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Tiscali and BPI fall out over charges for enforcing copyright infringement
Friday 15 February 2008 13:31:07 by Andrew Ferguson

The debate over a leaked Green Paper that looks at possible legislation that would see communications service providers policing copyright infringement on behalf of the music and film industry has exploded once again. The Register is reporting that Tiscali and the BPI now disagree on who should bear the costs of a private arrangement the two bodies came to over policing copyright infringement.

"Relations between the pair are in disarray as they battle over who should cover the costs of sending warning letters to peer to peer users and then disconnect persistent copyright infringer's. The system the two-million-customer ISP believed it had agreed with the BPI is the same one that the government is pushing all ISPs to enforce.

It had been thought that the dialogue between the BPI and Tiscali would serve as a model for the rest of the internet industry, which is threatened with legislation if it does not come to a voluntary agreement to act against copyright infringement. The issue hit the mainstream at the beginning of this week, when leaked documents confirmed Westminster's plans to bring in new laws.

Last summer, the BPI sent Tiscali a list of 21 IP addresses it identified as having engaged in illegal peer to peer filesharing. Warning letters were sent out, and eventually four customer accounts were shut down."

"Tiscali and BPI go to war over 'three strikes' payments", TheRegister 15/02/2008

The scheme on the surface sounds very similar to what has been covered in the press this week, but since nothing has been officially published on the exact procedures service providers and the media industry are proposing, it is not possible to say whether it would be sufficient to prevent legislation.

A key change with the Tiscali agreement is that in the past court orders have been obtained to link the IP addresses to a particular account and the copyright holder then pursues the suspected infringer. With the Tiscali/BPI system, assuming it works on similar lines as past reports, the BPI seem to be able to provide screenshots showing someone was offering a particular track for upload, though whether the BPI actually downloaded the file to make sure the file was what its title suggested it was is unclear. This screenshot would then be looked at by Tiscali who would then look up in their own records who the customer was and warn them or in the case of persistent offenders suspend/cancel their account.

Where things have fell apart is that the BPI disputes the charges Tiscali are making with regard to writing warning letters and disconnecting customers. In fact this is one area that will be very much under debate in the industry, since if this system becomes widespread the BPI and other bodies could clamp down initially and want thousands of initial warnings to be made. If the scale of the problem is to be believed it could be millions of warning e-mails.

A lot of debate has centered around how providers will monitor the traffic, which in this Tiscali/BPI case appears to be irrelevant as the screenshots or other evidence from the BPI appear to have been all that is used. Policing based on just this small amount of evidence might leave the system open to challenge from individuals who have been pursued by mistake.

At the end of the day copyright infringement and rows like this have existed since the days when the ability to record music first appeared. Times move on and many young people of today will never have seen a vinyl single with their exposure to music purchasing being a download from various online stores. One wonders how many of these people who pay for tracks they download are also using less legal sources for things like downloading remix versions and albums after having already paid for three or four tracks of an artist. The costs of downloading a full album is not far off the cost of buying a physical CD in many cases which simply encourages people who bought the hit single to look elsewhere for a copy of the album.

With what by all accounts is likely to be an expensive and unpopular agreement between service providers and the music/film industry looming is it not time to look at what can be done to encourage people to pay at least something for content? One other area that needs to be addressed is the quality of what is offered commercially, many music downloads offered at a single bit-rate without options for higher quality versions suitable for playing over high quality music systems. With films this is even more of an issue--Who wants to pay £2 to £3 for a film download that has just a 2 Mbps bit-rate and thus exhibits obvious compression artefacts when viewed on a large HD television screen.

Comments

Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
"is it not time to look at what can be done to encourage people to pay at least something for content"

Back down from this system, immediately. Because if this is implimented, every shared house, university connection and so on is going to block music and video transfer from ANY service. Student market? WHAT student market? Oh hey, that *was* major.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
I cant believe Tiscali for once in their lives have done something good (ok they only done it because it affects their pocket but even so).
If the whinging BPI want to catch people they should foot the bill enitirely, doesnt matter what any ISPs says it costs them to write letters or anything else, if this was all about law and catching offenders the BPI would cough up... (CONT)
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
As it is though and as is usual we have the BPI crying like little girls again someone is affecting the moths in their wallet.
Also if thats the way the BPI idiots catch people id suggest everyone P2P with a proxy, be it legal or illegal use, as its not even proved they check you files they just assume. The BPI wont get your IP address in silly screenshots that way, stupid fools!
Posted by _sjr_ over 9 years ago
Good point in the article about the quality of material available for legal download. One of the main reasons I have never purchased from the likes of iTunes is that nobody to my knowledge offers lossless quality music. MP3 and other lossy formats just don't cut it on a decent sound system.
Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
Being a Hi-Fi buff and an old Audio/ Electronics man I myself NEVER bought a CD in my life for two reasons. they sound crap compared to quality LP's on quality Equipment. also they are priced too damn high for their content.MP3's are even worse quality

A message to the music industry.

NO BODY EVER MANAGED TO DOWNLOAD A BOOTLEG LP DOWN THE PHONELINE!

Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
How interesting it is to see this wonderful New Labour Party leap to the defence of the music industry to keep their profits up.

Where is the New Labour Party Manifesto promise of a Minister for Consumer Affairs who will take on the greedy world of big business and deliver a fair system for all consumers?

Never did FA did he/she?
Posted by ianwild over 9 years ago
No ISP actually wants P2P downloads on their network - It drives up bandwidth costs inordinately and that's now causing a real problem with the explosion of streaming and iPlayer.
Posted by ianwild over 9 years ago
It's obvious that serious file sharers will simply find ways to mask their activities, and that technologically any system like this will be flawed pretty quickly. All that will happen is Dad gets three emails about content he has no idea his kids are downloading (and they deny) and then he gets cut off and presumably charged the remainder of his 18 month contract period into the bargain.

Sounds like win-win if you are an ISP who have only profit on their mind.

Ian
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
For about two years. Then they're screwed.
Posted by zenops over 9 years ago
Quote "NO BODY EVER MANAGED TO DOWNLOAD A BOOTLEG LP DOWN THE PHONELINE!".

I have to say, never a more true sentence uttered!

Gary
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"No ISP actually wants P2P downloads on their network - It drives up bandwidth costs inordinately and that's now causing a real problem with the explosion of streaming and iPlayer."

Iplayer is basically P2P... Also not to be rude i suggest Plusnet and other ISPs get use to it as services like this are growing. A well known online dvd rental company from next month are planning (IE it may or may not happen) to offer downloads online in various quality including divx, wmv, mpeg and possibly even vob format. (CONT)
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
I read about this back december time, if it happens i imagine some type of P2P system like iplayers will be used. Owners of a 360 can also now download films sometimes as large as 4gig its gonna happen whether BT, government, ISPs, music and film industry etc etc like it or not... Its called development of technology.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote "...cut off and presumably charged the remainder of his 18 month contract period into the bargain.
Sounds like win-win if you are an ISP who have only profit on their mind."
Not really considering in most cases that will be the ISPs choice to cut them off and most terms with ISPs as they are would mean that person doesnt have to pay the remainder of the contract. Also highly dubious if challenged legally they could charge them the remainder. If i was cut off wrongly (which is bound to happen in some cases) id basically telling them to take a running hike for any fees.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
"No ISP actually wants P2P downloads on their network" - any services free of P2P / binary usenet on offer Ian ?
Posted by zenops over 9 years ago
I don't mind P2P personally so long as the user pays for the cost of using it ;-)
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote""No ISP actually wants P2P downloads on their network" - any services free of P2P / binary usenet on offer Ian ?"

There are so many ways to get around ISP systems and use stuff that may be blocked like P2P. It is doubtfull any ISP could offer any monthly package and GUARANTEE all its user base can not and are not using P2P. I doubt even plusnet with their resonably big choice of packages and differing restrictions on each could do that. In one respect be nice if ISPs could indeed do NO P2P and P2P as much as you want packages, but thats not gonna happen for so many reasons.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
zenops - Not going to work now the average user's bandwidth usage is rising quickly. They won't put up with large usage-related bills for legal p2p, streaming music/video, etc.
Posted by zenops over 9 years ago
It works well enough for us ;-)
Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
"No ISP actually wants P2P downloads on their network"

Lets be totally honest and stop pontificating. What would an ISP really like eh?

Someone who logs on once a day to collect their emails and view a few dozen webpages.
So why this suppressive and stupid price structure they all operate?
At the end of the day the only way to go is just give give people are monthly limit of 100Gig for a fair price and thats the lot.

Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
I mean who need more than that? P2P is almost exclusivley for the sharing of illegal material.

I have yet to meet anyone who is uploading their wedding photos for the world to see on a P2P network. As an example I once saw Emule take 5 days to get a 14 minute documentry clip from a BBC show. who has the time for this nonsense when you can buy the whole DVd for !£9.99?


Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
Also do not underestimate the Labour Marxists Government ability to get file sharing blocked by ISP's. They work only for big business as all the actions demonstrate on a daily basis.
Just watch this space and see what they have planned for even more restrictions on the Internet and personal freedom.
Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
Having something like the Net that they canot fully control sends them frantic and quite insane as the current situation demonstrates.

They are nothing more than a bunch of bullies. The ISP's to be fair are boxed in and if they want to continue to operate they will HAVE to cooperate with HM Lenin and Co.
Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
You must remember this is the UK not the USA and personal freedoms are not only non existent here, but what little we have is slowly being removed. Often covertly with rushed Bills through the House of Shame or is it Sham? Or it is justified as a measure to "protect" us for some evil terror waiting on every corner.

Paranoia runs rampant.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
Guzzo? You need to take pills for that paranoia.
Posted by c_j_ over 9 years ago
Speaking of pay per use, how about a "pay per post" facility here on AG/TB? Just a thought, might help to focus some folks' contributions...

(some boards have a "posts per hour" rate limit for similar reasons)
Posted by paulbeattie87 over 9 years ago
Why why why!

Why are people concerned about this and lets get the government involved when a youth just threw a brick through my window and the police aren't involved. What am I more worried about the illegal downloading my neighbour is doing or the brick which just came flying through the window!

Maybe if the price of music and films wasn't so extortionate people would pay up. 79p for a song which you have no physical media and cant do what you want with it is ridiculous. Maybe I cant afford the iPod and only the £15 Philips MP3 out of Argos which wont play .M4P's
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
dont know who to side with, tiscali if they sending out letters enforcing their own policies should pay that cost themselves, but the issue is more if the customer takes legal action and proves they innocent which could happen if the evidence handed over is poor. In that situation the isp will take the brunt leaving BPI immune to mistakes.
Posted by Clearsky2 over 9 years ago
Screenshots. Hmmmm..... Ever heard of Photoshopping an image?

Not to mention PROVING beyond all reasonable doubt that the file sharer on the print out really is the person in the Dock. Or are we just going to dispense with the legal system and have an internet run by and for Sony?
Posted by Riveel over 9 years ago
There should be no debate about this, simply NO! Music industry makes well over the top anyway especially in UK we pay 5 times more then the rest of Europe and Why?cos we let them, they know that they can get away with it. So now they want this. Where is our freedom??
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"dont know who to side with, tiscali if they sending out letters enforcing their own policies should pay that cost themselves..."
No they shouldnt. The BPI are the ones doing the spying and grassing, if they want everyone to stop illegal downloads, let the swines pay through the nose for it... If this was about whats in a contract or legally or even morally correct they shouldnt have any hesitation paying tiscali to write the letters to the naughty people... Again though as is always the case the likes of the BPI whinge and whine cos something costs them money... (CONT)
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Its got to the point now where the BPI, MPAA, RIAA etc etc etc all sound like a whinging lazy bum on benefit moaning they dont get enough money whilst at the same time forgetting just who puts the huge amounts of cash they do have in their pockets. Whilst also working on the side flogging something for 15 quid thats cost them 2p to produce... Then just cos they are so kind they only pocket 14 of that 15 quid and give the talent that made the music/film the left over pound.... Bunch of fat, rich, greedy cry babys if you ask me.
Posted by easyTree over 9 years ago
Excellent article on this subject by someone far more erudite than myself:
http://www.demonbaby.com/blog/2007/10/when-pigs-fly-death-of-oink-birth-of.html
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