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UK ISPs Balk at Unplugging P2P Pirates

Postby SlyckTom » Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:28 pm

Yesterday, the UK Times Online reported that the British government would consider enacting a law requiring ISPs to "disconnect" habitual P2P pirates. The entertainment industry wants a "three strikes" policy, where the end user would be permanently disconnected from his or her ISP after the third warning. Reaction has so far been ho-hum, as the file-sharing community sees this as just yet another attempt bound for failure.

The reaction from the UK ISPs has followed along a similar line as well. The ISPA (Internet Service Provider Association), a trade group which represents the interests of UK ISPs, released a statement which balks at the idea of filtering or blocking alleged P2P pirates. Much like their American counterparts, UK ISPs are immune from any civil and or criminal impropriety that may transpire across their networks.

The ISPA admits, however, they currently are in talks with the entertainment industry, particularly the MPAA, on the issue of disconnecting alleged pirates. Initially, the ISPA appears sympathetic to the entertainment industry's cause.

"Some people are using peer-to-peer applications to copy or distribute files including copyrighted material such as music, films and software without paying royalties. People who do this may be infringing the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. ISPA UK is currently in talks with the Motion Picture Association of America and liaises with Government on this issue."

Sympathy can only go so far. The ISPA stress that the Electronic Commerce Regulation of 2002 protects their members from such contentious issues like copyright infringement. As a "mere conduit" of information, UK ISPs cannot be held liable to enforce intellectual property rights.

"Where an information society service is provided which consists of the transmission in a communication network of information provided by a recipient of the service or the provision of access to a communication network, the service provider (if he otherwise would) shall not be liable for damages or for any other pecuniary remedy or for any criminal sanction as a result of that transmission where the service provider -

(a) did not initiate the transmission;

(b) did not select the receiver of the transmission; and

(c) did not select or modify the information contained in the transmission."

Like US ISPs, their UK counterparts are immune from liability for "caching" as well. For example, some ISPs provide P2P caching services, which store the most popular file-sharing search requests on a server. By keeping popular search requests stored on the ISP's network, costs are held to a minimum. This benefits both the end user and the ISP, as the requested file is transferred to the end user efficiently and with minimum bandwidth requirements.

"ISPs bear no liability for illegal file sharing as the content is not hosted on their servers," the ISPA states. "Although such files may be transmitted across an ISP’s network, ISPs are ‘mere conduits’ of information, as per the E-Commerce Regulations 2002."

Finally, the ISPA moves into the nitty gritty - the impossibility of disconnecting users. Try to imagine the massive amounts of information transmitting across the Internet at any given moment. Billions of pieces of information traveling at the speed of light, and that's just on P2P and file-sharing networks. Now, P2P networks hardly ever transmit just a single, identifiable file any more. BitTorrent, for example, breaks the file into thousands of tiny pieces for distribution purposes. Each segment is unidentifiable as copyrighted work, especially if its encrypted. The ISPs know this, network administrators know this, and one day, maybe the entertainment industry will know this.

"ISPA does not support abuses of copyright and intellectual property theft. However ISPs cannot monitor or record the type of information passed over their network. ISPs are no more able to inspect and filter every single packet passing across their network than the Post Office is able to open every envelope. ISPs deal with many more packets of data each day than postal services and data protection legislation actually prevents ISPs from looking at the content of the packets sent."

The important item to remember is that the UK government is very far from enacting or even entertaining such a law. It is currently a "Green Paper" item, which means that all arguments will be given consideration within 6 months. This wont be a cakewalk for the entertainment industry, as the ISPA is confident in its position.



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Re: UK ISPs Balk at Unplugging P2P Pirates

Postby Xeno » Thu Feb 14, 2008 1:28 pm

SlyckTom wrote:ISPs are no more able to inspect and filter every single packet passing across their network than the Post Office is able to open every envelope. ISPs deal with many more packets of data each day than postal services and data protection legislation actually prevents ISPs from looking at the content of the packets sent."


Heh, looks like someone read my comment about Postal Service Providers over here...
http://www.slyck.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=41236

The entertainment industry really needs to give up on making the ISP's the police. They're not going to do something that would not only cost money to do with no financial gains coming from it, but it would also infuriate their customers and expose them to a whole lot of legal issues.

Where an information society service is provided which consists of the transmission in a communication network of information provided by a recipient of the service or the provision of access to a communication network, the service provider (if he otherwise would) shall not be liable for damages or for any other pecuniary remedy or for any criminal sanction as a result of that transmission where the service provider -

(a) did not initiate the transmission;

(b) did not select the receiver of the transmission; and

(c) did not select or modify the information contained in the transmission."


The second they start choosing which information to allow, they invalidate their immunity. It would probably only be a few days after they started doing that before the MPAA came back blaming them for anything they didn't catch.
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Re: UK ISPs Balk at Unplugging P2P Pirates

Postby craftycorner » Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:09 am

The **AAs bite the hands that feed them. The ISP's best learn that now. :roll:
My God, its full of files!

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Re: UK ISPs Balk at Unplugging P2P Pirates

Postby justanotherbrick » Fri Feb 15, 2008 5:42 am

"ISPs are no more able to inspect and filter every single packet passing across their network than the Post Office is able to open every envelope."

Especially seeing as it is illegal to open any envelope without strong cause. At least here in Sweden.

/JAB
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Re: UK ISPs Balk at Unplugging P2P Pirates

Postby jokster » Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:25 am

see, told ya
Capitalism Is Cannibalism
Resistance is fertile
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Re: UK ISPs Balk at Unplugging P2P Pirates

Postby FallenSolo » Mon Feb 18, 2008 1:29 pm

Like US ISPs, their UK counterparts are immune from liability for "caching" as well. For example, some ISPs provide P2P caching services, which store the most popular file-sharing search requests on a server. By keeping popular search requests stored on the ISP's network, costs are held to a minimum. This benefits both the end user and the ISP, as the requested file is transferred to the end user efficiently and with minimum bandwidth requirements.


Not to drag this off topic, but how is caching really that different from being a torrent indexing site like PB? I may have missed it, but isn't this essentially the same thing? The only catch is that TPB is not an ISP. Maybe they need to become one as well as a portal site.
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Re: UK ISPs Balk at Unplugging P2P Pirates

Postby Jace » Thu Feb 21, 2008 9:08 am

heh thats exactly what went through my mind.

edit: oops posted the rest relating to DL in the wrong thread!
Last edited by Jace on Fri Feb 22, 2008 3:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: UK ISPs Balk at Unplugging P2P Pirates

Postby piXelatedEmpire » Thu Feb 21, 2008 6:14 pm

Jace wrote:btw im new but have been reading this thread after my mum got a letter.

Welcome Jace, these threads may be of interest to you.
http://www.slyck.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=31051
http://www.slyck.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=39877
http://www.slyck.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=41431

Cheers
Ross Wheeler, CEO of Albury.net.au, referring to the Australian Governments internet filtering plan wrote:"It's the most ill-conceived pile of stupidity by the biggest bunch of cretins that I've ever seen in my life"
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