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Ofcom Unveils Anti-Piracy Policy For UK ISPs 234

krou writes "Under plans drawn up by Ofcom, UK ISPs are going to draw up a list of those who infringe copyright, logging names and the number of times infringement took place. Music and film companies will then be allowed access to the list, and be able to decide whether or not to take legal action. '"It is imperative that a system that accuses people of illegal online activity is fair and clear," said Anna Bradley, chair of the Communications Consumer Panel.' The Panel, in partnership with Consumer Focus, Which, Citizens Advice, and the advocacy body the Open Rights Group, has released a set of principles it believes should govern the code of practice. The principles say sound evidence is needed before any action is taken, consumers must have the right to defend themselves, and the appeals process must be free to pursue. The code shall come into practice by 2011, and initially applies only to ISPs with 400,000 customers or more." Update: 05/29 09:11 GMT by T : As an anonymous reader points out below, that's 400,000 users, rather than 40,000 as originally rendered.
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Ofcom Unveils Anti-Piracy Policy For UK ISPs

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  • Correction (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward


  • Piracy clarification (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rivalz ( 1431453 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @05:14AM (#32387352)

    Im just curious on how it is illegal to download content that is copyrighted.
    I understand being prosecuted for uploading content to the internet but am I breaking the law if I watch something on youtube that was placed there illegally? Or if someone emails me a photo and they do not have the rights to it?
    I'm pretty certain when I take a photo of my girlfriend in the city there is something in the background that I dont have the copyright of. If I post that on facebook am I doing something illegal?
    Seriously I feel like no matter what I do Driving, browsing the internet, or taking photographs I feel like at any given moment I'm breaking the law and just waiting for it to be my turn to get caught doing something idiotically illegal.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's the point. Everyone is a criminal -> no one can stand against the system.

    • by arkhan_jg ( 618674 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @05:49AM (#32387462)

      Seriously I feel like no matter what I do Driving, browsing the internet, or taking photographs I feel like at any given moment I'm breaking the law

      Well that's because you probably are; the laws about driving and copyright are so rediculously broad - and lightly enforced - that you're breaking the law most of the time, but simply aren't prosecuted for it until you appear on someones radar.

      What I consider worst about this legislation is that major ISPs are going to have to monitor *all* traffic passing through them, make a judgement on whether it is 'infringing' then put you on a list, then hand that list over to the major label music industry to decide if they're going to take civil action against you. So not only am I having my privacy massively infringed by my own ISP, I'm paying them to do it, and act as enforcer and bearer of all the costs as evidence gatherer for another industry entirely - one I happen to be boycotting.

      Thanks a bunch ex-labour government for pushing that little law through at the last minute without debate.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JockTroll ( 996521 )

        Well, given how your rights are being violated by those industry thugs, and how your government will not protect you from the because they've been bought and paid for by the industry (which, by the way, is going to see megabucks in enforcing its own brand of private justice upon the netizens), isn't it high time to take the matter in your own hands?

        Pass the word that for every user that is turned over to the industry mob, a price will be exacted: an office will be firebombed, an employee will be stabbed to

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Don't mod him down! This guy understands the fundamental problem and even has a solution, albeit a morally suspect one.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            It's a morally disgusting one. And won't work. But I couldn't say I didn't like reading it. Copyright enforcement has become so ridiculous that it is expected to inspire violence in many people.

            • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

              I'd wager that you'd run out of politicians who refuse to listen to the public before you run out of bullets.

            • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @09:56AM (#32388528) Homepage Journal

              Morally disgusting? I don't know. Here in the US, our ancestors started shooting at Englishmen who were just enforcing the law, collecting exorbitant taxes. Morally disgusting? Maybe it IS time for some Englishmen to start offing those corrupt bastards for imposing what amounts to exorbitant taxes. Call it a "sin tax". If you enjoy it, you've got to pay for it, over and over and over and . . .

          • Gandhi beat the Brits without violence.

            In this case, get everyone's name on the ISP's list. Then I wonder if a "reverse" class action is possible? Soon as anyone is sued, turn it into a massive class action defense. If class action isn't possible, the sheer numbers will overwhelm the system.

            Further actions would be things like boycotts. Not just boycotts of the music industry, but of the tax system and court system. The government will back down in a big hurry if half the nation is supposed to appe

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by JockTroll ( 996521 )

              Gandhi didn't "beat the Brits". The Brits saw that it was better for them to let him be and let go of India than antagonize the entire world opinion. Some decades earlier he would have been quietly disappeared. Nowadays he would be labelled an EEEVUL TERR-OW-RIST (GASP!) and be disappeared, deported or executed among the cheers of a pant-crapping populace. The media would be against him, so he would automatically lose.

              And that's the situation now: the media will not come to your side, and should the Pirate

            • Gandhi only got anywhere because of the good nature of his opponents. Look how far hunger strikes got against Stalin (Stalin abolished hunger strikes. The number of days on hunger strike were added to your sentence, if you starved yourself to death, good riddance).

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by crucible01 ( 1607369 )
          I despise the "copyright industry's" greed and corruption and everyone who sides with "them". But you're fucking crazy and dangerous and should spend some quality time in a psych ward. You're talking about firebombing, killing and torturing people because they won't they don't want to let you download a T.V show? What the hell is wrong with you? Get help.
        • I seem to recall there was an organization that used those tactics in Britan.
          Irish Republican something-or-other.
          Some dispute over a piece of Ireland.

          I haven't heard much about them lately,
          but they're probably still around somewhere.
          You might want to check on how those tactics worked out for them.

        • Reality shear (Score:5, Insightful)

          by swm ( 171547 ) * <swmcd@world.std.com> on Saturday May 29, 2010 @01:09PM (#32389766) Homepage

          What we're seeing here are the results of reality shear (props to Neal Stephenson).

          Historically, people had separate legal and ethical frameworks for managing tangible objects and for managing speech.

          The basic rule for objects--respected by almost everyone--is don't take other people's objects.

          The basic rule for speech--generally respected by democratic governments--is you can say what you want and you can hear what you want. You also have some privacy rights in your speech.

          Now the internet has inextricably and irreversibly enmeshed these two very different frameworks. Things that used to be objects (CDs, DVDs, etc) can now be moved around by acts of speech (FTP, BitTorrent, etc.).

          Copying infringes the content owners property rights, and they are enraged. They have responded in three ways.
          Social : convince people that copying is theft, and hope that people's natural moral aversion to theft will dissuade them from copying things.
          Technical: DRM
          Legal : copyright enforcement; ISP regulation; 3-strikes, etc.

          Socal doesn't work. People don't think that copying is theft (because it doesn't deprive the owner of a tangible object), and you can't rewrite people's ethical systems with a PR campaign, no matter how slick or how insistent.

          Technical doesn't work. DRM doesn't stop pirates, it just annoys your paying customers.

          Legal responses necessarily infringe people's conceptions of their own speech rights. What used to be a free and private act of sending and receiving signals over the internet is how subject to review, judgement, and punishment by the the government and corporations.

          Just as you can't convince ordinary people that copying is theft, you can't convince ordinary people that speech acts are morally wrong. Not the kind of wrong that really guides people's actions. The kind they learned as children: don't hit, don't steal, don't lie.

          So people see the legal responses of the content owners as grave infringements of their own legitimate speech rights. And they get enraged.

          So we have two groups of people, each enraged, each convinced of their own right, and working from incompatible premises.

          I don't know how we get past this.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by JockTroll ( 996521 )

            You make good points but in the end it boils down to a simple fact: the populace is setting a trend, the technology is setting a trend, and for the first time in history the party that wants to maintain the status quo is actually succeeding.

            They are turning the clock back, and moreover they've launched a fear-mongering campaign designed to scare the majority of people into compliance. It's like if in the beginning of the printed page era, printing presses had been banned, their possessions made into a crime

      • by ydrol ( 626558 )

        > Thanks a bunch ex-labour government for pushing that little law through at the last minute without debate

        I think it got cross-party approval. But of course no public debate. Probably plenty of golf lunches and champagne dinners with Elton John, Bono etc.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What I consider worst about this legislation is that major ISPs are going to have to monitor *all* traffic passing through them

        ISPs don't have to monitor anything. nothing. zero. zilch.

        what they have to do, is accept 'infringement notifications' from copyright holders - and keep count how many each customer receives.

        the first 3 times per-customer these notifications are received, the ISP must write to the account holder, detailing the alleged offence, offering advice about securing their wireless router and

      • by damburger ( 981828 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @07:55AM (#32387892)
        The ConDem coalition could repeal the DEA any time they liked. Nick Clegg even hinted he would make such a repeal a condition of joining a coalition, and this has now been shown to be an outright lie.
      • by pbhj ( 607776 )

        Presumably one of the ISP's can just sign up 399,999 people and then start a new sister company and sign up 399,999 more, etc., rinse-repeat.

    • by Elledan ( 582730 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @05:54AM (#32387498) Homepage
      This whole thing stinks. Badly. Allow me to explain:

      Here in the Netherlands we got a similar debate going on, with some groups demanding the downloading of copyrighted works to be made illegal (currently legal for movies and music). My housemate and good friend Pieter Hulshoff was present at a debate on this last Thursday together with a number of politicians, artists, lawyers and many other types of people (including the very embarrassing Dutch Pirate Party). As he pointed out during this debate, there is no conceivable way one could successfully implement a 'roadblock' against the downloading of copyrighted content. First of all, there's the technical limitation.

      DPI, or Deep Packet Inspection, is a technique which can look into the packets sent through an ISP's network and which is suggested as a way to find those guilty of infringement. There is no way to figure out in even a fraction of all cases, even after assembling multiple packets, what format the packet's contents are in, what encoding was used, how to read it, let alone somehow figure out whether it is copyrighted information.

      P2P, or basically anything involving Bittorrent, eDonkey and similar networks used for filesharing can easily be anonymized using encryption, private trackers, making it very hard to get into a cloud or similar, or figure out what is being shared.

      Then there's the aspect of determining whether a copyrighted work being downloaded is actually 'illegal'. If personal copies are allowed like here in the Netherlands, or some form of fair use exists and the person downloading Generic Movie #24 also has a matching copy of the DVD he or she legally bought but feels too lazy to make a rip off (or wants a rip of the Blu-Ray version... another huge grey legal patch). Look at for example the demands made by media companies at Youtube and similar sites to keep out copyrighted content. It should be clear that it isn't feasible for even a huge company like Google to keep people from uploading copyrighted material they supposedly don't have the rights to to YouTube. Automatic filters fail, reports aren't affective enough and employing people to sift through incoming videos is so ridiculous for being impractical that it's laughable.

      In other words this is yet another wet dream of the companies behind such constructs as the RIAA/MPAA and their many cousins throughout the world, put into law thanks to bribes and clueless politicians and completely not feasible in the Real World (tm).
      • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @06:55AM (#32387688) Homepage

        This is just some ISP's PHB having a wet dream after being wined and dined by the RIAA. It's going to be impossible to put into practice. I've heard the boss of Spain's leading ISP ranting about this sort of thing and he's a barely coherent old codger who obviously doesn't have a clue about anything technical.

        As a protest we should create a screen saver which maxes out an Internet connection 24/7 transferring random data to random people. Get your friends to install it ... let's see if the ISPs who sign up to these schemes can provide the bandwidth they've sold.

        • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @08:13AM (#32387958) Journal
          Don't make out the bandwidth. Create 400 byte segments of copyright works - small enough to count as quoting for the purpose of fair dealings law. Have the screensaver exchange these segments. Make sure it's the same segment in each direction, so there's no possibility that they're building anything close to a complete work. Also have it join a few thousand random torrents selected from some popular torrent site, but not transfer any data to any of them. Look as suspicious as possible, but without actually breaking any laws. Don't stress the normal Internet infrastructure, but put a huge load on the monitoring stuff. If you get any legal action, get the FFII to sponsor a countersuit for barratry.
        • I like the random data idea. A lot. We've tried petitioning and achieved nothing, so more direct (but still legal and safe) action seems sensible.

          It looks like a very good form of peaceful protest: they've agreed to monitor our connections, so in return we will swamp their monitoring tools with more data than they can hope to handle.

          From a technical standpoint, a quick search has turned up CSpace [cspace.in], which looks to me like a decent starting point. Any enterprising slashdotters feel like putting something toget

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          It's going to be impossible to put into practice.

          Reminds of Bill Clinton's 2000 quote on China censoring the web "Good luck. That's sort of like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall." [washingtonpost.com] Well, Bill Clinton was wrong, and as the article note the Jell-o is now quite firmly on the wall, with hardly a single drip. Your comment is of a similar kind: "Ha, ha! I can't imagine any government/corporation/entity being able to censor the internet( that I became familiar with in the 1990s), therefore they won't be able to ce

      • by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @07:05AM (#32387736) Homepage

        Well, while I agree with your overall points and philosophy, there are a few things that DPI could do to make things really annoying for ISP customers:

        1. They can probably detect http headers that have a GET line that includes a filename of something that seems to be infringing. Better not view any websites with photos of artists named "Mariah Carey - singing Name-That-Song.jpg" on them... Or, if you're going to post mp3s on a website maybe you should rename them to .jpg files once they start filtering those out...

        2. They could detect http response headers that have a mime type the record industry doesn't like, such as a torrent file or mp3.

        3. They could detect non-encrypted torrent traffic, or non-encrypted mp3s/etc in general. Assembling the packets would be hard, knowing they're being sent is probably not.

        4. When "suspicious" traffic like any of the above is detected, they could probably start logging full packets and assemble full streams for further analysis - if you only do that on a small percentage of traffic and don't keep the captured packets around forever it may be practical.

        Sure, all of the above will probably hassle lots of people who do nothing illegal, but I don't think the recording industry really cares about that. Don't want to prove your innocence? Well, just don't use bittorrent. Oh, we're not banning it - anybody can keep using it as long as they don't mind proving their innocence in court every six months (make no mistake, in the end the burden of proof will end up on the defendant since the industry will have some nebulous report output that has their name on a list).

        As far as not being able to catch all of it - I don't know that they really care. If the ISPs give the music industry 1000 people to sue every year, or 1000 people who they can ban from the internet every year, that would be a victory for them. Once people are afraid to click on links lest they accidentally go to a "bad site" and end up with a ruined life then they will be happy. That's why I pretty-much don't browse the internet from work - with the laws in the US as they are all it takes is one misclick or typo and a zealous log monitor and you can be in VERY deep water.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Saturday May 29, 2010 @07:55AM (#32387896) Homepage Journal

          The biggest flaw is not so much the difficulty in gathering evidence but the fact that in the end the copyright holder still needs to sue the accused individual.

          The law in the UK makes it quite clear that they would need to sue the person who did the infringement. Good luck figuring out who that is in a household with more than one person. Being a civil matter they can't seize your PC or anything like that.

          Even if they do somehow figure out who it is the chances are the evidence they have will not stand up in court. Even if it does they won't be able to ban people from the internet because it would infringe on their human rights. Without the internet you become cut off from your friends, unable to do your job, unable to use many mobile phones. The real kicker is that if you share a connection with someone else then they would loose their access too which is clearly unjust. No court would ever allow that.

          Anyway, the current government said they would repeal. I know, manifesto promises... But at least they are in principal against it.

        • They're much more likely to just look at the number/type of connections than start analyzing packets.

          Packet inspection will only happen after you've been spawning dozens of connections on various ports for a few minutes and none of the headers were HTTP.

      • by pbhj ( 607776 )

        If personal copies are allowed like here in the Netherlands, or some form of fair use exists and the person downloading Generic Movie #24 also has a matching copy of the DVD he or she legally bought but feels too lazy to make a rip off (or wants a rip of the Blu-Ray version... another huge grey legal patch).

        We don't have the US American fair use exclusions in the UK. Making a personal copy for format shifting is illegal [tortuous] in the UK. Ditto for downloading a rip.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          I'm cancelling a couple of moderations to post this, but I think it needs to be said.

          Making a personal copy for format shifting is illegal [tortuous] in the UK. Ditto for downloading a rip.

          A specific format-shifting exemption is definitely on the way. It was recommended by Gowers and has basically been accepted by everyone in government, it just hasn't been put into law yet.

          Also, at least one big name music label is on record saying they won't prosecute people for format shifting. They know MP3 players and similar devices are big business, and going after people who buy your music through legit channels with

      • It is also worth remembering that even if there were technically possible techniques for detecting infringing content using deep packet inspection, it would be absurdly expensive for ISPs to implement them.

        If you're familiar with high-end network infrastructure products, you'll know that they are not cheap. This kind of DPI would require intercepting every packet and performing tests on it that would not be possible in real time. That would require a huge number of access points and dedicated hardware tools

      • See my sig for the link.

        A couple years ago I searched intensively for anonymous networks that could candle a variety of traffic (as opposed to Tor, which handles little more than web) and came up with I2P. It is a FOSS darknet which means you're communicating anon only with other I2P users, but the good news is that the network has grown a lot in a past couple years. Another upside is that it is supposed to be more secure/anonymous than Tor by design and unlike Tor, I2P is much more decentralized and would

    • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @06:24AM (#32387606)
      First of all, forget about the sorts of examples you've cited. That's not what it's about. Really it's only about emerican film and music companies wanting to punish (as opposed to simply recover any lost revenue) who look at their products but haven't paid them before doing so. The basic problemm with all f this is that if you download a movie then they're after you not just for the £10 or so that a top selling DVD goes for, but they want to ruin you - take your house, all your money and make it impossible for you to live normally forever after that.

      Although I'm not an expert, I wouldn't be surprised to discover that a convicted rapist has a less onerous punishment placed on them than someone in the grips of these film studios.

      • by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @07:27AM (#32387818) Homepage

        Agreed. What's wrong with a $200 fine like you have with speeding? It isn't like people go flying down the streets at 200mph with impunity since they don't mind paying the fines 3 times a week. Really, even just a slap on the wrist will tend to moderate bad behavior when you're talking about stuff that isn't all that serious.

        Suppose a 15-year-old downloads some songs - either they or their parents are at risk of a seriously damaged life (and I mean effects that will last decades even with bankruptcy "protection" / etc). If a 15-year-old stabs somebody with a knife the penalties are FAR less onerous. The parents won't be prosecuted at all, and the child will be tried as a minor and will have an expunged record in many jurisdictions. If the kid turns himself around he could still have a fairly normal life. A 15-year-old who commits homicide might end up in worse shape, although I suspect a 15-year-old rapist could do better. We're effectively placing teenagers downloading music in the same category as aggravated assault, rape, and murder. I looked up somebody I knew who was convicted (as an adult) of simple assault and associated minor crimes (first time conviction) and they paid $4k and a year's probation.

        • Precisely because file-sharing is victimless small fines wouldn't be particularly effective. Because no damage is done and no evidence produced there is basically no moral or pragmatic reason to refrain from doing it. The situation is similar to penalties for drug offenses where the only way to temporarily stop someone from selling plants to eager customers is to put them in jail for a couple of years. Most speeding on the other hand is done under rather limited circumstances because people naturally don't
    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @06:32AM (#32387622) Journal

      Even if you have a complete list of all files that are copyrighted and require a license to distribute, it becomes hard. For example, my publisher and I frequently exchange files that are illegal for most people to distribute, but not for us because one of us owns the copyright. This system would be required to spot when two people exchange the file, determine that it is copyrighted, and then note that we are the copyright owners and so are legally able to distribute it so should not go on the list.

      Requiring a system to do two impossible things is generally considered a case of bad specification design.

    • Just make sure.... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @06:45AM (#32387660) Homepage

      Just make sure all your windows are closed when you play the radio in your car and you should be OK.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by xOneca ( 1271886 )
        That may sound crazy, but here, in Spain, things are getting somewhat like that.

        Spanish RIAA (SGAE) has people going to small businesses like hairdresser's or gyms to see if they're playing music (or radio) and employers have to pay a fee if they're. The odd thing is that if customers were listening to portable media players with headphones, they aren't required to pay.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Xugumad ( 39311 )

      > am I breaking the law if I watch something on youtube that was placed there illegally

      If you are aware of the content, certainly you would be in the UK (UK copyright law, last time I read it, even made it illegal to rip CDs you owned to MP3 for your own use, because it's a copy). You could almost certainly make a strong defence against such charges if the content was mis-represented (I don't mean if it's labelled "Not the latest blockbuster movie, lolz", I mean "Videos of my cat") and you stopped once a

      • by pbhj ( 607776 )

        You could almost certainly make a strong defence against such charges if the content was mis-represented (I don't mean if it's labelled "Not the latest blockbuster movie, lolz", I mean "Videos of my cat") and you stopped once aware of the true nature of the content, but if you're knowingly copying (by requesting YouTube send you a copy) copyrighted content that you do not have a right to, it's illegal.

        It's known that companies have uploaded content to YouTube in the guise of unauthorised content, as leaked previews, etc., in order to market their media offerings. There's no way for us to tell on YouTube if something is being distributed legally or not.

    • Simple

      Downloading IS NOT Copyright Infringement. About the ONLY thing that is illegal to download (in someareas) is child-porn. TFA even indicates "file-sharing networkings" (emphasis mine) -- because simply downloading is not a problem.

      Downloading is not Theft. Downloading is not Copyright Infringement. Downloading is not Piracy. Download is just Downloading.

    • by nurb432 ( 527695 )

      To give them credit it did say 'infringe copyright'.

  • How about... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    First of all, I don't live in the UK.

    How about limiting damages to thrice the MSRP value of the infringed content for the first offense, and subsequently doubling (6 times the MSRP for second offense, 12 times the MSRP for third offense, and so on...)

    This way, people's lives won't be ruined the first time they get caught infringing.

    So, if the MSRP is $29.95 for a given movie (think how expensive Blu-Ray is), then on the first offense, that's $89.85. Or, maybe multiple movies were pirated on the first offens

  • by Sean ( 422 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @05:18AM (#32387364)

    Encryption will make this difficult. It'll be right back to making unsubstantiated claims that some IP address was serving up copyrighted content then demanding to know the subscriber details.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 29, 2010 @05:49AM (#32387460)

      Indeed, why don't torrent sites and trackers already run over https? Wouldn't that kill this idea entirely, plus any other ISP-based snooping?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by adbge ( 1693228 )

        Indeed, why don't torrent sites and trackers already run over https? Wouldn't that kill this idea entirely, plus any other ISP-based snooping?

        Many private trackers (maybe some public, too) already offer https. I'm not a security analyst so I'm unable to comment on how effective the provided services are, but there has certainly been a stab at doing just that.

      • by Burz ( 138833 )

        Because that's only a solution to throttling by the ISP.

        See my other post... http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1668842&cid=32389280 [slashdot.org]

    • If you use an https site that's not run by a bank, credit card issuer, school, or the guy who built your second home as a campaign favor, you are a dirty pirate and must pay.
    • by Znork ( 31774 )

      Well, on the upside, these actions certainly encourage the adoption of encryption, vpns and distributed darknets on a much more massive scale. Soon enough the evolutionary pressure towards unmonitorable connections will have put private communications permanently out of reach of any agencies.

      Encrypted f2f sharing is certainly the killer app for the emerging distributed social networks.

    • by gilgongo ( 57446 )

      Most people I know here in the UK are simply installing VMs on their machines and having them connect to P2P and Usenet services via VPNs. I'm not sure whether DPI would be able to detect what they're downloading, but it would seem at least pretty difficult to do so. Bitorrent over I2P is also starting to speed up now too with more users (well, to the point where you can probably download an 8Gig movie file in about 7 days).

    • You need to link up to an anonymizing network with some kind of routing (like onion routing) that creates a level of anonymity... see the link in my sig for a good example of such a network.

      The reason encryption alone doesn't work (turning encryption on as a connection requirement in a torrent client) is that anyone from the ISP to the police to the MPAA can simply join the swarms the same way you do. From the standpoint of large corporations, that requires very little effort and may even be less complex th

    • by nurb432 ( 527695 )

      Then they will just ban 'unapproved' encryption, and if you use it its assumed guilt. It wont matter what that data was, its illegal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 29, 2010 @05:18AM (#32387366)

    I've been using his open wifi for years to download stuff

    • by pbhj ( 607776 )

      I've been using his open wifi for years to download stuff

      But you'll be getting punished when his family and anyone else at his address gets cut off for life, so what's the problem.

  • The biggest problems I see with this are:

    a) How do they decide what is copyrighted? If *I* were to write a game/song/whatever and it got pirated I'm pretty sure they wouldn't even notice.
    b) How do they decide who is a film or music company? What's to stop anyone getting access to this list? Conversely why couldn't smaller film and music companies access it?

    • List details (Score:2, Interesting)

      What's to stop anyone getting access to this list?

      I'd be more worried about what's recorded in that list - I don't read anything in the article that says person-identifying data is hidden / kept in a separate, inaccessible list until a court orders such data be handed over.

      If all details are free for checking by 3rd parties, that would mean they could get private and/or identity data without any involvement of a court. Basically sidestepping any legal checks & balances. That is bad for many reasons. And of course once they have such data, they have

      • I don't read anything in the article that says person-identifying data is hidden / kept in a separate, inaccessible list until a court orders such data be handed over.

        ofcom's website [ofcom.org.uk] says exactly this:

        ISPs will have to record the number of notifications sent to their subscribers and maintain an anonymised list of alleged serial copyright infringers.

        Copyright holders can then request information on this list and pursue a court order to identify serial infringers and take legal action against them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 )

      a) Whatever film and music companies want. When in doubt, record it. Until someone takes it and uses it, there won't be any harm in recording that movie.avi was sent from A to B. Huh? What is that "privacy" you're talking about?
      b) Whoever inserts sufficient coins.

    • "a) How do they decide what is copyrighted? If *I* were to write a game/song/whatever and it got pirated I'm pretty sure they wouldn't even notice."

      Welcome to the brave new world: individual creativity is ignored, because the major corporations are in control and do not care about individuals.
  • That's fine... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Manip ( 656104 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @05:31AM (#32387402)

    It is great that people who create content might get paid for doing so (*genuinely). The real issue here is the publishers who's 1980s business models cannot adapt to the 2000s with high speed internet in every home and multiple mobile devices per person. In the long term these publishers will go out of business but not without dragging their feet ruining it for everyone else in the mean time.

    Why can't I buy online instead of a DVD and get all the extra features?
    Why does online content cost more than a physical disc?
    Why when I buy online content can't I put it on my iPad, Google Phone, Laptop, and PC?
    Why can't I watch Hulu and YouTube in another country? What's this international border junk doing on the internet?
    Why is content priced unfairly between different countries (*even taking into account taxes, duty, and cost of living)?

    Publishers claim they can't compete with free/"stolen" and while for the poor that is often true, there is a large percentage of people who would LOVE to pay for content but literally cannot. For example if I slept through last week's episode of a TV show, and cannot watch it online in my country -- what other options do I have? Wait for the DVD a year from now?

    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

      It is great that people who create content might get paid for doing so

      Only if they're doing it through a successful business model, not having it extracted from people through an obscenely backwards law.

    • Re:That's fine... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @07:18AM (#32387780)

      Do you know why train stations are usually at the outskirts of towns? Nooooo, not because of the steam engines causing so much pollution. You're kidding? Back when these things were fashionable, the average steel mill in the middle of the town blew more black smoke constantly into the vicinity than the occasional train possibly could.

      The reason is that hackneys and cabs were fearing that they'd go out of business. They immediately noticed that they will (and did quickly) lose all the business between towns. Nobody wanted to be transported like cargo when they can sit comfortably in the "luxury" of a train waggon. So they campaigned and clamoured, citing the most impossible and unbelievable dangers and threats of those horrible machines (look it up, some are quite entertaining. Like claiming that just watching "zip" by at that breathneck speed of 40 mph will send people into seizures and a delirium furiosum and that train tracks have to be shielded off so nobody gets to see these trains) until the politicians caved in and put the stations at the edges of towns, to protect their failing business.

      Of course the whole deal completely floundered when cars started to become the next big thing (and again, accompanied by similar ridiculous laws, like requiring a man with a lantern running in front of the car to warn others). But by then the train stations were already at the outskirts of towns, and of course they stayed there because by then nobody wanted to spend the money to lay tracks through the growing towns.

      A perfect example how an outdated business model keeps progress at bay with harebrained claims and artificial scaremongering. People don't want to adapt. That's nothing new. And companies even less so. Who likes to change his job? But standing in the path of progress for the sake of retaining your comfy job makes you nothing more than a sponger. You contribute nothing to the progress and expansion of the economy but you leech off it.

      • It still happens. In Calgary there's a commuter train system. There were plans to extend it all the way to the airport on the edge of town. The Cab Drivers Union protested, said that if it got built there would never again be a single taxi in the entire city for all eternity, the cabbies would all move and the union would bankrupt anybody who tried to run a cab company with scabs. So the plans were scrapped, if you want to leave the airport, you do it by cab or you walk. Only they don't even pretend t

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Opportunist ( 166417 )

          They tried a similar stunt here. Only that the town decided to give them the finger and build the train to the airport. Taxis went on strike. So the town ran the public transport round the clock. You had to buy extra tickets for the "Nightline" and they were more expensive than the ordinary tickets, but still, where do you get by cab for 4 bucks? The people were happy, and, and that's the funny part, so was the town because the whole deal was actually profitable. The cab union caved in but the town decided

    • by gilgongo ( 57446 )

      It is great that people who create content might get paid for doing so (*genuinely).

      Really? As far as I understand the music and recording industry at least, if you are an artist, you will have a contract with a publisher (eg a record company). That contract usually says you get some money up front, then some percentage of sales as determined by a collection agency like ASCAP. If the publisher shops a bunch of people downloading your stuff and gets the courts to fine them, then there is probably nothing in your contract that says you get any of that money at all.

      So in other words, this isn

  • FTFY (Score:5, Informative)

    by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @05:39AM (#32387424) Homepage Journal

    UK ISPs are going to draw up a list of those who are suspected of infringing copyright

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Music firms and movie studios can request details from the list so that they can decide whether to start their own action against serial infringers.

    If music firms and movie studios can request such information i hope it is available to the account holder as well.

    I imagine a large percentage of 'serial infringers' will be under age and living at home. Parents - and all account holders - should have access to this information if they and going to be handed on a platter to music firms and movie studios.

  • by Budenny ( 888916 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @05:47AM (#32387450)

    "Under plans drawn up by Ofcom, UK ISPs are going to draw up a list of those who infringe copyright, logging names and the number of times infringement took place. Music and film companies will then be allowed access to the list, and be able to decide whether or not to take legal action."

    No, its not those who infringe. It is ONLY those who are ACCUSED without proof of any kind in any forum which is legitimate to establishing the truth of that accusation.

    We should consider similar cases. Do we want to draw up lists of those who three people accuse of speeding, and on the fourth accusation, take away their driving licenses?

    The utterly ridiculous and anti-democratic aspect of this is the following: there is a move in this particular case to substitute accusation for proof. This is wrong. We need to treat all violations of law in the same way: require proof before sanction.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Via the proposed OFCOM list on one hand we have people suspected of infringing copyright and on the other hand we have proof of ISPs monitoring, recording and invading the privacy of citizen upon a nationwide scale. That diseased myopic organisation is proposing that private corporations have the right to monitor and record every action of their customers. What next those tin foil hatters, cameras and microphones in cable TV boxes to monitor people in their homes, compulsory mobile phones that cannot be tu

  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @05:47AM (#32387452) Journal
    It has come to our attention that you have been frequently accused of piracy. As a large ISP we are required to log this information. However, we would be willing to transfer your account details to our wholly owned sister company which currently only has 399,998 customers and has no policy of logging your information.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Mathinker ( 909784 )

      > which currently only has 399,998 customers

      From the summary:

      >> only initially(emphasis mine) applies to ISPs with 400,000 customers or more.

      Anyway, we all know that the more the fight against piracy revs up, the more pirates will find ways to circumvent the enforcement. And the worse and worse PR this will generate for the media companies.

      We live in interesting times, as the Chinese might say.

    • So when they click over from 399,999 to 400,000 and have to start spying on people I would guess that they have to notify all their existing customers of the change. Which would lead to a mass exodus (or not) which would drop the number back below 400k again .. and so on ...

      it would also be interesting to know if they would then be able to enforce minimum contract lengths, given that they would have tomake significant changes to their contract conditions. Maybe we'll start to get closed memberships of IS

  • Proxy, proxy, proxy (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 29, 2010 @06:01AM (#32387522)

    Like it's not pathetically easy to proxy yourself out of the whole mess. For those inclined a small VPS can be obtained for a few dollars a month in one of the more liberal european countries such as the Netherlands or Sweden, or if you feel the need go further afield to the obscurity of Panama, Hong Kong or Malaysia. Setting up Squid server and SSL tunnel is then the work of less than an hour. Alternatively if that's too complex there's any number of companies offering private non-logged VPNs for a similar price.

    If the media companies pursue this then all that's going to happen is it'll be increasingly lucrative for companies to set up anonymising VPN services in regimes around the planet where their copyright writ doesn't run or is practically impossible to enforce. Instructions for how to use these will pass from geeks to common knowledge, and furthermore because people will be paying a few dollars a month for the proxy they will be more inclined to use it to "get their money's worth", and hence 'piracy' will actually increase.

    Of course the sensible alternative would be to provide a widespread service such as Spotify which would effectively do the above but legally, but the media companies are too short-sighted to see that.

    • by pbhj ( 607776 )

      Big media to your ISP: "Connection to a foreign terminated VPS, looks like they might be a copyright infringer, sever them, bleed them, ... err, I mean cut them off from the internet."

    • ...on their policy by running to the MPAA or the government (both of which have megatons more money to throw around than VPN subscribers, money that's welcome in any country I might add). And if the authorities decide to play whack-a-mole with uncooperative VPN services surely more will pop up -- but then subscribers have to keep paying for new subscriptions to new providers and these providers will be less and less established. The game will keep getting more costly and less certain/trustworthy to the cons

    • by mlts ( 1038732 ) *

      Barring either of those, I wonder with the advent of Linux VPS hosting that more people won't go in and create a Linux VM whose sole purpose in life is to host VPN services where all your Internet traffic goes to that remote place, including DNS. Perhaps at the minimum have a HTTP or SOCKS proxy.

      From what I see, the jury is still out on commercial proxy services and packet log retention. There have been allegations of some not just logging packets but keeping IP logs permanently. Other proxies have a dis

  • Interestingly, I could be placing my own copyrighted works on-line for download -- even while selling it, but get prosecuted for distributing my own content. One could say -- no big deal, just appeal the decision. That's another issue though: a few hours or days of my time should not be wasted over someone else's mistake. At that point they should be reimbursing me for damages.

  • No worries, we, inmates, will soon run the asylum.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @06:59AM (#32387698)

    First, most P2P protocols work by the idea of "pushing" instead of "pulling". I.e. a connection that I establish is used to "push" my content towards the receiver. The idea is to discourage people from using NATing routers to simply block off those that would like to download from them (because, well, that way you'd be blocking the incoming content, not the outgoing).

    But that means I'm not downloading anything. I provide someone with the ability to upload. If this is illegal, anyone running an insecure FTP server (knowingly or unknowingly, like, say, a Linux bos being run by an idiot who can't configure it properly) is due as well. Anyone here willing to join me in a port scan of politicians' machines to see whether we find a server that accepts incoming connections? And then fill it with ripped midget porn? Or, can anyone provide midget porn, I didn't have any use for it 'til now.

    Aside of that, it smells a lot of "guilty until proven innocent". A list gets assembled and the MAFI-UK can pick and choose who to sue. Anyone else feeling like this gets rubberstamped "guilty" fairly easily unless you somehow manage to stand up in court against it?

  • by gilesjuk ( 604902 ) <<giles.jones> <at> <zen.co.uk>> on Saturday May 29, 2010 @07:28AM (#32387820)

    Ofcom are a telcoms regulator. Their job is to ensure competition in the telcoms sector in the UK. They were set up to keep the privatised BT under control to stop them abusing their dominance (they still own a lot of the UK's telephone network).

    Their job is not to assist in copyright enforcement.

  • by History's Coming To ( 1059484 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @08:49AM (#32388166) Journal
    "Hello? Canonical? UK-ISP here, we've got loads of people downloading your 'Ubuntu' programme for free over P2P, do you want their details to sue them? What? Don't be silly....no, seriously, we spent a lot of money getting this data for you...."
  • by Adrian Lopez ( 2615 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @11:30AM (#32389126) Homepage

    How will ISPs be able to tell the difference between infringing and non infringing transfers of copyrighted material? Do they intend to log everything a user downloads and let the copyright holders decide for themselves which downloads and uploads are infringing and which are not? Considering the large number of legitimate downloads and uploads, this would doubtless be a huge privacy violation. Or perhaps they intend to flag only those works that are listed somewhere as "do not distribute except through [domain list]"? Such a system could easily be foiled by encryption and would increase ISP computing costs (to be passed on to customers) as every single download is checked for infringing content.

    Any way you slice it, it's simply a bad idea.

  • "'"It is imperative that a system that accuses people of illegal online activity is fair and clear," said Anna Bradley, "

    Overlooking that its even more important to have fair laws which precludes the amoral and unfair copyright laws.

  • What this shows is that the British Phonographic Institute (that well know protector of all things copyrighted and the authors of that stuff) has bought the outgoing Labour Gov't in just the same way that the RIAA & MPAA have bought the American Gov't.

    They're so scared that their old badly formed business model has broken with the digital age that they've had to enlist the help of a UK Gov't quango to do their dirty work.

    The folks abusing copyright will just find an alternative way to do it that falls

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.