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BPI Calls for Quick and Easy Blocking of Piracy Websites by UK ISPs

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018 (1:51 pm) - Score 1,374
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The British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which represents the recorded music sector, has called for the Government’s forthcoming ‘Internet Safety Strategy‘ to add new measures that would make it easier for copyright holders to get websites that facilitate internet piracy blocked or completely removed.

At present major broadband ISPs like BT, Virgin Media, Sky Broadband and TalkTalk can be forced, via a court order, to block websites if they are found to facilitate internet copyright infringement (piracy), which is supported via Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. So far well over 100 piracy sites have been blocked as a result of this but the process can be expensive.

Back in 2014 Wiggin LLP revealed that an unopposed application tends to cost around £14,000 per site. On top of that the additional admin required to maintain the block and keep ISPs up-to-date with related IP address changes and new URLs (Proxy Servers) comes to around £3,600 per site per year.

Meanwhile ISPs also incur on-going costs as part of their work to introduce the blocks. EE previously suggested that a “near four figure sum” was involved with each update, while Sky Broadband hinted at a “mid three figure sum” and then roughly half that for future updates. Similarly Virgin Media pegged their own annual costs at a “low five figure sum“.

Naturally Rights Holders would like nothing better than to cut out the court process and shift the cost burden elsewhere, which partly explains why the BPI has this week proposed the following measures for the government’s new strategy.

BPI Proposes that Government Should:

* Legislate for a new “duty of care” for online intermediaries and platforms, requiring them to take effective action to ensure their services are not abused by businesses encouraging consumers to access content illegally;

* Establish a new fast-track process for blocking illegal sites;

* Place a requirement on platforms to block repeat illegal posting of the same content and to remove the accounts of repeat infringers;

* Bring in penalties for online operators that do not, as required by law, provide transparent contact and ownership information to consumers and businesses.

The BPI notes that recorded music revenues rose by 10.6% in 2017, the biggest rise since 1995 with trade revenues growing to £839m, but they also claim that “growth is constrained by the constant need to identify and address illegal sources of music online” (e.g. the BPI alone has placed 63 injunctions against piracy sites).

Geoff Taylor, CEO of the BPI, said:

“The BPI welcomes the Government’s decision to bring forward a Bill to address online harm. This is a vital opportunity to protect consumers and boost the UK’s music and creative industries. The BPI has long pressed for internet intermediaries and online platforms to take responsibility for the content that they promote to users.

Government should now take the power in legislation to require online giants to take effective, proactive measures to clean illegal content from their sites and services. This will keep fans away from dodgy sites full of harmful content and prevent criminals from undermining creative businesses that create UK jobs.”

All of this is despite the fact that the new safety strategy is more focused on reducing online adult (porn), cyberbullying / trolling and terrorism content than tackling copyright. In fact the Government’s official response to last year’s green paper only mentioned the words “copyright” and “piracy” very briefly among the 75 pages.

However the strategy did more broadly identify the need for steps to detect and remove illegal content, improving the effectiveness of notice and takedown arrangements, reducing incentives for illegal sites to engage in infringement online and reducing the burdens on rights holders in relation to protecting their content.

We should get a better idea of how far the government will take this by the end of 2018, when a new white paper will be published. Meanwhile those who seek to access such content can easily circumvent any blocks imposed by broadband providers.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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15 Responses
  1. Avatar Moses

    Again, this strategy can only go so far, it won’t stop piracy, it’ll just make it ever slightly more difficult to access, all honesty people (smart folks0 will always find many various ways to gain access or create a new site for access to these contents on the interwebs, so ISPs will fail at this goal they’ve created.

    • Avatar JustAnotherFileServer

      The proposals don’t change how the websites will be blocked (so can be unblocked in less than a couple of seconds). Instead the proposal is looking into bypassing the courts (that way it would be quicker in blocking websites instead of waiting for court dates).

      Still in all a waste of time and money that the film industry could be using to create a universal service that can be used no matter what country you live in. It would be good to be able to use a service to watch a film online (or download) that has only just come out in the cinema. This is possible as some countries have already done this. i.e. South Korea has a pay service that allows you to watch online films that are in the cinema.

      I would gladly pay for such services and I know plenty of other people who would also pay.

    • Avatar timeless

      lets face it, that would be too easy.. all the BPI is doing is milking an out dated system for as much as its worth.. just like you have said many of us would pay for such a service, but such services tend to render things like the BPI pointless.

    • Avatar Chris P

      If your willing to pay then Surely the way to pay to watch films that are in the cinema is to go to the cinema?

      Most films are produced to be viewed in cinemas with correct sound and projection systems, not a computer monitor. Yes some TV’s are extremely good at reproducing the cinema visuals, but unless you have a cinema room in your house it’s not really close to a real cinema.

      Things like game of thrones are produced for tv and is now broadcast on UK tv within a few hours of US air time, again you need to pay a fee but as you say you have no issue paying.

    • Avatar JustAnotherFileServer

      @Chris P I would goto a local cinema if there was one, but there isn’t one. I’m also disabled, which doesn’t help.

      I have setup a cinema room in my house (used a spare bedroom). I’ve looked into what services are around, but at the moment it would cost around £500 per month to have the latest releases (this is with a legal service from Sony).

    • Avatar CarlT

      Cinemas offer an experience you don’t get at home. They employ people, they increase footfall to their surrounding businesses.

      The UK isn’t South Korea. We get content far more quickly than we used to and I believe considerably before them, now virtually synchronised with the United States, and there are a lot of businesses that remain successful and continue to make money from the industry.

      I can’t agree with this one. Can’t replicate the experience of an absurdly large screen, massive sound, and of course the incredibly large and overpriced popcorn and drink at home 🙂

      As far as DRM et al not stopping clever people that’s not the point. It’s not the 1% or less technically very savvy people that are the problem, it’s the 99% that either use that 1%’s skills in an automated way or have the bar so low that they can replicate.

    • Avatar JustAnotherFileServer

      @CarlT With my new 4k projector I get a very good 120 inch screen, which is more than good enough to have a cinema experience with and with plenty of leg room and comfortable seats (which I find much better because of my disability).

      As for the massive sound, I installed sound proofing into the walls and have 950 watt 7.1 speaker system (which gives a lot of welly when there are explosions)

      It seems strange on your comment about South Korea as most of the latest cinema released illegal downloads are from South Korea (if you don’t mind the Korean subtitles).

      The only thing I do need to get is a popcorn machine (though I do make my own in the kitchen at the moment).

    • Avatar Mike

      Cinema is so… analog.

  2. Avatar occasionally factual

    So a private company (the BPI) wants other private companies to be forced to become police/judge/jury without any oversight and without the BPI involved?
    Oh and the BPI doesn’t want to pay for any of it either.
    Or be legally and financially liable for damages for wrongful actions in their favour by these 3rd party companies?
    What could possibly go wrong here?

  3. Avatar Alan

    The image of a cassette seems quite apt for the news item, it matches the decade the BPI are obviously still living in.

  4. Avatar hmmm

    fail fail

  5. Avatar Wujek Pawel

    Ask BPI to pay for that or f*ck off. That will end any further discussion.

  6. Avatar Mrs Slocombe

    Oh here they come again, the bleating BPI and their piracy is killing our industry war cry, despite record online sales and resurgence of vinyl etc. etc. There’s only one body killing music and it’s these idiots and their ilk.

    They’ll be trying to kill off Pledge soon because the record label execs aren’t getting as much into their fat bank accounts.

  7. Avatar asrab uddin

    How do they quantify piracy ? these people download music because its free and are not willing to pay the asking price,

    in reality for piracy most people would not have bought them at the asking price only if it was significantly lower and was ever more convenient,

    subscription based music/movie service with all you can eat from vast selection is probably way of the future,

  8. Avatar Jerry

    There are several reasons why they believe piracy still exists today, there are the select minority who just want to do it for the thrill of getting something for free, but there are also many who cannot afford the pay to go to the cinema, they’re also often let down on the creativity of new films instead of just spewing out reboots of old stuff playing on the nostalgia element, coupled with the fact that the cinema experience isn’t always a pleasant one. I love the surround sound, comfort of the seats, the big screen but the price does not justify. I paid £30 for me and my partner 4 years ago (excluding drinks/popcorn) and the experience was ruined by not only the fact people just pay to talk through the whole film, play on their phones and ruin the experience in general, not only that the film wasn’t subtitled for non-English parts (which was Godzilla) many Japanese parts this also ruined the experience for me.

    Smaller studios who aren’t afraid to create something new often get slammed because it’s not up to the quality of big budget films and thus suffer poor reception. The latest avengers film in the series broke several records yielding $641 million in the opening weekend alone, $1.8 billion in 11 days and with a budget of $400 million yet they see piracy as an issue, It’s just sad.

    As for music, well. That’s a whole other story. CD’s are no longer the main source of media for music. With online store outlets like iTunes, Beatport, Google Play Music and streaming services Spotify, Deezer, Tidal etc.. is it any wonder that sales of music are on the decline. Not to mention that MP3 players are seldom manufactured, I understand smartphones are capable of music but it’s not the same, that’s a discussion for another day.

    @Mrs Slocombe,
    Hit the nail on the head there. It’s through their own actions that this is an issue, not adapting to new methods in the market etc..

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