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Illegal music downloaders to face Internet ban
Tuesday 12 February 2008 12:47:07 by Andrew Ferguson

The Times is reporting this morning that a green paper due to be published next week could see ISPs forced to disconnect users found to be downloading illegally obtained music or movies. The paper has been circulated among key stakeholders for comment but it appears it has been leaked in advance of publication. If this paper was to become law as it stands, Internet users would face disconnection on a 'three strikes' rule. The green paper is not available for download as yet, but snippets along with comments can be read over at The Times.

Under the proposals, the first strike would be an e-mail warning from the ISP with the second strike resulting in suspension and finally termination of contract on the third strike. This produces interesting problems for ISPs both due to minimum contract lengths as well as the costs of disconnection. With the increasing availability of 24-month contracts bundled with laptops or games consoles, the ISP is presented with a huge risk if it is required to disconnect a user.

It is said that the illegal downloading of copyrighted material such as music and films costs the media industry millions, but policing any scheme to reduce this is not going to be cheap. Additionally by terminating peoples internet access it may further alienate consumers.

The biggest area of contention is likely to be any appeals process, since perfectly innocent users may have had their wireless network hijacked and this is possible even if they had secured it if, for example, you use an easy to guess pass phrase on your wireless encryption. Of course this could also be put up as a defence even if it was not the case. Also, what happens if someone is duped into downloading copyrighted material and does not realise the breach until they have viewed it? For example an upstart producer may release a film into the public domain entitled 'my first work' but someone may re-title 'Superman VI' in an effort to hide it and people thus download the wrong thing unintentionally?

In theory by going out to consultation all these sorts of concerns should be addressed, but there is likely to be concern from the average Internet users that only the concerns of big industry are going to be listened to.

Perhaps the media industry needs to look at why people download the content and address this. Are people viewing it because its available in some countries months before retail sale in the UK or appearing on UK TV channels? Or is the pricing too high? Are the existing downloads available legally too restrictive, in that the digital rights management makes it hard or impossible for people to copy it from a home PC to a mobile device?

"Entanet are concerned that the costs of providing the government with what it requires will increase the costs of DSL. Part of our input into the collaborative effort with ISPA/MPA has been to ask for cost recovery like RIPA."

James Blessing, Entanet

Years ago the various peer-to-peer (p2p) networks were not encrypted and fairly easy to monitor, but the advent of traffic controls meant many p2p services started to offer encryption. Legislation may just move the problem on and re-appear camouflaged in such a way that providers cannot see it. Banning p2p download systems outright would not help and would also remove a growing medium for distributing legal content.

So, why are the content publishers taking this track?

"The record and movie industries have received quite a lot of negative press recently in taking direct action against end users. Taking parents to court when their teenage children have downloaded some films online doesn't help their reputation. By seeking to make the broadband service providers responsible for disconnecting their users, they shift the perceived blame away from them.

In today's world, access to the Internet is becoming a necessity. The government is pushing for tax returns to be filed online. Students are using the Internet for research and learning. Home automation and security devices can increasingly be controlled and monitored via the Internet. Users of Voice over IP or 'broadband phone' services could find their telephones don't work--That could cost an extra few seconds when they are making an emergency call."

Sebastien Lahtinen, thinkbroadband.com

This raises serious concerns over what happens when mistakes are made? Will the record industry agree to underwrite all financial losses individuals incur if they are falsely accused and/or disconnected under such a policy? In today's world of unified communications, the prospects of disconnecting someone are quite serious as the Internet has become such a central part in today's society.

It is also unclear whether there would be a central database of disconnected users, since without this it would be easy to just order a new broadband connection from another service provider.

Comments

Posted by lloydio over 9 years ago
For people who regularly get films/music from the net i suppose it will go back to the days when money was being made out of fake cds from matey boy down the pub. I also would of thought the criminal aspect of it would arrise with gangs similar to drugs selling the conterfit goods. More strain on the police! they cant seem to deal with the carnage caused by teenagers at the moment let alone this.

Lack of privicy get me. If they know what im downloading then which bod is going to be looking me tap my bank details into my computer? east germany springs to mind!
Posted by Gypsydog over 9 years ago
This just reinforces my view that the government has no real concept of the complexities of computers, IT and the internet.

If they had ANY idea, they would not be proposing such a half -baked scheme.

They are clueless - hence mega £BILLIONS of taxpayers money down the drain on failed IT 'projects'.
Posted by bosie over 9 years ago
Is this another classic New Labour policy? The nanny state just keeps on getting bigger and bigger whilst we sit here and let it happen. Statistics are the new reality, if they can graph it they'll make a new law on it. I assume the Government approves of current anti-customer behaviour epoused by the film and music industry.
Posted by lierobs over 9 years ago
This is so ridiculous i cannot see this going through. It's just SO impractical! Not to mention the very very serious ethical dilemas of such a scheme.
These creative industries can just stop their bitching, I really don't care what they think and I get the feeling their losses are massively exaggerated.
Posted by lierobs over 9 years ago
I've just had another thought. How exactly are they monitoring these downloads? Are they monitoring every single file download? Do they look at every photo, video, sound you download to see if it's copywrited, and if so are you legally allowed to see/hear it? Why should it just be music and film that are protected, what about the millions of copywrited images that are illegally downloaded and viewed. - This whole thing is laughable.
Posted by keith_thfc over 9 years ago
If illegal downloading was stopped in its tracks overnight it would kill the need for "unlimited" broadband.
Posted by bazzer17 over 9 years ago
no smoking now this,happy retirement worked hard for a nanny state leave us alone.
Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
So the data protection act will no longer apply as each and every user will have his/her personal traffic inspected on a daily basis.

I think also it is long averdue people stop referring to this kind of draconian erosion of freedom as "Nannying" It is state interference of the like seen under the old Soviet Union. People need to wake up to the gang of Marxist running this country and drive them out.

We have so little freedom now and they ask why so many emigrate to get away.
Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
Evil reigns when good men sit back and do nothing.

When it costs 10p to make a CD and HMV sell it for £17.99 what do you expect?

Once again more freedom is being removed to boost the ever swelling profits of big business.

I agree that too much is downloaded by single users running an illegal business but does the Governement do anything about the "DVD/Cd" sellers on every high street in England?

Like hell they do. But target the paying customers sure bet!

Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
Not to go on too much but how long before the Government Marxists issue guidlines to the ISP's about what is considered downloadable and what is not?

The crap about films and music is the usual rubbish from the Evil beings who are terrified of the Internet as they cannot fully control it yet and thats driving them nuts.

So expect further releases of psychotic ideas and even more state interference as long as this herd stay in office.
Posted by adriandaz over 9 years ago
Kingston Communications already run this kind of policy on their Hull network anyway...
Posted by whatever2 over 9 years ago
if they can see the infringing packets, why not just block them?

i suppose they've thought about legal encrypted p2p transfers as well then...
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Its never going to happen for so many reasons (some of which ive mentioned in the forums)even if it did happen the music and film industry will just start whining like a child as suddenly everyone goes back to recording music from the radio and renting and copying dvds rather than buying them.Obviously the idiots dont realise you cant stop progress or technology... (cont)
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
I'll be blocking ALL internet music and video at the router if they go ahead and do this.

Moreover, I'll be taking my ISP to task since it clearly isn't a common carrier and is reponsible for delivering things like spam emails...
Posted by wikd_wizz over 9 years ago
I would suggest everybody to write to their respective MP not to support the bill which will protect no one but serve big corporation interest.

Otherwise those who support vote aginst them in the next general election.

We have enough of Big Brother.
Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
Write to your MP?
What planet is this from. Seems that somepeople really think the Parliamentarians are working for the benefit of the people who elected them.

You have to judge people by "WHAT THEY DO" not by what they say they will do or what they say they think. got that?!!!

My MP for instance was a little Labour counciller and got elected by a small majority of imbiciles. He lived in a little semi in Essex. This was 10 years ago
He now lives in a VERY Exclusive suburb North West of London ina VERY large mansion.
He has one of the highest expense account in that venerable house.


Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
He has ALWAYS voted with Blair and now Brown. Never once has he raised a voice against Government policy even when his constituents have suffered and they have.
Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
Write to him and he replies with a letter telling you he ha "passed on" your comments. Some time later you get a letter back with the reply and a copy of the reply to your complaint from him stating if he can "do" anything else do write.
In other words he is nothing more than a postman with a huge salary that passes the buck on.

So if anyone can tell me what good it does to write to the MP I would love to hear.

I believed in England once but the Parliamentarians have sold us all out for a lot of pieces of silver.
Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
History has shown that talking and writing is only a stalling tactic until firm policy gets put into place.
I have to disagree with CARPETBURN on this one. they will get the legislation through. This New Labour think they can legislate everything they want and so far they have!
Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
What we really need is a device like the americans have. The Senate oversight committee. they can impeach their leader if evidence found foul of him.
how long would Blair have lasted then eh?
Of course we will NEVER have such rights as the American constitution guarantees. Free Speech? Freedom of Expression? Not here. Tell a simple joke involving Religion, race or the wrong body movement and the sentence is up to seven years
Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
Before I get sworn at read the ammenedent Labour put in on the crime bill a few years ago.

We need a totally independent body free from Governement control to represent the people in the ISP industry. Oftel is a waste of space and a costly one at that.

Oh and also before they say bugger off to the USA I am getting a green card in the summer before it becomes an offence to state an anti Government opinion
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"I have to disagree with CARPETBURN on this one. they will get the legislation through. This New Labour think they can legislate everything they want and so far they have!"
Well you may well be right, only one problem... how will an ISP tell for example whos ENCRYPTED bit torrent traffic is legal and whos is not legal LOL All they will know is its bit torrent traffic, which doesnt mean its illegal... Good old dumb new labour and the dumb music and film industry... god bless em.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
They say at the start of stupid films on dvd and in cinemas piracy funds terrorists, drug cartels and god knows what other rubbish... Maybe with this new law they are now trying to make that factual. If there is one thing it will lead to its more dodgy cds and dvds being sold... much like a similar thing with import and dodgy fake cigarettes... You have to admire their *COUGH* genius! They are just like chimps trying to put the square peg in the round hole.
Posted by rian over 9 years ago
I will try to fool them up with the some media file with similar names. See if they can distinguish between them. If they can't, they will be waiting for a massive complaint. lol.
Posted by adriandaz over 9 years ago
Bang goes the need for FTTC/P :)
Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
I've Got it at last.
The way to tell if the download is legal is to check the data packet and see if it's got a Tax Bit attached LOL!
Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
"They say at the start of stupid films on dvd and in cinemas piracy funds terrorists, drug cartels "
So does the British Governement LOL
Posted by Clearsky2 over 9 years ago
So how EXACTLY are ISP's meant to monitor 'downloads'?

For example, a person visits a slideshow website which, contains in a Flash page, a music track as an MP3 - either as a naked file or, embedded inside a ZIP file. Quite legal.

Now suppose the download site has 'extra' content, such as the odd ripped MP4 or WMA file, but packed into the same zip file. Does the ISP have to monitor (and unpack) the content of EVERY piece of network traffic?

It seems that once again the New Government has 'new advisors' who are small on ability but big on CONsultancy fees.
Posted by Clearsky2 over 9 years ago
Guzzo wrote: "The way to tell if the download is legal is to check the data packet and see if it's got a Tax Bit attached LOL!"

Don't even think about it dude. The Socialist Republic of European Union Nations already has 'ideas' about a 'bit tax'. The notion being it will 'stop global warming' (and cause an ice age).

Generally politicians know nothing about I.T. - and their policy advisors know that.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
Clearsky - presumption of guilt of course. And yes, they do have to monitor your traffic. And you can bet they're not going to spring for the expensive traffic management gear. So sorry if you do anything latency-dependent.
Posted by md2008 over 9 years ago
In regards to the 24 month contracts bundled with free Laptops/PS3s, if this law was approved, then if the customer got to the 3rd strike then the ISP would have to terminate the customer's contract and the ISP would have to mark the customer's subscription down as "Contract terminated by Customer". The customer would then have to pay the ISP for the remainder of the duration of the 24 month contract and return the free Laptop/PS3 to the ISP. The pay-off would cost anywhere between £20 or £500 (depending on remainder of contract) plus the loss of the Laptop/PS3.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 9 years ago
Until we all get to see the Green Paper, next week I believe it is hard to say what will/won't happen.

So far we are hearing that how it may work is different to how people are saying in the press, how different etc is hard to say.
Posted by Clearsky2 over 9 years ago
As regards using the ISP as a police force, this is just another fine example of the surveillance society, or the S.S. as it's know in the jargon. Maybe our web cams are going to be connected to a (bandwidth) congestion charging system?

There is an issue that the prosecution in a criminal court has to prove that the download was both illegal AND intentional. That is, it was it the owner of the line who committed the offence and, they did so knowing they were commit an offence...
Posted by Clearsky2 over 9 years ago
...Furthermore, if it was a minor (under 16) who downloaded 'Lethal Blonde Orgy 16' using their parent’s Sky digital TV, would it be fair and reasonable to disconnect all of the other family members’ internet access?

There is precedent with car theft. Unless the police can prove that Chav Number 3 was the driver, then there is no case. And I am sure that GCHQ has better things to be doing than administering a giant 'Echelon' project on behalf of Sony.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
Andrew, no, that's far too late. The proposals heard from the government have been quite explicit, and I'd rather not have to block other peoples (too late for me, on them selling me anything) music and video.

(Here's a hint to people who rent houses: You'll need to do this as well)
Posted by Clearsky2 over 9 years ago
Good point Dawn_Falcon - if the owner of the internet connection is a landlord and the persons renting have built their own Napster portal in the kitchen...

So there could be big implications for those Coffee bars who offer The Cloud and BT Openworld?

Wonder if 'downloaders' have to wear electronic tags that bleep every time they go near a WiFi or DSL line?
Posted by 2doorsbob over 9 years ago
I still feel the british public still pay more for dvd's and cd's compared to the likes of lets say the US ..maybe if our prices where the same as theres this would help drive piracy down as people would be happy to have an original ..that way the "knock off nigels" would have to find a proper job
Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
Well the EU sure do have some whacky ideas about tax.
But if they levy a tax on the Internet I shall simply switch off the aDSL connection.
I managed to live fairly well without the Net for 30 odd years and go into old age without it.
The net is handy, but it is no substitute for actually going out in the world and living.
People should rememeber that. One day someone will destroy the EU, I just hope I live to see it.
Posted by carrot63 over 9 years ago
Every time someone thinks about buying a film music track or piece of software, and takes a look at the stateside or European pricing, they are reminded that we have "different market conditions" than the rest of planet earth. In other words the British consumer is seen as a rather stupid cash cow. When that situation changes, downloaders might just feel a bit more of a moral twinge before firing up the p2p.

This will do nowt to improve the image of the music business - however hard they try to palm the bad odour off on the ISPs. The self induced decline will continue till they get a grip.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
Guzzo? This intitive comes from the UK.gov. It's NOT necessary under EU law.

Carrot63 - It's self-inflicted. They can't liscence globally because there arn't consistant rules on liscencing. Who sets those rules? The liscencing authorities like the RIAA.
Posted by oomingmak over 9 years ago
Quote Carpetburn: "how will an ISP tell for example whos ENCRYPTED bit torrent traffic is legal and whos is not legal LOL"

Maybe they'll just issue you with a demand for the means to decrypt the stream, and if you don't provide it then they'll sling you in prison under the RIP act.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"Maybe they'll just issue you with a demand for the means to decrypt the stream, and if you don't provide it then they'll sling you in prison under the RIP act."

LOL i guess thats gonna also mean alot of genuine business people that use secure VPN services locked up as well theen LOL
Posted by g-bhxu over 9 years ago
A thought for all of you that don't like P2P or any other ilegal downloaders.

Are you willing to pay your ISP more money if illegal downloaders get banned?

They'll still have the same charges to pay for each "pipe".

i.e. if you have 1000 users paying for the pipe before downloaders get banned, you ISP bans 800 that illegally download, theroretically you'll have to pay 5 times more for your broadband!

Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 9 years ago
It would be very extreme for an ISP to ban 80% of its userbase, in theory what would happen is an ISP would turn off a segment of the BT Central or delay an order for an increase in capacity.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"It would be very extreme for an ISP to ban 80% of its userbase, in theory what would happen is an ISP would turn off a segment of the BT Central or delay an order for an increase in capacity."
Well that wont help either will it, the pricing war and dodgy service is bad enough now without ISPs fighting over whats left if a share of users are banned. More price cuts, more un-trained staff, more hassle.
Posted by easyTree over 9 years ago
(1) There's more at stake here than foreign business interests controlling our government.

Traditionally, the average man in the street has had a respect for law. He believes that those who make laws are on beyond average; that they are moral crusaders for what is right.

Allowing business interests in the USofA to reach out, through their corrupt system of government, across the pond, via our government and into the common man's home reveals law for what it has now become, perhaps always was; a mechanism of control, exerted by the powerful over the weak, regardless of right or wrong.
Posted by easyTree over 9 years ago
(2) This signals the beginning of the end for law as it's traditionally been considered and is surely to be followed by -further- worldwide non-compliance.

On this specific question, do we really believe that music and films are more important than everything else combined? That media companies should be able take away access to all contemporary and historical information as if a slap on the wrist? This is equivalent to casting the victim back into the dark ages whilst all around witness an ever-blossoming renaissance. Are films and music really worth so much?
Posted by easyTree over 9 years ago
(3) The media industry has reached the point where the worldwide market has undergone a shift such that the value of their product is falling into a more appropriate niche; that of an amusing and entertaining pastime; rather than the spot they believe it to occupy. Somehow, they have managed to gain control of governments in more than one country, in order to quell this change, which seems to imply that perhaps their product really did have more worth, once.
Posted by easyTree over 9 years ago
(4) Once again, consider whether watching someone involved in a car chase, firing a gun at their victim is worth more than access to all other information. Should an industry which has failed to progress its core product (plot) a single iota during the 95 years since the keystone cops, be rewarded at all?
Posted by easyTree over 9 years ago
> Is this another classic New Labour policy? The nanny state just keeps on getting bigger and bigger whilst we sit here and let it happen.
>
What? pray tell are we to do about it? They make the laws and people like you and I enforce them, mindlessly.
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