back to article Carphone Warehouse stares down BPI and on three strikes

Carphone Warehouse has called the government's bluff by stating that it will not cooperate with the record industry to clamp down on copyright infringement over peer-to-peer networks. In a statement today, CEO Charles Dunstone said: "Our position is very clear, we are the conduit* that gives users access to the Internet, we do …


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Hear Hear !

Someone with some sense (and a spine) speaks. Now for the rest.


er... you mention Phorm but...

...hasn't CPW already said that it will only go for an opt-in model and anyway they're not very sure about the whole thing now (...that people are kicking up a stink)?



Let's also make Smith & Wesson responsible for people shooting people.


"Carphone's refusenik stance comes as a surprise at this stage."

No it doesn't. They simply want internet users to be their friends and to remember this stance when they too come under phire like BT did yesterday.

@ AC

A spine? No, more likely a completely money oriented PR spun exercise with a side aim of splitting the technical community in their disgust over Phorm.

They most likely realise that all it would take is one litigious user kicked from their network to force them into a massive lawsuit with all the bad PR surrounding it. "We", the users, don't come into it really, it's all about profit.

That said, his argument is right. If the BPI have evidence of illegal filesharing, let them prove it in court, it's not the ISP's job to police the internet (or monitor/intercept/profile it)

Anonymous Coward


Talk like this this may get Carphone Warehouse a lot of new customers (i.e. disgruntled ex BT users).

An ISP that actually looks after its paying customers? Who'd have thought.


Well done CWH !

Nice to see the British Pornagraphic Industry get one in the eye.

Old media - times have changed you don't own all the distribution channel anymore so get stuffed with your cartelism


Disconnect the world

Sorry guys,

Has to be said, but if they were to implement this, "Download music illegally, i'll cut you off" just would not work at all.

You'd have to disconnect the whole world from the internet as EVERYONE has and/or does download music illegally all the time, plus then you'll also get the false positives because someone saw an MP3 file fly down their fibre so it must be illegal!

The government and other related beings have nothing better to do. If stuff wasn't so bloody expensive, or restricted or put in some stupid thing they call DRM then people wouldn't do it. Plus music is the sound of the world, there should be no charge!

Its almost as a retarded as the email policy for paedophiles, hmm.. "lets get their email address and block it"... hold up a sec, "thanks, i'll just make another one.. F.Y government"

Lets all stop being stupid with these rules, it just makes people want to do it more!


Nicely stated

I almost like this company after this statement if not for the fact they would sell the consumer off like cattle to some spyware company to hock goods you don't want.


The new russian business network

Come Paedophiles,

Come Hackers,

Come Spammers,

Come Phishes

Come Pirates,

Come all who upto no good, use TalkTalk, because nobody with sense will.

We don't have the sense/balls/technology/knowhow, to shut you down.

However for any normal people, we will monitor all your activity and sell it to the highest bidder.

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I completely agree with the CW CEO,

ISP's are like airlines, peple use them to gain entry into a country, Do the airline care what you do once they plonk you at your destination.

nope, nor should ISP's



Nah, profit. CPW is one of the biggest providers at the moment. They want to have more market share.


1. People will be pissed if they start getting disconnected for using P2P. By stating that they will not comply, punters and prospective punters will look more kindly on CPW as an ISP. Even if it becomes law and CPW are forced to comply, they can say "look, we did all we could, but now there's nothing we can do. We're on your side, guys!"

2. They've listened to the market on Phorm. At the start, it was BT, VM & CPW. Now it's BT, with possible VM / CPW involvement with a lot of changes from the BT model. Dunstone has said he wants it to be "opt in only", and using a changed technology so that there is no opportunity for opted-out punters to have any involvement at all. So punters and prospective punters will look more kindly on CPW as an ISP than they will on BT etc, because, even if CPW adopt a revised Phorm, they can say "Hey, we listened to what you had to say. We're on your side, guys!"

Overall, it's clever marketing designed to increase user base and profit on both sides. Remember that a lot of CPW broadband punters also use them for their telephone line, further increasing market share in that sector as well, so they have a benefit beyond the slim profits of broadband.

That said, I'm with CPW. Even though I know that what they're doing is for their own benefit rather than mine, it does give me benefit, so I'm happy enough as long as they continue in that vein.

er... and for households sharing a connection?

What will be the 3 strikes situation for households sharing a connection? Teenagers with their own computers, or a shared house with 5 computers on the same connection?

I suspect a disconnection policy not been done successfully anywhere in the world yet.

April Fools is over...

Seriously El Reg, this has got to be fake. A big name corporation with a sensible stance on piracy? Its impossible!

Anyway, I'm glad that someone stands up to the BPI/RIAA mafia - it actually seriously influences my next choice of ISP.

Its got nothing to do with whether I do or do not use torrents, its to do with the attitude that the ISP is not a monitor or law enforcing agent. The proper authority to handle this is the police. If the BPI feels that a user is breaking the law, they should send the information they have to the police, who can then request information from the ISP. Why is this not an acceptable course of action?

I think organized music such as it is today is eventually doomed to die. This is because of the rise of digital distribution and independant labels. Also, I think the record companies, after all this time, still dont get - piracy is not the cause of their issues, its a symptom of their failure to present an attractive option to consumers. When they sell the right stuff for the right price at the right format, then they will find piracy will decrease.

Anonymous Coward

PHOnographic Rights Manager

If Phorm made minor changes to their spyware that could identify when copyrighted media was being downloaded without permission by a user and grass them up it could become mandatory that all ISPs use it if the BPI gets its way.


True, but...

"If the BPI have evidence of illegal filesharing, let them prove it in court, it's not the ISP's job to police the internet (or monitor/intercept/profile it)"

there WILL be change.

And I suspect the legal / non downloading majority will, as per usual, end up getting the shaft thanks to the actions of the freeloading minority (aka the Freetards)

This post has been deleted by its author

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About Time

Thank god we have at last one decent ISP.

And I for one if they do decide to fight will switch to Carphone Warehouse.

Yet I dont even share files or use P2P.

Sod BT, who on earth wants to use that junk? They are happy to sell our their customers to some adware shop, so I cannot imagine them wanting to upset their former owner!

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Innocent until proven guilty..

Hmm bit of a weird concept in this country - in the 'good old days' people were innocent until proven guilty - now we have the RIAA equipvalent trying to enforce the 'right' of disconneciton without this being proven in a court of law.

So they show a screen shot of my IP Address making files available - big deal, after all how hard is it to spoof a screen shot? What about (as has been pointed out elsewhere) the unsecured wireless hotspot - in fact BT have been pushing running unsecure hotpots for ages - - who gets done if its the IP address of the FON router that's sharing files.(as an aside the disconnect between this service and recent prosecutions for 'illegal use of a hotspot' make my brain ache!)

What about the company provided broadband which is used by little jimmy in the evening - is Mr. MD going to get '3 strikes' - isn't the company just going to get pissed off with that - in fact how hard (other than cost) would it be for a new phone line, new ADSL connection and new IP Address to be installed by the company.

What about the 'mobile broadband users' if the land-line ISP's get their arms twisted into support this peace of crap then surely the same will be applied to mobile broaband - only in this case what will get barred - the SIM, the MAC address of the device? What happens if its a company owned SIM card used in a pool device is barred.

I'm pleased that good old Charlie has stood up to this dangerous the government will be trying someting really well though out like forcing all the peados to register their email addresses so they can't register for facebook (oh wait a minute...)

I'll get off my soapbox in a mo.

No expenses spend.

It sounds like a damage limitations exercise until you get to the paragraph where the world's most badly compromised ISP tried it and lost munee.

I can't see that a penny pinching grabber like crap one whore house will put it's money where it's not going to make even more -and I doubt legality enters their equations except a financial benefit is forseen.

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@ Craig

"it's not the ISP's job to police the internet "

Hear Hear!

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quick 2

blame the teachers for lack of school funding

blame schools for politicians

blame politicians for being f*ckwits.. oh - sorry, scratch that last one.

Whats next.

Ford being told to stop people speeding in their cars!!

This country is becoming a joke nanny state run by idiots so out of touch with the people it's unbelievable.

Is that moster raving looney part still going, that's who's getting my voite next time around if they are.



Music Industry in the trough

I don't download music at all, just not interested, If I am forced to pay a levy to allow me to download music, I shall make a point of downloading every bit of music available.

If the government can force ISPs to police what is transferred over the internet, I think it is reasonable to make BT police phone calls for attempted fraud, and block all premium rate SMS from a provider that has a couple of complaints against them.


can't imagine where the government got the idea from

Lets see, a 3 strike system. 3 strikes come from baseball, a sport rarely seen outside of America. hmmm let me think...

It is a nonsense

This whole argument about making ISPs responsible for this stuff really makes my blood boil.

Firstly, what's so special about music & films? Why should anyone outside of these industries give two hoots about any problems they may be having with regard to copyright infringements? I hate the way this arguments is passed off as something important. It maybe important to the BPI, but it's NOT important to anyone else! ISPs DO deal with stuff like kiddie porn on the net. That's because THIS is important. Chasing people for peddling some dodgy CDs does not actually matter.

I don't download music and videos and stuff from the net. Not because of any high moral stance, but because I just can't be bothered - I just have other things I'd rather do. Therefore, I strongly object to the idea of charging me more for my internet connection just because I MIGHT or CAN download music & videos. Why the hell should I pay for something I don't want? Especially when the extra money won't even be going to the ISP - it'll be going to the BPI (or whoever); an organisation that I have absolutely no interest or dealings with!


@ Craig: I agree it’s in CW’s own interests too

I’m not surprised. If you agree to lose any customer simply on the say-so of any one rights holder claiming that their rights have been infringed three times, or any three different rights holders on single occasions, you’re a hostage to fortune. You can imagine an ISP saying, “you want us to disconnect 10,000 of our customers?!” With the rights holder replying, “yes, it was a particularly popular work” or “well, we have an extensive IP portfolio.”

Removing a person’s right to use something as punishment for repeat offences should be left to legislation and the courts. We do not have someone in a far away country watching this country’s roads, with technology unknown, using procedures unknown, who then forwards alleged speeding offences to a private company over here, to give penalty points to those named.


Record companies should read up on European legislation...

As an avid campaigner for 'net neutrality (hence my recent coments against Phorm), I really wish the record companies would check up on relevant legislation, including obligations under European directives, before e.g. haluing Ericom into court in the Republic of Ireland.

I admire anyone who takes a stand against the likes of IRMA etc just because of their strong-armed threatening tactics.

It is clear from Directive 2000/31/EC that ISPs are not obliged to monitor the information they transmit, whilst Directive 2002/58/EC gives a general right to individuals' privacy of communications, as enacted in the UK under RIPA.

Whilst copyright protection lobbyists continue to play hard-done-by, arm-twisting governments and ISPs into eroding individuals' fundamental rights, I fully support anyone taking a stand against this, even though, kids, it IS wrong to steal ;)



That's not really a good analogy, as there are no identifying markings on a bullet (using the bullet = packet analogy).

A better one would be a man with a video camera reporting speeding outside his house to the DVLA, submiting a video of the car, and asking them to not renew his tax disk. Even this isn't an ideal analogy, though.

It does, however, take into account that jurisdiction doesn't fall with the owner of the road (connection), and that the driver of the car may not be the owner...


Well done

At last an ISP with bollocks all they need to do now is dump Phorm, there will be a hefty market share for secure Phorm free ISPs, mark my words.


"You'd have to disconnect the whole world from the internet as EVERYONE has and/or does download music illegally all the time"

Please don't try to justify your illegal activity by claiming that everyone does it so it must be ok. I pay for all of my music, thanks.

Not that I disagree with CPW's view. I think record companies need to wake up and smell the rot of their out dated business model and start producing quality music packaged so we can actually use it. I'm pretty sure that all of their posturing is just the death calls of a lumbering beast, NIN, Radiohead et al have shown the way.

I think the "True Fan" model ( is the way to go for all content creators.


"That's not really a good analogy, as there are no identifying markings on a bullet (using the bullet = packet analogy)."

Yes there are. A bullet will have very distinctive markings once fired that will allow forensic scientists to match it exactly to the barrel it was fired from.

Re: Simplepieman

Did anyone mention ISPs monitoring information on behalf of the BPI? What I read was, the BPI wants ISPs to actually pay attention if the BPI supplies IPs and times for computers that are part of a torrent swarm for copyrighted material.

"Dunstone continued: "I cannot foresee any circumstances in which we would voluntarily disconnect a customer's account on the basis of a third party alleging a wrongdoing". So if someone posts child porn on my forums, and I provide server logs, IPs etc. they're going to tell me to get stuffed? If I find one of their IPs sending out virus spam they're going to tell me they're not interested?

All the BPI are saying is, "Here are our procedures for gathering evidence, if these meet with the ISPs approval we'd like a fast-track system so we don't have to start again from scratch every time we contact them"

The alternative would be the RIAA's way, where rather than letting the ISPs deal with it via a slap on the wrist, or make them go to one of the other multitude of ISPs, they apply to the courts, get your details from the ISP (note that under the "three strikes" system, the BPI need never know your personal details), and sue you.

Given that downloading the stuff they are talking about is, in fact, illegal, I find it surprising so many people are moaning about having to face the consequences of their actions. And I speak as a frequent user of bittorrent with virgin media as my ISP.

(I'm not saying that some of my downloads are illegal, but I don't play WoW, you only need game patches once, and how many ISOs of linux would one person need?)


If they crowbar a "music subscription fee" or whatever they want to call it into ISP costs, people will then start downloading more music / movies. I know I would if I'd paid for it. Couple this assumption with the "ISP bloodbath" stories going around and...

Well let's just say I don't want to be stood any where near the fan.


And what about the Data protection Acts?

Let's not forget the Data protection Acts: I don't now how passing Personally identifying Data to the British Phonographic Association could be legal to a business (because that's what the BPI is, at the end of the day) that

(1) is unlikely to have clearance from the Security Industry Authority to perform Private investigations, and

(2) is probably not signed up to the Criminal Records Bureau, and is certainly not a Police Service under the Police Act;

furthermore given the above, they're highly unlikely to be able to obtain search/seizure warrants under their own remit - they have to get the Police to do that, and for that to occur there has to be an overwhelming burden of proof that wrongdoing - illegal wrongdoing, more specifically - has occurred.

So, yes, they might say they're protecting their customers, but in fact, reading between the lines, they're protecting their bottom line.

Let's say that a person, who for the sake of argument we'll call "Mr. Victim", has his details passed by CPW to the BPI; this includes a full event log of his browsing and downloading habits. Because it's also a customer file, his address, phone number, in fact his full contact details, are included in the data, and possibly even his bank details. Because this data can positively identity him, this is then passed to the police with a request for a full search warrant - basically a legal excuse for a rummage/fishing expedition.

The warrant is granted, and lo and behold, all manner of music files are seized when Mr Victim's home is raided by a dozen (he's described as a "major criminal at the centre of a criminal copyright distribution organisation" in the bundle of documents given to the judge who signed the warrant). On analysis, he's found to have downloaded the music files using a peer-to-peer software package, so yes, technically speaking he was also distributing them.

Cut to roughly nine months later, and the crown court. Mr. Victim is found guilty of copyright theft, fines, and sent home with a criminal record, and a VERY depleted bank account.

The very next day, backed by a digital freedom organisation that we will, for the sake of argument, call the EFF, he sues his former ISP, CPW, for three times the fine he received, on a civil charge of illegally releasing his data to the BPI. Forget the criminal conviction he's just received, he can still sue them for illegally passing his details over - it's contrary to the Data Protection Act. The court sees it his way, and Mr Victim changes his name to Mr Moneybags. He then sues just about everyone he can for using illegally obtained data to effect a prosecution. Only the High Court can judge the merits of that one, but you can bet that it'd side with Mr Moneybags, and quash the conviction on this legal technicality. You can imagine what kind of floodgates in civil litigation THAT would open up.

So. CPW're protecting their bottom line. Simple as, folks :)


@ Ash

Two words.

"Ballistic" "striation"


@Mike Watts


I'll have you know I spend a fair few £100 on CD's and Downloads, and not all illegal music thank you very much.

Being a DJ entitles me NOT to get my ass kicked for being a total freetard with 6 1TB hard drives sat on my table all full of music.

Other than that I like a CD, as much as you can alter MP3 settings, it'll never be CD quality.

Its people like you who feed these industries, like a bull with a ring through its nose. Just like every other person who doesn't play risk. Do us a favour, be a paedophile and test out their email plan.. see if that works eh? Or even better go play with your records and cassettes and tell me you never dubbed them from one to the other a teenage kid back in the day. I bet you did.

Further more, when music gets "DELETED", the only way normally without deporting your self to China in the middle of some mahoosive mountain to go and find it, some genius has probably shared it, which in a sense can justify that illegal download to some extent.

Anyone else with a ring through their nose, with a rope being pulled by the RIAA want to fire some more stupid "I'm a good boy, I love you mummy, I never do anything bad in my life because I never got shagged until 40" crap at me?

Feel free to bring it on!

I don't support music suckers who'll go and download the world, but I do support people who have very little money in this stupidly expensive world who just want a some music to keep their sanity.

g e

Ummm dont getcha

"So if someone posts child porn on my forums, and I provide server logs, IPs etc. they're going to tell me to get stuffed?"

Why would you not send that to the police?

Which is the same question they BPI should be asked. They're attempting to get a foothold into the comms arena to set precedents for future activity (which they no doubt have roadmapped) to be based upon.

Paris Hilton

@AC & Data Protection Acts

As I read the article, the ISP does not pass *anything* to the BPI. The BPI pass a list of IP addresses & datetimes to the ISP and say "These IPs are illegally sharing my Copyrighted stuff." Then ISP writes to the holder of the account that used that particular IP at that particular datetime and says to account holder "Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Scumbag, this is your 1st/2nd/last warning for ripping off nice Mr BPI." And then they disconnect the account.

So no problem there with the DPA.

The BPI have already got a method of protecting there copyrighted stuff. It's through the courts. However this will cost them money. Unlike America the damages in the UK are not punitive, thus the BPI cannot make a 'profit' on each court case to keep them running. Just a few cases, successful or not would most likely put the BPI out of business (or force the BPI members to cough up loads more money.)

So most commentors are correct, this is all about money and who will bear the cost of policing the BPI's copyright. The BPI don't want to. The ISP's won't. So probably our spineless and stupid Government will use taxpayers money to do it.

Paris, cos even she knows better than the BPI.

Re: And what about the Data protection Acts?

I believe this is what they're trying to side-step. The BPI spoof torrent tracker connections, and when someone connects to them they record the IP and send it off to the relevant ISP. That ISP then looks at it and sends a mail off to their customer who uses that IP, or used it at the logged time. No data is exchanged between the two other than that. After 3 letters the user is disconnected.


Yarr Harr Title

Good on them i say, and i hope Entanet and others follow :)

and the day i stop downloading stuff to preview/checkout before perhaps buying is the day

the uk gov stops being incompetent, money wasting, data losing, privacy invading, petition ignoring, truth hiding, over taxing, lying bunch of Bastards

Q. What's 9 inches, red & hangs in front of an Arsehole?

A. Gordon Browns Tie

Btw Gordon, WTF is my expense account?

Where will it end

does that mean the phone company's such as BT, Vodafone, T-Mobile etc are liable for converstations that occur over their network such as co-ordinating terrorist activities for example because they are providing the connectivity and not necessarily restricting its use? How about royal mail, they provide a means for communicating, are they going to be held liable for the contents of each and every envelope?? bah, stoopid nanny state, its getting worse

Yay! Sense at last

If copyright was strictly enforced no-one could go a day without breaking it. For example, do an image search on Google for "birth certificate". You probably just downloaded enough images which the national archive holds copyright on and you are not allowed to view on-line to be disconnected according to 3 strikes.



Frymaster - do your homework before posting.

The "threat" of legal action if ISPs didn't acquiesce to me hinted strongly at the suit against Eircom in Ireland, which is part of the EU, as is the UK, and which I mentioned in my original post, alongside relevant EU legislation.


They [IRMA] are challenging Eircom's refusal to use filtering technology or other appropriate measures to voluntary block, or filter, material from its network which is being used to download music in violation of the companies' copyright and/or licensing rights.

Also you may want to check Wikipedia under Deep Packet Inspection and, anyone on the thread who wants to help keep this wiki balanced, ensure that reference to the disputed legal position in Europe is kept in the wiki under “Copyright enforcement” subheading.

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"If I am forced to pay a levy to allow me to download music, I shall make a point of downloading every bit of music available."



Can't blame them for saying this

It would be a nightmare job trying to intercept traffic & police it. Presumably you'd have to check each p2p packet to see if it was a download/upload of a copyrighted song/movie or if it was just some, er, amateur production which was without copyright. That said, is copyright automatic, and if so can it be waived?

Perhaps more people may like to make a habit of sharing non-copyright material. However, that said, say I take a recording of me playing Bohemian Rhapsody on the spoons, which would presumably be non-copyright, how do engines like the pirate bay pick up it's existence; i.e. how does one create a brand new torrent link? It's probably obvious to many.

Paris Hilton

Post Office

If the BPI gets it way then all manner of industries could have an opportunity to say to the ISP that Tom Dick or Harry has download x and I want then stopped and banned.

Say, a person takes a picture out of his web cache and uses it for his own web site, could not then the copy writer write to the ISP to complain.

Say, a person copies a paragraph out of a a web page and submits it as part of his course work at school, could not then the copy writer write to the ISP to complain.

Say, a person reads an online book with out paying,should not then the copy writer write to the ISP to complain.

I actually think the ISP are just a conduit system for delivering packets from A to B just like the Post Office, you don't see the BPI writing to the Post Office saying that Joe Bloggs of 43 Numpty Rise, PhormTown has brought a priate CD and had it posted, can you please stop allowing post to this individual.

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Another vote for that one

"If I am forced to pay a levy to allow me to download music, I shall make a point of downloading every bit of music available."

Anonymous Coward

Carphone Warehouse

It looks like Carphone Warehouse is set to corner the market now. As a Virgin customer, I have been pondering a move to Carphone Warehouse for months now because of Virgins ever growing costs and pure underhandedness.

I would personally like to congratulate Charles Dunstone and those from Carphone Warehouse that have been involved in this issue, for having the backbone to stand up to the government and for not allowing bullying tactics to intimedate them.



>"Joe Bloggs of 43 Numpty Rise, PhormTown has brought a priate CD"

Oi! How did you find out? Stop tampering with my mail!

Kind regards

Joe Bloggs

43 Numpty Rise,



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