PRS gone mad?


It seems the PRS want to fine ISPs for allowing copyright infringing material to go over their network!

This is just plain crazy, but trying to explain that to them may be tricky.

1. An ISP is a mere conduit - like the postal service. We do not control what passes through our network and do not want editorial control over it either. Allowing packets to flow freely is what we do, and providing that unimpeded communications channel is key for the growth of the internet and UK commerce generally.

2. Even if an ISP was to try and track and stop copyright infringing material traveling over the network, it will simple go underground and start being encrypted. Surely we can't be fined for sending encrypted data over our network as we have no way to know what it is. So it would be ineffective anyway.

3. If any such law was drafted as badly as the DEA, where the definitions means our customers are clearly communications providers (not internet providers or subscribers) meaning we are not an internet provider under the Act, the fine would be ineffective anyway.

4. Even if you thought such a fine could be effective and morally right some how, then who do you fine? After all, the infringing material will typically traverse a hosting company, a transit provider, an ISP, a broadband carrier network, etc. As an ISP we are responsible for a couple of meters of cable and equipment that routes traffic - all the rest is transit providers, other ISPs, peering networks, or our favorite telco. The infringing traffic travels over the tiniest part of it's way over our network...

5. Lets look at it another way - the media industry make money from on-line sales. Just look at iTunes. But as an ISP, I am not paid by iTunes for sending non-infringing material over my network. They are making money at my expense using my network for free. If the media industry want to fine ISPs, then all ISPs need to charge the media industry for this, as well as access to their web sites from our customers too. If we are forced to find a way to monitor infringing traffic I am sure metering legitimate traffic will be a doddle. And if they won't pay for that, then we just block access to their web sites and iTunes and so on.

OK, for the avoidance of doubt, we are not planning to block access to iTunes, it is just an example of how they need us too and how they should not bite the hand that feeds them...


  1. Let's not forget that in order to show that an individual has downloaded material for which they don't have permission from the rights holder, then some form of checksum is required to make absolutely sure what that file is, and this presumes the file hasn't, in some way, been re-encoded.

    Simply using P2P does not prove that unapproved copyrighted infringement has taken place. There are many legal ways to use P2P and more and more people are seeing the benefit of distributing large files this way, and that's before you get to typical lawful users downloading Creative Commons music, images, movies or GPL and FOSS software like Linux.

    The PRS (and their RIAA counterparts) are just trying to make yet more money. The PRS' job is actually to manage royalty payments to relevant artists, but without proving exactly which music has been pirated, then they can't prove who the money they're hoping to claim will need to be paid to. So just who is going to get all this extra cash windfall? The PRS themselves of course. They have historical 'form' for not paying dues to artists and they are reportedly sitting on a huge cash pile which legally doesn't belong to them. And what's more, they are using that cash to lobby for expanded laws which will directly benefit them financially.

    The deeper you dig, the more they look like mobsters.

  2. well, if the ISP's are to be fined, surely the ISP's won't be the ones doing the monitoring of this, so who will? of course, if it *did* happen, then I would be 100% up for charging these people for bandwidth if their site(s) are accessed over the network.

    second, if this was to get through, can we not use the same thing with telemarketers (legal or not). I do not want the calls, the calls come through my service provider (whether that be AAISP, BT, TalkTalk, etc, etc) can we fine them for telemarketers being able to contact us? maybe this would make the Gov. actually do something about it! (yeah, ok, that made me laugh too....)

  3. So based on this if a shoplifter stole a DVD from a shop jumped into their car and drove home based on the theory above the local authority should be fined for allowing copyrighted material to pass over their road!!! What happens if they use public transport!!!


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