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Virgin Media and BPI to punish sharers

Virgin Media and BPI to punish sharers

The BPI - the British equivalent of the RIAA - is keen to 'help' ISPs police their networks for infringing users.

Virgin Media – the ISP and cable TV company formerly known as NTL Telewest – has officially announced a joint venture with the British Phonographic Industry to curb file sharing on their network.

The service provider is implementing a three-tier policy, initially to deal with the sharing of music files where the copyright is owned by BPI members. If successful, the BPI is likely to be joined by other trade bodies who will want to see similar sanctions against sharers of films, TV programmes, and software.

Virgin Media is the first UK ISP to bow to increasing pressure from the film and music industry to police their networks for illegitimate file sharing, but is unlikely to be the last. Even the government is getting in on the act, with guidelines due to be published which will offer ISPs legal sanctions in addition to contract termination.

The monitoring of peer-to-peer activity will be carried out by agents of the BPI, with the trade body handing information about suspicious IP addresses to the ISP. Virgin Media will then send a letter warning customers that naughtiness has been detected on their connection, and would they please stop forthwith. Should this fail to stop the flow of copyright material, a temporary disconnection will prod the errant user into action. If they start torrenting again as soon as their connection is restored, the final sanction is complete termination of their connection.

The only good news for file sharers is the one-way nature of information sharing between Virgin Media and the BPI. The BPI never get any personally identifiable information on customers accused of sharing infringing files, with the name and address associated with the IP never being divulged by the ISP. This means that customers are unlikely to be sued, but that will be little consolation when your account is terminated because your little brother couldn't keep away from those Slipknot downloads.

The agreement between Virgin Media and the BPI is a sign of things to come for Internet service providers and their customers in the UK: I predict that more and more ISPs will join forces with industry groups in voluntary projects like these, if only to stay the threat of legislation – a threat the government is using as a cudgel to encourage the two industries to work things out amongst themselves.

Could this be the future of Internet connectivity, or should the BPI keep their nose out of your downloads? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

41 Comments

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BioSniper 1st April 2008, 09:45 Quote
April fool or real article?
I just cant tell!
sotu1 1st April 2008, 09:56 Quote
april fools! come on! BPI!? you can't be serious! i'll keep torrenting my pr0n thanks!
mmorgue 1st April 2008, 09:57 Quote
This has to be April Fool's. Has to be...

Otherwise, I'm gonna use the C-word in a bit, as in, Virgin Media, "you're a bunch of"... :(:(:(

But regardless, on a brighter note, the alt.* universe still teams with a multitude of delicacies to be had, all the time..
WILD9 1st April 2008, 10:10 Quote
Please let this be an april fool. Otherwise I think thats the last straw in NTL Telewests slow painfull fall from grace since Virgin bought them. So now thats - No Sky 1 , No HD channels worth mentioning, stringent bandwith throttling and now 3rd parties able to thumb through my downloading habbits. What a bargain, Still theres always the free bandwith upgrade I just got so I can max out my extremely tight download cap even faster whilst someone watches me like a hawk.
WILD9 1st April 2008, 10:12 Quote
Looking back on google, this started to be reported yeasterday and is on the telegraph website so I'm guessing its probably not an April fools.
sotu1 1st April 2008, 10:17 Quote
hehehe...i know it's an april fools! i'll wait til later to tell you why!
DXR_13KE 1st April 2008, 10:35 Quote
how many customers do they have? how many of them share stuff? that is the amount of clients that will walk away.
WILD9 1st April 2008, 10:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sotu1
hehehe...i know it's an april fools! i'll wait til later to tell you why!

Enlighten us, I can see this plastered all over the internet now, some of it starting on the 30th so its more of a smear campaign than an april fool if it isn't true.
sotu1 1st April 2008, 10:40 Quote
actually, totally ignore me. this may be true actually. i totally misread this article, i thought it said british pornographic industry! i figured that was the dead give away....clearly i have one totally tracked mind! haha! guess that makes me the fool this april! hehe
WILD9 1st April 2008, 10:51 Quote
lol, I think i might not have gone public with my outrage if it was the pornographic industry ;)
sotu1 1st April 2008, 10:55 Quote
if it was the pornographic industry then i definately woulda gone public with outrage!!

actually, a few other things i thought might've given it away. in this article, there's no reference or quotations or evidence to back it up, and another site i check for news said that BPI was a music based company, which obviously clashed with my interpretation of a pornographic industry!
crushednutts 1st April 2008, 11:15 Quote
Not an April fool, I read this on the Cableforum yesterday and the fact that Virgin were going to implement the 3strikes rule has been mentioned for a while.now.
K.I.T.T. 1st April 2008, 11:33 Quote
april fool i hope
naokaji 1st April 2008, 11:37 Quote
well, it specifically says they will monitor the p2p traffic... if it would be real that would probably not be written in the article since there are like 500 other ways than p2p to d/l stuff and i'm sure virgin would monitor everything, not only p2p.
iwog 1st April 2008, 12:28 Quote
awww crap looks like its time to buy a usenet or a rapid share pro account
MiNiMaL_FuSS 1st April 2008, 12:51 Quote
how do they tell what's legal p2p traffic and what's illegal?
iwog 1st April 2008, 12:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiNiMaL_FuSS
how do they tell what's legal p2p traffic and what's illegal?

Thats a good point, i think in june i shall be archiving every linux distro and all patches i need for my games just to get a letter before i leave uni. But i think the BPI will be torrenting major releases themselves so they can harvest IPs to send to VM. Lets hope PeerGuardian does its job and i wont need that RS or usenet account after all.
Flibblebot 1st April 2008, 13:27 Quote
Are Virgin giving the BPI access to their network so they can monitor any torrent traffic, or are they going to setup fake honeypot torrents and trap people that way?
sgr55 1st April 2008, 13:33 Quote
Quote:
how do they tell what's legal p2p traffic and what's illegal?

The article indicates it's not Virgin Media doing the monitoring. They are simply screwing over good customers.

The BPI can simply monitor torrents that are known to contain pirated content or log onto a P2P network and share dummy files to entrap people. Pass on IP's that connect and let virgin deal with the backlash
steveo_mcg 1st April 2008, 13:34 Quote
From reading around it looks like the BPI will be in Torrent swarms as opposed to active monitoring from VM. So it looks like the honeypot solution just now, however with this] in the post i wouldn't rule out active monitoring in the future.
captainawesome 1st April 2008, 13:41 Quote
One of the main reasons I use bittorrent is to download Lost, which I do because I have Virgin Media instead of Sky, and Sky One is no longer available through Virgin Media.

So, if I can't use bittorrent any more, what's the obvious route for me to watch Lost now?

Hmmmm....
Leitchy 1st April 2008, 14:09 Quote
What happened to Torrent encryption anyways. Is that still a viable means of protecting what they see, or is that only for traffic throttling?
DarkReaper 1st April 2008, 14:48 Quote
*******s... This may prove something of an inconvenience to several people I know.
Demon Cleaner 1st April 2008, 14:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leitchy
What happened to Torrent encryption anyways. Is that still a viable means of protecting what they see, or is that only for traffic throttling?
Well, the article seems to suggest that they will connect directly to you using bit torrent, so encryption wouldn't make any difference. Encryption just fools your isp into giving that type of protocol priority over p2p protocol (as well as a way to circumvent throttling).


I use to use proxy tunnelling software when I was at Uni to connect to a tracker. Does that offer any protection? I thought it did until I read somewhere that a peer can inspect TCP packets to find the original IP (or is that just when you use use regular proxies? - I'm no technical expert). Might have to use Usenet more often if o2 bring this in.
mmorgue 1st April 2008, 15:38 Quote
Just stick to usenet and make it even harder for BPI to invade your privacy. Especially if your usenet provider is a) located in another country and b) you connect to then securely and c) the usenet server keeps no logs.

While still not impossible to catch you, it is far less likely than using p2p..
leexgx 1st April 2008, 17:46 Quote
this not affect me (usernet+SSL) but why would virgin do this its stuped as if thay cut them off next thing that will happen the customer will jsut stop the DD (not pay the final bill) and get sky and goto an BT line and virgin will never see that customer agane

for the most part you just need to find out where there clients are running from and blacklist there ips or jsut simpley Blacklist the UK and use out of uk peers only or thats alot easyer use giganews + newzbin

makes note needs to fix my own server mobo died
Mister_Tad 1st April 2008, 17:49 Quote
Alternatively.... and here's a novel idea. Buy your albums?

Nah, don't be daft. Why would anyone do that?

It looks like they will only be keeping tabs on music downloads (being the BPI and all), so I don't see any reason why they would care about anyone downloading Lost, or any other TV, films or software for that matter.
z3rb 1st April 2008, 18:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister_Tad
Alternatively.... and here's a novel idea. Buy your albums?

Nah, don't be daft. Why would anyone do that?

I'd love to if:
The money went to the artists, rather than the greedy *******s at BPI/RIAA et al.
I weren't a poor 16 year old who likes to discover new music that isn't easy to find on CD for a sane price.
CDs didn't cost £10-£15 for maybe 40 odd minutes of music.
iTunes etc didn't suck.

That being said, if I truely love the artist/album, I'll generally buy the album. I just can't afford to all the time.
Mister_Tad 1st April 2008, 18:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by z3rb
I'd love to if:
The money went to the artists, rather than the greedy *******s at BPI/RIAA et al.
I weren't a poor 16 year old who likes to discover new music that isn't easy to find on CD for a sane price.
CDs didn't cost £10-£15 for maybe 40 odd minutes of music.
iTunes etc didn't suck.

Then don't buy it.

No doubt that most of the music industry's business model is flawed in the extreme, but I think people thinking that they have a right to listen to music is also flawed. Music isn't a right, its a luxury, if you can't afford it then you can go without.

I just hope to see more artists following NIN and Radiohead's lead, as it makes a whole lot more sense and I'd rather not have physical media anyway. When I buy a CD, it gets ripped and then goes in to a box in a cupboard never to see the light of day again.
squeck 1st April 2008, 18:40 Quote
So does anyone know if you get hit with the third strike and are disconnected if they terminate your contract? That would be quite nice being a student, as I wouldn't have to pay the remainder of my 12 month contract when i've moved out of my house!
pendragon 1st April 2008, 19:07 Quote
ouch.. this bites for you folks across the pond :( sorry to hear it, if this is true
Gravemind123 1st April 2008, 19:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by WILD9
lol, I think i might not have gone public with my outrage if it was the pornographic industry ;)

And it would be the pornographic industry working with VIRGIN Media, those two don't seem like they go together ;)
Neoki 1st April 2008, 22:28 Quote
So basicly some one like giganews is ok to use
PQuiff 1st April 2008, 22:36 Quote
Go Virgin! First ITs PHORM now its TORRENTs. Wow and i liked mr Branson. Thought he would ahve halp us stick it to the man. Instead he is the man. :(
naokaji 2nd April 2008, 09:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neoki
So basicly some one like giganews is ok to use

I'd go with a usenet provider that doesn't keep logs and is located in a country with a questionable justice system that isnt easily accessible for our government.. but yes, virgin is too stupid to realize that those pirating stuff will simply use a different service, it's like speeding, the police puts up more cameras, those speeding simply buy more warning devices...
purple 2nd April 2008, 16:07 Quote
While i hate to spoil a good rant, ntl: (virgin as was) have been doing this for many, many years. (so have other ISP's but i have never worked for them so i dont know exactly how they ran things)

The copyright holders would send a letter in saying on dd/mm/yy ip address 123.123.123.123 was downloading/sharing a file that we own the rights too. Tell then to stop it sharpish.

The abuse dept forwarded this letter on the customers saying that you need to stop otherwise we will cut you off.

If the same person did the same again they would be warned again, and told if they do it again they will be cut off.

Many years back when I used to sit next to the abuse guys they were doing maybe 10-20 of these a day and closing quite a few peoples accounts.

So nothing has changed they are now just telling people thats what they are doing.

And remember its not the downloading they care about it the SHARING or publishing as they call it.
======================================

Also remember virgin dont care what you do, they are trying to make sure that they dont get sued too much by the copyright holders, so they pass the buck when ever possible.

Besideds if virgin lose a few people that are running flat out 24/7 they are really not going to care. All that does its ease network conjestion for the 90% of users that are not running flat out.
K.I.T.T. 4th April 2008, 12:20 Quote
Quote:

excellent!....i hoped something like this would come up.

Well it makes me dislike Mr. Branson slightly less but i'd still prefer it if he hadn't come along with his money whoring tendecies and bought NTL Telewest in the first place
steveo_mcg 4th April 2008, 12:22 Quote
He didn't NTL bought Virgin Mobile and then like many companies licensed the Virgin brand. Virgin Trains for example is 1% owned by Virgin group the rest ifs pretty much stagecoach (?).
D-NO86 3rd July 2008, 07:34 Quote
i have just herd about this on bbc news......
is there anyway around it? :-)
Shepps 3rd July 2008, 20:10 Quote
Use usenet as suggested earlier i guess. Private torrent trackers?
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