UK Labour Party: Let's Just Get On With Kicking People Offline Over Copyright Infringement

from the give-us-data-not-dogma dept

As Techdirt reported at the time, the UK’s Digital Economy Bill was rammed through Parliament, without proper scrutiny or even much democratic process, in the dying hours of the previous government. Since then, the implementation of the Digital Economy Act has moved forward relatively slowly. That’s partly because there have been a series of legal challenges from ISPs concerned about its legality (and likely cost for them). In addition, it made sense for the current UK government to wait for the completion of the Hargreaves report on copyright in the digital age before proceeding.

But the people who drew up the Act and its punitive approach to tackling unauthorized file sharing — the UK Labour Party — have no doubts; they want extreme measures brought in now. Here’s what Harriet Harman, the party’s deputy leader, thinks the UK government should do:

implement the Digital Economy Act under a clear timetable including getting on with the notification letters and publishing the code of practice

lead and set a deadline for agreement in the industry for site blocking, search engine responsibility and digital advertising

That is, she wants people thrown off the Internet for allegedly sharing files (the three-strikes “notification letters”); censorship (“site blocking”); search results to be doctored (“search engine responsibility”); and extra-judicial punishment (cutting off revenues from “digital advertising”.)

Of course, she wants all this without producing any specific evidence that it would actually help the music industries, or any awareness that innocent people might suffer as a result. That’s to be expected, since the Digital Economy Act was drawn up in exactly the same way: without any research that its measures were appropriate, proportionate or effective.

To be fair, Harman does quote a few figures in her speech, such as this one:

Research by [the University of Hertfordshire] and UK Music found that:

Over 60% of 14-24 year olds were downloading music without paying for it.

Of course, that figure is pretty meaningless, since it includes people who have downloaded just once as well as those who download frequently. Moreover, they may have downloaded without paying in order to sample before before buying, or because they weren’t able to buy what they wanted — something the research quoted by Harman explicitly recognizes (pdf):

40% said their main reason for filesharing is to save money or because it’s free. 23% said they did so to get hold of music they could not buy (for instance, pre-releases, DJ mixes) and 22% to experiment and try-before-they-buy.

So at most, 40% of that 60% were downloading music because it was free — only 24%, which is rather different from 60%. Not only that, but the same research reported:

85% of illegal downloaders say they would be interested in paying for an unlimited, all-you-can-eat download service.

In other words, the vast majority of these unauthorized downloads are because of a failure to offer a product that people would gladly pay for.

Here’s another number she mentioned:

Research from Harris Interactive found that:

3/4 of all digital music obtained in 2010 was downloaded illegally.

This is what the research report, commissioned by the British recorded music industry body BPI, said (pdf):

Harris conservatively estimates that 1.2bn tracks will be illegally downloaded in 2010 — equivalent to a stack of CDs some 74 miles high stretching well into space.

Illegal downloads represent three quarters of all music obtained digitally, when set against BPI’s prediction of 370m tracks in total across singles and albums bought legally by the end of this year.

That is, it’s an estimated figure, but without any methodology given for how it was obtained. Here’s another estimate from the same report:

Harris Interactive calculate that the total number of people in the UK illegally downloading music on a regular basis is 7.7m.

That’s almost exactly the same figure that Jupiter Research obtained in its own research on the subject. Harman used another claim from that company in her speech:

Of course every illegally downloaded track would not translate into one which was paid for but even taking that into account Jupiter Research estimate:

That revenue lost to the recorded music industry last year through piracy was £236m.

Unfortunately, neither the research nor its methodology is publicly available as far as I can tell, making it hard to judge how reliable that figure is. But we do know something about Jupiter’s estimate elsewhere that there were 7 million people downloading in the UK. As Techdirt noted at the time, this figure had been extrapolated from just 136 self-reported filesharers, using some pretty shaky logic. A more realistic number is likely to be closer to 3.9 million — rather less than the Harris Interactive estimate quoted above.

The final figure that Harman quotes is in many ways the most important:

And despite the success of UK music, piracy has contributed to the fall in revenues of UK record labels – down 1/3 since 2004.

This, in a way, is the key “justification” for the harsh measures that Labour believes are “necessary”: the UK music industry is suffering because of piracy, and must be saved at all costs. Unfortunately for Harman — and for Labour’s logic — that’s simply not true. As Techdirt reported, even the industry’s own economists admit that the music industry is growing, not shrinking; the industry doesn’t need “saving”.

Although it’s welcome that Harman tries here to justify her call for guilt upon accusation, censorship and extra-judicial punishments with some figures, it’s significant that none of them stands up to scrutiny. In fact, there is no independent evidence whatsoever that the kind of measures the Labour Party embodied in the Digital Economy Act are either needed or effective. It’s sad to see Harman continuing to suggest otherwise: surely it’s time to move the debate on from one based on rigid dogma to one using real data?

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Comments on “UK Labour Party: Let's Just Get On With Kicking People Offline Over Copyright Infringement”

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Anonymous Coward says:

If so many people are downloading music illegally maybe it shouldn’t be illegal.

If so many people are so strongly convinced that IP laws are so good then the majority would naturally follow those principles without any laws requiring them to and the laws wouldn’t be needed being that those who infringe would only be a small minority. We shouldn’t allow laws to micromanage morality and we should have a representative government that represents it’s constituents and if those constituents don’t see infringement as such a bad thing then neither should the government. Legalize it.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:


But does the research done by Harris translate into a declining British music industry? It would appear that it doesn’t as the industry itself says it’s growing.

Which opens up the other reasons for “illegal” downloading such as sampling to see if the entire album is worth buying, a price set so high that those doing the downloading are shut out of the mainstream market and get their music from the black market instead.

The current UK government is doing a study of its own before implementing the bill and I see nothing wrong with that. Of course maximalists would but one would hope reasonable people would not.

I can see Harman as a member of the the opposition standing up and saying that the delay and more study is a waste of time as her former government had passed a bill that, in her mind, took care or the isse because that’s what opposition parties do. And she’s trying to play the card that Labour is a government in waiting and that the coalition sitting on the government benches is wasting both time and money going off in a direction of their own.

Your attempt to say that any opinion that disagrees with yours is an attempt to justify piracy is old, worn out, sad and just not very persuasive.

So your score is 0.0025/10

silverscarcat says:

I think this applies...

I have a friend who lives in France, who, like many of us, plays video games, however, the price on video games in Europe is HORRENDOUSLY high.

While 50 Euros doesn’t sound like much, one must remember that it’s closer to $100 U.S. dollars.

100 bucks… For one new game?!

He got so tired of it that I flat out told him, if there is a game that’s on a region free system, all he would have to do is send me the money for the game and the shipping and I would get it for him.

Even after that is all said and done, it’s cheaper for him to send me the money (via Paypal) than it is for him to buy in his home market.

Pretty sad, huh?

But that’s the truth of the matter.

Violated (profile) says:


Seeing that the United Nations have already ruled that disconnecting people from the Internet is a Human Rights violation then Harriet Harman is a total fucktard.

I don’t even know why they go on about music when we already have a very viable market including Spotify and iTunes. This sounds to me like she is quoting 5 year old obsolete data.

Then of course the whole DEA is being pushed by entertainment industry while they ignore calls for viable services. At least we have NetFlix now which is a start. My point is that the DEA is the wrong solution to the wrong problem.

This scheme is not going to end well.

Paul says:

It really is not the job of national government to come up with new laws to support a legacy business model. I know it HAPPENS all over the world, but other than getting back-handers from lobbyists, what benefit does the government get? Most of the Corps they support avoid tax by being based in tax shelters anyways!

Government are voted in by the people, I can’t see how sharing a file on line can be have an adverse effect on the majority of the population.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hollywood accounting at work again

“Harris conservatively estimates that 1.2bn tracks will be illegally downloaded in 2010 — equivalent to a stack of CDs some 74 miles high stretching well into space.”

Highly misleading statement based upon burning just 1 track to a CD when you can get sixteen 5min tracks on a single CD, but then the reality would be only 4.6 miles high. Or 3.7 miles high for twenty 4min pop songs. Not as scary, is it?

When someone shows me photographic evidence of 1.2 bn actual mp3 tracks (not discs) stacked up reaching the sky they might convince me there’s a problem:P

Anonymous Coward says:


What concerns me is that you don’t think that a government should be representative of its people. and you also feel entitled to a monopoly privilege.

Governments should represent their people and you have no right to a monopoly privilege. If you don’t like it, find another job, I’m perfectly happy with whatever it is you allegedly won’t do without these laws.

Besides, you’re just a dumb lawyer, the only thing you create are frivolous lawsuits.

Anonymous Coward says:

Political Death Wish

What is the matter with the UK Labour Party? Have they somehow not noticed that they lost the last election? They will be losing a lot more elections, going forward, if they insist on representing the big US companies instead of their own electorate. More and more people are getting sick of the overreach of the copyright industry. UK Labour had better turn themselves around, very smartly, or they are going to spend a long, long time in the wilderness.

Anonymous Coward says:


“Thank you for the time and effort you put in to creating something I like. Now, get out of the way so I can use it as I see fit without having to worry about you and your needs.”

The entity that wants money for downloading didn’t create the art, it’s merely attempting to get you to pay for it.
And before you say “they give the artist a cut”, be aware that a number of the companies list downloads (even paid ones) as “promotion” and don’t pay the artist a cent for them!

Mike Masnick (profile) says:


What gives me pause for concern is that it seems you really believe what you are saying. IOW, “Thank you for the time and effort you put in to creating something I like. Now, get out of the way so I can use it as I see fit without having to worry about you and your needs.”

Have you checked in on the person who built your house lately and made sure that he’s living well? If not, it seems you went your own way and don’t worry about his needs.

What about the factory workers who made your car? No?

Nomad of Norad says:

All those music downloads....

One of the other problems with that 1.2 billion tracks number is… how many of those are songs that the one who created and performed the song in the first place actually themselves placed it out for people to download for free because he WANTED his music out there for people to enjoy? For that matter, how many of those alleged 1.2 billion tracks consist of ones released into the creative commons? The fairly misleading assumption is that every single one of those 1.2 billion tracks are ones ripped off from some big record company, which almost certainly is NOT true.

Beech (profile) says:

Here's a fun statistic

“Over 60% of 14-24 year olds were downloading music without paying for it, and in 4 years they’ll ALL be voters”

All this shows me is that soon a majority of the public will be dirty pirates, then maybe we can vote for some change. Oh, also: “without paying for it.” What about public domain works, free spotify account, pandora, jamendo, youtube, try-before-you-buy, etc? All relatively minor slices of that pie, im sure. But small slices add up. But yeah, we’re getting closer and closer to an age where the majority of people think that the old business models are dumb.

PaulT (profile) says:

I think this applies...

Some new games in Spain cost 70-80 Euros. For some reason, with over 20% youth unemployment, this isn’t the most vibrant sector. Luckily, there’s cheap imports available from the UK if you don’t mind getting the English soundtrack (and many UK games also have the Spanish available). Wait a few months and games cost less than 20 Euros to import. Of course, this is generally followed by whining about “piracy”…

Anonymous Coward says:

I feel sorry for the English people they are wonderful.
Once I was there and I couldn’t for the life of me find out how to buy a ticket at the train station, I was told there was some vending machines, but I never saw them, so I asked to a lady passing by how did I buy a ticket, she told me, if there is nobody on the cashier just pass through, and that was what I did, after that I got on the train and paid for the ticket when I got out on the other station the guard just smiled when he saw me because he knew I was going to get on the long line at that station to pay for the ticket, it was a hassle.

Now would I pay every time I heard a music?
Nope, I pay every time I go to the restaurant already, I pay every time I go to the mall, I pay at the gym I pay it everywhere, why should I pay again?

If anything else if I can’t find a way to not pay it I would do it in a heartbeat.

I’m sick and tired of those people and their little granted monopolies and I’m not paying it anymore, in fact I’m actively looking for ways not to, mostly legal but there are illegal instances too.

Richard (profile) says:


You made a mistake by going to the trouble of creating something without getting funding in place upfront – then you compounded your mistake by releasing it to the world without adequate payment for the first copy. Then you made it worse by blaming everyone else for your predicament and calling your fans criminals.

Now you want to make the rest of us pay for a stalinist enforcemnt regime to get back the money you threw away voluntarily. I’ve not got a lot of sympathy.

Dave says:

Off with their heads!

Obviously downloaders should be tortured, fingernails pulled out, hung, drawn and quartered (not to mention their ipods destroyed – the unkindest cut of all) to make an example of them, showing what a menace they are to all mankind. What’s that? We’re not doing much about murderers, rapists, terrorists, etc? Er….well….They’re not so important to the music industry that the government represents. Oops! What a give-away!

Anonymous Coward says:


I’m going to tell you something about the future. And you’re not going to like it.

If this was really a tech blog instead of a piracy blog you would have known it already.

Just as it has with phones, tv remotes, game controllers etc, the rest of all the electronics we use are going to be wireless. And when that day soon arrives, the “analog hole’ will no longer exist.

Unless the Internet part of the tech sector decides to respect IP and work toward a solution with the entertainment industry, the entertainment biz is going to say “fuck you” to the Internet and create it’s own closed-end wireless playback system that can’t be touched by the Internet.

And after over a decade of having their product ripped off on the Internet, no one will blame them.

crazylilting (profile) says:

Well if we go by those figures, they are trying to get ?30 off each of the 7.7 million people who supposedly regularly download copyrighted files illegally. How is this a problem for government? Why are we legislating and spending how much you retrieve an estimated 236 million?

According to the last economic impact assessment undertaken for the online copyright infringement provisions the ?main affected group? in terms of cost is ISPs and the cost of implementation to ISPs was estimated at ?290-500 million. That doesn’t even count how much the bill from OFFcon for enforcing it.

Why do these people still have jobs, please someone remind me.

Anonymous Coward says:


You don’t own the words you are using here with such abandon, you make no effort to reward the creators of the words, nor the grammarians who came up with patent #02312345 regarding the placing of words in a particular order to express thoughts or ideas.

You seem unable to grasp the difference between real things limited by many finities, including lifetime and supply and imaginary or intellectual property which is best understood as being infinite in both.
Real things being finite in lifetime or supply in themselves create a market for people who can supply them, imaginary property which is infinite needs to market itself differently and it doesn’t matter how many people access such items for free, they have no impact on profitability nor on the costs of creating the initial works, it is either ignorance or the presumption of it in others that has people like you constantly attempting to make comparisons between the incomparable.

Anonymous Coward says:


“the entertainment biz is going to say “fuck you” to the Internet and create it’s own closed-end wireless playback system that can’t be touched by the Internet”

And make vastly less money than they
1) do now
2) than they could

and inevitably destroy themselves whilst blaming everyone else for their failures.

But there will still be entertainment
There will still be music and poetry and stories
there will still be films and shows and cartoons
there will still be games and applications

Just the companies that used to make the majority of them, the ones that behave as you describe, will be gone, their shareholders will have lost their money and the RIAA, the MPAA and others like you will be the reason.

crazylilting (profile) says:

If i’m looking for a CD, i just go to the car boot. I’ve only bought one CD new in 5 years, the rest i’ve spent about ?1 or less on. I got Pink Floyd’s another brick in the wall for ?1. Why would i waste time searching for a free download? If you want to be the first to buy something, you are going to pay a lot for it plain and simple, and that is because there is one born every minute.

I’m tired of hearing about piracy, and how it is costing jobs etc… It is all bullshit. It will cost more to enforce then can be recovered and doesn’t benefit artist at all. I’ve heard several songs via google+ and wanted to buy them, but they belong to the Music maffia, so out of principle i won’t buy it. Perhaps in a year or two their works will end up in the heap at the car boot as well. Music and entertainment is not worth what they peddle it for and that is because of the big organizations that inflate the price of that art.

Anonymous Coward says:


Not only is that what he would like, I’m quite sure on top of that, assuming you did do all of that, he would also want you to transfer all the rights over everything you just paid to have created to him. He would then want a paycheck on top of that for suggesting you do this on your own. Assurances that regardless of whether or not the movie was profitable or a bust, that he would receive a monthly paycheck for the rest of his natural life for said movie that YOU paid to have created. As well as the rights (and profits) to anything movie related (DVDs, Blu-Rays, Soundtrack, etc).

His type is indeed arrogant and entitled. The problem is, for them this is normal behavior and thinking. As such, to him and his ilk, their is no entitlement going on. They’re just doing what they’ve always done. The rest of us are the “entitled” ones because well… for whatever reason. You can loudly and proudly proclaim you are not a pirate (and present proof of each and every single one of your purchases with receipts, camera photographs of you making said purchase, etc) and in that case, he’ll call you a piracy apologist. You can say you do completely without (as in DO NOT download or buy a single thing, on principle), he’ll call you a liar and a pirate anyway. And so on and so forth.

Watchit (profile) says:


are you saying the entertainment industry might actually “innovate”? oh no your talking about some silly concept that doesn’t make sense. Besides people will still upload whatever content they want to the internet anyway, they inevitably will because the entertainment industry insists on making it the absolutely hardest thing to get the content legally. So don’t blame pirates for uploading things to an easy to use torrent/magnet system if they don’t want to jump through 7 flaming hoops to sell their first born child for a silly song.

Anonymous Coward says:


Wait a sec, the mantra here is that because of the Internet, where they have zero control over the distribution of their product, that they will all eventually be like the dinosaurs and be extinct.

Now you’re saying if the situation becomes the exact opposite, they’ll still go out of business?

It sounds like you’re expressing wishful opinion rather than critical thought. Sorry.

Anonymous Coward says:


“It sounds like you’re expressing wishful opinion rather than critical thought.”

Wow, in one sentence you summarized each and every single one of your posts accurately. Congratulations.

Question. When a troll becomes self aware is he still a troll?

Also, if you ACTUALLY read “the mantra here”, you’d realize that they won’t all become extinct like dinosaurs. No, what’s said is if they fail to adapt to changing markets and business models, they WILL fail. Not necessarily go extinct, but definitely put a crimp on their profit margins (which are already being eroded at by things like a recession, a plethora of choices in regards to entertainment, etc.)

Also, who is this “they” you speak of? Do you mean gatekeepers, middlemen, artists, etc? Be a bit more specific. Because those with a shred of intelligence know that artists have been and always will be around. Regardless of copyright, the internet, piracy, etc. Creating is in our nature, it will not be extinguished ever (the urge to create just because).

Sorry, your post is weak. You’re trying to just twist things and turn them around on the person you responded to, yet you offer no evidence of anything one way or another. Also, he didn’t say anything you’re attributing to him, in regards to “mantra”. He merely pointed out that you said they’d create their own closed system that they control entirely, at which point, he explained that such a closed off system (which by it’s nature would have no access to any other system, like say our current internet) would shelter itself from the greater world/internet at large, at which point, it’s losing access to a giant pool of clientele. Thus they’d be limiting themselves, which in turn would diminish their profits and potential for profits.

Also, you should look up the definition of the word “surmise” as it seems to accurately describe (as well) each and every one of your posts.

I like this, can we do the back and forth a bit longer. It’s kind of fun pointing out logic failures, stupidity, hypocrisy and anything else you exude in spades. (Also, I’m not usually so sarcastic or rude to people, but there are just some people that don’t merit respect, as they don’t give it themselves, you seem to be one of these people. Based on your comments.)

Anonymous Coward says:


The right thing according to who, and for whom or what does a law truly favor?
These are the questions people are starting to ask themselves, when you have laws that go against the people, then who are the laws for? Who has more rights then the people? When there are so many other things that need a hell of alot more attention, WHY is this getting such attention from goverments worldwide? Why do we as a people, have to work so hard to get truthfull information?

MrWilson says:


I am the person to whom the great god Greed endowed his blessing of money via his designated prophets, the lobbyists and corporations, and through them, Greed told me that I should legislate morality and pass corrupt laws that extend monopoly rights to a privileged few. For as the lord Greed sayeth, “Any who do not accept money in exchange for their dignity…fuck em, for they are not children of the faith!”

Anonymous Coward says:


a closed off system (which by it’s nature would have no access to any other system, like say our current internet) would shelter itself from the greater world/internet at large, at which point, it’s losing access to a giant pool of clientele. Thus they’d be limiting themselves, which in turn would diminish their profits and potential for profits.

This statement is nonsensical in both theory and fact.

Look at the profits of the record labels when they used a closed end system- as recently as the mid 90s. Or before the internet existed.

They made more money.

Care to try again?

Anonymous Coward says:


No, they made their profits when people had NO OTHER OPTIONS and nowhere else to turn. Which proves my point. NOW, AT THIS EXACT MOMENT, when people have a plethora of options as far as entertainment goes (free or paid), they could not possibly hope to compete if they closed themselves off from the world at large. Sure, they’d make SOME money. But nowhere near the amounts they’d like to make or would make if they didn’t cut themselves off from the world at large.

Your own comment in response to mine proves my point.”Look at the profits of the record labels when they used a closed end system- as recently as the mid 90s. Or before the internet existed.” “They made more money.”

Wow. Really? They made more money before the video game business became even bigger? Before there were more consoles than some know what to do with? Before a computer was found in every home (and in some cases more than one)? Before 60 hours of video were uploaded a minute (freely available for viewing) to this site called Youtube? Before a thing called Netflix or Hulu (allowed them access to video without having to go to a video store to rent/purchase said videos)?

My gosh. Well, let’s just hop into a time machine and go back to the 1990s, so they can keep raking profits while entertainment options are limited. Don’t you think?

I’d call you an idiot, but it goes without saying after your response that you are indeed that.

Or should I say, “Care to try again?” 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:


I hate to break this to you, but there were video games in the 90s, too.

Anyway, it’s not about competition for entertainment dollars.

Recorded music is more popular than ever. People are just as addicted to it as ever. That’s why they rip it off. Because they desire it. It’s just that they can get away with breaking the law when they take it with little risk of being caught.

If popular artists were only available on a closed end system, you know what would happen? People would pony up the $ for the system.

The Google and their mafia will try to propagate lies to suggest this wouldn’t happen, but history has proven it would. Every time.

Anonymous Coward says:


You’re seriously grasping at straws. Yes, I know there were video games in the 90s. I played them. I owned pretty much every console since I was old enough to play games (4 years old in 1989). NOW THERE IS MORE THOUGH. What part aren’t you getting. There are more games available. There is more music available. There is more video. Etc. There is a FUCKLOAD more choices.

This is the one part you can’t seem to comprehend. In the 90s, options were limited. Products were limited. Etc. Now however, there is almost none of that. You have so many choices you almost don’t know what to do.

Really, it’s not about competition for entertainment dollars? WTF is wrong with you? That’s the entire point. You have to compete with all the other choices I have for my money. Otherwise, regardless of what popular artists you may have on your closed system, you WILL NOT see a penny from me. Not when I could spend that same penny on something else. YOU NEED TO COMPETE.

Sure, some people would pony up a few bucks for that closed system, but not everyone. Which brings us back, full fucking circle to the beginning of this thread. That you are shooting yourself in the foot by limiting yourself with such a closed off system.

As for that last bit of diatribe you wrote… LOL. History has proven people will buy things. Oh my gosh. You sir should give lectures. Your wisdom and insight are just too great to limit to this site. Perhaps on the “paranoia” circuit. You’d make a killing. Google and “their mafia”. LOL! As opposed to the MPAA/RIAA and “their mafia” and their practices ranging from price fixing to shady accounting to straight up theft and legislating the competition away.

Yeah, we’re done here. I think reading your post killed more brain cells than what I did last night. I can’t run the risk of letting you hurt what I have left. It’s been interesting, to say the least.

abc gum says:


“Why do we as a people, have to work so hard to get truthfull information?”

Control of the media (tv, radio, papers) was very easy in the past due to convenient choke points and corruption.

The advent of the internet and free exchange of information has been a real eye opener for the establishment(s) across the globe. Due to their lack of vision, they were caught off guard and are now attempting to catch up, SOPA, PIPA, TPP, ACTA, etc, etc are the result. Hopefully they realize their attempts at control are futile and simply accept it, work with the people rather than against them.

Torg (profile) says:


Oh, I see the problem. You think it’s possible to ensure that artists are only available on a closed system. It’s not. Firstly, there are many, many artists already available online, and people will always go to those before bending over for whatever monstrosity you propose. Popularity is defined by what the populous favors, and the populous will always gravitate towards the easily accessible offering, which in this century means the online one. All your plan would accomplish is the rise of a legion of Justin Beibers. Secondly, how, exactly, do you think an unrippable music player could be made? The closest thing in existence to an unbreakable recording method is teaching a parrot how to sing, and the audio quality with that is terrible. Anything else that stores data can have that data retrieved by someone, and it only needs to be ripped once to become available online. Once something’s available online the copies will multiply, and when the original is taken down more will take its place. Or maybe you’re proposing a system in which customer’s devices play music as they receive it without storing any data. Congratulations, you’ve invented the radio. I don’t think anyone’s felt the need to figure out how to record XM yet, so if you do it that way you might be able to keep your data relatively secure for a week, possibly even two if no one cares about your music, though you will still have to contend with the microphone rips you mentioned earlier. After those two weeks are up your system will be as open to piracy as anything else.

If data is stored with the customer it will be broken into and copied. If data is not stored with the customer it will be recorded as it’s received and copied. Either way your plan fails.

Anonymous Coward says:


I’m sorry you can’t wrap your head around this, but again, for many decades music was only available on closed-end systems and it and the marketplace worked fine.

You have become oblivious to the fact that it is the content holders that allow you to rip off their content. They allow it out in a format that can be illegally taken. But that is still their choice, as dumb as it now seems. They are the ones that provide you the opportunity to do it easily and in perfect fidelity. They are also the ones that can say “No. We’re tired of our product being ripped off. We will no longer provide a medium for our product to be duplicated perfectly.”

And there won’t be a goddamn thing you can do about it.

Except hold a mic up to a speaker and rip it that way.

And like I say, go for it. Knock yourself out trying to get decent fidelity that way.

Anonymous Coward says:


“Use the analog hole to intercept my phone call”

Please understand the difference here. The difference is that you, the phone call receiver, don’t want the phone call recorded and distributed. and if the government wants to tap your line, it can, not to mention apparently Anonymous has somehow been able to tap the government’s phone calls lately. Also, I don’t really care to tap your phone calls and you assume that you can trust those at the phone company to keep your phone calls a secret if they had reason to tap them. The phone company is composed of many people each with differing motivations.

but here is the main difference. If I am a phone call receiver and I want to record my phone call with you (assuming you are a content distributor) and let others hear it, try and stop me. The difference here is that, in your scenario, both parties on the phone are cooperating with each other, whereas those who want to copy content and have access to it aren’t cooperating. See.

Not an Electronic Rodent says:


That’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in quite a while thank you very much for a really good belly laugh.

FYI, unless you happen to be talking about a point-to-point link like laser (not terribly practical for a many-many network really), “wireless” = broadcast (i.e. one to many) and broadcast = easily interceptable.

What you may mean is a matter of protocol and encryption not interception of signals. Protocols proprietory or not are, well, protocols. As for encryption, anything for such a large and wirespread network would be all but impossible to keep updating fast enough to outpace the increase in processing power to break is. Just take a look at current wireless encryption like WPA for example.

Plus the entire tech industry is moving to convergence and interoperability and it’s what customers want. What makes you think that a relative handful of companies shouting “We’re taking our ball and going home!” is going to convince everyone to run after them and ditch every bit of equipment they already have for a new, untried, proprietory and inevitably overpriced solution?

Oh, and mobile phone calls? Mic and speaker not required. Very susceptible to “man in the middle” attacks are mobiles to name but a single vulnerability, and the equipment to do so is portable and relatively cheap already.

Torg (profile) says:


There were also a number of centuries where it took months to cross the Atlantic, but if you tried running a shipping company with seventeenth-century technology you’d never get any customers. Closed systems worked fine in the twentieth century, but we are no longer in the twentieth century. Conditions have changed. Culture is no longer a one-way proposition.

That you think the ability to rip music is at all a choice of the companies shows that you have no idea how music works. No company would waste its money on DRM if it was really as easy as turning the ability to copy off. Music does not and can not just magically appear in the speaker. That’s not how speakers work. Either the songs are stored with the speaker, in which case they can be retrieved from that storage, or they are transmitted to the speaker system, in which case a device to record the transmission can be incorporated into the speaker system DVR-style. Radio, CD’s, vinyl, tapes, phonograph cylinders, and those things they put in birthday cards so they sing when you open them can all be read and transferred to a computer with only moderate effort. Closed systems only existed back when those were new because computers and the Internet had not yet hit their stride. The only unreadable format is something that doesn’t at any point go through anything manmade, such as a trained parrot.

Not an Electronic Rodent says:


Except hold a mic up to a speaker and rip it that way.

Uh, no since there are at least 2 data transfers and 3 devices required in what you describe (the media must be read by the player device and the player must send it to the speaker) and to be work a damn all of those data transfers will have to be lossless, I’d simply create a device that pretends to be one of the legitimate devices and transfer it from there. Any time you move data from one system to another it’s vulerable.

The only “perfect” security system is one you can put data in but can’t get it out again. Ironically in replying to your post I may have just demonstrated that kind of system. Assuming the “data” went in, I’m pretty sure it’s not ever coming back out agin in any useful form.

Anonymous Coward says:


I’d simply create a device that pretends to be one of the legitimate devices

I remember “descramblers”; these were what people bought on the black market back in the day to try and unscramble HBO programming.

Can you also invent a flying car for me while you’re at it? I’m tired of waiting and it sounds like you think you could do it.

The fact that none of you can grasp the kind of tech I’m talking about, tech that already exists, is evidence that you’re in for a very ugly surprise.

Torg (profile) says:


The tech you’re talking about is easily circumventable now that people don’t need to watch things live and data can be stored in its pure form. For the example of HBO, all you need is one person with a) a subscription and b) a DVR, and the whole channel is compromised. A descrambler like you described would probably also be easier, since the scrambled data can be placed on a hard drive and decrypted at the hacker’s leisure. Remember, with the Internet only one person needs to distribute something and everyone has it. This isn’t like the days when everyone needed to steal HBO from the source.

Torg (profile) says:


No, they are what make it easy for me to copy music I already own. YouTube converters and torrent search sites are what make it easy for me to rip off music. Vinyl is harder to digitize and I personally lack the equipment, but that’s no longer relevant because as long as one person has such equipment and is willing to put the music online I can get it from them. The nature of the Internet means it doesn’t need to be easy for me. It just needs to be possible for someone.

Not an Electronic Rodent says:


tech that already exists,

Excellent. I love new knowledge and I’m not at the moment aware of any such thing. Please provide links so I can read up. This is COTS technology that’s viable for mass implementation, right? Rather than a developmental thing that may well be breakable by the time it’s ready for market?

I remember “descramblers”; these were what people bought on the black market back in the day to try and unscramble HBO programming.

And now I know that every time the satallite companies change their encryption the updates to “pirate” systems are available usually within hours or days at best. Once upon a time the equipment necessary for “breaking” such systems properly was prohibitively expensive, now it’s dirt cheap. Such is progress.

Not an Electronic Rodent says:


I remember “descramblers”; these were what people bought

By the way, “descramble” = decrypt. Breaking encryption is now done on (relatively cheap) computers not proprietary hardware as encryption (of any flavour) = maths and computers are good at maths.

Can you also invent a flying car for me while you’re at it?

Don’t need to looks like someone already has.

is evidence that you’re in for a very ugly surprise.

Actually it’d be a very nice suprise to find that such an “unbreakable” network was actually possible. It would make my job an awful lot easier.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:


I never said free.

Sampling is often done when the person has never heard the band or not heard of them and looking them up on someone’s recommendation. Listening to the clip, then, as often as not buying it. Which is a lot of what was happening on places like Napster.

Even worse, I guess, in your mind, long ago when there were still a lot of record stores a lot of them offered the ability to listen to tracks before buying the album or CD or whatever. In short, sampling. In your mind, piracy I’m sure, because I’ll bet my bottom dollar BMI or ASCAP didn’t get a dime.

The reality is that sampling of that nature is as old as the retail music business itself. That’s not gonna change just because the music is now digital. And THEN people buy. That’s not gonna change either.

LDoBe (profile) says:


I actually have some experience with closed systems of media distribution.

It was with my cellphone back in the early 2000s. TMobile offered a music store for it, that was terrible. It was mostly popular music. Nobody bought any. It was too expensive. Granted people decided to just use mp3 players instead. I was determined to get the music I wanted.

My phone was “perfectly” locked down. I couldn’t download via http. I couldn’t listen to anything on the SD card that didn’t have the correct DRM signature.

Does this sound like a way to make money? I bought the phone because it said “music capabilities.” in the end it had piss me off capabilities. In the end I was able to hack the phone to pieces and play whatever the fuck I wanted on it.

If there was a decent offering, and the ability to play whatever I wanted to from anywhere I got it, I might have bought music to play on it.

DigitalDao (profile) says:


“In the meanwhile, because you are buying only selected limited rights for a very limited price, you need to think past the end of your nose.”

Huh? What’s this full cost that you’re talking about?

The cost of digital distribution is effectively zero, so there’s no variable cost to cover.

And if it cost $10k (for instance) to record a track and you sell 10k digital downloads netting $1 each you’ve fully recouped all your production costs on the first 10k units sold.

After that you’re asking listeners to pay money for content whose production costs have already been paid that costs nothing to copy.

What does “full cost” mean in a context like that?

abc gum says:


Holy crap – do I really have to spell it out for you?

1) Tell me how your pathetic encryption can not be broken.
This ought to be good – lol

2) Microphone? – who needs a microphone? …. What will stop someone from from opening your silly little box and connect alligator clips to the speaker wires?

And I’m not even an expert in the field … imagine what they will do.

abc gum says:


“You can’t intercept a call of mine from me to someone else. “

Either you are incredibly naive, or you are attempting to blow smoke up everyones ass. Sure – the average schmoe out there is incapable of doing this, that does not mean it is impossible or even impractical. In fact, it happens all the time, given the right equipment. So, tell us, which is it – I’m curious.

Anonymous Coward says:


What will stop someone from from opening your silly little box and connect alligator clips to the speaker wires?

Yes, I’m sure no one has thought of that already…


Not that there won’t be psychopaths like yourself who will no doubt attempt to do so.

Maybe if they succeed, they can purchase every album released and then spend every day, all day and night seeding torrents. LOL

Torg (profile) says:


Good. You understand how piracy works now. Now all you need to do is stop being so dismissive of the idea.

The “psychopaths” comment was uncalled for, though. If someone was trying to sell you a t-shirt as a bulletproof vest, you’d want us to let you know, right? And if we did so you wouldn’t assume that we planned on shooting you. This is the same principle.

abc gum says:


Rest assured – I did not think I was the first to have such a thought, that would be silly – but thanks anyway.

I’m not sure why you think that only a psychopath would state the obvious – but stranger things have happened I guess.

What do you mean by “if they succeed”? Is it really that difficult to connect two alligator clips to two speaker wire connectors?

As stated previously, I was pointing out that the prior poster was incorrect in their statement that it could not be done. It really is not a big deal.

Anonymous Coward says:


Can the people pushing for these laws be trusted to be doing the right thing?

Lets see:

Secretive negotiations
Hollywood Accounting
Potential campaign contributions in return for laws (Chris Dodd)
The revolving door

Telling lies about infringement damage numbers and bogus numbers over how much infringement is allegedly harming the economy and jobs

Stealing from the public through retroactive copy protection extensions against the progress of the sciences and useful arts and against what was agreed should already be in the public domain by now at the time the content was created and the monopoly granted.

Why should I believe that those who want these laws can be trusted to be doing the right thing?

Anonymous Coward says:


What do you mean by “if they succeed”? Is it really that difficult to connect two alligator clips to two speaker wire connectors?

What two speaker wire clips?

See, you’re not thinking. You don’t think that hasn’t already been worked out?

At any rate, pirate sites are dropping off the map so fast now that maybe it won’t be necessary.

RapidShare, anyone?

Anonymous Coward says:


It really is not the job of national government to come up with new laws to support a legacy business model.

You’re an idiot that never went to class.

There is no successful national economy on this planet that did not support its “legacy” businesses.

It’s so funny to watch you fools throw around the cliches that have been propagated here for so long.

But I guess it’s ultimately just more money for the short bus drivers…

DaAlc says:

I would just like to say, that most of my friends who are less tech-savvy, stream all their music from youtube.
Computer plugged into amp n speakers, have an open playlist, and they keep adding tracks and listen away. Most of that music has been placed there illegally of course, but they do not realise this. They think, “its youtube, how am I doing anything wrong?”.

abc gum says:


“You’re an idiot that never went to class. There is no successful national economy on this planet that did not support its “legacy” businesses.”

– Successful business is supported by the consumers of that business product. Government(s) attempt to provide an environment for business to grow. Although some businesses receive preferential treatment from government(s), favoring one business model (model – not business) over another is not what one would consider good policy. I’m not sure if you ever attended business or economics classes, but you may want to brush up on a few details.

– You do your credibility a disservice by insinuating that those who disagree with you are idiots and fools who ride the short bus. In addition, making fun of the disadvantaged is really low, especially for someone who is wagging their finger at perceived impropriety.

Anonymous Coward says:


“If the law shouldn’t be used to deal with theft”

Those are your words, not mine.

Calling infringement theft is a lie and lying is more immoral than infringement. So, if anything, you should be punished more severely than those who copy. Unfortunately, our legal system is backwards thanks to people with your complete lack of moral standards. I don’t immoral people like you writing laws.

Anonymous Coward says:


When IP extremists keep telling lies why should I trust their moral standards.

When most people use the term theft they are referring to the deprivation of that which is taken from the ‘owner’. Copying is not considered theft in that sense and if you want to define it that way then you are being disingenuous by intentionally conflating the two definitions, instead of properly calling it copying (or infringement). and I’m supposed to somehow trust your moral standards? Not in this reality.

I see nothing morally wrong with copying (or infringement) and I don’t want (middlemen) IP extremists that contribute nothing with no moral standards whatsoever, beyond their own self serving interests, telling me otherwise.

Anonymous Coward says:


As opposed to the IQ of the average Techdirt troll. As is very well represented by yourself.

Pretty scary. No “isn’t it?” required. As it’s very much evident and indeed scary. I can only imagine a world where you and your kind were allowed to do as they please and dictate to others how things should be done and how they should live their lives. Can you say “Orwellian”?

Anonymous Coward says:

Harriet Harman has had a God complex for a number of years now. Controlling what other people do has been on her agenda under a number of different guises, most notably as women’s rights. One particular recent incident was where an agreement had been made in contract with a banker about his bonus, she replied by saying “We’ll just change the law so we can take it away from him”. The concept of ‘fair’ is foreign to those in power in the UK as corporate ties are pushing legislation to make laws which are curtailing individuals rights. I have no problem with an artist making a fair amount of money for their work, conversely any work I do is paid for by the hour and does not make a return for me for the rest of my lifetime – oh the inhumanity. I fear that our children will be brought up in a society where the world is empty of content unless you pay to fill it (though I’m sure it would not be void of adverts).

Badger (profile) says:


> The entity that wants money for downloading didn’t create
> the art, it’s merely attempting to get you to pay for it.

They paid the artist. The paid the manufacturers. They paid the PR people. They paid!

> And before you say “they give the artist a cut”, be aware
> that a number of the companies list downloads (even paid
> ones) as “promotion” and don’t pay the artist a cent for them!

Which, even if true, is irrelevant: the artist knew and accepted these conditions.

PaulT (profile) says:


“And when that day soon arrives, the “analog hole’ will no longer exist.”

Really, you think that analog will not longer exist? Are you going to just have digital media beamed straight into peoples’ brains now, or is this just another way to show how clueless you actually are about the real arguments?

“create it’s own closed-end wireless playback system that can’t be touched by the Internet.”

Go ahead. That still won’t make me pay any more money than I’m already paying, and it will stop you morons from trying to destroy my freedoms for other activities. Good riddance.

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