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Verizon To Throttle Pirates' Bandwidth 224

another random user sends this excerpt from the BBC: "U.S. net firm Verizon has declared war on illegal downloaders, or pirates, who use technologies such as BitTorrent to steal copyrighted material. Verizon has said it will first warn repeat offenders by email and voicemail. Then it will restrict or 'throttle' their internet connection speeds. Time Warner Cable, another U.S. internet service provider pledging to tackle piracy, says it will use pop-up warnings to deter repeat offenders. After that it will restrict subscribers' web browsing activities by redirecting them to a landing page. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which campaigns for digital freedom, is highly critical of the imminent campaign, saying: 'Big media companies are launching a massive peer-to-peer surveillance scheme to snoop on subscribers.' ISPs will be acting as 'Hollywood's private enforcement arm,' it added."
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Verizon To Throttle Pirates' Bandwidth

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    1. Reduces traffic on their networks
    2. Should reduce the number of inquiries from RIAA etc that they need to deal with, and the staff to do it
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      3. Reduces their profit margin as people move away from these services to ones that don't give a fuck whats on the wire.
      4. Makes them liable for all the other 'bad' things their customers do. They have displayed they DO have the level of control needed to stop spam or other crap comming from their customers machines.

      • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @02:33PM (#42003543)
        (4) might be a real concern, but (3) is not. In the US, very few areas actually have any competition. The regulation that allowed viable competition to exist were removed so even even urban areas are unlikely to have more then 2 options, most areas will only have 1.

        But yeah, (4) might come back to haunt them.
        • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @03:10PM (#42004083)
          What regulation that allowed viable competition was removed? As far as I am aware, both cable providers and telephone providers have been regulated as local monopolies for almost as long as the former has existed and since before I was born for the latter. Unless someone else is allowed to run the cabling/fiber there can be no real competition. The fact that there are no more than two options just about everywhere is a product of regulation, not a product of the removal of regulation.
          • by jythie ( 914043 )
            In the past DSL providers, just like phone companies, were required to lease to other ISPs, thus even though you physically had a verizon connection you could use anyone as your ISP.... just like with dial up you were not required to use the telco's ISP service. Cable was not regulated like that since it was considered too small at first and when it got large enough they decided to remove the DSL regulation rather then bring Cable into it. Pretty much overnight we went from an ecosystem where you could ch
    • RIAA obtains access to Verizon logs, since Verizon publicly acknowledges having them, sues everybody who ever got flagged, nobody uses Verizon ever again.
  • by Steven_M_Campbell ( 409802 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @02:16PM (#42003383)

    What are the chances that this will simply be used to target anyone who uses the bandwidth they paid for?

    • Verizon already got sued for this once, it was a good day when I received a check for $50 for my old broadband card when I got kicked off their network at the very end of my contract (I had another ISP so I didn't give a f').
    • by kawabago ( 551139 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @02:52PM (#42003811)
      We have seen all kinds of examples of some entity claiming ownership of a work they don't in fact own. What protects consumers from spurious claims? Good will of the entertainment industry? They don't have any. This kind of practice will make consumers turn against the entertainment industry and demand it be muzzled.
    • by Mitreya ( 579078 )

      What are the chances that this will simply be used to target anyone who uses the bandwidth they paid for?

      Not to mention the lucrative $35 review fees [] involved. It's a win-win for Verizon.

      Soon this will turn into highly desirable insurance -- i.e. "pay extra $10/month and we will protect you from lawsuits by not releasing your info". (or at least actually fight for you in court before releasing it)

      • It's not a win-win in markets where they have competition or for customers that are paying for more than their most basic tier of service. If they are serious about this I predict that they will lose over 90% of their higher tier customers. Why pay extra for all that bandwidth if all you can use it for is to make a web page load 1/10000 of a second faster?

        Where I live luckily there is still a high speed non-Comcast alternative that hasn't joined forces with the MAFIAA. If Verizon ever throttles me they will

    • I usually download DVD images of Linux distributions as evaluation copies. If it is midnight, (GMT-5), I will start a torrent for a distribution and go to bed. My ISP does not support high upload rates, so throttling is more or less done by the system. During the day, I will use wget and a mirror website to download my favorite distribution. Since I am in North America, if I can, I choose a mirror that is in Europe. Midnight there, is 6pm here in Montreal. At midnight their system us is low, and ours is

  • by Cito ( 1725214 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @02:21PM (#42003427)

    I've had it when it was plain adsl at 1.5 megabit down in the late 90's all the way to now vdsl with 20 megabit down. They still offer newsgroup access free with all their accounts, and ability to generate emails at will up to 20, then you can delete ones not needed and recreate sorta as a anonymous email service of their own.

    every year or so they claim on dslreports forum that they'll never keep logs more than 1 week for legal purposes mainly to do with child porn, and they so far have not responded to letters from antip2p companies like mediadefender, claiming they get trashed.

    Now things may change in future, but there is no bandwidth cap and it's truly unlimited, I know according to DUmeter, adding upload/download together I used 418 gigs last month and average 317 to 422 gigs per month, most of it is torrent traffic seeding and downloading. And never got a letter or even bothered.

    I always tell people stay the fuck away from cable and big name dsl like at&t and stick to local telco services, local landline small companies most all offer dsl2plus to vdsl services and are much much better than cable.

    No bandwidth caps, no filtering, and no bother, true freedom at least for now.

    I've been pirating since 1996 though when I cut my cable tv off. Starting on newsgroups and IRC old "fserve" bots for television episodes and movies.

    Now it's torrent RSS downloader on the seedbox connected to my western digital WDTV Live plus box on my tv.

    I definitely support local telco's cause most ignore the bullshit of the big isp's, hell my isp even sent out letters letting customers know they will not be taking part in this "6 strike" shit and marketed as if it was a cable only problem so it keeps their customers from wanting to go to cable.

    great marketing move imo

    • Same here, I also have a local DSL provider, i don't get the same speeds cable users do but I've literally no hassel from my ISP with regards to my bandwidth usage which can be up to a terrabyte a month on really high months.
    • by Cito ( 1725214 )

      Yup, always support your local telco's dsl service. You'll never be harassed, get letters or be bothered about bandwidth caps like cable companies do.

      Earthlink, Windstream dsl, and all the local telco isp's are 1000x better for true unlimited bandwidth and they don't monitor you

    • Hey man, that anonymous poster saying fuck you is your judge jury and executioner.

    • You local 'telco' as opposed to, ahem, VERIZON?
  • Two-Way Street (Score:5, Interesting)

    by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @02:28PM (#42003489) Journal
    In other news, Verizon customer John Doe has declared his Web browsing history and related Internet activity to be a "work of art" created by him and subject to copyright protection. On Friday he announced that any company caught illegally downloading, storing or sharing his copyrighted work will be subject to throttling: a process by which he reduces his payments for their services to pennies per day.

    Why isn't this a two-way street? If the consumer did this, Verizon would simply say he had not paid what he owed in full. But here Verizon is unilaterally deciding not to provide the service in full. Perhaps the consumer should have the right to charge the company late fees for services not rendered in full.
    • Though you may think you can do that you can't. Unfortunately. Congress determined pretty explicitly what types of works are covered by copyright. There has been a number of cases where things such as live broadcasts were not covered by Congress's copyright protection and the rulings have been that those events don't get that sort of protection (complete protection). Read the article about the UW restricting journalistic tweets to X #. I think you'll understand why his claim of copyrighte

    • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

      Naturally they change the TOS to reflect the throttling and require agreement before allowing you to connect again, and oh by the way, connecting again is automatic agreement.

  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @02:30PM (#42003511) Journal
    Time Warner Cable, another U.S. internet service provider pledging to tackle piracy, says it will use pop-up warnings to deter repeat offenders.

    How, exactly, do they plan to accomplish this? Yes, obviously, they have the capability to do the ultimate "man in the middle" attack, but I have rather a huge problem with them analyzing my traffic and modifying it enough to intelligently inject malicious scripts into pages I view.

    More to the point, ISPs keep announcing grand plans like this, but not mentioning how they plan to detect "pirates" or what appeals process they plan to put in place. And yes, I know we'll all joke and say "none, of course", but realistically, you don't just lose all your rights as a result of engaging in minor civil offenses against a third party. Hell, even serial killers still get their day in court.
    • I'd like to know how they are going to go about detecting such, without incurring complaints that they aren't outright blocking such. If it is just 'you're using bittorrent' then they are also blocking lots of legitimate bittorrents (including a major MMO). If it is just detecting connection to known pirate sites, why don't they just block them outright?
      • I'm guessing they'll make a whitelist of 'legal' trackers, or at least those large enough to be noticed by Verizon (like the MMO) and just assume all others are piracy. It'll mean blocking things like niche linux distributions and independent free media, but Verizon may well consider that an acceptable loss.

    • by NoKaOi ( 1415755 )

      More to the point, ISPs keep announcing grand plans like this, but not mentioning how they plan to detect "pirates" or what appeals process they plan to put in place. And yes, I know we'll all joke and say "none, of course", but realistically, you don't just lose all your rights as a result of engaging in minor civil offenses against a third party. Hell, even serial killers still get their day in court.

      Actually, they have announced how they plan on detecting pirates. They will rely on the rights holders to send them complaints, and there is a (probably useless) dispute process. While this is better than deep packet inspection, I see the problems as:

      1. If you do get a warning letter, your only recourse is to give your ISP $30 to dispute it with no confidence that they'll actually do anything or care.
      2. Even if you give them money to dispute it, you can still be effectively disconnected (throttled into us

      • Honestly, I'd be tempted to encourage everybody to write to the FTC over this. There is no way slandering somebody and making them pay to be unslandered is legal.
  • "Begun the Clone War has" - Yoda

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @02:44PM (#42003683) Homepage
    attorney: "the RIAA is threatening serious litigation if we dont crack down on piracy"
    exec: "ok, we've been there before. what do they want"
    attorney: "they want us to crack down"
    exec: "done. tell them we will warn pirates and throttle their internet connection:"
    engineer: "thats not really feasible or possible given our resources and the nature of the internet as a self healing..."
    exec: "its a completely feasible way to solve this problem, i have complete confidence in its ability."
    engineer: "how would you know??"
    exec: "because the problem is a lobbying group, not a pirate."
    engineer: "how do they verify it works?"
    exec: "tell them to test from their phone."
  • Computer/phone manufacturers installing piracy tracking chips on all computers? After all without a computer you can't pirate at all. What stop there, maybe have a Best Buy employee make you sign a No Piracy contract before you buy anything with storage that can connect to the internet?

  • The Internet is still very much the wild west.

    The equivalent of train robberies, bank heists, Indian raids, and muggings in the mining towns on payday are a common occurrence in today's online environment.

    You and I may not think copying electronic bits is a big deal, but many corporations are ruthless enough to pursue a dollar anywhere. Never underestimate greed. The larger the corporation, the further away from reality sit its leadership, the more ruthless the organization becomes.

    Big government isn't ve

    • How could corporate greed be the motivation here? Verizon does not stand to gain a single customer with this scheme, but they stand to lose potentially millions or at least hundreds of thousands of customers in locations with broadband competition. They will lose me the second they try to pull this bullshit with me. I would imagine that their local competitors with similar pricing and connections speeds are going to be very happy if Verizon actually goes ahead with this insanity.

  • Thepromobay (Score:3, Interesting)

    by phorm ( 591458 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @02:51PM (#42003791) Journal

    So how will they determine what's piracy and what's legit?
    Heavy bandwidth/bt users are pirates?
    Those who use thepiratebay are pirates?

    The last few things I downloaded off TPB were legit promo albums given out by bands (one band: "Stockholm" is pretty good).
    The last few linux ISO's I downloaded, also bittorrent, as well as a few FOSS games.
    Wow and many games use BT for updates.
    So how would Verizon determine whether I'm a "dirty pirate" or just a guy who makes use of technology?

    • ... So how would Verizon determine whether I'm a "dirty pirate" or just a guy who makes use of technology?

      Easy-peasy! If you use more bandwidth than a grandma checking emails, then you are a dirty pirate!

  • How could you tell? More seriously, Verizon is simply too cheap to upgrade its network to handle more traffic (Here's a hint, Verizon. It's called a "mesh network: []." Try asking an engineer instead of a marketing oaf or a bean counter.)

  • and there is lots more money being stolen by hollywood music and movie companies by pretending hugely successful music and movies did not turn a profit. Where is a war on hollywood accounting?
  • The BBC are as biased as f**k, the phrase in the first line of the article

    "who use technologies such as BitTorrent to steal copyrighted material."

    You know who's side they're on when they use weasel words like that, and it's certainly not the license-payers side.

    • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

      pirates do use "technologies such as bittorrent" to pirate. they also use usenet and usb sticks. the statement is not false.
      false would saying "all bittorrent users are pirates", "bitorrent has no legitimit use", etc.

      this is a case of bias, but its your bias, not theirs. simply stating a thing in a simple way is not in and of itself bias.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        Peh. No one knows how to write neutral articles anymore. If the BBC had an ounce of journalistic integrity, it would have used "various technologies including, x, x, x, but not solely limited to them."

        The GP is right that the article has a bias.

      • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

        Lol at you completely missed what I was aiming at, they are calling all people who break civil law by infringing upon copyright criminals by calling them thieves, that is where the bias is, this is certainly not the first time they've call copyright infringement 'stealing' and I doubt it will be the last.

        A lot of people fail to realise that copyright is not a natural right - mankind got to where it is by copying - learning is a form of copying.

        Copyrights last too long and copying without the correct consent

  • by jon3k ( 691256 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @05:41PM (#42006347)

    who use technologies such as BitTorrent to steal copyrighted material.

    Take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it: "thieves stole her bicycle".

    How in 2012 are people still unable to distinguish between theft and copyright infringement and how does it get passed slashdot moderators?

  • by sdguero ( 1112795 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @06:43PM (#42007145)
    Or so I thought. In 2007 they sent me two DMCA notices and shut off my internet twice in one week. The second time they said "if it happens again, we will revoke your account." I said go for it. I can always get high speed internet from one of the other 4 providers available at my house. I kept downloading and never heard from them again.

    To me, the lesson of the story is that the ISPs are willing to hassle their infringing customers to the point of making their service slightly inconvenient, but as soon as you threaten to take away their $40/month, they back down.
  • So instead of telling them that they will no longer take their money in exchange for providing a service they will just stop providing service and keep charging them?

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel