Virgin begins file-sharing offensive

Discussion in 'Virgin Media Broadband' started by tracertong, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. tracertong

    tracertong
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    Virgin Media and the British Phonographic Institute are to begin sending warning letters to Virgin broadband subscribers who they alleged have been illegally sharing music files.

    Confirming plans announced in March, Virgin will send accused customers two letters, its own and one penned by the BPI warning them that they've been accused of downloading music illegally, and that they need to stop or face action.

    The offending account will be identified on the basis of information supplied to Virgin by the BPI. However, Virgin claims no personal details will be sent back to the UK music trade group.

    According to BPI figures, around six and a half million consumer broadband accounts download music using peer-to-peer software such as Limewire, and in many cases the account holder is unaware, according to BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor.

    "Education is absolutely key to reducing the extent of illegal downloading," he says in the statement. "We believe that new partnerships with ISPs can help build an internet in which


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    music is properly valued. That will benefit not just musicians, songwriters and labels, but all internet users who love music. This joint campaign with Virgin Media is the first step towards achieving that goal."

    A Virgin spokesman sadds, "We want people to enjoy music online without infringing the rights of musicians and music companies. This campaign is about helping our customers understand how they can do this."

    But the ISP is not yet threatening to disconnect persistent sharers, though it will warn them that this is a possibility.

    Voluntary action

    The BPI is among a number of music industry bodies pressing all ISPs to follow suit. The UK government has warned that unless they do take voluntary action, it will legislate.

    Business minister Shriti Vadera urged other ISPs to follow Virgin's lead: "This is a very welcome first step by Virgin and the BPI to educate consumers about unlawful file sharing, which damages our vibrant creative economy."

    Becky Hogge, executive director of the Open Rights Group says that she welcomes Virgin's commitment not to disconnect its customers, but warned the threats may yet cause problems: "A hard core of dedicated illicit file-sharers will instantly route around any IP sniffing that goes on by using encryption. Then they'll develop tools for less tech-savvy users to take advantage of encryption. And then we'll be back where we started."

    http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/204306/virgin-begins-filesharing-offensive.html
     
  2. Synchronicity

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    I dont really agree with what VM are doing here I have to say,but I think ilegal downloading has become so rampant that their hand is being forced a bit.

    I think part of the problem now is P2P is just so easy and literally anyone can and does do it.You go back a few years and it was only people who were techy types that were downloading dodgy files.I would not be surprised if they clamped down on P2P sharing, a lot of people would just stop doing it and would not get into the newsgroup side of things because it is a little more compicated.Just IMO obviously.
     
  3. def

    def
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  4. Tomo1971

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    TBH I doubt very much that any action will be taken, well not at this stage anyway.

    I reckon they are doing it to make parents aware of what their kids are doing.

    I'm not suggesting its all kids or just kids downloading through torrents etc but it will be a fair number. Hopefully if VM make the bill payere aware then they can chastise the kids and educate them. Maybe thats the idea behind it all.... for now anyway.

    Steve
     
  5. CP-PC

    CP-PC
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    the reason people are sharing files and downloading them is because its free. why pay for stuff when you can get it for free??? the reason i beleive people download music is beacuse the price for cd's and dvd's are to high. especially considering you can get them for free online. get them online and there at your finger tips and ready to play within 60 seconds. no poping down to town, no saving up to buy a cd. its all at your finger tips for free. what person in there right mind would pay for a TV if you could get it for free somewhere else?? its the same with music. you watch a film or tv or the radio and think hmm i liked that song... pop online... search.... download.... all within a couple of mins and all for no money what so ever. no company is gonna stop file sharing by targeting the users. they need to target the sharing sites such as limewire and they might get somewhere. as someone pointed out anyone can download these days its so easy. just install a program such as limewire search for a song and heypresto its done. if you take away those programs most people wont have the know how to carry on. most people download because its been made so easy to do.
     
  6. Nivek TT

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    A BPI spkesperson has responded to the BBC's Bill Thompson's (useless) critique of what Virgin are up to.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7452621.stm

    A few fair points, I would prefer DRM was abandoned and letters put in its place, but I'm not convinced.
     
  7. soundstory

    soundstory
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    I'd be curious if any Virgin customers get the letter..........
     
  8. lead

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    If VM begin to monitor our web use in this fashion will that count as a major change to our T&Cs and therefore allow us to cancel our contracts without penalty?
     
  9. CP-PC

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    so now there monitoring our net useage, and capping our internet speeds?? i would say thats a HUGE change and would break the contracts we signed. but not only that would this be an invasion of privacy??
    whats next? monitoring out phone calls? capping our call limits so we can only be on the phone for a total of a couple of hours durring peak times??
    stop us from watching the same tv channel all day??
     
  10. soundstory

    soundstory
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    Has anybody received a letter?
     
  11. Matt_C

    Matt_C
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  12. HRL

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    Well my mother has just signed up for their 4Mb L package and I'm staying there for about 6 months.

    If all this stuff is true then I can expect a letter within a month of the connection next Wednesday. Guess I'll have to wait and see.
     
  13. MarkyPancake

    MarkyPancake
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    I heard on the radio this morning that VM sent the first 800 letters today to users of software such as LimeWire and BitTorrent.
     
  14. CP-PC

    CP-PC
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    there are also TV adverts saying that VM are sending letters out aswell. it was on the 10 o'clock news last night. is it just limewire and bit torrent or will they be checking newsgroups aswell??
     
  15. Racquel Darrian

    Racquel Darrian
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    Would you get a letter for downloading porn? :D
     
  16. Racquel Darrian

    Racquel Darrian
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    And don't say a French letter. :D
     
  17. MarkyPancake

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    With all their throttling policies in place which penalises you for legitimate downloads, like an Xbox 360 game's map pack that can be more than the allowance, I think I'm going to join the O2 revolution.
     
  18. waynertron

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    As I understand it, the BPI are harvesting the IP addresses of sharers on the p2p services and handing those to VM to deal with.

    VM don't allocate static IP addresses, so I wonder how many people will get letters in error?
    I wonder if there is a legal defence if you get a letter in error, accusing you of carrying out illegal activities?

    Edit - Man denies file sharing http://news.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/hi/newsbeat/newsid_7487000/7487385.stm
    I'm surprised VM have the technical skills to map a time and date and IP address to a particular user, they can't seem to get bills right ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2008
  19. serial killer

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    VM don't allocate static IP addresses, so I wonder how many people will get letters in error?

    Answer lots i would think but not because your account didnt have that ip address at that time jut that there are 1000s of cloned vm modems out there all running the mac address of someone else and all downloading mp3s full pelt.

    it takes about two secconds with google to find out how its done and vm dont seem to be doing anything about it. its a joke really when letters are been sent out and govenment is getting involved and vm cant really be sure it was you and not some little bar stuard 100 miles away who has got hold of the mac address of your modem
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2008
  20. CP-PC

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    very true. as for porn..... it depends where you get your porn from. i dont think the letters would include a list of actual file names or contents as thats an invasion of privacy (isnt it?) ive downloaded a few games from steam (all legal) and a few game demo's (also all legal) and ive also been sending mucis back and forth to friends and family (all legal as the music is made, produce,writen and composed by some local bands and i have their full permision to distribute it) the missus also downloads songs from itunes and watches loads of video's on youtube. over the past week or so i have consistantly exceeded 13GB (upload+dowload) per day. i constantly check my line speed with speedtest.net to see if VM has throttled the line or not and so far they have not. im just waiting for my final VM bill to come through and see if i get an letter about "filesharing offenses" if i do ill fight it all the way as its all legal stuff.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2008
  21. CP-PC

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    just out of interest how would vm prove that YOU where downloading illegal files?? the files could be legal, it could be someone else cloning your modems mac address. and on the other side of things if we where accused in error how would we prove it wasnt us?? how many people out there actually keep a log of all IP addresses there pc is using??? as there not static they change every so often how would we prove that we didnt have that ip address at that specific time?? and how would they prove we did have it at a certain time?? im done with VM anyway as ive got 16MB Sky BB and Sky tv now too im just waiting for the end of my bill and for VM to collect my set top box and modem. (hence why im still using it and have VM and Sky BB at present :)
     
  22. def

    def
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    It's completely unprovable. I won't bother going into the long and boring reasons why. VM will simply send out letters to "suspected" offenders, and then disconnect them without discussion. The problem is that VM don't need proof to just disconnect you. The only time absolute proof will be needed is if VM hand over your details to an organisation/company who then try and prosecute you - which would fail due to lack of evidence.
     
  23. ger32

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    No doubt most here have seen the letter VM is sending out. But just in case you've not here's a copy:

    We're writing to you about downloading and sharing of copyrighted files on the internet. That's because we've received a report that copyrighted music has been shared using a computer linked to your Virgin Media internet account. Please allow us to explain.

    As we're sure you'll know, many files that can be saved on your computer (like music and videos) are protected by copyright. While it may be okay to store them for personal use, it's unlawful to download or share them without the permission of the copyright owner – for example, the record company or film studio that released them. Otherwise it's a "copyright infringement", which can lead to legal action being taken against the person responsible.

    It's one of the jobs of the BPI, which represents British record labels, to make sure that copyrighted music files aren't unlawfully shared over the internet. They wrote to let us know that they believe your internet connection is being used to share files.

    We understand you may be concerned about this, and you might be unsure how it happened. One possible answer is that other people in your household have used your computer and/or Internet connection, and they might have shared these files with others by using unauthorised "peer-to-peer/P2P" filesharing networks like "BitTorrent" or "Limewire".

    However, you need to make sure that these files aren't downloaded or shared from your Virgin Media internet connection in future – for example, making sure they're not being made available through the use of file sharing networks, and securing any wireless router that you have. We encourage all our customers to use appropriate security solutions to safeguard their computers whilst online, and therefore we recommend that you use PCGuard, our suite of security services.

    This can also help to prevent the spread of computer viruses which are sometimes disguised as illegal music files. All this will help make sure that no further steps are taken against you.

    We've included a summary of the BPI report below, we hope that this and the enclosed BPI letter helps explain how to prevent unauthorised downloading and filesharing and how to enjoy music safely online. If you'd like details of any further technical information supplied to us by the BPI or if there's anything else you'd like to know, just call our internet security team on 0845 454 1098. Please note we have not shared any of your account or personal information with the BPI as part of this communication.
    .

    This is accompanied by a very bland BPI letter stating that we should all pay full whack as the artists really really deserve our cash. Bless 'em.
     
  24. MarkyPancake

    MarkyPancake
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    Has anybody on here had this letter yet?
     
  25. Curly99

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    Nope cause I'm a good boy, me ;) :)

    Curly
     
  26. Synchronicity

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    VM could tell you when you had a particular ip address,how long you had it for,etc and it is pretty easy to spot if a modem has been cloned so that could not really be used as any sort of defence.

    IMO VM are just going through the motions as they have to be seen to be doing something to combat ilegal file sharing,I suspect it will be business as usual for most downloaders until something drastically changes.
     
  27. CP-PC

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    so VM can tell us what ip address we use at any given time but how can users verify that?? how will VM know if we are downloading illegal content or not?? as i said i download and upload quite alot and if someone was to monitor my activity or track my total upload and download it would look like typical illegal downloading activity. so VM have covered there backs but how can customers defend themselves??? keep a log of all ip addreses used???
     
  28. lyserman

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    The clue is in the letter they have sent out.
    They mention "sharing" because when people set themselves up on peer to peer, such as limewire, they put an advert on the internet saying "look what I have on my computer. If you like it please download it from me."
    That is how the peer to peer file sharing works. You are actually telling the whole connected world, including the net police that you have illegal stuff on your computer, exactly what it is and that you are willing to give to anyone that wants it.
     
  29. MarkyPancake

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    What about leechers?
     
  30. CP-PC

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    if the p2p network or program is advertising what is on your pc then shouldnt it be easy as pie to find and prosocute users??

    @def.... if its compleatly unprovable then no one will take any notice of the letters as nothing can actually be done about it.
    i thought VM needed a valid reason to disconnect our services??? if they do cut someone internet off due to "suspected" copyright infringement then the user can challlenge VM as to why they cut it off and VM would have no proof and would have to put the service back on or they would be opening them selves up for lawsuits wouldnt they??
     

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