UK ISP Boss: 'The Pirates Will Always Win'

from the so-now-what? dept

Last year, when the recording industry in the UK was pushing for ISPs to act as copyright cops, Charles Dunstone, the head of Carphone Warehouse and its TalkTalk ISP, stood up and bashed the recording industry for even daring to suggest that the ISP should be responsible for the recording industry's own inability to adapt. As he said at the time of the recording industry:
"They're not just shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted -- the horse has left town, got married, and started a family."
As numerous people are submitting, Dunstone is back at it, stating the obvious to a recording industry that needs to hear it. He's trying to explain to them that, no matter how hard it tries, it can't stop unauthorized file sharing, noting that "the pirates will always win" and any attempt to stop them is simply "naive":
If you try speed humps or disconnections for peer-to-peer, people will simply either disguise their traffic or share the content another way. It is a game of Tom and Jerry and you will never catch the mouse. The mouse always wins in this battle and we need to be careful that politicians do not get talked into putting legislation in place that, in the end, ends up looking stupid....

If people want to share content they will find another way to do it.... It is more about education and allowing people to get content easily and cheaply that will make a difference. This idea that it is all peer to peer and somehow the ISPs can just stop it is very naive.
Of course, this is what plenty of people have been saying for years. There have been plenty of opportunities for the recording industry to embrace opportunities, and they've failed almost every single time. Instead, as always, they want to complain about the "pirates" and the "thieves" while other companies build the new music industry around them.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    interval, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 7:54am

    Well...

    ...lots of luck on getting the labels to read his column.

     

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    Yakko Warner, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 8:14am

    ...

    [...]we need to be careful that politicians do not get talked into putting legislation in place that, in the end, ends up looking stupid....

    I think it's way, way, way too late for that...

     

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    James, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 8:48am

    Now I'm happy I'm with Talk Talk

    Thats just increased by customer service rating of Talk Talk, which I haven't had any issues with anyway.

     

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    Buster, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 9:09am

    Been saying this for years...

    I've been saying this for years. There's no way to stop it. You can slow it down or cut off one road, but there'll ALWAYS be another way of getting to the target. If you doubt it just look at the time line in general. We started with 3.5" floppies, someone would save data on it and send it to their friends; from there CDs, and once again the same thing occurred. Following that came the Napster generation (P2P sharing) and laws were made to stop it yet other companies and programs were born, and on and on. Now we have bit-torrents, as well as a few other things. It's pointless to try to stop it. BUT at the same time I'm not saying don't try, it's fun to watch the failure.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 9:33am

    there's no way to stop bittorent at this point, to many companies have started using it for legitimate purposes. If you try to stop all bittorent traffic you'll start butting heads with companies that do base part of their business on it. Not to mention mIRC has been around for ages and they could never stop that program.

    I hope the music industry keeps trying. While they aren't innovating they are causing massive innovation in how people share data and encrypt it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 9:42am

    The point isn't to win - the point is to make it hard enough,risky enough, or annoying enough to file share that the vast majority of users won't bother.

    You will never stop it 100%, but if you take it from the current levels where some reports suggest 19 out of 20 songs are downloaded illegally and move that to 4 or 5 out of 20, that a is a huge difference for the music industry, and a huge difference in the public's comportment.

    It's the broken windows theory, digital style.

     

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      ChrisB (profile), Jun 9th, 2009 @ 11:05am

      Re:

      By broken windows, do you mean the discredited theory that crime went down in New York because they fixed small things (e.g., graffiti) which help reduced big things? Legalized abortion had much more to do with that than fixing windows.

      I think the only thing stopping massive scale file sharing is 1) ignorance (that it is possible) and 2) some technical difficulty (e.g., converting downloaded files). "Risk" has less to do with it.

       

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      chris (profile), Jun 9th, 2009 @ 11:14am

      Re:

      The point isn't to win - the point is to make it hard enough,risky enough, or annoying enough to file share that the vast majority of users won't bother.

      all it does is get easier. public trackers like TPB are easier to use than google. clients like utorrent are way easier to use than napster was. terabyte USB hard drives make trading whole collections a breeze. bits are never going to be harder to copy than they are right now, and with every bit copied the whole process just gets easier.

      You will never stop it 100%, but if you take it from the current levels where some reports suggest 19 out of 20 songs are downloaded illegally and move that to 4 or 5 out of 20, that a is a huge difference for the music industry, and a huge difference in the public's comportment.

      that might have been the case when it was just a bunch of broke ass college students trading top 40 tracks. but it's quickly becoming a political movement. like the hacker crackdown in the 90's and the subsequent free kevin movement, file sharing has taken on a political and philosophical tone that pulls in more and more people every day. file sharing is a youth movement. the pirate bay trial is galvanizing young people against media companies on a scale that makes the free kevin movement look like a blip on the radar. file sharing is quickly becoming how a generation defines itself.

      these numbers just aren't sustainable. every dollar spent fighting piracy is a dollar wasted. as file sharing becomes more politicized, it gets worse. that dollar is not just wasted, it becomes a dollar invested in your bad image and disappointed customers. the content industry is not just wasting money, it is donating money to finance its own decline. the only weapon that media companies have in this fight is money. their enemies are using time and talent. one resource is finite and one is infinite.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 11:47am

        Re: Re:

        "these numbers just aren't sustainable. every dollar spent fighting piracy is a dollar wasted. as file sharing becomes more politicized, it gets worse. that dollar is not just wasted, it becomes a dollar invested in your bad image and disappointed customers"

        At some point, there will no longer be a dollar to spend, not just to fight piracy but to create new content. Piracy advocates have to look past the ends of their noses to realize where this goes in the end.

        No new money = no new big artist music.

        So now run along and go download some stuff before they stop making it (then it will be a scarce good again).

         

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          Nagolod, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 12:05pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          What a deluded idiotic puppet you are.

          Music has existed since the dawn of time. It will take more than a medium to distribute it at nearly no cost and reach millions of potential fans to destroy it.

          Oh, and if by "big artist music" you mean the likes of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake dying off, good fucking riddance.

           

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          chris (profile), Jun 9th, 2009 @ 1:47pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          At some point, there will no longer be a dollar to spend, not just to fight piracy but to create new content. Piracy advocates have to look past the ends of their noses to realize where this goes in the end.

          yeah. there isn't any new content. nothing on youtube, nothing on myspace, no artists burning up twitter, no new shows. there aren't kids on the streets of london and kingston grinding out records like there was money in it. i didn't just pay $30 to go to ninja2009 and stand in the rain. i'm not going to vegas in august to sell CD's (yes, physical plastic CD's) for my favorite artist at a booth when he releases his new album at defcon. i won't volunteer to do this in exchange for a free CD and the opportunity to hang out with him.

          get a clue. there is more new content out there now than ever before. it barely costs anything to make content now once you step out of the "industry".

          No new money = no new big artist music.

          i don't care about big artist music. in time no one else will either. the back catalogs are already available online for free so all that's left to profit from is new, independent music that costs little to make. big ticket artists with universal appeal will just get universally downloaded. they're a waste of money.

          the world changed. the music industry was mortally wounded 10 years ago and we are all just waiting for the corpse to bleed out. the same is now or will soon be true of newspaper, film, and television.

           

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    PeterG, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 9:44am

    This started as soon as there was something to copy. The first caveman to whistle a tune was heard by others who were soon copying him.

    In my youth we had unlimited access to Commodore 64 games. I had so many copied games that I spent more time organizing my floppies than I did playing games. This was BEFORE INTERNET. We would just have floppy-copy parties.

    People like to share. You can't stop them even if you shut down the internet.

    Make a decent product, treat your customers with respect and they will be proud to buy your product to support you. Alienate them and they will jump through every hoop to not buy your product and make sure their friends don't buy your product.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Jun 9th, 2009 @ 10:05am

    If... for instance, you could find a way to generate power for free - there's no doubts that oil companies, coal companies, power companies would SCREAM.

    But I don't think any amount of screaming would stop people from making their own power...

    If that in fact was the case; many would praise that as one of the best things that have ever happened to humanity. Odd how music, art, and literature are widely available on the Net - yet, the focus isn't on that fact - it's on how some corporations are losing money..

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 10:12am

      Re:

      If people were actually MAKING something, you might have a point. But this is just people ripping the artists off. Nothing made here.

       

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        Headbhang (profile), Jun 9th, 2009 @ 12:17pm

        Re: Re:

        Much more people are able to enjoy music than would otherwise have been possible. Most artists still seem to be doing rather well. Only largely parasitic executives whose only talent has been sitting on a pile of money feeding lawyers seem to be complaining (plus some brainwashed minions and spoiled overhyped artists).

        Overall, happiness is being made, methinks.

         

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        identicon
        dirtydan, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 3:40pm

        Re: Re:

        What's the point of creating something if no-one can appreciate it. The argument here has always been that the internet broadcasts 'The Arts' and the products of society and civilization to anyone who has the luxury of accessing it.
        Once you have 'discovered' something that interests you - then you support it in the most appropriate way.

        'If people were actually MAKING something, you might have a point. But this is just people ripping the artists off. Nothing made here.'

        We are talking about the largest distribution network ever created. In my opinion; if you are going to pay for something, you will. I could never buy something that I wasn't aware existed.

         

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jun 9th, 2009 @ 10:16am

    Good to hear

    I am happy to hear about another ISP standing up to point out what hogwash the suggestions are.
    One in Austrailia, and now one in the UK.
    I do wish there was one here in the US who truly stood up for its customers.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 10:39am

    I think the ISPs are responsible for securing and blocking P2P sharing of music. Just make them intercept any instance of the word "music" in the data stream and block it, that way it will stop the pirates and benefit sites such as Warner Music and Sony Music. Yeah.

     

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    Mechwarrior, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 12:55pm

    In fact, how will anyone stop sneakernets? With storage getting cheaper and bigger, people may just walk to their friends place and copy their terrabyte hard-drive to a NAS. Will the RIAA then force hard-drive levies passed to support their business?

    Theres a point when you start receiving negative returns, and the entertainment industry is about to cross that point.

     

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    identicon
    jim, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 9:21pm

    2004 richest dead person list
    1. Elvis Presley $40m (£22m)
    2. Charles Schulz $35m (£19m)
    3. JRR Tolkien $23m (£12.5m)
    4. John Lennon $21m (£11m)
    5. Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel $18m (£10m)
    6. Marilyn Monroe $8m (£4.3m)
    7. George Harrison $7m (£3.8m)
    =7. Irving Berlin $7m
    =7. Bob Marley $7m
    10. Richard Rodgers $6.5m
    11. George and Ira Gershwin $6m
    =11. Jimi Hendrix $6m
    =11. Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe $6m
    =11. Cole Porter $6m
    15. James Dean $5m (£2.7m)
    =15. Dale Earnhardt Sr $5m
    =15. Jerry Garcia $5m
    =15. Freddie Mercury $5m
    =15. Tupac Shakur $5m
    =15. Frank Sinatra $5m

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

    Sure, pirates get free shit but if all these dead people can make more in one year than I'll probably see in my entire life then fuck copyright.

     

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    dunncha (profile), Jun 10th, 2009 @ 1:13am

    I buy music or rather audio books digitally

    I've joined a club and pay my price and I download my book. Excellent it works on my PC; next I drop it onto a disc so I can listen to it in the car. Opps sorry you are not allowed to burn this book as the DRM is programmed not to let me.

    Hmmm that's a bit of a pisser. I only wanted this to listen to in the car because I have such a long drive to work. I contact the company and they tell me buy a MP3 player you aren't allowed to convert it to raw MP3 for use in the car. That's stealing.

    I know I look for it on Piratebay. Bingo 1 hour later I have my book on a disc and can listen to it on a car. My book the way I want it.

    I tried to do it the legal way but you won't allow me to use the media I have paid for the way that I want to.

    So you could argue that unfair licensing is driving law abiding netizens to piracy. In my case it's true. Shame on you!

     

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    dunncha (profile), Jun 10th, 2009 @ 1:18am

    I used to buy legal music/audio books

    I've joined a club and pay my price and I download my book. Excellent it works on my PC; next I drop it onto a disc so I can listen to it in the car. Opps sorry you are not allowed to burn this book as the DRM is programmed not to let me.

    Hmmm that's a bit of a pisser. I only wanted this to listen to in the car because I have such a long drive to work. I contact the company and they tell me buy a MP3 player you aren't allowed to convert it to raw MP3 for use in the car. That's stealing.

    I know I look for it on Piratebay. Bingo 1 hour later I have my book on a disc and can listen to it on a car. My book the way I want it.

    I tried to do it the legal way but you won't allow me to use the media I have paid for the way that I want to.

    So you could argue that unfair licensing is driving law abiding netizens to piracy. In my case it's true. Shame on you!

     

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