network. Virgin has only ever been a private company and also has maybe 50% coverage.

I think the whole thing is ludicrous. Should I pay £20/month to watch the two or three things I watch on iPlayer? the same £20 that someone who watches it 5 hours a day would pay? What if I want to watch one iPlayer show, a few youtube vids, download an update from steam, try out a few demos....am I going to have to pay a seperate fee for each of those next?

Why is google mentioned? the google search and e-mail pages can't be that big....sure they are hit a lot but that comes under BROWSING to me. If you need to charge people for google searches you don't qualify as an ISP to me.

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Gates Horns

as in life as on the net

well there it is the class divide on the net if they get there way ..poor mid and high class just depends what you can spend ...

pay pay pay

just go's to show what the goverment really thinks keep the poor poor and the rich rich ...

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Tom
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Innovate?

How about p2p over html - oh thats not innovation thats already been done.

Or how about people sharing over bluetooth.

Or more sensibly how about kicking the parasitic music industry into touch?

We have the internet I can buy direct from the musician go away and die.

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