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UK P2P Fight Brewing 244

Posted by timothy
from the they're-breakdance-fighting dept.
forunder writes "Zeropaid has been covering a very hot topic going on in the UK right now. The government, prodded by entertainment lobbyists, has gotten six UK ISPs to agree to help police piracy on their networks. A leaked government letter says they are looking to cut internet piracy by 80%. In the same week Microsoft released a study which found that some 54% of UK file sharers are between 11-16. The UK's Green Party has already spoken up, calling the new policies an 'Attack on Civil Liberties.'"
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UK P2P Fight Brewing

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  • by patio11 (857072) on Friday August 01, 2008 @04:45AM (#24429743)

    Release a CC song as good as any one by Britney Spears.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Release a CC song as bad as any one by Britney Spears.

      There, fixed that for you.

      • by aussie_a (778472)

        Funny how Britney Spears somehow gets listened to a lot more then CC songs.

        • People are suckers for advertising.

          • by Candid88 (1292486) on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:18AM (#24430507)

            Exactly. Not just advertising though, but marketing and media attention.

            Everyone knows who Britney Spears is whether a fan of her music or not. She's been on TV countless times, has songs played daily on radio stations around the world etc. That's what the record publishers are all about (unsurprisingly, people don't tend to buy music they haven't heard from artists they don't know of). It's a very different job from actually making music.

            Music piracy doesn't prevent music being made, it just stops people making large amounts of money directly from music sales. Those who are purely driven by financial reward through direct music sales might stop making music, but 'artists' will keep making music just as now. Through aspects such as concert sales, they still also have the opportunity to make healthy fortunes.

            If the stranglehold on music of the record publishers can be removed we will start seeing music return to being based on talent rather than "prospective sales figures" record executives have assigned to new artists. At present, the quality of the music is only a small part of that "prospective sales figures" calculation; aspects such as: sex appeal, ease of publicity (heavy drug use seems to be good for this at the moment) and market positioning feature at least as high on the list as the actual quality of the music.

            The less stranglehold a few select record company conglomerates have one the industry the wider selection of artists which will get chances to gain the publicity needed to get a band off the ground.

            • by h4rm0ny (722443)

              Yes - either hordes of people are buying and playing music they don't like through the mind-control technologies of the music industry or... outlandish as it sounds, many people like something that you don't.

              Complaining about Britney is doubly showing people's age, however: firstly for complaining about it, and secondly for being out of touch enough to continue complaining about its popularity long after its popularity has faded, or at least its certainly not the big thing anymore.
              • by Candid88 (1292486)

                "Yes - either hordes of people are buying and playing music they don't like through the mind-control technologies of the music industry or... outlandish as it sounds, many people like something that you don't."

                People buy what's available. People didn't not buy 386's back in the early 90's even though we have far better today.

                "Complaining about Britney is doubly showing people's age"

                1. I believe I'm younger than Britney,
                2. Where exactly in my post did I complain about her? I actually don't mind her music.
                3.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ettlz (639203)

          Funny how Britney Spears somehow gets listened to a lot more then CC songs.

          It's just the usual killer combination of low-brow material, high production values, and good old-fashioned fappability.

          And Britney, bless her, hasn't had the latter for a long time now.

          • Available here:
            http://www.ubu.com/sound/komar.html [ubu.com]
            "This survey confirms the hypothesis that today's popular music indeed provides an accurate estimate of the wishes of the vox populi. The most favored ensemble, determined from a rating by participants of their favorite instruments in combination, comprises a moderately sized group (three to ten instruments) consisting of guitar, piano, saxophone, bass, drums, violin, cello, synthesizer, with low male and female vocals singing in rock/r&b style"

            I hate it

    • by oodaloop (1229816) on Friday August 01, 2008 @04:52AM (#24429773)
      Yeah, all the free music from Beethoven can't hold a candle to Britney Spears.
      • ... I have no doubt, whatsoever, that it empirically does not.

      • by mccalli (323026) on Friday August 01, 2008 @05:44AM (#24430017) Homepage
        Yeah, all the free music from Beethoven can't hold a candle to Britney Spears

        Unless you're playing it yourself, you will find there's still copyright on the performance of that music.

        You're free to take Beethoven's music and form a string quartet to play it. You're not free to take a performance of Beethoven's 5th by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and stick it up on bittorrent - that's definitely still copyrighted.

        Cheers, Ian
        • by RDW (41497) on Friday August 01, 2008 @06:28AM (#24430251)

          'You're not free to take a performance of Beethoven's 5th by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and stick it up on bittorrent.'

          You are if it was made before 1958, here in the UK (where copyright expires on audio recordings after 50 years). And there are plenty of excellent recordings from the 'mono era' that are well worth listening to. You get into a bit of a grey area if you've ripped the tracks from a modern CD rather than the original record, since the digital re-mastering may itself be subject to copyright. It'll come as no surprise that the audio industry wants this law changed, and there's already a proposal from the EU Commission to greatly extend the copyright term throughout Europe. Can't let those Beatles albums go free from 2013...

        • by Snaller (147050)

          Which is of course deeply immoral.

      • by johannesg (664142)

        Yeah, all the free music from Beethoven can't hold a candle to Britney Spears.

        What "free" music from Beethoven is that? Is there any place on the internet where you can legally download "free" music from Beethoven?

        Beethoven himself might not be in a position to claim copyrights anymore, but any recording is _also_ subject to copyrights by the individual artists performing the music (according to the Rome Convention - look it up). So any Beethoven CD you can find in the shops today, or any Beethoven record your grandparents might have in the attack, is still subject to copyright, and

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by RDW (41497)

          'So any Beethoven CD you can find in the shops today, or any Beethoven record your grandparents might have in the attack, is still subject to copyright, and that copyright will outlast you just as much as Beethoven's would, were he still alive.'

          In the UK this isn't true about the records in the attic, unless you have young grandparents (see comment above). It _might_ also not be true about the CD if the original recording was made >50 years ago - see 'COPYRIGHT IN REMASTERED SOUND RECORDINGS' here:

          http:/ [mediarights.co.uk]

        • by Shimbo (100005)

          "What "free" music from Beethoven is that? Is there any place on the internet where you can legally download "free" music from Beethoven?"

          The BBC made all Beethoven's symphonies available online in 2005, to howls of outrage from the music industry. Unfortunately, it was a time limited offer without redistribution rights. Still, they had well over a million downloads.

        • Is there any place on the internet where you can legally download "free" music from Beethoven?

          Yes. Go to the iTunes store, follow the links to universities and you can download free recordings of a fairly large number of classical pieces performed by university choirs and orchestras. Some of these universities also host their own downloads sites, but iTunes gives you a centralised way of getting at them. I've not looked in much detail at what's available, but I've downloaded a couple of hours of music from Duke University in this way, and it's pretty good quality.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by lilomar (1072448)

          What "free" music from Beethoven is that? Is there any place on the internet where you can legally download "free" music from Beethoven?

          Um...yeah. [google.com]

          At least google something before claiming it doesn't exist on the internet.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by khakipuce (625944)
        Yeah but he was flat-chested and had awful legs
    • by Zoxed (676559)

      > Release a CC song as good as any one by Britney Spears.

      Which, of course, the average pub band could do in 1/4 hour :-)

  • UK Citizens (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ilovegeorgebush (923173) * on Friday August 01, 2008 @04:51AM (#24429769) Homepage
    If this was truly about piracy and stopping people from infringing copyright, these fascist bastards would stop you from sharing CDs, Vinyl and tapes. Hell they'd bring down radio just to stop you sharing.

    Why the hell are they so bent on MP3s? Why don't they get the fact that they stand to make a LOT more money if they embrace the technology and accept that their business environment has changed for the good? I am so sick of reading this, and seeing the everyday person either going buy without knowledge of what the BPI et al are doing, or not realising that it's breaching their civil liberties (and not even caring!).

    Keep downloading. Bleed 'em dry - that's what I say.
    • by Freaky Spook (811861) on Friday August 01, 2008 @05:07AM (#24429865)

      Why the hell are they so bent on MP3s?

      Its not about MP3's at all, its about distributors holds over the distribution channels, which brings the majority of their revenue.
      Digital music and the internet removes any artificial barrier the music/movie industry has traditionally held, and now they are having to resort to pressuring governments into making laws to secure their channels. P2P and file sharing is just the excuse they happen to use to get themselves more control.

      Governments happily oblige because at the same time they get more control over the internet too.

    • by Bogtha (906264)

      If this was truly about piracy and stopping people from infringing copyright, these fascist bastards would stop you from sharing CDs, Vinyl and tapes. Hell they'd bring down radio just to stop you sharing.

      Why the hell are they so bent on MP3s?

      Can you set up servers to monitor for people sharing CDs, vinyl and tapes? It's a lot more cost effective in terms of expenditure:detection to go after MP3s. I'm sure we'd all like it if grep worked in the real world, but I'm afraid it doesn't. Not for you, no

      • I was just trying to highlight the hypocrisy in their logic and to confirm my beliefs that this isn't about piracy, but about setting up laws & policies so they can keep their pockets lined until The Next Big Thing (TM); instead of adapting and embracing.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by davester666 (731373)

          The thing is, the internet IS "The Next Big Thing" [or rather, it was 5 years ago]. Both the major music labels and the major movie studios are risk-adverse to new ways of doing things. Even though EVERY SINGLE FORMAT CHANGE has earned both industries buckets and buckets cash.

          Music went from LP to cassette/8 track to CD's and now to MP3's
          Moves went from theaters to VHS/Beta cassettes to DVD's to BluRay/HD-DVD's [well, it's too early for the 'buckets of cash' for BluRay].

          Both industries have millions of pe

    • by msormune (808119)
      Isn't that why DRM was invented in the first place? For the media companies to try to embrace the Internet as a distribution media?

      Oh yeah, we are supposed to oppose that...

      And BTW, downloading illegal MP3s is not a civil liberty.
    • by mgblst (80109)

      That is a bit of a logical leap.

      "Surely if police really wanted to stop speeding that would setup dangerous traps on the road and start shooting people?"

      Doesn't really make any sense, does it. They do what they can to stop pirating, without getting too ridiculous.

  • Unfortunately (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Friday August 01, 2008 @04:52AM (#24429779)
    the current UK government is run by people who are terrified that US companies will withdraw from the UK if we do not do exactly as they wish. Most of them are purely politicians who have never had jobs in the real economy, so all they know about the world is what they get told by lobbyists. The present Prime Minister is a typical example: PhD in the history of the Labour Party, no less, and then a knowledge of economics derived, basically, from what he gets told by people with lots of money. He is now trying to avoid admitting that our financial crisis is worse than that in the US, because the US actually has a lower proportion of its assets in the housing market and banking (US house prices started from typically half what they were in the UK, so a fall is much less serious.)

    Unfortunately the alternative is a PR man, so you can guess how well that is likely to play out.

    It would be kind of the US to vote in McCain and let us have Obama, thank you very much. Somebody who has at least spent years discussing civil liberties and civil rights with law students, even Chicago law students, has at least put in the groundwork to be allowed to have opinions on the subject, and politically he's probably on the moderate wing of our Conservative Party.

    We do have one politician who has a clue about the subject, Jack Straw, but his current opinion seems to be "I'm far too clever to become Prime Minister and then lose an unwinnable election".

    Currently Brown will do anything to try and keep the so-called service economy - entertainment, banking, supermarkets - onside. And the chance that a Government full of middle aged white men who single finger type, and only when they have to, will get a clue about the implications of almost free distribution of all kinds of data is extremely remote. Their idea of data sharing is leaving critical Government databases on unsecured laptops in taxis.

    • Actually, Brown is a pretty bright guy, if a little misguided (hint - Straw is the worst possible choice for us - he's an opportunist arsehole who would have crawled further up Shrub's arse than Bliar).

      If he can cross the charisma gap, and persuade Ken Clarke to resume his duties as Chancellor, then we might not face a total meltdown.

      I'm a natural Labour voter (one grandpa a boilermaker, the other a miner), but I could never vote for Milliband (Red Sea pedestrian) or Harman (useless tart).

      • I could never vote for Milliband (Red Sea pedestrian)

        Because Disraeli did such a poor job as Prime Minister.

        • Well - yes he did - his policies led directly to the Suez Crisis and to the 'great game' in Afghanistan and Iran.

          What a twat, and his novels aren't any good as well.

          God help us if Milliband (another Red Sea pedestrian) takes over.

    • by Nazlfrag (1035012)

      Just count yourself lucky that you still hold Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Elizabeth is still my monarch here down under though, so you're not totally forgotten.

    • by Candid88 (1292486)

      "the current UK government is run by people who are terrified that US companies will withdraw from the UK "

      Well lets see, of the 4 big music studios (listed in order of global sales from 2005 http://www.ifpi.org/content/section_news/20050802.html [ifpi.org]), you have:
      Universal: French
      SONY BMG: Japanese / German
      EMI: British
      Warner: USA

      So of the four, only the fouth biggest is even a "US controlled" company. I also very much doubt Warner (as with any company) "wants" to withdraw from the UK. That makes precisely no sens

  • Pointless (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CmdrGravy (645153) on Friday August 01, 2008 @04:57AM (#24429815) Homepage

    The UK government right now is in such a mess it's almost surreal. They have an unerring knack of seeking out absolutely dreadful headline grabbing initiatives which they seem to think will re-establish them as a party the public would like to vote for but which are in fact unbelievably stupid and ridiculed as such by the public at large. This is just yet another example and just highlights the fact the only people they are listening to are special interest groups and lobbyists.

    The ISPs are only going to be sending out warning letters, they're not actually going terminate anyones contract or take any other sort of action except perhaps throttling P2P connections, which they probably do already and there is still a wide choice of alternative ISPs in the UK which have not signed up to this nonsense.

    As I understand it the ISPs aren't doing any monitoring at all off their own bat, the arrangement seems to be that the media cartels do the monitoring, like they do anyway, and just tell the ISP a particular person might be doing something they don't like at which point the ISP simply sends the letter. A horrible arrangement for sure but not one which gives the ISP much grounds to go on when people start challenging their accusations of wrongdoing.

    Hopefully at some point soon the ISPs will realise this is all much more trouble than it's worth and give up and the current government will call an election and get the boot.

    • by Goffee71 (628501) on Friday August 01, 2008 @05:05AM (#24429857) Homepage
      I look forward to the debate hitting the House of Lords: Leader of the House: "Next motion - changes in copyright law to proscribe peer-to-peer file sharing."

      Lord Knob: "Hold on one moment, we're the peers! We share files all the time. Law rejected!"

      Lady Felch: "I've got a file! And a drill, in the garage next to my Range Rover, do you want to borrow it?"

      House: "Murmur, murmur, mumble, Agreed!"
      • Re:Pointless (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @06:27AM (#24430237)

        Don't diss the Lords. They have consistently stood in the way of every privacy breaking, ID introducing, DNA logging policy from the Commons for the past 5 years. Ironically, I find myself supporting their decisions far more than those of the party I voted in.

        • Re:Pointless (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:57AM (#24431589) Journal
          After visiting Parliament and watching debates in both houses, I was fully in favour of abolition of the House of Commons. It's really worrying how much higher the standard of debate and understanding of the issues is in the Lords than the Commons. They're meant to serve as a brake on populist policies, but they seem at the moment[1] to be serving as a brake on monumentally stupid (and unpopular) policies from a government that is completely out of touch with reality.

          [1] And, by 'at the moment' I mean 'for the last decade or two, maybe longer.'

      • by khakipuce (625944)

        I look forward to the debate hitting the House of Lords:

        Leader of the House: "Next motion - changes in copyright law to proscribe peer-to-peer file sharing."

        Lord Knob: "Hold on one moment, we're the peers! We share files all the time. Law rejected!"

        Lady Felch: "I've got a file! And a drill, in the garage next to my Range Rover, do you want to borrow it?"

        House: "Snore, Snore, Snore!"

        There fixed that for you

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I don't pirate, I obviously infringe. In a world where we have less and less control and things seem to spiral away, we need a place where we can 'Stick it to the man', and the internet is it. I don't care about letters. The internet will adapt to meet the challenge. New protocols, new encryption. Hell, private groups who burn DVD's and mail them like the good old days. This genie isn't going back into any bottle anyday soon.

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday August 01, 2008 @06:43AM (#24430327)

      I don't pirate, I obviously infringe.

      I do neither, but obviously I must infringe too. I don't buy the crap that is currently produced. I don't even download it (it's not even worth the bandwidth it takes). Yet still, the dwindling sales (what dwindling sales, btw, I hear year after year that the content industry makes a record plus?) are due to copy culture.

      The dwindling sales are not due to people infringing. The dwindling sales are due to a lack of supply that meets the demand. I don't want movies that consist of SFX to hide the threadbare plot. I don't want music that sounds exactly the same as the other moronic American Idol crap you tried to cram down my throat last year. Meet my demand and I will buy your supply.

      But no, that can't be it. When people don't buy, it has to mean they copy, because it can't be that they simply don't want the crap.

  • The ISPs know who pays their bills. They're not going to get rid of customers unless they become a net cost. They might ditch a few of their customers but only because their bandwidth use is too high, and a complaint from the BPI will be an excuse.

    Keep your torrenting to a reasonable level and ignore any complains from the ISP (and maybe install peerguardian or something). They really don't give a damn what you do.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I think you're spot on - it's a bit like the "TV detector vans" of years gone by (They claimed they could determine who was watching tv without a license using high tech vans but it was just a fake antenna on a van) The ISP's cannot realistically determine who is downloading copyrighted material - even a complaint from the BPI will not be proof that this is happening. I'm out of contract with Talk Talk so have just cancelled with them and I suggest others start to do the same.
      • by mpeskett (1221084)
        I'm pretty sure TalkTalk have specifically said they won't disconnect any of their customers... that puts them a small step ahead of the other 5 in my estimation.

        Obviously the other alternatives that haven't signed up at all are better, but we're already on TalkTalk and the broadband comes free with the phone, so I have to find some reason to justify not dumping them.
  • Here we go (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kvezach (1199717) on Friday August 01, 2008 @05:07AM (#24429863)
    Bring in the encryption and the trackerless DHT system again boys! Then they can't tell if you're sharing Linux or.. something else.
    • by MagdJTK (1275470)
      They don't look at each person and try to tell if they are sharing illegally. They simply join a load of illegal torrents and read off the long list of IPs to which they connect. Encryption only works if only let people you trust join the party.
  • Protect yourself (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spasmhead (1301953) on Friday August 01, 2008 @05:28AM (#24429949)
    Just Install peer guardian [phoenixlabs.org] and configure it to use the Level1 Bluetack blocklist... then your safe as this blocks the vast majority of all anti P2P organisations worldwide. If everyone did this the BPI's job of detecting file sharers would be a WHOLE lot harder and their deal with ISP would become worthless.

    On another point, I think its naive to think that if your ISP send you one of these "informative" letters that they wont pass on your personal details to the BPI, who identified your IP address in the first place. The next logical step after is you end up in court fighting a copyright infringement case against the BPI or one of its "partners".
  • Error in summary (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lewie (3743) on Friday August 01, 2008 @05:57AM (#24430087)

    The summary says that 54% of filesharers are children, when the linked article says that in fact 54% of children are filesharers, which is actually much more interesting.

    • Especially if that number is constant across the age ranges considered children, since it means 54% of new voters each year are file sharers. Something that the government ought to be taking into account if they want to stay in power.
  • by Zephiris (788562) on Friday August 01, 2008 @06:01AM (#24430103)
    "Microsoft released a study which found that some 54% of UK file sharers are between 11-16."

    That's a very different statement from what the article says.

    "UK kids are driving a new wave of digital piracy, and 14yos are the most likely to be file sharers, according to a recent "Real Thing" anti-piracy study conducted by Microsoft.

    The "Real Thing" survey involved 270 children and 1,200 adults (16 and older).

    Some 54% of children aged 11-16yo use illegal P2P and file-sharing services compared to 15% of adults."

    Some 135 children surveyed do not constitute 56% of all illegal pirating activity in the UK (as claimed by the slashdot article?), and this seems like a case of intentional (or merely bad) pruning. Supposedly 145 children (54%) out of those surveyed pirate. A rather equivalent number of the adults, 180 (15%) do.

    Studies tend to be up there with lies and benchmarks, but comparing two groups with radially disproportionate sample sizes? And where are the samples from? Are these at specific places? Why such a disparity in the group sizes? Then again, it does admit to be an "anti-piracy" study, so I guess they aren't exactly that interested making it fair or unbiased.

    At any rate, the statement in the slashdot version and in the the article linked are very different, regardless of the supposed validity of the study.
  • The only entertainment worth anything coming out of the UK in recent years seems to be the BBC productions. Given that they are publicly financed through TV fees, why should the British not be allowed to share them freely?

  • by codeButcher (223668) on Friday August 01, 2008 @06:40AM (#24430311)
    I like brewing! Why on earth do they want to fight that?

    Not that I have RTFA or even the B'ing Summary, but still....

  • 54% of filesharers are kids. They want to cut internet "piracy" by 80%.

    So we're back to ruining lifes before they really started?

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