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Piracy Privacy United Kingdom Your Rights Online

UK Royalty Group Wants ISPs To Pay For Pirating Customers 289

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.

  • by powerspike ( 729889 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @03:23AM (#32910422)
    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 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.

  • Conflicting Ideas (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad ( 470073 ) <> 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.

  • 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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

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

    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!

  • 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 mysidia ( 191772 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @03:46AM (#32910530)

    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 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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 15, 2010 @04:04AM (#32910596)

    I think the real issue as always is people are sick of getting ripped of for crappy movies and music. So they don't want to pay.

    Also the FACTS that people bring up all the time is true.. most of the time it's eaiser to just copy a song/movie than obtain from the proper re-sellers.

    I always laugh at the record companies trying to make people feel bad for 'downloading' but the average 20 year old who has little money and works at a basic job has no worries when a movie artist or song writer gets $10 million for acting in 1 movie or an artist making a spammy song or two -- a 'normal' person will never even make 10 million in their whole lives, and they work harder!!

    So the REAL solution is for the music/movie industry to update thier whole model (which many people have said on slashdot).. so by just doing a few things such as; make downloading from THEM eaiser so people don't bother 'pirating'. Stop being greedy with prices, just sell music for 10c a song for general music, and 20c a song for new stuff, even 60c a song for the charts. But people expect a video music clip give them that option too.

    In the end they can't do anything at all. Any nerd out there knows this, most people will just transfer files on their own private way, encrypted etc. If you try and kill torrants then pay pirate sites will boom... it goes on and on.

  • by IBBoard ( 1128019 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @04:07AM (#32910608) Homepage

    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.

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

    by zebslash ( 1107957 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @04:13AM (#32910626)

    A federal offense ? In the UK ? That's new for me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 15, 2010 @04:28AM (#32910678)
    Actually wouldn't the easy way to do this be to aggregate the torrent/filesharing traffic (what's not encrypted) and use the headers to figure out which songs are being downloaded.

    That might work for what ever is on the top-1000 list this week, but even if the file contained decent headers, how could they possibly sort out whom to pay for a "pirated" copy of "Sonata in D"? Of course the mafia's point will be that it is ours anyway, pay us, and we may forward the money to someone, some day... And I bet if I compose, perfofrm, record, and release my own "Sonata in D", I will never get any money from the mafia!

  • by Mathinker ( 909784 ) * on Thursday July 15, 2010 @04:29AM (#32910684) Journal

    > ISPs that have knowledge

    They can't have knowledge of infringement because only the rightsholder knows what licenses he has given. The ISP doesn't know that. Oh, and real infringement can only be decided in a court of law because of those pesky exceptions like fair use/dealing.

    > or notice of infringement

    Great, so we're in the DMCA-mode, where it's trivially easy to game the system because there is no real penalty for delivering a mistaken notice of infringement?

  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @04:44AM (#32910752)

    However extravagant the audio media monopolies are represented - they're economically dwarfed by the telecom organizations.

    Telco companies may be bigger but they are not as well connected because their main "product" isn't lobbyism. I am not suprised that these rights management abominations get away with everything they ask for in our corrupt political systems.

    On the other side, usually the telcos are national companies: guess who the UK government is most likely to give preference in hearing their plea? To British Telecom (UK) or to Sony BMG (Japan)?

  • Re:Rights Holder (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @04:44AM (#32910754)

    Yeah; that whole thing about being the 51st state isn't actually true, it just feels like it sometimes...

  • 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?
  • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 15, 2010 @04:59AM (#32910800)

    Don't forget the RIAA would want a share for all the American music pirated, and the MPAA for movies and TV. And the Canadian and Australian counterparts, as we all speak the same language and so pirate each other's content. Then the book publishers as well will be demanding.

    The levies may be a big pie, but it must be split many ways.

    In theory the independants would also be morally entited to a share, but I can't imagine them getting any... there are entire industries built around making sure anyone without the money and connections to play the game isn't included.

  • by Dekker3D ( 989692 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @05:07AM (#32910832)

    I'd just like to add one justification that does work:
    - I've already bought it but don't feel like infecting my computer with some company's malware, by actually installing it from cd. And DRM is more likely to infect my computer than warez nowadays thanks to Sony BMG and others.

  • by dugeen ( 1224138 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @05:09AM (#32910840) Journal
    "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 Znork ( 31774 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @05:17AM (#32910888)

    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 huge porn-financing scheme.

  • by slim ( 1652 ) <> 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 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.

  • 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?
  • 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:Rights Holder (Score:3, Insightful)

    by leenks ( 906881 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @05:57AM (#32911054)

    Isn't that what we have?

  • by thijsh ( 910751 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @06:12AM (#32911134) Journal
    That's exactly why I donate to ad-free community-supported radio like
  • 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 Eivind ( 15695 ) <> on Thursday July 15, 2010 @06:32AM (#32911234) Homepage

    Almost correct.

    It may be their "job" to push for a world, skewed towards the people they represent.

    In practice, they tend to end up pushing for a world skewed towards THEMSELVES.

    The RIAA might claim to work for musicians. In actuality, they work for the RIAA first, for record-labels second, and for musicians a distant third.

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @06:37AM (#32911256) Homepage

    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 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.

  • Re:Gee (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pop69 ( 700500 ) <`billy' `at' `'> on Thursday July 15, 2010 @06:47AM (#32911296) Homepage
    If it was genuinely the artists who were getting the money I'd be quite happy to cough up the cash.

    As long as such a massive percentage of what I might pay goes to the companies rather than the artists that create the work (composer, lyricist, performer) then I'll just stick with downloading.

    Besides, I've already paid for most of my music twice already. Bought on vinyl or tape cassette and then replaced with CD. Why should I have to pay for it a third time to put it on my iphone ?
  • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:17AM (#32911412) companies should pay for all crimes committed, while listening to music.

  • by thijsh ( 910751 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:28AM (#32911454) Journal
    You'd think so, but sadly according to them, you can't. And the politicians seem to agree with the bribes ... uhhhh I misspelled lobby ... from the industry.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:33AM (#32911480)

    You fell for the exact problem GP pointed out. You can't make a blacklist of known infringing files, because infringement depends on both the data and the parties involved in the data transfer. And a whitelist of everything anyone is allowed to transfer to anyone else would be infeasibly large.

    I guess you could still be proposing one or the other be implemented half-assedly and just not care about all the collateral damage.

  • 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:Rights Holder (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NotBornYesterday ( 1093817 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:59AM (#32911640) Journal
    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.
  • by NotBornYesterday ( 1093817 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @08:33AM (#32911822) Journal
    Do deaf people still have to pay the tax on blank CDs?
  • by AltairDusk ( 1757788 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @08:51AM (#32912044)

    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 their business model is falling to pieces are they adapting and trying to figure out a new one? For the most part they're just whining to the government and trying to place their burden on the public. Some artists have already found effective models without the large publishers involvements. Let those who refuse to adapt fail and you'll see that we don't need them for people to make art.

  • Re:Rights Holder (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zironic ( 1112127 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @09:55AM (#32912726)

    That's the entire reason we have government. The most basic service that government provides is protection, when that service is not provided then you get anarchy and your rights quickly become "none whatsoever". Just look at post-invasion Bagdad or post-hurricane New Orleans.

    The reason I said that the government provides your rights is because ultimately they're the only ones that can enforce them, what would be the alternatives, pay the corporations to do it? I'm sure they'd be honest, vigilante justice? that works GREAT.

    Sure it's to some extent problematic since some of the rights we expect to be enforced is the freedom from the government, but that's why we have to hold the government accountable. However I'll maintain that thinking that the government is not enforcing any of your rights is profoundly ignorant.

  • simplistic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yyxx ( 1812612 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @02:27PM (#32916998)

    There are many different kinds of rights you have and many different ways in which they get enforced.

    The government does enforce criminal law all by itself, which involve some violations of your person or property. The government does not automatically enforce civil law; you need to take action yourself. If you don't take action, you won't get anything. And some of those actions don't even involve the government: you may have to submit to binding arbitration to get your rights.

    Copyright and patents aren't even "rights" in the usual sense, they are temporary monopolies granted by the government. There is no reason in the world why anybody other than you should have to bear the burden and expense of making sure you take proper advantage of that temporary monopoly.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.