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Richard Johnson

From an IT managers point of view, there are concerns with the logging of any IP address, which in the first instance may be dynamic, in the second instance includes such variables as open access, hotspot areas and P2P filesharing not being hindered by such issues as pausing of downloads. There will be numerous instances of bandwidth stealing over open wifi networks and further issues with Corporates/ businesses operating over an unmonitored network- an employer could run foul by monitoring employees, whilst at the same time finding that the Business' ISP has pulled the proverbial plug! The blocking of Ports by the employer is a further issue as this in turn could prevent the smooth running of an IT system.

further issues may include the use of such variables as Proxy servers to mask IP addresses, beyond that of the ISP seeing the customer. Heavy bandwidth usage associated with this user may be difficult to monitor and pin down to P2P sharing, when the user may of course be remotely accessing work or even using cloud networking to store personal information. P2P file sharing inherently employs a system of distributed computing to share files, using hashes to ensure file integrity and complete structuring. Broadband usage is extending beyond that of simple internet surfing and P2P filesharing. The use of the BBC iplayer by my son at work creates significant bandwidth increases beyond some 5 gigs pcm. Are we going to be switched off because of this? Could the implementation of a system where ISPs sign up to the reporting of users see the migration of consumers from one ISP to another? If UK ISP's signed up to this scheme, would a foreign ISP be required to do so if operating in UK territory? What next? How about the 3G network, UMTS is pretty fast and getting cheaper! Only need to set up a mobi site and start P2P sharing over that! Hey, now we'll all be able to download music straight to out iPhone- imagine that, download and listen without a PC in sight.

In summary, I can't see this working. Blocking/ Banning users or sharing information about users who are suspected of file sharing could quite easily come unstuck on the grounds of simply not having enough evidence- it would imply the seizing of someones personal assets in order to search for the innocuous files in question. I think this protracted issue has run it's course. The MOS and others missed the bandwagon and should have raised their voices a lot earlier in the inception of P2P. It's moved beyond the current situation and even beyond P2P. My understanding is that some companies are now even charging users to download P2P files......... MOS probably won't see a penny of that!


Hi there,

I really like the information on your blog. However, I think the following point you made requires clarification:

"Before any ISPs will disclose the name and address of an offender, the Ministry of Sound had needed to demonstrate an arguable case to a court, and subsequently obtain a court order. Up to that point, they could only identify people by their IP addresses. If Ofcom gets its way, this information-seeking requirement is set to disappear with ISPs coming under an obligation to gather information on illegal file-sharing activity, and pass such information on to copyright owners when it reaches a certain threshold."

Under Section 4 of the Digital Economy Act, the information which the ISP passes on to the copyright owner must not "enable any subsriber to be identified" i.e. the allegedly infringing subscriber remains anonymous.

Therefore, under the Act - similar to the situation before the Act was passed - copyright holders will require a court order ("Norwich Pharmacal Order") to force ISPs to reveal the identities of infringing subscribers.

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