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Music Industry Drafts Code of Conduct for ISPs 818

An anonymous reader writes "The Register is running a story about how the music industry is trying to get ISPs to sign 'code of conduct' agreements to cut people off for excessive bandwidth usage, to turn over details of users on demand, and to block certain 'illegal' websites." From the article: "According to the draft, the duo want ISPs and network operators to 'enforce terms of service that prohibit a subscriber from operating a server, or from consuming excessive amounts of bandwidth where such consumption is a good indicator of infringing activities.'"
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Music Industry Drafts Code of Conduct for ISPs

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  • The article in full (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:53AM (#12212523)
    Not content with creating a continent-spanning lawsuit-sharing network using special P2P (person to perpetrator) technology, the record companies' consortium, the International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) now wants your ISP to sign up to a new "code of conduct" that it has helpfully drafted with the help of the Motion Picture Association (MPA). A warning, though: you probably won't like it.

    Here's a sampler. Under the new code, ISPs would put in place filtering technology to block services and/or sites that "are substantially dedicated to illegal file sharing or download services". They would retain data beyond what law enforcement agencies require, with the aim of helping track down copyright infringement. They'd hand that data, plus your identity, over to the IFPI or MPA if there was even a complaint - not a court order - against you for, you guessed it, copyright infringement. (And you'd have signed or clicked something agreeing to allow that.)

    Want more? According to the draft, the duo want ISPs and network operators to "enforce terms of service that prohibit a subscriber from operating a server, or from consuming excessive amounts of bandwidth where such consumption is a good indicator of infringing activities." A summary of the draft can be found at the Electronic Digital Rights site's latest EDRIgram.

    We wondered if it might be some clever hoax, and called the IFPI. "Oh yes, the draft" they said breezily and knowledgeably. The draft is for real.

    And to back up their modest proposal, the MPA and IFPI aren't afraid to wave their big stick at the ISPs and network operators. Speaking last month at the invitation of the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) , the head of the IFPI, John Kennedy, said: "Quality digital content is a key driver that makes consumers embrace new services. You invest billions in your pipes and cables and satellites but without content you have empty pipes and boxes. At this stage I am not even asking for much if anything by way of a financial commitment. I am asking for your time your energy your commitment and some social responsibility."

    Tony Soprano couldn't have put it better. "Nice content-carrying pipes you've got here. What a shame if anything were to happen to them... now, we've got this little agreement for you to look at..."

    Expect an interesting discussion next Monday, when this issue, and the draft code of conduct, will be discussed at a meeting in Geneva of WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organisation. Which as you know has a stellar record defending the little guys against claims of copyright infringement.

    If all that has you fizzing, then you're in good company, along with the UK's Internet Services Providers Association (ISPA). There will be an ISPA representative at next week's meeting, and if they're anything like as annoyed as the spokesman we talked about this with, they're so close to nuclear they already glow in the dark.

    "This is obviously something they [IFPI and MPA] have worked on together," ISPA's spokesman almost spat. "They have made proposals like this in the past but that doesn't necessarily mean they have gone anywhere. They should really be going through the established takedown procedure. Some of these proposals contravene current laws and go beyond others. If you take the example of requiring subscribers to allow their identities to be given out - that's something that ISPs take very seriously, and only when required to by law enforcement. And they aren't a law enforcement authority."

    But sometimes it seems like the MPA and IFPI feel this latter point is only a minor detail, which could be fixed in time.

    France's ISPs seemed to have rolled over already. A version of this code was signed last July by three French ministers, representatives of the music industry, major ISPs and telecoms operators there. It allows collection societies and the like to create files from telecoms traffic data of supposed copyright infringers to "mutual
  • Re:What about (Score:1, Informative)

    by thomasa ( 17495 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:00PM (#12212652)
    At least in the USA, a 15 year old cannot legally sign a contract.
  • Re:I don't think so (Score:3, Informative)

    by me at werk ( 836328 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:03PM (#12212681) Homepage Journal
    You don't have to, the EFF has already done it for you []. Just ... needs more users.
  • by WidescreenFreak ( 830043 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:04PM (#12212699) Homepage Journal
    What the hell is this kind of crap?

    I don't know about anyone else, but I am always downloading lots of stuff that are FREE and LEGAL! Whether that constitutes Linux ISO images, Solaris patches, or whatever, there are a ton of things out there that are completely legal and take up gobs of bandwidth! Streaming media (radio or TV stations), game patches, game mods, on-line gaming, and so forth are completely legal and will consume bandwidth! If you leave a high-bitrate, streaming media download running all month, you bet that's going to look like a lot of bandwidth, but that does not infer illegal activities!

    Even if many downloads are not legal (*cough*newsgroups*cough*), what makes them assume that the downloads are of MUSIC? A massive download of the latest National Geographic bazillion-CD set will completely spike monthly bandwidth; but it has absolutely nothing to do with music, regardless of it being an illegal download!

    Who the f*ck are the RIAA to assume that (excessive_bandwith == piracy || excessive == MUSIC_piracy)?

    The arrogance of even drafting such a "code of conduct" is beyond comprehension!
  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:11PM (#12212814) Homepage
    The thing is, most ISPs already limit your max bandwidth. If I pay for 1.5Mb/1.5Mb, I want to get the bandwidth that I pay for; it'd be completely unfair otherwise. If the ISP is overselling their capacity, that's *their* problem, not mine.

    I would be out of luck, given the code that the music industry wants. I run four minor-use websites, and serve about a dozen services (mostly to myself), including a streaming music station so that I can listen to my music when I'm at work. Given this "code", I'd be gone in a heartbeat.

    Any ISP that agrees to such a code can forget my business in a heartbeat.
  • by Ironsides ( 739422 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:18PM (#12212929) Homepage Journal
    But by the time I got home his IP address had already changed. It appears that his ISP (centurynet) changes his IP address every 2 hours. That would sure make it a lot harder to use P2P for sharing your own stuff, running a game server, a webcam, and all the other cool stuff you get broadband for.

    It won't kill most apps like BitTorrent (i'm sure) or Kazaa (i think). As for Sharing stuff, use for that and a webcam. For a game server, that I don't know about as I know nothing about setting them up. Though, with Cox Cable modems, my IP hasn't changed in 3 months.
  • by psallitesapienter ( 809284 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:21PM (#12212970)
    I work for a small school that's starting a pilot program on language learning. We use the internet for audio & video, and although we have some lag, it's working quite well. If ISP sign this document, it would mean no more language learning for kids. Nice move, guys.
  • by Grey_14 ( 570901 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:33PM (#12213128) Homepage
    Err, They do? but the release groups have gotten very good at stripping out those watermarks.
  • Will Speakeasy sign? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:59PM (#12213518)
    I doubt it. One of their selling points is you are allowed to host your own servers. I have to say, they've made good on that. I have their 6.0/768 DSL (which for me is more like 4.5/768 :/) and on it I host two web servers. They do a fair bit of traffic, probably a minimum of 20GB/month each and usually much more. When one of them really gets going they can have the upstream nearly slammed for days on end.

    To this day I haven't heard a peep out of them, and I've been doing it for like 2 years now. So long as they get their money, they seem to be happy to let me use as much bandwidth as I like. Likewise I heard nothing from them when I hosed a drive and downloaded 50GB of backups from work over the course of a couple days.

    So I can't see them signing something like this, as it would go against their whole spiel. I'm sure they also know they'd lose a lot of customers. The whole reason I chose Speakeasy is I was told that they wouldn't whine about bandwidth usage due to servers.
  • Re:What about (Score:3, Informative)

    by ArghBlarg ( 79067 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @01:05PM (#12213600) Homepage
    Recording contracts are often for around 7 albums, which might as well be a lifetime -- it's longer than most music careers. The record companies know most artists won't every reach popularity, and stay there, for more an an album or two. U2 etc. being the exceptions to the rule.

    But true, recording contracts aren't 'for life'.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @01:27PM (#12213873)
    the cops can search your house if you use too much electricity (might be running a grow operation), so i guess it makes sense if they can search your house if you use too much bandwidth
  • Re:I don't think so (Score:3, Informative)

    by KlomDark ( 6370 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @01:45PM (#12214118) Homepage Journal
    Yes, but they are only one of the largest ISPs in the world if you change the wording to "largest DIAL-UP ISPs". Sure they offer some broadband in some areas, but the lions share of their users are dial-up and they are pretty much getting their ass kicked in the broadband arena, except where they provide Cable TV.
  • Re:Better Option (Score:5, Informative)

    by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @01:50PM (#12214189) Journal
    I recieved a letter simular to that form my isp. It basicaly said i was above the "average usage" and it tended to indecate i was doing somethign ilegal.

    I told them that i was evaluating opensource programs and operating systems and this had nothign to do with anythign ilegal. Further i was paying extra money for a public static ip adress so i could run a server and they new about that. Then after explaining that the average was what it is because people like me use more bandwidth and if i quit it would lower the average i was still met with an attitude.

    I then refered to the advertisement that was running on the television at the time wich was very simular to the same one when i purchased my broad band package. I added the advertised speed up and multiplied it to the number of days in a billing cycle. I then suggested that this is the amount of bandwidth i am entitled to and what i was actualy using was just a fraction of that. Of course i had to explain were i came up with that number but after wards i asked them to place my actual badwidth allowed in writing so i could refer it to my legal department(meaning lawer).

    They never sent me anythign, i havn't changed anything except maybe the release cycles of the programs i am using and i havn't been bothered since. You might want to think about an approach simular to this. I don't know if it would help shut them up or not. I don't know if all the fuss i was doing just made them look at the trafic i generated and determin it was all legal wich stoped the letters. All i do know is that someone took notice and excluded me from the harrasment list.
  • Re:I work for an ISP (Score:2, Informative)

    by azander ( 786903 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @02:05PM (#12214392) Homepage
    I too work for an ISP. We require a judge's signature. These signatures are on file at the courthouse where they work as part of every official record in court. We simply contact the clerk of court in the proper location and have them fax over the complete court case as currently in record. Since it will ahve the judge's signature (noterized no less) we can then compare them. To date, we have received only one properly filed subpoena, sent to us bu the FBI on a jacking case that was later dismissed.

    It is trivial to get the information you need to see if it is a lawyer subpoena or a Judicial subpoena. Judicial ones you should never ignore, and they should be your #1 priority. The lawyer subpoena (can't remember the proper term) are just requests for information by the opposing party's council trying to save time. These are hard to verify that they even come from a lawyer. The State Bar Association (all lawyers must be members) do not even keep copies of signatures on file.

    Checked with my father (a lawyer) and confirmed that there is no way to prove they signed it, and that most probably have a secratery or legal assistant sign the documents just before sending them.

    A. Zander
  • I don't know about this. I am a blissful user of the Listen Rhapsody [] service, and have been for a couple of years. I get all-you-can-stream on-demand access to a huge music library for a small flat fee; most tracks can also be burned to CD for 80 cents each. Since getting on Rhapsody, I haven't acquired digital music from any illegal source.

    I often wonder why Rhapsody seems to be effectively invisible in the great online music debate; it seems to solve so many problems so well.
  • by Col. Klink (retired) ( 11632 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @02:28PM (#12214698)
    Dish Network and DirecTV both offer free installs and free 4 room systems (with a 1-year contract, of course). There's no need for you to climb onto the roof.

    If you're a sports freak, DirecTV has the better packages. If you want international programming, Dish has the edge. I prefer neither and have had both. I like DirecTV, but mainly because the Actisys IR 2000 (and infrared dongle that I use it to control the remote for MythTV) only works with DirecTV.

    And, of course, Speakeasy is great. It's more than just an open servers policy. They absolutely don't have any bandwidth cap (hidden or otherwise). They always answer their phones and the tech people, who are NOT in India, actually know what they're doing. I have multiple static IPs. I just signed up for their VoIP system (haven't received the hardware yet), and if I'm happy with that, I'll switch to OneLink and say goodbye to Verizon forever. Oh, and they say the preferred browser for accessing their VoIP control center is Firefox.

    I don't tell everyone I know to use Speakeasy because it's really not for everyone. It's not necessarily the cheapest, and if you just want an always-on broadband to browse the web, it's probably a lot more than you need. But if your a geek and you know what you're doing, I don't know any other ISP that is better.

    Shameless referral plug:
  • by ultramkancool ( 827732 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @03:38PM (#12215594) Journal
    i use 20 gigs a month downloading linux iso's (via bittorrent) and playing online games. now if my isp cut my connection becuase of this i would be pretty pissed. And if they want to block my access to bittorent server i'll use a proxy like tor.
  • by Asterisk ( 16357 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @04:50PM (#12216484)
    FYI, you were right in the original post. 7-11 was originally Southland Ice Co.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein