back to article Tiscali and BPI go to war over 'three strikes' payments

Tiscali, the UK's fourth largest broadband provider, implemented a "three strikes" arrangement with the record industry to disconnect illegal filesharers last summer, The Register can reveal. But over a matter of hours yesterday any deal that Tiscali thought it had made with the BPI evaporated in a row over money. Relations …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    BPI are taking the pi$$

    The BPI can't have it both ways!

    They whinge and moan that they're losing billions in revenue, and demand that all illegal file-sharing be stopped...but they're not prepared to pay towards preventing this practise! Surely they need to realise that to police this has an underlying cost, and to police it effectively will cost a lot less than the alleged losses they keep telling us?

    I just hope that the ISP's aren't forced to buckle under government pressure, as ultimately it'll be the customer who picks up the tab through an increase in monthly subscriptions!

  2. Tisgrandupnorth

    BPI is a spoilt child

    The BPI is acting like a juvenile. It expect every other industry - pretty much EVERY other industry - to solve their problem and foot their bill when it's a situation that they partly caused, and they certainly should have seen coming.

    If they put money and effort behind producing and making forward thinking, revolutionary music rather than the same old money making crap, there would be a far more fragmented market based around live music rather than recordings, and the music piracy model would fall flat.

    And it's an example of why cartels, monopolies or oligopolies are A Bad Thing. Depending on your viewpoint, the music industry is certainly one of those three, and each one bring about laziness, a complete stagnation of developments and a blinkered viewpoint. A competitive industry would have foreseen internet piracy; some businesses would have fought it (and lost) and some would have adapted their business model to work with it (and won).

    My message to not only the BPI, but the music SELLING industry as a whole is; grow up, wake up, the gravy train is over, start running a business and stop thinking that making money from something that should inherently be free is your right.

  3. Chris Morrison
    Pirate

    Pass the Law

    I'm all for a law being passed to force all ISP's to operate a three strikes policy...

    That'll gaurantee a new P2P protocol will be developed to circumvent the measures and give you the confidence to download anything without fear of being caught.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Goodbye Pipex (Tiscali)

    I'm off to see some Demon's, and can't wait to get rid of their network that seems to only work for web browsing during peak times. As for this deal, I have had a first warning from Pipex, replied and stepped up stealth tactics. As for Tiscali even entering the fray about trying to solve piracy issues sounds stupid. Do they realise the money that can be wasted on finding pirates?

  5. Derek Hellam
    Paris Hilton

    Oh dear, what can the matter be?

    I often wonder, if in some of the ISP's offices that they wish the RIAA/BPI would just bugger off, or do they think that people want 10/20MB connections to view pictures of Paris and Kylie? Who honestly would need more than 1/2MB connections to surf/download patches? No threat to their revenue stream eh? Perhaps we would all want to watch TV over 50MB connections? (I don't think so). I must say it is fun to watch them squirming and fighting amongst themselves.

    Paris? because with my fat pipe, I'd never have been able to see her get her fat pipe.

  6. Joe Harrison

    ISP just asking for trouble here

    I would take the amount of spyware and rubbish seen on the Windows PCs of friends, relatives, and acquaintances as an indication that the average user's PC is quite likely to be 0wn3d. Which means there is a fair chance they are participating in P2P and annoying the BPI without even realising it. They will presumably not understand and chuck away any warning letters but will certainly be hopping mad with their ISP if they actually are cut off.

  7. Nick Askew
    Alert

    Well for once I'm siding with the 'bad' guys

    I never really found myself able to side with the music industry in the music industry verses their customers battle. But this is clearly different, the music industry have evidence of an infringement and then pass that to Tiscali with a note to say please enforce your own terms and conditions. And Tiscali wants them to pay to send a letter!!

    Suppose it was the police writing to say we suspect this IP address is owned by a kiddy fiddler, would they want money from the police too?

    The music industry has already spent money trying to detect these people involved in copyright theft. In an ideal world, where people respected other peoples intellectual property rights, that would not be necessary.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    UK Piracy Not The Problem

    According to the BPI's own statistics (http://www.ifpi.org/content/library/BPI-first-half-07.pdf) brits are the biggest buyers in the world of CDs (per head). If piracy is such a problem, why isn't this reflected in album sales?

    Also, the total annual UK market is worth about £1 billion, so I can't see that "billions" can be lost anywhere. Lost sales for the UK should be the least of the Government's worries.

    I agree that music consumption has to be paid for, no-one works for free, but making ISPs carry the cost of this would be like making the highways agency responsible for preventing stolen goods being transported by road.

    The Government needs to back away from this whole area, the UK economy will lose more from hindering internet access than will ever be recovered by a mythical increase in sales by the BPI's members.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Oh dear, what can the matter be?

    "Perhaps we would all want to watch TV over 50MB connections? (I don't think so.)"

    Um. Yes, actually - or at least quite a number of people. BBC's browser-based iPlayer pushed me off the fence, and I forked out for broadband. I also got an "unlimited" connection precisely for that purpose. (It's unlimited enough for me to watch a fair bit of TV.) The BBC will only give decent HD quality if a lot of people have (or can easily get) pipes big enough to support it; when that happens, I will probably get a bigger pipe. A lot more people watch TV than steal movies, you know.

    Of course, the current infrastructure won't support such usage, but that's a rant for a separate page...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    2 sided sword

    If the ISP's want to cut me off for downloading copyright material going through their network, then I should have the right to sue/charge the ISP for allowing malware and viruses through their network.

    As stated in teh report, this will only stop those who use stupid P2P products, there are anonymous P2P programs being developed there for hiding IP's them include encryption how will ISP's/BPI and that US group AMMP (or something) handle that? All they are doing is pushing P2P into encrypted anonymous data. The way the US and UK are going in terms of "affordability" to buy DVD/CD's they are pushing people into downloading.

    And besides I pay a monthly fee to go to the cinema, if I go and see more then 4 movies a month I actuall make a "profit" since I only pay £13 4 movies = £18 and I can go to the cinema as much as I like. Therefor I pay a one off fee that the picture assosation are happy with. I also see the fact that if I already pay, I am free to download movies as they get no more money off me, if I like the movie I buy the DVD, if I don't it gets deleted (securely :P )

  11. David Farrell
    Flame

    Who polices the police?

    It's all very well the BPI sending screenshots of IP addresses downloading from a swarm to ISP's, but what does that prove? That a customer of the ISP was downloading a torrent?

    But what about the proof that the actual torrent in question contained copyrighted material? Just showing a screenshot of the name of the torrent isn't enough. Who's listening to these torrents to make sure they actually contain the song in the name? Surely ISPs can't just take the word of the BPI that their screenshots of offenders were actually downloading a genuinely copyrighted file?

    And then of course is downloading a fragment of a torrent the same as downloading the whole thing? A torrent's no use unless the whole thing has been downloaded. Can people be prosecuted for downloading 1/1000th of a song?

  12. bobbles31
    Coat

    Can you confirm that?

    "A lot more people watch TV than steal movies, you know."

    I'd love to know where you got this little fact from, and I'd comfortably bet a tenner that you are wrong.

    Its off topic so..mines the wooly one with the mittens on string ;)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Evolution

    > Surely they (the BPI) need to realise that to police this has an underlying cost and to police it effectively will cost a lot less than the alleged losses they keep telling us?

    That is of course unless they know their figures are all deliberately fabricated and the nett profit from this will be far less, if a profit at all.

    -----

    > Do they (Tiscali) realise the money that can be wasted on finding pirates?

    Yes they do. Why do you think they're trying to make sure it's the BPI's money and not theirs?

    -----

    This is evolution in action. A predator (the BPI) exerts an evolutionary pressure on its prey (the filesharers) by increasing its capacity to hunt the prey successfully. Some of the prey are better adapted to resist this hunting due to having better camouflage (the new more-anonymous protocols that are on the way) or because they live in tunnels that extend all the way to Sweden, out of the predator's reach. As the predator kills off the weaker members of the herd it ensures that the new resistance to being hunted spreads throughout the population until the predator's advantage is neutralized, its numbers drop from starvation and it has to start again from square one.

    Darwin... You gotta love the man :)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    @Nick

    "the music industry have evidence of an infringement "

    A screenshot and an IP address???????

    So you mean I am REALLY downloading "Kylie in hot lesbo action" movie and not some 3rd rate spyware ridden pron?

    Yippeeeeee !

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Darwin... You gotta love the man :)

    Ah the person above is correct.

    Just look at how filesharing has evolved.....

    From very difficult IRC, to more accessable news groups, to popular P2P programs like Napster a server based download, to distributed sharing moving content away from a single source, and now the move to anonymous downloading.

    Can't the BPI and such understand? That there is something more fudamentaly wrong with the business? Why does a music CD cost £10 when the artists gets very little? Why does a DVD cost £15 when its already made profits from Cinema release's?

    Why does downloading a TV show from America harming the industry? when it always gets sold oversea's? I and never needed to pay to watch any TV show before, I may had to wait 6-12months now with the internet I no longer need to wait.

  16. Mike

    @Nick Askew

    Did you really just compare downloading a copy of the latest pop album with child pornography?

    Yes. I think you did. Oh dear.

  17. Colin Jackson

    Hmm...

    One wonders how, if somebody provides a screenshot of my IP seemingly involved in a swarm downloading the latest movie, they:

    1/. Can establish that the screenshot is not simply a fake. Any idiot can photoshop.

    2/. Can establish that just because the file is called "Movie X" that that is in fact what the file contains. I can download files called "Shrek 3" all day if I like, so long as they do not contain the movie.

    3/. That I am not perfectly entitled to download said file.

    4/. That the owner of the IP address in question is actually has sole use of that IP address.

    The casus belli is weak, very weak.

  18. Shakje

    Every small step by the music industry is a giant leap for P2P

    Every time they try to close something down, the filesharers adapt and, as a result, get rid of the ton of fake files, broken files, and dodgy files put onto the network by the music industry, as well as getting better software that is more difficult to track. Eventually they'll crack anonymous protocols, but by then it might be too late, and each step they take takes a few more months off their lifetime.

    Also, @bobbles31 it should be pretty elementary to take the reported percentage of internet users downloading illegally (5% by Virgin Media? Not sure about BPI) and compare it to the percentage of the population watching TV every night (take ratings, and divide by population size * 100%). I think you'll find there are far more TV watchers than illegal downloaders.

  19. thomasthetanker
    Thumb Up

    swap

    If Tiscali cut me off can't I just swap broadband provider or am I blacklisted and put on a national database?

  20. Steve Sutton
    Stop

    @Mike

    "Did you really just compare downloading a copy of the latest pop album with child pornography?"

    You're right, the bloke who did that is an idiot. It should be perfectly clear to him, as it is to the rest of us, from observing government behaviour that stealing music is a *MUCH* more serious offence, and that anybody who thinks that dealing with kiddy fiddlers is more important should frankly be taken out and shot!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Time and money

    "Suppose it was the police writing to say we suspect this IP address is owned by a kiddy fiddler, would they want money from the police too?"

    That is entirely different. That is helping the Police with a criminal matter.

    The "illegal" (more correctly "unlawful") sharing of a file is a civil matter for "damages" between the copyright holder and the up/downloader. If someone wrote something about me I considered untrue and I wanted to launch a civil action to right the "wrong" I would expect to pay the reasonable costs of the person's ISP in ascertaining their identity. I would then be free to seek to recover those costs from the offender if I wished.

    Let's see. Person at the ISP receives the letter from my lawyer and passes it through management to someone technical who verifies that the technical details on which I am basing my claim (IP addresses, timestamps, etc.) are correct and that it does indeed appear to identify one of their customers. Then it gets forwarded to their legal department or lawyer (which obviously carries a cost) to check it is in order. The ISP will want to make sure they are not exposing themselves to legal or commercial risk by naming or acting against their customer if the paperwork is wrong. Assuming the demand is in order and the ISP doesn't want to contest it for some reason of principle the letter then goes to the customer services department who retrieve the customer data and spend time generating a letter or performing some other required action.

    So my letter has probably taken at least one man-hour of their staff's time plus whatever they had to pay their lawyer. Not to mention the changes to the ISP's customer systems to record the "strikes." I wouldn't consider $100 an unreasonable charge for this, particularly if I was suffering serious financial loss, as is claimed by the music biz.

  22. Law
    Paris Hilton

    my favorite bit

    " In a statement however, the BPI told The Register: "We are pleased that Tiscali agrees that our three step proposal is an appropriate way to begin dealing with the problem.

    "While there have been discussions between BPI and Tiscali, we have not been able to reach agreement on a long term solution. That's because Tiscali is trying to force us to pay a substantial levy to enforce its own terms and conditions. "

    Ok ok... so let me get this straight - you bitch and moan to somebody saying "come on guys, we need to get people together".... then when they finally do what you want and ask for the running costs you turn around and say "but it's you policy, not mine?!".

    I swear, even with the writers strike over I don't think anybody could make this stuff up?! lol

  23. Dave
    Happy

    Another bye bye

    Been a Pipex customer for years....then Tiscali took over. Packet shaping, bandwidth throttling and now this.

    I finally had enough after a few weeks of evening speeds no better than dial up and got my mac code last week. Im off to pastures new with no limits and no throttling ........ feels good.

    PS F*** you Tiscali :D

  24. system

    RE: Can you confirm that?

    Not sure how much you trust the data from torrentfreak, or sumotorrent, but:

    http://torrentfreak.com/bittorrent-in-focus-tv-series-are-hot/

    Music is a tiny slice of that pie, behind T.V, movies and games.

  25. b166er

    so short sighted

    I remember back in the day when you had to get 'eval copies' from various ftp servers or newsgroups/IRC. Then P2P came along and was niche for a good few years before going mainstream. Most people didn't have a clue about file-sharing until Kazaa. Then, all of a sudden, everyone it seemed had Kazaa and then later Limewire. Back a few years, and there was a client released called Earthstation5. It never got anywhere, because it was shot down by commenters on sites like Slyck, because it was based in Israel and the admin was confrontational. But it did feature a built in 'gatling' proxy. A feature that, at the time I thought was the direction everything would go.

    Now it seems they are serious about affecting, not just a small minority of file-sharers with huge fines, but the majority with policies such as 3 strikes. If this happens and suddenly, 1000s of people are inconvenienced by having their connections terminated, then the need to address the issue will become mainstream and the likelihood is that better clients will be written, perhaps including a proxy on every client to get round the problem.

    As many have commented before, this is just delaying the inevitable. Rather than continually trying to criminalise people, these industries need to engage their customers and redesign their business models, or face things getting to a point where the horse has well and truly bolted.

    I notice, that downloads are now available from Play.com at 192/320Kbits for 70p a track/7.95 an album. Cool, a DRM free service with higher bit-rates, what's not to like? Well, the price for a start. It just doesn't add up. What percentage of a song's revenue is attributable to physical manufacture and distribution? For example, searching for Kylie Minogue - X on Play and HMV, reveals that the price is the same for MP3 or CD, £6.99. Now it could be said that digital files are currently priced the same as physical products, to offset each other, and that when the industry no longer has to distribute CDs, that the price will fall to reflect that. But by distrusting their customers, they have encouraged their customers to distrust them.

    The way out for them it seems, is to bluff by reducing the price of downloads dramatically and weaning people away from file-sharing. Once people are accustomed to buying their songs again, cheaply and without 'fear' of retribution, perhaps they'll stay when the price naturalises back to roughly where the industry wants it.

    To try and march the people who use P2P back to purchasing by stomping around like a bullying adolescent, just isn't going to work. If anything, it's going to further alienate their existing purchasing customers.

    In short, it's hard to sympathise, when you have an industry so seemingly incapable of adapting to what people want. It just appears that they don't care.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shafted

    So now Tiscali knows what it feels like to get shafted by these money grabbing idiots.

    Welcome to the world of the consumer.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Peer Guardian

    Just use Peer Guardian

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Who Pays For Content?

    Reading some of the comments on this article, it seems that a fair number of people want music, films and television programmes to be available free of charge.

    This then raises the question of how do we pay for content generation? Film and television production and music recording are expensive; if there are no revenues for the artists and producers, how will we get content?

    At the moment the downloaders rely on a population of paying punters to cover the costs of generating content; but if, as some of the comments claim, all content is eventually to be free to all then there won't be an economic reason for publishing music or video in digital (or any other) form.

    If bands only make money from live performances, why bother having any high quality recordings made? Yes there's an argument that music downloads and radio play will act as a taster to encourage paying punters to go to concerts, but why bother producing CDs and DVDs (or whatever replaces them)? The tasters can be low-resolution loss-leaders suitable for radio-play and downloading, if you aren't going to make any money from them, why bother with anything better?

    Ultimately, if all content is free for all, where is the money to be made in making TV and film? Will actors and producers go back to the stage? Will films only be made for cinema release?

    Depending on which country you live in, TV is paid for by taxes (AKA TV License), advertisements and direct subscription. In a future where all TV programs can be downloaded from the internet, free of adverts, only taxation will generate income for broadcasters.

    Those calling for free-for-all downloading aren't really asking for *everyone* to have free access; what they want is for *their* music, films and television to be free. Ultimately its the paying punters who make it free for the downloaders, if we end up in a hypothetical future where no-one pays, then there won't be any content (other than amateur dramatics on YouTube).

    This isn't meant as any kind of support for stupid ideas about controlling people's access to the internet; I'm just interested to see what economic models are proposed to support content generation in an "everything's free" future.

    Don't bother getting me my coat, I'll "share" someone else's.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @ Steve Sutton (@ Mike)

    "It should be perfectly clear to him, as it is to the rest of us, from observing government behaviour that stealing music is a *MUCH* more serious offence, ..."

    And that is because it (this much more widespread "abuse") gives the government a chance to expand the mandatory use of Squid by each ISP, not only to check each web request against the IWF watch-list, but also to insist that records are kept.

    Think: "How would they do it in China?" Then watch the British government do it themselves and push the EU into doing it all over!

  30. Richard
    Boffin

    Paying for content

    Anonymous coward asks:

    "This then raises the question of how do we pay for content generation? Film and television production and music recording are expensive; if there are no revenues for the artists and producers, how will we get content?"

    Well there are three ways this could go:

    (1) Content could be supported entirely by advertising or product placement. This is how free-to-air radio & TV work now.

    (2) Content could get very cheap to produce, because technology means you don't need expensive cameras and recording equipment. People make their own content. This is how Linux works now. Music is heading this way fast.

    (3) We could levy a statutory fee on broadband connections, let everyone copy freely, and divvy up the fee according to what we measure as being the most popular works shared. This is how statutory licensing works right now for radio and certain types of public performance -- eg. in bars.

    All of those a perfectly viable models. All of them are proven models, implemented in the real world today. None of them require anyone being made a criminal or having their network access cut off.

    Rich.

  31. Andy Tyzack
    Happy

    up to 8meg

    jesus,

    with all these people getting booted off the internet, maybe people will get the promised speeds they are paying for.

    there will be more people in this country offline than there are online.

    Bring it on BPI muppets, lets see if your bite is as big as your bark.

    PS, F*** tiscali indeed!!!!!!

  32. Steve Sutton

    @AC (Who Pays For Content? )

    "Those calling for free-for-all downloading aren't really asking for *everyone* to have free access; what they want is for *their* music, films and television to be free."

    That's not really the issue here, although I appreciate that a lot of people who feel this way are piggybacking the issue.

    ISTM and a lot of other people, that the way this will work is the RIAA, BPI, or whoever will simply see an IP apparently sharing a file unlawfully, and tell the ISP to disconnect them. This means that if someone who I allow to share my WiFi, or someone who steals my WiFi, downloads copyrighted material then they can arbitrarily take away my Internet!

    See "actus reus" and "mens rea" on the interwebs, two things which do not happen if someone other than me uses my connection to unlawfully download material, and yet I am being found guilty and punished despite the absence of either of these. How would you feel about being branded and convicted as a kiddy fiddler, if the only proof needed was that your IP was used to download kiddy porn?

    Now you can argue that stealing 'secured' WiFi is difficult to do, bit it's not impossible, and the threat of being disconnected from the Internet gives more motivation to people who download music to learn how to do so.

    The power to 'convict' someone of downloading copyrighted material, and punish them accordingly (including disconnecting them from the Internet) must remain solely in the hands of the judiciary, where we can be sure (well certainly more sure than if the RIAA/BPI are in charge) that it will be tested to a proper standard.

  33. Joe
    Thumb Up

    @ b166er

    I completely agree - the music industry needs to offer reasonably-priced downloads, and the general public (i.e. not tech-savvy people like us) will flock to it.

    Even though BitTorrent is easy, it's not easy enough, largely because it's not legit. The sites are full of porn ads, for a start. When my friend downloaded an album in FLAC he couldn't figure out how to play it or put on his iPod.

    So the market is ripe for an easy, cheap solution... but will the industry provide one? Probably not. Somebody's got to pay for the ridiculously lavish lifestyle these people have become accustomed to!

  34. Steven Knox

    Evidence of Intent, at least

    @David Farrell

    "Just showing a screenshot of the name of the torrent isn't enough. Who's listening to these torrents to make sure they actually contain the song in the name?"

    Who out there is selecting torrents named for copyrighted material but seriously DON'T intend to download the copyrighted material? I think valid screenshots are enough to show intent, if not success.

    Having said that, faking a screenshot is a few minutes work. I have to laugh every time our auditors demand screenshots instead of spreadsheet printouts because the spreadsheets "could easily be faked".

  35. Paul Bristow
    Thumb Up

    Why should music be a business, rather than a pleasure?

    "If bands only make money from live performances, why bother having any high quality recordings made? Yes there's an argument that music downloads and radio play will act as a taster to encourage paying punters to go to concerts, but why bother producing CDs and DVDs (or whatever replaces them)? The tasters can be low-resolution loss-leaders suitable for radio-play and downloading, if you aren't going to make any money from them, why bother with anything better?"

    I think you need to think again at why people become musicians. Hardly anyone says "I think I'll take up a career as a pop star". If you are a professional musician it is very likely that you have to play every week - that's what it means. Musicians are generally artists first - they make music because they have to, not because it will make them rich. You also have to consider that the cost of creating content has fallen dramatically. You can have a pocket multitrack recording studio for around 120 quid! As for quality - you would have to take extra steps to reduce the quality and make your music sound worse - not a good advert.

    In short, we are never going to run out of musicians. The RIAA and BPI didn't exist while Mozart was around and I seem to recall one or two pieces of music by him. What we are going to run out of is the music industry itself. Record labels, who exist for the purpose of creating then duplicating music (making records if you remember) are simply not necessary in a world where the initial recording can be made on a cheap computer, and the duplication costs have gone to virtually zero.

    The music industry will look different, yes. Different could well be better and healthier. I think it would be a much better thing to have lots of bands that we go and see live, and decide for ourselves that we like them, rather than a few that we all "consume" because we have been told by industry marketing that we should.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @ AC....

    "Why does downloading a TV show from America harming the industry? when it always gets sold oversea's? I and never needed to pay to watch any TV show before, I may had to wait 6-12months now with the internet I no longer need to wait."

    that reminds me, lost S4e3 was on the TV last night in the USA, in the UK we have to wait untill sunday.... I just cant wait that long to learn about Ben's men on the boat....

    time to fire up that torrent client,...... wow over 36,000 seeds !!!!!!

    @ the other AC, "Just use Peer Guardian"

    that will not stop the copyright police looking at the ip addreses of the people in the torrent swarm....

    mines the one with the, "I support TPB" logo on the back...

  37. Michael
    Pirate

    The BPI are playing with fire here....

    All it takes is for the ISP's to send out (should they feel so inclined).. the ip numbers of the BPI representatives to the blocklists , or maybe just assign them their own ip range (tidier) ..... hey presto clean network. This could be done to the RIAA too. A bit unethical , maybe, depends how miffed (understatement ) the IT and Customer Services departments get.

    Incidentally ... has BT complained yet???? I wouldn't want my 'phone bill subsidising these motherlovers.

  38. Turbojerry

    Hoping for leglislation

    If a law is passed, and all that is required as proof is a screenshot, all I need to do is change the name of a torrent the BPI are part of in uTorrent to something I have copyright on, take a screenshot and we can get the BPI kicked off the Net.

  39. Steve
    Flame

    @Rich

    in Paying for content you offer three spurious and unworkable options:

    (1) Content could be supported entirely by advertising or product placement.

    No, it couldn't, that's exactly the spurious theory that burst the first internet bubble. Advertising money doesn't grow on trees, it is finite and comes from the selling price of the advertised product. If Coca Cola increase their advertising spend to support sales of some content they will eventually reach a situation where people buy Pepsi instead because it's cheaper, and/or people install advert blockers to get the content without the ads, which is equally disastrous in commercial terms.

    (2) Content could get very cheap to produce.

    So cheap, in fact, that no artists can make a living out of it, and end up flipping burgers in MacD. Result: no more content.

    (3) We could levy a statutory fee on broadband connections,

    So people like me, who have zero interest in downloading music or films have to pay for the costs of other people's entertainment? No thanks.

    If *you* want content, *you* pay for it. You don't pay for it, you don't get it, or you go to jail. Simple.

  40. Mectron
    Thumb Down

    Illegal home invasion

    This ISP and the openly criminal RIAA/MPAA puppet BPI as no right of any kind of invading your computer and tapping your IP (same as taping a phone line). When will the goverment (of all countries) will finaly stepup and shutdown criminal cartel such at the BPI, MPAA, RIAA and the like, those organisation have no legal puspose to exist in any way.

    Rackeing, extortion, price fixing, stealing, invasion of privacy, virus, root kit, break and enter.... this shoudl be enough to shutdown any other organisations.. why is the BPI/RIAA/MPAA are still operating in the open?

  41. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    @Nick Askew

    "Suppose it was the police writing to say we suspect this IP address is owned by a kiddy fiddler, would they want money from the police too?"

    Yes. At least here in the US. Well I don't know about "kiddy fiddlers", but I saw an article a bit ago about the phone cos shutting off wiretaps (not the illegal ones the ones with warrants and all) because the feds were not paying their bills. As far as I know, traces and the like cost money too. That's telecoms but I would expect IP info and the like to cost too, to cover the time to dig up the information.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ Illegal home invasion

    Racketeering, extortion, price fixing, stealing, invasion of privacy:

    The government also does all these things, i doubt they will be shut down. however they do not like competition.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Paul Bristow

    You write:

    >>The RIAA and BPI didn't exist while Mozart was around and I

    >>seem to recall one or two pieces of music by him.

    Mozart was buried in a pauper's grave, something generally considered a bad thing in retrospect, IIRC. One of the objectives of people being paid via copyright was to prevent this in future, I think.

  44. system

    @Steve

    "they will eventually reach a situation where people buy Pepsi instead because it's cheaper, and/or people install advert blockers to get the content without the ads, which is equally disastrous in commercial terms."

    For T.V at least, this could work. T.V is already financed by advertising on the various stations. Put out high quality bittorrent downloads with regional advertising embedded in the video (either as a small "bug" constantly on screen or short ad breaks) and you don't have to pay for bandwidth, save the cost of hiring a sales department to sell it overseas and stick with pretty much the system you already have.

    "(2) Content could get very cheap to produce.

    So cheap, in fact, that no artists can make a living out of it, and end up flipping burgers in MacD. Result: no more content."

    This implies that the price the artist is paid is directly related to the price of production. Take a look at CD pricing to see how wrong that assumption is.

    Crap artists who can suddenly afford to produce crap music will not be making huge amounts of money, good artists will continue to sell.

    With regards to a broadband levy, I'm in agreement. According to some stats released, T.V accounts for around 50% of torrent downloads with music lagging behind that and movies, so I fail to see how the recording industry has any valid claim to any levy.

    Here's the thing though. Do the BPI and others pay the creators of the clients they are using for their screenshots a royalty for every use?

    Are they paying a per connection fee for the software that hosts their websites? With the BPI, maybe as they are using windows/IIS, but the RIAA are using linux/apache. How about their web designers getting a regular cheque for work they did once?

    Do any of them pay their lawyers for every use of a standard letter they send to supposed infringers?

    Fact is, musicians and the music industry are nothing but a bunch of spoilt brats. Many people work in creative fields without expecting to be paid every week for life because of a single creation. If you can see past the propoganda of starving artists, you may see that they do not deserve to be paid in perpetuity at all.

    If they want to play the persistant creativity licensing game, the way I see it they can either pay Tim B.L/DARPA and others royalties for the next 90 years or get the f*ck off the net.

  45. gman
    Coat

    also..

    Also dont forget, There was no mention of proof the customers were sharing copyrighted material. It only said they were part of a Bittorrent swarm. Even if their ip shows up in the swarm it doesnt mean they are part of the torrent. Often data about seeders is bounced around from torrent to torrent to make sure the nfo gets out to people needing to connect to them. Also I'd be curious about the legality of the record industry breaking the encryption on a torrent stream to see whats inside of it.

  46. Joe Sixpack

    BPI are the dishonest party! Now they have Government in their pocket

    "Suppose it was the police writing to say we suspect this IP address is owned by a kiddy fiddler, would they want money from the police too?"

    Actually the police have the good grace to cover ISP's costs for providing this information. Under the RIPA arrangements cost recovery for ISP's is respected.

    Funny how a big money making industry that is making huge sums (and supposedly loses lots) cannot come to a financial arrangement.

    ISP's make no money from illegal downloaders using big chunks of their bandwith. The recording industry should be genuine partners!

    Could it be that the BPI pulled out of the agreement because they worked out it's more cost-effective to 'pay' the Government through their lobbyists to act as their enforcers?

    They wanted an agreement when there was little prospects of Government legislating, but now they like to claim that it's those bad ISP's who didn't take negotiations seriously. But now they have the Government in their back pocket, we see their true colours!

  47. Steve Welsh
    Coat

    Pandora's Box

    Some years ago I went to a presentation at my local Uni (it was about the time that the original Napster got taken down).

    The presenter was a lawyer, not a techie.

    What he said then was that Pandora's Box was open, and the 'labels' would never be able to fix it. His explanation was that the 'labels' employed people to put DRM, or whatever, on tracks. They are 9 to 5 employees. The people that want to break this model don't care if they have to do 100 hours straight for NOTHING - just so long as they can crack the DRM.

    Same thing applies now. The 'good guys' will always find a way around what the Corporate arseholes try to do.

    And, sorry but yes, any musical group worth its salt should make their main income by doing gigs.

    Coat, hat....

  48. Mark

    Collateral damage

    So when these naughty, naughty people get deprived of their connections, presumably they'll have trouble buying other stuff online (including CDs, DVDs), doing online banking etc, etc. So will those retailers and service providers who lose out then start legal action against the ISPs/BPI for their loss of revenue?

    If there's a blacklist of "offenders" that prevents them getting another connection, the social/economic implications of this poorly thought out idea go far beyond the coke 'n' whores budget for EMI execs. We are increasingly expected to deal with government through the net, so how happy will the revenue be if we can't file online returns, or schools be if students can't do research.

    Many (if not most) home connections in this country are shared, and cutting one line off will affect other - blameless - people, affecting their economic, educational and social opportunities. It's like Israel punishing the entire population of Gaza for the actions of a few Hamas members.

    So I'd add "thick as shit" to the general list of the BPIs other undesirable qualities.

  49. Richard
    Flame

    Mozart

    Despite what you may have seen in the film "Amadeus", Mozart was not buried in a "pauper's grave" but was buried in a communal grave which was standard practice for everyone at the time:

    http://arts.guardian.co.uk/mozart/story/0,,1747041,00.html

    And while he was perhaps not richer than Croesus like Paul McCartney, he was still famous and well-paid in commissions.

  50. Andy Livingstone

    Legal Query

    Is it still safe for me to record Vera Lynn off the wireless?

  51. Mark

    @Steve

    Do you know what payola is? How about advertisements?

    These are creative arts that are given out free (or paid to be distributed!) by the owners to sell something else.

    So a MP3 could BE the ad.

    Make a CD with a book (the book cannot be copied as easily as the CD) and the book containing lyrics, guitar tabs, useles but interesting info about the band or CD. The MP3 could be just a way to get the gig noticed. recordings of the live gig could be sold at the gig.

    PS regarding Mozart, he was buried which is considered bad for most people and he was a pauper because of politics. How well is Michel Jackson doing? George Michael? They aren't being signed up and they aren't getting the visibility any more.

    And needless to say, many authors and artists died paupers even though there was copyright.

  52. Alex
    Boffin

    2 stupid points (probably):

    I notice that all the pressure on ISPs is reported to be coming from the record industry rather than other media at the moment and 3-strike schemes focus on being detected in a torrent swarm (at least in the Tiscali setup). Presumably this means:

    A) Movie/software p2p copyright infrigers are as safe now as they ever were

    - until/unless a succesful scheme is set up after which other industries will obviously say "me too".

    B) p2p copyright infringers who don't transfer via bittorrent are as safe as ever.

    - until/unless ISPs start watching their own networks for unencrypted copyright material.

    Meaning 3-strike schemes along these lines will lead to:

    1) Music copyright infringers moving to Limewire etc and perhaps fewer people in the UK will leave their music folders being shared. BPI can only realistically catch (potential) uploaders, not downloaders on Limewire. To 'catch' a downloader, they would have to offer a whole copyrighted song for download, wait until someone accepted the file they offered...then get them disconnected, a method which won't stand for long.

    2) For everything else, there's bittorrent.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    wait...

    Does this mean all those poor Pipex customers who just moved to Tiscali need to install peer guardian*?

    ho ho ho

    http://phoenixlabs.org/pg2/

  54. Tony Paulazzo
    Happy

    Fresh off the BBC news website

    [quote]For instance, he said, while some people use peer-to-peer networks to download copyrighted material many commercial services, such as Napster and the BBC's iPlayer, use file-sharing technology to distribute music and TV legally.[/quote]

    I love it when the waters start getting muddied. I can't wait till the first license payer gets kicked off the 'net for downloading last weeks Eastenders for being a torrent pirate.

    Actually, this whole debacle reminds me of when the police tried to get the ISPs to stop pron newsgroups in the early nineties - that went nowhere too.

    T F Paulazzo.

  55. Alex Brett

    Voluntary?

    "...which is threatened with legislation if it does not come to a voluntary agreement"

    Surely that's no longer a voluntary agreement then, it's like me saying to someone it's up to you if you go into the corner, but if you don't I'm going to force you into it...

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    I've said this before...

    ... and i'll say it again. All this legal bullshit will do it increase people's use of encryption and obfuscation technology. Tor is fundamental parts of my daily use now, simply because I don't want to have some copper busting down my door because I downloaded a high quality MP3 of a CD I *own* because the physical media came with some shitty DRM on it to prevent me using it FAIRLY on my non-Apple, non-Microsoft MP3 player!

    The Tor network grows daily. I encourage its use to everyone and anyone.

    (And i'm downloading PeerGuardian2 right now)

  57. night troll
    Pirate

    I'm surprised......

    ....the BPI don't wan't to charge the ISP's for providing the "evidence" they have created (sorry, produced) to enforce the ban.

    BTW, PeerGuardian will not stop other users from seeing the IP of up/downloaders on a torrent, you need a proxy or VPN to get around that.

  58. Andy Worth

    To be honest....

    From what I've heard about Tiscali lately, the people who get cut off should be sending Tiscali a letter thanking them for freeing them from their contract.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    active defense?

    So basically, all this gumf essentially means that I'll only be identified if I download the latest poptastic repertoire of some bimbo programmable diva that they are actively seeking infringer's to prosecute.

    Cool... Half the reason I use bittorrent is to escape that kind of highly commercialised crap music...

    I do however see a slight problem with this, the record companies have started putting music up on bittorrent sites themselves, in some cases fakes, in some cases not fakes but incorrectly named torrents, now if a record company posts a torrent, regardless of whether or not it is fake, which is similar to the naming of a torrent they are actively defending I have a suspicion that this behavior is considered entrapment, and therefore would be thrown out of court as the record company them self is promoting the activity.

  60. Acetsuntura
    Thumb Down

    How many times.....

    Is this topic of discussion going to come up before things actually start to change? You fundamentally cannot catch people transfering illegal data over networks if its encrypted cuz you dont know what the data is. It aint frikkin rocket science.

    Its blatently obvious to everyone WITH a positive IQ that a new model for revenue is required. The music industries need to accept the fact that the monopoly they had on the distribution of music is OVER, and they will never, and i repeat NEVER go back to making the amount of money they used to in the past.

    You had a good time, you lined your pockets - but now its time to come back to earth and accept a reasonable amount of profit instead of the sickness you've been used to.

  61. Schultz
    Dead Vulture

    AC et al. pop Mozart

    "Mozart was buried in a pauper's grave, something generally considered a bad thing in retrospect, IIRC. One of the objectives of people being paid via copyright was to prevent this in future, I think."

    Hmm, I remember Mozart was kind of a celebrity in his time and not a bad earner ... Britney, heed the warning! I don't buy the argument that money (celebrity, notoriety) makes better music. Let's talk about the careers of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Berg just to take some random letter of the alphabet. Long live the pop, now where do I find music?

    money --> creativity, OK, it's a business model, but music?

    creativity --> money, more like it! But what is the role of BPI / RIA again?

    PS: someone shot the vulture too

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Colin Jackson

    "One wonders how, if somebody provides a screenshot of my IP seemingly involved in a swarm downloading the latest movie, they:

    1/. Can establish that the screenshot is not simply a fake. Any idiot can photoshop.

    2/. Can establish that just because the file is called "Movie X" that that is in fact what the file contains. I can download files called "Shrek 3" all day if I like, so long as they do not contain the movie.

    3/. That I am not perfectly entitled to download said file.

    4/. That the owner of the IP address in question is actually has sole use of that IP address."

    OK,

    1. why would they do that? Any investigation would show it was a fraudulent screenshot. You are just being absurd with that statement.

    2. That is similar to carrying a package labelled "semtex" through airport security. You would get the anal probe and membership to the no-flight club no matter what the package contained. Why on God's green earth would anyone take a legal file and rename it to something illegal? All you would do is draw attention to yourself, get the authorities to possibly investigate your usage and up the stats of "illegal downloads" which would bolster the BPI etc. case to implement legislation You are just being absurd with that statement.

    3. This is the one statement that is not entirely absurd. However as the BPI should (probably doesn't but really should and case law would probably mandate in time) have a list of movies etc. legally published on bittorrent/emule etc. they can check if it is legit. Not sure many of the major studios have signed up to distributing their productions through anonymous P2P yet though. I will call this statement as mostly absurd rather than completely absurd.

    4. Times should pin that one down As you are undoubtedly aware only one device can have a single [public in this case] IP address at any one time. This then becomes the responsibility of the tinternet package subscriber. It is up to them to make sure no-one uses their connection for nefarious means, within reason of course. So if your flatmates / children / spouse / commune members are illegally downloading movies you need to have a word with them (hence the 2 warnings bit) and if your wireless connection has been hijacked then you need to implement some security. So again you are just being absurd with that statement too.

    Why don't the cry-baby freetards just fess up and say "I want to download as much music / movies / software etc. without paying any more than my basic broadband tariff and I don't like it when people try to stop me, boo-hoo" and stop trying to convince the rest of us that you need to download 30GB+ of linux distros, OS updates and games patches per month, every month.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Acetsuntura

    Where you are fundamentally correct there is a serious danger in this line of thought.

    What would most likely happen, in time, is that ISPs would be forced to monitor traffic volumes and patterns (times of day, structure etc) and report anything that is suspicious to the "authorities". Who may well send the fuzz round to confiscate your PC to look for dodgy gear.

    So you may have no illegal content, and if you do you may have it in an encrypted hidden partition but you would still be without your PC for a time. And you could only sue if you could prove there was no grounds for suspicion. And why would anyone encrypt a download of Ubuntu Linux release 13: Mighty Marmoset? Are you sure you were just downloading legal gear and not pirated movies? What not pirated movies? must have been terror plans then. Unencrypt the hidden partitions. And the others. What refusing to unencrypt the hidden partition with the plans to assassinate Kylie Minogue? 5 years in the slammer for you my son.

    Look, at the moment it is obvious that people download illegal content. The amount is debatable, the revenue loss is even more so. However it is entirely reasonable to view every movie (etc) downloaded as a loss of revenue to the rights holder of the face value of the item, less the physical packaging costs (which artists always tell us are like 3p per DVD). This also represents a loss of tax revenue to the government which is where legislation will bite. And it will bite hard. maybe not too soon, but soon enough to really ruin your day.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @active defense

    Entrapment may be an offense in the US of A but it is not so in the UK, which is where we are talking about.

  65. night troll

    @ @Acetsuntura

    I don't think the police will act for the complainant in a civil case like this. Hell, they will not even act in criminal cases, it would be too much to ask for them to get up off their arse's and get out of the station to do some real work.

  66. Gordon

    Moving back to the point...

    I can see why the ISPs don't wish to pay the (initially fairly modest) costs associated with this. The moment they agree to that the BPIs lawyers will sieze on this as an assumption of responsibility for "policing" of the internet and expect the ISPs to either compensate them for failure to police, or expend fortunes on policing in whatever way the BPI thinks is most advantageous.

    Nobody (least of all the DPI) wants to take responsibility for policing this anonymous, complicated, widespread and international crime. I belive this is Because it's always going to be expensive, contentious, lengthy and have questionable results and a high reputational cost, coupled with a reasonable chance of being counter-sued if you screw it up or the courts acquit because they don't understand the evidence!

  67. Cambrasa

    @Who Pays For Content?

    Oh, I'd be more than happy to pay for content if

    a) it wasn't crippled with layer upon layer of DRM shite. I want to be able to back up my DVDs in case they scratch. I want to be able to watch them on my laptop's hard drive when I'm travelling.

    b) I wasn't sujected to patronising FBI-warnings and dim-witted adverts, 1984-style, that cannot be fastforwarded or muted in the privacy of my own home.

    c) I could watch it when I want, where I want.

    d) it was more reasonably priced and I wasn't forced to pay twice as much as an American just because I live in the UK.

    e) the newest releases were available on-demand, online, in full hd definition, drm-free, using a fast and efficient download client. And not the 20 year old junk that is offered now.

    f) it was actually on sale on the UK. many american and european releses never make it here.

    g) if the bbfc, a self-appointed moral police, without any democratic mandate and accountable to nobody, did not have the audacity to decide for me what is good for me and what isn't, based purely on their personal tastes.

    So as long as the content distributors think they caN offer a second rate servide, take me for a fool and treat me like a child, I will continue to use the pirate product, which caters for all my needs listed above.

    What, it is not my right to demand those things? On the contrary, I think it is my moral duty as it will bring competition and innovation into the content distribution industry that has too long stagnated because of cartel practices.

  68. Cambrasa

    @Who Pays For Content?

    As for alternative business models. There are several possibilities.

    a) Flat-rate model. You pay a monthly subscription fee, of say, £10, and are free to download as much as you want from a large catalogue.

    b) Advertising. Product placement. Put a small logo of the advertiser (eg. Nike) in the corner of the film, and distribute it for free.

    c) Buy directly from the artists. If each song would cost only 20 p nobody would bother with the hassle of file sharing and the artists would still get more than they do now.

    d) Reduce costs. Great potential here. Get rid of outdated institutions such as "Studios" and "TV channels" that often add 90% markup to the cost of making a film. Get rid of big-budget $200m productions. Many independent films that cost $1-10m to make are orders of magnitude better than the big budget hollywood crap anyhow. I personally wouldn't care if there is no more transformers and spider man 4 in future. Use digital cameras instead of 35 mm. Stop paying inflated wages to "star" actors. The industry is teeming with highly talented actors that are prepared to work for a normal wage, say, 80k a year, instead of earning millions. Hell, most actors are even prepared to work for free. I have a friend who made a no-budget student film in London and 200 candidates turned up for the casting!

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