Digital Economy Act not in breach of EU laws, Court of Appeal rules: “A controversial law that forces internet service providers (ISPs) to help combat illegal file-sharing is lawful, the Court of Appeal has ruled.”
(Via OUT-LAW News.)
BT’s head of retail Simon Milner came out swinging after the legal setback over web-blocking. While admitting the company is ‘not deliriously happy’, it welcomes a clarification. And BT won’t be appealing the decision.…
(Via The Register – Comms.)
Bt plans to soak subscribers to police filesharing – The Inquirer: “BT plans to soak subscribers to police filesharing
£25 each per year
By Rosalie Marshall, Thursday, 24 September 2009, 14:27
PROPOSALS to suspend the Internet connections of people caught illegally downloading copyrighted files will cost each UK broadband customer about £25 a year, according to BT.
The proposals are being driven by business secretary Peter Mandelson as a means of curbing illegal downloads, which allegedly are eating into the profits of the UK’s entertainment industry.
John Petter, BT’s consumer division boss, said policing downloads could cost the industry about £1 million a day.
Petter said that because broadband is a thin-margin business, there is no way any ISP, including BT, would be able to absorb the cost so it would have to be passed on to consumers.
A BT spokesman said the main cost would be the integration of new technology into the network to allow ISPs to track downloaders. Other overheads would include the costs of notifying and educating consumers on the new policy as well as enforcement costs.
‘We feel that instead music labels should develop new business models,’ said the spokesman.
‘At the moment, they just want to outsource all their problems to ISPs. Legislation before the introduction of Digital Britain did allow music labels to go after people that downloaded copyrighted music, but they did not take advantage of it because it would have generated bad PR for themselves,’ the spokesman added.
Responding to BT, a Department for Business spokesman said, ‘We have issued a consultation on our proposals. It is clear that the rights holders do suffer harm from file-sharing; it is also clear that tackling unlawful file-sharing will involve costs. We have asked industry for reliable figures on both the damage caused by file-sharing and on the cost these obligations will involve.’
He added, ‘Any decision would be based on a proper cost-benefit analysis and have to be proportionate. We hope BT will respond to the consultation and provide the information to help us make an informed decision.’
No ISP has come out in support of Mandelson’s proposals, which came as a surprise to the industry given that such a move was specifically ruled out by the government’s Digital Britain report in June.
Earlier this month, the chief executives of Britain’s biggest internet providers, including BT, united to criticise the government’s latest plans.
BT’s Ian Livingston, Carphone Warehouse’s Charles Dunstone and Orange’s Tom Alexander said because the vast majority of their customers do not illegally download content, many innocent customers would suffer as a result of Mandelson’s proposals.
The Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) also registered its disappointment with the government’s apparent U-turn. The ISPA has pointed out that policing downloads could contravene data protection laws that prevent ISPs from looking at the content of information over their networks.
Another problem that has been raised is how ISPs will differentiate between legitimate downloads and illegitimate ones. For example, entertainers and producers that want to share their content with people may risk causing the recipients to be falsely identified as copyright criminals. µ”
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has denied involvement in blocking the Pirate Bay BitTorrent tracker site, after BT mobile broadband users were told they had fallen foul of a filter against ‘over 18 sites’.…
(Via The Register – Comms.)
Starting today, BT Mobile Broadband users are disallowed access to the largest BitTorrent tracker on the Internet, instead they get a ‘content blocked’ message. This proactive filtering mechanism is part of a voluntary self regulation scheme through which the the mobile broadband providers hope to keep children safe from all the horrors of the Internet.
The code of practice identifies several types of content that could be harmful to children, and encourages ISPs to filter these type of sites. Among the filtered content are gambling sites, pornographic material and hacking tutorials. BitTorrent or other file-sharing related sites are not blocked according to the code. It is not clear why The Pirate bay ended up on the block list, but the most plausible reason seems to be their diverse adult torrent collection.
The code doesn’t allow any sexually explicit material, legal or not, and The Pirate Bay does offer ‘links’ to such content, although it doesn’t carry any itself – sound familiar?
The reason why the code is specifically aimed at mobile providers is the increase in mobile devices youngsters have access to without oversight. All sites that have an ‘over 18′ status are included and all access to these sites is simply blocked. Customers who want to lift the block to one of the sites may do so by contacting customer service.
This is not the first time that The Pirate Bay, for one reason or another, has been blocked by Internet service providers. We’ve seen similar things happen in Italy, Turkey, Denmark and several other countries. However, this is the first time that the reason for the blockade is not copyright related.
Whether or not the code will prevent minors from seeing too much flesh is up for debate, but although the comparison between Google and The Pirate Bay has been a hot one this week, one thing is certain – there is a hell of a lot more porn to be found via a Google image search than is to be found on The Pirate Bay.
Failing that there’s always daddy’s porn mags to fall back on – quick, board up the newsstand.
The government will call on BT and other big communications firms to monitor small ISPs’ customers and keep private information on them under European data retention rules, the Home Office has revealed.…
(Via The Register – Public Sector.)
Exclusive BT’s long-held claim that legal advice said its Phorm trials did not breach wiretapping laws came under renewed scrutiny today, as documents revealed the firm approached government experts after it had secretly co-opted 18,000 broadband customers into the advertising targeting system.…
(Via The Register – Comms.)