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

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

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  1. Mark

    Why would the ISP's agree?

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

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

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

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's a more entertaining take: abusing the system

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

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

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

  3. Ole Juul

    I'm almost hoping

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

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

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Proof?

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

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

  5. Paul Thompson
    Stop

    There's one born every minute....

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

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <no title>

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

  7. Matthew Glubb
    Happy

    Love & Affection?

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

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Be fair Chris

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

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

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

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

    2) Accept it and figure not many people will sue

    3) Push for packet inspection, or setup honeypot torrents

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

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

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

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

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

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

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Paul Thompson

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

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

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

    First point is more important though: Evidence?

  10. Stephen
    Thumb Down

    Petition

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

  11. Nick Drew
    Thumb Down

    You make it sound so simple...

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

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

  12. g e

    Just hit back with...

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

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

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

  13. Richard
    Thumb Down

    Re: Proof

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

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

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

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

    Rich.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Criminal vs. Civil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  15. b166er

    Joe Bloggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  16. Jax
    Alert

    Parliment Thorough?

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

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

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

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

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

    Thorough my ass. Open yes, thorough no.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Still Not Going to Work

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

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

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

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

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

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

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

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

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

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

  19. Ian
    Linux

    Why ISPs would agree

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

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

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

    </my 2c>.

  20. Adam Foxton
    Paris Hilton

    Is it any rights holder?

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

    Hmmm....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  21. 3x2

    Just the BPI?

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

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

  22. Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Is it any rights holder?

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

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

    They will not analyse traffic

    They will not analyse traffic

    They will not analyse traffic

    They will not analyse traffic

    They will not analyse traffic

    They will not analyse traffic

    They will not analyse traffic

    They will not analyse traffic

    They will not analyse traffic

    - Chris

  23. Paul M.
    Flame

    Freetard Tax

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

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

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

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

  24. George Johnson
    Thumb Up

    Nice big bonus for Cisco, et al!

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

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

  25. James
    Thumb Down

    Fantasy

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

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

  26. Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Fantasy

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

    - Chris

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    What's the New Business Model?

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

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

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

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

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

  28. Ian

    @ Paul M

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

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

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

  29. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Further proof required

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

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

  31. DR
    Pirate

    misinformation?

    the misinformation spread by various websites?

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

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

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

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

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

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

  32. Paul M.
    Stop

    @Ian the leech

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

    No, it doesn't.

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

    Got it, yet?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Ian

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

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

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

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

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @DR

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

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

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

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

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

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ What's the New Business Model?

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

    Price is determined by intersection of demand and supply

    Demand is driven up by promos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    in whose interest?

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

  37. Ian

    @ Paul M

    "No, it doesn't.

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

    Got it, yet?"

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

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

    @ AC,

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

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

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

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

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

  38. Gordon

    WTF??

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

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

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

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re @ What's the New Business Model?

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

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

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

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

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

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

  40. NickR
    IT Angle

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

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

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

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

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

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

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ What's the New Business Model?

    "Price is determined by intersection of demand and supply"

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

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

    Two points about that:

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

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

  42. Mark

    "They will not analyse traffic"

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

    Ouji board?

    Magic 8 Ball?

  43. Alex

    @Paul M

    I think you may have missed the point.

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

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

    Got it, yet? ;)

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

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

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

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

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

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Ian

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

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

  45. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    @ AC

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

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

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

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

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

  46. Julian Bond
    Alert

    AUP

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

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

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sharing, Revenues and Business models

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

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

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

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

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

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

  48. Paul M.
    Thumb Down

    Leeches & Hijacking

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

    Exactly.

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

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

    Pathetic.

  49. Pierre Silver badge

    You want the Parliament to review it indeed

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

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

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

  50. Ed

    @Mark -- read the article...

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

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

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

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

  51. Dick Emery
    Stop

    Make our own honeypot

    Who's for setting up our own honeypot tracker? Plonk a few hundred files on it with names like 'Madonna - Sexist Stereotype, Beyonce - Sell My Body For Cash, Spice Girls - Another Money Making Scam' etc Well maybe not those names but names of existing recordings. But make the files be something entirely. Music from the public domain. Make a nice website linking to those files.

    Have hundreds of filesharers with their torrent clients open until some RIAA/BPI etc bites. Then sue them en masse.

    I don't see why people cannot sue the record industry reps anyhow. Why do you have to sue your ISP even if they are the people that cut you off? You can sue an individual who uses an ISP to defame you so what's to prevent doing the same to the recording industry?

  52. Mectron

    @Ed - not that easy?

    there is simply no way a IP on a "swarn" can constitute a crime (or Civil whatever). And what proof do we have that the evidence is real? With long record of criminal activities record labels don't have any credibility of any kind.

  53. Paul

    er... doesn't this "proof" all rely on the **filename** ?

    So lets see... you download a file called "apache2.rar" and there is NO "evidence" of any "wrongdoing" whatsoever... or have I missed something?

  54. Mectron
    Flame

    No Proof at all

    a log file (witch is a plain text file most of the time) and a picture is not a proof of anything. With long records of criminal activities, no court of law should take any so called proof from any organisation linked to record labels reriously. A text file or a picture is simply to easy to fake.

    Want to solve piracy? Shutdown the RIAA, MPAA, BPI (the RIAA's UK branch) and give huge fine (AKA Microsoft sized fine) to record studio for price fixing.

    Force labels to sell cd's for what they are: PROMOTIONAL TOOL FOR ARTISTS and as such should be sold 2$ or 3$.

    last but not the least: make DRM illegal.

  55. michael

    @Mectron

    the pint is that the is going to be NO cort date or things like that just letters form your isp and then no connection on your line

  56. Mark

    Re: read the article...

    That isn't necessarily illegal.

    Small excerpts has been legal to download. That the copyright hasn't caught up is in exactly the same league as it not having caught up with patenting changes or legal manhood for corporations.

    There's also a legal reason to allow someone to upload the entirety: they already have a license.

    The last problem to overcome is that allowing someone else to copy isn't a crime: otherwise AllOfMP3 would not be being choked off: what they do is legal in russia, and they are the ones making available (legally in russia).

    Try to ignore the propoganda of the pigopolists: legal doesn't mean "the license says you can" it also means "copyright doesn't control that". Ignoring that last one is how the EULA got its tenuous teeth.

  57. Mark

    Re: Leeches & Hijacking

    Here's an idea, Paul M: do what the buggy whip manufaturers did: go out of business.

    Find a productive job that guarantees payments.

    Continue to play for your friends but don't expect to be paid for it.

    And if you've been increasing the "value" of culture more than you've hindered it, the public (the leeches and hijackers) are being punished.

    So go out of business. Work somewhere else.

    That's what I'm told as a normal worker when I get screwed over: if I don't like my employer, go somewhere else. Or if I bemoan the lack of work and excess of pay of a manager: well stop being a programmer and become a manager.

    You do the same. Find another job.

  58. Mark

    "that change could be the end of recorded entertainment"

    Then it ends.

    You don't get rag and bone men any more.

    You don't get minstrels any more.

    You don't get tinkers plying their wandering trade any more.

    You don't have court jesters any more.

    Try making a living flint-knapping.

    Many businesses have been lost because technology or society passed them by and made them obsolete. Why must this business be saved when we didn't save any of the others?

    If it's because it brings in money, then why did we let our production to be outsourced? Those manual jobs brought in money and unemployed factory workers can't afford the cars they used to make any more.

    Why this one?

    Because they control information and therefore they punch FAR above their weight because of it.

    Don't believe me? Ask why, as one AC says, shell makes 5x the money of the recording industries yet shell can't get new laws passed making it illegal to use an electric car without paying them.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Paul again

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

    Your preferred solution to illegal filesharers not taking responsibility for sharing: "anyone with wi-fi should potentially take responsibility for sharing" seems somewhat sub-optimal. I take it you are not a proponent of Blackstone's ratio?

  60. Paul M.

    Freetard logic (again)

    @Mark: "but don't expect to be paid for it."

    So musicians lose the right to get paid from recordings - just so you can keep leeching.

    @Brian: "How about earning some money by actually performing your music?"

    Artists already have this right. You're asking them to give up another right - to be paid from recordings. Just so you can keep leeching. Meanwhile honest people pay more.

    @Mark "Try to ignore the propoganda of the pigopolists"

    So we only listen to Freetard "propoganda" (please learn to spell) ? --> Musicians + public must subsidise leeching.

    I just don't understand why Freetards think creators now have to be poorer just because a few greedy leechers want free music. That's as a revolting as anything from the BPI and RIAA.

    The party's over, Freetards. You just don't realise it yet.

  61. Paul M.
    Joke

    "You don't get minstrels any more"

    Once the selfish Freetards and the greedy Leechers have made earning money from records impossible - being a minstrel might be the only option left.

    Sorry, Mark. But you walked right into that one.

  62. Mectron
    Flame

    @Paul M. Clueless

    Creators and artists should get paid the way it was supposed to be...Concerts. 99% of artists don't make a descent living because the Records labels (the real freetards here, but freeturd sound better) are leeching so much money out of them.

    In Today's world. Record Labels or criminal cartel (BPI, RIAA Etc..) are of no use. as artist can make more money by publishing songs online and doing concerts.

    I have no problems paying 15$ for a CD from the artist. but i have will never pay (not even 1$) for a CD from a know criminal organisation. i fact i think it is illegal to buy something from organise crime....

    Last thing: Once making money from records is impossible, the record labels and illegal cartal (RIAA, BPI) will die and artists will rediscover freedom.

  63. Tom Holden
    Alert

    Amazing they allowed this petition

    I wrote a similar petition (which can be seen here:

    http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/process4pirates/

    ), but they wouldn't let anyone sign it as it allegedly contains "potentially libellous, false, or defamatory statements".

    Democracy in action...

  64. Richard Kay
    Go

    @Tom - they did allow my petition to shorten copyright

    http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/ShortenCopyright/

    If you are a UK citizen and agree with one or more of these statements:

    1. Copyright as currently enforced is oppressive.

    2. Copyright terms are longer than needed.

    3. Copyright lasting too long makes it difficult to create new work which reuses old copyrighted material.

    Please sign it. This petition requests copyright be limited to a maximum of 20 years. This would have the effect of placing a greater proportion of materials currently exchanged on P2P networks into the public domain.

  65. Paul M.

    @Mectron the mean

    "Creators and artists should get paid the way it was supposed to be"

    I think what you mean to say is: "Creators and artists should get paid no more than what I want to give - which is F*CK all".

    Mectron, can you explain why we all have to pay higher prices for music, just so you pay nothing?

    @Tom: "Copyright as currently enforced is oppressive."

    More Freetard bleating - from leechers who expect art for nothing.

    There are only two groups of people being "oppressed" here - creators foolish enough to publish music digitally, so leechers like Mectron, Mark etc download it for free - and the honest public who pay higher prices to subsidize music leechers.

    It's quite simple, really.

    @Tom: "This would have the effect of placing a greater proportion of materials currently exchanged on P2P networks into the public domain."

    Great - more leechers, then.

    Give yourself on the back. You dun good.

  66. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  67. Richard Kay
    Stop

    @Paul - we don't expect art for nothing

    >>Copyright as currently enforced is oppressive.

    >More Freetard bleating - from leechers who expect art for nothing.'

    This ad-hominem attack does not establish any connection between the view that current copyright laws and enforcement are oppressive and "expecting art for nothing". Most artists are paid by means other than selling copyrighted information packages. Copying has gone on since the invention of the written word. The reason we have access to ancient literature, including the Bible, is because people copied freely without asking permission from dead or otherwise untraceable rights holders. If the ancient right freely to copy is to be limited by law then it had better be limited no more than is needed to achieve the desired incentive for authors to create work which would otherwise not be created. If denial of the natural right of anyone to copy anything goes any further than this, laws denying this right become unjust and oppressive.

    Copyright might serve the public at large to the extent it adds to the stock of work within the public domain. It does not do so by privileging a minority at the expense of rights taken away from the majority.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Government vs Technology

    A small hotel that I stay in offers free internet access.

    Where do they stand in all of this? If guests abuse the system and they have their service removed by their ISP it could have a serious impact on their business. One of the main reasons I stay there is because the wifi is hassle free and reliable.

  69. Ian Rowe
    Thumb Down

    @ the Moral Superiority

    Yes, people break the laws regarding copyright. Why? because it is a damn stupid law that is there to facilitate the making of money from the actions of others. You may believe a monetary incentive is required for the creative process but oh my, not everyone agrees with you.

    If musicians want to make money then let them make money by performing and composing, not by recording. You cite the 'honest' people paying for the privilege of listening to a recording, I would substitute the word honest for either charitable or gullable. Being law abiding does not make you honest.

    Copyright is only a problem because there is a law for it, is that really what laws are for? to personal choices for us? In other crimes there is a victim before the law.. if you attend a concert without paying then you are potentially depriving someone else of their enjoyment because space at a venue is finite. If you steal something you are depriving someone of something. Before copyright, if you copied something for your own enjoyment you deprived the person you copied it from of nothing, so why is there a law against it? Do people really believe it is their god given right to make money from every copy of something they write down? Or do they believe that they have given themselves the right by accepting copyright laws? Copyright was introduced because people using the printing press were greedy and decided that they should be able to make money through no effort of their own.

    I look forward to the day the music industry collapses and artists are forced to rethink their lives. It is my hope that people who love music will be in for a treat as a result of it.

    So, yes people who break copyright law are being unlawful. Immoral or dishonest however? Pot, Kettle, Black.

  70. Mark

    @PaulM

    Well, I don't like Snoop Dog. So I don't pay him anything.

    Oddly enough, he has not right at this moment to get paid. And I don't.

    Artists can stop producing and do something they will get paid for. If the artists are not leeching off the public's gant of copyright, then the public (whom you accuse of leeching) will be hurt. If the artists are leeching, then they will no longer be hurting society by banning free exchange of ideas (free as in freedom, not in beer).

  71. Dug Stokes
    Happy

    It's an unworkable proposal (Petition Author)

    I'm the author of the petition. Firstly I'd like to say I don't imagine this petition will do much, or create much of a response but its one way to get some interest in the matter and anything is worth a shot.

    I don't imagine ISPs will implement anything more than the QoS, filtering and throttling. I expect the RIAA, MPAA and others will probably add more honeypots and so on.

    What this petition is about is ISPs being able to disconnect your internet because of cease & desist letters without legal proof. I know its completely up to the ISP whether they continue your contract at present when it comes to an unsubstantated claim, but this could make it a standard policy.

    Whether or not you are a sharing copyrighted files or whatever is not the point, its that these claims don't have to be substainted and in a standard policy even a few emails to one of these ISPs might be enough to have you disconnected. If so, then we're at the stage of having problems with disgrunted employees and enemies causing this kind of problem with fake emails and so on.

    There's plenty of reasons why this isn't a good policy. If we can make more people aware of this then hopefully something more sensible can be done, like treating the ISP as a common courier and preferably overhaling the whole copyright system to something more sensible that works.

    I don't really want to get too personally involved with any arguments but its definately interesting listening to others' comments. If anyone has any great ideas or would really really REALLY like to contact me, you can find my address on my website.

    Thanks for the interesting discussion.

    Dug Stokes

    frag.co.uk

  72. Cambrasa

    @What's the New Business Model?

    This business model is to _compete_ with the pirates rather than trying to fight them.

    This means changing music and film from a high-margin, low-sales, into a low-margin, high-sales product.

    One way of achieving this would be to lower the price for online dowloads. If listeners could buy a song for 30p instead of 99p, 90 % of them would no longer bother with the hassle of p2p, which suffers from quality control issues, viruses, and slow download speeds when compared to the legal product. Yes, the music industry would make less money from their existing customers but they would win millions of new customers who used the pirate product in the past.

    Another way would be to offer unlimited downloads from a large catalouge on a subscription basis, say, for £10-20/month. Some cable companies are already offering this, even if the catalogue is limited.

    Yes, the music and film industry might make less money with this new paradigm (or it might not), but in that case it will just need to adapt to the 21 century and accept the fact that 6-figure wages are a thing of the past.

  73. Paul M.
    Joke

    Breathe easy

    " overhaling the whole copyright system"

    But won't "overhaling" leave the copyright system hyper-ventilating?

  74. Paul M.

    @Richard - stop attacking the creators

    " If the ancient right freely to copy "

    Where did you read that Richard, the Ten Commandments? It's not in my version. Maybe Freetards have their own copy.

    You haven't addressed my main point: that widespread infringement is a cost born by the law-abiding public.

    You don't get something for nothing, someone has to pay for it. So leeching either makes the price of goods go up, or fewer works are produced, or both. It's basic economics.

    Now explain to me why law-abiding citizens should subsidize leechers?

  75. Richard Kay
    Stop

    @paul

    >>If the ancient right freely to copy

    >Where did you read that Richard, the Ten Commandments? It's not in my version.

    Most systems of law make something not specifically legislated about legal by default. Copyright is a legislative invention going back a mere 300 years or so at most. No legislation from ancient times covers this so copying is an ancient right by default of no known ancient legislation preventing it QED.

    The 10 commandments were formulated between 3500 and 4000 years ago. "Thou shalt not steal", the seventh commandment, very clearly concerns illegally depriving someone of something they legally owned so they no longer have it. This commandment does not cover copying something because copying does not deprive the original owner of anything they already have and every child copies what they see around them naturally from birth.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Cambrasa

    "This business model is to _compete_ with the pirates rather than trying to fight them."

    So how do you compete with free stuff? If it were legal to steal cars, would you ever buy a car? Maybe the auto industry should reduce its prices to compete with car thieves?

    "This means changing music and film from a high-margin, low-sales, into a low-margin, high-sales product."

    I think that would be "no-margin" rather than "low-margin".

    "90 % of them would no longer bother with the hassle of p2p, which suffers from quality control issues, viruses, and slow download speeds when compared to the legal product."

    As soon as copyright is destroyed, the pirates will be giving away the full-quality stuff with impunity - they won't be pirates any more! All the issues about viruses and quality will go out of the window if they can set up a "legitimate" p2p service and build up a solid catalogue, they could even make money out of it if they sell advertising on the site!

    "it will just need to adapt to the 21 century and accept the fact that 6-figure wages are a thing of the past."

    The six-figure income is limited to very few artists; see El Reg's interview with Feargal Sharkey for a taste of reality.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/02/29/bmr_feargal_sharkey/

    "Another way would be to offer unlimited downloads from a large catalouge on a subscription basis, say, for £10-20/month. Some cable companies are already offering this, even if the catalogue is limited."

    This is still avoiding the issue: if you make sharing legal, then anyone can get any music or film content for nothing! Why bother paying £120-£240 a year for stuff I can get for free. That's just honest suckers subsidising Freetards; and as time marches on there'll be fewer and fewer honest suckers to do this, until eventually there is no new content (or maybe one eccentric billionaire paying £10m-£20m a month so that Freetards will be entertained - good luck with that).

  77. Ian Rowe
    Pirate

    Re: @Cambrasa

    Quote: "So how do you compete with free stuff? If it were legal to steal cars, would you ever buy a car? Maybe the auto industry should reduce its prices to compete with car thieves?"

    You seem to be missing the difference between a car and information. If you were to build a car from looking at someone else's car (who said yes, you can look at my car) using your own materials then you would not be stealing. You may get into trouble with the car manufacturer if you then sold that car or claimed the idea was your own but you would not be accused of stealing it for your own enjoyment.

    As for how to make money.. if the oh so smart business people of the record industry can't work out how to make money without copyright then give them a Darwin award and forget about them.

    Quote: "The six-figure income is limited to very few artists; see El Reg's interview with Feargal Sharkey for a taste of reality."

    Yes, because that interview is such a balanced point of view that it encompasses all calling itself reality. Music is an art. It does not exist to make money. Musicians do not have to record music. Want to make money from music? Teach it, perform it, commission it. I think the real problem with the idea of not making money from copyright is there are far too many musicians who view recording as some sort of career choice. I prefer quality over quantity and I believe quantity is what copyright brings, not quality.

  78. Paul M.

    Leech Logic again

    @Ian Rowe: "Music is an art. It does not exist to make money. Musicians do not have to record music."

    And doctors do not have to perform operations. And engineers do not have to build bridges. Gee - maybe everyone can all work for the sheer love of it? Maybe we can all go back to sitting around in caves, too.

    Er. Do you realise how stupid you sound?

    "I believe quantity is what copyright brings, not quality."

    Copyright actually provides a mechanism for both quality and quantity. You might be happy with a future that offers us nothing but the amateur crap we get on YouTube - but this is not one I want.

    By removing economic incentives, and ensuring that creators cannot get compensated except by charitable donations, this is what will happen.

  79. Ian Rowe
    Alert

    Re: Leech Logic again

    You are comparing musical recordings with medical surgery and tell me I sound stupid? Doctors get paid in proportion to the work they do. I fail to see how that compares to making money out of nothing.

    "Copyright actually provides a mechanism for both quality and quantity. You might be happy with a future that offers us nothing but the amateur crap we get on YouTube - but this is not one I want."

    Obviously you're not a classical music fan.

    I wonder if you can even begin to qualify your statement that copyright provides quantity and quality. I stated my view on copyright clearly as a personal belief. You seem to state your view like someone who had to be explicitly told right from wrong. You exude certainty with your words.. with certainty tends to come ignorance or fanaticism. I may be wrong, maybe you make derogatory comments on a whim in which case I look forward to your downfall in the face of someone with a short temper.

    Regardless of legislation however, the fact remains that the choice is there for individuals to make. Unless there is a commercial interest then a copyright 'theft' is akin to Schroeder's Cat. Until the police start working on a quantum level then you have no clue as to whether anyone has lost anything and the morality will be ambiguous. You mock the idea of charity but it seems to me the record labels business model already relies on it.

  80. Paul M.

    @Ian

    YOUR ASSERTION:

    "Music is an art. It does not exist to make money. Musicians do not have to record music."

    MY RESPONSE:

    "And doctors do not have to perform operations. And engineers do not have to build bridges. Gee - maybe everyone can all work for the sheer love of it? Maybe we can all go back to sitting around in caves, too."

    You seem to be unable to follow the consequences that follow from your logic. Perhaps your musings on cats and quantum theory are a way of distracting yourself from these consequences?

    If artists cease to be remunerated from the popular enjoyment of their art, then art will not stop being made. We'll just get a lot less of it, and we'll get a lot more rubbish.

    If producers cease to be remunerated for curating and maintaining archives of great old music, and find nuturing and promoting great new music, then we won't stop getting music. We'll just get a lot less of it.

    "I wonder if you can even begin to qualify your statement that copyright provides quantity and quality."

    You might care to open your eyes a bit. You're obviously not a music lover.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    @Ian

    "You seem to be missing the difference between a car and information. If you were to build a car from looking at someone else's car (who said yes, you can look at my car) using your own materials then you would not be stealing."

    You seem to be missing my point: if an industry (music, film, automotive etc.) has its products rendered valueless (i.e. you can't sell cars if they can be legally obtained for nothing) then the industry will cease to exist.

    "You may get into trouble with the car manufacturer if you then sold that car or claimed the idea was your own but you would not be accused of stealing it for your own enjoyment."

    "In your world this wouldn't happen; copyright and patents are intellectual property. In your world there is no IP so the car manufacturer has no legal redress if you copy their ideas.

    I don't want to get into patents (and misuse of patents) and IP, but copyright is very similar to a patent; if there is no legal protection for IP then many industries go down the tubes. Most of the technology industries rely on IP protection laws to prevent competitors from freely copying the IP they've paid to develop. Who's going to bother developing any kind of technology if someone with lower overheads (i.e. no R&D) can legally copy it for less?

    "Unless there is a commercial interest then a copyright 'theft' is akin to Schroeder's Cat."

    Every copyright theft is a "commercial interest"; you seem to be asserting that if the victim doesn't immediately notice the crime then it's alright? What if someone "shares" your car every night? If they replace the petrol and fiddle the odometer you might not know anything's happened, so it's OK then?

    There is a basic bottom line to this; either we give legal protection to IP or we don't. Society has to make this decision and then live with the consequences, but Freetards live in a world where, essentially, everything is just "free" with no real ideas as to how this might actually be paid for. At the moment, because "sharing" is illegal the ratio of Freetards to paying punters is low, so the existing economic model can cope (a bit like shops and shoplifters), but as soon as you legalise "sharing" then that model vanishes and we either get a new way of paying for content production (maybe state funded music and film; terrific comrade!) or accept that content production stops.

    "Music is an art. It does not exist to make money."

    But musicians and producers and sound technicians and all the other people involved in turning art into something that can play on an MP3 player do need to make money (do you work for nothing Ian?).

    "Regardless of legislation however, the fact remains that the choice is there for individuals to make."

    I think you don't understand human nature; if "sharing" isn't illegal then almost everyone will "share", rendering IP valueless. Will you be paying for digital recordings if someone is willing to "share" them with you?

    I think, Ian, that you just want free stuff but don't want to be labelled a criminal by the law. Why not? I would have more respect for someone who steals "honestly" and doesn't whinge for the laws on theft to be removed; at least they have accepted the risks associated with crime and aren't trying to portray it as some kind of revolutionary act for the freedom and benefit of all (All intellectual property is theft comrade!).

  82. Richard Read
    Stop

    @AC

    >>You seem to be missing my point: if an industry (music, film, automotive etc.) has its products rendered valueless (i.e. you can't sell cars if they can be legally obtained for nothing) then the industry will cease to exist.

    Why is it a problem if the music industry or recorded music ceases to exist as a mainstream occupation? Its not as if music is an essential product, the supply of which is vital to human life.

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    And now declines the way of western civilization...

    Just because people don't have the RIGHT to steal music. Music is art... blah blah blah, so is painting, sculpture and photography, and those artists are expected to give their hard work away just because you feel its your right to download something just because you can? Last I checked, I can't walk into the Louvre and walk out with a copy of the Mona Lisa, just because I want it...

    With all due respect, whether something is physically tangible or not, if its protected by international laws, then theft is theft, regardless how its acquired.

    As for artists making vast sums of money off of giving concerts... Uh huh... Do you have any concept of just how expensive it is to tour? Why do you think most artists are resorting to corporate sponsorship? Tour buses, hotels, food, equipment, fuel and promotion costs vast sums of money... Do you honestly think a relatively unknown band could afford to front those costs, in order to earn a living?

    The reason your logic pisses me off Ian is that I am a photographer (hobby) and I try to sell my works and give the majority of the profits to charity (they get 80% and I keep 20 to pay down the cost of equipment and supplies). Recently, I've found unauthorized copies of my work on other peoples websites, complete with my digital watermark. Hell, some of those bastards didn't even bother to change the file names. I don't know if you know anything about photography, once you graduate from the little point & shoots, stuff gets tremendously expensive and when someone steals a piece of my work, I feel it in the wallet and the charities I contribute the money to, are deprived.

    While I think the tactics of the MPAA and RIAA are draconian and due to poor planning, got themselves in the position they are in, they are well within their right to protect those they represent. If they have to use the ISP's, then the ISP's should just throttle users who insist on p2p. Simple as that...

  84. Hugh McIntyre

    @Richard Read

    >> Why is it a problem if the music industry or recorded music ceases to exist as a mainstream occupation? Its not as if music is an essential product, the supply of which is vital to human life.

    The question should be asked the other way: why is it an *advantage* to destroy the ability to be paid for creation of music (or software)? Obviously there's a short-term advantage to the freeloaders, but only so long as the same volume/quality of music continues to arrive, which is not guaranteed.

    After all, you're free right now to limit yourself to non-commercial music only, or only listen to classical music played live (e.g. in concerts) or played yourself in your own home. But right now this is not what's happening, based on all of the commercial material on torrents.

    And in general, society seems to have decided it's useful to have a legal system that allows artists or commercial software publishers to have a career/business getting paid for producing what is apparently valuable output (based on the fact most people pay, historically). At least, this is better than paying these people unemployment benefits, and has the useful side effect (historically) that only the materials that's of value (i.e. any good) generates money, so the less good producers go out of business.

    And as for "Its not as if music is an essential product": the problem is *not* that people have decided they don't want music any more (compare to the usual "buggy whip" quotes, or any of the many computer companies that could not keep up and whose customers went away). Instead there's no shortage of people who still seem to want the same music, but don't want to pay for it. And the rather long history of music in most cultures also points away from the "music not essential" quote.

  85. elkor

    @Richard Read

    "Why is it a problem if the music industry or recorded music ceases to exist as a mainstream occupation? Its not as if music is an essential product, the supply of which is vital to human life."

    Since when has creating art been a mainstream occupation? Has anyone actually ever tried to sell or market an original work of art? It's the most disheartening and monetarily unrewarding pastime you could choose. Even "successful" acts you see on television and radio would be lucky to break even.

    I earn a 100 bucks an hour if I go to work tomorrow, or I could record music and give it away for free.

    It's pretty much too late already. The mob has spoken. Turn on your telly and see what people consider entertainment: watching fat people try to lose weight or a house full of boneheads talking about tits and drinking. The essential products of life.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Excuse me, but.....

    I write and record music for others to download for free, whilst working in a daytime job that produces material things (which thankfully I also enjoy). I love the recognition of people downloading and listening to my music for free. It gives me a buzz which makes me write and record more music. I'd do it for nothing, and indeed I do do it for nothing. In the same way I wouldn't want to ask people for money after having an interesting conversation with them, or telling them a fascinating story.

    I think that this philosophy only really applies to music though, as there's pretty much zero material cost to making music these days. Films and video games on the other hand can cost huge amounts of money to create, and people who produce them should therefore at least be able to recover these costs.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    other options

    why cant they do something sensible like slapping a tax on cdr/dvdrs?

  88. Ian Rowe
    Flame

    Pieces of eight. Pieces of eight.

    @Paul M

    Quote: "You seem to be unable to follow the consequences that follow from your logic. Perhaps your musings on cats and quantum theory are a way of distracting yourself from these consequences?"

    It must be because as a freetard I am somehow incapable of logical thought, maybe I should bow down to your superior reasoning. Or maybe I'll just accept the fact that our opinions differ and let you mock me some more out of a sense of i-don't-give-a-crap. Perhaps your mocking of freetards is a way of distracting yourself from your inability to properly articulate your own opinion.

    Quote: "If artists cease to be remunerated from the popular enjoyment of their art, then art will not stop being made. We'll just get a lot less of it, and we'll get a lot more rubbish.

    If producers cease to be remunerated for curating and maintaining archives of great old music, and find nuturing and promoting great new music, then we won't stop getting music. We'll just get a lot less of it."

    So you've said already. As I've already pointed out, I don't mind there being less music because frankly we're drowning in the stuff at the moment. Maybe you could expand on your point about it getting more rubbish by explaining how/why.

    Quote "You might care to open your eyes a bit. You're obviously not a music lover."

    Ok, I am a masochistic music listener then if that pleases you.

    @AC

    Quote:

    "You seem to be missing my point: if an industry (music, film, automotive etc.) has its products rendered valueless (i.e. you can't sell cars if they can be legally obtained for nothing) then the industry will cease to exist."

    Again with the car comparisons, I shall sum up my disdain for the comparison with one phrase: Apples to Oranges. Cars are not intellectual property. No one is suggesting that stealing cars becomes legal. As for the industry ceasing to exist.. that is the point of the exercise. Thoughts have become a commodity. You may like that, I don't.

    "Every copyright theft is a "commercial interest"; you seem to be asserting that if the victim doesn't immediately notice the crime then it's alright? What if someone "shares" your car every night? If they replace the petrol and fiddle the odometer you might not know anything's happened, so it's OK then?

    There is a basic bottom line to this; either we give legal protection to IP or we don't. Society has to make this decision and then live with the consequences, but Freetards live in a world where, essentially, everything is just "free" with no real ideas as to how this might actually be paid for. At the moment, because "sharing" is illegal the ratio of Freetards to paying punters is low, so the existing economic model can cope (a bit like shops and shoplifters), but as soon as you legalise "sharing" then that model vanishes and we either get a new way of paying for content production (maybe state funded music and film; terrific comrade!) or accept that content production stops."

    I knew the commercial interest compromise was going to bite me back. Fine, if you don't like compromise then I shall drop that comment and instead assert that all intellectual property is bad and that we should live in a world perfected by me.

    Back to the point, by your logic I should probably get arrested for sneezing because it might cause a hurricane the other side of the world. 'sharing' a car every night is certainly a better analogy than stealing a car but still kinda misses the mark. What makes someone borrowing your car without your knowledge a bad thing? It isn't the lack of revenue afforded by the fact you could have been renting your car out.. because chances are you wouldn't rent your car out at night anyway. It is because it is your property and you don't trust someone else with it for fear of loss. That is where cars differ from information. Information doesn't HAVE to be property, you stand to lose nothing by sharing it unless there is say.. a law in place to make it into property. Which brings us back to round abouts square one which is where I say I don't like the idea of intellectual property and you say it is essential.

    Woah I'm getting dizzy with all this going around in circles, next stop please.

    Quote: "But musicians and producers and sound technicians and all the other people involved in turning art into something that can play on an MP3 player do need to make money (do you work for nothing Ian?)."

    Yes I do work for nothing, it is called voluntary work. Which has nothing to do with the issue at hand anyway.

    Everyone needs to make a living. How they make it is up to them. I feel the words burning into my retina as I type this again but.. copyright has been around 350 years. Art has been around a lot longer. I am well aware of the fact that special effects marvels that are currently two a penny would be a lot rarer without copyright but as much as I liked the matrix I can't say I'd miss it any more than I'd miss a good book. To be honest, books would be a better argument than music or film for copyright. Books were where copyright originated and where it is most relevant. It is interesting that no one pro copyright has brought up books yet, if I was playing devils advocate it would be central to my argument. If I was going to consider a form of copyright for anything books would be at the front of the queue.

    Quote: "I think you don't understand human nature; if "sharing" isn't illegal then almost everyone will "share", rendering IP valueless. Will you be paying for digital recordings if someone is willing to "share" them with you?"

    Human nature is not determined by law. The fact that otherwise 'lawful' people flaunt copyright because they disagree with it is an example of that. It is only about what you can get away with if you are being treated like schoolkids (don't get me started on that can of worms). Tell me, do you require murder law to prevent you from going around killing people? You may be insecure in your ability to make responsible choices but I am not. You may not trust other people to make responsible choices but in an issue such as this it should be none of your business as any harm done is pure speculation anyway.

    Quote: "I think, Ian, that you just want free stuff but don't want to be labelled a criminal by the law. Why not? I would have more respect for someone who steals "honestly" and doesn't whinge for the laws on theft to be removed; at least they have accepted the risks associated with crime and aren't trying to portray it as some kind of revolutionary act for the freedom and benefit of all (All intellectual property is theft comrade!)."

    This brings me to my free gift to all who use the word freetard, it is a rant. You are bigots. You act like being lawful makes you right. You make what might otherwise be serious statements while insulting complete strangers. You automatically presume a complete strangers intentions to be selfish. I wonder if you are so obnoxious in person too, as much as I enjoy banter it does tend to get in the way of the actual issues when you can't tell someone to be polite or bugger off.

    @Richard Read

    I think it is the fear of the unknown, maybe people can't or don't want to imagine what life was like before copyright. It boils down to personal choice in the end though.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @ Paul M and the rest of the cartel sheep

    Film and music has always been pirated and distributed, what is your point? So now we have a digital era that makes piracy easier, its still the same situation as in the past. Are you so stupid to believe that the cost of purchasing recorded material is affected by piracy? Are you really nieve enough to believe that if piracy was eliminated that the cost of films and music would drop?

    That’s like believing the congestion charge is funding better transport in London, or tax hikes are contributing to better healthcare. (remember the war were paying for, enforced on us by another well know "cartel" ?!)

    Even if you completely eliminated piracy tomorrow, you wood still be paying the exactly same extortionate prices for music and film in the future. You would only be making the fat cats fatter.

    If you don't believe me, you only have to look at the cost for the same material in other countries to see that the industry here is fixed by a cartel who have had it their own way for a long time. Now they are desperately trying to cling on to this power, and in doing so are trying anything they can to keep this balance in their favour. People like you who support this are part of the root cause of the problem.

    If you had any clue as to what you are preaching you would note and I really do mean NOTE that from a £14 music CD only a small amount goes to the artist, the rest is "supposedly" to cover the other costs. This is where the real crime is. The vast proportion is being sucked into the cartel and retailers pockets.

    So, if this argument is about the digital era and how the consumer, the artist and the "cartel" co-evolve.

    What you are forgetting here is that there are so many new ways for artists to be discovered within this digital era, many of the traditional business modes are being made obsolete, thus there are new factors to consider:

    - The money the industry would historically require to promote, produce and distribute is no longer needed to be spent.

    - There are more radio stations and other digital broadcastings of media that pay license fees contributing to overall income.

    - The internet promotes music for free in many instances, there are tons of free sites for music/film fans to get the low down from etc....all of which the "cartel" does not pay a penny to. For instance, YouTube has successfully launched musical careers for a number of new artists.

    These all equate to savings for the industry, so, why haven't retail prices dropped in relation to this? Because they are Fixed. Surely earnings for the artists should go up too? I bet you they haven't! The artists are still getting pennies.

    To summarise, the cartel who fix prices, complain that they are loosing out (this has always happened, nothing here has changed), now they want to stomp over our rights to use our internet connections and invade our privacy, they blame P2P all because they are loosing ground to a business mode that is changing and they are unable to adapt or control it, and it is the control that is the big problem for them because this will eventually stop them from fixing the prices and (hopefully) put them out of business.

    Well... if they go bust, maybe the Artist, the real talent, will get a better deal. Maybe we're better off without huge cartels running things? Maybe a digital era made up of artists under self-control and under the hat of smaller labels and world wide electronic distribution means would equate to a better deal all round. Maybe people wood buy more and P2P less if they didn't feel like they were being butt F*****D by the current system.

    So when bleating sheep like you come here mindlessly blurting out support for the "cartel" and inspiring them to rip us off even more with no actual thought as to what good this change in business mode may actually bring in the end, one has to put you on the right track and remind you that you have been conditioned to believe what the cartel want you to believe and all along you are being ripped off, you are being led to believe that the "lechers" are in the wrong and are the cause of the high costs for film and music when in fact it is the cartel who have traditionally set these prices and it is the cartel who have the ability to lower them at their discretion.

    They choose not to, like you choose not to see the reality of it. Now drop your pants and bend over, the "cartel" have some business to attend to.......

  90. Smallbrainfield
    Alien

    Blame Elvis

    The recording industry exists in a bubble that started in the fifties and still exists to this day. It starts with pop music. Sure, there were artists before Elvis, but his impact on the music business is a legacy that stays with us, creating an unsustainable belief in the power of music as a media and as a business. It's a background to our lives and colours our emotions.

    It's built on fallacy and dreams and it's beautiful and crap all at the same time, because it speaks to our emotions.

    And it cannot continue to exist in it's current form, simply because it is bloated beyond it's means to support itself.

    The emotional baggage of music haunts us all to some degree, even politicians, who will not want to see the music industry die because secretly, some of them still want to be pop stars. Does this make sense? I'm trying to explain why there is such an attachment to music, why it's important that artists are allowed to make money, even shitloads of money.

    It would be nice if Simon Cowell drove his Maybach into the Thames tomorrow, but it isn't going to happen as part of the model means people like him, moguls, as it were, are a part of the pop story. You can probably draw a line from Col Tom Parker, via Brian Epstein and Pete Waterman, all the way to Cowell. It would probably be a line made of glitter some of the way, rhinestones for part and almost certainly some of it would be made of cocaine.

    How does this relate to piracy? Well, I think all the heartstring tugging will inevitably bring the worst kind of legislation against us, one that for all it's good intentions will penalise people that didn't do anything, while the so called freetard get away with what they're still getting away with.

    I liked the idea that was banded about a while back of subsidising music downloads by adding a few quid a month to the fee you pay to an ISP. ISPs that sign up for this could advertise the fact that their users can download prosecution free, while other ISPs that don't sign up have to cut off users that download.

    A fee like that would become invisible to most users, paying at the point of internet access. How you pass that money onto the artist is another problem.

    Oh blimey, I haven't mentioned films and other stuff. Oh well. I'm sure someone will sort it all out, for the worst. Wibble.

  91. Andy Turner

    What if...

    You could buy different packages from your ISP, one where the required ports for bittorrent were closed and one where they are open but it cost you more per month and that money went to a pot for artists. You might say what about legal uses of P2P, but is there really that much? If so, what is it all and can't it simply be downloaded from a proper source?

  92. Colin Jackson
    Jobs Horns

    -What?

    "So how do you compete with free stuff?"

    Ask bottled-water manufacturers. Ask printers of the bible. Ask the owners of any web-site that makes money but doesn't charge for what it does.

    Content as a commodity is worth exactly what people are prepared to pay for it, no more, no less. There's no supply-and-demand at play.

    I've made the point before: folk and jazz musicians make handy professional livings despite having minuscule sales. My favourite band make more money than I do as an IT professional just by gigging. They don't expect to make enough money to retire on from one album (though they do make them and sell them direct, thus keeping what profit is there for themselves), because they know their market isn't big enough, so they treat it like a job and put the hours in. They'll probably retire about the same time as me, only with more money. And they LOVE performing, whereas I only tolerate IT, so what's wrong with that business model?

  93. Ian
    Black Helicopters

    I wouldnt buy the stuff I download anyway!

    Actually thats a lie, I have seen a couple of really good films that normally I wouldnt have bothered with and as a result went out and bought them. However, as for music, by the time I have been hit with the same song over and over on the radio theres no way i would buy it, plus the majority of modern music is just churned out pulp thats supposed to be attached to some 'image' class dreampt up by a hippy in a boardroom.

  94. Richard Read

    @elkor

    >>Since when has creating art been a mainstream occupation?

    We aren't talking about creating art. We are talking about turning art into a profitable mass-market product that is advertised worldwide. There will always be a (comparatively) small market for music-as-art in the same way as there is a small market for paintings-as-art. However what I was referring to was the industrial production of music by an industry employing many thousands of people and expecting to earn millions in revenue in return.

    One of the things that you see constantly in this debate is assertions like "if people don't pay for music then there won't be any recorded music" as if this is a big deal. What I am trying to understand is why this is a problem. Cultural products come and go as fashion and technology changes and the industries that rely on those products rise and fall in turn - just ask the sheet-music industry.

    If the cultural environment changes such that people are not prepared to pay enough to keep the current music industry going then inevitably it will decline and there will be less recorded music available, both for paying customer and for freeloaders. There is no way to prevent this except by changing music so that people value it more. Legislation is, at best, a delaying tactic.

    While this is bad for some people in the music industry I don't see why it matters overall. There was a time before recorded music and perhaps there will be a time after recorded music. Perhaps there will be a time when there is no recorded entertainment of any kind. Life goes on.

    I simply don't see the need for special measures to protect one small and non-essential industry, let them rise or fall on the merits of their products and business plans like every other industry.

    From my personal perspective the biggest problem with music is simply finding anything that I like. I've purchased 2 tracks this month and would have bought many more if only there had been anything for sale that I had liked. As long as I can remove the DRM from tracks that I have purchased I see no need to use illegal methods to get my music.

  95. Mei Lewis

    Change the laws to reflect the view of the majority.

    If downloading music illegaly is only a problem because it's illegal maybe we should make it legal?

    There are probably more downloaders than there are music creators and therefore, in a democracy, where the majority supposedly gets what it wants, it should be made legal.

  96. Leon Macduff
    Thumb Up

    Please *can* I buy art?

    >> "One of the things that you see constantly in this debate is assertions like "if people don't pay for music then there won't be any recorded music" as if this is a big deal."

    It really is. I like recorded music, novels, photography, computer software and hardware, comics, movies, and television. If they went away, I would be sad.

    Now, I'm willing to pay some money to make that sadness go away. I pay a bit to consume, and someone is willing to invest time to produce. I can have art in my life, because art-makers can afford to invest time making art.

    File sharing makes that much harder. If ten people are willing to pay £10 for a piece of art, then the producer gets £100. If nine people decide not to pay, then that one remaining person must pay the £100. They're probably not willing to do so, so the artist doesn't get paid, he quits his job and pushes excel spreadsheets forevermore. And that one guy does not get his art.

    File sharing makes it actually impossible for me to pay the producer, except in limited ways. *File sharing effectively deprives a community of the ability to patronise artists.*

    Now, there are always people willing to put time in around the edges of their lives -- musicians who record at weekends, people who make little videos in their spare time, amateur photographers -- and that's valuable and interesting and can produce decent stuff. Some forms of art (say, novels) can be produced entirely by one person in a matter of months. Some works, though, require the cooperation of hundreds of people, or tens of man-years of work, or both (movies, tv shows, recorded music, orchestral concerts, etc.) These people are brought together and cooperate because of monetary incentive. How do we fund these cooperating artist-groups? If their products are given away free, CAN I fund this group?

    We're not talking about the "current music industry" per se, or "the film studios". We're talking about the ability of anyone to make any money from any digitisable media -- images, music, video, code, blueprints, prose, whatever. Basically, from art or design. If these things can be digitised, and everyone copies them, then their producers simply cannot justify the time they would have invested. Art and design, as a set of professions, may not be supportable.

    So what your statement really should look like is this;

    >> "One of the things that you see constantly in this debate is assertions like "if people don't pay for art then there will be no art in the world" as if this is a big deal."

    That's a big deal.

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Art != product

    Ask any rock star why they got into music and they'll likely say it was to get girls, not money.

    Artists will always produce art, irrespective of whether or not they get paid for it - they always have. A true artist *has* to produce art. If they don't have that drive, then their art will very likely not be worth seeing or hearing. I've known so many artists in my time, and every one of them was only concerned with getting their art seen or heard, not making any money from it, just to get it in peoples faces and to hear their interpretations of it and to get a kick out of them liking it. Especially the visual artists, who never even entertained the idea they could make money out of their work - it would almost be distasteful to make money from it in their eyes.

    The only reason you people keep speaking so disrespectfully of 'amateur' art is because you have been conditioned into thinking if something is free it cannot have value. When in reality the only art that makes money is the end result of an extensive marketing campaign, just like for the latest washing powder. Westlife are not artists, they are essentially jobbing actors working for a factory owner.

    If piracy rids the world of the likes of xfactor-winner-103 then please do us all a favour and keep downloading.

  98. Paul M.

    @ Art != Product

    @ "Ask any rock star why they got into music..."

    And ask any rock star if they'd like to go back to being on the dole, or working in a dead end job, and you'll get told where to sling your skinny latte.

    So it sounds like both envy and snobbery are why you so mean-spirited towards paying artists.

    What I want to know is why I have to subsidize leechers. Almost all the answers I've read in this thread are ones like yours, Ian, etc that argue the art isn't worth subsidizing. Which is a fancy way of parading one's ignorance, but not a practical proposal.

    @ Andy Turner

    "You could buy different packages from your ISP, one where the required ports for bittorrent were closed and one where they are open but it cost you more per month and that money went to a pot for artists."

    Wouldn't it be more fair to honest internet users if the leechers paid more - and that went into a pot for artists?

  99. Leon Macduff

    Art = Things made by people investing time in exchange for reward

    > "Artists will always produce art, irrespective of whether or not they get paid for it - they always have"

    No, they didn't. Great art is often created by having someone pay for it. From the wikipedia article on patronage; "From the ancient world onward patronage of the arts was important in art history. It is known in greatest detail in reference to pre-modern medieval and Renaissance Europe, though patronage can also be traced in feudal Japan, the traditional Southeast Asian kingdoms, and elsewhere"

    And which artists got paid for their work? "Artists as diverse and important as Chrétien de Troyes, Leonardo de Vinci and Michelangelo, William Shakespeare, and Ben Jonson all sought and enjoyed the support of noble or ecclesiastical patrons."

    I'm not interested in supporting the x-factor. What I'm interested in is how we support modern Shakespeares and Beethovens. How do we, as a society, reward these artists for their investment of time? Or do we declare that their investment is literally worth nothing, that they should expect no direct reward for their work?

    > "The only reason you people keep speaking so disrespectfully of 'amateur' art"

    I said "that's valuable and interesting and can produce decent stuff," which is hardly disrespectful. I'm a fiction writer myself. If someone paid me for my work, I could write a lot more and a lot better, because it takes time to create art, and some artworks, like the cistene chapel, take many man-years.

    The question remains, though.

    - Great art is commissioned for, and bought by people who like it. Beethoven wrote his symphonies on paid time. Homer was almost certainly a paid court poet. Michelangelo only worked on commission.

    - Buying copies of art (CDs, posters, etc) is one mechanism allowing folks like you and me to choose which artists to support. It's a kind of 'micro-patronage' system.

    - Filesharing reduces the income from selling copies of art.

    - This means artists can produce less art for the people, and must either stop, or turn to other sources, like corporations, for patronage.

    I suggest that filesharing, then, will have the following effects;

    - Normal people lose an ability to 'vote' for art they like -- they can no longer put their money where their mouth is.

    - Some artists will become part-timers, producing less art with fewer resources

    - Some artists will get patrons; that is, they will turn to corporations, who will commission more McArt.

    All in all -- less freedom to choose, less art that you like, more artists working for corporations.

  100. Leon Macduff

    Art = the results of investment

    > "Artists will always produce art, irrespective of whether or not they get paid for it - they always have"

    No, they didn't. Great art is often created by having someone pay for it. From the wikipedia article on patronage; "From the ancient world onward patronage of the arts was important in art history. It is known in greatest detail in reference to pre-modern medieval and Renaissance Europe, though patronage can also be traced in feudal Japan, the traditional Southeast Asian kingdoms, and elsewhere"

    And which artists got paid for their work? "Artists as diverse and important as Chrétien de Troyes, Leonardo de Vinci and Michelangelo, William Shakespeare, and Ben Jonson all sought and enjoyed the support of noble or ecclesiastical patrons."

    I'm not interested in supporting the x-factor. What I'm interested in is how we support modern Shakespeares and Beethovens. How do we, as a society, reward these artists for their investment of time? Or do we declare that their investment is literally worth nothing, that they should expect no direct reward for their work?

    > "The only reason you people keep speaking so disrespectfully of 'amateur' art"

    I said "that's valuable and interesting and can produce decent stuff," which is hardly disrespectful. I'm a fiction writer myself. If someone paid me for my work, I could write a lot more and a lot better, because it takes time to create art, and some artworks, like the cistene chapel, take many man-years.

    The question remains, though.

    - Great art is commissioned for, and bought by people who like it. Beethoven wrote his symphonies on paid time. Homer was almost certainly a paid court poet. Michelangelo only worked on commission.

    - Buying copies of art (CDs, posters, etc) is one mechanism allowing folks like you and me to choose which artists to support. It's a kind of 'micro-patronage' system.

    - Filesharing reduces the income from selling copies of art.

    - This means artists can produce less art for the people, and must either stop, or turn to other sources, like corporations, for patronage.

    I suggest that filesharing, then, will have the following effects;

    - Normal people lose an ability to 'vote' for art they like -- they can no longer put their money where their mouth is.

    - Some artists will become part-timers, producing less art with fewer resources

    - Some artists will get patrons; that is, they will turn to corporations, who will commission more McArt.

  101. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Oh well

    Thats the last straw. I'm emigrating with everyone else! this country has really lost its way.

  102. Richard Read

    @ Leon Macduff

    >It really is. I like recorded music, novels, photography, computer software and hardware, comics, movies, and television. If they went away, I would be sad.

    That's not enough to sustain a whole industry. For an enterprise on the scale of the music industry to survive a large proportion of society needs to feel that way and clearly a large proportion o society does not value recorded entertainment as much as you or they don't realise what effect their actions will have. How is the 3-strikes plan a solution to either of these problems?

    Having no art in the world is not a big deal if the culture at the time does not value art enough to support it.

    Besides we aren't talking about art. The music industry is to great musical art what postcards of the Mona Lisa are to great paintings.

  103. Hugh McIntyre

    @Richard Read again

    >> clearly a large proportion of society does not value recorded entertainment as much as you or they don't realise what effect their actions will have.

    I wouldn't be so sure of this. Are you really implying most people would be happy to see films go away? I don't think so. And as for recorded music, there seems no real evidence that a majority of the population is keen to go through life with no way to have music playing at home, in the car, or when walking around with an iPod.

    Quite the reverse in fact, especially for the "freetards", based on the large scale illicit P2P activity. Somebody who didn't value recorded music might, instead, be expected to limit themselves to family members playing a piano at home and/or reading books. If *this* was why recorded music declined then there would be no complaint. But it's not.

    Instead, each individual filesharer seems to assume that they alone won't make the difference between content going away of not, as long as enough unspecified other people pay. The problem is the denial of the logical conclusion that if *everyone* does this, there will be nobody left to pay. And that removing copyright would make this much more likely.

    As at least one previous poster said, there would be more respect for arguments in favour of any one of:

    1. Going through life without recorded entertainment. I.e. no iPod, car CD player, HiFi, etc.

    2. Limiting yourself 100% to free content such as YouTube or the radio.

    3. The people complaining about high prices or the low fraction of revenue going to musicians are also free, of course, to start your own record company and pay artists more. Of course, you might not succeed. But note that this is how prices have been driven down in other industries such as computers, not by heckling from the sidelines.

    Note that none of the above involve copying existing copyrighted material that you don't have permission to copy.

  104. Richard Read

    Cost cost cost

    >>I wouldn't be so sure of this. Are you really implying most people would be happy to see films go away? I don't think so. And as for recorded music, there seems no real evidence that a majority of the population is keen to go through life with no way to have music playing at home, in the car, or when walking around with an iPod.

    As I said they either don't care enough about it to pay the price being asked or they don't think about the consequences of mass-piracy. How does the 3-strikes policy address either of these issues?

    >>Instead, each individual filesharer seems to assume that they alone won't make the difference between content going away of not, as long as enough unspecified other people pay. The problem is the denial of the logical conclusion that if *everyone* does this, there will be nobody left to pay. And that removing copyright would make this much more likely.

    I agree, how does the 3-strikes policy or any legislation fix this problem? It doesn't; what is needed is a cultural change which is something that neither the government nor the record companies can do.

    >>Somebody who didn't value recorded music might, instead, be expected to limit themselves to family members playing a piano at home and/or reading books.

    Why would they restrict themselves when both are free (once you buy the equipment)? All I'm suggesting is that many freeloaders do want to listen to recorded music if its free but don't care enough about it to pay for it.

    But again I make the point that if too few people care enough about recorded music to pay for it then it is inevitable that the music industry will shrink and may dissappear. It doesn't matter whether you think this is good or bad.

    The music indusry seems to be slowly changing, removing drm and lowering prices, but it is so far behind its consumer base that it may be too late. If they had been on top of the internet market from the beginning with good, fairly priced services then they would have been fine. What is happening to the music industry is simply a result of their lack of vision and the monopolistic way in which they operate. No amount of laws is going to change that either.

  105. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OK, forget the money aspect

    For a minute let us all stop arguing about whether record labels make too much money, or whether artists should be able to afford solid gold toilets or whether CD prices are reasonable and talk about basic right or wrong.

    OK, people have always copied music, but was it ever considered right?

    OK, you may not have paid for X album anyway, but how does that make downloading it for free right?

    OK, Maybe Amy Winehouse (say) already has plenty of money and any more she gets would just be snorted up her nose anyway, but how does that make it right to take something she has created and not pay the expected fee for it?

    OK, maybe copying an album doesn't in itself deprive the artists etc. of anything (it doesn't directly cost them anything for you to copy an album) in the way that stealing a CD from a shop deprives them of the CD, but how dos that make taking something that has a value and not paying the value?

    Look, everyone who "pirates" music knows that it is wrong to do so. They may convince themselves that they have a "right" to do so, or that they are "sticking it to the man" or saving a drug-addled star from themselves, or just "trying before they buy" or that they are actually only using P2P to download 30GB of linux distros every month, but they know it is wrong.

    Also I feel I must address the car analogy here. The anti-copying brigade say copying music is like stealing a car. Which it patently isn't. However the freetards say there is absolutely no comparison because a car physicaly exists but music doesn't. Which is blatantly rubbish.

    A better example is that you take the car from the manufacturer but leave enough money to cover only the direct material costs of the car and the labour to build it. Would this be acceptable? The manufacturer doesn't actually lose anything for the physical goods but there would be no profit and no return on non-direct production costs.

    Big question to all the freetards:

    If there is nothing wrong with copying music then why don't you write to the appropriate RIAA / BPI etc. and tell them exactly what you are doing?

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