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UK ISP Says No To Music Industry Pressure 70

Posted by kdawson
from the police-it-yourself dept.
siloko sends us to the BBC for the story of one ISP standing up to the music industry. (But note that this ISP is one of the ones said to have worked with Phorm on plans to track customers' surfing.) "The head of one of Britain's biggest internet providers has criticized the music industry for demanding that he act against pirates. Charles Dunstone of Carphone Warehouse, which runs the TalkTalk broadband service, is refusing. He said it is not his job to be an internet policeman."
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UK ISP Says No To Music Industry Pressure

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  • Eh, whatever. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Futile Rhetoric (1105323) on Friday April 04, 2008 @08:55AM (#22962420)
    It's a matter of money, not principle. Why the hell would a provider invest in the required infrastructure upgrades? Now, if the record industry agrees to pay for it, perhaps with a small bonus on top for lubrication purposes, they'll switch to a different tune just like that.
    • Re:Eh, whatever. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Stripe7 (571267) on Friday April 04, 2008 @09:28AM (#22962766)
      If they are forced to police P2P for copyright violations, then they have to police for child pr0n, then sexual predators, then for pr0n filtering, then the lawsuits show up for filtering breast cancer sites, drug rehab support sites, etc.. It opens up a can of worms no ISP wanting to avoid legal headaches would want to stick their toes into.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by badfish99 (826052)
        All UK ISPs already filter for child porn; the government forced them to all "voluntarily" install blocking software by threatening to make it mandatory if they did not.
        Of course, the (secret) list of blocked sites, maintained by an organisation called the IWF [iwf.org.uk], now includes other things as well as child porn, such as "racial abuse". If the government decided to have a crackdown on file sharing they could easily force ISPs to add other sites, such as (for example) the Pirate Bay, to the banned list.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by peterbye (708092)
          Do you have a reference for that?
          My isp http://www.aaisp.net.uk/ [aaisp.net.uk] has not been forced by the government to do any such thing.
          • by badfish99 (826052)
            To be fair, some of the small ISPs may still be holding out, but all the big ones selling to the domestic market have installed this filter. Of course, the beauty of the government's position is that no-one has been forced to do anything: if it were mandated by law, then parliament would have had to pass such a law first, so the issue of "web censorship" would have had a public airing. But by making it "voluntary" (but backed up by threats) has meant that it has been implemented without any discussion, and
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by janrinok (846318)
          I'm afraid I must disagree. If what you say is true, then it would be impossible for any individual to access banned sites and then to download the material which they contain. The number of cases in the UK where individuals have been taken to court for having material that contravenes some law or other (e.g. terrorist material, child pornography etc) which has been downloaded from the internet suggests that such blocking is not taking place. I admit that the government would probably carry out such bloc
          • by badfish99 (826052)
            Sadly, it's true. Google for "BT Cleanfeed" if you don't believe me. Since it blocks websites, there's no traffic monitoring involved.
            Of course, like all censorship, it is not 100% effective. Presumably the people who want to download this sort of stuff simply make the effort to discover how to circumvent it.

            My point is, though, that if the government ever wants to start web censorship on a larger scale, the infrastructure is already in place for them to do so.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by janrinok (846318)

              Yes and No.

              Firstly, this is possible because the IWF have passed the URLs of sites which 'they' consider to be unsuitable to BT who have blocked them. It is NOT because anyone is monitoring all internet traffic. If a site is not reported then it cannot be blocked

              Secondly, this may be the case for BT, but it is not a legal directive, or even a request, from the Government to all ISPs. If you dislike the fact that a particular ISP is doing something that you disagree with then you are free to use a diff

    • by cb95amc (99589)
      Of course it could also be an attempt to get more people to switch to their service....

      "Sign up to our Broadband....we are the only ISP that won't cut off your internet connection if you file share" (Gov't legislation permitting)

      Interesting point he raised during the actual radio interview was criticizing the music industry for not adapting their business model to digital technologies...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Although possibly not, if the ISPs are declared responsible for policing the 'net then they become the next target for the recording industry lawsuits.
    • by Tanktalus (794810)

      I'm not sure the double entendre was intended or not, but ... "different tune" - I like it.

    • no money, fast download, a lot of songs here http://mp3walls.com/ [mp3walls.com]
    • i don't like this, music site for you http://enginemp3.com/ [enginemp3.com]
  • A difference... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stanistani (808333) on Friday April 04, 2008 @08:56AM (#22962424) Homepage Journal
    He's not an Internet policeman, just an Internet marketer.

    I can live with that.
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Friday April 04, 2008 @08:57AM (#22962436) Homepage Journal
    basically the only thing the recording industry didn't toss out there was "its for the children"

    My question about ISPs in Britain is, how much say does the EU have over them? How does the EU versus the law of England stack up in regards to this situation?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2008 @09:04AM (#22962520)
      I particularly liked

      The BPI denied it is asking ISPs to become internet police, saying the firms need to educate their customers not to steal music.
      Er well no, actually they don't need to do any such thing. As a trade body who apparently represents the interests of the recording industry it's your responsibility to "educate" the public. It's nothing to do with the ISP.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by daveime (1253762)
        Yes, and in a perfect world the sellers of handguns should "educate" gangs not to shoot people, and the cigarette companies should "educate" smokers that they're probably going to die prematurely.

        Just because someone supplies a service doesn't make them responsible for what the masses decide to do with that service, especially not in terms of protecting the interests of a group of sharks in business suits.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Psiren (6145)

          and the cigarette companies should "educate" smokers that they're probably going to die prematurely.
          Well over here in the UK, they do just that. Granted they've been forced to by government legislation, but nevertheless, you can't buy a packet of cigarettes with a message on it saying you're going to die horribly, or something similar.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by adpsimpson (956630)

            Well over here in the UK, they do just that. Granted they've been forced to by government legislation, but nevertheless, you can't buy a packet of cigarettes with a message on it saying you're going to die horribly, or something similar.

            Cigarettes aren't really a valid comparison, as they only have one purpose - to smoke. And that gives you the nasties.

            No, what we need is a good, solid car analogy.

            It's more like every car seller being forced to monitor all future use of cars they sell in question to prevent a minor crime (like, say, dropping litter out of the window) which may be committed with that car.

            Of course, once the CCTV, GPS and other instrumentation was in place, then it becomes a legal quagmire once the car is used for ot

          • by nbert (785663)

            Well over here in the UK, they do just that. Granted they've been forced to by government legislation, but nevertheless, you can't buy a packet of cigarettes with a message on it saying you're going to die horribly, or something similar.

            I believe that's EU legislation - they all look the same and have the same messages in the EU countries I've been to recently (ok, in the UK I didn't even think about buying cigarettes, so I can't tell). Some of them are quite pointless: The pack in front of me says "Smokin

            • by xaxa (988988)
              When I was at school a friend collected the empty packs from his mum's smoking, cut the fronts out and pasted them onto a board and tried to get her to stop by putting it in her room. I think we thought "SMOKING CAUSES IMPOTENCE" was one of the best (although that probably didn't bother his mum). I think Britain has "SMOKING KILLS".
        • by Morlark (814687)
          Absolutely, I don't think anyone's saying that the music industry should be responsible for the actions of the consumer. But if you have a vested interest in what happens to your product, and you believe that "education" can best serve your interests, then it certainly isn't anyone else's responsibility to arrange that education. The music industry has absolutely no right to try to force ISPs to do their work for them.
      • the guy who delivers news papers is responsible for teaching readers about better nutrition....
      • DON'T.
        STEAL.
        MUSIC.

        (from HMV. Download it instead. Making a binary clone is NOT stealing. Stealing is where one party is deprived of whatever it is the other party is stealing [and no, data does not equal hard cash], I wish the music industry capitalists would get that distinction through their fucking heads. Apart from that the police deal with theft which is a criminal offence. Copyright infringement is a civil offence which the police and crown prosecutors have no jurisdiction over. And spare me the "Pira
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      EU law takes precendence over UK law if the UK does not reject a particular directive. There's currently no EU law that would force any country to carry out the kind of monitoring that the BPI are looking for.

      That said, they do have the politicians from both of the major parties in their pocket and currently involved in a competition to see who can out-do each other in terms of linking file-sharing to some "despicable act".
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Laukei (1099765)
      EU law overrides any laws of the country. It's the priniciple of supremacy [civitas.org.uk] of the EU. If a member state contravenes EU law it can be punished with fines.

      Oh, and IANAL.
  • Innocence (Score:5, Funny)

    by phorm (591458) on Friday April 04, 2008 @08:57AM (#22962444) Journal
    But note that this ISP is one of the ones said to have worked with Phorm on plans to track customers' surfing

    I know nothing of this, honestly!
  • Neutrality? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2008 @08:58AM (#22962448)
    mod ISP +1 for standing up to gov lobbyists.
    mod ISP -1 for cosying with phorm.
    Net result: 0 points.

    Is this what they mean by net neutrality?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by makomk (752139)
      To be fair, at least they were pretty quick to say they'd be including an opt-out that didn't send all your traffic through Phorm's equipment after it became clear how controversial it would be (unlike the other two ISPs). I don't think they're exactly going to be making any lists of P2P-friendly ISPs any time soon either, though.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        My understanding was that the Phorm opt-out depends on keeping a cookie present in your browser, and only opts you out of receiving targetted ads (note- you still receive UNtargetted ones).

        All your data still goes to phorm, regardless. The opt-out is a meaningless platitude.
        • by makomk (752139)
          The Phorm opt-out depends on a cookie and is a meaningless platitude, yes - which is why they decided to add their own, more robust way of opting out that really does opt you out and doesn't send any of your data to Phorm-controlled systems. So far, neither of the other ISPs involved have make similar declarations.
  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday April 04, 2008 @08:59AM (#22962458)
    The spokesman for the BPI makes it sound like the relationship between ISPs and the music industry is symbiotic. They dress up the "responsibilities" of the ISP in pretty words that make it sound like shutting down users is the greatest thing in the world.

    If you read the article, you'll find Geoff Taylor's doublespeak amazing.

    At the heart of this issue is ensuring that creators are fairly rewarded in the digital age

    Okay so far...

    and we passionately believe that working in partnership with ISPs to develop first-class, safe, legal, digital music services is the way forward.

    Uh...

    Here's the appropriate response to that idiocy from Charles Dunstone, TalkTalk head.

    We are the conduit that gives users access to the internet. We do not control the internet, nor do we control what our users do on the internet.

    Good job, Charles.
    • by CmdrGravy (645153) on Friday April 04, 2008 @09:12AM (#22962606) Homepage
      Also his smug assumption that if the ISPs don't reach a voluntary agreement that he'll simply have laws drawn up to compel them is quite sickening. Why should the trials of a group of music publicists be afforded so much attention and deference ?
      • by Spad (470073)
        Cash
      • When they get smug about it, it just reminds me why I was boycotting the RIAA-affiliated labels in the first place.

        Look at this way:

        Each time you purchase a CD from an RIAA label, you're paying the salaries of the jerks who say this sort of thing.

        Boycott them all - let their album sales atropy to nothing.

        It couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch of corporate slimeballs.
    • by CogDissident (951207) on Friday April 04, 2008 @09:25AM (#22962732)
      And BPI is saying that ISPs should disconnect users, which hurts their revenue directly. So, co-operate with BPI: lose money and customers. Fight BPI: keep customers, and free publicity and good will.

      Easy business decision if you ask me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by e6003 (552415)
      Also reading between the lines can be amusing.

      "...and we passionately believe that working in partnership with ISPs to develop first-class, safe, legal, digital music services is the way forward."

      Digital music services that are controlled by BPI members that is. Not music services controlled by "new media" companies or independent record labels.

      "the [ISPs] need to educate their customers not to steal music..."

      The ISPs need to educate their users not to take advantage of the fact that modern packet-switched
  • conduit (Score:5, Funny)

    by esocid (946821) on Friday April 04, 2008 @09:00AM (#22962466) Journal

    He said: "Our position is very clear. We are the conduit that gives users access to the internet. We do not control the internet, nor do we control what our users do on the internet.
    Again with this british slang for tubes?
    • by adamGX (795663)
      conduit here is from the term "mere conduit", where the isp just acts like a pipe or tube. What I don't understand is how an ISP which monitors traffic with a system like Phorm can give the "mere conduit" defense to allowing illegal content to flow over their network. It was my understanding that you could maintain "mere conduit" status when you only monitor traffic for network operations and maintenance reasons and that if you went beyond this then you lost the "mere conduit" status and became libel to so
  • presumptuous much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lysse (516445) on Friday April 04, 2008 @09:07AM (#22962552)
    FTFA:

    [The BPI] also says that if [ISPs] do not help with the fight against music piracy, then the government will bring in legislation to make them cooperate.

    (Sadly, they're probably on safe ground.)
  • Amazed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CmdrGravy (645153) on Friday April 04, 2008 @09:10AM (#22962578) Homepage
    I'm amazed it's taken this long before any of the ISPs have spoken out, any sort of policing at all is quite clearly not their job and the very second they begin to take an interest in the content they are transmitting, the second that happens they are going to monitoring and reporting everything to everyone and responsible for all manner of disasters and tragedies when the overwhelming technical impossibility of what they're being asked to do causes something to go wrong.

    Any special interest group worried about a particular activity on the internet will want the ISP to ban it, ever media craze will lead to more things being banned and the ISP carrying the can for policing it, any government dept looking for some quick headlines will get them to report ( for example ) anyone talking about benefit fraud in chat rooms to the benefit agency.

    Today Jaqui Smith, some brainless minister in the British government, is suggesting ( yet again ) that all paedophiles should register their e-mail addresses with the police and not be allowed to register on chat rooms with those addresses. She says she is in discussions with ISPs to police this. She is too stupid to realise what she is asking for and too moronic to understand palming her inability to convict people and lock them up should not be palmed off onto commercial entities who have no business whatsover doing her policing for her.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tony Hoyle (11698)
      My first thought when I heard that this morning was

      (a) how does she know all the emails and aliases of every paedophile. Ask them? Like they're likely to tell her... More likely she only has one on record.
      (b) does she *realize* how quickly you can create a gmail or hotmail account?
      (c) good luck getting myspace/facebook/etc. to do this.. they're not UK companies and are just as likely to tell her to sod off.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by timftbf (48204)
      Actually, credit where credit's due, she asked the people operating the social-networking sites popular with children what could be done to keep paedophiles off those sites. They offered the facility to ban people from registering with black-listed email addresses. ISPs are simply not in the loop.

      The weaker part is getting the paedophiles[0] to register their email addresses, in the same way as they have to register their physical address. We all know it's easy to create new email addresses, but the poin
      • I do have a minor issue with your post (and yes, I'm already waiting for the offtopic mod, dont care, wanted to put in my opinion on the side topic ;) ):

        It's not a perfect analogy, but it seems to me a pretty reasonable attempt to do something, involving the right people - users of web sites and admins of web sites - without stomping all over everyone else's use of the Internet.

        As a parent to a rather smart 3 year old, and with another 2 on the way currently, I can honestly say that website users and admins of web sites are *COMPLETELY* the wrong people to be doing something...

        1) Most paedophiles are people the children in question already kno... So how does a website monitoring anything help anyone?
        2) Be a good parent. Kee

    • by pipatron (966506)

      I'm amazed it's taken this long before any of the ISPs have spoken out

      AFAICR, the Swedish ISPs have been saying this from the beginning.

    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      Today Jaqui Smith, some brainless minister in the British government, is suggesting ( yet again ) that all paedophiles should register their e-mail addresses with the police and not be allowed to register on chat rooms with those addresses. She says she is in discussions with ISPs to police this. She is too stupid to realise what she is asking for and too moronic to understand palming her inability to convict people and lock them up should not be palmed off onto commercial entities who have no business whatsover doing her policing for her.

      That stupid bitch has obviously never heard of hotmail.

      ~Dan

  • BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor:

    At the heart of this issue is ensuring that creators are fairly rewarded in the digital age...
    No, the heart of this issue is who gets to decide when a creator has been wronged and what the penalty for that wrongdoing should be.
  • by sjwest (948274) on Friday April 04, 2008 @09:19AM (#22962682)
    If you read the customers of talk talk tales of woe site http://talktalkhell.wordpress.com/ [wordpress.com] you will note that wow players (uses b/t) are penalised since they use b/t and are so deemed bit bandwidth eaters and bad for his business. Dunstones attempts at running an isp mean that most consider his first enterprise talk talk a failure, his next venture was to buy aol in the uk.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tony Hoyle (11698)
      They're a bottom end ISP. The kind of people who are their target customers surf a couple of times a week and maybe send email... hence they're extremely cheap, but their service is crap when compared to others.

      They're going for publicity here - good for them. I don't think they're really standing up to anything.. ISPs are reluctant to do the kind of thing the BPI is asking without a court order anyway, so it's all noise right now.

      If the government tried to legislate that ISPs are effectively censors of t
      • by sjwest (948274)
        It depends how they sell that 'bottom end' I'm quite sure a serpent tongued salesman would claim it had no restrictions other than say a quota which they would describe as 'huge'.
  • Phorm (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It's worth noting that Carphone warehouse/ Talk Talk are the only ISP to confirm a true opt-out from Phorms profiling. Phorm claim that the cookie based opt-out is sufficient but that prevents users receiving targeted ads, it doesn't affect the **cough** unlawful interception **cough** profiling. As for their position on disconnecting P2P users, kudos.

    Perhaps if the BPI and friends weren't so stupid and greedy, this situation would have never arisen? There is a discussion to be had concerning renumeration
  • by ewrong (1053160) on Friday April 04, 2008 @09:33AM (#22962812)
    It's a bit like asking the post office to open every single letter they deliver to check whether they have any illegally copied DVDs or CDs in there.
  • I can only imagine the people in charge over there emailing the lawyers and asking them what it means that the ISP is refusing to do what they want, and if they're even allowed to say no.
  • As Carphone Warehouse bought the ISP operations of AOL UK, he should not only speaking for TalkTalk subscribers, but also AOL ISP customers in the UK.

    Time Warner - who still operate the AOL portal in the UK - will be worried about the BitTorrents stealing their precious "Cats and Dogs" and other quality DVD releases. Interesting... could we end up with one AOL suing the other in the UK?

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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