back to article Virgin warns 800 punters for file-sharing

The BPI has written to 800 Virgin Media customers warning them to stop sharing music files or risk losing their broadband connection. The letters came in an envelope marked: "Important. If you don't read this, your broadband could be disconnected." But Virgin told Radio 1's Newsbeat that the phrase was a mistake and the …

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  1. Sam

    Way to go

    First Phorm, now this...BT and VM seem to be intent on corporate suicide!

  2. Eponymous Cowherd
    Dead Vulture

    Shooting their feet off.

    I know at least two VM customers who have swapped to Sky because of Phorm. Threatening their customers as well isn't going to improve matters.

    A dead vulture, because there isn't a dead virgin icon (I don't think Paris qualifies on either requirement)

  3. Simon
    Alert

    Wow? Really??

    This is akin to the TV Licensing of accusation of breaking the law before actually checking whether you have or not. A sign of the future?

    Then again, even if he DID download said Wino song it was probably at 2kbps due to VM's throttling techniques. I am a VM customer and even though I like the service they give but HATE the customer service (last week I had my broadband disconnected due to an unpaid £49 bill even though my account was £49 in CREDIT, they had two accounts for me apparently but I only have one service from them... go figure) they did seem to provide me with a wireless router preconfigured with ok security and with username/password of the router different to the routers default. So if someone did hijack that dudes wireless then Virgin may be using rubbish key generation algorithms (sound familiar??) Ho hum... I will go back to downloading now, talking on El Reg is taking too much bandwidth...

  4. pastamasta
    Unhappy

    Vote with your chequebooks

    The fact that my ISP might be monitoring what I'm doing online - regardless of what that is - gives me the willies anyway. Yes, I know, that's the society we live in, but why should it be? Personally I will always subscribe to the ISP which gives me the greatest privacy, period. Moves like this from VM simply guarantee that they won't get my custom. If enough people avoid or leave their service over this issue, perhaps they'll get the message.

  5. Chris Haynes
    Stop

    Is this something VM and BT should be doing?

    I was under the impression that BT and Virgin provide a broadband connection from your computer(s) to the internet?

    If that's the case, then why are they now acting as the police? Should BT send letters to customers who download terrorism manuals, or do we leave that to the police?

    Virgin and BT are only doing this because they've been given some form of incentive by the BPI.

    If BT and Virgin can't provide a connection to the internet without pimping out your personal information to companies of dubious morals (Phorm), and without bowing down to the corporate bullies in the BPI, then why would anyone use their service?

    Unfortunately, I'm stuck with BT for another few months, but you can bet I won't be sticking with them once the contract's up.

  6. Simon Neill

    This will NEVER work.

    Assuming 63% of people DO download music illegaly (only 63?)

    I doubt virgin are going to agree to disconnect 63% of their customers, doesn't seem to be in their best interests now does it? Same goes for all other ISPs. They aren't going to do this en-masse. They MIGHT keep sending out warning letters and disconnect the heavy abusers, but any more is just insane.

  7. Mattyod
    Unhappy

    Need a new ISP

    So far this year they have

    1: lost customer bank details:

    http://www.pocket-lint.co.uk/news/news.phtml/15633/16657/Virgin-Media-massive-data-loss.phtml

    2:attempted to miss-sell broadband speeds: http://www.pocket-lint.co.uk/news/news.phtml/15820/16844/asa-upholds-bts-virgin-complaint.phtml

    3: started throttling download speeds:

    http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/index.cfm?newsid=13228

    4:Increased prices with sneaky letters like this:

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?t=772163

    and now this :(

    Yup time for a new supplier.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I

    work for another ISP who was approached by the ButtPhuqIndustry. we said we would not police their frontier.

    my general advice to customers is.. 'it's bad don't do it as there's a risk of bad stuff... lawyers and virus etc..Also, that said, it's up to you. Do the Water companies tell you what to drink/we're just the pipe?'

    people understand this. And often appreciate it when spoken in those terms. You've advised them of possible issues and left the choice up to them. Many times it's the kids doing the download and the parents don't realise some of the possible consequences..

    As for Virgin and such, don't they have business interests in the music/media industry they have a vested interest in protecting?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey music biz, I have money, sell me something I WANT!

    I went through my Amazon wishlist last night. 80%+ of the CDs were "not currently available". I would pay money for them if they were easily available, but they aren't. What's a person supposed to do? This isn't antique stuff, but it is more than three years old, and therefore part of the much-talked-about (but never actually delivered) Web 2.0 "long tail".

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Way to go #2

    ...whilst the other ISP's stand on the sidelines p***ing themselves laffing and rubbing their hands at the influx of fleeing BT & VM customers.

  11. Alistair MacRae

    I use Bittorrent

    But I don't download music with it, havn't seen a letter yet but if i do i shall be annoyed.

  12. David Buckley
    Dead Vulture

    one more loop on that noose

    well once they've finished tying that great old noose round their corporate neck, i'll get in the queue to pull the leaver and terminate the abomination its become.

    they seem to be playing russian roulette and adding bullets for kicks...

    ..out source tech support to ibm in india

    ...charge premium rate for tech support

    ...throttle users at peak time for using what they thought they'd bought

    ...phorm

    ...nasty grams

    i make that 1 more for a 100% chance of blowing their heads off, unless this is being run by darwin award nominees, then they're probably loading up a berreta

  13. Neil

    Data Protection Issues?

    Are Virgin sharing client data with the BPI? If they are doing so without permission, is this not a breach of the Data Protection Act?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    VM aren't intent on suicide.

    It's more like a 5 year old at the helm of the space shuttle. They aren't trying to hurt themselves, but they're hopelessly out of their depth. They seem to want their company to be an integral part of their cusomters lives. they don't seem to realise the only time people want to hear from their ISP is when they get a bill.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All in all just another brick in the wall

    People are suddenly going to learn about encryption.

    And it is not hard to randomize the ports a bit as well, or just shove it all out on port80.

    So, what is going to happen, encryption tends to occupy more space though not necessarily, and even encryption is not actually required, just a form of random encoding, where the encode key is taken. Steganography is another option.

    Or and I know this is radical, but the music industry gets a freaking clue, and starts to distribute their music at a price people are willing to pay for it. Hire a load of people in new media and get working on how to achieve this.

    I cannot help but think if the people behind the torrents had a stake in the industry they are leeching off then it would just stop. The music industry doesn't have enough friends in the tech industry, they need to stop bogarting the coke, get out there and do some smoozing.

    Most of the sheeple just want the music, and if little timmy can use his pocketmoney to buy it, he will do just that.

    Yes, all production companies of anything that can be digitized have to have substantial invest in the technology we call the Net, instead of spending all their war chests on lawyers, they could have owned and be operating a few ISPs by now.

  16. Liam

    @ By David Buckley

    in fairness to virgin

    "...charge premium rate for tech support" - that is bollocks mate - dial 151 from a VM phone - its free!

    as said before they do own a lot of music - so its in there best interest to stop this also i guess...

    ive just gone from 2mb to the supposed 10mbit but only get ~4mb now... although if i unplug my gateway router and go direct i get another 1mb to 5mb - wtf is that about?!?!?! lol

    least its free to call them and when i did last week they answered in about 1 min! which was impressive!

  17. Al Iguana

    Misconception

    BT and Virgin are throttling their internet services to make more room for their on-demand TV services, NOT to stop file-sharers etc. However, they should only throttle the internet of people using TV, not every user on their network. It's a very short-sighted and unpopular approach (how about investing in infrastructure with all that money we're paying you?)

    Regarding these letters, I'm in agreement with the posters above - It isn't the job of the IPS to police what their users do. We pay for a connection. You give us a connection. End of story. It's like the electric company throttling your electricity supply because they don't like you using Playstations on it. It's none of their business.

  18. Egons Proton Pack

    @Neil

    Not as I understand it.

    The BPI send IP addresses to VM that they suspect and VM send the letters out.

    Since details have not been passed to a 3rd party no DPA has been broken..

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HAHA

    that's what you get when you go with one of the large ISP's - I have little sympathy.

    Although it is sad that such large wealthy companies get kicked around by such shitty worthless thieves, but hey ho.

  20. AndyC

    this is a title...

    @Neil - Supposedly, the BPI are sat with a running version of "aTorrentTracker" and looking for "latestCrappyRelease". If they confirm that it is copywrighted (by d/l I suppose or comparing hash numbers) then they have a look at all the ip address contected to it. Copy these and do some matlockery to see who the supplier is then boom, call up their buddies at BT/VM and say "at this time this ip address was sharing this, do something" and BT/VM bend over backwards...

    With VM adsl atm and I will be leaving them as soon as I decide weather I'm moving house or not. Still limited to what I can get but hey, anything is better then nothing and everything is better then VM :)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lots of Virgins

    Virgin Media doesn't own lots of music. Companies that use the Virgin name and logo have only the very loosest connection. Branson sold Virgin Records to EMI in the early 90s when he needed the money for his airline.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Wow

    So many clueless Reg readers.

    1) This is nothing new, media companies have been monitoring public file sharing for years and forwarding letters to the offenders via their ISP's

    2) Virgin Music is nothing to do with Virgin Media and is owned by EMI.

    3) Virgin Media is NOT responsible for securing your wireless connection.

    4) Virgin don't throttle for extra on-demand bandwidth but more internet bandwidth. VOD on Virgin is broadcast and uses a completely different frequency than broadband and so throttling one has absolutely no impact on the other.

    If the ISP's themselves don't start to act then we'll end up with government imposed legislation, tax on blank CD's and internet connections to compensate or litigation against individuals for theft. Which would you rather have?

    I'd rather have the idiots too dumb to avoid public filesharing getting disconnected than any of the above.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    That's it. I've had enough.

    I'm leaving them. I'm completely fed up with their continued piss-taking.

    I'll be calling them this afternoon to cancel. If anyone else wants to do the same, here's the URL for your account cancellation:

    https://client.virgin.net/cancellation/number

    Good luck.

  24. Mungo

    BPI - Bunch of Phooking Idiots?

    These guys really get on my box.

    As far as I am aware, it is currently illegal under UK law to change the format of CD/Vinyl? album to mp3. That is, if you have bought a Wino CD, it is currently illegal to upload it to your iPOD.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/cyberclinic-is-it-really-illegal-to-rip-a-cd-to-my-computer-769184.html

    The BPI dont seem to mind you breaking this law as it may mean that you did in fact buy the original. Yet these muppets seem to pick and choose which law they wish upheld and which ones can slide. They sit there whinging like a petulant brat that the cocaine is being stolen from their clients noses and have made zero effort to make a difference in this respect.

    In their eyes ISP's are responsible for individuals who break the law on their infrastructure or who are using the ISP's 'product'. Does this mean that the Highways Agency are responsible for individuals who break the law on their infrastructure? No. Does this mean that the motor industry is responsible for individuals who joyride, ram raid shops or use their products in daring robberies? No. Does this mean that Kitchen Devils should share some of the responsiblilty for the recent spate of stabbings? No. In ALL cases it is the Police who are responsible for upholding the law and investigating breaches of it.

    I applaude the ISP's who have dug in their heels and told them to f-off. If the BPI want change then they have to change the mess that currently is UK Digital Media copyright legislation yet they are entirely reluctant to do so preferring a back door approach that in the end will accomplish nothing.

    Media should be licenced like software, one purchase (not buying it on vinyl and again on CD and again for digital downloads - who do you think we are, idiots?) and if you delete it, lose it or corrupt it then you just download it again for free because YOU HAVE ALREADY BOUGHT IT ONCE!!!

    I will change my attitude to this when I see an 'educational correct usuage' letter going out to all of Kitchen Devils customers but until then wipe the crap out of your eyes BPI and stop whining.

  25. Graham Anderson

    You get what you pay for

    When I worked for a large ISP with a three letter name, we had a rolling programme where staff would go out to punters homes to talk about their experience using the intertubes.

    As well as current and ex members, we talked to competitor members too. All the NTL (i.e. Virgin) people universally said that they hated the poor customer service and poor quality of service - but the killer was that none of them would switch. Cheap and all bundled together with their telephone and TV, none of them could be bothered to switch to a better provider.

    My personal opinion (and I may not have a typical attitude to saving money) is that my Internet access is really quite important to me, so its worth spending a little more for better service. I can heartily recommend a smaller ISP like Zen - who seem to win customer satisfaction awards every year.

    One positive outcome for BT and Virgin is that by getting all pally with the BPI and acting as copyright vigilantes for them, many of their heaviest downloaders will take their BitTorrents to another ISP like TalkTalk. "Bad" customers go away of their own accord, plus, they get gold stars from the music biz and Andy "eyeliner" Burnham. They may never get to the point of having to kick downloaders off their network - neato!

  26. youvegot tobejoking
    Black Helicopters

    Virgin Media = muppets

    I have VM, I think I will be moving in about two months after the 12 month contract runs out. I tried to set up a Direct Debit and they have failed to do so despite 3 attempts (telling me that my Barclays branch sort code is wrong, despite 4 other Direct Debits set up and working fine). I have had TV and Broadband service disappear for days (usually have service interruptions to broadband once a month and TV service interruptions about once every two months). Their cable boxes look like shit and their program guide looks like a fugitive from the 80's, the remote control is counterintuitive (or maybe I just got too used to the SKY remote) and my one squeaks when I press buttons.....

    On the plus side they set up a Usenet server for their customers and I have managed to download movies at 2.5MB/s (20Mb service) .... but I have to say i am a bit worried about them possibly knowing exactly what it is I am downloading (but i did read somewhere that usenet servers do not record who downloads what)

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    3 strikes = 2 fake claims + 1 claim (which may also be fake)

    Well a 3 strikes rule could never work, because the copyright nazis would simply make 2 false claims against everyone since there's no penalty to them for making false claims.

    The 3rd claim could also be weak, because the person accepted the first two claims without raising a stink, and using the Blair 'no smoke without fire' thinking, this is the 3rd such claim.... and they did sort of accept blame on the previous two by not objecting loudly to the first two....

    I really don't know what Virgin are thinking, perhaps they have too many subscribers and want to shut up shop and go out of business? Even sending threats to their customers, even if they haven't agreed to 3 strikes, this has to rank among the dumbest corporate moves ever.

    Coldplay have just made the record for the most downloaded album (paid for) ever with their latest, they had a big success with a freely downloaded promotional track. BPI (British PHONOGRAPHIC Industry) has long lost the plot.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    just to set a few things straght....

    virgin media or any other isp will not, and do not hand over your personal info. they do not monitor what you are downloading.....

    a 3rd party will grab your ip address when you are sharing illegal content. they trace your ISP from the address, and write to them giving times and dates and what is allegedly being shared. your isp will then write to you with these allegations...

    as far as i know, nobody has been cut off, and if they are, i would like to see how well it stands up in court.

    mine is the one with the torrent logo....

  29. Gary

    @ AC

    "People are suddenly going to learn about encryption.

    And it is not hard to randomize the ports a bit as well, or just shove it all out on port80."

    WTF is that going to do? Virgin are just looking at the amount you are downloading, not what your actually downloading, so encryping it will not make a blind bit of difference.

    Besides, Encrypted Torrent traffic still looks like torrent traffic.

  30. Stevie G
    Black Helicopters

    What's the alternative?

    I am (currently) a VM customer. I like the TV, on demand service and it is not sky. I don't use the phone line so still have a BT line. So, we have throttling, Phorm, and now this! My point to VM is that I am their customer (ie. I pay them money for a service) , and I have no relationship with BPI, so why would I thank/commend VM for a letter on behalf of a company that 'says' I have been downloading illegal files regardless if I actually have or not! They don't seem to get it - this is crazy and I am looking for an alternative. Any pointers?

    My concern is that all/most of the ISPs are going to accept this as de facto behaviour when plainly it is just unacceptable. Encryption is one option, but not for bittorrent trackers, or do I roll over and let VM tickle my tummy because they know what is best for me!

  31. Oliver
    Stop

    Presumption abounds

    Christ on a bike, when will people inform themselves. Firstly VM and BT are not 'snooping' on you. The BPI are joining torrent swarms and p2p networks and downloading files - if they collect IP addresses along the way belonging to VM/BT they contact the ISP to send a letter to the customer (whether they are responsible or not). Secondly, encryption will not protect you from this, you're IP is still visible to the BPI if share a file with them. You can:

    Use an IP filter - probably advisable but I wouldn't be surprised if the BPI are wise to this. If they are working hand-in-hand with VM/BT what's the chances they are using IPs supplied by those ISPs?

    Use Tor/I2P/Ants or another anonymous network though each brings its own issues.

    Use binaries instead - this way you're not uploading anything, only downloading, and at whatever speed your ISP can provide ;-)

    Not use file-sharing software for illicit purposes. What was that? Yeah, same to you buddy?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    VM service

    I left VM in May, largely due to their intent of using Phorm. I cancelled the Direct Debit with the expectation that, if I owed them any money, they would let me know; an invoice perhaps for one month of internet access. Almost two months later however, I received a letter from a debt recovery agency claiming that they are agents for VM. Still no invoice. I do not want this to queer up my credit rating and have consulted the CAB and arranged a visit to a solicitor. In the meantime I have written to the debt recovery agent to avoid the real possibility that they will add on 'administration charges' for non payment of the alleged outstanding amount. I have written to VM asking why they chose to ignore usual business practice of sending an invoice to advise their customer of an outstanding debt and requesting settlement of it before bringing in heavy handed debt recovery agents. Perhaps they are unhappy about losing so many customers?

  33. Vince sanz

    What a load of crap

    Brief history of the Internet:

    1989 Some geeks invented a way to transmit information via a telephone based land line to other geeks across country creating the first ever version of a peer2peer network. Ok they may have not created it for their mates to bootleg music, porn or movies but its the same concept...

    2008 - Some big group of geeks create the ways and means to make information freely available to the net for EVERYONE. Everyone has a choice, do i download or dont I?...

    I bet you any amount of bill gates's money (pre Windows XP and Vista of course!!) that 99% of the staff at Virgin, BT, Tiscali, Orange and several other companies all download illegal content to their machines. So why bother with all of this, my theory is thus… AS LONG AS THE INTERENT EXISTS, PEOPLE WILL SEND, DOWNLOAD, COPY RIP AND ILLEGALLY DISTRIBUTE OTHER PEOPLES CRAP...

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Long live Carphone ..

    Ive worked for isps and for webhosts and webhosts need to be policed due to the fecktards who run there phishing sites paid for with bum credit cards, 419 scammers and people writing bad site code that gets exploited by script kiddies, isps on the other hand do not need to police there users as there is enough organisations circulating the web that do it for them. Charles D definitely had the right idea by telling them to feck off! as it nothing more than a waste of everyones money.

    Bill, just so we dont forget him now he's doing a lot of good work for charity.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ youvegot tobejoking

    If you use the virgin media newsgroup servers then yes I think you are safe from BPI etc.

    http://torrentfreak.com/isp-to-voluntarily-disconnect-file-sharers-from-the-internet-080331/comment-page-4/

  36. Mark

    BPI's two faced lies

    Filesharing isn't illegal, it's unauthorised. The ONLY person who can say whether it is unauthorised is the copyright owner. And the result is a civil infraction. This is not illegality.

    And if the BPI were sooo shocked by filesharing, where were they when Sony managed massive filesharing of others' copyrighted works in their rootkit fiasco?

  37. Brian Gannon

    Disconnect them

    Virgin are too soft, boot the obvious freeloaders off the network, that way those of us who use the higher speeds legitimately won’t be capped. I find it hard that people are anti this strategy even if you are an illegal downloader hogging the pipe surely you can see what you are doing is wrong and selfish.

  38. Anthony

    Torrents

    If anyone is kidding themselves about illegal downloads, they're still illegal and you shouldn't be doing it.

    On the other hand.. Vidalia.

    But yeah.. getting caught if you're doing something you shouldn't be doing does have a sense of inevitability about it.

  39. Chris
    Thumb Up

    Whiners

    I have no problem with them booting the freeloading p2p'ers off their network, if that is indeed what their planning. Why should my connection speed suffer when I choose to buy physical media over free virus ridden poxy quality downloads from torrents? I liken it to digging through your neigbours stinking bin to find yesterdays paper.

    Phorm is another matter entirely - suffice to say I hope they never ever consider it again. Ive no cause for complaint otherwise.

  40. Mark

    @AndyC

    Problems:

    a) it is not illegal to take the work if you're the copyright holder

    b) it is a civil tort to infringe on copyright

    so (a) means that there's nothing wrong here for downloading.

    (b) means that they can ask for damages. Which for non-commercial file sharing is about, ooh, £0.

    Now if they can find out others who DID download it but

    a) didn't have the music in another form ("you bought a license, not a DVD!")

    b) still kept it

    c) can be reasonably expected to be able to pay for it

    then they can target the downloader.

    NOTE: this is where it gets even sillier:

    Our filesharing is illegal because we're making available without license.

    AllOfMP3's filesharing is illegal because they are selling with a license.

    Oops.

  41. Edd

    @Brian Gannon

    "Virgin are too soft, boot the obvious freeloaders off the network, that way those of us who use the higher speeds legitimately won’t be capped."

    Why are they freeloaders in the context of virgin's bandwidth? Yes they don't pay for the music, but in terms of utilising network resources what differentiates their use from your 'legitimate' use?

  42. David Perry

    Alternative provider

    I'm moving to a non-cable area, and was actively considering o2 as my other half has it at her place and it's fantastic service (although zero points for my mac not being able to connect to their wep-secured wifi - doesn't help that gf won't let me change the key cos her pc is happily on there). However cos they haven't enabled as many bt exchanges as the competition I'd have to pay a tenner a month more (even as an o2 mobile customer).

    VM has only been glitchy once or twice for me in the years I've been with them, and it tends to be a UK call center when I ring them as well :)

    Why can I never think of an icon with a whitty reason for it dammit...

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Oh dear..

    @ wow - AC

    "If the ISP's themselves don't start to act then we'll end up with government imposed legislation, tax on blank CD's and internet connections to compensate or litigation against individuals for theft. Which would you rather have?"

    - compensate for litigation?? what are you on about. A tax would *legitimise* filesharing.

    @ Brian Gannon

    Filesharing - legal or not does not make up most of the traffic clogging 'your' pipes. Youtube et al overtook it a while ago. Besides, it's none of your business how others utilise their bandwidth.

  44. Someone

    Re: 3 strikes = 2 fake claims + 1 claim (which may also be fake)

    If the BPI do accuse you of file-sharing and you think they’re in error, can you sue them for defamation? Previously, we had solicitors taking the legally correct route, although one that was much more problematic for those accused. They would go to court and ask for an order compelling an ISP to hand over the account details associated with a list of IP addresses at specific times. They would then make the accusation directly to you. By going through the ISP, the BPI risk lowering the reputation of those customers in the eyes of any right-minded ISP.

    Would the BPI want to go to court and have their evidence tested or would they be happier retracting the accusation and paying you compensation?

  45. Stevie G
    Flame

    Short Sighted

    Brian Gannon, I don't care what you download or how much bandwidth you use, only what I have paid for and the service I either am or am not receiving. The issue is not about bandwidth c*ck, but rather how VM are (ab)using their position in colluding with external companies with whom I have no relationship who apparently can tell VM that I have been a 'bold boy' regardless of wheter or not I have.

  46. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    @Chris

    Whiner.

    Why should it matter to you if Phorm changes advertising on pages you download? You didn't visit that page purely to see the ads!

    And why should my payments to the ISP go up just because you don't like Phorm?

    (note, no sarcasm tags available, more's the pity)

  47. Steven
    Go

    RE: Disconnect them

    Here, here...

    79p from iTunes it ain't going to break the bank freetards. And if more people downloaded legally maybe the price would come down a bit more.

  48. Steve Loughran

    VM phone service sucks too

    Clearly Virgin Media dont want you using your dial up line for P2P work, or it would be reliable. The best bit: since yesterday, Virgin Phone customer service has been offline. Anyone with a virgin mobile phone should try dialling 150 to see this. How can you report a broken landline to the telco when their own call centre is off the net?

  49. Iain

    support calls again

    "dial 151 from a VM phone - its free!"

    Yes. The support person even informed me that I could have called them for free, if only I was using a VM phone instead of my mobile. Which was pretty infuriating, given that I'd just painstakingly explained that the problem I was reporting was that my phone line wasn't working. ARRGH!

  50. simon beattie
    Alert

    Cocks

    If the music industry sorted itself out properly they wouldn't have to resort to these tactics.

    Being a 40-something guy, I don't have much interest in most of this new fangled pop music but like to catch up on some old 80s favourites that I missed the first time around. Where can I get them? Why should I have to buy a whole album just for one track? An old album at that......

    If I go out and buy a second hand car I don't expect to pay full price for it as it's older. It should be the same for music. They should introduce a sliding scale for music based on age of the song. I'd be quite happy to pay 5 or 10p for a long forgotten track from the 70s or 80s but I wouldn't be happy having to pay a quid for it.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pathetic Excuse or What?

    How many more times do we have to see the excuse of "somebody else must have been using my wireless network"? But better yet we have somebody apparently claiming that it's up to the ISP to secure their wireless network. Priceless.

    You may as well claim that you're not responsible for the use of your credit card if you leave it lying around in a public place. It's your wireless network, you secure it.

    I was doing a wireless survey at one of our sites yesterday and could see 10 access points. Three of these had no security at all. Interestingly I could identify one if these as one that comes with WEP enabled as default, (yes I know it's pretty hopeless but it's a damn sight better than nothing) so the user had gone to the trouble of switching off security, presumably because it was too much hassle. If you leave your front door wide open and somebody strolls into your house do you blame the manufacturer of the lock?

  52. mike
    Coat

    it wont work

    I wish someone would answer one question CAN THEY TELL WHETHER THE CONTENT IS bbc i PLAYER OR SOMETHING ELSE? i think not but I cannot get a answer. mine the one with the find a open WI-FI detector in the pocket.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Lost Sales

    Reading this has reminded me that since Oink was shutdown I've hardly downloaded any music, and at the same time I've bought 0 CD's, whereas previously I was buying about 5 a month. Making it harder to find good quality music downloads has hurt the record companies in lost sales, as I now don't discover the new bands to "try before you buy".

    Moves like this from VM/BT will only make that worse (if I actually used them)

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC - Oh dear..

    I guess you misread what was written. You questioned "compensate for litigation", but that was never even written. It's not "for" in the middle. What the OP wrote was

    "tax on blank CD's and internet connections to compensate"

    "or litigation against individuals for theft"

    you just have to imagine that there's a comma between those two phrases ;)

  55. Grim2o0o
    Thumb Down

    Eh?

    I am surprised that people still sign to Virgin Media, but I suppose that if you want slow on-peak speeds, dodgy phorm trials, or TV streaming that's throttled then by all means go with VM.

    I hate you people who think that if you use a lot of traffic you must be a pirate, what about iPlayer, Youtube, STEAM (game delivery network - Half-Life 2 series is over 14Gbs)and all these other content rich sites which eat lots of bandwidth? Oh I forgot, you only ever go to facebook, what's this? the interweb thingy has videos and games on it? WHOA!

    It is lame, we're meant to be entering the digital age and most if not all our ISPs have draconian traffic limits which prevent using the web for anything but browsing. Even if you pay for a top tier service you never get it. I have to pay £29.99 a month to have a connection that's throttled when any sign of traffic occurs so that the cheapskate paying £5.99 a month (with same ISP) can surf his/her emails a nanosecond quicker.

  56. Igor Mozolevsky
    Pirate

    RE: Wow? Really??

    > they [VM] did seem to provide me with a wireless router preconfigured with

    > ok security and with username/password of the router different to the routers

    > default. So if someone did hijack that dudes wireless then Virgin may be using

    > rubbish key generation algorithms (sound familiar??)

    A German Court in Hamburgh (if I recall correctly), back in July 2006, had already found the owner of an unsecured WiFi connection liable for trading of copyrighted music through peer-to-peer, so go figure...

    Although I would question how forensically sound BPI's methods are. If I'd received one of those letters, I'd write back to the ISP and deny any wrong doing and require them produce evidence to back up their allegation. There's a reason why ISPs with a brain are not being bullied by the BPI...

  57. Igor Mozolevsky
    Paris Hilton

    RE: @AndyC

    > (b) means that they can ask for damages. Which for non-commercial file

    > sharing is about, ooh, £0

    Erm, not quite - it's the money they lost because you didn't buy the product plus the money they lost because others, to whom you've supplied the product, did not pay for the product either...

  58. Eponymous Cowherd
    Stop

    @ Mark

    ***"Why should it matter to you if Phorm changes advertising on pages you download? You didn't visit that page purely to see the ads!"***

    That is a misconception. Phorm do not replace ads, they place ads in Phorm partner websites based on the profile they have built of your browsing habits. The problem is they build up that profile by spying on you *and* the non Phorm partner websites you visit.

    And lets not forget that the Phorm DPI technology can just as easily be used to track your web habits for purposes *other* than advertising. I imagine you won't mind Virgin and Phorm assisting the BPI if it keeps your ISP costs down.

  59. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge

    Re: BPI - Bunch of Phooking Idiots?

    "In their eyes ISP's are responsible for individuals who break the law on their infrastructure or who are using the ISP's 'product'. Does this mean that the Highways Agency are responsible for individuals who break the law on their infrastructure? No. Does this mean that the motor industry is responsible for individuals who joyride, ram raid shops or use their products in daring robberies? No. Does this mean that Kitchen Devils should share some of the responsiblilty for the recent spate of stabbings? No. In ALL cases it is the Police who are responsible for upholding the law and investigating breaches of it."

    I agree with you Mungo, that's how it ought to be and how it has been in the past. However times are changing, publicans are responsible for making sure their cleints don't smoke, shops are responsible for making sure I show my ID when buying superglue. With all the "knife crime" cheifs are saying we can use knifes with rounded ends, so that will be the knife makers having to change the knifes. Toyota are working on a breathalyser to be fitted to all cars.

    The responsibility for things is shifting away from the users towards the organisations closest to the users. In Texas they are passing a law which says all PC Technicians need a P.I licence. So that they can make sure the users are not doing anything illegal on their computers.

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,2324220,00.asp

    If it works then we will probably see something to that effect in the UK soon.

  60. andy gibson
    Happy

    @Vince sanz

    Some of us were using P2P long before 1989. All hail the Spectrum and the Prism VTX5000 1200/75 modem!

  61. michael

    RE: RE: Disconnect them

    "Here, here...

    79p from iTunes it ain't going to break the bank freetards. And if more people downloaded legally maybe the price would come down a bit more."

    I use bittorrent to get stuff that is not avaible in the uk eg us series that sre not out here old tv series not out on dvd anymore animi and last but not least porn do you think they sell that on itunes?

  62. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Cocks

    Songs don't rust, though. Unless they are by Bob Dylan.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    dear VM

    FUCK OFF!

    from one of you (very) disgruntled employees

  64. Stuart Halliday
    Pirate

    I believe a word of it

    VM customers would swap down to a stupid 8Mb/s rate from 30Mb/s (soon to be 50Mb/s) and drop their HD TV connection with its video on demand services?

    I don't think so.

    I like my Virgin Media services and I can't get them elsewhere.

    Virgin may claim it's doing this because these people are doing an illegal act but really Virgin is only doing this because these sharers are using a lot of bandwidth and as we know this hits Virgin Media where it hurts - in its purse.

    If VM did get rid of its top-end users all it would do is recompile its spreadsheets of bandwidth users and get a new average user. Then it'll re-examine the top users and see what they're doing and VM may try to justify throwing them off.

    What'll be next?

    YouTube, Vreel or iPlayers viewer comes to mind.

    Or maybe those of us who backup our private data to other systems?

    Maybe VM will make that illegal too?

    Hey VM, why not block web sites with lots of flash content on them?

    That'll reduce your congested pipes too.

  65. Richard
    Unhappy

    When will they learn?

    Let me just start off by saying that 2008 is turning out to be a fantastic year for music IMO.

    How do I know this? Becuase I've downloaded quite a lot of albums illegally. Why have I downloaded a lot of albums illegally? Because unless I go and stand in a record shop all day asking them to play the stuff I want to hear, then downloading stuff is the only way I'll ever get to hear the bands I like. The radio, television and music mags have been in the pockets of the record companies for years and not being in their demographic, I'm not exactly well catered for. Now it seems they want the ISPs eating out of their hands as well.

    This year I have already spent double the amount on music that I did last year, this is mostly thanks to having downloaded the album first. There's no way I'd have just taken the risk and bought half of the stuff that I have done otherwise, and I'm sure I'm not the only person doing this.

    So my questions to Virgin Media are this:

    1. What is it you are hoping to achieve?

    2. What have the BPI offered you as a reward for working with them?

    3. Who is paying for the administration of this ad-hoc policing of your network?

    4. Have you thought about the message this sends out to your customers?

    but more importantly...

    5. This one is more for the BPI... If you want me to stop downloading music illegally, ultimately you will stop me from hearing music by new bands that I am interested in, which means I am not going to be spending so much money on music, so you lose out. You should do some research into the people who are real music fans who have always bought music just to see how many of those people have now decided that because you can get it free that there's no need to pay for it anymore.. I think you'll find that number is quite low.

    6. Back to Virgin Media... Just supposing I do stop downloading music. Can you now tell me why I need your 10MB broadband connection? I can quite happily use my mobile phone for all of my home surfing needs otherwise. In fact I can use my mobile phone for all of my calls come to think of it, and I sure as hell don't want to keep your TV package. You lose.

    I urge anyone who does the same as me and receives one of these letters from Virgin to write back and echo these sentiments. There's just no sense in what they are doing.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Defence

    Is it possible to defend yourself against claims of piracy without giving an unvetted third party access to everything stored on your PC? There must be a way.

  67. Eponymous Cowherd
    Stop

    @ michael

    ***"I use bittorrent to get stuff that is not avaible in the uk eg us series that sre not out here old tv series not out on dvd anymore animi and last but not least porn do you think they sell that on itunes?"***

    Err, michael,

    It might interest you to know that downloading US tv shows, and porn (well, that which isn't home made) is just as much a copyright infringement as downloading the latest Amy Winehouse album.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    "An educational Campaign"

    So VM say that these letters are just part of an educational campaign?

    Is that akin to a huge bloke palming his fist and saying, "I'm gonna teach you a lesson"?

    Icon: the result of a thorough bout of educating.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Disconnect Them

    ''Here, here...

    79p from iTunes it ain't going to break the bank freetards. And if more people downloaded legally maybe the price would come down a bit more.''

    But what if I don't want to use crappy Itunes and don't have an Ipod?

    People will start downloading tunes legally when they are released for about 50p a track or £5 for an album in DRM free MP3s. Sort that out, and they can have my money, until then Ill keep using Bit Torrent.

  70. GettinSadda

    I'd sue!

    If I got one of those letters I would sue them for defamation - there is text on the OUTSIDE of the envelope that lets anyone who sees it before you open it know that they are accusing you of breaking the law!

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    Best ISP ever

    Virgin has been providing me with a consistently speedy 20mb connection for over a year. No slowdown at peak times, in fact most of the time it hits 25Mb/s.

    OK so they jumped into bed with the disease ridden Phorm, not loving that idea but at least they actually deliver the service they promise, unlike every other ISP I've suffered.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eponymous Cowherd

    It might interest you to know that ignoring the question someone asked and answering a different one is called a Straw Man Argument and generally regarded as showing a lack of debating skills.

    Michael was debunking accusations that people who fileshare are too cheap to pay 79p on itunes. His point stands in spite of your attempt to make him look bad.

  73. Ash
    Flame

    Don't cancel your subscription; Use it.

    Seed ISO's of huge linux distributions instead. All day while you're at work, all night. Pause seeding while you're at home watching iPlayer or whatever, but use ALL the bandwidth you pay for.

    Take up AS MUCH BANDWIDTH AS POSSIBLE.

    Hell, make a 5GB text file repeating the phrase "Stop messing with our pipes." and seed it on TPB, TorrentReactor, any tracker you can find. Label it "Virgin Protest Torrent."

    If their numbers are correct, and 5% are using 95% of the bandwidth, then they get 5% lost revenue for 95% reduction in costs by you leaving. This is NOT going to make progress!

    Protest is pointless unless the method inconveniences those you protest against. Let's get it right.

  74. Igor Mozolevsky
    Coat

    RE: RE: Disconnect Them

    > But what if I don't want to use crappy Itunes and don't have an Ipod?

    play.com sell drm-free mp3s and while they're not in your "price range", they are totally reasonable...

  75. Igor Mozolevsky
    Boffin

    RE: Defence

    > Is it possible to defend yourself against claims of piracy without giving an unvetted

    > third party access to everything stored on your PC? There must be a way.

    Is the burden not on the accuser, not on the accusee???

  76. Igor Mozolevsky

    Re: 3 strikes = 2 fake claims + 1 claim (which may also be fake)

    > Would the BPI want to go to court and have their evidence tested or would they be

    > happier retracting the accusation and paying you compensation?

    Of course there's nothing to prevent BPI from saying "We did nothing wrong - we merely alerted the ISP to the activity and if they chose to take drastic action without any form of investigation how could you possibly hold us accountable???" Which is what sensible ISPs (like CPW) are probably fearing...

  77. Alfazed
    Pirate

    There's a moral here

    I'm reminded of the children's story about the dog with a bone in it's mouth while crossing a stream. It sees it's own reflection in the water and thinks it's another dog with a bone in it's mouth. The dog thinks the other dog has stolen his bone or some other foolishness and barks at the other dog. In the process, the dog loses it's bone in the stream.

    If I get such a letter from Virginmedia, I'll cut myself off straight away, and then get a Carphone Warehouse deal, maybe ? Or some other ISP, and carry on as usual, until we run out of ISP's I suppose.

    I'll lose the digital telly as well, but I'll save myself quite a bit of money every month, which VirginMedia will lose from their coffers.

    I doubt my that kids will start buying CD's or pay to download music from the internet, just because someone threatens to cut our internet service. I will however make my children dutifully aware of the greedy pigopolist's ploy.

    Considering how crap digital television is now, the very finite life span of CD and DVD media, and Flash Drive memory, we don't have to work hard to imagine the sort of music service we'll get for our dosh.

    I suppose it'll be all Girls Aloud tracks available for download anyway and other similar pop rubbish. No real music though ! I mean, who buys Amy Winebar music anyway ?

    Get some real music from real artists like, The Soil Brothers, Two Wise Men, Andrew Chaparral Hodges, Alfazed, The Barmy Army, Nine Inch Nails and many more, just Google 'em, all downloads are free and legal from various servers.

    PS the music tracks used in Adult Hood are all available on You Tube. Listen to the lyrics pigopolists of the recording industry, you can download them for free.

    ALF

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Disconnect Them -> iTunes Pricing

    Steven said...

    "79p from iTunes it ain't going to break the bank freetards"

    To veer away ever so slightly, what's up with that?

    How are they still able to charge more (79p) for a UK download of the exact same file that they get in the US for 99cents.

    I may not be a master of exchange rate maths, but even I know that 99cents is not equal to 79p. Even after the EU slapped them into cutting the price, it's still only going to come down to 74p, apparently.

    Paltry sums, I know, but still.

  79. Vetis
    Alert

    New news story

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/jul/03/virgin.filesharers

    "As part of this we don't make any kind of accusation about the user — it could be somebody else in their house, their block of flats or they might have an open Wi-Fi connection," said the spokesman.

    "We can't point the finger at the account holder, but we can point out what's happening with their connection. Often it's a lack of education that's causing the problem."

    So Virgin wont be cutting anyone off, they are leaving it to the rights holders or representatives to take action as it has been for some time already.

  80. Terry Blay
    Go

    Big up Carphone Warehouse!!

    I'd like to highlight a point I haven't seen much of on this thred:

    BIG RESPECT TO CARPHONE WAREHOUSE FOR SHOWING SOME BLOODY INTEGRITY and telling the BPI to shove it where the DRM don't shine.

    That for me would be a good enough reason to switch to their service

    They are a listed company though, and if pushed to it they'd comply, if their shareholder's interests were threatened....

  81. Mark

    "79p from iTunes it ain't going to break the bank"

    And 10p isn't going to leave the labels penniless.

    You forget:

    WE the public ALLOW copyright for the EVENTUAL enrichment of the PUBLIC DOMAIN.

    However, PD is forgotten and the paytards are deliberately destroying what would have come to the public and extending their rights at our expense.

    So they're stealing our public domain, we steal their copyrighted works.

  82. Eponymous Cowherd
    Paris Hilton

    @ Mycho

    Well, it would be a straw man argument if it wasn't for the fact that I didn't realise he was quoting (bad eyesight). It's why I emphasise quotes to avoid confusion.

    ***"Quoted stuff"***

    Apologies to Michael for not getting his point.

    Paris, 'cos I'm feeling a bit blond at the moment......

  83. chris

    Scarcity economics

    "if more people downloaded legally maybe the price would come down a bit more."

    Hoho. Scarcity economics / economies of scale don't apply here. More likely that the opposite is true: if more people download illegally the price will be forced down, as they'd rather sell something than nothing.

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Screw the file sharerers

    Seriously. Screw 'em. The obvious solution is to stop stealing shit.

  85. Mark
    Dead Vulture

    RE: Screw the file sharerers

    Well, while RIAA produce shit, there's shit to steal.

    Retard.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    79p to iTunes - the record company gets nearly 50p !!!

    "iTunes downloads cost 79p per track. Writer/publisher get 6p, Performer 6-8p, Visa/Mastercard 7p, Apple 12p, and Record Company almost 50p. Sod that. Help yourself to my songs & share them with your friends"

    http://www.tomrobinson.com/records/music/index.htm

    And who pays the BPI? ***The record company***

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real reason..

    is that Virgin want to try and limit the bandwidth that their customers use, whilst still charging them the same amount.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Waiting for my letter to arrive ...

    I'm out of loo roll

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Peerguardian?

    Riiiight, never heard of Peerguardian then?

    Paris Whitney Hilton because even she knows to use Peerguardian when engaging in some peer to peer.

  90. This post has been deleted by its author

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Why virgin cant disconnect you

    There is something very unique to virgins cable internet service which means virgin need to be very careful who they accuse of piracy, and also would make it very hard for them to truly disconnect someone.

    You can use someone else's subscription.

    Yes you read it right, with some effort and a "hacked" cable modem you can pretend to be somebody else and everything you download will end up being attributed to whoever's MAC address you cloned, you dont have to mess with such nuisance things as standing in the street trying to break someones WEP key, You just need an active cable feed to your house.

    When your cable modem connects to the network it is assigned an IP address based on whether the modems MAC address is active and tied to a subscription, if you stop your subscription they update their end and blacklist your modems MAC so that your cable modem gets a dummy config file that doesn't let it connect.

    And since you cant change the MAC address the modem no longer works on virgins network.

    However there are pirate firmwares available for the cable modems which once the modem has been flashed (either using a serial cable or jtag) allow you to change the modems mac address and pretend to be somebody else.

    You can also scan the network to find the MAC address of other peoples modems, However you cant use them as they are on the same segment as you, if you try the real modem and the fake modem will fight for an IP address and keep rebooting, but if you use a MAC address from another part of town the real and fake modems will co exist.

    They have made some efforts to stop this like adding some sort of xor table to the firmware to obfuscate some communications but I believe it still works.

    The upshot of this is virgin really have no idea who is using their network, and cant 100% say who was downloading what.

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Peerguardian suggestion

    Peerguardian IS 100% an utter waste of time since the BPI will most likely be doing this from a residential address or over VPN's to residential addresses (BPI employees homes with exemption???)

    I suspect the BPI have paid some 12 year old school children an extra 2 pounds in pocket money for some top IT advice on downloading successfully with peer2peer so sorry guys the BPI will be right up to speed on the cutting edge of P2P technologies...

    I can really see this backfiring spectacularly in a future sense though, whilst the BPI might claim 100% "victory" for now (ludicrous), it definitely looks like the next evolution of P2P that comes out might lean towards it being completely anonymous.

    One idea is to integrate filesharing to webmail inboxes, most webmail has 2.5Gb of storage, you could have shit sent to you without even downloading it off a P2P, it all ends up in your email to download off blazingly fast servers in a data centre. Its really easy to get a PC application to control email uploads and downloads...

    Oh shit now ive gone and give the game away to the BPI....

    Anyway dont the BPI realise most P2P is KIDS online? Most of these CHILDREN are not old enough to face a telling off at school let alone legal action...

    Lets have a vote, who would prefer your kids FILESHARE or get DRUNK and roam the streems with KNIVES in their pockets....

    Hmmmm oh jesus I cannot decide.

    Oh yes.... one is harmless.... and the other is filesharing.

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    OMG!!!!! >>>>> Writer/publisher get 6p, Performer 6-8p,

    Well thats it then, its official - the REAL truthful price of a track is 12p-14p then.

    Right where do I order... oh yeah sure:

    That mp3 Russian Site!

    So their prices were right all along.

    Paris... because she would do it too for 12p

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Why virgin cant disconnect you

    Perhaps I being a little naive here but surely VM can catch people with cloned modems? Something like an SQL query could identify multiple instances of the same MAC address on the network along with some sort of geographic locator (I'm thinking port number in the nearest street cabinet). It's not like the modem is a passive device such as a DBox just sitting on the line, it's actively transmitting data to the network and surely can be located?

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    legislation = protectionism

    "If the ISP's themselves don't start to act then we'll end up with government imposed legislation"

    On what grounds? That an industry is upset at having failed to spot a market opportunity? That some corporate execs will lose their jobs?

    Media content is not knives, guns, drugs or alcohol. If you could be murdered with a WAV* or raped with a stolen MP3 or if AAC-high psychos were terrorising our highstreets, or if DVD-crazed teens were ripping around the streets at 2am, I'd see why legislation was appropriate. Otherwise its just protectionism.

    *I exclude the possibility of Marvin's autobiography of course. Or a Celine Dion CD...

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Why virgin cant disconnect you

    you'd think they could catch cloned modem wouldn't you?

    I don't know if there have been any big changes to their network recently but certainly in the past they couldn't.

    It used to be that there was no communications between the various areas gateways which is why a cloned modem and a real one could co-exist as long as they were on different segments within an area, this might have been changed by now to be like the American cable networks where the network acts like one single network rather than several separate ones, but I doubt it, virgin aren't known for their cutting edge technology.

    They could trace the location to a particular segment I believe but that's still a fairly large area (like a section of a town), They dont have the ability to trace it to an individual street cabinet.

    The most likely way I can think they would catch a cloned modem would be if someone used one to access their email, snooping the data might let you identify the culprit.

  97. Ian McNee
    Stop

    Holy turdspurt Batman...

    ...this looks like a job for the Freetard-O-Tron!

    "wft!!!!! facsist bPI pWn3d my ISP an i got tihs leta mannn it sux bigt ime!!!!!!!!"

    Dear freetards,

    There are at least three different issues going on here, mixing them all together and then ranting about the unholy mess just makes you look dim. Let's try to unravel them...

    (1) lots of people have been stealing copyrighted material on-line for quite a while now, to the point that some people now feel that it is their god(TM)-given right to do so. Wrong. We just happen to be around at one of those junctures in history where the new medium is taking over from the old and this new Wild West Frontier will be tamed at some point and it will become difficult/pointless/socially unacceptable for large numbers of people to continue to steal copyrighted digital media;

    (2) the BPI are a bunch of shites represtenting the old attitudes of the media megalo-corps that our money belongs to them and that they should have to provide us with as little quality product as possible in exchange. Wrong. As the ongoing demise of DRM in music shows, media companies will eventually (slowly and kicking and screaming in most cases) have to provide quality usable product at a reasonable price as a more effective strategy to combat piracy;

    (3) spineless shortsighted ISPs like VM think they can continue milk their customers like cash cows providing the bare minimum of service and not looking beyond the antiquated all-you-can-eat fixed price broadband model that is slowly failing as the sums don't add up any more. Again wrong. As with (1) and (2) the ISP business model will have to evolve (whether that means music ISPs, metered broadband or whatever) and the dinosaurs like VM will become extinct.

  98. Dick Emery
    Stop

    Bollocks!

    Seriously. There are so many factors involved that I laugh at some of the comments above. Especially from those people who think they know how everything really works. Do not forget the money talks and bullshit walks. The music industry (and movie industry) were made HUUUUUGE by you and me. They did not get to be so large and powerful by accident. Unfortunately us plebs (Or rather spotty teens with pocket money) were not aware of what we were doing. We made the big name artists big, spoiled them with 50 mil record deals and lapped it all up. We spent cash to put them there. We put MORE cash in the big QUOTE 'Megacorps' coffers.

    Remeber this 'industry' has only existed for the last what? 100 or so years? If you go back far enough you will find that before the phonogram there was the pianola and the record industry back then forced that out of existence through bullying tactics. This same industry amongst others has continued to pressure politicians (Backhanded) into passing bills that extended copyright beyond it's real usefullness (100 years like the US for instance is a joke and was turned down in this country but don't be in any doubt they will keep pushing for longer copyrights) and denied the public domain of what it rightfully should have.

    Then we have the fact that BECAUSE the copyrights are held for so long there is a SHITLOAD of back catalogue that NEVER see's the light of day again all on the basis that something 'might' come back into fashion and they can re-release it again for extra profit.

    Then you have to look at how much money the smaller artists earn. It's OK if you are Robbie the 'fatboy' who wants to 'entertain' you because he earns so much from deals, promotions, merchandise, mall openings and wotnot that the bit of money he does get from the record industry on record sales does not bother him much anyhow. But for smaller artist they earn a pittance and have shitty retainer fee's on equipment and studio time that they have to pay back to the record companies.

    All of this is background information and it runs deeper still with mechanil copyrights, royalties, songwriters fee's etc etc ad nauseam.

    Now we have the internet come along and they are 'oh shit the sky is falling they are stealing our copyrights! Let sue everyone!' instead of offering a proper service doing some 'work' for a change.

    Even when they DO eventually get arm twisted into offering a service through Apple it's all tied up in DRM and you can only play it on an iPoo and MUST install bloated failware in order to even access the 'service'. Then they even have the 'gall' to sell it at highly inflated prices in a LOSSY format with NO fucking case, sleave, liner notes or anything. You don't even get the CD quality you would get if you were to purchase a physical format. Then they eventually through pressure say you can have a DRM free file if you pay EXTRA.

    There's even more I could say on this but it needs a fucking 500 page book to go through it all. Heck there are entire websites setup to detail all of this crap.

    The truth is there is more to this than just the music industry wanting to sue some spotty teen who likes to get his latest popcorn crap for free. Look at the way the world is turning right now. Our privacy is being wittled away all the time. The governments (and corporations that pay them) don't want us having control over the media. They don't want freedom of information. They want the genie back in the bottle. They want to 'control' what we say and do online.

    Virgin Media's CEO even said in a speech that he thinks net neutrality is a load of old bollocks! They want to have fast and slow lanes on the internet where the little website guys are slow as shit because they can't pay for the bandwidth and the big megacorps get the fast lanes (Video on demand etc).

    People out there I implore you to *THINK* for a change and do your fucking research! Otherwise give it a few more years and you'll be taking it up the arse from an internet 'Big Brother'. You don't think that's happening? Think again. Read between the lines. ISP's already are going to have to retain information about your surfing habits for a year and the government wants it all on a big ol' database so they can peek into what you naughty people are doing. Because everyone is a crim right? Also we know how great the government are at keeping our sensitive data safe now don't we?

    I'll stop here as it's turning into an essay. I just think there is more to this than picking out a few naughty music downloaders.

  99. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Ian McNee

    With a comment like that you must be a BPI employee with huge salary + benefits?

    (hence the over-enthusiasm to protect the world from us simpleton freetards)

    Or are you in the music biz itself? If so, heres a cheque for 6p. You so deserve it says iTunes.

    I don't think the thought of a jail sentence would stop most people downloading now, telling people to "give up downloading" is like saying "surrender your car".

    Nope, it just -wont- happen. Sorry but anyone who thinks all this downloading will stop after some ill thought ill written intimidating and threatening letters being sent out is delusional about the real world. Open your eyes and view the world carefully.

    Lets face it, be honest here, even accredited journalists PUBLICLY ADMIT they download(ed) songs, Bill Thompson [Freelance] Darren Waters [BBC] for example.

    However, I do think there is plenty of room for money to be made for the Artists doing live performances, i'd say anything that makes money for the Artists and at the same time circumventing making the Record Industry any profit in the process is absolutely splendid.

    As a consumer, doesn't the thought of spending £8.99 on a CD where the Artist who WROTE and PERFORMED the works only gets 72p tell you something is seriously wrong with the current system? Where is the real anger in this equation?

    It certainly PISSES the ARTISTS off for sure. When you go to a gig the band gets a lot more of the profits so that is the future direction they must take.

    Since the Millennium EVERYBODY has had to review their future, newspapers dont sell in print due to online media or FREE newspapers like the Metro... Photo Processing is dying a death because of Digital Cameras, Video Shops are dying because of ON DEMAND TV, high street shops cant cope due to online retailing undercutting them massively. Phone companies now compete with FREE VOIP services etc...

    The list goes on and as SOON as the BPI realise they are analogue dinosaurs in a digital world the better life will be for all of us. Without the BPI's constant verbal diarrhoea soaking the media I might get to read some REAL news online for once.

    The one and ONLY workable solution is to tax every residential internet connection by £5 a month if they really want to charge money off people, but then we must be allowed to do what we like an they must leave for good.

    Another thing is if there is nothing to download why pay for 24Megs? Why even bother having ADSL? WHY are BT rolling out 21CN if we cant download anything? Just use 56K dial up and pay the penny per minute if the BPI manage to wreck the Internet along with viacomm.

    One last thing is music is seriously de-valued from what the BPI THINK it is worth.

    When you get FREE CD's in shitty newspapers. How can someone pay £8.99 when you get it FREE with Sunday papers. Making the CD costs less than a text message on my phone and they know it.

  100. Alexis Vallance

    Bin 'em

    "If the BPI do accuse you of file-sharing and you think they’re in error, can you sue them for defamation?"

    You could sue for damages, but what are the actual damages of you being sent a nasty letter? It's not like having allegations made against you in a newspaper read by millions.

    People are making too much of these 800 letters. They are meaningless drivel.

    A friend got one for apparently downloading a Codemasters game, demanding £50.

    It was binned, as these pathetic letters from Virgin should be.

  101. Duncan

    Tape to Tape evils of the 80's

    When I was a kid we used to meet up at the weekends and tape-to-tape any good albums we had so we could see what we like. Plus lets face it our 40p a week pocket money didn't stretch that far on the music front.

    It was evil I know - but we had no other way to enjoy or find out more about music. (Music channels? Internet? None of them existed). As it happens I turned into a proper music lover... and that includes all the random information and finding bands that go with it. It is exciting...

    But as others have said there is no way I would buy a CD on the off chance that I would like it. And there is alot of music that never gets played on radio, tv, or anywhere.

    So BPI.... what am I meant to do to listen to these new bands? What I am meant to do to find out what new stuff I like?

    I've a whole wall of CDs all carefully categorised behind me. I also download music, yes illegally. I also keep the MP3s of bands I like as playing it around the house and on my computer/ipod is so much easier. The CD case is a trophy. It looks cool, it adds to my collection. Often I don't even take them out of the cases. Keepsakes for the future and I have mp3s so I don't need them. Ah but I suppose I did get those mp3s illegally so I should probably delete them.

    Something else no one has pointed out is that many parts of the music industry have traditionally always raised far more money through live performances than their CDs/tracks. Often a popular track serves only to improve attendence at their live events. If I had not listened to the track... I wouldn't go along. Drum and Bass sort of springs to mind, or even many aspects of Electronic music. They just don't get radio exposure. The DJs get £500-4000 a night so who cares if they flog a couple of tracks. They certainly don't I've spoken to them. It's about seeing them and their music live.

    If you like the breaks/beats style of music with a nice bit of guitar thrown in I suggest you might want to try searching for Ghostland Observatory.

    Never heard of them 2 months ago, now have their 3 albums and hope to see them live very soon. Thank you TPB for letting me test out those songs before buying! I'm sure even if the BPI is pissed, Ghostland Observatory is happy to have another fan.

  102. paul bell

    am i the only one weary of this?

    there is one sure way to stop this sort of thing; just stop buying any recorded music and make it clear that your doing so because of the music industry's actions - 2-3 months should do it nicely.

    whilst at it, stop flying until the air carriers lean on the government to back off on all the security nonsense.

    vote with your wallet!!!

    -paul

  103. Andrew
    Heart

    Who cares?

    www.hushie.com

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