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UK Government Advised to Promote and Adopt DRM

michael posted about 11 years ago | from the gigo dept.

The Internet 304

aking137 writes "From ZDNet, the UK Broadband Stakeholders Group (BSG) are recommending '...actively promoting the development and spread of global DRM-related standards' on the grounds that 'The UK's broadband boom is likely to falter unless more progress is made towards combating digital piracy'. Also in the article: 'The massive popularity of peer-to-peer networks also needs to be urgently addressed, the BSG said.'" The report (pdf) is online.

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YOU DID IT! (-1)

News For Turds (580751) | about 11 years ago | (#6532407)

Now please insert my balls into your mouth.

Way to go! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532683)

That poor Tard michael craps his pants everytime the GNAA gets a FP.

FIRST POST! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532231)

Score:-1, Troll


I POOP ON FAILURES! (685242) | about 11 years ago | (#6532241)


Because they don't have enough power.. (0, Offtopic)

kmak (692406) | about 11 years ago | (#6532235)

in the US, now companies can take over the world! What will we do in 100 years?

Re:Because they don't have enough power.. (-1, Offtopic)

jbottero (585319) | about 11 years ago | (#6532490)

At first, I smelled a Soviet Russia joke here...

Why don't you like DRM? (4, Insightful)

0x0d0a (568518) | about 11 years ago | (#6532507)

companies can take over the world

You know, I've come to wonder what issues people really honestly have with DRM.

My primary reason for disliking it is really an engineering one -- it's really, really hard to do DRM, at least on plain ol' audio and video. I'd put it on the same level as antispam legislation -- I'm pretty sure that it isn't going to work, and there's a lot of irritating legislation that indirectly impacts me (like ability to grab information from ISPs by copyright holders...privacy issue that I'm sure will be abused in the long run) and money wasted on lawyers in the meantime.

Most folks on Slashdot are the technorati. They were, in a much higher percentage than other groups, using MP3s and other forms of audio trading well before anyone else. They caught the "sweet spot", where they could pirate music without everyone doing it, so that those that pay subsidized the development of popular music. Piracy hadn't yet hit the point of moving music towards the public good dillemma (where nobody wants to pay for it because it's easier to pirate). Now, though, it's easy for anyone to download music, and the subsidization of the folks that used to download music from FTP servers isn't there.

DRM as a concept isn't all that "neat feeling", but neither is copyright or other forms of IP. What is the actual, practical impact on you of DRM? In this case, Apple was unable to obtain non-US rights. To my way of thinking, that's a fairly minor issue for people. The biggest drawback is that a US citizen might become comfortable buying music in the US from Apple, then move, and not be able to use the route he has come to prefer.

How about cost? To most teens, cost of music is a pretty legitimate issue. I don't really care much any more, now that I'm out in the work force -- the effort of getting an album in the format I want with the quality I want really isn't worth it. I go to work all day, and when I come home I'd rather just spend a little money and get the thing in full quality. So if DRM prevents piracy, it doesn't really impact me much.

What about inability to trade music around? I guess this could be an issue for some (I know some people that lend CDs out left and right), but I don't. At least for me, this really doesn't affect me.

What about limited-time ownership of music? This I *do* find unacceptable -- I won't buy music that expires. The point's kind of moot, though, since attempts to commercialize expiring music and video haven't really gone anywhere.

What about inability to move from place to place with a music collection? Well, I'm biased -- I live in a first world nation so forms of region coding tend to screw me over by letting media companies charge me more. While I've never moved out of the US, I'd like the ability to do so, so I consider region coding sufficiently irritating that I would be happy to break 'em. Incidently, I don't believe I've yet seen a DRM lawsuit over violating region coding -- the media companies aren't willing to test it, and I suspect it might fall over in court.

Re:Why don't you like DRM? (2, Interesting)

iantri (687643) | about 11 years ago | (#6532635)

Well, the big issue is that DRM is usually very limiting. For example, with most online music services using DRM, you can't burn to CD, you are FORCED to use Windows+Windows Media Player (I have a Windows machine, Linux machine and DOS machine and I can listen to my MP3s on all of them), you can't listen to it on more than one of your computers... it's very limiting. Not to mention the uncertainty of 'phone-home' style DRM, which could either be a privacy issue or cause your entire collection to stop working if the service shut down...
Apple's service is a step in the right direction.. but I think that it is nearly impossible to implement DRM without it being an inconvenience. Either one of two things will happen: a) DRM will get the heave-ho, or b) People will just learn to accept it.

Re:Why don't you like DRM? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532649)

DRM means that I can't watch DVDs in a way I want. It means I can't use a player with innovative new features, because various American companies disagree with it. I can't have a DVD player that automatically edits the film, or has multiple bookmarks, or allows me to overlay my own information, etc.

(Obviously, some DVD players will have limited versions of some of these features, but I want them all).

I don't want to have to use quicktime player, or some crap Windows DVD player. I don't want to use an unintuitive and expensive and crap piece of software when somebody else can do a better job. Hell, when I could do a better job.

well alright then! (4, Insightful)

cakestick (323966) | about 11 years ago | (#6532237)

oh yeah, that's the most pressing issue with broadband.. that people aren't interested in the ways they wish to exploit it. egads!

Re:well alright then! (4, Funny)

ePhil_One (634771) | about 11 years ago | (#6532304)

You know, I was talking to my dad last night, and he said:
"If you don't get addequate controls on this computer to protect the copyright holders Intellectual Property, I'm going to have to ban that cable modem from this house!"

He then went on about how there wasn't enough taxes, and how the unemployement rate was too low to ensure that every man, woman, and child had access to the american dream...

Is that like Korea? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532243)

Where broadband has failed because there's no DRM, or is it more like Japan, or maybe Canada?

Wait, maybe its like the US, where with DRM and the DMCA, broadband is failing.

Likely to falter? (4, Insightful)

Havokmon (89874) | about 11 years ago | (#6532258)

'The UK's broadband boom is likely to falter unless more progress is made towards combating digital piracy'

Didn't anyone tell them porn and piracy are the main reasons for broadband?

At least they left the good stuff ;)

Re:Likely to falter? (4, Insightful)

rmadmin (532701) | about 11 years ago | (#6532293)

'The UK's broadband boom is likely to falter unless more progress is made towards combating digital piracy'

I think what they are trying to say is:
'We can't offord for people to actually use the bandwidth we sold them, you must get rid of bandwidth clogging mp3s and movies so we can survive selling 1mbit connectivity, even though we can't support all of our users actually using that 1mbit'

ok thats kinda drawn out, but I think thats kinda what they are saying.

Re:Likely to falter? (4, Insightful)

Havokmon (89874) | about 11 years ago | (#6532435)

I think what they are trying to say is: 'We can't offord for people to actually use the bandwidth we sold them, you must get rid of bandwidth clogging mp3s and movies so we can survive selling 1mbit connectivity, even though we can't support all of our users actually using that 1mbit'
ok thats kinda drawn out, but I think thats kinda what they are saying.

Interesting thought.. I took it more along the lines of:
"Sure, we know we can't really control every detail of what goes over our lines, but it a lot of press makes us look like Pirates Cove. Let's cover our butts, and put the onus on the government to mandate a system that will make us look good without costing us a dime. The other industries can worry about implementing it."

IMHO, it's the perfect plan.

Re:Likely to falter? (1)

Procyon114 (668670) | about 11 years ago | (#6532331)

What?! WHat?! WHAT?!

I thought it was 30 second clips and teaser trailers...f o r e v e r.

Re:Likely to falter? (3, Funny)

blibbleblobble (526872) | about 11 years ago | (#6532337)

"Didn't anyone tell them porn and piracy are the main reasons for broadband?"

Don't worry, the politicians will know...

Re:Likely to falter? (1, Interesting)

turgid (580780) | about 11 years ago | (#6532416)

Didn't anyone tell them porn and piracy are the main reasons for broadband?

....and downloading Free Software.

Is this a sneaky way of preventing the wholesale adoption of Free and Open Source software?

Re:Likely to falter? (4, Funny)

TopShelf (92521) | about 11 years ago | (#6532539)

Of course it is! Come on, a quasi-government group comes out with a report supporting restrictions on people swapping copyrighted material illegally. I'm sure that the whole reason they're doing this is to thwart OSS - in fact, if you think about it, the Broadband Stakeholder Group has the same initials (BG) as the biggest and baddest opponent of OSS out there, Bill Gates himself! Somebody call Mulder and Scully quick!

Re:Likely to falter? (0)

turgid (580780) | about 11 years ago | (#6532576)

LOL :-)

Online gaming (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 11 years ago | (#6532599)

Good points. But I mainly use broadband for better response times and bandwidth for online gaming. The second reson is for the 24/7 connection. I just leave my PC on all the time with MSN and ICQ running in the background.

Scary (3, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | about 11 years ago | (#6532260)

The fact that DRM doesn't actually solve anything doesn't seem to phase these people?

Sure you can make *your* software DRM but free open source multimedia applications already exist. The cat is out of the bag [so to speak].

If there are any psych majors in the crowd could you please explain to me the appeal of seeking out the "latest 3 letter fad" regardless of any the predictable outcomes [e.g. DRM techniques always fail because the problem has no solution].



Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532563)

But, I think that it's because the 4 letter fads would be too obvious, such as:

SUCK: Standard User Control Killer
TURD: Transmission Unacceptable - Rights Deferred
SHIT: Simple Hidden Internet Trap
FUCK: Federally Underminig College Kids
NERD: New Era Rights Determination

Where is the logic? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532267)

Fast downloads of MP3s are why people sign up for the first place. Stopping that would discourage my John Thomas from signing up for broadband. How can they say that "digital piracy" slows adoption of broadband? That just makes out with me.

Re:Where is the logic? (1, Funny)

MojoMonkey (444942) | about 11 years ago | (#6532451)

Stopping that would discourage my John Thomas from signing up for broadband.

If your John Thomas is signing up for broadband, you need a stronger zipper.

Re:Where is the logic? (0)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 11 years ago | (#6532614)

He's probably busy surfing here []

Damn thsoe terrorist Brits! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532271)

We need to change the name of the US' northeast region to "New Freedom!"

Re:Damn those terrorist Brits! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532671)

That's not a troll, that's bloody funny.

HAR! Comedy Gold! (5, Insightful)

Rorgg (673851) | about 11 years ago | (#6532272)

'The UK's broadband boom is likely to falter unless more progress is made towards combating digital piracy'

Because the general populace HATES getting entertainment in a medium of their choice for free. What they REALLY want is a lot of constraints on using their entertainment purchases, and really aggressive copyright holders to sue them when they think they might have stepped out of line.

Oh yeah, need DRM in there quick or this "internet" thing will never catch on.

Re:HAR! Comedy Gold! (1)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | about 11 years ago | (#6532590)

Ya, this was my thought. They are basically saying, let's kill off the one reason most people are adopting broadband. As it currently sits, there are only two real reasons that a person would have to get broadband.
1. High speed songs/movies/porn. Sure, a legal way to get these wouldn't hurt, but right now P2P is the best way to get this stuff. This is most of your broadband users, in my experience.
2. Getting a damn good ping on Enemy Territory or other online games. Much smaller group of people.
Other than those reasons, I don't know of anyone (outside a business) that would have a reason to justify the cost of broadband. At a cost of $40-$50, I just don't see a lot of people needing to get their email that much faster. But then, I'm not some industry hired shill^H^H^H^H^H analyst.

Ah ha (4, Insightful)

dorward (129628) | about 11 years ago | (#6532273)

So making it harder for people to help themselves to media files over the Internet is supposed to encourage people to switch to broadband?

Easy circumvention. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532274)

Convert it into ASCII

Same logic circa 1903 report (5, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about 11 years ago | (#6532280)

Let's use this same logic a century ago and compare it to the fledgling automobile boom.

"The upcoming boom in automobiles is likely to fail unless we install governors on all cars to enforce speed limits."

Reading this, does anyone else go, hunh?

Re:Same logic circa 1903 report (1)

s20451 (410424) | about 11 years ago | (#6532496)

As long as those speed governors put the stop to rampant car theft by allowing the police to catch up, right?

Re:Interesting Analogy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532562)

The widespread use of cars didn't occur until after the national highway system was built. From early on, it seems people insisted wasting the resource by driving around just for fun or whenever and however they felt.

On a related note, the highway system was paid for (and is still being financed) by the government through taxes.

--> insert right-wing-knee-jerk-reaction here

Logic? Who needs it? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532281)

Who uses broadband? P2P users.

Who dislikes DRM? P2P users.

Who dislikes DRM? Broadband users.

Seriously here. People get broadband because it means downloading media quickly. People don't get broadband, thinking 'hey now i can pay for movies/music online!'. They think 'hey now I download free porn/music/movies faster!'

Want to promote broadband? Promote content! Want to promote content? Don't use fucking DRM!

Thank you,

DRM an issue? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532283)

why is DRM an "issue" only MPAA and RIAA sees it as an issue everyone else sees it as them trying to make more money.

as usual... (1)

lfourrier (209630) | about 11 years ago | (#6532284)

These include urgently looking into ways of developing "effective measures for enforcing intellectual property rights", and actively promoting "the development and spread of global DRM-related standards".

And, as everything every user create is copyrighted to this user, how are the DR of this user Managed, and how are the ip rights of this user enforced ?

remember that system like sdmi consider that unmanaged content should be managed, and once in the system, cannot be extracted. this is a clear violation of the rights of the user.

This is not suprising (4, Insightful)

doctor_oktagon (157579) | about 11 years ago | (#6532286)

It's a fair point to assume the more access to high-capacity connections then the easier it is to download large-volume copyrighted material.

From this viewpoint I would argue the report is at least far-sighted. ... but I agree broadband in the UK has more pressing issues at the moment, like when are we all going to get access to it?

That's plain wrong. (2, Insightful)

peterpi (585134) | about 11 years ago | (#6532290)

"'The UK's broadband boom is likely to falter unless more progress is made towards combating digital piracy'."

The UK's broadband boom has been caused by digital piracy. Kazaa and the like are nearly the only reason anyone I know has got a broadband connection. The only other reason is online gaming, but everybody I know who plays games also downloads music and films.

Re:That's plain wrong. (3, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | about 11 years ago | (#6532436)

no, the reason that most people have broadband is the simple fact that they don't want to wait for dialup to connect, they don't want to tie up the phone line, and they don't want to wait for their Flash enabled webpages to load.

My father uses DSL because his online banking page took too long to load with dialup.

Re:That's plain wrong. (2, Insightful)

mikey_boy (125590) | about 11 years ago | (#6532564)

well, you don't know me but I have broadband purely for convenience. I never have to wait for a connection, and I can browse in a normal fashion (i.e. not having to only have one window at a time, that kinda thing). That and working from home is a helluva lot easier with a decent connection ...

a lot of the people I know have similar reasons.

Help! (1)

KillerHamster (645942) | about 11 years ago | (#6532291)

'The UK's broadband boom is likely to falter unless more progress is made towards combating digital piracy'


We have to save broadband! But how? I know! Let's limit what people can do with it and throw them in prison if they don't comply!

This brings one question immediately to mind.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532294)

Who is the BSG? Exactly who makes up their membership? It's just a hunch, but I'm betting that 'Joe Average' UK citizen isn't represented.

Re:This brings one question immediately to mind... (2, Interesting)

SmackCrackandPot (641205) | about 11 years ago | (#6532673)

The BSG is the Broadband Stakeholder Group [] . Fortunately, they do provide a list of members [] .
But more than likely, it's NTL who are pushing for this, ever since the bad publicity they received over the broadband cap [] they tried to impose.

Has anybody checked... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532305)

who the major investors in the companies that form this group are?

Who are these bozos who are obviously clueless? - customers who want broadband either don't give a hits about DRM or are against it. I have yet to meet a single person that says that they won't get broadband until DRM is implemented. Please show me one.

And yet (1)

dethl (626353) | about 11 years ago | (#6532311)

even if DRM was implemented, many broadband users would probably cancel their service. In the end, the broadband companies would just blame it on piracy, taking us back to the original problem.

You can't have your cake and eat it too.

What about the DRM lawsuit against M$FT ??!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532321)

Ok, someone sues IBM and there's a massive FUD campaign against Linux.

Somebody sues M$FT and nobody's worried about Windows .. not only are they not worried about Windows .. they're also not worried about using the specific technology that M$FT is alleged to have stolen.

Re:What about the DRM lawsuit against M$FT ??!? (0)

naph (590672) | about 11 years ago | (#6532342)

just goes to show what money gets you.

am i missing the point or..... (1)

naph (590672) | about 11 years ago | (#6532322)

.... urr... how ae these things meant to be inforced? can it be made that installing DRM enforcement software on my box be a legal requirement of owning a computer? i know with microsofts market penetration they could include it in a future version of windows and a hell of a lot of people would just have it becasue they don't know any better.

but could other OS's like linux, freebsd, etc be forced to include such steps?

thats funny.... (2, Insightful)

jtilak (596402) | about 11 years ago | (#6532325)

one of the main reasons for getting broadband is so you can download large files faster. large files like songs, movies, pr0n, warez...

Re:thats funny.... (1)

doctor_oktagon (157579) | about 11 years ago | (#6532409)

That as may be the case, but it was sold to "the public" as a way of viewing movie trailers, good-quality video feeds, etc.

This is reflected in BT, AOL advertising, etc.

Not as a "kazaa" pipe sticking out the back of your PC!

Fuck off Tony B (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532364)

Yet another example of Herr Blair fucking us over. Control freak anyone? No thanks, we were trying to give up.

Don't Worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532378)

Don't worry about piracy of commercial content. Broadband is hard to get in the UK unless you live in Southeast England (and even then it's not always available - even in central London), and is very unreliable when it is, so it's hard to pirate anything to any degree.

Next time I upgrade my Slackware I'll buy it by snail mail like I did last time. That way I won't have to sit and watch all day for when the broadband cable connection drops (seriously - it took NTL 10 months to fix this one).

Re:Don't Worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532669)

Well My Blueyonder connection the bandiwth keeps flowing, and so do those loverly NON drm mp3's ;-)

BLEEP! BLEEP! BLEEP! (5, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | about 11 years ago | (#6532397)

My bullcrap detector went off when I read this:

"Digital Rights Management and micro-payments are becoming 'make or break' issues for the whole of the broadband value chain," said Antony Walker, chief executive of the Broadband Stakeholder Group, in a statement.

The value of broadband isn't determined by which businesses deign to offer pay services requiring a high speed pipe. The value of broadband is based entirely on what the end user is willing to pay for a high-speed pipe to their house. I'm sick of these rat-bastard marketroids who keep trying to redefine the utility of internet connectivity based on their [TV/radio/other mass-media] mindset: "we talk, you listen (and buy)". Broadband is doomed unless they can sell stuff to us? Broadband is doomed unless they can force us to pay-per-[view/listen/read] for the media we "buy"? Broadband is doomed unless they get to keep our credit card number on file to make paying them [easy/automatic/mandatory]? Please...

Obvious typo. (5, Funny)

vegetablespork (575101) | about 11 years ago | (#6532411)

'The UK's broadband boom is likely to falter unless more progress is made towards combating digital piracy'.

should read

'The UK's broadband boom is likely to falter if more progress is made towards combating digital piracy'.

Does it ever occur to these morons that (1)

ShatteredDream (636520) | about 11 years ago | (#6532417)

without set top boxes so that people can watch their movies on their TVs most people won't want broadband for watching movies and TV?

Time to ralskyise them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532422)

Wait a damn minute... (2, Interesting)

gosand (234100) | about 11 years ago | (#6532424)

I pay a monthly fee for my broadband service. How does digital piracy, by me or anyone else, affect that? The DSL ISP is getting their money from me. Apart from that, they should stay out of my business. Is online piracy consuming all their bandwidth? If so, then how will making broadband more available help this?

I don't understand their position. Oh wait. Unless they are getting pressure from the entertainment industry to take this stance. Now it makes sense. I know this is a UK issue, so maybe things are different over there. But I just don't understand how online piracy is preventing the spread of broadband services.

Re:Wait a damn minute... (2, Informative)

AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) | about 11 years ago | (#6532582)

All DSL ISPs assume that you will not use your bandwidth. Seriously. Yes, they market it as a 24/7 512Mb or whatever service but they assume that you will never use it at full capacity at anything like that level. Look at the situation not long ago with NTL: that 1Gig a day cap they were proposing works out at less than a fifth of the possible download capability of a 512Kbps line. And NTL were complaining about that 1Gb putting too much of a load on their systems. This is true, to an extent, but the real problem from their point of view is that if users actually use all the bandwidth they are paying for then the IPS's has to pay out more than they'd like. If ISPs actually expected everyone to use their connection at anything near full capacity they would increase the price, probably dramatically.

Re:Wait a damn minute... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 11 years ago | (#6532680)

He's been modded +1 troll, +1 interesting and now +2 interesting, but the point is valid. WTF does broadband internet have to do with DRM? My father didn't get broadband to pirate mp3z or warez, he just got tired of waiting to DL huge PDF's & Microshaft SDK stuff through a 5.6K modem.

Some other post made the observation that my broadband internet is something i'm paying for... and completely seperate from those rat-bastard marketroids [] I think we're starting to get back to the old argument of "it's mine, let me use it how i want".

iTunes (1)

non (130182) | about 11 years ago | (#6532432)

as i just said here [] , services such as iTunes won't be available anywhere outside of the US until other countries pass DMCA-type laws.

it may just be a bunch of smoke and mirrors, but its a bunch that there going to make damn sure we have to live with!

Re:iTunes (0)

kmak (692406) | about 11 years ago | (#6532511)

I guess the question we have to ask ourselves is, does the ends justify the means?

Guess what (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532440)

As the rest of the world continues to evolve into civil human beings with respect for one another, you losers keep getting more bitter. Quite sad.

True - sort of (4, Interesting)

Mr_Silver (213637) | about 11 years ago | (#6532449)

'The UK's broadband boom is likely to falter unless more progress is made towards combating digital piracy'

This is probably true. I work in an organisation that requires content from the people that Slashdot love and then hate on an almost daily basis.

They have made it abundantly clear that if we don't support DRM, they will not give us any content. There is no room for negotiation.

As much as I hate DRM and some of the ideas behind it, I realise that when companies make that kind of demand there is nothing we can do about it. Sure, we could say "push off, we don't want you" but then that would be a monumentally dumb move and in the end, if we kept that stance up, we'd have nothing to sell. Plus, before you start - we are a big company. This is not a case of us verses the big guys.

When every single company you work with is starting to make those demands, you have no chance but to comply.

So in that sense, I think they're probably right. If content providers see that the UK is making no effort towards adopting DRM, then they simply won't sell there. Again, there is no room for negotiation - like it, or lump it.

Circumcision in Perl (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532452)

sub circumcise($)
my $dick = $_;
chop $dick;
return $dick;

Exports (2, Insightful)

lovebyte (81275) | about 11 years ago | (#6532457)

Let us not forget that one of the UK industries that export the most is the music industry. Now you might understand the logic behind this report.

Hmm, well, THAT's true (1)

Rorgg (673851) | about 11 years ago | (#6532550)

I'll do anything to keep UK pop music as far away from me as possible.

pay for bandwidth usage (5, Insightful)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | about 11 years ago | (#6532471)

Water, electricity... bandwidth?

Water and electricity are commonly billed on a usage basis -- you pay $X per gallon of water, you pay $Y per megawatt of electricity. This causes certain actions, such as conservation of water and electricity, which are beneficial as these are limited resources.

Bandwidth is also a limited resource, and as it is being more and more dependent upon by business and government...

If people were paying for bandwidth like they do for many other utilies, conservation of bandwidth would be achieved and much of this piracy would be limited. When Danny's father gets the internet bill for $200, Danny's P2P software is getting uninstalled. If Danny leaves all the lights on in the house, or leaves all the faucets running water all day every day, we can easily see that his water and electricity bills would skyrocket and he would pay for his usage, as well as shortening the supply of these two shared resources for others especially in times of limited resources.

The days of flat-rate internet usage (should be) numbered. If I download a 650 MB ISO image of RedHat, or a 650 MB ISO of a pirated version of MS Office XP, it doesn't matter, similarly it doesn't matter if Danny is taking 30-minute showers or is just running the shower into the drain for 30 minutes.

Maybe that's what the UK should be looking at instead of all this DRM nonsense. The primary reason people download music is because they can get it "for free" since they are already paying their flat rate for internet access. If it actually costs them (in terms of $Z per MB) perhaps they will think twice about both downloading and potentially more expensive uploading of these files.

And maybe that will help some of these god-awful websites clean up their massively over-imaged websites.

Re:pay for bandwidth usage (1)

CaptnMArk (9003) | about 11 years ago | (#6532571)

Before this is possible we need some kind of payment-negotiation protocol.

I am certainly not going to pay for megabytes of spam that I get per week.

This could also solve bandwidth problems for popular sites. The downloaders would pay for the bandwidth both ways.

But until this is possible, flat-rate needs to stay. Maybe they just need to limit the speeds.
I'd be perfectly happy with 256/256k or even 128/128k as long as I had low latency and were always-on.

Re:pay for bandwidth usage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532585)

think of it this way... do you want to pay for your bandwidth on a metered scale? i sure as hell don't!

and for everyone who's thinking it, what about the cost to people moving around large amounts of legitimate data?

Re:pay for bandwidth usage (1)

turgid (580780) | about 11 years ago | (#6532617)

and for everyone who's thinking it, what about the cost to people moving around large amounts of legitimate data?

We're only Joe Public. Let's face it, we're going to be screwed. We'll just have to revert to putting CDs in the snail mail. It's probably cheaper, and more reliable.

Re:pay for bandwidth usage (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | about 11 years ago | (#6532609)

Bandwidth is also a limited resource

This is the flaw in your analogy. "Bandwidth" is not a consumable like gas, water, or electricity. It is a measurement of capacity, like the size of the [gas/water] pipe or the amperage rating of your electrical service. You don't pay extra for a bigger gas pipe or larger electrical panel. Bandwidth doesn't get "used up", it only gets saturated.

Re:pay for bandwidth usage (2, Insightful)

AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) | about 11 years ago | (#6532610)

"Bandwidth is also a limited resource," Is it? Last I heard masses of fiber were just sitting dark - if there is any scarcity then it is a completely artifical one.

Good idea BUT... (1)

SunPin (596554) | about 11 years ago | (#6532646)

I don't have an on/off button on my DSL modem. Neither, probably, do you or most other people. When I lived in Tampa, I had one until the cable company arrived one morning to tell me that I had to get a new modem installed.

If companies really want everyone to conserve bandwidth then why can't we block the pipe without unplugging the thing? Makes no sense unless they get a bigger benefit from knowing exactly what your computer is doing at any given moment.

Data Are Different (1)

turgid (580780) | about 11 years ago | (#6532656)

Data are not like water, gas and electricity. Data can be reproduced infinitely at virtually no cost. The others have to be made or dug out of the ground or cleaned up etc. and once used are gone.

If the broadband company is willing to sell me a 600kbit/s link at £25/month then why shouldn't I be allowed to use it as much as I like?
What are the hidden costs?
Why shouldn't you just pay for the size of the pipe?

Time on the pipe (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 11 years ago | (#6532675)

It's not about how much data you use. It's about how saturated the broadband pipe is saturated. So, once it comes to that point, then it might be meetered. Untill then, why would you be in favor of artificially creating a lack of supply when there is simply more then enough infrastructure to prevent that.

Re:pay for bandwidth usage (1)

Kaa (21510) | about 11 years ago | (#6532678)

Water, electricity... bandwidth?

Water and electricity are commonly billed on a usage basis -- you pay $X per gallon of water, you pay $Y per megawatt of electricity. This causes certain actions, such as conservation of water and electricity, which are beneficial as these are limited resources.


Let's sort out terminology first. Bandwidth is the diameter of the pipe that bits flow through. It is NOT the amount of bits.

If we accept this definition, then I would agree with you. People should pay more for more bandwidth -- and they do! An OC-3 line costs more than a T-1 line which costs more than a DSL line which costs more than a dial-up service. The more bandwidth you want, the more you have to pay for it.

Unfortunately, I don't think that's what you meant. When you said "bandwidth" you really meant "amount of data". You are arguing that paying per megabyte of data flowing through the 'net connection is a good idea.

And why?

Data is not a limited resource. Besides, it's often my data (and if not, in 99% of the cases it's not ISP's data anyway).

Moreover, your analogy to water and electricity is basically flawed. If I use water or electricity, it must come from somewhere, be produced by someone. The more water I use, the more expenses the water company has (which it recoups by sending me a water bill). Not so with internet connections. The expenses of my ISP do NOT depend on whether today I received a single short email or downloaded the RedHat ISO set.

Yes, over long term and over large number of users, an ISP definitely cares what's the average data throughput of its users is. But it really only matters when buying and installing capacity. There are little *usage* expenses once the capacity is in place.

I think a more appropriate analogy would be phone service. I pay a fixed monthly fee and for it I get unlimited local calls. It doesn't matter if I spend six hours each day on the phone or don't touch it at all. I feel that charging for net access should follow the same model.

Check your source, fellas... (5, Informative) (682311) | about 11 years ago | (#6532473)

A little sampling of the members of this "Broadband Stakeholder Group":

AOL Time Warner

British Music Rights

Universal Studios


And my favorite: "The Work Foundation" (a fully owned subsidiary of The Human Fund) Source: Broadband Stakeholder Group's Website []

And remember, never attribute to studpidity that which can more accurately be attributed to a global conspiracy.

Re:Check your source, fellas... (1)

Daytura (672946) | about 11 years ago | (#6532573)

Full list here []

big harddisks make internet piracy superfluous (0)

Neuronerd (594981) | about 11 years ago | (#6532481)

Consider the situation where data storage is virtually free. Whenever I meet a friend I could copy ALL his movies and sound files. And it will be fast. And everybody will have 1000s or millions of media files. So its only an issue to get the really new stuff. And if anybody buys anything they can "give" it to all their friends. In such a system there is no longer any need for "the net".

How amusing. (1)

ahfoo (223186) | about 11 years ago | (#6532483)

Without DRM, broadband won't become popular. These guys really have thier finget on the pulse of the net generation. Yep, got it all wrapped up.
Reminds me of AT+T's CEO talking about the big telecoms recovery in the next few years where everybody is going to going crazy paying for music and movies and the best part --videoconfrencing.
Well, as long as he can hustle all the 80 year old shareholders it works. Shine on baby.
You just got to have confidence, see.

UK Government advised... (2, Funny)

mccalli (323026) | about 11 years ago | (#6532510)

Hmm. Well, as a UK citizen I advise the government to provide me with free pizza for life. However, it seems unlikely that they'll listen to or act upon that advice. Why does this group believe its advice to carry any more weight?


Phaeton Sez (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532520)

'The UK's broadband boom is likely to falter unless more progress is made towards combating digital piracy'.

How? I call Bullshit! Unless the RIAA or similar company will muscle in some sort of tarriffs (on the British? Can they do that?) that make broadband prohibitively expensive for many. Just like how i have to pay piracy tax on all the blank cds i buy to record my own music.

Things that must be urgently addressed (2, Funny)

TrekkieGod (627867) | about 11 years ago | (#6532521)

The massive popularity of peer-to-peer networks also needs to be urgently addressed.

This trend of allowing corporations to dictate law to politicians also needs to be urgently addressed, but I don't see them recommending anything in that regard...oh usually don't make recommendations that will lessen your power.

Who are these clowns? (3, Interesting)

gilesjuk (604902) | about 11 years ago | (#6532541)

Broadband what?

Large parts of the UK can't get broadband and these clowns are coming up with DRM recommendations?

Piracy is a problem, but with all the factors put together is it any wonder people are saving money copying music? house prices are very high (£125,000 average UK house price), council taxes have soared, NI contributions have gone up, fuel prices are slightly higher. The average UK citizen has between £2000 and £3000 worth of credit debt.

Re:Who are these clowns? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 11 years ago | (#6532595)

But you have 'free' medicine that looks and operates like a 3rd world country (6 month wait for ingrown toenail, heroin is given to birthing mothers, etc.) and 'free' education that doesn't hold a candle to that in a decent private school elsewhere (and I've been there, I know, this isn't a random troll).
But hey, 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his need'. When does Mr. Mouch become PM?

Re:Who are these clowns? (1)

Doctor7 (669966) | about 11 years ago | (#6532660)

They are content providers - not ISPs - which explains their stance. What they are saying is not that piracy will prevent the adoption of broadband by users, but that it will prevent the content providers from using it as an alternative TV service like they want to.

Actually they're saying..... (1)

botzi (673768) | about 11 years ago | (#6532548)

...."While we're promoting the service, our main logo was "Unlimited download of all your favorite music on our new mega/hyper/ultra speed bb connection etc...., but then we got enough costumers and stable month growth, so, as the dial-up isn't really an option anymore,(and we don't believe that anyone will downgrade to a 9600 bauds;o))=> why the fuck should we care what the main reason for all those people that already subscribed was when they've nowhere to go?????

Yup, it seems fair enough for me.... Finally, you can't expect them to remember they're promotion main points....

Who are the Broadband Stakeholder Group? (1)

Brian Blessed (258910) | about 11 years ago | (#6532567)

Their contacts page lists a couple of people who have email addresses at
Hmm...I recognise that name from somewhere.
Oh yes, from their unbiased report that appeared on /.in June: UK Govt Warned: Don't Buy GPL []

Q. Will the British Government be ignorant enough to be taken in my a self-appointed "key advisory group on Broadband"?
A. Yes, probably.

Obligatory quote.... (0, Offtopic)

botzi (673768) | about 11 years ago | (#6532572)

..In Soviet UK, all your 99% of the actual speed of the bb connections are belong to us, cause with our new hyper-plan, you definitely can't find a way to use more than a 1% of the traffic limit....

they can't deal with changing markets (2, Interesting)

aggieben (620937) | about 11 years ago | (#6532578)

'The massive popularity of peer-to-peer networks also needs to be urgently addressed, the BSG said.'

I'm sure what they mean is to try their darndest to shut down p2p networks, but in the words of Hugh Grant, "that's just silly." Why do they have to be addressed this way? Why don't we address the broken IP and copyright legal system instead? Why don't we address the VERY broken entertainment and recording industry?

Actually it could make some sense. (3, Interesting)

EnglishTim (9662) | about 11 years ago | (#6532624)

I think the point is that broadband could do with more killer apps. Currently companies are unwilling to let their content loose on the net due to piracy concerns, whereas if there was a pervasive, fairly reliable DRM system, a lot more companies would make use of broadband, which in turn would make people more likely to buy it.

Sure, you may say, why would people pay for what they can get *now* for free?

a) It's still not that easy to get. Sure, you can use kazaa, but it's not really reliable or quick
b) Legal systems would get marketed. I'm sure this makes a lot of difference. If people were getting ads on TV all the time advertising on-demand movies, streaming music etc, they'd be a lot more tempted to get broadband.

Ah well (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532639)

And an echoed cry was heard around the countryside, "Will the last one leaving the island, please turn the lights out?"

Speaking as a born and raised Englishman, I'm considering leaving this country as it increasingly goes down the pan. I was a fierce patriot once - but times have changed. I simply can't find a way to be proud of being British any more. I know I'm not alone in thinking that it may well be time to head back into old Europe - I have loads of friends in the process of emigrating.

Maybe I'll look into moving to France...

Riiiiight (2, Insightful)

Ride-My-Rocket (96935) | about 11 years ago | (#6532643)

[The] UK's broadband boom is likely to falter unless more progress is made towards combating digital piracy

Actually, the more piracy there is, the more broadband is needed / utilized. There's absolutely no reason to combat piracy, where growing the broadband market is concerned.

Where's Fritz? (1)

mikeboone (163222) | about 11 years ago | (#6532650)

This sounds exactly like the argument used by the US media companies to get Sen. Fritz Hollings to propose the SSSCA, or whatever it got renamed to.

Some of us might actually use broadband to transmit large amounts of non-media data, or do VOIP. It isn't all about music and movies!

Fight back!

What else? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532659)

Have you people in the UK ever thought about maybe adopting some of the other characteristics that make America great, such as ...

-- private health care
-- widespread homelessness
-- high crime
-- corporate government
-- war on the middle class
-- offshored jobs
-- little gun control
-- moronic culture

???? If not why not?

How about! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6532666)

Upgrading ALL the 3000 exchanges without broadband [] . FUCK the demand system. Subsidise the smaller exchanges with the bigger ones. My relatives in somerset CAN'T get it because BT is a fucking incubent monolith that needs to fucking DIE!
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