Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Virgin Media To Spy On & Threaten Downloaders

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the good-luck-changing-isps dept.

Privacy 349

Mike writes "Virgin Media, the UK's largest cable-modem provider, has decided that it will spy on its users to protect record industry profits. Starting next week Virgin Media will send letters to thousands of households where they suspect music is either being downloaded or illegally shared. The campaign is a joint venture between Virgin Media and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which represents the major record labels. The BPI ultimately wants Internet companies to implement a 'three strikes and out' rule to warn and ultimately disconnect the estimated 6.5 million customers whose accounts are (supposedly) used for regular criminal activity. In other words, you download a few songs and they'll come along and cut off the one wire that delivers freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly."

cancel ×

349 comments

Cut the one wire that delivers alternative content (5, Insightful)

Odder (1288958) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709683)

How obvious can an anti-trust and privacy case be? You just know that the internet will become an RIAA only music store for those 6.5 million people.

People with wealth and power are doing this because they think they can and they must. The political opinions expressed outside of broadcast media will eliminated along with economic threats to the music industry. People who believe in justice and the rule of law are an economic threat too, so this is all the same animal and that's why media consolidation and broadcast itself suck. Society must prevent this and may be able to because so many stand to win as a few lose.

Re:Cut the one wire that delivers alternative cont (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23709831)

To be fair, what "justice" is can be defined quite differently over the years.

The argument for not punishing file sharing is somewhat analogous (with a few less relevant differences) to people walking into vinyl stores some decades ago, and using a piece of custom equipment to duplicate vinyls onto their own blank platters, at a cheaper price, without paying, and then leaving. Would this have been considered "justice" at the time? I doubt it. What are the differences? Not many relevant ones, cluttering up the store would be one (though what is the argument for storeowners arbitrarily deciding who can and who can't come into their store?), while the majority would simply be difference of distribution channel.

While I download things occasionally, I acknowledge that it's against the law, and would not whine if I was caught. There's plenty of "repressiveness" around - for example, I would like to modify GPL code and sell it, including my change, but in that case, ownership seems to be extremely important and "rightly" be met with extreme retributiveness. A lot of what is said, like "anti-trust" here, is plain crap as well, illogical idiocy that people leverage as an argument just because it sounds good. As a consequence, I think none of the crowd are very sympathetic people at all.

Seems simple enough! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23710049)

Don't fucking steal and you'll be all right. And you get 2 free get out of jail cards. Make good use of them all you fucking freeloading, dole-sucking kommies.

Re:Seems simple enough! (5, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710277)

Are you talking about the politician-buying, 95-year-copyright-term corporate assholes or the people who are ignoring their asinine little power grab?

There's more than one "criminal" here.

Re:Cut the one wire that delivers alternative cont (4, Insightful)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710059)

The real issues are the domestic, warrantless spying and the attempt to bring down Bittorrent even for legal filesharing. Everything else is secondary.

I agree (3, Interesting)

Odder (1288958) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710307)

but you must understand that the attack on P2P is really an attack on free press and has the same purpose as the other, more serious violations. The point is to shut down political opposition, which in turn threaten established economic interests. All weapons are being used to identify, intimidate, harass, silence and eliminate opposition. Cutting a person's net access is the modern equivalent of exile. It will happen to those identified by wiretaps. Those that persist face the threat of search, arrest and torture. If we allow those in power to consolidate these tools, we will not be able to remove them.

apologies to to badgers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23710427)

twitter, twitter, twitter, twitter
odder, it's odder.....

Re:I agree (4, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710547)

but you must understand that the attack on P2P is really an attack on free press
I can only assume that you've found some form of political speech that is distributed in illegally shared music, because otherwise your point would be completely meaningless.

Don't even pretend to mull that over - your point is seriously completely meaningless.

sockpuppets (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23709975)

hi twitter

Virgin Music AND Virgin ISP? (4, Insightful)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710345)

Virgin Music AND Virgin ISP? Now the marketers that put this together for Sir Richard were convinced that this was a good idea. But it is turning out to be the marriage from hell. Did the lunatics who came up with Daimler-Chrysler have anything to do with this?

    Now if someone in Virgin were smart (and when are virgins ever smart?) they would give reduced or even near free downloads to Virgin Music's recordings. And do it in such a way that the anti-monopoly regulators can't do anything about it. Pure Syzygy. But these bozos are turning Virgin into the most hated conglomerate in the UK. Smooth move for a company that relies on its prominent logo as a universal brand of quality among youthful consumers.

    However it appears that in Virgin only Sir Richard has any brains. Does he hire dolts in order to appear that no one in the organization looks cooler than he does?

Hyperbole (3, Funny)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709737)

In other words, you download a few songs and they'll come along and cut off the one wire that delivers freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly.

For those who are unclear on the definition of "hyperbole", please read the above quoted sentence.

Re:Hyperbole (5, Informative)

The Angry Mick (632931) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709969)

Seriously. Here's the headline and teaser text from the same story as presented by ArsTechnica, which is painted in a vastly different light:

UK ISP bows to record industry, to send P2P warning letters:
British ISP Virgin Media has come to an agreement with the BPI, which represents the record industry, to warn filesharers on its network about the dangers of copyright infringement.
.

Re:Hyperbole (5, Informative)

Albanach (527650) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710121)

Yes, The Register had a much more balanced article too: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/06/virgin_media_bpi_deal/ [theregister.co.uk] .From that article, 'At this stage there will be no "three strikes" process; customers who continue to fileshare illegally will not be disconnected.'

Virgin are also quoted as saying it was unwilling to disconnect customers who don't stop accessing illegal music. A spokesman said: "It's a bit of a judgement call for us to be making threats of disconnection or account suspension. We weren't willing to do that. There are now so many lawful cheap and free music services out there that we believe an education campaign in partnership with the BPI is the best way forward."

Seems Virgin aren't quite being the bad guys the summary makes out.

Re:Hyperbole (1, Troll)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710053)

For those who are unclear on the definition of "hyperbole", please read the above quoted sentence.

For those who are unclear on the definition of bullshit [uncyclopedia.org] , please read the linked bullshit.

The summary is not, in fact, hyperbole. You should consult a dictionary [reference.com] . This is the 21st century. Today we use the internet as our medium of speech, press, and assembly. There is no exageration whatever when the GP says that the ISP owns the one wire that delivers those three freedoms to us.

There is no other way besides the internet to make my views known to more than a few people. Until the internet, freedom of the press was restricted to those with the money to buy a press. Your freedom of assembly was restricted to physicality.

Now that I and my fellow peons have freedom of the press, speech, and assembly, that the rich bastards who have owned knowedge, its dissimination, and indeed freedom itself have always had, they're scared shitless.

Well, not quite shitless, as the bullshit I'm responding to can attest. But drowning us normal people (peons) in bullshit is what the rich have always done. The ionternet gives US a shovel.

Re:Hyperbole (4, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710197)

There is no other way besides the internet to make my views known to more than a few people.

Sorry, but if you believe that, then you are out of touch. Or, to put it more directly - how do you think people exercised those freedoms before the internet? Somehow, hundreds of people throughout history managed to make their views known to more than a few people without the internet. So, I say again, hyperbole.

Re:Hyperbole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23710521)

yeah, hundreds of people, out of a total size of the human race of, iirc, 10 billion. Point made.

Re:Hyperbole (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710527)

You mean like.. those people with access to printing presses? *rolls eyes* Do you have any idea how the world would have worked before TV and radio came along? To make your views known to a lot of people in the days before the printing press, you'd either have to write a friggin assload of spam letters (which in itself would cost a lot of money), or spend your whole life travelling the country orating to market crowds.. which is the only way a poor person could do it, and if what they were saying was controversial enough then they'd soon be locked up..

Re:Hyperbole (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710309)

If only some countries had places [wikipedia.org] where one could go [wikipedia.org] to share their opinions [wikipedia.org] with large groups ...

Re:Hyperbole (2, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710485)

It's hyperbole and bullshit because:-

a) Virgin aren't spying on their users - in fact, the BPI are taking people's IP addresses from BitTorrent swarms (freely available to anybody), matching them up to known Virgin media IP blocks (freely available to anybody) then sending those IPs to Virgin who mail the offending user. Virgin do not tell the BPI who you are or where you live because that would be an enormous breach of the DPA.

b) Your basic freedoms cannot be impinged upon by a company, only by governments. You can still go out into the street and shout your opinions to the rooftops if you want.

c) Downloading music for free is not a basic freedom.

d) Using the internet is not a basic freedom.

Where the summary got all that horsemanure about right to assembly, freedom of the press and freedom of speech, I have no idea - because it has no bearing or relevance to the topic at hand. At the very least you can point out that only one of those freedoms exists in the UK.

Another flamebait Slashdot summary successfully baits someone into ranting about something incidental to the real point. Kudos.

Re:Hyperbole (5, Informative)

blowdart (31458) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710055)

And it, of course, shows a stunning lack of understanding of geography or other countries. The UK has no enshrined right to free speech, the right to assembly has been slowly curtailed since the 1980s, starting with laws to stop raves, and then to stop political demonstrations in certain areas (like outside parliament) and cutting off a personal internet account doesn't stop journalists reporting.

The three strikes "solution" is problematic however; because suddenly a corporation is policing something. And that is more worrying than anything else.

Re:Hyperbole (3, Informative)

evilandi (2800) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710247)

Also for those who are unclear on the definition of "UK", note that it is not the USA. Ergo any comparison with USian freedoms is stark raving bonkers. We don't have freedom of speech or freedom of assembly here, they have never been enshrined as rights (freedom of the press, though, is enforced by the Press Complaints Authority with arms-length backing from Her Majesty's Government).

For example, it is illegal to wear a t-shirt with a politican slogan in the street outside Parliament.

Sheesh (0, Flamebait)

alexborges (313924) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709739)

Monopoly Leveraging Bi0tch3s From Outer Sussex

Its a monopoly from hell. Its like if Sony owned MaBell (and she still existed).

Virgin: youre just a bunch of oligopolistic freaking fucks.

Re:Sheesh (5, Insightful)

nogginthenog (582552) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710463)

AFAIK the Virgin companies are not linked, they just paid Richard Branson for the use of the name. Virgin Media is still NTL:Telewest under the hood...

Kinky (1)

larpon (974081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709745)

007 Virgin

Re:Kinky (1)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709889)

And I read BPI as British Pornographic Industry. Well, looks like it is more on topic after all; Virgin, 007, pornography, all the same.

Re:Kinky (3, Funny)

alexborges (313924) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709949)

I thought 007 WAS what the british took for pr0n!

Good for them... (4, Funny)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709751)

my belief is that this tactic will work out equally as well as it has in the US and elsewhere. Now... the real issue for me is why do so many of these industry people believe that they can implement a stupid idea better than the last guy?

Re:Good for them... (1)

name*censored* (884880) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709885)

I'm surprised it hasn't come up here yet, but in the USA, I believe that ISPs can't snoop on their users' traffic if they wish to maintain their "common carrier" status. Basically, it means that if they do start prosecuting for piracy, then they'll have to make damn sure that they get every single one, otherwise they're legally liable for letting that one slip. But IANAA(merican), so I'm not certain whether this is 100% accurate.

(On topic) I'm surprised ISPs would shoot themselves in the foot like this - at least that's the one advantage of Australia's omniscent pay-for-your-usage plans, the biggest pirates are also making the ISPs the most money so they're unlikely to act against them.

ISPs ARE NOT COMMON CARRIERS!!! (3, Informative)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710091)

At least not in their role as ISPs.

Re:ISPs ARE NOT COMMON CARRIERS!!! (2, Informative)

Rekolitus (899752) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710375)

This is correct. In the US, ISPs are classified as an information service by the FCC.

Re:ISPs ARE NOT COMMON CARRIERS!!! (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710431)

Then why haven't AT&T, Verizon, and QWest been sued by the RIAA members for facilitating copyright infringement when they should be filtering, monitoring, and blocking? A major point of "common carrier" laws was to codify in a formal legal definition that it was technically impossible (or at least highly infeasible) to filter and monitor communications which travel over a shared network. If one is NOT a common carrier then it implies that one is legally responsible for what happens on one's network. That is why ISPs (Comcast is skating on thin ice here) have to be careful that they do not wander off the reservation in search of more targeted advertising dollars because the courts may rule that if they can scan content to target advertising or prejudice packets then they can filter for copyright infringement as well and be held liable if they do not. IMHO the ISPs would be wise to NOT filter and remain behind the common carrier shield, but it may take a lawsuit or two to scare the ISP suits into listening to their techs and lawyers on this issue.

Re:Good for them... (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710511)

I dunno... this policy works out beautifully if someone you don't like online uses such an ISP, and you happen to know his or her usual IP addy.
  1. Fake the victim's addy on eMule (change as the victim's IP changes to account for DHCP, etc)
  2. go out of your way to get three C&D's issued from the media oligopoly against that IP
  3. Profit!!!

(as a bonus, you get some free music and movies out of the deal, and if you really hate the person you don't like, you get to gleefully see them get slammed for copyright infringement).


And yes, I do believe that the MPAA/RIAA really are stupid enough to inadvertently help you out in such a manner. (see also MediaDefender, et al).


(note that the above is purely a hypothetical and not recommended at all. That said, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see someone do it. Given the laughable tech-illiteracy of the media types? You'd likely never get caught doing it if you tried).

/P

Broadband access (3, Insightful)

mrbah (844007) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709759)

Well, that's one way to increase broadband access. Drive everyone to lease their own T1s instead of putting up with this kind of crap.

Re:Broadband access (1)

Slimee (1246598) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709897)

God, you know, there may have been a dab of sarcasm in that, but that's not a half bad idea. Bunch of people get together and all throw in the money to rent a T1...It'd be pricey, but nice to break away from the mainstream ISPs that are under constant harassment from record labels.

Re:Broadband access (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710621)

So.. you want to spend a lot of money to break away from a system where you don't have to spend a lot of money to get music? Leasing your own line probably makes it easier to track you down too.

Re:Broadband access (1)

smackt4rd (950154) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710413)

or just encrypt everything... :)

markets and competition (3, Interesting)

drDugan (219551) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709771)

Good thing there are still some competition on who provides Internet service. I expect that this behavior would have the obvious effect that users will simply use different providers: providers that focus on their customers and not other business' interests.

Here in the San Francisco area, for example, there are locally owned ISP companies that have focused on high quality service and support and have grown and down well while providing DSL at faster speeds and lower cost than the larger providers.

shall we at least consider the alternatives? (3, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709783)

"...they'll come along and cut off the one wire that delivers freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly."

TFA makes it sound like the internet is the only way to exercise these liberties. I suppose blowing up the courthouse is also one way for me to exercise my voice but they seem to have made that one illegal. Shame on them!

freedom (3, Informative)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709789)

"Freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly"

Well, we're talking about the UK here, not the US.

Re:freedom (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710013)

So there's Freedom of Expression [opsi.gov.uk] .

But that's from the Human Rights Act 1998, so it can probably be ignored :-(

That is what comes (4, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709799)

From using a record company as your ISP. Anyone could have predicted that they would be tougher on illegal downloads than ISPs that are mainly communications companies.

Re:That is what comes (3, Informative)

dkf (304284) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710139)

From using a record company as your ISP.
They're almost completely unrelated companies; the only thing in common (apart from some shared shareholders) is the fact that they both license the "Virgin" trademark from the same third company.

Re:That is what comes (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23710499)

What is a little odd is that Virgin just upgraded all their usenet servers.

There was a message posted to all the groups on the old news.ntlworld.com server about a month ago.

It said to change your newserver to news.virginmedia.com and that the new servers had longer retention on the binary groups amoung other things!

I changed over and the binary groups are much better now. alt.binaries.abandonware is not carried anymore though, so you can only get mostly illigal stuff. :(

The right hand giveth and the left hand taketh away.

I guess this is why people don't talk about usenet.

Alternative UK broadband suppliers? (1)

MjDelves (811950) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709805)

Can anyone recommend a (good) UK broadband supplier that doesn't intrude on your privacy then?

Re:Alternative UK broadband suppliers? (1)

FluffyWithTeeth (890188) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710457)

Can anyone recommend a (good) UK broadband supplier that doesn't intrude on your privacy then?
With the way the competition laws work here, I could name you a few hundred. None of them, however, have access to Virgin's fibre network so its all going to be DSL. Depressingly though, with the state Virgin's network is in, ADSL2+ actually offers better average speed for a lot of people..

They could be so much more... (1)

fractalrock (662410) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709807)

"largest cable-modem provider"? Hey, I've got an idea...combine that w/ the largest DSL provider!
Then you would really have something...

over-reaching FUD (2, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709827)

Ordinarily I oppose just about anything that the RIAA and their cohorts do. However, when I see a line like

download a few songs and they'll come along and cut off the one wire that delivers freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly

And I'm no longer in support of the author of this article.

Really, how does the internet deliver freedom of assembly? And how does not having the internet really stop your ability to use freedom of assembly? I'm pretty sure assemblies have been held without the internet in the past.

And thats just to point out one absurdity in that sentence. There are plenty of good reasons to be angry about ISPs that want to shut off customers for various reasons - I don't think the author should have needed to make any up.

Re:over-reaching FUD (2, Insightful)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710131)

Really, how does the internet deliver freedom of assembly?
IRC, instant messaging, webforums,etc.

And how does not having the internet really stop your ability to use freedom of assembly? I'm pretty sure assemblies have been held without the internet in the past.
Sure, it's still possible to 'assemble' offline, but the threshold is a lot higher. Furthermore, you're excluded from online 'assemblies'.

Re:over-reaching FUD (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710379)

Really, how does the internet deliver freedom of assembly?
IRC, instant messaging, webforums,etc.


That is delivering ability of assembly. It is not delivering freedom of assembly.

And even if your ISP denies you internet access, you can still access the same online resources through other mechanisms - public libraries, coffee shops, maybe even (gasp!) other peoples' homes.

I don't see how the freedom of assembly is lost here.

Re:over-reaching FUD (1)

bugnuts (94678) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710349)

Aye, that line was idiotic. Did phones stop existing? Airwaves gone, too? Granted, this is the UK, so I have no idea if people are sequestered to their houses with only a cable modem, but somehow I doubt it....

The only wire that cuts off all those freedoms is your spinal column.

Who needs legs? (2, Insightful)

westbake (1275576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710453)

You don't need legs to join a protest, but that does not give you the right to cut mine off.


The internet, if you had not noticed, has made it possible for people all around the world to cooperate. It is vital to modern political movements and business. The ability to share and publish has gone a long way to repair the damage government created broadcast networks did to democracy and civil discourse.

parent must have never heard of a flash mob (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710469)

Flash mobs! Which are considered a major security threat by threatened governments.

Re:over-reaching FUD (4, Insightful)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710495)

Really, how does the internet deliver freedom of assembly?
The irony being, you've posted this question on a public forum.

It bears repeating time and again (4, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709829)

Until intellectual property law is forced to conform to the same expectations that private property has, it will never have universal legitimacy in the culture the way that physical property has (except with thieves and Socialists; I repeat myself...)

A modest proposal:

1) Outlaw implied contracts. When I buy a movie, CD, program, etc., unless I sign something in writing, prior to the purchase, any "contract" should be null and void, and any effort to enforce it should be criminal activity.

2) Copyright infringement by sharing copyrighted data is treated as theft, with goods valued for the purpose of assessment under existing property laws at current market value. Copyright infringement by accident, like posting a single picture you weren't supposed to on your site is not a crime at all or at the worst gets you a slap on the wrist.

3) Copyright holders cannot restrict how any one copy of their work is used by buyers, except to make them respect the artificial scarcity of copyright law. Meaning, if I want to resell iPhones with jail-broken OSs and tons of apps, Apple cannot legally interfere with my customers' enjoyment of their iPhone and its OS anymore than Honda could interfere with my customers if I were selling modified racing civics (except to cut off their warranty).

Re:It bears repeating time and again (5, Funny)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710143)

3) Copyright holders cannot restrict how any one copy of their work is used by buyers, except to make them respect the artificial scarcity of copyright law.

I'm not sure I believe in this. The ability to create derivative works is not just to protect the value of the intellectual property. It is also to protect the integrity. Think about how horrible it would be if you could take classic films (like Star Wars), and add tons of CG effects, and resell them.

Re:It bears repeating time and again (1)

scruffy (29773) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710265)

Until intellectual property law is forced to conform to the same expectations that private property has, it will never have universal legitimacy in the culture the way that physical property has (except with thieves and Socialists; I repeat myself...)
IP should not have the same expectations. Otherwise, we would still be paying the estate of Aristotle. We need keep it possible to build on the achievements of previous generations. This won't work if we have to pay fees to the many thousands (millions?) that have added their intellectual work to our technology and culture.

And I think you mean "real property" instead of "private property".

Re:It bears repeating time and again (1)

monxrtr (1105563) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710275)

Virgin ISP cannot "inspect" any packets of information except by copying the data into an anlysis program. Virgin will end up committing trillions of acts of copyright infringement by actively monitoring user data. So in essence Virgin is just throwing away the entirety of their corporate assets to their UK subscribers. If I lived in the UK and was a Virgin customer, I'd be contacting the lawyers and looking forward to retirement after selling off Virgin assets through the bankruptcy courts.

I assume Virgin is subject to the EU penalties for copyright infringement, and will be voluntarily disconnecting itself after the first three inspections that bring negative results, and are themselves copyright violation.

Let the immortal words be, "Sue the bastards!"

And if Virgin can inspect content for copyright violations without penalty then their customers certainly have the same right under the law to similarly download and inspect any files whatsoever, to ensure their copyrighted writings aren't be infringed, no matter the title of the files, no matter the size of the file.

Re:It bears repeating time and again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23710363)

Well they better send me an updated contract to sign or when they take me to court I will be mentioning unfair clauses and changes without notification.

I will also point out that they have to prove I was doing something wrong so I'll just keep a clean laptop lying about and ship the dirty one(s) off to a mates.

A interesting question that presents itself though is "What will virgin do when they have disconnected all of their customers???" Is this not a case of "cutting your nose off to spite your face?"

Re:It bears repeating time and again (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710411)

3) Copyright holders cannot restrict how any one copy of their work is used by buyers, except to make them respect the artificial scarcity of copyright law. Meaning, if I want to resell iPhones with jail-broken OSs and tons of apps, Apple cannot legally interfere with my customers' enjoyment of their iPhone and its OS anymore than Honda could interfere with my customers if I were selling modified racing civics (except to cut off their warranty).


Apple didn't do it. They released an update, they warned people not to update if they modded their phones. The update isn't mandatory - iTunes just says "There is an update for your iPhone [Install] [DOwnload Only] [Cancel]" and they even have a little checkbox that lets you disable it. It's like a modded Civic coming back to Honda for an ECU update, only to find that hey, the update breaks all the mods (and possibly disables the car).

The updates aren't forced, and Apple has no way to tell what can happen if you mod your iPhone and decide to upgrade - your mod may very well screw up the ability to update (as the "unlock code" did for the baseband processor [google.com] (this written by the people who created all the iPhone hacks). And yes, Apple does void the warranty if you bring it in for service with mods.

Ironically, one of the things Apple did in a later update was manage to fix this.

Anyhow, is anyone really surprised by Virgin's move? They're a big conglomerate, like Sony, but this time, it looks like all the individual pieces are working together in their collective self-interest. Virgin Internet and Virgin Records (a music store at least), and there's probably a music label with Virgin's name on it, too.

Totally Cheddar (3, Insightful)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709835)

In other words, you download a few songs and they'll come along and cut off the one wire that delivers freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly.

I don't mean to be critical, but isn't this just a touch over the top? I don't like the idea of people tracking downloads and cutting of Internet connections any more than you, but for the moment, downloading is still illegal. If someone managed to catch you and charge you $10,000 per song (or whatever the going rate is...I think it's rationed on the same scale as gas prices) or throw you in prison for repeat offenses, would that be any better than losing your ISP?

We need to convince the world that the recording industry is trying to bill us for not buying horseshoes even though we're driving cars. They've said it themselves: they made a mistake by not having download services sooner, and now they've lost a generation of kids who think music grows on the web for free. Let them charge the band for the original recording of the song, the videos, take a share of concert revenue for the advertising work, etc. But taking a percentage of money every time the song is played or recorded elsewhere, in the age of perfect digital copies, is archaic at best.

But don't make me want to go buy duct tape and plastic sheeting because I'm breaking the current copyright laws.

it'll be a step too far for most ISPs as well (5, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709993)

Cut off over 6 million paying customers?

No way that's ever going to happen. No industry in its right mind would destroy itself to satisfy the needs of another.

Re:it'll be a step too far for most ISPs as well (3, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710477)

Actually booting off pirates would be in Virgin's best interests. They're the only people who actually try to use the bandwidth they've paid for. By removing those, they can continue to sell 2MBit connections to email users. Given how much they've whinged about video on demand showing up their shitty infrastructure, I suspect all ISPs to move this way.

Let Virgin Fly? (1)

myspace-cn (1094627) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709913)

I supported Let Virgin Fly. I don't support letting them fly on this. Get the fuck off our fucking communications devices. YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS THERE!

I am a Virgin Media subscriber (2, Insightful)

tezza (539307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709923)

I think Mike the submitter is really overdoing it with his rhetoric.

"the one wire that delivers freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly"
--- Mike, take an antacid and calm down. You'll save yourself a stroke.

*Why could you not legally download the songs?
* If they wanted to disconnect you, could they not just find some other trumped up reason to do so?
* There is plenty of alternate choice for broadband in places where Virgin Media is commonly available

Let's wait to see just how often this gets used before it becomes an issue.

I get throttled all the time after a few DivX downloads, and the solution is to download in non-peak times.

I'm sure slashdot will be informed once the letters actually start being posted.

Re:I am a Virgin Media subscriber (1)

dwandy (907337) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710513)

Why could you not legally download the songs?

Why do you assume guilt? it's not like their methods [slashdot.org] are infallible.

Troll and flamebait in the same post! (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709931)

Ummmm, tasty Monday! Couldn't the poster have thrown in a few more choice nuggets as kerosene? Maybe like Geo Bush approves and applauded Virgin, or maybe Sr Richard Branson needed the money??

So, will this be a P2P dragnet? (3, Interesting)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709939)

From TFA:

If you use peer-to-peer applications to copy or distribute copyrighted material such as music, films and software, and do so without paying royalties, you are almost certainly infringing the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

I think the real question here is how Virgin intends to "catch" subscribers. Will any form of P2P traffic result in a letter? TFA, while full of feel-good rhetoric about damages to our vibrant economy, is scant on details in this regard.

Re:So, will this be a P2P dragnet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23710429)

Ars Technica says the BPI will be identifying the infringers, not Virgin. (So the submitter's use of the word 'spying' is a bit misguided.)

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080606-uk-isp-bows-to-record-industry-to-send-p2p-warning-letters.html

Re:So, will this be a P2P dragnet? (1)

FluffyWithTeeth (890188) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710575)

Almost certainly it's harvested IPs from specific bittorrent files and gnutella clients etc. Virgin simply don't have the money to be doing packet inspection, they don't have the hardware. All the crap they've been doing lately is just to get in the news in the hopes of either getting some investors or a buyer. As it stands, the company and it's cable network seems set to collapse in a year or two, they're just bleeding money.

Phew! (4, Funny)

Tx (96709) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709971)

At first, I read "British Pornographic Industry", and I was seriously worried! But its only the music, so I think I'm safe.

6.5 million (1, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709983)

6.5 million customers whose accounts are (supposedly) used for regular criminal activity
When that large a proportion of the population is breaking a law, should the law itself be put into question? Basically, if a society doesn't consider something to be objectionable, shouldn't it be legal? That should be a natural consequence of democracy.

Because no one will sneakernet songs (3, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709987)

This is literally the "Whackamole" of modern business.

They just do not get it.

People do not have $10,000 to load up an IPOD with content.

People will spend to the level they can/feel is ethical and then take the rest.

If they can't get it off the internet, they'll do it face to face in sneaker nets.
Or they'll encrypt/mangle the packets.
Or things we havn't even imagined yet.

Re:Because no one will sneakernet songs (-1, Flamebait)

zotz (3951) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710347)

"People do not have $10,000 to load up an IPOD with content."

Gee, I don't see why not. They are all raking in the dough and have no other obligations or expenses. I mean, get a clue!

~;-)

all the best,

drew

What's wrong with this? (0, Troll)

diehard2 (1132885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23709991)

I realize this will be an unpopular opinion on slashdot... However, the fact is these people are stealing. There is no justification for downloading "free" music. Its not free, its just convenient. I don't get the difference between downloading with P2P and seeing a sidewalk sale and walking off with CDs. Three warnings and cutting off internet access seems to be reasonable. I think the US companies are a bit draconian with lawsuits, however a misdemeanor similar to shoplifting with a small fine would be warranted if someone is doing this. Seriously, if you want unlimited music, sign up for Rhapsody. Its not that expensive.

Re:What's wrong with this? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710127)

There are plenty of justifications for downloading music.

1) The work should be in the public domain.

This came up in the RIAA case where they won the $200K judgement.
They tried to win sympathy with the jury by playing some moldy oldie
that rightfully should have gone into the public domain by now but
hasn't.

Re:What's wrong with this? (3, Insightful)

Mprx (82435) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710207)

Stealing: I take the CD, the owner no longer has the CD.
Copying: I copy the data, now we both have the data.

Copying != theft. Copyright as originally intended "to promote the progress of science and useful arts" is arguably beneficial to society, but copyright as currently implemented mostly benefits the rich elite. With lower barriers to entry for both authorship and distribution the optimal copyright term is now shorter than the original term, but it has instead been increased to be effectively endless. It is no surprise people do not respect such an obviously broken law.

Re:What's wrong with this? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710257)

Stealing? I'll return their property then. What's their email address?

Re:What's wrong with this? (1)

lusiphur69 (455824) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710321)

"Seriously, if you want unlimited music, sign up for Rhapsody. Its not that expensive."

Ad. Mod parent spam.

As said before, copying is not stealing - I have deprived noone of their property. Your analogy fails the smell test, as it always does.

Re:What's wrong with this? (1)

diehard2 (1132885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710507)

What, I could have said Yahoo. Its not spam if i mention a business. I also like Yahoo! and Google. Perhaps you could mod this spam too. So, by your analogy, if you copy a windows XP cd, that is not stealing either? Now, I know lots of people do it, however that doesn't make it right.

Re:What's wrong with this? (3, Interesting)

zotz (3951) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710393)

"I don't get the difference between downloading with P2P and seeing a sidewalk sale and walking off with CDs"

Do you see the difference between singing a song on a street corner with a hat on the ground and seeing a sidewalk sale and walking off with CDs?

And to be honest, here at least, I think the penalties for being in posession of a knock off CD or DVD are way more harsh than for stealing the same from a store.

all the best,

drew

Re:What's wrong with this? (1)

Coraon (1080675) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710467)

Rhapsody huh, one problem. All the music I listen to comes from artists not listed in their catalog. I am tired of people calling me a thief when I: 1. cannot order the music I want to listen to into the country through any available means (all the record/cd stores around me wont order it in) 2. Its not for sale on their website and 3rd parties online wont ship to me. 3. I have tried Rhapsody and Itunes and a few others, there is only one source I've managed to find the music I like on, and thats p2p pirate sources. If your going to spam us with a product saying we should all goto it then perhaps it should be able to meet the needs of a citizen of the world and not what *IAA shoves down my throat. P.S. I do support the artists I listen to, I sent the pagan bank in the UK some money directly and told them of my plight trying to get their music in Canada, the band leaders exact words were "Download away, we are just glad someone is listening."

Re:What's wrong with this? (1)

diehard2 (1132885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710563)

I'll reply again, its not spam to mention a business. I also like Google and Yahoo. I could have just as easily said Yahoo. I also find it hard to believe that your musical tastes are so obscure that you cannot find the music you want anywhere or get someone to order it for you. Where are you working, the South Pole?

joker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23709995)

"three strikes and out"

Aircrack let you download song three time the number of neighbor you have.

Virgin are a disgrace - Vote with your feet! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23710003)

I'm unlucky enough to be a Virgin ADSL customer at the moment, they already cap their 'unlimited' service and shape torrents down to 1K/Sec anyway. I'll be leaving their terrible service soon and I urge everyone else to do the same.

Virgin this... (4, Insightful)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710025)

The wonderful thing about huge, sprawling conglomerates like Virgin is that there's no shortage of ways to hit back at them when they pull this kind of bullshit.

Do you have a Virgin cell phone? Pound it to slag and mail it back to the bastards, along with a letter explaining why you won't be needing their services anymore. Tell your travel agent that you won't accept a flight on any Virgin plane, and drop them a line telling them about it. Show up at good old Sir Richard's next publicity stunt with appropriately humorous and offensive signs.

The beauty of it is that if enough people act, the pressure doesn't have to be kept up for long to have a real effect on the bottom line. How long would it take before losses in other areas overtake any possible gain from Virgin's Nazi-esque assault on free speech?

Re:Virgin this... (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710191)

I keep getting junk mail in the post to come to Virgin because of their 'blazing fast' internet speeds and cool cable TV. I stick with Be Unlimited, and Sky. I am happy. :-)

I do use Virgin Mobile for my mobile phone, though, because of its simple PAYG tariff. Maybe I'll reconsider that one...

Just you wait (2, Funny)

AdmV0rl0n (98366) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710061)

'Pirates' support Al Quida'.

Before you know it, they'll need 42 days to sift through your windows DLLs and files. After all, being able to say hundreds of thousands of files and by implication 'this is hard' means a reasonable premise(not). But only to the stupid.

The UK already has enormous monitoring and invasive abuse of its citizens, bad enough before 'companies' start attempting to take the law into their own hands and begin illicit and comprehensive invasion of people's privacy to support their monopoly.

As for Virgin, first we've seen they have an agenda in terms of net neutrality (they don't believe in it), and they also happen to believe in everyone else's rights but not their users, PAYING customers.

I hope they do send out their stupid letters, and I hope the ensuing customer response tells them exactly where to get off, along side the numbers of people leaving the services.

you FAIL i7? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23710097)

Bureaucraticp and and suggesting Which don't use the People already; I'm

OT - YRO section (2, Insightful)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710195)

These stories are getting more and more depressing. I suggest changing the section name to, "Your (Lack of) Rights Online."

Phew. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23710251)

In other words, you download a few songs and they'll come along and cut off the one wire that delivers freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly.

Ha! At least they'll still have the tubes.

Before everyone says "Aren't Virgin Bastards?" (3, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710271)

The UK government has already said to ISPs "Stop your users downloading illegally or we'll pass legislation forcing you to":

http://news.zdnet.co.uk/communications/0,1000000085,39290371,00.htm [zdnet.co.uk]

http://www.techwatch.co.uk/2008/02/25/uk-isp%E2%80%99s-must-stop-illegal-downloads/ [techwatch.co.uk]

(You've got to admire that approach to democracy out of sheer morbid fascination, really, haven't you. It amounts to "You're not doing anything illegal, but if you don't stop doing it we'll make it illegal!")

Virgin Media haven't really got any choice here, and I think we'll see similar announcements regarding other ISPs within the next 6-12 months.

Re:Before everyone says "Aren't Virgin Bastards?" (1)

travelmug (1304549) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710503)

Where does the UK government draw the line for privacy? At what point aren't they allowed to track every move I make? Really now, do they open every package going through the postal system as well? Do the record labels and the government know I can hear the music on the radio at no cost to me?

Broadband providers and Lost Revenue (1)

Gybrwe666 (1007849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710319)

So, let me get this straight:

6.5 million people connections.
Let's just say that, on average, people are paying $15US per connection per month.

That would be $97,500,000 per month in lost revenue to the broadband industry, or a cool $1,170,000,000 per year in lost revenue.

Uh huh. Go on, then, pull the other one.

How long until someone comes up with a way to completely anonymize P2P applications? Or someone comes up with the next way of doing this that is almost, but not entirely, unlike current P2P apps?

I'm amazed that *ANYONE* in the broadband industry is giving credence to the BPI and RIAA and MPAA. They can't afford that kind of subscriber loss, or revenue loss.

You know, I've been a computer user for almost 30 years now. During my first exposure to personal computers, there were guys copying VIC-20 tapes to pirate software. During the 80's, all kinds of software companies devised copy protection schemes to keep pirates from copying software. During the 90's, even more elaborate ruses were used, including hardware dongles, hardware locking, network checking for multiple instances of the same serial number. We've had encryption, DPI, and everything else thrown at the problem.

Nothing has worked. How long are companies going to continue to try to "stop" piracy, when it simply doesn't work. There might be one or two instances of copy protection working, but they are few and far between. It seems that the copyright watchdogs have decided to beat other peoples heads on a brick wall rather than their own, but it still won't work. This elaborate game of "whack-a-mole" is senseless, idiotic, and ends up hurting everyone.

And it will solve nothing.

It'd be sad if it weren't just so downright pathetic.

Let them disconnect you (1)

Mizchief (1261476) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710327)

"three strikes and out rule to warn and ultimately disconnect the estimated 6.5 million customers whose accounts are (supposedly) used for regular criminal activity" I think the customers should ban togather and hammer the network with downloads 24/7. When they find out that 5 mil of their 6.5 mil customers are getting disconnected they may think twice about their policy. If enough people want to download then there will be another ISP that comes along to fill in the gap. If you have no other option in internet service then I would suggest opening up 4 - 5 browser windows and stream the "legal" music off the internet whenever you are not using you computer.

Or, rephrased (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710525)

"Virgin Media to decided what traffic it wants going through its routers and switches and crossing its wires."

Its an allegedly "free market." If you don't like the terms they require in order to utilize their property, take your business elsewhere. This is no more nefarious a move against your "rights" than a publican decided he wants his facility to be non-smoking, regardless of local ordinances.

Its a private private entity, not a government utility. There is a distinction to be drawn.

Also, I don't see whats to get your panties in a bunch over music files anyway. Then again, I mostly like classical and older jazz/band music -- not exactly the stuff one can just "find" via gnutella.

Virgin becomes responsible for content! (1)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710607)

OK, I've said this before, but it apparently bears repeating.

If a company assumes responsibility for inspecting your content, then THEY ARE NO LONGER A COMMON CARRIER!!! They are now gatekeepers, which means they are responsible for ALL content that goes through their network. If they fail to catch some illegal downloaders or kiddie-porn peddlers, then THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR IT!

Sooner or later, this piece of shit will hit the fan, and when it does, the ISPs are going to get messy.

The BPI have no clue (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710619)

Okay - Virgin are just going to be sending letters for now. Thing is, it's not really in their interest to cut anyone off. Each person they cut off will cost them at least £9 a month, more likely £15-30. And people tend to stick with the cable company for several years.

Will the BPI be covering Virgin for the costs of anyone they cut off? I think this is unlikely. Virgin will make it clear that they're doing something, to mollify the BPI but they're not going to do anything that will cost them money.

Music sharing solution (1)

shock1970 (1216162) | more than 6 years ago | (#23710627)

So what about creating an algorithm that modifies an .mp3 file in such a way that it is playable, but is basically musical gibberish. Provide a key that will de-transform the .mp3 back to its original state. Then, when you share an .mp3 file thats been transformed by this algorithm, you are not sharing copyrighted content. Only when you willingly apply the de-transformation of the file back to its original state are you breaking the law. And make it easy enough that even a caveman can do it.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...