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Piracy Privacy United Kingdom Your Rights Online

UK Royalty Group Wants ISPs To Pay For Pirating Customers 289

Posted by samzenpus
from the sins-of-the-user dept.
Idbar writes "A group representing British songwriters and composers will on Wednesday call for the introduction of a levy on broadband providers based on the amount of pirated music they allow to pass through their networks. Will Page, chief economist at PRS for Music, will argue at a Westminster conference that a piracy fee would better align the financial interests of internet service providers with rights holders at a time when the two industries are at odds over who should bear the costs of online song swapping."
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UK Royalty Group Wants ISPs To Pay For Pirating Customers

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  • Rights Holder (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jaminJay (1198469) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @03:18AM (#32910396) Homepage

    Silly me, thinking that it should be up to the rights holder to protect their rights.

    • Jeez, what are they going to think of next. Just amazing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jgagnon (1663075)

        Exactly. This is like charging phone companies for any scams done through their lines. Or charging gun dealers for each gun they sell that is used in a crime. Or charging car dealers for each car they sell that is used in some sort of crime. etc. etc. etc.

        • Re:Rights Holder (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:56AM (#32911620)

          No, it's like charging road builders for speeding tickets the police failed to collect. The end result would be roads of such quality, that you can barely drive on them, let alone speed.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        They obviously are not thinking clearly. If they manage to succeed with some kind of 3-strikes law, and they depend on piracy for revenue, they're fucked.
    • Re:Rights Holder (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bjourne (1034822) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @05:50AM (#32911026) Homepage Journal
      Um no. It is up to the state to protect and enforce the rights of its citizens. Otherwise we'd had a society where only the rights of the strong is worth anything.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by leenks (906881)

        Isn't that what we have?

      • by ultranova (717540)

        It is up to the state to protect and enforce the rights of its citizens.

        And it fails miserably at that, having never once upheld my rights. But I guess some citizens are more equal than others.

        It's getting harder and harder to see the state as anything but the feudal lord's private enforcer.

        Otherwise we'd had a society where only the rights of the strong is worth anything.

        As opposed to our current society where only the strong have rights.

        • by Zironic (1112127)

          Right, if you think western civilization is so horrible why don't you move to africa where they don't have any rights and have to deal with real feudal warlords?

          The truth of the matter is that the state is providing you with more rights then you can count, you're just too spoiled to notice.

      • by langelgjm (860756)

        Um no. It is up to the state to protect and enforce the rights of its citizens. Otherwise we'd had a society where only the rights of the strong is worth anything.

        There's a bit of both. It's unrealistic to expect the state to do all of the work of enforcing the rights of all people at all times, so there is a hefty dose of personal responsibility that we expect from people. E.g., in intellectual property, the rightsholder generally has to complain about alleged violations, the state is not going to go looking for them on its own. Or with personal property, we expect people to take precautions like locking their doors and not leaving valuables unattended. And of cours

    • by Odinlake (1057938)
      I love this idea! I'd have a really nifty way to punish my ISP next time I'm hit with technical problems and poor attitude!
  • by powerspike (729889) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @03:23AM (#32910422)
    Great,
    If i'm going to paying a mothly fee for pirated music, i'll be sure to download my allocation's worth every month, after i've then paid for it then haven't i?
    • by thijsh (910751) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @05:45AM (#32911000) Journal
      I'm currently paying for music in the following ways (probably more):
      - Legally downloaded music
      - Donations to great internet radio
      - Last.FM all- you-can-eat subscription
      - Concert and festival tickets
      - Monthly fees for radio (comes with cable)
      - Tax on my blank CDs and MP3 player
      - And newest proposal: tax the internet

      There are countless ways they want our money for music made by others... But somehow I am still a criminal who owns them a gazillion for downloading some music??? When will this madness end?
      • Not to mention listening to adds, the proceeds of which are partly used to pay license fees for radio stations.

        No, it doesnt concern an actual cash-flow, but given how annoying adds mostly are (and that they themselves add zero value to the listener most of the time), i would consider that paying for the music

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by thijsh (910751)
          That's exactly why I donate to ad-free community-supported radio like Soma.fm.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Joce640k (829181)

        I bought an SD card the other day. On the invoice it listed the RIAA tax separately, it's the first time I've seen that done.

        If I've paid in advance for the pirated music I'm supposedly going to put on it, I might as well go ahead and do so, right?

  • by some_guy_88 (1306769) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @03:24AM (#32910432) Homepage

    If this would mean that no further prosecution of end users would be allowed then this may not be such a bad idea. The levy would be passed on to consumers making our connections slightly more expensive but I'd pay more money to not be hassled about file sharing.

    • by davester666 (731373) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @03:55AM (#32910562) Journal

      Really? Only slightly more expensive?

      Think more along the lines of, well, each file going through any file sharing method, probably includes at least one song, so that'll be a US dollar [or like amount]. Now multiply the number of files flowing through the ISP to all it's subscribers each month times $1 = monthly levy.

      This number is unlikely to be acceptable to the ISP's subscribers.

      A smaller number, like say, $10 or $15/month/subscriber [roughly what subscription music services charge] is a no-go, because that is for renting the music for a month. File downloads don't expire, so it's only fair that they are charged as purchases instead.

      Of course, no need to track which specific songs are downloaded, or even if the file is a music file [or contains music], as ALL the money stops at the labels, rather than say, even paying the couple percent royalties to artists for the music.

    • by swilver (617741) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @03:58AM (#32910578)

      I'm not in favor of giving some organization, that does not represent ALL rightsholders, money for counting bits going through my connection. If they however can sort the bits into nice buckets so I can clearly see who they belong to, than it might work. I'd prefer an organization like this on my monthly bill:

      1) total amount of bits downloaded
      2) number of copyrighted bits downloaded
      3) number of copyrighted bits downloaded without permission of the rightsholder
      4) number of copyrighted bits downloaded without permission of the rightsholder represented by this organisation

      Plot them in a nice graph, with green, yellow, orange and red bars, so I know which flavor I downloaded the most. /sarcasm

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Znork (31774)

        Indeed. And if all holders are represented, that should be a nice bonus for open source authors. If we're applying blanket transfer taxes, then it would be reasonable that all producers got compensated and incentivized. Hey, maybe even us commenters could get our cut.

        so I know which flavor I downloaded the most.

        If you're an average internet dweller, from what I've read it's probably the pink pr0n bar. Which of course means that any 'fair' distribution of royalties will never be implemented; it'd become one

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Thanshin (1188877)

          Dear god, now I'm suddenly in favor of this proposal.

          Pr0n tax ftw!

          Of course there would have to be public polls to vote for the best content, which should get the most compensation.

          Or it could become part of the political parties' program. Democrats could promote child porn for their christian voters, and democrats... bestialism for the hippies? There's still so much to investigate... I suggest a ministry of pr0n to be created right now.

          • by GaryOlson (737642)
            If you are going to collect and allocate taxes for pr0n, and create a ministry to administrate this pr0n, then you must create an approved curriculum for the public schools. This curriculum must be taught as part of government studies; and instruction must conform to ensure the students pass the pr0n section of government studies. Field trips, guest speakers from industry, and homework supplies will need to be identified, inspected and approved for the pr0n class. Our children cannot be ignorant of the purp
      • Silly you... (Score:3, Informative)

        by bradley13 (1118935)
        Silly you... It's not about giving money to the rights holders. It's about enriching whatever organizations put the system in place. Just ask any musician - even one reasonably well-known - how much money they receive from the fees on blank CDs. Then figure out how much money is paid. Then figure out where the difference went...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hitmark (640295)

      yep, its mostly the same as some nations have had on the sale of things like blank cassette tapes and CD-Rs for decades.

      now if the media companies want it both ways, any sane judge should tell them to get lost.

    • Indeed. I'm sure Metallica would love to hear that I downloaded their entire back catalogue from TPB for an extra £2 per month on my broadband bill!

      Plus, my ISP will love me seeding everything I have, and downloading absolutely everything I can all day, every day. It won't hit their profits at all...
  • Conflicting Ideas (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot@spad . c o . uk> on Thursday July 15, 2010 @03:27AM (#32910452) Homepage

    Which would be fine in principle if the PRS were the only game in town, but they're not.

    So you'd have the PRS collecting their piracy levy from users (via the ISPs) and the BPI suing the same users (and ISPs if they can wangle it) for the same piracy, while doubtless also collecting a levy on blank media just in case someone puts some pirated stuff on it. Presumably if you then posted that media to someone the PRS would want to collect a levy from the Royal Mail for sending pirated stuff via the post.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Rogerborg (306625)

      Yup, what we need is a self appointed super-umbrella organisation which will take it upon itself to speak for the self appointed normal-umbrella organisations.

      Since I came up with the idea, I'm obviously the best person to run it. I'll collect the super-tax from ISPs - and mp3 player, CD/DVD, USB stick and hard drive manufacturers, hell, from headphone manufacturers. Don't worry, I'll be super-reliable, and pass all of the revenue on to the normal-umbrella groups, less a reasonable deduction for my expe

      • super-umbrella organisation

        Instant resident-evil flashback, Umbrella-corporation, what could go wrong?

  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyanFenton (230700) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @03:28AM (#32910454)

    That makes about as much proportional sense as a crazy local militia demanding the national army hand over all their tanks and missiles, because "we paid for some of those with our taxes".

    However extravagant the audio media monopolies are represented - they're economically dwarfed by the telecom organizations. Their argument to shift the burden of, well pretty much whatever they can imagine, over to the bank accounts of the entire telecom industry is just absurd on its face, and isn't the kind of fight even a larger media ownership group could win.

    It's one thing to ask for the moon, in order to settle for something else - but this seems a game they could get hurt for playing.

    Ryan Fenton

    • In the past - and possibly still today - there was a levy charged on cassette tapes (remember them?) which was paid to some copyright group - the Performing Artists or something.
      This wasn't terribly high, so was barely noticeable.

      You could argue this would be a reasonable way to pay for content. It probably would not cost all that much.

      Because somehow, someone, somewhere has to pay for making the content (movies cost a lot to make, no matter what technology they use). There needs to be a functioning busines

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AltairDusk (1757788)

        Because somehow, someone, somewhere has to pay for making the content (movies cost a lot to make, no matter what technology they use). There needs to be a functioning business model somehow. Currently it's all rather nasty - buy my movies on DVD or I'll chase you, frighten you, and sue you. No fun (and watching "legit" movies is less pleasant because of all the "Don't pirate this movie" stuff at the beginning). It's no good yelling "data wants to be free" - someone has to put the data together in the first place. And that someone, whether they be Madonna, Brad Pitt, Bill Gates - or me, deserves to be paid for their labour in doing that.

        So where am I going with this? Well, the Internet has broken the business model of music, movies, and tv programs. Software and books are still hanging in there, surprisingly. You can argue they were bad business models, but they did work, and gave us some great works of entertainment (art?).

        Times change, business models must change to keep up with the times. There are many instances in history of new innovation "breaking" business models for industries, did we try to legislate that business model into making sense? No, the members of that industry either found a new business model or they slowly died out.

        The entertainment industry shouldn't get any special treatment here, they have ignored new innovation and tried to pretend it wouldn't affect them. Now, when they have been left behind and

  • Just another theft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Errol backfiring (1280012) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @03:32AM (#32910464) Journal
    My money is already stolen if I record the sound of my own band on my own CD. I don't need another theft if I want to let someone hear my songs on the net. Off course, the stolen money should go to the rights holder, but as a rights holder to my own songs, I never saw even a cent from it. And my songs have been played in public and broadcasted.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      My money is already stolen if I record the sound of my own band on my own CD. I don't need another theft if I want to let someone hear my songs on the net. Off course, the stolen money should go to the rights holder, but as a rights holder to my own songs, I never saw even a cent from it. And my songs have been played in public and broadcasted.

      I feel for you. I own an internet radio station and totally support what people release under the Creative Commons license. http://www.creativecommons.org/ [creativecommons.org] I refuse to pay the PPS fees and have had many arguements even with my own music just like yourself so please do not worry about it too much. My advice when it comes around to copyright issues for your own music; is take a leaf out of my book. Mail the master copy or the CD of your work to yourself along with a letter to yourself by Royal Mail signed fo

      • This won't work for one very good reason. The postal service is not obliged to ensure that your package or envelope is sealed at time of posting.

        "Very clever, Mr NSN. Now, prove to the court that the envelope was sealed at the time of posting and that you didn't just mail yourself a Special Delivery package unsealed, in which you later placed the work you claim to hold copyright to."

        UK Copyright Service site with more info on "Poor Man's Copyright" [copyrightservice.co.uk]
        • by Spad (470073)

          Place special delivery sticker over envelope flap at time of posting.

          • Ever steamed open an envelope?

            Are you going to pay for a forensic scientist to take samples of the glue used to seal the envelope, and hold the sticker in place, to prove that it's not just Pritt-stick'd down after unsealing it?
        • by squizzar (1031726)
          Get them to stick the special delivery label over the seal?
  • This levy wouldn't actually make ISPs pay for this stuff; they'd either pass the cost onto the consumer indiscriminately, or work harder at filtering out pirate traffic. Choosing the former option when the latter would be possible would result in consumers deciding to choose other providers where possible, so there is significant incentive to filter pirate traffic.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by IBBoard (1128019)

      Except that choosing the later would also make people move to other providers that don't try so hard or who have known loopholes. Either way, whoever makes the first move is going to lose out.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Choosing the former option when the latter would be possible would result in consumers deciding to choose other providers where possible, so there is significant incentive to filter pirate traffic.

      False dichotomy, there are other solutions.

      Here's one as an example: the BIG ISP provides connection to an end-user not as a "consumer" but in a "retail/business-to-business" mode - like. every "Internet wizard of the family" will act as "the tiny ISP network admin". The result? An explosion of tiny-ISP-es to track/collect the royalty from. Under this conditions, either:
      a. the government puts lots of red-tape to who can become an ISP (to limit the ISP numbers and make the tracking manageable). If the peop

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @03:38AM (#32910494)
    Perhaps while they're at it they could pay for online fraud, substandard goods sold on the internet and child protection. Lets extend that so that transport companies, taxis, car sales have to pay a surcharge to cover people who are travelling to commit a crime.
    • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @04:53AM (#32910778)
      Which means two things are guaranteed:

      1) Costs will be passed on to the consumer, ensuring that the companies themselves are not affected.
      2) The incidence of infringement of the laws these levies are intended to cover will increase, as th general population feel they have paid for a service which they should now make use of, and the costs these levies are intended to cover will increase exponentially.

      Best of luck to them. I say 12 months down the line, they're out of business as nobody is buying music anymore. Why buy it a second time when I've already bought it once with my levy payment?
    • by Xelios (822510)
      And of course, since the government owns the roads they'd be liable for any loss of property through theft where the thief used a public road to escape the scene of the crime. Maybe the manufacturer of the getaway car the thief used could also chip in, it's only fair after all.
  • Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @03:38AM (#32910496) Homepage

    Naturally, the fees will be turned over to the artists whose works are copied and rather than considering the copiers thieves, they will be paid in full.

    HA HA HA...I crack me up!

  • GM? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hairyfish (1653411) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @03:41AM (#32910508)
    I heard that GM got so big that they ceased to be an auto company and evolved into a finance company (and shortly after went bankrupt). SCO ceased to become a technology company and changed into a lawsuit company (then folded). Now Music is moving from selling records, to suing customers to becoming a tax collectors? The death throws of Big Music are clear and present. If I owned shares in these companies I'd be selling up while they're still something.
  • by OpenSourced (323149) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @03:45AM (#32910526) Journal

    A difficult law to implement. How are they going to know how much pirated content travels by one ISP's lines? Even the ISP itself has no idea. Are they going to suppose that all bittorrent traffic is pirated content? What is the percentage of pornographic content? I assume that they don't represent the pornographic content providers, specially foreign ones. What about encrypted content? If they implement such a law I assume that the level of encrypted content will rise. There is no reason why all pirated content is not encrypted, except that it's at the moment not needed.

    In the end they probably just want to get a fixed levy an all ISPs. And all blank CDs, DVDs, hard disks, memory cards, diskettes, memo pads, pens, photo cameras, and people with good memory.

    • by Tei (520358)

      "In the end they probably just want to get a fixed levy an all ISPs. And all blank CDs, DVDs, hard disks, memory cards, diskettes, memo pads, pens, photo cameras, and people with good memory"

      thats how it work, here in spain.

      these people have "hacked" the system (our social system) to get a profit withouth work.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dugeen (1224138)
      "How are they going to know how much pirated content travels by one ISP's lines?" - they'll just make up a figure and double it, like they usually do. On the one hand, it's good to see that at least one group of workers are accorded by capitalism a continuing share in the profits generated by their labour. On the other hand, I don't understand why our economic system has chosen this particular group of self-righteous tossers for special privileges.
  • by mysidia (191772)

    Passing a 'levy' on phone companies regarding number of calls used to facilitate illegal activities.

    Whether a data transfer constitutes piracy or not is just a guess.

  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @03:51AM (#32910538)

    Might as well increase road tax if there are more people speeding.

  • Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? - of course they will not assume that you steal when you rightfully load or transfer content.
  • AMAZING IDEA! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Buttink (1449239) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @03:54AM (#32910558)
    I make awesome song A. I then host "leaked" song A torrent on popular trackers. Copy all IPs. Sue users. Sue ISPs. Get pirating tax. profit.
  • Who pirated whose customers? (Yeah, I RTFS, but it's still an odd headline.)
  • Assuming that fee is paid, and obviously I pay a portion of it on my broadband bill does that not mean that any material I download is in effect legal as I have licensed it with said fee.

    So I can download Shrek 4 Bluray rip legally for a £2pm increase on my broadband bill.

    I'd essentially get as much music / films etc as I want for a £2pm subscription

    The trick of course is if X is the price of a retail copy and 4X is the fee per month then I logical need to download at least 5X worth of music etc

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 15, 2010 @04:38AM (#32910722)

    I work with digital sales accounts.

    Every time you download a track from Itunes most of your money goes to, the government as tax (in the UK), the retailer (Itunes in this case), the distributor, and the label. The artist gets maybe 5% of what you pay.

    Unbelievable but that's how it is.

    Don't let these liars and crooks fool you into thinking otherwise.

    • by tehcyder (746570) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @05:24AM (#32910918) Journal

      Every time you download a track from Itunes most of your money goes to, the government as tax (in the UK), the retailer (Itunes in this case), the distributor, and the label. The artist gets maybe 5% of what you pay.

      Unbelievable but that's how it is.

      Why is it unbelievable? The artist has signed up to a deal where they have to do no additional work and still get royalties.
      If you don't want the whole iTunes/retailer/distributor/label deal just do it yourself, no-one's stopping you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lando (9348)

      I'd have to call BS on this. I don't for a second believe that the artist gets 5% or frankly anywhere near that. I believe the another article on slashdot within the last few days indicated that artists get 23 dollars out of every 1000 and that is for traditional cd's. As I understand it from other articles I have read, artists usually make far less on digital media than on traditional media. So if your going to claim that artists are receiving 5% of the gross price of a track from itunes your going

  • by The Fanta Menace (607612) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @04:47AM (#32910762) Homepage

    ...then presumably, it will be legal for me to download their clients' work, as I will already be paying for it.

  • Do this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @04:56AM (#32910788) Journal

    I am for this and when this new law is introduced so will another one. Were EVERY single artist will be locked up for life for the countless drug offences they are bound to commit on average.

    Every performer in England will serve life for Mick Jaggers drug abuse. That is fair isn't it? If I have to pay for someone else downloading, why don't they got to do time for someone elses snorting?

    But I know the real reason behind this proposal. The lawyer introduced, hoping that the people will have wasted their bullets on the entertainers before they can get busy on the lawyers.

  • UK will shortly see a tax on everybody to be paid to everybody for the stealing that the gov. does.
  • by slim (1652) <john@hartn u p .net> on Thursday July 15, 2010 @05:22AM (#32910904) Homepage

    Look, we all know this is a ridiculously unfair idea - and PRS has history of promoting ridiculously unfair ideas (e.g. taking a car mechanic to court because having the radio on in their premises constitutes a "public performance").

    But, it's their job to push for a world that's skewed towards the people they represent. It's the rest of the world's job to push back.

    The best reaction is to say "well, you would want that", then say no.

  • by AGMW (594303) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @06:32AM (#32911230) Homepage
    It's simply not the ISP's business to care what people use their connections for, in the same way it's not up to the Post Office to care what people post!

    It's also just bare-faced cheek for the record companies, et al, to lobby for legislation that makes some other industry pay to shore up their failing business paradigm!

    The ISP's should tell 'em to take a running jump!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 15, 2010 @06:38AM (#32911262)

    I do not download movies or music now, cause I think I should pay for it.

    but.. if the forces ISP to pay, I will gladly download all movies and music there is.. cause then I have already paid for it.

    So if the movie and record companies want to increase the download, then force ISP to pay up.

  • There's only so much time in a day to listen to music. And most people play the same stuff over and over. More bandwidth doesn't mean they are getting more music; it only means a little less lag in the new music they get.

    Clearly they are trying to position themselves to get rich way, way over proportion to the value they provide. Maybe they should just collect their fee from headphones and speakers. That would be in closer proportion to how much people gain from the music.

  • "...a piracy fee would better align the financial interests of internet service providers (ISPs) with rights holders..."

    Of course, the correct alignment of interests is ISPs and their customers. The IP-holders don't pay the ISPs anything, so it's a mystery as to why should they expect any services or fees in return. They can't accept that, so why not get their government cronies to step in and "fix" things. Nice servers you have there, be a shame if anything happened to them...

  • Their argument appears to be that ISPs don't currently think they should pay for copyright infringement... so to prevent this being a problem ISPs should be made to pay for copyright infringement, at which point their objections will go away. Does that actually make sense in any way?

  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:10AM (#32911386)

    ...but then as an *HONEST* music fan who buys lot of CDs, I would like a refund of that tax that is offset against every CD that I buy.

  • Coming soon. He's always yapping about how his content is being "stolen" and distributed on the Internet. So he can demand that ISPs be taxed for carrying his content, too.

    Is there anyone else, who feels that ISPs are distributing their content, without them seeing a cent?

    If this Music tax passes, the flood gates will be opened . . .

  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @08:27AM (#32911780)
    "Dear music lawyers. Following on your request that we should pay for illegal music downloads we allow to pass through, here is a detailed list of how much we allowed, which you will notice is empty. We 'allow' none to pass as we do not condone this practice, please find enclosed a fine payment cheque of zero dollars and zero cents. Love, the IPS."

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