back to article Europe drafts law to disconnect suspected filesharers

France has suggested an amendment to the pan-European Telecoms Package, which would bar broadband access to anyone who persists in illegally downloading music or films. Last month, the government of Nicolas Sarkozy insisted on a similar "three-strikes-and-you're-out" scheme for France. Under a cross-industry agreement, ISPs …

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  2. Jon
    Thumb Down

    To me this is like the post office banned people from sending letters

    It is the Police job to pursue criminals and whether I write something in a letter or I share CD I have bought, it should be the police that police this.

    I think it is just fundamentally wrong that the a broadband provider gets involved with policing what people use their broadband connection for.

    I don't have an issue with the police finding and prosecuting criminals (file sharing et al) but I do not want my post office to read my letters and then make a decision whether I should be allowed to send any further letters.

    That is the police job

  3. Julian

    For more information

    Visit this site for another analysis very much worth a read

    http://www.digitalmajority.org/forum/t-72379/european-parliament-rushes-towards-soviet-internet

  4. ben edwards
    Paris Hilton

    Insane!

    This is like being refused the sale of a Ford because you crashed a Kia. Couldn't possibly be legal in the realworld, 'legislated' or not.

  5. peter

    Will this include some rules

    So far it seems the anti piracy group provide a time and IP of the suspects.

    How is this evidence secured, are there any controls over it, I can dump data from any torrent but how do I prove my computer is not comprimised.

    The time anyone fights a case it should be the first point.

  6. JohnG Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Collective punishment?

    There are probably quite a few families where one or more children are using filesharing to download music and/or films - and where the parents are completely clueless as to what is happening. If said parents cannot get to grips with controlling the filesharing, the whole family will be punished - including the family members who weren't doing anything wrong. That doesn't sound like justice to me.

    Is it just me or has anyone else thought that nobody cares about the regular copyright violations performed using photocopiers in companies everywhere?

  7. Adrian Smith
    Joke

    Are They Realy Going To Act So Blindly?

    The govenments are crossing a thin line with the three strikes system because people are yet to be proven guilty of any "crime"/act.

    All the ISP's can do is trace IP's back to the address and bar the account holder. But lets say there is a flat full of students with an unsecure wireless connection that the nabor is tapped into.

    Firstly the nabor could be the one downloading these tracks and wam, good bye internet for the residents.

    Secondly a flatmate downloads some tracks, yes its within the household but the account holder itself gets done.

    Thirdly your IP is being spoofed by some random net user with more sence then to leave his/her own visable. Again it gets traced back to the address and wam the account holder is accused.

    I myself had a flatmate at our old flat using an unsecured wireless network (but wouldent admit it) and had our connection sapped dry.

    My question is are they dumb anough to bar someone without definate evidance that the person in question sat at his/her pc and "clicked" download? My thaughts stray to the grandmother that has a class action lawsuite againsed the RIAA for false acusation.

  8. Steve Roper
    Flame

    Disconnect SUSPECTED filesharers

    So now it's finally official - you can be punished even if you haven't been proven guilty. Of course, we've all known this for years, but now - at last - the dictators of the New World Order have finally given this atrocious practice the official seal of approval. No more inconvenient due process. No habeus corpus. No right of defence or appeal or any of that other human rights rubbish. Just - We say you're out, you're out.

    What They forget is that if They take it all away from you, you have nothing left to lose. And who has nothing left to lose has nothing left to live for - except revenge against Them.

    Like V.

  9. ROG

    Here we go...

    P2P is driving the engine for consumers to buy more gadgets. Players and phones to play music on. Hard drives and other various discs for storage. People wanting more bandwidth for downloading. If this goes through, a good portion of this market will go down the tubes. Here's hoping it is defeated and a compromise can be had...

  10. Mike

    not to worry

    they have 2 options:

    1. have a requirement that it actually be proved, leaving us in the current situation of not having to worry about it (as they can't prove anything, which is why they insist on never going to court, courts need this "proof" thing)

    2. they say any copyright holder sends 3 complaints they cut them off for a year, meaning every single customer online at a certain time gets cut off for a year after an automated script sends out 3 emails for every IP Address the ISP has assigned, quickly bankrupting that ISP (or they could chose to pay me huge amounts of money for refusing my demand to disconnect everyone)

  11. Tim Bates
    Thumb Down

    I'm no advocate of piracy...

    ...but aren't these laws really just giving a little too much power to large international corporations for no reason?

    They shouldn't be targeting the individuals anyway. It's the pirating "companies" they need to smack around. These are the groups that make the difference in profits.

    90% of individuals who pirate stuff once or twice a week at most (which, lets face it will be those caught by these laws) would simply ignore the content they are pirating if they can't pirate it. They do not intend to buy it (or watch/listen for free on FTA TV/radio). There is no loss to the publisher. In fact, it's not uncommon for someone to pirate something and then later buy the content legitimately! Especially those on lower incomes (students in particular).

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Blunt Instrument.

    So long as legitimate users of file-sharing do not get caught up in this, fine, it was going to come sooner or later this crackdown. I read somewhere that some company etc was working on a way to use bit-torrent like process to share real time tv over the net. Clearing all the dodgy file-sharers out of the way so the bandwith is available for media companies to distribute ads, sorry content seems like a good justification.

    Paris? Because ahh, uumm, the bike race to Paris is on? (isn't she a bit of a bike?)

  13. Andraž Levstik

    Sarkozy...

    ...go shaft.self

  14. Andy Worth

    So what's it gonna be?

    Will it be like speed cameras, whereby if you go on a long journey and get snapped by several different ones you can lose your license in one trip? What I mean is do they just have to catch you downloading 3 different things or will they have to send a warning and allow reasonable time for you to have received and read it to give it chance to take effect before catching you again?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At last ... The 1984 Show

    Sharing information is double-unplus good. Don't you know there is war on?

  16. Gordon Pryra
    Unhappy

    Thats some massive bribes in action

    How many industries’s can claim to have the power of law over other industries?

    Why the hell are entertainment companies now law enforcers? Holding the power to cut people off from services hosted by a completely different industry?

    Money talks, and it’s not just the English politicians that take backhanders

    It looks like the French Revolution beheaded the wrong scum

  17. Adam Foxton
    Stop

    Games? Software?

    Surely if they're going to ban people for illegal filesharing it should be ANY illegal filesharing?!

    The music/movies focus just shows that they're playthings of the RIAA/MPAA rather than serious about being touch on filesharing.

    The ISPs should just be pipes- how would water companies feel if suddenly asked to stop supplying water to people who were using it to keep a terrorist hydrated or grow those oh-so-lethal strains of skunk we've all heard about?

    Or if the sewage companies were asked to keep a look out for any waste, keeping detailed files on it for government use (i.e. looking for flushed drugs/pets, peoples' food intake habits, etc) for purposes of national security. And then found out that the information was being used by the food standards agency in conjunction with CCTV and credit card records to find out which food establishments were making people ill rather than fighting terrorists.

    This sort of scheme really should be illegal to so much as propose.

    Other point: Surely if they're stopping people downloading the files, they're making it more likely that people will sell the CDs/DVDs/BDs illegally at markets and the like? Which, rather than stopping the entertainment industry from making as much of a profit, would stop them making a profit AND help fund organised crime and terrorism. Paedophile rings could help get funding through this as well.

    Clearly this is a Terrorist-Mafia-Paedophile plot and must be stopped. Won't someone PLEASE think of the children/soon-to-be-decapitated horses/lightly damaged airport bollards this will hurt?!

  18. Rob Cooper
    Stop

    ISP's should just do THEIR job!

    This is really starting to hack me off, its not down to the ISP's to enforce copyright protection. I can just see a ream of false positives and people losing a LOT of money (you can guarantee that it will be in the contract that if disconnected, you will need to pay the remainder).

    ISP = Internet ***Service Provider***

  19. Mike Bell
    Thumb Down

    Quelle Idée Stupide

    Of course there are never instances where multiple users share the same ISP connection...

  20. Cody

    Accusation, evidence, proof, conviction

    Acts to disconnect anyone who "persists in illegally downloading music or films."

    No, not quite. It is acting to disconnect anyone foolish enough to be persistently accused of illegally downloading music or films. The EC (and the Labour Party here also) seems to have difficulty distinguishing between being accused of having done something, and being proved to have done it.

    I have nothing against disconnecting proven copyright violators, if that is the sanction established in democratically passed legislation. However, to disconnect people, or apply any other form of sanction, merely because of repeated accusations from some self appointed guardians of copyright, is a form of state sanctioned vigilantism.

    That way totalitarianism lies. This is the point of principle this stuff has to be fought on. By all means punish criminals. But AFTER you have convicted them, not after some one or other has simply accused them a few times.

  21. Mycho Silver badge

    In other words...

    ... France has realised that this may disadvantage it in technology circles and wants to try and level the playing field by disadvantaging everyone else.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Presumption of Innocence

    Well, hardly.

    I'd love to say, "If the evidence has not been tested in court and the accused convicted, then it's outrageous to do that" .... but, I suppose we get into contractual relationships with ISPs and acceptable use policies and so on. Then again, even with a parking infringement, there is the option to contest the alleged offence in court.

    It seems very heavy handed to introduce a law that does not require (or at least provide the option of) testing of evidence in court.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and why could they...

    Not have done this years ago with the matter of Child Pornography ?. I recall all the ISP's telling the Met Police how they could not do anything about it. Strange therefore that all of a sudden they can do anything and block access to music files. Shows me that money is valued above all else, including privacy as well. Is this the thin end of the wedge and what will be next ?. Are the ISP's doing music industry a favour, or are they gaining something ?

  24. Cris Page

    Democracy in action huh?

    Innocent until PROVEN guilty? Not in this world... not any more.

  25. gautam
    Alien

    Worse than RIAA

    Hello USA. What you can do, we can do better ! Sarky needs to prove himself on international stage and this is where he starts. I suspect Bush's visit had something to do with this. (Also Frances decision to rejoin NATO! ).

    TIme for some protests like the French Farmers.

    Anyone listening ?

  26. Tony Paulazzo
    Flame

    Bet this don't get printed

    Fuck off France!!! Fan the Flames of Freedom. The end result of 'no lawlessness' is what invaded your country in the 40s until the British killed nazism (nazi-ism?).

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    What?

    Never heard such a load of crap in my life...

    What next? Sniffing your local network?

  28. Maurice Shakeshaft
    Unhappy

    Hanh on a minute.......

    A law to disconnect "suspected" file sharers! It might be right for the Napoleonic code of laws but surely not in Britain were we (supposedly) are guilty until proven innocent.

    I don't file share (as far as I know) and wouldn't know a "bit trident" if if stabbed me painfully. However, I may become suspected of file sharing and then pooof would go my internet connection, mais non??

    If my ISP has evidence of me of braking my commercial agreement then they may tell me that the intend to suspend my service. We'd then settle down to a battle. This is a little different to "suspects" I anticipate.

    Mr S can keep his French Laws for France and the rest of us will live on.

  29. Khaptain Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    We know the answer to that one

    I presume that it wont be long before we see the rise of one or all of the following

    Various kinds of DarkWeb.

    Private Internets.

    Peer to Peer "Obligatory" Encryption.

    Anonymized seeding ( Is this possible ).

    Specially Encrypted Packets.

    Specialied ISP's offering guaranteed NO DPI.

    I hope that Tim Berners Lee can come up with a new Web Definition which would remove all the Black Helicopter possibilitys.

  30. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    If that doesn't work, do more of the same

    Once again we treat the symptom, not the cause.

  31. Test
    Alert

    Well, if they succeed...

    If they do it this would be the worst blow to privacy in the last decade in the whole European Union. Comparison to KGB anyone?

    Of course, I can predict that anonymizing services will be much more popular in the nearest future. They already enjoy some good profits (as an insider to one of such service I have my trustworthy sources).

    Full VPN high-speed anonymous access costs only around $35 (yes only about £17) per month and that seriously cheaper than being disconnected for a year from the net.

    There are also plenty of web proxies, not suitable for P2P but very much suitable for direct downloads (like rapidshare etc) for just under $20 PER YEAR. Worth notice that these servers are commonly not in the EU jurisdiction, so good luck in catching all of the users :) And even common rapidshare-like websites are good enough to find thousands of albums just sitting there...

    A hint to newbies regarding their P2P being tracked:

    as per previous emails sent to poor Virgin customers and so on, it is clear that they simply log on same P2P networks and monitor peers IP.

    That could have happened years ago as this kind of feature (or bug) is shared by many P2P designs. Luckily authorities are very slow and we had a number of years of comparetevely trouble-free life.

    Couple of suggestions from the Sensei to you:

    install peerguardian or other similar P2P firewall, it has frequently updated lists which ban IPs belonging to goverments, commercial organisations (inclusive of BPI) etc. It is not a newsflash this software was available years ago and still not being properly used :)

    do not download data on public torrents and other similar networks. peers data is commonly available on the tracker's webpage even without logging on the network.

    However a simple question: can they easily found out you're using members-only-club invite-only torrents?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    damn french....

    yet another reason to pull out of Europe and fill that tunnel in....

    mines the one with "the who won at Waterloo?" winners badge on the lapel

  33. Chris C

    Great idea!

    Hey, what a wonderful idea! Let's ignore the fact that the Internet in general requires "broadband" access now -- www.theregister.co.uk (221KB), www.yahoo.com (221KB), www.msn.com (188KB), www.bestbuy.com (446KB), www.netflix.com (170KB), www.whitehouse.gov (315KB), www.fbi.gov (714KB), www.dhs.gov (226KB), www.uspto.gov (345KB), www.myspace.com (667KB), www.facebook.com (175KB), www.nytimes.com (584KB), www.washingtonpost.com (765KB), www.massrmv.com (264KB), www.mass.gov (195KB), www.citibank.com (437KB), www.bankofamerica.com (230KB), www.chase.com (214KB), www.hsbc.com (241KB), www.holidayinn (490KB), www.bestwestern.com (314KB), www.delta.com (222KB), www.southwestair.com (458KB), www.united.com (379KB), www.ryanair.com (262KB)...

    That's just typical web browsing. That doesn't even begin to cover the countless megabytes of patches for the various software packages we use -- WinXP SP3 (316MB), Office 2003 SP3 (117MB), Office 2007 SP1 (218MB), Windows Vista SP1 32-bit (544MB) and 64-bit (873MB), browser updates at 5MB+, antivirus updates at 10-40MB+, the monthly patches from Microsoft...

    Now let's remember what "dial-up" means. The maximum theoretical speed of an analog dial-up modem is 56Kbps. The maximum speed allowed in the US is 53Kbps, and the typical connection speed is 33.6-45Kbps. Those people who have ISDN (very rare in the US) have 64 or 128Kbps. A 1MB download takes 4.06 minutes at 33.6Kbps, 3.03 minutes at 45Kbps, 2.13 minutes at 64Kbps, and 1.06 minutes at 128Kbps. A "small" 10MB antivirus update would take between 10.66 minutes (128Kbps) and 40.63 minutes (33.6Kbps) on dial-up. The 32-bit Vista SP1 (544MB) would take between 580.26 minutes [9.67 hours] (128Kbps) and 2,210.53 minutes [36.84 hours] (33.6Kbps).

    Ignoring the convenience aspects of the Internet (general browsing for entertainment), if Europe is anything like the US, many companies now require you to apply for employment through their websites -- the companies will not accept applications anywhere other than their website. Similarly, many companies require you to contact them via email. Credit cards, utilities (phone, cable, etc), and others typically pester you with HTML-laden email. And let's not forget the friend or relative who needs to send pictures from their digital cameras using up countless megabytes of our inboxes.

    There's also the hypocrisy of it. If a person buys a pirated DVD or CD from ebay, and it arrives through the post, will the person be banned from using the post after "three strikes"? I understand this law was most likely crafted with good intentions. The problem is that the punishment does not fit the crime.

    Having said all that, is small-scale copyright infringement (receiving one, or even three, pirated films/albums) a crime in Europe? In the US, I think (though I could be wrong) that only large-scale infringement is a crime; small-scale is a civil matter.

  34. Julian
    Thumb Down

    Wrong approach

    I am against all the illegal file sharing of copyright material, music and video in particular. It is after all just plain theft. But another reason I am against it is the negative consequences it will have on the management of the Internet and ALL its users, inevitably having an unsatisfactory impact on the freedom of the Internet for everybody.

    Is that what we really want?

    However, I believe it is the uploaders and other facilitators of the illegal file sharing who should be targetted. Furthermore I also believe that ISPs should under no circumstances be turned into a private enforcement agency. It is for the properly authorised agencies of law enforcement to carry out this function, namely courts, police and if relevant the CPS.

    Additionally, under these proposals, your child or other person sharing your connection can get you cut off and this may have serious consequences for you if your Internet connection is fundamentally important to you.

    My own personal opinion is that this illegal file sharing should have been nipped in the bud at least 10 years ago. Now it is a very difficult task as the scale of sharing has ballooned exponentially, and the younger generation in particular consider it a norm.

    Bottom line, all Internet users will suffer. One more step to a surveillance and control society wholly unacceptable in principle and far more dangerous than Phorm.

    Go on - Flame me!

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Enforcability?

    How is this thing meant to be enforced anyway? They cut me off (not that I pirate ;) and then my gf/parent/m8 signs up for DSL with another company, or do they block on phone number, in which case I claim I moved.

    If anything it would almost be a good thing. Good way of getting out of a contract - do they expect you to pay for your full 12 months if they cut you off after month 3?

  36. Stephen Cole

    The China model...

    The net is slowly but surely becoming more & more regulated under the excuse that it will clamp down on the current dual political bogey-men of terrorists & pedophiles, with P2P being a 3rd excuse to monitor EVERYONE.

    I think that with the way control & regulation is being imposed by most government's now it's probably going to only take another 5-7 years for the chinese model of internet policing to become the norm i.e. you get access to most webpages & net services but the goverment monitors everything you do online & has a centrally operated (and constantly updated) banned list of sites & services.

    The Phorm system but on a larger scale essentially (everything routed through a proxy controlled by the government).

    Instead of injecting adds it simply throws up a government warning page instead of the one you wanted.

    On second thought they could stick some PSA's in there as well to further educate you on the evils of terrorists & what not (throw in some adds on erectile dysfunction as well to keep phorm happy :-).

  37. Pete Silver badge

    France: the new america?

    Is this a case of "me too"? With the 'merkins throwing their weight around and imposing their own idea of what's right on the other 95% of the world, it looks like the french are trying to get in on the act as well - though in a smaller way.

    While Sarkosy is entitled to think what he likes, including:

    > "there is no reason that the internet should be a lawless zone".

    You do have to wonder if anyone's explained (or if any politico actually understands) that the internet isn't actually a place - it's simply a set of rules for transferring data. And rules can be changed.

    He can propose whatever laws he likes - some may even stick. Though given the ponderous speed of legislation through the european parliamentary process, it'll probably be sometime in the next decade before anything legal emerges from the morass.. However before that happens, we can fully expect that someone will come up with a technical alternative that leaves traditional filesharing about as well used as the "kermit" protocol . How can we be sure? Well, hackers are a damn sight smarter than politicians and implement things a great deal faster, especially when it threatens their access to pr0n, free music and videos.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Govt and ISP Interference

    The answer is simple - send a bill to the ISP and to the government for interfering in you commerce -- a million or two so they notice.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ahem...

    Might i point out that this legislation does not allow for the barring of "broadband access to anyone who persists in illegally downloading music or films". It allows for barring any access to the net if ANY rightsholder claims infringement x3. Claims. Not proves in a court of law, merely the accusation is enough. I'm all for a fair system of payment for peoples creative output, but to allow any commercial interest to play judge and jury is suicide.

  40. Dave Bell

    No need to buy the police...

    Just say you're hunting copyright pirates....

  41. Nathan Price
    Alert

    A reply from Mr. Harbour

    I emailed MEP Mr. Harbour, one of the authors of the amendments, pointing him at La Quadrature's analysis and he replied very quickly, with his own (seemingly quite reasonable, for the most part) rebuttal. Here it is:

    >Dear ...

    >

    > Thank you for your email.

    >

    > I am contacting you in response to the commentary by Christophe Espern

    > of La Quadrature which you referred to in your email about some selected

    > amendments tabled by myself and Mr Kamall, in advance of the vote on

    > telecoms on Monday in Strasbourg.

    >

    > I was surprised to see your analysis of the amendments which we have

    > tabled. I attach my analysis, which you will see contradicts the

    > arguments raised in your commentary.

    >

    > I would have preferred to discuss the reasoning behind my amendments

    > with you at an earlier stage to avoid the confusion that has been

    > created but looking forward, I would be very happy to discuss my

    > analysis with you in more detail if that would be helpful.

    >

    > I look forward to hearing from you,

    >

    >

    > Malcolm Harbour

    and here's the text of the document he attached:

    Justification of amendments tabled by Mr Harbour and Mr Kamall

    As is clear from the text, amendment H1 in fact gives national regulatory authorities and the Commission the power to take appropriate action to prevent degradation and slowing of traffic and against unreasonable restrictions of users' possibilities to access or distribute lawful content or to run lawful applications and services of their choice. Furthermore, recital 14 starts with the words: "It should be the end-users' decision what lawful content they want to be able to send and receive, and which services, applications, hardware and software they want to use for such purposes..." It also notes that "an unrestricted basic internet service" could be required as a response to a perceived problem.

    It is evident that this protection should not extend to any unlawful content or applications. In fact, the question of lawfulness is outside the scope of this legislation and depends on the national laws of each country. It is to be decided by the relevant judicial authorities of each country, not by the ISPs.

    Amendment K1 refers to the free movement of goods and makes it clear that a country can not start requiring manufacturers to incorporate features that would allow detecting or preventing for example copyright infringement, as that would hinder the free movement of the computers and other terminal equipment concerned. Any such requirements would have to be agreed by all member states of the EU. We are not aware of any such proposals.

    We are seeking clarification on K2 (tabled by Syed Kamall) and will issue a response on this shortly.

    Amendment H2 asks national regulatory authorities to promote - not force - cooperation, as appropriate, regarding protection and promotion of lawful content. It is entirely independent of "flexible response" and does not prescribe the outcome of any such cooperation.

    As opposed to the text proposed by the Commission, amendment H3 shifts the burden of explaining the law from the ISPs to the appropriate national authorities. It also broadens the concept so that any type of unlawful activities are covered, not only copyright infringement. Such other activities could be for example child pornography. This public interest information would be prepared by the relevant national authority and then simply distributed by the ISP to all their customers. It involves no monitoring of individual customer usage of the internet.

    None of the amendments have been drafted by any outside lobbying organisation.

  42. Reg Varney

    Regardless of the rights or wrongs of file-sharing...

    ... HTF is this within the remit of the EC rather than individual nations?

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Point?

    What's the point in running this system? Everyone will just encrypt their P2P which means they have no physical way of telling the difference between a distro and an album. What do they do then? Just ban all P2P?

  44. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

    What ever happend to innocent till proven guilty

    Europe drafts law to disconnect >>>suspected<<< filesharers

    So it's not JUST the UK hell bent on becoming a police state.

    Filesharing is not illegal

    Sharing files that you don't have to right to share is against the law but the only way to tell them apart is to read all the data. I thought one of the "Human Rights" was the right to privacy in communication.

    I do not believe that people should share files that they do not have the right to share. But just because a few people mistreat this doesn't mean that everyone's rights should be swept away.

    Wonder what David Davis would make of this one?

  45. Mark

    Rather like the Human Rights Act

    Put in by Tony when he was PM because he knew he couldn't get it past HIS voters, but when it is passed he can say "It was Europe made me do it" and we'd get Daily Mail readers bleating about the *European* Human Rights Act.

  46. Rob
    Coat

    I'll get my coat....

    If this goes through I think there will be a slew of "I'll get my coat" icons on websites around the world!

    I think I'm on my 6th strike today alone ;)

  47. Trevor Watt

    Once again they don't care who they punish

    When they can prove WHO fileshared, not just Who's internet connection that was used then they can try to block the filesharer getting thier own internet account.

    In any case they are dealing with private companies, why should they be told who they can and can not do business with?

  48. Chris

    So, the media firms are taking over the internet are they?

    's a joke, isn't it?

    Anyway, will the last person to leave the internet please turn off the power.

  49. parakeet

    Eh?

    Where does it say this is being proposed by Sarkozy's government? Despite France holding the presidency, the lobby group's document attributes most of the proposed amendments to two Tory MEPs.

  50. Rory Milne

    But what about the story on Zdnet.co.uk in April?!?

    I'm now very confused having read this article as a story on Zdnet.co.uk seemed to suggest that the EU had already voted against disconnecting file-sharers in April?!?

    The piece is titled "EU votes against disconnecting file-sharers" which I would have said is pretty definitive, here's a link to it in case anyone missed it.

    http://news.zdnet.co.uk/communications/0,1000000085,39384074,00.htm

    Can the EU really just vote to do one thing one month then decide to do the exact opposite a few months later?

  51. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Merde - is that the word?

    Trust the French to have an election and they elect Sarcozy...

    I wonder what is the price of hiring a French President as your chief lobbyist? Perhaps RIAA might be so kind as to enlighten us on that subject?

  52. Writebaby
    Paris Hilton

    Granularity

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but instead of cutting off the Internet with all the consequences, why not simply prevent the individual from using any P2P protocols for a year and/or blacklist known sites?

    A year without YouTube - aw, poor diddums!

    Paris ... just because, alright!

  53. Guy Heatley

    National Anthem

    Maybe Sarky and his demented mates should have a read of the lyrics to their own national anthem, La Marseillaise:

    http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa071400ma.htm

  54. David Haworth
    Stop

    How about this ...

    How possible would it be to find out the ISP and IP address for any of these so-called politicians? If that's at all possible, the remedy might simply be to complain to their ISP that you suspect them of infringing your copyrights. If enough people do it (it only needs 3) then they're out, and we'll see how fast the law gets changed,

  55. Doug Glass
    Alert

    Obviously Oppressive

    Being from "The Colonies", I tend to understand the concept of taking measures to get out from under what is thought to be "oppressive" rule. Guys. why are there no organized groups whose purpose is to oppose these laws and promote counter legislation?

    I've asked this same question on other boards and basically there has been no response. Over here, racial desegregation effectively started with a simple bus ride and our Viet Nam war was brought to an earlier end at least partially because of protests and marches. The process is long, hard, and requires a lot of work; the lazy need not apply. But the process can work. But no process of any kind works too; no process reinforces the situation.

    In the last twenty years, I might have bought three or four music CDs (at Christmas only when I get sort of crazy). I don't download or share music and I stopped listening to music radio years ago too. I simply refuse to line the pockets of those I feel are grossly overcharging me. But that's a whole 'nother story.

    But one thing is sure. If all anybody is ever going to do is bitch and moan about the problem, and take no concrete actions against it, well, it will continue and might even get more "unreasonable". You can't usually bring about this sort of change quickly so the fight would be years unfolding. But if you want things to change, doing no more than writing here will never make it happen.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Yes please...

    Put the responsibility on the ISPs, we'll have a field day kicking their arses in court for ANYTHING illegal that goes across the net. We'll have their balls and no two ways about it...

  57. Mark

    Re: Presumption of Innocence

    But please look up "contract of adhesion" and the UCCTA. A contract is meant to be a meeting of minds. What do I get for agreeing to an AUP? Access? But I'm paying for that, so what do I get? Nothing? Well, a contract with no consideration is no contract.

  58. Mark

    Re: Games? Software?

    What about MY software? MY music? If I fileshare my stuff and the RIAA take a copy then they have broken this once.

    Three people: they are disconnected from the internet.

  59. Mark

    Re: Great idea!

    It gets better.

    When internet connections were POTS, we had contention rates. But since you weren't on for long, you could share the modem.

    Now if you have to be online for a continuous six hours to get your MS Vista patch, you block someone else from doing so for six hours.

    In the old days, sitting on a modem for a long time got your connection killed so someone else could have a go.

  60. Eddie Edwards
    Pirate

    Shred of evidence please?

    "They shouldn't be targeting the individuals anyway. It's the pirating "companies" they need to smack around. These are the groups that make the difference in profits."

    That may have been true before the internet but it's rather difficult to prove now. I've heard it claimed many times (usually by folks who are "harmlessly" downloading stuff and have never heard the term "categorical imperative"). But I've never heard a shred of evidence.

    A company pirating 10,000 copies of a disc is clearly not worse than a billion internet users pirating 1,000,000 copies of a disc. It's also rather easier to take down. So without numbers how are we to judge?

    It seems to me there's probably been a step-change in the magnitude of the problem since the internet. If the problem was largely confined to organized crime that's existed as part of the status quo for decades then why would the RIAA / MPAA etc. be so worried now?

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    "Suspected" - I don't like that

    I'm currently trying a little cold turkey from knocking stuff off via BT 'cos I seem to spend all my time raking through cack I have downloaded and don't really want, but the bit I don't like is "suspected". So we suspected you did something, we can't prove it, but sod it, it says here in this document that we can do you for "potential" theft/"suspected" copyright infringement, so get get out the way while John here gets the wire clippers from the van!

    Of course, that's the wonderful world of law and politics, the more vague you can make it, the more chance that we can catch you in our little net, as we all know governments know that the people are always up to no good!

  62. Mark

    Re: Shred of evidence please?

    "A company pirating 10,000 copies of a disc is clearly not worse than a billion internet users pirating 1,000,000 copies of a disc. It's also rather easier to take down. So without numbers how are we to judge?"

    Yes, it is. That company pirating 10,000 copies are SELLING the copies.

    If the proper company sold at that rate, they would get ALL that money. Ergo, that money is theirs.

    However, there is NO company that would sell at zero. So the 1,000,000 copies proves nothing about what these people would pay.

    Or, if you like, all the NO MONEY is theirs.

    I'll write a cheque for £0.00p on behalf of everyone to the RIAA and we can call it quits.

  63. Nameless Faceless Computer User

    Wrong targeted group

    Certainly there are better candidates for the "pull the plug" remedy. How about the guy who asks me to purchase a fake Rolex watch 20-30 times daily?

  64. Julian
    Unhappy

    Chaos in the EU Parliament

    I posted a link to an informative article yesterday which described the confused and chaotic progress to rush this legislation through the EU Parliament before the Summer Recess. Multiple amendments likely to create unworkable legislation regardless on any underlying merits to the control of illegal file sharing.

    My comment hasn't been published. This is the second time this has happened when I have included a link to an informative source about the matter under discussion.

    Hasty law - bad law. And in any case, any law should be enforced by the duly constituted authorities, not the ISPs and certainly not other interested parties for all the reasons already rehearsed in these comments.

    Guilt by assertion is unacceptable.

  65. Wize

    Its not about Piracy, its about bandwidth

    They are disconnecting people who 'download' files not those who upload.

    If I remember correctly, its the sharing out of illegal files and allowing others to upload them which is the illegal part. The actual download bit isn't technically breaking the law.

    So why are they going after the downloaders?

    Lets suppose we look at the latest top onehundred films released to DVD and ripped.

    There may be just 100 machines with a film each. The load won't be that bad.

    But someone downloading the files... they will be downloading lots of films to their PC. Data per person is increased.

    And thats the problem. They have a whine about iplayer and equivalents as people are using the bandwidth they paid for, and now they are getting upset.

    Lets wait for the American P2P program called 'Freedom Share' or something similar.

  66. Louis

    Well now...

    I have seen and heard all of the tired old arguments on both sides of this particular fence.

    I personally download music and films, watch and listen, if they are shit, they get deleted. If they are good, I will make the effort to go and buy the retail version (usually the directors cut of films, if available, and usually that little bit more than the basic edition).

    The reason I do this is I have become utterly devoid of any faith in the music industry as a whole, and so sick of the manufactured shit that they constantly promote, everywhere they can, until you are almost brainwashed into buying it, then they drop them in favour of the next canned crap and repeat the whole process, that I could not give a monkey fart for any sense of legality, fairness, or any other wank you care to toss in my face (oo-er missus! that actually wasn't a deliberate turn of phrase, it just sort of came out like that, but I like it so it stays).

    I will continue to download copyrighted content, testing the quality, until such a time as I am physically no longer able. I use encrypted torrents, through a vpn, so although slower than otherwise, I am actually still able to play CS;S while torrenting.

    I spend in the region of £50 to £100 a month on music and film (although this does include at least one cinema trip a month), sometimes more, and I am by no means unique. I know at least one person with an income I can only dream of, who spend upwards of £500 a month on entertainment (of the audio-visual kind, but he goes to film premieres and the like).

    Just to give you one example, I read about a Russian film, Night watch, a while ago. It sounded vaguely interesting and so I downloaded it. This film was amazing. I have since bought that and the sequel Day Watch on DVD (directors cuts), and have just placed an order for the first 3 books - which have been translated into English - in paperback, and a pre-order for the fourth book. I have also got an order in for all four books in hardback, as they look much better on the shelf. Several people I know have now bought the films and/or books based on my recommendation, and in one case, borrowing my films. So, in torrenting a film I might never otherwise have seen, I have ended up spending around £50 so far, and another £30 odd, perhaps £40, for the hardbacks, at a later date, and of those I know who also bought stuff, probably another £100 at least from them. You may think I waste my money buying new when I could get second hand copies for 0.01 + postage on Amazon, but I want them brand, spanking new, shiny and in mint condition.

    I also downloaded (at the same time) a film with some american wrestler in (Steve Austin I think), and Vinnie Jones (normally a fantastic villain). Turned out to be a huge pile of shite. A frined of mine had bought it, and after watching it I encouraged him to return it, which he did (claimed it didn't work in his machine, part-exchanged it for full face value towards a copy of Night and Day watch). I realise this creates a problem for the retailer, but when they restrict their sales stock to such wank as this steve austin shite, well, that's their problem. This is what Capitalism is about, no? [/sarcasm]

    So, all you muppets banging on about freetards and how they are ruining blah blah blah... go elsewhere to preach. I am not interested. I am far too busy enjoying the good music, and superb films I have just added to my burgeoning collection.

  67. simon ellis

    I suspect my neighbour

    of having driven his car faster than the speed limit. Why isn't he being threatened with being disconnected from the national road network?

  68. Guy

    In the same way

    Accoring to the justification used, anyone who commits a crime (of any sort) should forfeit their human rights and priveleges. Whilst it may sound good, this way leads to barbarism and goes against hundreds of years of campaigning for these rights. If we wish to throw away all this progress, so that a few corporations can (possibly?) make some more money (by also restricting the rights of their employees)

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    I have an idea....................

    Why don't we all sign up to MSN (Microsoft's Internet) which is all squeaky clean and nice family fun. And if anybody tries to leave this nice safe environment they they get hauled off to Guantanamo bay for re-education.

    Ahhh thats right I remember. MSN was shit that nobody used!! So guess we will all be shipped to Guantanamo bay for re-education care of Virgin Media.......................

    Or I might just cancel my nice big fat connection saving myself £30 per month and insist that everything is done 'old school' by letter and in person.

    OLD School = Driving to work round trip 60 miles. Think of the environment

    Postmen that arrive with all my emails on time. (opps all the post offices have been closed. Better re-open them please.

    Tramp around shops looking for better deals - Driving, speaking to idots - rip off parking. Agro factor - 50.

  70. Julian
    Thumb Down

    @ Louis

    You are the problem which we all have to suffer and pay for.

    In any case, I don't believe most of the sh1t you have written.

  71. Dennis
    Happy

    I suspect my neighbour

    If your neighbour continues to drive too fast he will have his right to the road suspended by losing his license...........................

    Now there is an idea. A license to use the internet. We could call it ECDL. European Computer Driving license. Then they could just give you points and charge you £30 per hit. More that 12 points.... You are outta here and some money as well. BRILLANT!!

    I sending this one to Gordon Clown

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: damn french....

    Funny that, many French people want to do the same, because Mr Gordawn Brawn is giving ideas to M. Sarkozy. What with that possibility to keep people in custody without charge for months, or in house arrest under police control for undefinite duration without a trial, or even any evidence (well, a foreign-sounding name is usually not considered as evidence).

    But hey, who cares. If the only way for some British to understand it's a bad bill is to think "It's a French idea, thus a bad idea", why not. It's not like 26 other countries are voting, too, and could stop the bill. Oh, wait...

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prediction

    Those in the know will go encrypted.

    Others will be struck off the net.

    Someone will produce a hack that will initiate file sharing communication by French Government owned computers, they will also show these communications as they happen to the world.

    Everyone will wait for the French government to be disconnected from the Net.

    They won't be, then France will strike :)

    If you want to stop copyright infringement, then you block the main servers that allow it to happen. People will always get around it, but the number will be smaller.

    And the music companies need to get their act together and be able to supply across the Net. By now, we should all be able to go to a record label website, pay a nominal amount and download a track, wtf.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Boycott Virgin, all of it!

    Its time for a national campaign to boycott the entire Virgin brand. Stores, planes, Isas, the lot. Nothing else is going to get through to them. First Phorm and now this. Time to send a message.

  75. Ash
    Stop

    Hilarious!

    I forsee a not insignificant monetary contribution to the Tor Project, DarkNet dev, and a VPN tunneling company outside the United States of Europe very soon.

    Start opening those exit nodes, folks.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Bloody Frogs V2.

    Not so much Nicolas Sarcozy more like Nicolas Sarcnasty.

  77. Eduard Coli
    Gates Horns

    ISP = COP?

    The stupid thing about this law is that it makes a private company into a police department.

    Why don't we make AT&T and other telecoms into a spy agency so we can skirt our way around the law? If we get caught then enact legislation through some of our pet congressmen to make it legal and completely absolve any them of any wrongdoing so they will be there for us when we want to spy on the plebs again.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    "Lawful" Application

    What the hell does that mean? Who decides what is lawful? Is Vuze lawful? or is it not "lawful"?

    Its rather like saying a gun or a car is "lawful" - they have both legal and illegal uses.

    I thought we'd got rid of the Nazi's after WWII . It looks like they are alive and well and running the EU.

  79. Aron A Aardvark

    Great Menace To Civilisation

    Why the sudden deep and widespread pan Euro concern with filesharing? A few years back, the Great Menace To Civilisation was unsavoury types of porn. Yet no one was suggesting, despite the alleged evildoing, that dl’ers of that stuff should be given the boot. Presumably that was because abused kids don’t have a powerful industrial lobby group behind them and don’t represent lost profits to some multinational media behemoth.

    And I’ve got to question since when did UK ISP’s become the hatchet man-enforcer for media multinationals?

    Funny that - human lives ruined, kids traumatised, nothing happens. Sony/BMG lose a few quid and ‘something must be done’. Cynical? moi?

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whatever Happened to the Nazi Lads?

    “I thought we'd got rid of the Nazi's after WWII . “

    Contrary to popular belief, the Nazi remnant did not wither and die out after WW2. The best minds in the Reich were sent to work for the US DoD and NASA under Project Paperclip (along with best bastards Japan produced too).

    Indeed, many former Nazi’s were back in power in post WW2 West Germany in the 1950s.

  81. Pierre Silver badge

    Sarko is a walking joke

    He hasn't been able to make a single "good" (or even thought of) decision in his whole political career, this is only the logical continuation of his "work". He's been in "fire and forget" mode for the past 15 years. And still managed to be elected. France = US bis indeed.

    Ho, and while I'm here: Julian, YOU and your kind are responsible for the Orwellian turn in our societies. Please go back to your wanking on the Mirror and let responsible adults alone.

  82. Aron A Aardvark

    Purpose of Surveillance Society?

    If you wanted to spy on the population for political and police purposes, you would do it covertly. You would not advertise the fact and purpose of your spy systems widely.

    One can only surmise that the real purpose of the surveillance is to stifle dissent and independent thinking and freedom of action. Fear and submission if you will.

    Not that us Brits are deferential, monarchist-loving, scaredy-cats or anything. No way.

  83. Dave Bell

    So are the Amendments really bad?

    Some of them actually look rather good, others I wonder about. I don't think it's a good sign when "child pornography" gets mentioned.

    But one could easily go into Conspiracy Theory mode about the way this blew up, and the timing, and just who might be behind La Quadrature.

  84. Mark

    "its the sharing out of illegal files"

    Not if it is to someone who has a license already. There is no loss to the company and the benefit for the downloader is that they don't have to be a geek to know how to rip their VHS/LP/tape/whatever to another format.

    Those files are legal.

    If the copyright holders didn't want us to share them, they should make them available themselves. But, nice old us, we decide that we'll pay for our internet connection and soak the cost.

    And they want to jail us for it???

  85. Julian
    Unhappy

    @ By Pierre

    I'm not in a position to comment on your opinion of Sarkozy neither, since you haven't stated your position on (illegal) file sharing, can I respond constructively to your insults.

    However your language suggests that you see nothing wrong in what is, in effect, theft. I am not in favour of an Orwellian society and that is exactly why I'm against (illegal) file sharing and it's unfortunate consequences affecting everyone of us, regardless of whatever spurious arguments are made to justify it.

    The choice is anarchy (which is not freedom) which you, by implication, appear to prefer, a decent law abiding society (which is freedom) or the strictures of an Orwellian society (which is certainly not freedom). Most unfortunately the choice now appears to be a choice between anarchy and Orwell.

    Freedom carries with it responsibity, but obviously not responsibility as you understand it. Pity you couldn't post a reasoned comment.

  86. William Bronze badge

    Validaty of the accusation.

    So, the ISP's are going to police their users. Are these the same ISP's that illegally monitored their users (phorm), yet nothing happens to them?

    And as for Virgin media 3 strikes. Are they serious? Their system is the easiest to hack. If you know the right people you can obtain Virgin branded boxes that give you access to all the TV channels as long as you have a pipe to the 'green box'. The same people can also give you a cloned cable modem.

    How are they going to prove that your modem has not been cloned? If they claim they can, then perhaps you can ask to explain why they do not disconnect them from their network?

    And lets not mention their billing system (SABS). I know from first hand experience the following;

    * Customers being billed for other peoples telephone calls

    * Customers being charged for phantom set top boxes.

    * Customers being double billed

    * Customers not being charged for telephone calls

    * Customers not being charged for services (I was not charged for 12 months for broadband, despite me protesting almost every month!!)

    * Customers not being disconnected, yet still being billed.

    Incidently, if you have suffered from any of the above problems and had no satisfaction from "writing" in to Virgin, give Otello a call. They soon shift when these guys are on their case.

    http://www.otelo.org.uk/

    So given the insecurity of Virgins network and the fact their billing system has numerous and serious issues with regards to billing, I would question the reliability of the evidence provided. Then I would hand over my PC and ask them to explain how they have got the alleged file on their server from my PC, considering it is not on my PC. IP logs are not enough.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please

    Can you please keep this on your side of the pond. I have enough asinine laws to deal with in the US.

    Thanks one irritated Yank

  88. simon gardener

    Do Something - write to them

    Instead of posting here write to your MEP. Let them know what you think of the proposals.

    Chances are your MEP hasnt read the proposal and doesn't know what it means, so before he or she rubberstamps it.

    Let them know why you feel this legislation is a bad idea.

    You never know, shining a little light on the subject might have some effect.

    its very simple, go to

    www.writetothem.com

    enter your postcode, select your MEP and fill in the form

    WriteToThem makes sure it gets to them.

    Be polite - explain your concerns - ask them if they have read and understood the amendments - tell them how you want them to vote and ask them to let you know what their position is

  89. Mark

    @Julian

    It is not theft.

    If I tell you a joke and you repeat it, you have not stolen my joke.

    If I lend my CD to a friend, they have not stolen it.

    If I share copyrighted works, that is not stealing. It is breaking the sole right to copy that is the copyright owners' preserve.

    But if not paying is bad because it makes for starving artists, what about all the out of print books? The out of circulation music? The out of support software? The movies mouldering or being destroyed deliberately?

    These all deny the artists revenue for their work embodied therein.

    That's as bad (worse, even) than P2Ping.

    Don't hear you complain.

  90. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Banned for a year from the internet for alleged filesharing?

    Apart from the unreasonableness of banning someone from the internet based on a civil dispute (copyright infringement is a civil matter unless there is an attempt to profit from the infringement), this is a pretty dumb idea.

    Even if the law gets through, how hard do they really think it will be to bypass the ban?

    I don't download stuff (download quota is too small), but if I was banned, it would take me a most 1 week to be back on the net... there are just too many ways around it.

    It would be no good for getting out of a contract though - they would have good grounds for charging you their standard early termination fee.

    Any ISP that tries to be especially diligent is going to find itself a target (bogus automated infringement complaints across all ISP users requiring them to terminate the accounts of all their users - the ISP would go out of business).

    And what about if a company or government department gets three notices... will their ISP be required to terminate their net access? Will the company hosting their website(s) have it's net access terminated? Of course not... this would interfere with lawful business. Maybe this is the answer - everyone sign up for business DSL plans - if they attempt to terminate your account, prove it would interfere with your ability to carry on your legitimate business (a small e-bay shop should be sufficient).

    The sick bird, coz it is as likely to fly as this idea.

  91. Alex
    IT Angle

    Vote

    "The Industry Committee and Internal Market Committees will vote on the telecom package on Monday. The plenary discussion and vote for the whole package will take place in September."

    So, now this has presumably been voted on, does anyone know the result?

  92. Jon

    What about malware?

    "there is no reason that the internet should be a lawless zone"

    Then why have we put up with, and continue to put up with, people who don't secure their machines? Because turfing off the clueless would hurt ISP and Microsoft profits.

    Meanwhile malware traffic escalates...

  93. Stevie G
    Paris Hilton

    Angry little French Bloke

    Sarko's an angry little c*nt! He seems to be biffing everyone and anyone at the moment...maybe a bit frustrated?

    Paris, cos I reckon she would sort him out.

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