back to article Virgin Media and BPI join forces to attack illegal filesharing

Virgin Media will launch a campaign against illegal downloading next week, when it’ll begin firing off warning letters to subscribers the BPI believes are sharing copyright music files. The move is being billed by the cable firm as an “education campaign”. At this stage there will be no “three strikes” process; customers who …

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  1. Mark

    What about legal filesharing?

    And how do they tell the difference?

    And while we're on the subject of VM figting crime, when are they going to stop the fraudulent misrepresentation of broadband providers? This one should be easy to ensure: DON'T LIE TO YOUR CUSTOMERS!!!

    Sheesh, that one requires them to do less work, so should be a shoe-in.

  2. keith
    Black Helicopters

    dear oh dear

    virgin are really pushing there luck with there service first they bust peoples internet speed now there joining forces with the bpi to stop downloading haha this gets worse by the minute i wouldnt waste my time with virgin i feel sorry for there customers if i were you id leave virgin quick and fast join another cable isp oh wait i think virgin is the only cable provider damn thats bad luck least sky dont report me for what i download have fun virgin youll end up out of buisness you will loose customers

  3. Gary
    Paris Hilton

    When my mum recieves this letter...

    She'll ask me about it, worry for a minute that she's doing something wrong.

    I'll calm her down and assure her nothing bad will happen, then go upstairs and carry on downloadin'.

    To cut a long story short, this wording in those letters may have been simplified, but many british internet users don't know the difference between illigal file sharing and general browsing of the net!

    I still get people asking me if their parents can see which websites they've visited by looking at the bill!

    Paris, cos shes got a video thats a popular p2p download.

  4. Greg

    I wonder if I'll get one...

    True, I'm not sharing any music.

    Yes, the data tearing out of my server day in day out is encrypted.

    No, it's not on a standard port.

    But when was the last time any of that stopped the record industry? Look, he's serving lots of traffic! HE R STEALIN OUR MONIES!!!11!1!!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Encryption?

    How does this sort of affair hold up to encrypted torrent traffic?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Oh well

    Oh well. If Virgin get to antsy I will finally change my ISP after 12 years.

  7. ShaggyDoggy

    Huh ?

    How can they tell the difference between a legal BitTorrent and an illegal one ?

    Oh sorry yes of course silly me, all BitTorrents contain illegal material, it's obvious.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now its really truely unlimited

    What the fxxx are they doing ? first throttle your usage, now they are going to scare the shxt out of file sharers, it may be unlimited, but whats teh point of giving you a Porsche but first electronically cut your speed limit to 30mph after 50 miles, then telling you you can no longer drive on roads they dont want you to drive on ?

  9. dervheid
    Thumb Down

    Ooh, scary...

    an "education campaign"

    I wonder what exactly you do get with "PCGuard, our suite of security services"? (Phorm, by any chance?)

    Just how many people that recieve this letter will give any consideration to installing that.

    At a guess - zero.

    Just another waste of trees, as the 'freetards' ain't about to give up.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    It's a joke...

    No wait virgin is the joke, the bpi are serious.

    When they start making reasonably priced music that isn't shite, like anything from a reality contest I might start buying albums again, I am sick of spending 12 quid on a cd where only one song is good.

    I would ask though if they differentiate between sharing and downloading. One thing to download and keep, another to share for uploading by others.

    Also are they bothering with movies.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Steven Mileham
    Stop

    Straw that broke the camels back?

    Right, so this, plus the recent bandwidth throttling? Anyone know if I can use this to end my contract with Virgin now? I hear that O2 offer a good 20meg broadband connection service...

  13. David Simpson
    Flame

    Peer Guardian ?

    *cough* Peer Guardian *cough*

    Pity I wanted a BPI letter to display on my dart board ;-)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mark: What about legal filesharing?

    Easy, just monitor illegal torrents and not linux distro ones :P

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wish that we could turn off unlawful filesharing for a month

    to see what effect it had on music revenue.

    My bet is zero.

    The BPI and its members will get no more revenue than they do now, possibly even less, when "try before you buy" users like myself simply no longer buy.

  16. Eponymous Cowherd
    Black Helicopters

    Re:dear oh dear

    ***"virgin are really pushing there luck with there service first they bust peoples internet speed now there joining forces with the bpi to stop downloading"***

    You forgot about their intention to spy on their customers with Phorm.

    Actually the Phorm system is an ideal way of spying on which files VM customers are picking on BT tracker sites.

  17. Mark

    Hey, BPI

    I have completely legitimate content from BitTorrent.

    Sure, they are pirated music, but the content was placed on BitTorrent by MediaDefender, an agent for the RIAA who is the agent for the copyright owner.

    Since the labels maintain that the only reason for putting stuff on BitTorrent is to share it with others, the material they put up there through their agents has been placed there BY the labels for sharing.

    And you are allowed to share content where the copyright owner has given you permission.

    Therefore, the copies I have shared with the world are copies that have permission and no copyright has been infringed without license.

    Sure, maybe Media Defender no longer shares it, but that doesn't stop me sharing it. The license is not rescinded.

    I have some videos there too, but these movies are from MiVii, an organisation that shared movies until it was found out that they worked for the MPAA and were therefore, just like Media Defender, agents of the movie distributors and copyright onwners.

    So no copyright infringement there.

  18. Andraž Levstik

    And then came anonymous p2p

    And then came anonymous p2p... or vpn's with certain smaller trackers... and it all went underground again and nobody is the wisest....

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Keith

    I'd be more inclined to take notice of your comment if it (a) contained any punctuation or capitalisation, and (b) demonstrated at least a tenuous grasp of the English language. My apologies if I have misunderstood, and that actually your keyboard is broken and you're still coming down from a week-long Red Bull and speed bender.

    However, I agree with what I think you are trying to say. Virgin keep giving me more reasons for considering other ISPs.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    VM and Phorm same PR plan

    IS K*unt advising VM on how to increase market share, and improve the users broadband experiance.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    BPI letter misleading !

    They claim it's illegal to download music files.

    It's not.

    I'm perfectly free to download mp3, ogg or flac tracks of an album I have purchased under the fair use provision.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    how they do it........

    its simple they connect to the dodgy torrent tracker, which then tells them all the IP addresses downloading and seeding that file, so you can in turn can download chucks from them. i believe it will tell them how complete your copy is to.

    encryption doesn't work for this as the payload is encrypted not the routing information (which cant be encrypted else routers can route it).

    Andy

  23. Neil

    Send a letter to themselves

    Ok, it's not music, but their own news server contains many downloads that could be considered illegal - TV shows etc.

  24. Why
    Black Helicopters

    @Encryption?

    it wont make any difference, encrypted stuff will still get you done over. They are searching for IP as part of the torrent swarm.

    http://torrentfreak.com/bittorrent-encryption-myths-071108/

  25. Erwin Blonk
    Flame

    @Greg

    According to media companies we all are thiefs, that's why some countries, like mine, have a tax added to recordables etc that goes to a fund to re-imburse those entitled to royalties (or so they say, they don't have to disclose their finances). Never mind that I don't do illegal downloads and only buy music from the likes of MagnaTune, which means, when I burn a CD for myself, as expressly permitted by their license, money goes to an organization that the artist I bought the music from gets no penny from. BPI and their foreign counterparts must be laughing all the way to the bank: collecting money from non-offenders who buy music from artists that take a stance against the old music industry. It's like the Axis getting paid by the Allies.

    My only consolation is that they get less money of off me than they would if they weren't behaving like idiots, criminalizing every one while stealing their money.

  26. stranger on the road
    Flame

    title goes here

    "There are now so many lawful cheap and free music services out there" ok but are you willing to sale to us? oh wait... you are talking about selected countries right!

    any way, there is a miss concept here that *ALL* p2p traffic belongs to BitTorrent p2p protocol. You do realise that there are other p2p protocols right? Also not all illegal download are done using p2p, the web can still host files the last time I checked.

    @I wish that we could turn off unlawful filesharing for a month

    I've asked a few people if they will buy music if they didn't get the option to download them (not via p2p for your information) and the answer was simply "No". They have no extra money to pay for music, so if they can't get it off the net they will not get it, the have better things to do with their money then buy music and the radio is there to play music in the background when they work.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Monitoring of filesharing networks...

    As used by BPI, RIAA et al has been proven to be highly unreliable, spoofable and cannot be relied upon. See the full report here: http://dmca.cs.washington.edu/

  28. Mark

    "I wish that we could turn off unlawful filesharing for a month"

    Well, Oink was closed several years ago and it was "a major contributor to the filesharing damages". The net effect of removing them? Nothing. Revenue did not increase.

    As to following the dodgy tracker, well there's a problem there too. And this one can (like the above) be read about here on El Reg: Media Defender put "illegal" content in a legal tracker. If the legal tracker cleans up, it gets DoS'd.

    So no, they don't connect to the illegal trackers.

    Another problem is that they will be sharing the tracked items. And that then is permission (because that's the only use of BT) to share the tracks they are torrenting.

    This kind of legitimises the torrent and so illegal transport is no longer there.

  29. Les Matthew
    Boffin

    Re: BPI letter misleading !

    There is NO fair use provision in the UK.

  30. Scott K
    Joke

    I've thought up a new Virgin Media Slogan

    Virgin Media, We're only virgins because it's the customer that gets screwed.

  31. paulc
    Alert

    right....

    I'm going to run torrents of legal music from sites such as

    SXSW , http://2007.sxsw.com/toolbox/

    etree, http://bt.etree.org/

    legaltorrents.com http://www.legaltorrents.com/

    and see if I get hit with a C&D warning letter...

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    maybe this will help

    http://www.i2p2.de/download

    failing that, bail to another ISP... come on people, it's about time!

  33. Shakje

    So...

    back to warez sites hosted in Uganda?

  34. frymaster

    @Andy and Why

    Thanks for the straight-forward explanation. This is why a) encryption is pointless (as I explain a trillion times a day to ONE FRIGGING GUY on IRC) unless you're worried about your ISP intercepting and recording your bittorrent traffic (unlike Phorm - very possibly illegal and certainly immoral, doing that would be VERY illegal and would be leaked in about 0 seconds), b) legit torrents are safe, and c) why I don't get people moaning

    The argument seems to be "How dare I be held responsible for the consequences of my actions". Can someone please explain how that works? And yes, I do torrent, and yes, not all of them are legal and yes, I'm with VM (have been since the cableinet days)

  35. oliver Stieber
    Linux

    the thing about bit-torrent

    The thing about bittorrent is that you can't tell if a torrent is infringing copyright till you download it all so they can't really prove that you had knowledge of the illegal nature of the torrent.

    Also, I run an open network. what happens if my neighbour was the one downloading all that illegal stuff.

    I would prefer a law, at least I can get around that. Some self-righteous idiots cutting off my internet connection are a lot harder to bypass.

    TUX, coes I think all my torrents are open source

  36. Mark

    @Les Matthew

    There is, however, a Turning Copy available in the UK.

    Since breaking encryption on your DVD's to make this copy is forbidden in the UK, you must get it from someone else who has.

    A torrent, for example.

  37. Jonathan Richards
    Pirate

    @Mark re Hey, BPI

    I don't think copyright licensing works the way that you think it does. Just because you obtained something once from a legal source doesn't give you the copyright permission to duplicate and send copies on to world+dog willy-nilly. Disclosure isn't like the GPL, you'd need a formal licence agreed between you and the copyright holder (or an authorised agent), so good luck with arguing in court that "they wanted me to share it".

    IANAL, obviously.

    J.

  38. Aaron
    Paris Hilton

    Its quite simple

    The copyright holders can connect to a torrent (have it set to not download anything or at least not share upload anything). Then list each and every IP that is sharing a complete file or completed torrent. Your encryption and your peer guardian does not offer any real protection from this, as they can see in unencrypted form what you are sharing now much and if they wanted connect via an unlisted IP address and download from your encrypted data.

    If you download a torrent but down upload anything you will probably be safe, as they have to prove you don't own a legit copy and are just downloading for fair use. But Fair use does not allow you to upload data to other users so its those that upload data to other people on the torrents that they are going after.

    Sure there are many other ways of getting music off the internet other than torrents (god know's I wouldn't bother with torrents myself), so this action wont stop downloading. Instead it will scare a lot of people who don't know any better and thats exactly what VM and the BPI want in this case.

    Paris because I think I should have fair use of her ;)

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I was cloned!

    Isn't the virgin network full of cloned cable modems anyway. So I'm right in thinking Virgin Media couldn't actually 100% prove it was you anyway.

    I'll be sending them a letter back if I get one. My modem must of been cloned!

    Didn't the EU propse the three strikes are your out rule and it was defeated. the governmen knows it's unpopular so would never pass it. You try and find me one person on the planet who has never illegally

    Phorm, limits, bandwidth throttling, I live close to an exchange that will get me ADSL2. Please it's becoming an easy decision!

  40. Chris Cheale

    @There is NO fair use provision in the UK.

    BINGO!

    - that's exactly what I was going to say.

    Although it _might_ be about to change, it has always been illegal (in the UK) to copy music you own from one format to another - whether it's copying vinyls or CDs you've bought to tapes or MP3s (to listen to in the car or whatever) is irrelevant - the copying is illegal.

    Since (the original) Napster was shut down for _inducing_ copyright infringement - why has no-one taken Microsoft to court for having the "Rip" function in Media Player? Surely that's inducing (UK) copyright infringement?

  41. Slaine

    read the second bit carefully

    "It's a bit of a judgement call for us to be making threats of disconnection or account suspension" ... given so many of our customers are already leaving in droves because of the way we handled phorm, the lack of support reported by our many customers and our steadfast refusal to address the con of quoting "up to" connection speeds that cannot be realised unless you are inside the data centre or on the other end of a darkfibre.

    Now then, the second bit; anyone wishing to make a one or two fingered gesture to their ISP (particularly in this case VM subscribers who have an alternative option). No contract is legally binding unless it specifies exactly what the deal is that you are entering into AND carries your signature. No contract is legally binding if it has been changed in any way since it's inception. Any letter advising you of a change to your service (including changes to T&C's, free upgrades, extra email addresses - ANYTHING) is also an admission that your contract is no longer valid. No ISP will admit this because they know that they haven't got a leg to stand on and that is why they immediately drop your details off with "Hound, Grabbit & Run" debt collection and threat dissemination agents rather than chase the bill themselves

    If you can show the slightest change in your service, change of supplier, deterioration in the quality of your connection or the removal of any facility that was part of your original agreement then you have the right at any time therafter to contact your ISP and inform them that their contract with you has been broken by them and that on this basis it is no longer valid or legal. They CANNOT dispute this fact. Provision of these details to the abovementioned "Hound, Grabbit & Run" will also see them off.

    Then if they fail to play ball, call your bank and halt the DD; call BT and have them change your number (to free up your MAC address); call your alternative supplier and give them the new BT number.

    Worked a treat for me when Tiscali tried to fuck me over.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Newsserver

    It's quite ironic when Virgin have just (quietly) launched their new Usenet Newsserver, which is stuffed with illegal binaries...

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Ah only music their after! arrrrgh!

    I shall be fine to carry on downloading my pirated software then arrrrgh! to be honest the music industry has been wank for years, i havn't bought nor downloaded anything that has been made for the last 2 years due to it being all shite. It's the modern day chavs who have joined the interweb for their cheesey popcrap music that shall be affected. Ha i don't care.

    I'll be glad to get a decent level of bandwitdh from them when you have all abandoned ship. I do prefer the days when the net was for hackers and leetest, now it's full of nubs.

  44. Pat

    still not getting it

    How the BPI must hark back to when they were young, those hazy days when teens queued up to buy records and the product was really desired. The majority of what they make now is disposable pap; we know it's easy to make, we can run the software on our own PCs; we know the so-called "artists" are mostly nothing of the sort; and we respond in kind - 95% of when they make is just throwaway entertainment that is not worth more than a few pence per track. To pretend otherwise is bullshit and while many are bullshittable, most are not.

    The BPI seem to think that if they could just lock it all down, people would come up with a sizable percentage of the money it would have cost to download all that pap. They're wrong, most of us won't spend much more than we're spending already, they just don't have enough wothwhile product to make us want to buy it.

    They should not be scared of downloading and sharing, they need to worry that people who have access to good quality copies of pretty much any music they want often can't even be bothered to download most it for free.

    New Coldplay album? Who needs another one.

  45. Michael
    Linux

    Its going to be educational

    ....for VM, when their customers start migrating :

    The economic climate is tough, customers will be questioning wether they REALLY need VM's services,and it's a known fact after Pipex , Tiscali et al , that the hard line causes customers to flee en mass, like rats up a drainpipe.They want your money, but so also do the BPI.Vote with your feet.... it's the only way to be sure!

  46. John Robson Silver badge
    Pirate

    @AC - re Fair use

    "I'm perfectly free to download mp3, ogg or flac tracks of an album I have purchased under the fair use provision."

    There is no fair use under UK copyright law - that's a US thing.

    Sorry

  47. Lul Whut
    Alien

    [BTH] Rare Oop Electro Core 12" (MP3, V0, LOG, CUE)

    They are just going to scan the swarm of largest torrents on the largest of trackers.

    If you are downloading some new movie or pop album then you may get caught up in the trawl... a hint perhaps to listen to better music or use PG or private trackers! (Though there may be spies amongst them...)

  48. stephen mcconnell
    Flame

    what about all the cloned modems

    i know that a while back you could get a cloned modem for 30 quid, dunno about now tho, so what if someone has a cloned modem and is filesharing with your ip address on thier cloned modem, your gonna get screwed and as always the pirates anit gonna care cos the ip is registered to someone else.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    A few answers

    A visit to several previous BPI and/or VM posts on lotsa boards supplies a few answers to the questions raised on this board.

    How it will work:

    Someone working for the BPI will download a torrent listed as something that is copyrighted to the BPI, say the latest Coldplay album, and make a note of and log any ip addresses from seeds/peers that are also sharing that torrent and check them against VM's IP listings. Lisitngs that do not show, user details.

    If the torrent turns out to be real, i.e. it is Coldplay's album and not a piece of virus ridden Spyware, than the the IP addresses that the BPI have noted will be passed to VM, thereby VM get round those pesky data-protection laws, because they're NOT handing over free access to their user accounts (at least at this stage).

    VM will check those IP addresses and if they are indeed VM's then they will send out a warning shot - i.e. badboy, don't do it again - and place a flag against your account.

    A second infringement will get you a nastier letter (and presumably a bigger flag) and a third time will get you cut off from VM and your details handed to the BPI for a REALLY nasty letter and possible legal unpleasantness.

    By doing it this way VM can argue quite successfully that they're both protecting their users' accounts from the BPI and also stopping illegal activity, without having to scrutinise every 'packet' that crosses their systems.

    In addition as the BPI are effectively downloading files that they own, they're not breaking the law, even though they're using the same process as the torrenter (is that a real word?) They are also not seeding the original torrent, so they can't be accused of Entrapment.

    The UK and European Data-protection acts have a myriad of clauses that allow for data-protection laws to be over-ruled in the case of suspected illegal activity by an individual, (especially concerning anti-terrorism laws, but 'general' illegal activity as well) and before any American's start laughing, I'd just like to point-out that USA did have tougher rules than us, but then the Patriot Act came along . . . and data-protection over there is now a contradiction in terms! Remember, what happens here happens there next week . . . be warned.

    The upshot is:

    a) This is actually a very elegant and effective way of stopping illegal activity, without stopping all torrenting activities. Much as I might dislike it, I have to applaud the simplicity of it.

    b) This might be viewed as a great way of getting out of VM's long-term account sign-up - if you don't mind the risk of a big ol' fine and a possible holiday at one of her majesty's fine correctional facilities that is.

    c) Peerguardian type stuff won't work, because they only stop lists of known IPs from monitoring your traffic, or bounce you round a series of worldwide servers so you can't easily be tracked, but in the end you need a real IP (which is shown in just about every torrent client) to receive/share a torrent unless 1 or 2 kb per minute download is something you really really really enjoy, as the Tracker will not be able to verify you and deal with you accordingly.

    d) Newservices such as easynews.com are going to have a very lucrative time of it, because your IP isn't shown to anybody else when downloading.

    Bottom line:

    If you don't want the consequences, stop using P2P illegally (at least if you have a VM account) or go 'old school' and start using a newsnet service. Perhaps one like VM's own at news.virginmedia.com.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are iPods legal?

    Is it legal to rip your CDs to your iPod? In the strict eyes of the law or the view of the BPI? Shows how behind the times they are, clinging to an old model to strain as much revenue from it as they can.

  51. JM
    Unhappy

    No wonder.....

    my line speed dips so much if all you guys are downloading all this data. Maybe if you stopped, the rest of us would be able to use the net properly.

    Flame away.

  52. christopher

    Brilliant!!

    I can't wait to get my warning letter. Then I'll fire-off a couple of data protection requests aimed at determining exactly how they identified me.

  53. Simon
    Unhappy

    flaws in your plans

    I recieved a letter yesterday telling me that my bandwidth is now being adjusted if I go over a certain quota a day, however I am a realist as someone who used to work for an ISP I would like to quickly point out a few facts,

    firstly the above mentioned cancel DD, change number and start a fresh would not work due to the fact your physical line would remain the same from the exchange to your home and its on this that the broadband (adsl) is provisioned, if you however got a second line installed and got your broadband installed on this then excellent otherwise you need to wait 10 days for your line to be transferred to a new isp, maybe even ceased then provided again depending on how you do it.

    secondly moving to another isp is pointless now anyway we live in a world of bandwidth throtling in the next couple of years those isps who dont already will on some scale throttle our speeds so all moving isp would do is delay the inevidatble.

    it sucks but this is the world today

  54. Ben
    Pirate

    How many printers will receive these letters?

    Coincidentally, a recent study shows how easy it is to frame someone for downloading copyright files using Bittorrent. In fact, they managed to have warning letters sent to their own networked printers, access points etc.

    It would be interesting if someone did this in the Virgin network and got them sending letters to themselves :-) Anyone interested should read:

    http://dmca.cs.washington.edu/

  55. Egons Proton Pack
    Coat

    Meh..

    I will be voting with my feet I think.

    First they make friends with Phorm and now they are all friendly with the BPI.

    It seems like they are on a mission to piss everyone off....

    Mines the one with the new ISP signup contract in the pocket.

  56. Richard Kay

    Get the balance right

    P2p downloads are non-commercial but supplying the bandwidth for them is commercial. I think Canada has the right balance with a levy on the sale of blank media with all non-commercial use of the media consequently made legal. It's the same kind of issue as if a hairdresser or shopping mall play music. They have to get a public broadcast license, and then it doesn't matter where they obtain the music from because the license that may or may not have come with the copy doesn't cover public broadcast rights anyway.

    :Lets suppose the content industry is given a cut from non-base ISP consumer connections, of say 5%. But when they do this makes all downloading on ISP networks legal where a royalty is charged as part of the ISP fee. Personally I think the base level ISP products should not include any contribution to the content industry because the bandwidth is insufficient to handle more than freely provided content. But when Virgin Media want to get customers to upgrade to large or extra large it seems based on a sales pitch of how much music and video you can download it seems fair for the content industry to get a few percent of the revenue in exchange for fully legalising use to downloaders.

    This seems reasonable as an area where government can step in, to make sure that commercial beneficiaries pay a fair contribution which does not deter Internet uptake in the same sense you pay for music in a shopping mall through marginally higher prices for what you buy there. So just as with blank media, the percentage increase and levy should not be so large as to discourage Internet use or obtaining blank media from elsewhere. The percentage should also remain small (no more than 5% in my view) due to the fact that so much content is licensed or public domain on the Net whose creators encourage unrestricted distribution, and it is unreasonable for those taking a levy to be able to prevent those making use only of legal content from continuing to do so.

    The principle should remain that those not selling media content shouldn't have to pay for it directly other than through those who do make commercial benefit.

    Put the deal another way. How many reading this would be willing to pay an extra quid on a 20 a month connection if this took away any threat of getting warning letters followed by disconnection and possible legal action to recover royalties due at a likely much higher rate including costs ?

  57. Adam
    Thumb Down

    Simple to do...

    To automatically send out the letters, they must automatically know which traffic is illegal. As the data is constantly flowing through, the speed of data processing must equal the rate of data input. Thus, they SHOULD be able to do this in real time.

    Therefore, why don't they just block the illegal downloads, thus solving the problem? If they HAVE the ability to prevent crime, why don't they USE it?

    I'm sure VM would rather do that than lose business due to disconnecting customers.

    Unless... it's a load of bo**ocks and they're just posturing to prevent industry fines whilst still (over)selling the 20mbps service that gets 20mbps only when you're next to the cable cabinet, you're dl'ing from the Virgin server and it's a leap year where the moon is in the constellation of Pisces on the 18th of July.

  58. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    All it needs ...

    ... is just one customer with the time and knowledge to really screw over VM.

    Get first letter, reply (by recorded delivery) denying the allegations - plus you have proof of libelous action on the part of BPI.

    Get second letter from BPI, you now have proof of illegal action by VM in passing over your personal details in breach of their data privacy registration.

    All it needs is one test case by someone who knows what they are doing and this system is dead in the water - and no -one will dare try and resurrect it. All it needs is for that person to make it look like they are acting against the "law according to the BPI" to trigger the action in the first place. I'm sure it must be possible to rig up a torrent program to claim to have 100% of a file available but not actually send anything.

  59. Greg

    @keith

    Would you let me know who taught you English so I can whack them with a two-by-four?

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wanted for copyright infringment , DC printer, last seen downloading indiana jones

    LOL, http://media.arstechnica.com/news.media/uwash_dmca.jpg

    http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080605-study-paints-grim-picture-of-automated-dmca-notice-accuracy.html

    "....

    The researchers were able to show that indirect detection is still widely used. By using 13 different machines on the University of Washington campus, the researchers were able to "advertise our presence as a potential replica without uploading or downloading any file data whatsoever." Despite having no infringing content on their machines, the takedown notices poured in, meaning that "direct detection" could not have been used in these cases.

    The huge majority of the complaints involved movies and TV shows; only five takedown notices out of 487 complaints involved music files.

    As the experiment showed, BitTorrent tracker data is not always accurate, and in fact can be deliberately planted. Most trackers simply record the IP address of the machine making requests, but other trackers support an extension that allows BitTorrent clients to "specify a different IP address that the trackers should record in its list of peers instead." While designed to avoid problems with things like proxy servers, this is obviously open to abuse.

    The researchers used some of these trackers to "frame" one wireless access point, three networked (and IP-accessible) printers, and a desktop PC that was not currently using BitTorrent at all. Each of the machines received DMCA takedown requests. An attempt to "frame" IP addresses with no machine attached failed to attract any complaints, however.

    ..."

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    disingenious

    1. An accusation is not the same as conclusion. Which is the reason for the mantra "innocent until proven guilty" - it should be remembered that it is not normally accepted that the judgement is to be made by the party which is making the accusation. So what is proposed as "proof" is normally expected to be scrutinized by A THIRD PARTY. Under normal circumstances illegal matters are expected to be dealt with, judged and scrutinized by a governmentally sanctioned court system. Not by interested parties!

    2. Identifier (name) of files etc is not proof of content. There are plenty of examples of files which are available and legitimate to download which have the same identifiers as copyrighed material. Some copyrighted material is free for distribution (advertisement). And often advertisement has the same name as the product it advertises. Some parodies and caricatures etc also have the same identifier as the original material, and while they often also are copyrighted quite a few (especially those made by students etc) are available for free distribution and legal to download. There is a lot of problems with assuming that a name of a file is proof of specific content.

    3. Problems with overzealous and frivolous interpretation of available "data" as proof of infringement: The issues 1 and 2 above becomes significantly serious and problematic when they are put together. Any misguided (or just cynical) assumptions regarding "proof of illegal activity" is not scrutinized by court of law in the model. As a result there is a very good chance that an ISP if closing down a client account based on "proof" submitted by BPI may be in breach of contract from the ISP point of view considering that there may very well be no admissible proof available unless someone does a deep packet inspection. As deep packet inspection seems unlikely to have been done a court should favour a breach of contract.

  62. sack

    they don't seem to have thought this through...

    Virgin media can bugger off. I don't torrent (music quality seems to be its own copy protection at the moment - there's nothing I can be bothered to download, let alone pay for) but my girlfriend is abroad which racks up a lot of video calling time and this leaves me semi-permanently throttled even on the XL package.

    So what have I learned from this?

    well... it's taught me that their cheapest, crappiest package would suffice if it wasn't for the video calls, and she's back in the UK in a couple of weeks anyhow. I smell a massive bill reduction coming.

  63. Mark

    Re: A few answers

    Well based on past actions of the labels (in the US), it will be:

    Connect to a torrent.

    See the IP's.

    Sue, IP's Sue.

  64. Mark

    @Simon

    Cancelling the DD isn't to get you out of the contract, it's to ensure that when YOU have got out of the contract, the ISP is also out of it.

    Too many times ISP's have "forgotten" to remove the direct debit and once they have your money, it's harder to get their grip off it than an octopus with cramps.

    So you tell them to end the contract. You end the contract. You end the direct debit.

  65. Mark

    @Chris Cheale

    No, it's not been illegal to make your own copy. It's never been *legal* but that (except in Germany) doesn't make it *illegal*.

    Copyright is a tort law. In the UK, tort infractions can only get damages paid for. If you're copying for your own use, there IS no damage. Ergo, there was no need for making it legal.

    Meanwhile, they changed the law so copying even without any harm being done is now possibly criminal and they didn't update the other side of the quid-pro-quo.

    Napster was done for inducing copyright infringement but that has no bearing here

    a) that was in the US and this is in the UK

    b) Napster was safe because the VCR induced copyright infringement (especially dual-deck) and case law and interpretation of the law (when "teh interwebs" weren't involved, so the judges knew what the feck was going on) about copyright infringement being "possible" was NOT ILLEGAL. Add "on a computer" and judges have no clue.

  66. chris
    Flame

    Nevermind the bollocks, here's the BPI

    "But it’s illegal to download from unauthorised peer-to-peer/P2P networks such as BitTorrent"

    Dear BPI

    Is it fuck.

    Yours sincerely

    Linux-using, Indymedia-distributing, Miro fan.

  67. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    I wonder...

    How the BPI scheme would work if you were using TOR....

  68. Mark

    @Jonathan Richards

    Yes, copyright DOES work like that.

    If I offer you to come into my home, I cannot prosecute you for trespass for it. If I offer you the loan of my car, I cannot report you to the police for Grand Theft, Auto. If I offer you a copy of my IP, I cannot sue you for taking a copy.

    NOTE: if me giving a website with my IP on it and saying "take a copy" is not me making the copy, then making available for download is not a copyright infringement and bang goes "making available" as a criminal matter.

  69. Mark

    @frymaster

    Why can't the labels be force to face the consequences of their actions?

    Making digital recordings makes making copies cheap. They knew that and that's why they wanted CD's. Consequence: we can take advantage of the cheap cost of copying (because they refuse to).

    Making frivolous cases in court and running away before they are found out. Consequence: jailed for abuse and perjury.

    Etc.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Thank Virgin Records

    You can bet your life this is a result of Virgin also being a member of the BPI with Virgin Records.

  71. Luke Wells
    Unhappy

    I feel stupid now

    Earlier in the week I was defending Virgin Media..... saying I was an 8 year happy customer and that the speed limits were not such a big deal .

    Wow do I feel like a chump now.........

    I'll be ringing up BT when I get home so I can get my line re-activated and get ADSL running.

    Virgin Media (Telewest) have gone from a 100% unlimited broadband provider to one that imposes speed limits and tells you off for downloading potentially illegal files.

  72. Andy Worth

    @Keith

    "virgin are really pushing there luck with there service first they bust peoples internet speed now there joining forces with the bpi to stop downloading haha this gets worse by the minute i wouldnt waste my time with virgin i feel sorry for there customers if i were you id leave virgin quick and fast join another cable isp oh wait i think virgin is the only cable provider damn thats bad luck least sky dont report me for what i download have fun virgin youll end up out of buisness you will loose customers"

    Punctuation.

    It's great, isn't it?

    That said, I do agree that Virgin are crap. Their TV offering hasn't improved either. I was unlucky enough to lodge in a house which switched from Sky to Virgin and saw first-hand how dreadful it is in comparison. The cable also switched from NTL to Virgin and rapidly went downhill.

    I wouldn't touch any of their products with a bargepole.

  73. Joe K
    Dead Vulture

    Meh, who cares

    All the cool kids have LONG since moved on from rusty old bittorrent anyway.

    Lets see them track my HTTPS secured downloads.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    @Simon

    If I hadn't already disconnected from VM over Phorm I would be going now.

    I know we're talking about cable here but I understand there is a trick to terminate an ADSL contract on a BT landline without having to have a second line put in. I was told by someone that I believe is well informed that if you change the name on your phone account (e.g. to your partner/spouse) that it automatically causes an ADSL cease order to be processed as the new telephone subscriber has no contract with an ISP. I think the new person will then have to do a new provide (5 days with no broadband) which costs 40+VAT to join a new ISP.

    My new ISP (IDNet.net) promise no port blocking or throttling and no contention once my traffic reaches their network (the contention on the BT portion is not under their control but they do put you on a premium business IPStream product I believe.) They offer a premium product as a premium price and they've shown no sign of changing that. The only usage limits are (quite generous) download quotas on their lesser products.

    Shouldn't we start calling VM "Slut Media" now? Phorm, now the BPI... It looks like they'll jump into bed with anyone to make a quick buck. Plus anybody that screws that many customers every month is no virgin!

  75. Simon
    Thumb Down

    Come on virgin Media capping? BPI? what next

    cough, SSL newsgroups cough,

  76. Doug Glass
    Black Helicopters

    'torrenter's Lament

    "virgin are really pushing there luck with there service first they bust peoples internet speed now there joining forces with the bpi to stop downloading haha this gets worse by the minute i wouldnt waste my time with virgin i feel sorry for there customers if i were you id leave virgin quick and fast join another cable isp oh wait i think virgin is the only cable provider damn thats bad luck least sky dont report me for what i download have fun virgin youll end up out of buisness you will loose customers"

    With literate, sophisticated comments like this one the downloaders will surely win.

  77. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Down

    @Mark

    ***"If I offer you to come into my home, I cannot prosecute you for trespass for it. If I offer you the loan of my car, I cannot report you to the police for Grand Theft, Auto. If I offer you a copy of my IP, I cannot sue you for taking a copy."***

    Err, no.

    If I offer you the loan of my car, you are quite right, you can't be done for theft

    If I offer you the loan of my car and you actually borrow it, you can't be done for theft.

    If I offer you the loan of my car, you actually borrow it and you offer it for sale you *can* be done for attempted theft.

    If I offer you the loan of my can and you actually do borrow it and actually do sell/give it to someone else you *can* be done for theft.

    Similarly, if I offer you a copy of my IP, you accept (e.g. you buy my CD) and then offer it up online to anyone who wants a copy and several people actually download copies then I *can* sue your shitty little ass off.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    How To P*ss Off & Lose Customers

    Much as I loathe BT (who fellate Satan almost permanently) and don't want to get a BT line in here I'm rapidly approaching that time where I say "get stuffed" to Virgin Media.

    The idea of an ISP as a conduit seems irrelevant to them. They want to force punters to use things that are of no value to them but make VM lots of money.

    There's a set of wonderful parodies of Aussie cricket commentary by Billy Birmingham, known as The 12th Man. He has Bill Lawry saying "Yes! P*ss off! You're Out!" at the fall of a wicket.

    Time for people to start saying that to Virgin Media.

  79. Slaine

    yes - the 10 day number change turnaround was a pain (actually, only took 4 days)

    Dear Simon, you were concerned that the "physical line would remain the same from the exchange to your home and its on this that the broadband (adsl) is provisioned"... but your MAC address is tied to your telephone number, not to your physical copper cable. The last remaining helpful man on the BT helpdesk was quite adamant about that and it worked a treat. Promise.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Virgin won't drop users (probably)

    I doubt if VM will even implement 3 strikes or disconnect a user.

    Virginmedia (aka Telewest, aka Blueyonder) wouldn't drop customers who's machines had been infected or even completely hax0r owned. There is still a constant traffic level on my system with probes from other VM users machines.

    In the old days I even went to the bother of reporting IPs to them but nothing was ever done.

    I could be wrong though :)

  81. Mark

    @Eponymous Cowherd

    You don't need a license for IP if one is not offered but the IP is.

    Take, for example, this message.

    Copyrighted.

    To me.

    You now have a copy.

    To read.

    You make a derivative (and answer).

    No license needed.

    Why? Because without a license for given "IP" being automatic, the internet and this site would not work. Explicit license is not possible, never mind feasible.

    Similarly, on BitTorrent, even where it's legally given stuff, there is no possibility of handing over a license (which is copyrighted too, so you'd need a license for that, which is copyrighted...) but it is INTENDED to give away IP. Giving it away is only possible by the copyright owner or their agents. Giving it away doesn't require a license because you, the copyright owner, waived it.

    In much the same way as if you loan my car, we don't *have* to sign a contract. I could ask for one and a hire company certainly will. But I can decide whether we need an agreement beforehand.

    So by the agents of the copyright owners putting the copyrighted works on the internet under a protocol and in a place that tells others "please take a copy", that is the license. And once given a copy, if you rely on the giver's word to continue, you have the doctrine of laches to ensure they don't decide unilaterally that they want to take the agreement back.

    This is law.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Re: Thank Virgin Records

    "You can bet your life this is a result of Virgin also being a member of the BPI with Virgin Records."

    Virgin Media != Virgin Records.

    Virgin Media is partially owned by Branson. It is not a subsidiary of a legally recognised Virgin Group -- there is technically no such thing as the Virgin Group -- and was formed by a merger of Virgin Mobile with ntl:Telewest. It would be legally dubious if Branson was to push Virgin Media to do anything for the benefit of any of his other companies.

    And besides, Virgin Records isn't one of his any more: he sold it to EMI, remember?

  83. Pat

    Any futurologists in the house? (a bit OT)

    How is this going to play out? Currently if someone shares copyright material, they can be done for it. If they download only, we don't know if they can be done for it, because none of the pigopolists have tried. They haven't needed to and they probably don't fancy their chances (they have to prove you have never bought a copy of Madonna's latest cheesy shite before you look like you're in the wrong. this might not be what the law says exactly, but it's a lot harder a test than sharing).

    BitTorrent pretty much always involves sharing. You could frig it around a bit, use encryption, split the data so no-one ever supplies the full bitstream, all sorts of stuff, but ultimately BitTorrenters a sharing so they can be busted.

    It won't take long for the kids to figure out that there are very cheap SSL protected usenet accounts, and services that provide better indexing and retention than BitTorrent ever does. Not only do these have the advantage of being un-sniffable (unless you're Cheltenham, presumably), but they also don't involve sharing. Double win! So shares in offshore usenet services are about to go through the roof, right?

    What happens next?

    1) Gubmint pressured into, and happy to agree to, throttling all SSL?

    2) Key escrow?

    3) BPI get to run the UK firewall?

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Moving

    Anybody moving to 02 ADSL2?

  85. Dave N
    Dead Vulture

    think about it

    if you think VM gives a sh*t about 500,000 users - who were downloading illegal torrents, sucking up bandwidth - going to a different ISP then you are sadly mistaken. To a company like VM, that's a dip in the pond, and in the long run, the network will be better off with you.

  86. Wibble
    Pirate

    Easy solution

    So, if I did want to download any music 'illegally' I'd best use one of the many unsecured wireless networks that span across my property instead of my own connection (not that I would - the quality of current music means I quite often have trouble finding 1 CD a month I'd consider listening to)? There's going to be a lot of computer ignorant types getting snotty letters in the near future i think.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    "education campaign"

    its not the customers (or should i say ex customers) that need educating its frigging BPI & VM

    Just leave if you havent already, there are plenty of other isp's with more backbone, or do as others have said and use News :)

  88. William Old
    Linux

    @Eponymous Cowherd

    > Similarly, if I offer you a copy of my IP, you accept (e.g. you buy my CD) and then offer it up online to anyone who wants a copy and several people actually download copies then I *can* sue your shitty little ass off.

    The car analogy doesn't work for what you are trying to prove. Remember, it's been a fundamental tenet of the IP owners' claims that they are NOT selling you the actual IP itself, only a license to use it under certain (ridiculously prohibitive) terms and conditions. Remember also, the second-hand software market in Germany is alive and thriving because a superior court there ruled that the "licence to use" could itself be sold on legally irrespective of any legalese included in the terms and conditions that tried to prevent it. So, in every case, the actual Ts & Cs need to be tested by court proceedings.

    Mark is perfectly correct in his correction (he beat me to it)... it hasn't always been illegal to copy IP, that only became an offence relatively recently. It was unlawful, i.e. "not sanctioned by law", but that's legally a completely different thing.

    So... individual claims need to be pursued by IP owners against alleged infringers, and if they use the criminal law, it has to be proved beyond all reasonable doubt... the technical documents identified in this thread plainly demonstrate that such a course of action is dead in the water, because it can't be proven who (the actual human being) did the copying - you can't prosecute an IP address or a computer, especially not when cloning and spoofing is going on.

    VM wouldn't be getting dragged into this if those pushing the initiative weren't getting desperate that all the other measures have had no effect, nor any likelihood of success.

  89. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Downfall of the music industry

    How can they expect people to buy it when:

    1. The number of music retailers is in vast decline. They're being replaced by games shops.

    2. What music shops do remain have poor stocks or only carry the top 40.

    Also, the music industry has other problems:

    3. There are few music TV shows with any credibility, they show established artists.

    4, Many small gigging bands just play covers.

    5. The Internet is seen to be the only way out of it. But it's also what many of the music media giants seem to loathe and want 'pirates' banned from. So in the process preventing them from buying it online should they wish to.

  90. Slaine
    Paris Hilton

    The Sad Truth...

    ...is that until VM, BPI, phorm, etc, whoever... actually get around to taking people to court and just ONE of those people is sufficiently clued up to cite legal / privacy / contract and human rights issues the power will remain with the cult that sends letters threatening legal action.

    Once the precidence is set however, everyone can cite that instead and you will quickly find that your T&C's will be altered quite dramatically, in the same way as the EULA is now technically impossible to agree to. Obviously, this will in turn invalidate everyone's current contracts but since they are not worth the paper you didn't sign I can't see how anyone will be inconvenienced.

    Bottom line - these companies do not exist without customers. Hard cash subscribers to ISP's (joe and jane public) are only half the story; the irresponsible, money grabbing, growth obsessed, advertisement reliant, shareholder brownnosing conglomerates are the other half. It is an issue of oil and water - they simply do not mix.

    Back to the EULA briefly before I go and pour another big glass of red... in it you give up your right to control what information your computer uploads to and downloads from the internet... mmmm there may yet be some milage (kilometerage) in that too.

    Icon, because she's still got milage too and I haven't used her all week.

  91. Mark
    Dead Vulture

    Re: think about it

    Think about it yourself.

    If you don't download media content, why do you need broadband? Who is going to pay for a 50meg connection for the home?

    So who is VM going to sell their "service" to?

    That bird is the "broadband revolution". Dead as a dodo.

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    too many dumbasses....

    i see lots of comments regarding illegal torrents and how can they tell whats legal and whats not.... so for the un-educated let me try to make it clear....

    Encrypting your torrents..... does not work, all that will do is maybe bypss your isp's traffic shaping... and thats a maybee.... some isp's throttle back encrypted torrents anyway.....

    how do they tell if its an illegal torrent or not..... well, thats easy,,,, download a file that is suspected of being a pirate copy of a music or video or software....while you are in the swarm, collect all the ip addresses of all the clients in the swarm that are seeding.... when the file is complete, if it does turn out to be a illegal torrent, well then you are screwed.... even if you are encrypting your torrents you still show your ip address in the swarm.....

    if you want to avoid unwanted snooping on your downloads than try usenet... it only costs a few quid per month for access, but its fist and anonomous....

  93. Daniel B.
    Flame

    Re: Thank Virgin Records

    Just what I thought. Kind of like those reports from "independent" sources bashing Linux that suspiciously end up having a significant Microsoft funding.

    Even if they are separate entities, and/or legally barred from "helping" one another, they are doing so under the "legality" banner, which isn't exactly anti-trust material. It isn't like VM is forcing its customers to buy only Virgin Records music, is it??

  94. Mark
    Boffin

    the car analogy

    wasn't an analogy for IP but an illustration that the owner can waive a license or any form of agreement if they wish to.

    I *can* request an agreement before you lend my car. I can even make it a written one. However, I can also decide "nah, you have a go". I decided.

    Some people use public domain for their IP (programs). Without license or restriction. Given. So if you want an example showing that a license isn't necessary if the owner decides to give their work away, there's one for you.

    And putting it on BitTorrent deliberately is giving it away. They can't say they didn't know, can they.

  95. Colin

    What else do you expect them to do?

    Virgin just wish to be seen as they are anti - illegal file sharing and at the same time, be seen to be supportive of the BPI. They're playing politics is all, this is simply a ploy on their part to keep the gimps in whitehall from writing up legislation, that the lame brains in parliment will vote through without even looking at it.

    Yes I completely agree the BPI is behind the times but then again all the content royalties collection agencies are. The entire recording industry has it's head firmly stuck up it's own bottom and has done for too long now to change. Instead of fearing change, they could have embraced the downloading idea with open arms.

    Yes they would have made less money per unit than they do from the sale of CD's, but then they would also have saved money by not having to run large, expensive manufacturing, distribution and retail setups. Also they could have made money from the sale or leasing of those no longer required premises.

    But then maybe that might have been using something resembling a level of intelligence aproaching that of a human being, rather than that of a talentless scum sucking, bottom feeder, which to be honest is my opinion of the recording industry executives and their pet litigators.

    But just because that is my personal opinion, it does not give me the right to share copyrighted works illegaly. I don't do it, I never have done either. I can listen to all the music I wish to just by tuning into a radio station, all that costs me is the price of the electricity I use (nothing if I use one of those wind up radios).

    Personally I feel that if someone is stupid enough to be using a commonly known method of commiting an illegal activity, then that person is an idiot that deserves to be caught. I mean would anyone go out on the road and deliberately drive past every police car or motorcycle they met, while doing over 100 miles an hour?

    Those of you who do illegally share files, deserve to be caught and in my view should be banned from accessing the internet via anything other than dial-up. Frankly I feel that the rest of us are better off without people like that hogging all the bandwidth they can get at the expense of others.

    Quite possibly we would also be better off without them polluting the gene pool too. After all do we really need any more selfish idiots in this world?

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get a grip

    Why do people think they know what you download by the bandwith you use?? I work for the abuse department of a large ISP and its a super high tech tool thats used to see what poeple are uploading.........its called a person

    Basically, the BPI download the file from you, log the IP, date and time, and report it. Simple. No snooping, you already sharing the file publically,

    Doesnt matter if it got there legitimatly, all that matter is that you have it available for upload via p2p/bittorrent

    I know all the grumbles about quality of the music etc, but the fact remains its illegal and in a society that runs by rule of law then the rules have to be upheld.

    God, im a pragmatist in my old age

  97. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  98. Andrew Norton

    some corrections for the posters here

    someone earlier mentioned peerguardian - well, run it all you want, it doesn't work. There are serious questions as to who actually runs bluetack - thats the company that creates and maintains the lists - as no-one actually knows.

    Also, someone mentioned mediadefender - except mediadefender doesn't distribute anything, they're not a letter-sender, they're a 'fakes-creator' and they put garbage data on torrents etc. No way you could have gotten stuff from them. People really need to start checking facts when they say things, rather than just misreading, and giving baseless speculation.

  99. Ian Court

    A surefire way...

    ..to drive away customers.

    With no illegal downloads, the Internet would be an empty shell and people would have no need for broadband connections in the home.

    As a great man once said, "If they were to take away all of the porn and illegal downloads on the Internet, there would only be one site left - a petition site calling for the return of all of the porn and illegal downloads."

  100. Mark

    How BPI s getter it's "proof"

    Well it getters it proof that way and yet you still have "humans" agreeing to a company claiming copyright ownership of a work that they had "stolen", created a derivative and then used as an advert. They accused the owner of the work they misappropriated and this "human" said "muh. hokay".

    This "human" had better not be working as an illegal agent of the BPI. Unless the POLICE ask you, you don't say anything. If someone complains, you work with that, but you MUST tell the one you're censuring what you're doing, who it is from and why you're doing it.

    Or would you be OK with me telling your boss you assaulted my sister and him just summarily sacking you 'cos I seemed like a nice honest person (or just had wodges of cash)?

    You are NOT law enforcement.

    And from past experience, these "human" processing units do as little checking as possible and swallow any load that expensive lawyers give them.

  101. b166er

    PeerGuardian/Protowall etc and then perhaps even more off-topic BEWARE ;p

    Please enlighten me as to how PG can protect you.

    If you're about to tell me that it's down to the fact that PeerGuardian filters *known* bad IP's, by using Internet registration searches and other such techniques, PLEASE!

    Do you really think that the BPI/Virgin Greedia would be foolish enough to use an IP that was in any way identifiable to themselves?

    I mean, if you're a VM customer, do you disallow other VM IP block clients?

    That's how easy it will be for VM. All they have to do is use one of their own IP's!!!

    This one really has me repeatedly banging my head on the table.

    Back on topic. (see disclaimer in title)

    Yes, education is needed, and I'm glad the BPI are taking a more mature approach to this than their heavy-handed USian counterparts. However, unless the music industries distribution model is radically changed to give people what they want (AllOfMP3 for example) then *illegal* file-sharing will continue regardless. The success of AllOfMP3 is a clear indicator, that such a business model exists. And I firmly agree with those that have noted, that if file-sharing was magically stopped tomorrow, it would have very little effect on sales. I suggest, that people have an sub-conscious limit on their budget for purchasing media, and that that limit will be reached every year, regardless of how the various media corporations try to leech more. So if the media corporations want to monetise more units, they need to drop the price per unit, which will have the same effect as the current model anyway. ie I spend X on media and I download Y. If X is cheaper, I will buy more X and download less Y.

    The way it worked for me in the past, was, I would buy a great movie, and be happy; I would buy a crap movie and think, fuck I can't believe I wasted £15 on that shit.

    Now, I download a great movie and think, I really enjoyed that, I'll buy that on DVD; I download a shit movie and think, thank fuck I didn't pay £15 for that!

    How can you undo that in people's minds?

    If movies were cheaper, then I wouldn't be so pissed off when I got burned.

    I'm sure the media corporations argument to that would be that they have to recoup money lost on their duff investments, by pricing media in such a way, that the big sellers subsidise the flops, and to a degree, I sympathise. However the cats out of the bag, move on...

    So, go ahead, educate people, but unless you have a decent, well-priced, well-stocked high-bitrate, DRM-free alternative, expect it to fall on deaf ears.

  102. Defiant
    Stop

    Don't fall for the hype

    Virgin Media aren't doing this for the BPI, there doing it to save bandwidth because they don't invest much in updating the network. Last year they invested £3 million in the network while giving directors £25 million in bonus's

  103. Brian Gannon

    Ban them all

    As a Virgin Media customer I think this is great, doesn’t go far enough for me. I would ban illegal down loaders as well. They are abusing the system, breaking the law and giving Virgin an excuse to throttle my bandwidth instead of investing in upgrading their infrastructure. All those outraged illegal downloaders threatening to switch ISPs then please do so.

  104. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bye Bye VerminMedia

    Hello Be 24 meg BePro Broadband for £24 per month

  105. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  106. Gilbert Wham

    Losing customers...

    I can tell you now, if this affects their churn rates, it'll be quietly forgotten in a few weeks, or only have lip service paid to it. They are *always* hurting for money.

    A case in point: I used to work for 'em when they were Telewest, and round this time of year, they get an awful lot of disconnects due to students going home/housemoves etc. This was also the time they produced their figures for the big bosses, therefore they had a charming trick where they would leave services on after someone had left a property & add rolling credits to balance out the charges, then all the disconnects were processed in August (after the reports were done).

    Telewest/VM management are fantastic at producing fuckwitted schemes (in case you hadn't noticed), which led to 'the rule of tuesdays', whereby if whatever the latest demented proclamation was, if it was still being talked about by the suits the following tuesday, it was probably going to be around for a while. Otherwise, don't bother making your job difficult. I doubt whether things have changed much...

  107. ShaggyDoggy

    Copy(ing)right in the UK

    When you buy the CD/LP/cassette/etc you did not buy the music, you bought the licence to play the music. That licence does not limit you to playing the music on the media it was supplied on. I started buying LP's in 63 and CD's in 83 so I now have lots of 'licences'

    You can in the UK make a copy "for personal use".

    There IS a levy on blank media, Why's that then if it doesn't permit you to copy onto it ?

    Police advice is to have only copied CD's in your car (I found that out after I had 300 quids worth nicked by a tealeaf)

  108. Shabble

    Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right

    Copyright was invented to prevent plagiarism and to stop evil businessmen stealing creative works and exploiting them for financial gain with no compensation for the creator and no respect for the work itself. The equation is simple. Protecting creative people = justice and maximised social benefit derived from creativity.

    In the age of digital music, high capacity storage and cheap broadband a new variable has been added to the social benefit part of the equation; the creation of a near complete library of human musical output available free at the point of use. It's as hard to quantify the actual value of this universal musical library as it is to quantify its financial cost to the music industry and the injustice it currently presents to the artist, but the fact that this concept is given so little time by either the pro or anti P2P campaigners shows just how stagnant both musical culture and Western society has become.

    We have in our hands the opportunity to create the musical equivalent of a blend of the British Museum, The Louvre, The Great Library of Alexander and the Social Welfare State. And what is the argument over? A slowing of album sales.

  109. Herby Silver badge

    If only...

    Everyone went to as much trouble for SPAM generators and their ilk. While it is wonderful to have a nice notice "Please don't do that...It's illegal/not kosher", I believe that EVERYONE would be happier if they attacked botnets and the like. It would show everyone their public good face. Then we would all applaud them and SPAM might decrease! What a wonderful thought.

    Yes, copyright stuff is killing the music business, but remember: MP3's are terrible imi9tations of the "real thing" (like CD's).

  110. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @AC Get a grip

    "Get a grip

    By Anonymous Coward

    Posted Friday 6th June 2008 17:59 GMT

    I work for the abuse department of a large ISP and its a super high tech tool thats used to see what poeple are uploading.........its called a person

    Basically, the BPI download the file from you, log the IP, date and time, and report it. Simple. No snooping, you already sharing the file publically,

    Doesnt matter if it got there legitimatly,

    all that matter is that you have it available for upload via p2p/bittorrent

    .. but the fact remains its illegal and in a society that runs by rule of law then the rules have to be upheld.

    God, im a pragmatist in my old age"

    LOL so you work "for the abuse department of a large ISP"

    and they personally use people to check.

    when you say "Basically, the BPI download the file from you,"

    that corporate bull as the post/link above proves.

    'wanted for copyright infringment , DC printer, last seen downloading indiana jones

    By Anonymous CowardPosted Friday 6th June 2008 13:00 GMT '

    " log the IP, date and time, and report it. Simple. "

    simple and as per above also can be wrong is its assumptions, time and time again.

    "No snooping, you already sharing the file publically,"

    indeed, and what exactly is to say that this file is infact anything to do with any coyrighted content,?

    the name, thats no proof, the filesize, thats no proof, the date,thats no proof, only the inspection of the real content by a real person can somewhat determine that is infact the case you say thats what you do but thats not the case at all as the link above proves.

    if it were really the case, then no IP printers would ever have got a takedown notice as the person would have verufyed the case to be sure of the facts.

    a reminder of the key points

    'The researchers used some of these trackers to "frame" one wireless access point, three networked (and IP-accessible) printers, and a desktop PC that was not currently using BitTorrent at all. Each of the machines received DMCA takedown requests. An attempt to "frame" IP addresses with no machine attached failed to attract any complaints, however.'

    you seem far more interested in talking up your job, feeding misinformation FUD and assuming automatic guilt of a P2p protocol (one your ISP is probably using or wil use internally as some point to distribute content i might add) user, rather than seeing the flaws in your assumptions, and trying to find a fair and legally "in good faith" option to get valid and provable in court evidence, and submit it to the court sytem for a fair ruling for al conserned ....

    and all in the name of saving extern bandwidth, and thats crazy.....

    its crazy in that there are far better ways to mitigate Torrent traffic outside the internal network, but that takes some thought a little cash and paying some good programmers to actually contibute to extending the "p2 codebase to be clever and keep 80%+ inside the internal netword and as close to the users UBR/*DLS rack kit as can be made possible, AND/or just buy the existing torrent caching kit and install it in the network, you as the ISP are already covered for that by the "mere conduit" legal clauses in the UK/EU directives etc so that not an exuse to not do it....

  111. George Johnson
    Thumb Up

    VM Cancellations are very, very efficient indeed!!!

    I jumped ship from VM to Sky 2 months ago. VM 2Mb @ £20/month. Sky 16Mb @ £10/month, I only 6Mb, but 3 times the speed for half the cost.

    When I left VM and went to Sky, the VM telephone monkey was a very bitter and very imature, which made me even more determined to leave, I was sort of considering pushing them to see what they could do, but thanks VM your nasty little operator and his attitude, who's name I have, convinced me to make the switch, glad I did!

    VM guy: "The sky boxes are all recon jobs you know, they always fail after about 9 months, VM's are all brand new.", Well it's been fine for 2 months, I have at least 12 month coverage, so thanks anyway. My parents have had Sky HD for over 18 months, no problems at all.

    VM guy: "Well the 16Mb service is completely oversold, you will only get about 1-2Mb." Well even if I did only get 2Mb, it's still half the cost of yours! I get 6Mb, so I'm happy.

    VM guy: "You'll have to buy your own ADSL kit, they won't give you it, VM give a modem for free.". Bollocks! Sky gave me a modem/router, it's crap so I replaced it, but still. Oh and Mr Tosser, you actually rent the VM modem from VM, you don't "get it free".

    VM guy: "Sky HD channels are no where near the quality that VM have." Sorry, but we don't really watch TV much, especially not the complete waste of time UK HD TV is, so it doesn't bother me. I only want a decent, cheap BB service thanks, but I have to have the TV. The Sky TV may be rubbish, but once again, it's a darn sight cheaper than yours and I believe has more channels!

    Now VM, correct me if I'm wrong, but surely the people on the cancellations desk should be there to avoid people leaving, convince them that VM can change, although you can't argue with the efficiency of the cancellations service with wangers like that on the phones.

  112. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    I am not a lawyer but this seems illegal under the Data Protection Act 1998

    Under the Data Protection Act 1998, it is illegal for any company holding your personal data to share your data with any third party organization which is unconnected with criminal law enforcement (i.e. the police).

    To the people who get a letter, my advice therefore is to notify Virgin media that you return the letter from the BPI and Virgin Media with a "Data Subject Access Request", detailing that you suspect that an unlawful disclosure of your personal data may have taken place.

    Under the DPA1998, Virgin Media will then be obliged to send you a copy of ALL of the information it holds about you, and ALL organizations it has disclosed that information to. If Virgin Media have disclosed ANY details about your account with them to the BPI, they have almost certainly broken the law.

    Although disclosing personal details to third party companies is illegal, it is a civil offence under the Act. However Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner hinted last year that under the DPA1998, criminal penalties should be imposed on companies that unlawfully disclose and use personal details for profit.

  113. Mark
    Pirate

    re:some corrections for the posters here

    Well to use your second correction, if Media Defender loads up garbage not a movie, then when you download it, you aren't downloading copyrighted material (it needs to be expressive). If they use your downloading of /dev/random to persecute you for downloading "Die Hard 4" then they are lying in court.

    Isn't that perjury? Criminal?

  114. fon

    all the usual idiots, I see....

    at least Brian Gannon has the right idea....

    - and I dont think you will be any safer at BE, anon!!

    I am not going to *bother* to read all the others, skinflints, malicious downloaders, and alll...

    as some have said, go on change ISP, and leave the normal guys to it, and of course, the bandwidth and quality will improve due to you leaving!!!

    Just like some avoid the motorways, knowing that they will be congested - it may take a bit longer, but at least you will be moving, and enjoying the view, chance to stop and have a picnic, unlike those sitting in a jam, getting hot and bothered, miles from the next exit, etc, etc...

    It is good to see VM thinking about those who most likely do not know *how* to get to here - It is usually 'little johnny' that knows it all, etc...

  115. Ryan
    Happy

    me mouse...

    Me da mouse... and ur the cat... come and catch me motherf$ckers... and then see that i am in Sweden where you cant do sh!t!!!

    http://www.ezee.se/

  116. ShaggyDoggy

    Circumstantial

    So the BPI can download a file from my HD, log my IP, and then say I've committed a crime ?

    A file exists on my HD. Fine, how does that prove I obtained it illegally ?

    How does it prove I downloaded it ?

    I might have ripped it from a CD under the 'ok to make one copy for personal use' provision.

    The only only who committed a crime (in their definition) is the BPI by downloading the file.

    Boom boom

  117. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Surely.........

    to cut off the threat from downloaded media, they should ban the sale of blank CD's and DVD's. Oh, wait, dont Sony make blank CD's and DVD's, and dont they also make movies and (wait for it) music....... (using Sony as an example, I'm sure other record companies have subsidiaries or stakeholdings in blank media companies) Surely, if the record labels and the BPI were worried about the theft of their music, they would look at stopping the supply of Blank Media which it is copied onto, and go after the Hard Drive manufacturers for making so much storage space available to the "man in the street"?. No, because the "man in the street" who simply can't afford to blow £15 for a CD unless he is sure that he likes more than 1 track on it, has very shallow pockets, and the big companies have VERY DEEP pockets full of their legal teams who can tie the BPI and record companies up in so much red tape that all music will be free by the time its sorted out..

    As an afterthought, dont Virgin have a record label, as well as their Media outfit............... Wonder if their sums add up. If we upset enough people so much that they want to leave, they will buy our albums instead of getting them free?????????

    Mines the one with "I'm off to BT" written on the back................

  118. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Brian Gannon

    If someone buys a package in good faith with a 40GB (or whatever) monthly quota and stays within that then how are they "abusing the system" pray tell?

    IMHO it is VM selling quota then their chronically under-invested-in network can't support it that is the problem here. They're happily signing people up and taking their money but not wanting to invest some of that money back into the network. Is it any wonder the whole thing is on its knees?

    Original NTL policy: Use what you like as long as you don't mess it up for everyone else.

    Next policy: Use up to 40GB per month whenever you like.

    Current policy: Use up to 40GB* as long as you don't want to use any significant part of it when you're actually at home and awake to use the net.

    *as long as we don't throttle you into oblivion so you can't actually get anywhere near that.

    As my Chinese friend would say, "What a road of borrocks!"

  119. Dan

    Thanks BPI

    This will finally encourage the mass take-up of anonymous, encrypted p2p networks based on i2p and the like. Not that is it completely impossible to discover identities on those networks, but it is orders of magnitude harder to do so. And you know the saying. You don't need to run faster than the bear.

  120. Stardog
    Jobs Halo

    Not going to work

    All you have to do is go to a startup like Pandora or the newest one - Grooveshark - and press play on whatever song you want. Then you just hit record on your software recorder. Hello wav file converted to mp3.

  121. ShaggyDoggy

    Duet Diligence

    Virgin won't prosecute anybody.

    Virgin won't cut anybody off.

    This is entirely an exercise in being seen to do the right thing.

    And it gets their name into the news for a day.

    And the BPI's. Ah yes the BPI.

    Remember that the BPI is not part of the UK government.

    It is a pressure organsisation created and supported by the majors in the music industry.

    It is not the same as Defra etc it is a private organisation put in place to lobby and defend those majors when things happen.

    Moreover it is NOT another organisation called MCPS or PRS,

    Those are the ones who collect royalties and distribute to the artists, not the BPI.

    Please remember that, The BPI does NOTHING FOR THE ARTISTS it is there to protect the interests of the record industry majors and their shareholders, not the artists.

  122. Upaya

    Time for my foreign BT server

    looks like i'll be setting up that server at a friends house in holland and do my downloading on that machine. i'd would just take a simple encrypted connection and no one can tell what data i'm downloading - however if everything is 700mb it's pretty easy to tell what it is.

    if Holland are inspired by our draconian ways then i always have the option of sweden... germany too.

    if you download an album you wouldn't buy, then no one loses out because of that exchange. i'm happy to download most artists, esp dead ones. but do buy the occasional album from small artists

  123. Mark

    Re: If only...

    Unfortunately, the CD is no longer "the real thing". To win "the loudness war" the sound levels on CD's are heavily compressed and clipping far too frequent. They are therefore tiring and of much lower quality (its more compressible so there's less relevant information in the datastream).

    Apart from that, fair enough.

  124. Upaya

    stealing animals

    screw those money grabbers and their misunderstanding of theft. theft is when you take something that 'belongs' to someone else. copying is different to taking, right?

    if you clone an animal does that mean you have stolen the first one?

  125. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Brian Gannon

    VirginMedia openly throttle your bandwidth because they can't meet the demand, not because of the p2p going on across the network.

    I pay for an UNLIMITED (look up the definition) 20meg service and that's what I expect - or as near as dammit. I don't give them my hard earned money to have 75% of my bandwidth taken away because of a download or upload limit I've reached.

    If I change to another ISP and they in turn decide to throttle the bandwidth rates then I'll quite happily change again. What about the contract? Stuff the contract! It's MY money, and I'll give it to any company who can supply me with the goods.

  126. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    big Bro

    So it seems this isp knows what your downloading. How legal is that I wonder?

    Can they also listen in on your phone calls? And read your mail..... Sure, it's the Paranoid nanny state of Britain, who use terrorism laws to infringe on all our basic rights. Big Brother is not only just a very poor tv program for stupid people.

  127. King TuT
    Thumb Down

    P2P

    Virgin Media are planing to throttle P2P soon also.

  128. The Jim Jimmy

    You are your own worst enemy

    You sad gets never seem to get things right , do you , no wonder you are sinking fast, why do you think anyone would sign up for high speed broadband?

    It’s not because they want to download the latest trial offers ore because they want to see the latest movie trailers, it’s because they want the latest movie releases and the latest music albums, that’s why they subscribe, illegal content is your main selling point, if you attack your customers over this issue , then that’s another nail in your coffin, Bye Bye Virgin Media

    I would like to take this opportunity to welcome some of the people who where made redundant from VM, see you soon at Wood street and Lancaster House

    Thanks

    The Jim Jimmy (AKA Chopper Harris)

    You are well out of it

  129. The Jim Jimmy

    You dirty little devil

    If you have high speed BB, and don’t download Music or movies, then what are you downloading? Mamma loves Chicken, you dirty little devil

  130. D

    Changing ISPs is a faff

    I've been putting it off now for a while since VM started withholding the service that I was paying for by throtling the bandwidth. I'm tempted to hang on for the first letter so that I can tell them to shove it where the sun doesn't shine, guess it depends on how long it takes BT to put in a phone line.

  131. James Raeburn

    The Sooner Virgin Media Dies The Better

    And Virgin hammers another nail into it's own coffin. Is the company run but complete bunch of morons? .......Oh wait I think I just answered my own question.

  132. Kieron McCann

    What about wifi

    "Oh, really? Someone's been doing illegal p2p over my internet connection??"

    "Well I don't really know very much about computers, I don't know what that means"

    "Why no, I havent turned on encryption on my wireless router - you mean that someone has been accessing my unencrypted wireless connection and downloading music"

    "I suppose I'll need to get in touch with my Starbucks/McDonalds/KFC/Costa head office and tell them that we need to stop offering free wifi".....

  133. frymaster

    @lots of people

    "Why can't the labels be force to face the consequences of their actions?

    Making digital recordings makes making copies cheap. They knew that and that's why they wanted CD's. Consequence: we can take advantage of the cheap cost of copying (because they refuse to)."

    What you are basically demanding is a right to dictate the actions of a company. It's analogous to being caught shoplifting designer goods (or anything with a high markup) and saying "it's their fault for having the prices so high, they should adapt and lower them". If you don't like a product's prices you have basically one option: boycott it. Not buying it then stealing it loses you the moral high ground.

    "Making frivolous cases in court and running away before they are found out. Consequence: jailed for abuse and perjury. Etc."

    I thought that was the RIAA. We're talking about the BPI.

    Re: evidence won't stand up in court: lucky they aren't taking people to court then, innit? :P

    Seriously, if you're going to be forced to live up to the consequences of your actions, a few letters and/or having to change ISP isn't exactly the end of the world is it?

    re: How VM acted over phorm. What I seem to understand is, phorm have some technology*, VM said they'd take a look at it, phorm put their name in a press release, VM say they're still thinking about it and explicitly refuted phorm's claim they were definately going to be customers. They have implemented nothing. Given they have taken no actions, I find it hard to object to their actions. Because there aren't any. And the fact that they directly contradicted phorm's PR does not imply close working relationship.

    *Which, if it's implemented (or implemented without robust opt-in), will cause me to cancel my VM broadband (and route everything over my VPN until I do). But I really don't think it will be.

  134. Mark

    @frymaster

    "What you are basically demanding is a right to dictate the actions of a company."

    Well a company is demanding the right to dictate the actions of the rest of humanity.

    What do we get for being nice and respecting copyrights? Extended copy rights and extended copyright. And in thanks for letting them demand more of us, the public? The right to be outed under criminal law (where the power to find you out is much greater), but guilt "proven" in civil law (where the burden of proof is much lower).

    Copyright (at first it was a bribe to printers unions to self-censor and be nice to the crown) is a right given by the people to enable an artist to achieve a possible commercial success so that they can devote their full time to creating more art. But once enough money has been made to pay off all the people involved, why does copyright continue? If companies are going to just wait out copyright then that's not a problem with the public, but with companies being selfish. Heck, some people suggest that if copyright lasted until the death of the author, companies would deafen us with the sound of artists landing like a pond of mince on the floor, dead, so that the companies can get the goods for free. That this would necessarily ensure that there would be no follow up seems to be no issue in this scenario.

    But the short of it is that a few companies want to dictate to the public what they can do. You don't seem to have a problem with that. Why? Into S&M?

  135. Matt Hawkins
    Boffin

    Priorities

    Why doesn't Virgin Media bother doing this for people accessing other illegal content on the net? Why is it that they are taking action against people downloading music rather than someone committing a real crime like downloading child porn?

    I guess we all know where their priorities lie ... but then we've known that for years.

  136. pctechxp

    in Other News

    telecoms indutry watcher and reg reader reveals that Virgin ARE NTL, its the rebranding stupid!

    I reckon they must have inhaled too much of the joss stick fumes to come up with that logo

    Anyway, as I've ranted before P2Pers should be charged for bandwidth in the same way as I would be if I rented a server and hosted this stuff.

    But yes, wholheartedly agree, Virgin are crap, they control the cable in the area I live in and wont tell the council when they will upgrade it to offer digital TV and they have the bloody cheek to charge me £4 a month for a crap basic aerial grade analogue service.!

  137. Ben

    Perspective

    "To the people who get a letter, my advice therefore is to notify Virgin media that you return the letter from the BPI and Virgin Media with a "Data Subject Access Request", detailing that you suspect that an unlawful disclosure of your personal data may have taken place."

    You can do that if you like, will be of no use. Virgin are being passed information by the BPI not the other way around. Virgin are sending both letters. the BPI will have no access to any customer information.

    "Why doesn't Virgin Media bother doing this for people accessing other illegal content on the net? Why is it that they are taking action against people downloading music rather than someone committing a real crime like downloading child porn?"

    Virgin are being given information by the BPI on this. Child Porn downloaders are usually identified by the Police. I doub't they would want a warning letter sent going 'We know what you are downloading'

  138. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Downloading an MP3 is not the same as shoplifting

    frymaster, copying a CD or downloading a film is NOT the same as shoplifting.

    Shoplifting deprives the owner of a product. Copying a CD does not. You can copy a CD a million times and it makes no difference to anyone.

    Copying a CD *may* result in a lost sale or it *may* not. The BPI like to claim it *always* equates to a lost sale (at the RRP) which is clearly rubbish.

  139. Mark

    Re: Perspective

    But if that letter is from VM, it cannot say anything about the copyright abuse. When Sony distributed in the UK their rootkit, it used without license the LAME application which is GPL'd.

    I'd asked the authorities whether I could take Sony to court for breech of copyright and they said only the copyright owner can do that.

    So VM cannot tell users off about copyright abuses. They don't own the copyrights.

  140. frymaster

    @Downloading an MP3 is not the same as shoplifting

    a shopkeeper doesn't care about the physical presence of his stock (he doesn't want it personally and probably can't return it and get a refund), he cares for the money he can make from selling it. If someone is stealing it, they aren't buying it, depriving him of a possible sale (the chances are small they'd have actually paid for it)

    With the online situation, the argument goes that since the physical product is still there, your local record store can still sell the physical media because it's still there. Would that mean that if a store had 50 copies of a CD, and we somehow knew only 10 would be sold, it would be OK to steal the other 40? Even if you _DO_ think my analogy is rubbish, are you honestly saying there's a justification for copying copyrighted work without paying what the copyright holder wants to charge for it?

    @Mark: Correct, VM cannot take you to court over your filesharing. If I own a pub, I can't take you to court if I see you beat someone up down the street. But I can certainly stop you coming into my pub, and VM can could certainly kick you off your service for using their service against the T&Cs (though they are apparently not doing that according to this article; the last one implied a 3 strikes rule mind)

    "Well a company is demanding the right to dictate the actions of the rest of humanity"

    No they aren't. They arne't forcing you to buy their stuff, and they aren't dictating what you spend your money on. They can try to persuade with advertising, but their sole carrot is that you might think their product is worth the price tag they've set, and they have no stick.

    Why should people be allowed to dictate what pricing model a company adopts for a non-essential service? People can try to persuade with emails, letters, "x many people will buy if you do this" petitions, but their sole carrot is that they'll give the companies money if the price is right, and they have no stick.

    Apart from anything else, they _WON'T_ change their pricing model as long as they can persuade themselves that piracy is the reason their profits are down; only if piracy was not an issue and their profits stayed down (which they probably would) are they likely to change their approach

  141. Mark

    @frymaster

    "Well a company is demanding the right to dictate the actions of the rest of humanity"

    No they aren't. "

    Yes they are.

    When I've given them my money, I get a CD. They want to tell me what I can do with MY CD.

    I don't get to tell them what to do with my money.

    You may have heard of this coercion: it's called "copyright".

    But it isn't a right, it's a deal between "the artists" and "the public", but the artists (well, the publishers, to whom the power was always given: this is why the publishers are so down on the new situation: they no longer have the sole power,so copyright now applies to each and every artist. That wasn't what the publishers expected...) have broken this deal again and again.

    Problem with your idea about "if piracy went down and their profits stayed down" is that this has already happened several times.

    a) original napster. Went offline, profits (which had gone up because of napster) went down

    b) Oink taken out. Profits still down.

    c) "canada responsible for most of the losses due to piracy"

    d) "china responsible for most of the losses due to piracy"

    The only way they will realize piracy is down is when their profits go up.

    If we stop buying (which is what happened after napster went down), piracy is getting worse.

  142. Edward Pearson
    Flame

    Dispite the above...

    I don't see a problem with this, when you download copyrighted files, you ARE breaking the law, the same law that protects all our work.

    A lot of people are suggesting that these companies cannot differentiate between legal and illegal streams, this isn't true. About a year ago a friend of mine was sent a letter exactly like this, on which, it detailed exactly what he'd been sharing, with who, and who held the copyright.

    Now don't get me wrong, I download my fair share of copyright files, but just because everybody does it, and the companies harmed, perhaps aren't ones we can relate to, it certainly doesn't mean that copyright is a sham.

    We're ARE in the wrong, so don't bitch.

  143. Mark

    Re: Dispite the above...

    "when you download copyrighted files, you ARE breaking the law"

    No, because your message was copyrighted. Did I break the law in reading it? That took a copy.

    "the same law that protects all our work."

    No, because, like all artists (apart from those rich enough to be self-employed), copyright protects my employers work. I get nothing from it.

  144. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What Now?

    On the issue of PeerGuardian: it is useful but definitely not perfect. After all it will reduce the snoop count of IP address that you can be snooped on from.

    On the issue of encryption: is useful in making it more difficult for your ISP to tell what you are transferring *from inspection of the content of the stream*. Yes it isn't a lot of use if a different approach of determining what you are transferring is used e.g. noting file name and IP (assuming the file content is actually what it is named).

    So here's a partial solution for now.

    1. Turn on the encryption in the p2p client - why not just do that anyway as a matter of course. Internet snooping (especially corporate) is now in such a state that I doubt in ten years time anyone would accept a connection without some form of encryption involved and the perverse part will be that they will want that encryption to protect them from their ISP (at this rate they really will become that untrusted and that despised, along with the likes of OFCOM, the politicians, and the media industry).

    2. Go to, say, Relakks.com - there are loads more of the type - and just sign up. (Right now there is month free trial, so you can trial that while BPI and VM are running trials on you.) Now you have another layer of encryption and tunnel right through VM because of it. Into the bargain, to your p2p buddies and BPI your IP address is now a Swedish one. Into the bargain what VM knows is that you're connected to, say, Relakks. What they can't prove is that you're doing p2p up the tunnel. They might assume it if they have been snooping your stream previously but that would never stand in a court - even less would it stand if they were also assuming that what you were transferring was illegal - could be perfectly legal - (with me frequently is).

    Now what BPI? Now what Virgin? Gonna force me to usenet?

    Well truth is I can download at a damn faster rate from a usenet server than I can from p2p. With the likes of usenetserver.com encryption on the downstream is thrown in for free. Connect using a news-client that can deal with the encrypted stream, Newsleecher for example, and you're (currently) a hard case to snoop for content. Sure Virgin knows I'm connected to a newserver. No Virgin doesn't know the content of what I'm downloading. And the BPI can't tell anything, unless Virgin actually pass inf. on known usenet users to them. In any case, given the massive difference in rates, all that the BPI, Virgin and whatever the politicos are thinking will have effected is a transfer from a slow transfer method to one that is significantly faster. Notwithstanding all that, hey, VM has its own newserver, at least so far. (Go to it BPI - get 'em sorted out.)

    What now BPI? What now Virgin? Gonna stop usenet. (Yup, that's the next target in the series.)

    Ah, well, the likes of a Rapidshare type system looks ripe for development. And work on other alternatives is underway.

    What now?

    Maybe joes shouldn't have internet access at all? Just bought and piped, TV, movies and music, you know, a commercial type of 'something'. Mm. Now there's a thought.

  145. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't this ILLEGAL?

    Surely this is not only going to break the DPA, but could also break the Computer Misue Act, and possibly others governing the transmission, and interception of data.

    If they attempt to access Https streams they are, sooner or later going to access something they shouldn't.

    Does this mean that Virgin are going to get every member of their staff , Government cleared? sign the official secrets act, and sign non disclosures for every company and company employee using their service.

    I know a number of people who work from home, isn't this move going to compromise teleworking, and corporate security industry wide.

    They had better consider before they start monitoring traffic, if they want to be bankrupt by the end of the year.

  146. The Jim Jimmy

    Virgin Media are Chancers

    If I walk into a pub and the landlord has the latest pay per view football match showing, he’s only paid the eight pounds or so to watch, but is broadcasting the game for everyone to watch, am I breaking the law by watching or is the landlord for broadcasting, it’s the landlord, It is legal to download anything off the internet, but illegal to upload copyright material, it’s the up loader who is breaking the law, the BPI target the individual, but they will not touch the big companies like Google who own Mininova because Google doesn’t scare easily

    Virgin Media will do anything to stop you using their Bandwidth, but still take your money, and that’s what it’s all about “MONEY” , they haven’t got the money to maintain their network let alone improve it, the only way to stop Virgin Media from dictating to you is to deprive them of money

    PACK THEM IN AND GO SOMEWARE ELSE

    Chopper

  147. Mark

    "illegal to upload copyright material"

    No, illegal without any of the following:

    a) copyrights being enforced on the work in that country (think US vs Charles Dickens)

    b) the author's explicit license

    c) the author's implicit license (this site, for example, all comments (c) their owners)

    d) estopped authority

    e) laws allowing it (fair dealing/use, critique, parody, timeshifting etc)

    f) de minimis

    g) copyright controlling the action (personal use, using outside the EULA not copying, decrypting, etc)

  148. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lead On

    So now we're to this? The company that took over Telewest (which did keep its word both in spirit and letter) then promptly introduced so called 'fair use' policies so that it would then have a umbrella for it to start targeting when and at what rate you would use a connection – and is now set to add 'for what purpose' to the list. The company that advertised 'unlimited' accounts only to introduce so called 'traffic shaping' (read throttling), which is now set to be expanded even more, and then started advertising even faster accounts that it patently has no intention of keeping its worthless word on so it could con people out of even more money. The company that proclaims in its worthless lying pamphlets that pop through the door “Download like mad!” The company that has been a spearhead of erosion of consumer rights through a total disregard for moral business practises is now going to send out letters from another branch of malignancy incarnate on ethics - and the politicos approve of the whole sordid ferking issue!

    And what are they against; kids sharing music. The kids think it's okay. They don't see the problem. (Have to admit nor do I.) They're just sharing, like people would in a decent world. Do the politicians want that? No. Ethical VM? No. (No point in asking about BPI is there? They're too busy 'lobbying', nice word that isn't it, for a clamp down on just about anything that smacks of an increase in individual freedom and people engaging with others in giving ways.)

    So the means turns up to make the world a bit better and more humane and what happens – same old story of grab the cash and ferk everyone in the way that looks like they might put a dip in the profit graph.

    Sure, ferking lead on, mind and shove 'ethics' to the front, the malignant obscenity of the lot of you.

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