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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?

What happened to Virgin Broadband?

January 22, 2008 3 comments

Virgin MediaI’ve been on the Telewest/Virgin Broadband service for many years. So many in fact I can’t remember when I joined. I have emails to my Blueyonder address from early 2001, so that’s at least 7 years. Without wanting to sound like a preachy old git, it used to be a good service. I started on the 512Mb connection, and always got it. 2Mb, 4Mb, 10Mb and now 20Mb speeds have followed, but the last one was a very mixed ‘upgrade’. I was happy with the Telewest Blueyonder 10Mb service. Download speeds were usually over 1 megabyte a second.
Then Virgin took over, and heavily publicised the doubling of broadband speeds. My connection went to 20Mb, but I saw very little speed improvement over the 10Mb service. The biggest shock came when my download speed started dropping. I eventually found out that Virgin were capping the download speed at 5Mb if you used too much bandwidth between 4pm and midnight. I say eventually found out because unlike the 20Mb upgrade Virgin didn’t publicise this change. The 20Mb service is still sold as unlimited, as shown here, or here. No disclaimers, asterisks or anything else to say it’s not an unlimited service. Only it isn’t, as shown here.

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