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More web blocking and ACTA on its way
Thursday 09 February 2012 16:38:21 by Andrew Ferguson

One of the original purposes of the internet was to allow researchers to share material, alas as this interconnectivity grew the ability for people to share much more than just ideas and research papers created a headache for established music and film distribution systems. Rather than embrace the internet in its early years, we now see many big content producers trying to legislate and control access, essentially putting the genie back in the bottle.

This brings us to 2012, where we see ACTA (the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) being passed by the UK Government in a similar fashion to how the older Digital Economy Act appeared, i.e. quickly with as little fuss as possible. As Darren Farnden of Entanet points out, ACTA should mean very little difference for the UK, as existing laws already allow for blocking of websites. Also the actions of a foreign government can have implications for UK internet users, e.g. the closure of MegaUpload which has seen both legitimate users and those using the service to exchange copyright protected material without the rights holder permission blocked from the site.

Of more interest is an article suggesting that new proposals are close to appearing that will make blocking of internet websites easier for copyright enforcement purposes. While there are some websites largely dedicated to sharing infringing material, there are also often totally legal users of these services, so hopefully we will not see blinkered requests to remove a complete domain from the internet, but something more targeted.

A lot of the opposition to the various new copyright controls is coming from established large internet firms, which can be seen as two industries fighting each other. Perhaps one reason that Google seems to be fighting the consumers corner is the experiences they have had when trying to arrive at licensing agreements for content. Also as the new kids on the block there is less interest in protecting an existing distribution network.

There is no doubt that some internet users have used broadband to build massive personal collections of films and music, and it is this volume that often creates the big figures for losses the content providers complain of. Alas little clear research has surfaced on whether this actually acts as promotion for the content producer, e.g. people paying to go watch an act live, or visit the cinema for the sequel, generating income down the line. We have a generation of people leaving school that have now always had the internet, who want to download a track after hearing it on the radio, but how often are singles still promoted months ahead of release, meaning the only copy available is one that infringes copyright.

Perhaps copyright holders should be forced to offer reasonable access terms for internet based delivery systems, like LoveFilm, Netflix and the growing number of movie streaming services, in return for being able to use the new legislation.


Posted by Apilar over 5 years ago
Russian proxy at the ready.
Posted by Firefalcon over 5 years ago
Le sigh, I thought ACTA has to be official brought in by the EU for it to have any merit anyway?

Either way this copyright nonsense has to stop, its getting out of control you are trading freedom just so some dead musician/film maker/some other scum can screw people over charging over the odds for their personal trash.

How about governments stop accepting the bribes and tell them get on their bike and drive it off a cliff. You know, stuff that looks like growing a spine for once.
Posted by creakycopperline over 5 years ago
as we speak i am downloading bob ross videos, from utorrent.:)
Posted by tommy45 over 5 years ago
Was it not several of these greedy companies such as time warner(aol) and others that funded the distribution of P2P client software on site's such as C NET ect , they even encouraged file sharing downloading music using Kazaa limewire and later on Bit torrent ?,
Posted by m0aur over 5 years ago
@creakycopperline I recently downloaded the whole 31 series of Bob Ross videos, which peed on the plusnet 60 Gb plus had to sit up overnight off-peak. The lengths we go to for a £2 saving per week over BT.
Posted by djfunkdup over 5 years ago
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's
Posted by mixt over 5 years ago
Proxies, VPNs and many other ways that can circumvent these regulations. I suspect it will reach a point where ISPs won't block, but they will limit. They're already doing this. Traffic shape and limit anything that they can't positively identify. If the whole internet ends up like that, it's going to be impossible to download anything quickly without it being tracked and logged. Here comes 1984 people.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
Have people considered not watching/listening what they cannot afford?
Posted by m0aur over 5 years ago
Have people considered not paying for what is free?
Posted by shaunhw over 5 years ago
I went to the cinema last week and the film was so boring and mundate they should have paid me to see it.

They wpn't win, because traffic will simply be encrypted and new protocols invented to support that, and then they won't be able to easily monitor the genuinely scary stuff.

The government should be careful what it wishes for. Politicians think they can control everything. But the people need to control the politicians. Whilst copyright breaches are bad, the freedom of the internet should not be curtailed just because of that.

Posted by chrysalis over 5 years ago
andrew its not about affording its about availability. The mnajorty of copyright infrignement is to obtain content that isnt legally obtainable. Although to me that isnt relevant, whats relevant is they trying to reshape the internet for just one single market. Things like youtube and wikipedia can dissapear overnight.
Posted by Going_Digital over 5 years ago
I have to say as a subscriber to lovefilm that the legal distribution methods are pathetic. The quality is very poor, many films are so badly compressed they look like hom emade youtube clips from 1990. The selection is very limited. Yet going the illegal route it is possible to find virtually anything and often in HD quality.
Posted by Daemon66 over 5 years ago
Copyright is Good, and should definitely be protected; an artist has the right to control how his work is used and who can access it.

Free-loaders who enjoy other peoples work without rewarding them for it are the scum of modern society and I doubt there is anything we can do to stop them other than provide some rudimentary education.

Organisations making money off other peoples work without rewarding them for it are criminals and should be hung out to dry.

Filtering traffic on the Internet is not the answer. It will drive the scum down to ever lower levels as shown in other comments.
Posted by PhilCoates over 5 years ago
'The mnajorty of copyright infrignement is to obtain content that isnt legally obtainable....'

If that is the case then why do those people who defend piracy try to justify it on the basis of being 'ripped off' by the media organisations in terms of their prices?

I mean if its not legally obtainable then you couldn't buy it if you wanted to could you?
Posted by m0aur over 5 years ago
All this 'Artists being ripped off' is twaddle. Do you really think the bod that downloads thousands of tracks in a torrent actually has the money to buy them. I consider anything available for free on the Internet as public domain. If anyone cannot be bothered to take a leaf from Apple's book, it's their fault.
Posted by rizla over 5 years ago
I have a fundamental problem with ACTA which has nothing to do with copyright.

Its simply that it was formulated IN SECRET with national legislatures unable to comment/amend draft versions. The first anyone outside the chosen few saw of this is when its a done deal.

Its yet another demonstration (as if we needed another) of how undemocratic the EU is. No way in hell would this pass in the USA.
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

It came from the US and they are a signatory.
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

He has the right to infringe upon anothers physical private property rights?

People like you are scum, who want to destroy civil liberties to protect business models instead of allowing them to be judged by the free-market.
Posted by rizla over 5 years ago

It came from the US and they are a signatory. "

The domestic legislation to make it law isn't going to happen in the USA, perhaps you missed the bit where lots of websites went dark to protest it? If so you almost certainly missed the bit where the bills sponsors (bought and paid for) realised they were going to lose their "seats" and changed their minds.

Unlike us in the EU where its at the level of an EU directive, which as we all know must be obeyed at all costs.
Posted by Daemon66 over 5 years ago

Please clarify how an artist's right to control his own property affects your rights in any way. You're not actually so naive that you think that owning a physical CD means that you actually own the music and all the rights associated with it are you?

Please also highlight exactly why you thought I might actually be in favour of curtailing anyone's civil liberties. I think I was fairly clear in saying that filtering is not the way.
Posted by tommy45 over 5 years ago
@Daemon66 The yhing is , is that the majority of the money that they assume is being lost to piracy is propaganda,and is just not how it is , the big media empires are shafting their artists all the time, they not only do it with how much the artist gets paid, but they helped create this situation along with the usa government over a decade ago, but yet you sing from the hymn sheet
Posted by Daemon66 over 5 years ago

Please clarify exactly why you think I 'sing from the hymn sheet'. I am totally against any form of filtering and do not support the 'big media empires' in any way.

But (and it is a big BUT that keeps being forgotten in these discussions) I believe Copyright is a right that allows artists to be both recognised and rewarded for their work and we must not lose that.

Copyright has been abused by the recording industry, and Copyright is ignored by free-loading scum and other criminals, but we must not lose it or we may lose access to a lot of good art.
Posted by Joppy over 5 years ago
Even before ACTA, we have seen Virgin Media customers unable to access their own files on web lockers due to the way VM implements the IWF list. As they are in no rush to sort out those kind of issues, it will only get worse once ACTA gets ratified.
Posted by tommy45 over 5 years ago
"Copyright is Good, and should definitely be protected"
It needs modernising for a start,and it needs to be about the protection of artists work, problem is in it's current form it's not,

Currently if i download using P2P or other method a old tv program that is no longer available,then technically I'm infringing copyright, which i think is nothing more than bs tbh, so there is just one flaw with the current copyright rules
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

You cannot physically own intellectual 'property', you can make a law declaring the sky is green but that does not make it so in the physical realm.

IPR violates physical property rights aka. freedoms and imposes a state-backed monopoly upon a supposedly free-market.
Posted by Firefalcon over 5 years ago
@andrew have you considered that regardless of whether people can or cannot afford something is beyond the point that censoring in the name of some dinosaurs who fail to innovate and adapt is disgusting. Their very business was built on dodging copyright and all they have these days is greasing political wheels in their favour i.e ACTA/SOPA/PIPA.
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

Just look at TB's own copyright policy, reeks of control-freak-ism.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
Have considered it, and I have consistently said that their models need to change, distribution models are very different now to 15 years ago.

But I also believe that because one person may have the wrong model does not give me or others the right to abuse things.

In short, the best way to hurt the system is to not consume what it produces, be it free or paid for.
Posted by Gzero over 5 years ago
@andrew, doesn't give us the right? So tax evasion is abused and not fixed, but downloading (which isn't illegal) is abuse? :/

We can't hurt the system since there is still quite a large group consuming regardless (ignorance/simply don't care etc).

I don't condone piracy, but I don't see a problem with testing the water before breaking the seal.
Posted by andygegg over 5 years ago
Let us not forget that Copyright is a tradeable commodity and has been extended to a ridiculous length of time (way beyond the original life of the creating artist) So, to paraphrase, 'the way to get more great Beatles songs is to make Michael Jackson's grandchildren rich'. I don't support illegal downloading but the rights owners are taking the wee-wee and trying to buck the market - which never works in the long run. Make stuff legally and easily available at a sensible price and people will buy it because most people are honest most of the time.
Posted by bjmccourt over 5 years ago
How many times am I going to be obliged to pay for a single "item" - a film or a song or an album? I - being the ripe old age I am - have already purchased copies of films and music and songs - in the form of sheet music rthen as an LP, then as a cassette, the as a CD, then have been obliged to pay AGAIN to watch this material on my television through Sky or Netflix or even through the BBC through my TV licence.
Posted by bjmccourt over 5 years ago
I have no substantial objection to a "Music Maker" ie a Musician gaining benefit from my purchases through licensing arrangements but substantial proportions of the funds I pay to listen to "the artist" is siphoned off to the pockets of those who have no INTEREST in music or film or culture - simply in making MORE money for themselves. They will happily parasite ANYONE who can fuilfill this requirement. Industrial scale lobbying is maintained to prevent the public gaining easier and CHEAPER access to materials THE PUBLIC have already paid for over and over again...
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

Downloading copyrighted material is not illegal in the UK nor in many others.
Posted by tommy45 over 5 years ago
@andygegg ,Yes that is correct,but it's thank's to the likes of the bbc and other media reports that some people are under the illusion that it is, when copyright infringement is no more than a civil offence, Hence why scum like ACS law and it's predecessors where able to get very rich quickly, it was/is just a cash cow, i would bet that very little of the funds they got by very shady & possibly unlawful means ended up being passed to the artists,
Posted by tommy45 over 5 years ago
Governments should keep out of what they ain't got any clue about,it's not for the government of the day to interfere with the interwebz, unless that is they or members of that government have been bribed or have their own hidden agenda for doing so, along with trying to control it , by censorship
Posted by Firefalcon over 5 years ago
@andrew still not an excuse for censorship, consider that its been proven pretty much everything these copyright holders claim is a bag of lies. Sure its no excuse for abuse, but considering the vast majority of piracy is done in countries like china/russia/etc legislation like ACTA/PIPA/SOPA are nothing more than censorship and a money grab. Especially considering the "abuse" copyright holders are doing to political process and freedom of information will/is doing far more harm than someone downloading the latest mp3.
Posted by andygegg over 5 years ago
@otester, @tommy45
Point taken - think of my remark as a rather clumsy shorthand for 'I don't support downloading copyright material without paying for it'. Peace!
Posted by andygegg over 5 years ago
'members of [the] government have ... their own hidden agenda' - surely not! Let's face it, governments have always been scared spit-less by the internet (our modern class of professional politicians are scared spit-less by ordinary people who have our own interests other than the minutiae of this week's party dogma). They'll use anything they can to control or, preferably, close down the internet - kiddie porn, terrorism, copyright violation...
Posted by malvachat over 5 years ago
Please,why can't it be said.It's the sharing of copy write material that is illegal not the downloading.
The media has a lot to answer for.
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

Generally P2P involves uploading automatically so I think that's why they generally assume.
Posted by tommy45 over 5 years ago
This i found somewhat interesting
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

This could well eventually expand into extraditing of individual file sharers, not just from 'evidence' of cyber-lockers but torrent networks as well.
Posted by bsg017 over 5 years ago
Is this the right place to draw attention to the fact that RAITV (Italy) has blocked access to its news 24 service from abroad for the duration of the Olympics, apparently for copyright reasons. Very annoying for those like me who use it for listening practice.
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