Virgin Media cable says that the record industry is in charge of your router configuration

Discuss

62 Responses to “Virgin Media cable says that the record industry is in charge of your router configuration”

  1. bex says:

    On ADSL I could only get about 1 Meg , so its Virgin for me , beats moving.

  2. Takuan says:

    maybe redfoxone should get an IP ban for repeated deliberate spamming

  3. zuzu says:

    So it seems to me the best thing to do is to route around the damage. That is what creative commons licensing in effect does, it bypasses the broken copyright laws that only serve corporate interests. We need to create a culture that exists outside of the fences erected by the studios. But that presents a problem because people like some of the things that are inside those fences. So they steal it.

    It’s not stealing; it’s copyright infringement. Theft requires denial of use; making a copy of something doesn’t qualify.

    I can fully appreciate the spirit of counter argument – and the need for open WiFi… but the argument itself is as mindless as it is irresponsible. If you’re providing an open WiFi point — guess what — you’re responsible for the data that comes through it.

    Why? Why is anybody responsible for what others happen to use their network for? “Enabling” a crime is an incredibly specious argument. All of the RICO / solicitation / inducement laws are bullshit. (As are all laws of intent — which is actually a fancy way of saying “thoughtcrime”.) Law enforcement should be limited to the act of the crime itself, not every ancillary and tangential aspect of it. Just because anonymous networks make tracking of criminal activity difficult is no excuse to conscript network owners.

  4. wynneth says:

    Touché Takuan:

    I was tuning in the shine on the light night dial
    Doing anything my radio advised
    With every one of those late night stations
    Playing songs bringing tears to me eyes
    I was seriously thinking about hiding the receiver
    When the switch broke cause its old
    They’re saying things that I can hardly believe.
    They really think were getting out of control.

    Radio is a sound salvation
    Radio is cleaning up the nation
    They say you better listen to the voice of reason
    But they don’t give you any choice
    cause they think that its treason.
    So you had better do as you are told.
    You better listen to the radio.

    I wanna bite the hand that feeds me.
    I wanna bite that hand so badly.
    I want to make them wish they’d never seen me.

    Some of my friends sit around every evening
    And they worry about the times ahead
    But everybody else is overwhelmed by indifference
    And the promise of an early death
    You either shut up or get cut up;
    They don’t wanna hear about it.
    Its only inches on the reel-to-reel.
    And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools
    Tryin to anesthetize the way that you feel

    Radio is a sound salvation
    Radio is cleaning up the nation
    They say you better listen to the voice of reason
    But they don’t give you any choice
    cause they think that its treason.
    So you had better do as you are told.
    You better listen to the radio.

    Wonderful radio
    Marvelous radio
    Wonderful radio
    Radio, radio…

  5. mello clello says:

    How I wish I could run an open network. The pity is, here in New Zealand the only broadband options are capped at usually 1GB or 10GB per month, and you get progressively billed if you go over that. The common mentality is that if you open your network, you’re giving your hard-earned internets away for free!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Yup, only thing keeping us on Virgin is the prohibitive cost of being reconnected to BT – it still seems raving made for all other services you have to go through BT.

    Then there’s the cost of replacing the Virgin TV with the only other real offering, SKY – FreeSat and digital are only a partial replacement.

  7. landwomble says:

    ths s stpd rtcl, wrttn by n thr wh’s thr plyng stpd, r s stpd.
    pretty much every domestic broadband connection in the UK is sold under the condition that you don’t sublet it out to anyone else. you agree to this when you take out the service. hence opening it up to the world is against the T&Cs *you agreed to* and you don’t get to moan.
    Virgin are doing some dumb stuff at the moment, but this argument is bogus.

  8. TakeForFreeWillMcGree says:

    Check out this guy’s amazon review of a product, where he openly admits to downloading music… http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A2BHRLNO7YUKJZ/ref=cm_pdp_profile_reviews?ie=UTF8&sort%5Fby=MostRecentReview

  9. itakefauxtoes says:

    Seriously..

    The record industry needs to be sent a notice to stop singing artists and putting out music that causes me, and others, to want.

    Once they stop producing music and singing new artists, all their problems will be solved.

    Boom. Done.

  10. Anonymous says:

    TOR Forever!

    -Tyler Durden,
    Cypherpunks

  11. zuzu says:

    this is a stupid article, written by an author who’s either playing stupid, or is stupid. pretty much every domestic broadband connection in the UK is sold under the condition that you don’t sublet it out to anyone else. you agree to this when you take out the service. hence opening it up to the world is against the T&Cs *you agreed to* and you don’t get to moan.

    pfft, TOS are like EULAs — effectively meaningless and unenforceable. Bandwidth is bandwidth; you pay for bitrate × time, that’s all. I pay monthly for 15Mbps symmetric where I live, which means moving 15,000,000 bits/second × 2,629.743.83 seconds/month ~= 4815 gigabytes, or roughly 4.7 terabytes of data transfer per month.

  12. El Mariachi says:

    @ Landwomble: pretty much every domestic broadband connection in the UK is sold under the condition that you don’t sublet it out to anyone else.

    Maybe the word has a different meaning in the Queen’s English, but in America at least, “sublet” means “to re-rent,” that is, to rent out to a third party property that you yourself are renting from the owner. If you’re not charging money for it, you’re not renting it out, and thus not subletting.

  13. jmtd says:

    Unfortunately I’ve just left virgin, for charging too much for too little (37GBP/month for “20Mbit” broadband, that averaged out at 8Mbit down over several bandwidth speed tests, although to be fair, I got nearly 20Mbit/s down when I fetched files from *virginmedia.com…) and moved to BeThere (8Mbit down measured at 4Mbit from one speed test only, so far – so 50% overstated vs. Virgin’s 66%; but with double the upstream at 1.5Mb) at less than half the price.

    Had I not done so, I’d have certainly cited this as a strong reason for leaving, too.

  14. noen says:

    Zuzu
    “It’s not stealing; it’s copyright infringement.”

    Point taken. Your second point about intent is also very good.

  15. Anyone says:

    “If I play my music with my window open, my neighbour might decide to open his window and listen in, instead of buying his own music. Does that mean that the record industry gets to order me to bolt my window shut?”

    Nah, but you might just get harassed by PRS for lacking license for public performance (PRS has apparently been cracking down on churches, little kids and now the police)

    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/10/07/2335244&from=rss
    http://www.mcps-prs-alliance.co.uk/about_us/yourquestionsanswered/Pages/Doesitmatterhowthemusicisperformed.aspx

    Hm, wondering how much longer it’ll take until they’ll implant us with something to be able to charge for every piece of “intellectual property” we hear, see or read…

  16. reech says:

    @Jonathan V
    “In this situation, we have a customer that is implicating Virgin in copyright violations. Call me crazy, but I think any time you go out and jeopardize someone you can pretty much expect them to not have your back.”

    eh? Virgin is by no means implicated – they are expressly not liable as an ISP for the actions of their customers; see regulation 17 of the EU ecommerce directive.

    crazy.

  17. Scary_UK says:

    So, no correction about Virgin not having a record label?

  18. Spoon says:

    @Zuzu

    Neither are meaningless or unenforceable where the agreement is lawful.

    And a TOS agreement is much more powerful for a company then a EULA in that the former is a service so they can easily (even illegally) simply chose to stop serving you, while the latter requires they sue you and then get the court system to actually enforce it.

  19. Teneon says:

    The groundwork necessary for overcoming the difficulty the BPI, RIAA, etc. has in prosecuting downloaders on an open wi-fi network, will be to establish the idea that you can and will not be charged when there is a conflict of OS or program apps being used for file sharing. The purpose for substantiating this as the common ideology is crucial to their agenda, in that reinforcing there may be a possibilty of being tried otherwise will stimulate fear and a need keep your wi-fi secured.

  20. BritSwedeGuy says:

    Close your window!
    The BPI is trying to bill a chain of car repairers as their mechanics play their radios loud enough for their customers to hear. Certainly a privilege worth paying for.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Excellent timing – I can now leave Virgin. I was one of the lucky ones who never experienced problems with NTL. But now they’ve started shaping P2P traffic (even legal P2P, such as linux distributions, Nine Inch Nails hi-def releases, etc).

    They are also much more expensive than rivals like Tiscali. Goodbye and good riddance Virgin media!

  22. Takuan says:

    be sure to write them why

  23. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    The record companies sealed their own fate when they jacked up their prices when they switched from vinyl to CDs — very expensive, y’know, new technology and all — and never lowered them thereafter. The minute consumers got CD burners of their own and found out how cheap and easy it is to burn a CD, they knew the music industry had been gouging them all along.

    If you need a more sophisticated reason to loathe them, read up on the kind of deals they cut with up-and-coming artists. Basically, they don’t recognize the existence of overhead, or the cost of doing business. Everything they do, from production to PR to the cost of touring, is charged to the artist. This is one of the biggest differences between the publishing and the recording industries: in publishing, the equivalent functions are paid for by the publisher. It’s a strong incentive to keep costs down. In the recording industry, it’s all charged to the artists, who consequently can lose money on a successful album and well-attended tour.

    Also, the recording industry didn’t have a lot of trouble enforcing its copyrights when everything was vinyl. It took a lot of work and specialized equipment to produce a record. When easier media came along — tapes, then cassettes, then CDs — They didn’t lift a finger to address the structural changes in recording media. All they did was bitch about how it was ruining their industry.

    When the internet came along, people were hungry for some way to buy music online. The recording industry did jack. They didn’t care; they were making record profits off CD sales (see above). A few years later, as CD sales dropped, they woke up to the fact that music was getting traded online, just not by them, and started screaming.

    What’s the biggest music retailer in the world? A commercial company that put real effort into making it easy to buy music online.

    Meanwhile: all along, the recording industry has been letting recordings go out of print. They were so sure they controlled the distribution network and the retail market that they made their job more convenient by reducing the number of recordings they had to keep in stock. People who loved music that was no longer commercially available responded by making and trading CDs and MP3s. The recording industry screamed about that, too.

    This is a fat, greedy, bone-stupid industry. I have sympathy for the artists; but for the industry, none at all.

  24. B2B says:

    So who’s wrong? users who downloads obviously is, but from the other two. Is it the user that has an open access or the company that is accusing him without doing anything wrong?

    Here’s an article that helps us answer if we should rethink the copyright law?

  25. Charlie Stross says:

    I’ve just (past couple of days) installed a Be Unlimited ADSL2 feed (and gigabit ethernet around the flat). Now it’s working Virgin are getting the heave-ho phone call on Monday morning, citing the BPI notices — which I have *not* received one of — as cause.

    (The home server and Tor node will follow in due course …)

  26. zuzu says:

    @42 B2B

    Here’s an article that helps us answer if we should rethink the copyright law?

    That article by Andrew Keen is unadulterated bullshit. Conflating so-called “intellectual property” (which are really a collection of legal monopoly privileges) and common property law, is one of the most damaging legal constructs in modern history. IP and real property have nothing to do with each other.

    Property law exists because we have to resolve the natural conflict over rival goods — i.e. ones which are mutually exclusive and scarce. Whereas monopoly writs such as copyright and patents create scarcity where it doesn’t exist; all to support a flawed business model relying on rent-seeking.

    We need to ABOLISH the legal fiction of “intellectual property””

    “Downloaders” are merely practicing a form of counter-economics to subvert the crony capitalism of the WIPO.

    I highly recommend reading The Sources of Innovation by Eric von Hippel.

  27. drawingbreath says:

    Just another reason why I will only use providers that I can cancel with a month’s notice and move on.

    I don’t believe they will ever grow up enough to encourage me back as a customer.

    If anyone threatens me or my family I consider them an enemy, not someone I would ever consider paying again.

    I just wonder when the mainscream media and the sheeple will open their eyes too. Probably never.

  28. Takuan says:

    “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”
    Hunter S Thompson

  29. ployntabs says:

    Sheesh, let’s go back to listening to the radio.

  30. yer_maw says:

    While i love the virgin bashing, dont make the mistake of linking them to the virgin music label. Its just branding, the company is just the same old NTL and telewest.

    The broadband used to be very good, but with ADSL2 they have very little advantage. Coupled with the fact their fibre network is limited, and even in places they are connected they wont wire any new houses. They, and other ISPs are playing a very silly game here. I dont think anyone is ever going to look badly on them for fightinng for their consumers.

  31. Takuan says:

    I’d sit alone and watch your light
    My only friend through teenage nights
    And everything I had to know
    I heard it on my radio
    (Radio)

    You gave them all those old time stars
    Through wars of worlds — invaded by Mars
    You made ‘em laugh — you made ‘em cry
    You made us feel like we could fly

    So don’t become some background noise
    A backdrop for the girls and boys
    Who just don’t know or just don’t care
    And just complain when you’re not there
    You had your time, you had the power
    You’ve yet to have your finest hour
    (Radio)

    All we hear is Radio ga ga
    Radio goo goo
    Radio ga ga
    All we hear is Radio ga ga
    Radio blah blah
    Radio what’s new?
    Radio, someone still loves you!

    We watch the shows — we watch the stars
    On videos for hours and hours
    We hardly need to use our ears
    How music changes through the years

    Let’s hope you never leave old friend
    Like all good things on you we depend
    So stick around cos we might miss you
    When we grow tired of all this visual
    You had your time, you had the power
    You’ve yet to have your finest hour
    (Radio)

    All we hear is Radio ga ga
    Radio goo goo
    Radio ga ga
    All we hear is Radio ga ga
    Radio goo goo
    Radio ga ga
    All we hear is Radio ga ga
    Radio blah blah
    Radio what’s new?
    Someone still loves you!

    You had your time, you had the power
    You’ve yet to have your finest hour

  32. Anonymous says:

    Well, I guess Virgin isn’t anymore.

  33. Keir says:

    #5 correct, but doubly so – not only is Virgin Media not part of Richard Branson’s Virgin group, but Virgin Records was sold to EMI about 20 years ago too.

  34. stratosfyr says:

    They may say that but they are in fact wrong.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I’m no friend of the RIAA or their heavy handed tactics.

    I am somebody who has tracked spammers for years, sharing info on them with law enforcement and ISPs. I’ve been the target of harassment by some of them. It’s not fun.

    A lot of that comes from open wifi access points. In that instance, the buck stops with the person who owns the account contracted for that internet service. Your cable modem service, your wifi access point, your leased IP address. You let somebody harass somebody else using that connection, the cops will show up at YOUR door, because that’s where the trail stops.

    My point is, this really doesn’t have anything to do with the RIAA or how stupid they are. An open wifi is a public nuisance and it’s used for quite a bit of bad things. I find it pretty surprising that people run them on purpose. Unless you’re a public place, like a coffee shop, otherwise I think it’s a bit of a magnet for the police to bother you at some point.

  36. Falcon_Seven says:

    “If I play my music with my window open, my neighbour might decide to open his window and listen in, instead of buying his own music. Does that mean that the record industry gets to order me to bolt my window shut?”

    If you were to do this in the States, you’d be dealing with BMI and ASCAP because you would be engaging in a public performance. If you think having to deal with the RIAA over filesharing is bad, those two bloodsuckers can take your misery to a whole new level.

  37. Baldhead says:

    Of course you can’t have your window open while playing music. Thsi now makes your playing of the music “public performance” which you can’t do without paying royalties- well not in north america anyway, but I’d be surprised if British law was overly different.

    and yeah, just because it calls itself Virgin, doesn’t mean it’s got any connection to the other Virgins out there (well, current connection anyway)

  38. noen says:

    Well no they are not saying that they are in charge of your router config. They are saying that you are responsible for what passes through your network. Sort of like if you have a party and someone leaves drunk and kills someone in a drunk driving accident then you are responsible.

    You can debate whether or not you ought to be held liable for what anonymous users on your network do or even whether or not pirated music should be illegal. But the title is a little bit melodramatic.

    Don’t be confused though. Of course I think this is stupid.

  39. Patchouli Pete says:

    ” … if you have a party and someone leaves drunk and kills someone in a drunk driving accident then you are responsible.”

    Reference, pls. I call bullshit.

  40. slywy says:

    Yabbut what about those people whose car stereos are cranked up to about 200 decibels, where I can hear it on the 12th floor? Who’s going to go after them for public performance

  41. HeatVision says:

    “Reference, pls. I call bullshit.”

    You may be sued if you were aware that your guest was intoxicated and you did nothing to prevent that person from driving or causing injuries to themselves or others. It various from state-to-state and country-to-country. If you need examples, Google “Alcohol Liability” or “Host Liability”. You can even buy insurance for such a thing.

  42. mightymouse1584 says:

    I’ve run back and forth for several years between keeping my wifi network open and closed. I’d be more than happy to keep it open, but im so damn paranoid about it. Does anyone know of a how-to for making a secure open wifi network, or would anyone out there be willing to teach me how make sure my data is protected? I feel like that would make a great BB post.

  43. mark zero says:

    Noen is entirely correct.
    Cory, please show evidence that they make any claims on router configs.

  44. Spoon says:

    @zuzu

    What are patents then? Other then protecting others from copying your process?

    The only way to make a profit or living from most real discoveries, or any clever ideas, would be to hide it, provide it as a service where the means to understand(and thus make it better) would be hidden away. Everyone with any idea that they could, with patents and copyright, make real money off of would be desperately trying to keep that resource secure by removing all the ways of copying it, or even understanding it, hidden. To me it seems better to allow mediocre ideas to be protected (Books, Music, Movies), for a limited time, along with the truly brilliant ones (apple software?) because we can’t come up with a description of what makes one thing brilliant and another mediocre.

    Copyright reform is the way to go, I should be able to reproduce old Micky Mouse cartoons and sell them (or give them away) by now…

  45. Spoon says:

    It sounds like he was informed that having a public wifi connection could cause harm, but is claiming that removing the danger is far outweighed by the hassle of reasonably securing it.

    I’d like to see a court case where that was the argument, does anyone know if there is any precedent on this?

  46. Hans says:

    #5 and #7, with regard to the general culpability of the Virgin Group for the offenses of Virgin Media, there seem to be two questions.

    According to the Virgin Group website, Virgin Media IS still part of the Virgin Group.

    Moreover, it seems to me the purpose of branding is to establish a recognizable reputation of business practices. That is, a company would do business under a brand to gain the trust of consumers. Well, if one company destroys that trust, I don’t see why customers should stick with the brand. It seems perfectly legitimate to boycott other Virgin branded businesses. They chose to swim together, let them sink together.

  47. Kieran O'Neill says:

    #16: Please read the article.

    “It then went on to list some measures I might use to “make sure that these files aren’t downloaded or shared from your Virgin Media internet connection in future” such as securing my wireless network (even though I leave my network open for a couple of reasons – we have three different operating systems running on about six computers in the house, so it’s easier to do it this way. Plus, I’d like to think that sharing my connection means I can borrow one when I need it from the neighbours)”

  48. Antinous says:

    Reference, pls. I call bullshit.

    Mr. I-can’t-be-bothered-to-spell-out-please,

    BB comments are not a ‘free research on demand’ service. Next time you call bullshit, Google it first.

  49. HeatVision says:

    If we are going to be liable for what happens over open Wi-Fi connections, shouldn’t the manufacturers ship them “locked” as the default or disable open Wi-Fi entirely? As much as I don’t agree with such a thing, there are a lot of people who are not tech savvy and plug in the router and go with the default, unaware they might be held responsible for illegal activities on their network.

  50. Kieran O'Neill says:

    Yeah, I got pretty concerned when I read about the launch of this campaign.

    This is interesting, though:

    “Virgin has stopped short of threatening any of its 3.5 million subscribers with disconnection, saying it first wants to “educate” customers during a 10-week trial campaign. Their letters will, however, be accompanied by a stern written warning from the BPI, which will threaten both disconnection and a court appearance for those who continue to download illegally.”

    So, it seems for now that it’s BPI (I nearly typed BNP there – lol) threatening the legal action and disconnection, rather than Virgin itself.

    Virgin also insists in the press that they will not be sharing any personal information with BPI. So, either Virgin *does* intend on sharing personal information with the BPI, or the BPI have some other means of getting it (police + search warrants? I don’t know how UK law sees this).

  51. Kieran O'Neill says:

    #21: Forced locking of equipment at the hardware level is counter-productive and exactly what we’re trying to avoid.

  52. jonathan_v says:

    I can sympathize with the ISP.

    The copyright holders are going up to them and saying “This traffic is coming through your network. You are culpable.”

    They respond “No we’re not. We have a TOS contract with our subscribers where they assume all responsibility for data that travels to / originate from their connection (IP Address)”.

    This isn’t a government law saying “users are respsonsable for people stealing their WiFi connection” – and any trial/court case would likely immediately be thrown out based on the inability to prove that a person committed a crime.

    BUT

    If the traffic is going through the ISP, the ISP may be culpable to the point that they can be sued by the record industry — so they say “Hey, we have this contract here that says users are responsible for any data AFTER it hits their connection point.”

    I can fully appreciate the spirit of counter argument – and the need for open WiFi… but the argument itself is as mindless as it is irresponsible.

    If you’re providing an open WiFi point — guess what — you’re responsible for the data that comes through it.

    If you want to get around it, do what all of the municipal free WiFi services do — configure the router to have a TOS page on first connect and get the new people to sign a TOS accepting responsiblity and identifying themselves for your connection.

    If you take the same situation and look at it in another light, you’d be less sympathetic to the internet customers. Let’s imagine that instead of sending music files, these people were sending Spam.

    In the ‘sysadmin’ world, it’s not uncommon to block an IP address, or entire blocks of them, because of rogue activity. If your server gets hacked and sends 10k spams a second or is part of a DDOS, you can expect to be put on the block lists — and everyone else in the world to be happy about that — because it’s your responsibility to maintain the security of the machine. It wasn’t you who sent those messages? Tough – it was your responsibility to secure the machine.

    ‘m srry Cry, bt fnd yr rgmnt nthng shrt f bhrrnt — t’s th sm xct srt r mndlss scrmng w hr frm dtc prnts wh wnt t cnsr th ntrty f tlvsn nd th ntrnt fr cntnt, bcs thy’r nwllng t ccpt prsnl rspnsblty fr thr chldrn’s vwng hbts.

    Also, saying that this means Virgin isn’t on their customer’s side is really shortsighted and oversimplifying the situation. Not being on a customer’s side — to me — means overcharging, providing bad service, refusing to credit for outages, etc. In this situation, we have a customer that is implicating Virgin in copyright violations. Call me crazy, but I think any time you go out and jeopardize someone you can pretty much expect them to not have your back.

    Not to suggest Virgin is on their customers side – their position on Net Neutrality pretty much pegs them as anti-consumer every which way — but this is no-way-in-hell an anti-consumer action.

  53. ill lich says:

    Greed– the record industry shot itself in the foot with it’s own greed. It complained that “home taping is killing music” back in the 70′s and 80′s, end then introduced the compact disc (which made it even easier to tape music) and which led the way to digital files that they bitch about now. It convinced us all to discard our “imperfect” vinyl collections in favor of the “perfect sound forever” of CDs (of course it then convinced us to buy the same cds over and over, by continually remastering and reissuing the same albums several times– “new, improved, now with extra tracks!”– how many times have the Byrds and Elvis Costello and Miles Davis albums been issued on cd now? At least 3 times each, and each time different than the last!)

    And major labels aren’t really putting out much good music anymore (Christina Aguillera? Jet? Dem Franchise Boys? Leanne Rimes? Cassidy? Whoever won “American Idol” this year?) I can find more good music coming from independent artists then any major record label. They will sink millions into promoting a one-hit-wonder in the hopes of making a windfall profit off a top-40 hit, and ignore more talented artists who might have staying power, maybe even keeping them locked up in binding contracts so they eventually are forced to breakup and find regular jobs.

    They’ll never see profits like the 80′s-90′s again, so they try to rewrite the rules to favor themselves; they are desperately grasping at any straw that will keep their drug-dealer-business-model profitable. That’s what this is all about, that’s why they threaten to sue over downloads, why they threaten to sue over your router configuration– they know they can make more money with an army of lawyers then with promoting good music.

  54. zuzu says:

    What are patents then? Other then protecting others from copying your process?

    Calling it “protection” is propagandistic; patents are a simply monopoly enforced by the state excluding others from doing something the patent holder does.

    The only way to make a profit or living from most real discoveries, or any clever ideas, would be to hide it, provide it as a service where the means to understand(and thus make it better) would be hidden away. Everyone with any idea that they could, with patents and copyright, make real money off of would be desperately trying to keep that resource secure by removing all the ways of copying it, or even understanding it, hidden. To me it seems better to allow mediocre ideas to be protected (Books, Music, Movies), for a limited time, along with the truly brilliant ones (apple software?) because we can’t come up with a description of what makes one thing brilliant and another mediocre.

    The trick is that people need to use business models which profit from the creating new things, rather than rent-seeking after they have been created. In other words, people pay to bring the new thing into existence.

    One alternative I can suggest is dominant assurance contracts. Another would be prediction markets. Another still is crowdsourcing. You pay people for use of their creative minds (i.e. knowledge work), rather than “owning” some phony “exclusive right” (enforced by government) on using what was produced (past tense) from their minds.

    Check out There’s No Such Thing As a Free Patent and Patents and Innovation by Stephan Kinsella.

  55. Takuan says:

    so,boycott Virgin, buy small independents, publish and maintain hit lists of politicians that sell you to business, any other key points?

  56. Poobot says:

    Fck Vrgn!!!

  57. noen says:

    I don’t really see an instant solution to all of this. Large multinational corporations like Virgin Media are in the driver’s seat. Governments do not tell them what to do, they do. In fact they write the laws. So it seems likely to me they will get what they want. Same with DCMA in Canada, they’ll eventually get what they want there too. (maybe, I have a smidgen of hope they won’t)

    So it seems to me the best thing to do is to route around the damage. That is what creative commons licensing in effect does, it bypasses the broken copyright laws that only serve corporate interests. We need to create a culture that exists outside of the fences erected by the studios. But that presents a problem because people like some of the things that are inside those fences. So they steal it. At that point you have several choices. Accept the frame that this is theft and justify to yourself your piracy of intellectual property or live within the law. Or a third option, often made here, is to argue that there are other business models where information is freely available and the studios can still make their money, maybe even more.

    That third option requires political action that I don’t see happening too soon. Right now I’d just like my government to stop torturing people. It means a majority of politicians in the US, Canada, wherever, who has the guts to say no and pass laws that we want. That isn’t going to happen over night and it certainly won’t happen by itself.

  58. Antinous says:

    Creative people generally prefer not to be turned into “employees”. We have a system for paying people for their creativity right now. Unfortunately, it’s called “whatever you create during the period of your employment at Acme is the property of Acme”. The creator seems inevitably to end up a lot poorer than the person or persons who buy their creativity. How do you empower creators to get what they’re worth?

  59. reech says:

    Hmmm – I just wonder about all those peeps with http://www.fon.com/en/ routers; especially since BT has been doling out routers with fon installed as default.

  60. zuzu says:

    Creative people generally prefer not to be turned into “employees”. We have a system for paying people for their creativity right now. Unfortunately, it’s called “whatever you create during the period of your employment at Acme is the property of Acme”.

    Which is another facet of the problem with “intellectual property”; it transfers the economic value from the person with the creative brain to people who own the legal rights of forced exclusion.

    The creator seems inevitably to end up a lot poorer than the person or persons who buy their creativity. How do you empower creators to get what they’re worth?

    Think of it like commissioning a painting. The value is in the painter’s ability to create the painting, but once completed anyone who wants one can have a copy. The value for those who paid the painter is that the painting would not have existed otherwise. This applies just as readily to writing software, composing music, drug discovery, and any other form of R&D.

  61. Matthew Walton says:

    If only Be had been able to provide a service to my house when I moved! I went with Virgin as the only people offering a decent speed, but subsequent events have made me regret that. Unfortunately there’s still the issue of not having a suitable replacement, so I’m going to have to stick it out until my 12 months is up and then hope Be or somebody of similar prowess will be able to offer me ADSL2.

    Of course then I still have to pay BT £130 to connect the line, but it’d be worth it. Be’s service quality was miles better, too. Virgin has appalling peak time congestion.

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