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Illegal downloaders would ignore warnings
Wednesday 10 June 2009 15:54:17 by John Hunt

Two thirds of people pirating content would continue to download illegal material following a warning letter from their ISP according to a survey of 1,500 people for media law firm Wiggin. It did find that if action were taken following the letter, such as cutting off the Internet connection, 80% would stop.

The Digital Britain report, expected on June 16th is expected to recommend technical solutions to piracy such as traffic shaping, rather than cutting people off, which could be used in conjunction with letters to people found to be downloading illegal material.

One other interesting point covered in the survey indicates that some consumers (particularly men aged 20-34 and women 25-34) would be willing to pay more for access to online games and video content with men suggesting up to £48 per month as acceptable. This could make a new model for broadband providers to supply more content direct to users and have them pay a premium for access to this. Many would like to access services on the Internet via their Television but 49% of those questioned thought it was currently too difficult to connect up a TV and PC to get at Internet content.

Just last week, Charles Dunstone, CEO of Carphone Warehouse, spoke out in rebuttal of the Carter report and its attempts to put the onus on service providers to stop illegal file sharing.

"If you try speed humps or disconnections for peer-to-peer, people will simply either disguise their traffic or share the content another way. It is a game of Tom and Jerry and you will never catch the mouse. The mouse always wins in this battle and we need to be careful that politicians do not get talked into putting legislation in place that, in the end, ends up looking stupid."

"If people want to share content they will find another way to do it. It is more about education and allowing people to get content easily and cheaply that will make a difference. This idea that it is all peer to peer and somehow the ISPs can just stop it is very naive."

Charles Dunstone, (CEO) Carphone Warehouse Group Plc

With both consumers and the service providers against the current plans for attempting to stop illegal file sharing, we hope that someone is listening and realises that we need some new services that give users access to the content they want in an easy and cheap way. Current Television catch-up services such as BBC iPlayer are limited in their content, and are largely aimed at providing services to computers, as are new contenders such as Hulu which is expected to launch in the UK in September and provides on-demand television from the US networks.

Other pirating news this week saw the Pirate Party, a Swedish political party striving to reform laws regarding patents and copyright, voted into European Parliament gaining their first Member of the European Parliament (MEP). This comes on the back of the trial of four men behind The Pirate Bay, a Swedish based website used for BitTorrent file sharing, which were found guilty of breaking copyright law. How the party will progress in the political arena will be interesting to see- music/movie industry bosses can't be pleased at the news.


Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
talktalk arent my favourite isp but their CEO is talking sense and certianly at least appears to know what hes talking about.
Posted by Rroff over 8 years ago
He does certainly seem to be quite an intelligent person.

Heres a good example of why maybe some* people pirate things online...

We were looking to obtain the TV show House - downloading it legally online would have cost us... £38 PER season at the cheapest - in some cases close to double that. I got it instead from Amazon just over £35 for all 4 seasons.

And we wouldn't have even bought that if we hadn't have downloaded the first few episodes first and found it interesting.
Posted by Rroff over 8 years ago
* Ofcourse there are a good proportion of freeloading scum - but theres also a lot of people who would and will pay.

Someone please drive through the thick skulls of the media industry that not only will these measures FAIL to curb piracy, they will also REDUCE their own profits and INCONVENIENCE perfectly law abiding people.
Posted by ian72 over 8 years ago
Can someone please explain to me how if the users were cut off from the internet for illegally downloading that 80% of them would stop the activity.
How are the other 20% going to continue downloading illegally if they've been cut off?
Posted by EnglishRob over 8 years ago
A survey of 1500 people, hardly reprisentitive of the entire population then.

Posted by dgmckenzie over 8 years ago
The 20% would sue the ISP for defacement and for breach of contract :-)
Posted by Pigmaster over 8 years ago
"be willing to pay more for access to online games and video content with men suggesting up to £48 per month as acceptable"

Excuse me, £48 to access video content, jezz which men were they talking to, ohhh don't tell me it's all the freeloading bankers paying with their tax payers wad
Posted by rian over 8 years ago
They are mad now, I can't even imagine how the future of UK broadband will be.
Posted by TGVrecord over 8 years ago
How does £48 per month compare to a sub with Sky? Seems very high to me. I can only imagine it could be justified if you were on a very high speed internet connection. As most folk are lucky to get 2Mbps most providers would not be able to justify such charges.

In fact with the present downturn Sky is falling over backwards to get in new subscribers with special offers. Not to mention Setanda being on the verge of going bust who would be prepared to pay £48 pm? I think it was a small number of men and they must have been those interested in dodgy content!
Posted by Aqualung over 8 years ago
we now see what they are actually after, making us pay again and again for access to different levels of service.This has naff all to do with piracy well not from the consumer end anyhow.....

and of course the more we pay the more the Government takes in vat .
Posted by badger90 over 8 years ago
This £48 a month might be good until it is explained we wont know e.g. can you subscribe on a 3 monthly basis? is the content downloadable and drm free etc etc (the answer will probably be no to all those questions)
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
If I got this sort of letter, I'd sue my ISP on two seperate grounds, one that they had no right to filter what came to me and the other that if they did have the right then they were liable for sending me malware and viruses.

Lose/lose for the ISP.
Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
Two faced Dunstone - above is what he says and here is what he does :- "P2P was approx 26% of LLU and 20% of IPS peak time traffic prior to implementation of traffic shaping across the base and now it is 4% for both combined"

Obviously P2P isn't an issue if you just block it :-)
Posted by DataAngel over 8 years ago
I agree with Dawn_Falcon!
There is no way they pull off caping of any sort or they'll be faced with law suits comming from their ear holes! xD
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
@Dawn:ISPs should have the right to control what travels across their network. It's private property and has nothing to do with your rights as an individual. It's the same principal that allows the moderators of this and other boards to censor content and deny access to people.

As a paying customer you're entitled to be informed about it, not overcharged and given the chance to leave if you want.

The law only protects your freedoms in public areas. Once you enter private territory it loses interest - and so it should.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
..but just because they choose to exercise that right over certain types of traffic does not mean they are responsible for all traffic types.

They just have to say what their policy is and let you decide whether or not you want to use their service.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
herdwick yes considering he shapes p2p anyway there is a touch of double standards in what he is saying, but he is shaping p2p as a protocol not discriminating legal and illegal traffic, so all of his customers would in theory be on the same mechanism. Whilst on this proposed joke of a system a copyright holder simply probably passes over an ip found on some torrent tracker and bam the ip is shaped heavily.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
On providers that already throttle P2P at peak times, they may want it throttled more under the proprosals, people will also simply just leave the computer on for longer to get their files.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
the solution is to write off the situation and just accept it, the situation can be minimised by adapting the prices and retail models to the current world. However the entertainment industry is just stubborn and greedy and wont accept anyone getting something for nothing that they can sell.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
AndrueC - If ISP's control what crosses their network, theh they have to take full responsability for the content. That is law.

More, EU law confirms that access to the internet is a right, and restricting what you can access is against the principles of the adopted resoloution.

Unless of course you want to be paying £2/hour for playing games and to be disconnected because your liscenced copy of some music wasn't recognised quickly enough by the liscencing server.
Posted by otester over 8 years ago
I would rather pay more for an ISP which doesn't bother me about my usage.

Assuming you're in an LLU covered zone, truely unlimited services start from £22, meaning you can shove Terra bytes down it and have no problems.
Posted by kawasakiMan over 8 years ago
There is a big difference between Free and Retail Price. Most illegal downloaders always choose free, and would never actually pay the retail price. The true cost of their piracy is then NILL, as it does not replace a retail sale.
The real issue here is control of the internet, which will only end in a substandard service for all of us.
Posted by otester over 8 years ago

If I believe a product is worth the price I will buy it, I go cinema quite a lot, but I download a LOT of movies, not so many songs though, I however don't buy CD's because of the suing, I disagree with that.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
@TVGRecord:Actually Sky is having yet another excellent year. Their HD product is moving so fast they can't keep up. During recessions home entertainment products and services often fare better. People prefer to stay at home rather than go out.
Posted by xb0xguru over 8 years ago
The fact remains that the Movie industry is stagnant and still firmly sat in the 20th century. Like the Music industry, they have to move with the times and change their business model accordingly. The Music industry stated that mp3 downloads would be the death of them, yet they are now reporting more profit than ever thanks to legal downloads. This really is a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face. Make cinema releases legally downloadable at an affordable cost and you'll save face. There will always be those who prefer the Cinema experience, which will never change.
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