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Posts Tagged ‘bpi’

First stage of the UK filesharing clampdown

July 24, 2008 Leave a comment

Following the recent news that Virgin Media had sent 800 of its customers warning letters concerning their illegal sharing of music, the BPI has announced today a deal with the six largest UK ISP’s. BT, Virgin, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse have agreed to send warning letters to customers that the BPI identifies as illegally sharing or downloading music. The warning is as far as any of the companies involved are prepared to go at the moment. General opinion on tech news sites is that this is fine if it’s the only action to be taken, but most believe it’s only the first step.

The stated aim of the agreement is to significantly reduce the amount of illegal file sharing taking place in the UK. I suspect a lot of parents will be shocked to receive their letters and have to look at what their children are using the net connection for. I’ve already been asked by several concerned and computer inexperienced parents what this means and what they can do.

The next step will depend on the resultant reduction in file sharing and how far the record companies want to go to recover their ‘estimated’ losses. Some ridiculous figures have been mentioned today on the UK’s news services, but the thing to remember is that no-one really knows how much money is lost to illegal file sharing, and there have been plenty of studies that claim illegal file sharers buy more music. I suspect that an immediate stop to music piracy wouldn’t result in the predicted massive jump in profits. The saddest thing is that none of these companies appear to be actively looking for new ways of making people want to buy music, other than the usual threat of legal force. Are record companies that persue file sharers for losses really recovering lost profit, or making money they otherwise would not have seen?

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Virgin Media: what is your policy again?

July 3, 2008 Leave a comment

This one’s getting more convoluted than any soap opera. News broke recently that Virgin Media has done a deal with the BPI and will send warning letter to any of its customers that the BPI accuse of illegal file sharing. It appears that Virgin Media are now trying to backtrack on this, and have told the BBC that there is ‘absolutely no possibility’ of banning internet users or taking legal action. This is despite 800 users receiving letters from Virgin Media in the past month that are in envelopes labelled ‘Important. If you don’t read this, your broadband could be disconnected’. So no chance of sending conflicting messages. Read more…

Virgin Media: screw the customers, we want the money

June 17, 2008 Leave a comment

Looks like that pillar of integrity and customer care, Virgin Media, is determined to screw its cusomers for everything it can. I’ve previously written about Virgin Media’s plans to send warning letters to its customers whom the BPI accuse of illegal file sharing. It now looks like Virgin Media have agreed to the BPI’s plans with some hints that there’s more at stake than complying with the law. Arstechnica have the full story, suggesting co-operative ISP’s can become ‘significant distributors of digital media’ . Which basically means can make lots of money.

Bill Thompson at the BBC has an interesting comment on this, agreeing with many other analysts that clinging to old business models and prosecuting anyone who doesn’t play ball will eventually fail. Bittorrent rose from the ashes of other content sharing systems that were thwarted, so when Bittorrent becomes demonised and unusable something else will take its place. And the next system will be anonymous, encrypted and untracable.

In associated news, Arstechnica has the news that young P2P users are willing to pay for music, if it’s on their terms. Which means unlimited legal downloads for a set monthly fee. This idea has been around for a while and while it seems to be gaining popularity, is no closer to realisation. My thought is that it’s far too radical for an industry desperately clinging to its outdated business models. It would be nice to be proved wrong though.

Retreat of the copyright Police?

April 6, 2008 Leave a comment

A few days can make a big difference in the news. I was away from home for several days this week on a work training course (hence the lack of updates). Before leaving I wrote a piece about The BPI working with ISP’s to implement the ‘three strikes’ rule to ban sharers of copyrighted material. Since returning home I have read several news pieces that show the situation to be getting a lot more interesting. Read more…

March of the copyright police

March 31, 2008 Leave a comment

Virgin MediaThe Register and Ars Technica have news today that Virgin Media are in talks with the British Phonographic Industry to implement a three strikes system to remove copyright infringing file sharers from Virgin Broadband. From The Register,

‘BPI enforcement agents will detect IP numbers participating in copyright-infringing peer to peer networks. They will alert the ISP, which will voluntarily send out warnings to stop or face disconnection from the net.’

So who do you challenge if (when?) the BPI get it wrong? And the bigger question is how far will this go? Music and Movies will be targeted, but what about computer software? Pirated software will no doubt meet the same response, but what about a kalyway or iatkos install image when you own a genuine install disk. Or EFI emulation software used to install Leopard on a non-Apple computer in breach of the EULA. While we would all hope for a fair and reasonable system, how much sympathy will the system have for the computer naive parent who’s children have broken the rules?

At a time when TV networks are making their content available for free from their web sites, will a warning letter be the result after downloading the latest episodes from a bittorrent site?

And perhaps the biggest question, who is paying for this.

Categories: media, uk Tags: , , ,