Friday, June 24, 2011

Three Strikes and No Internet!

U.S. internet users are now facing the possibility of something many European users have been dealing with for a while: a so called "three strikes" policy legally required of  ISPs in order to control "illegal" file sharing. Here's how it works:

If you are accused by your ISP of downloading or streaming 3 or more "illegal" files, they can:

  • Limit ("throttle-down") your internet band-with and speed
  • Limit access to the world wide web
  • Control specific website access
  • Require offending user to undergo re-education ("pirate school") in the form of an online course on copyright law
  • Ban user from internet access

Such legislation has already been passed in France and the U.K., and now, there are rumblings emanating from the entertainment industry that the MPAA and RIAA are pushing ISPs such as Comcast, AT&T and others to voluntarily comply with such a practice (evidently to skip over the legislative part), and of course, they are caving to the pressure. From Jerod Moya,, on the European laws:

"'We welcome the recognition by the UK government – as with increasing numbers of countries around the world – that ISPs have an important role to play in protecting creators and preserving the Internet as an engine of economic growth and a platform for innovative business models,' says RIAA Chairman & CEO Mitch Bainwol. 'To be sure, the more this trend goes global, the greater the possibilities are for a thriving music marketplace that better serves the creators of music and their fans.'

The DEB [Digital Economy Bill] includes website filtering, a ban on open Wi-Fi, and a “three-strikes” regime that would disconnect accused file-sharers from the Internet. It forces ISPs to change from neutral “dumb pipe” broadband providers to “protectors” of the Internet that root out copyright infringement at every turn.

One of the problems is that it invests heavily in the notion that increased scrutiny of Internet users for signs of illegal file-sharing, and then sanctioning them accordingly, will somehow turn them into paying customers. It doesn’t address the core issue of the music industry’s failure to develop a business model that convinces them to buy on their own. The Internet is instead molded to suit the needs of private businesses.

Worse still, as we’ve already seen in France after passage of its own “3-strikes” bill, P2P users will by in large simply switch to alternative methods of acquiring copyrighted material. In the case of France, 2/3 of former P2P users simply switched to non-P2P alternative. like illegal streaming sites and HTTP-based download services (i.e. Rapidshare), but other options like VPNs, Usenet, etc., still remain.

But, a desperate music industry doesn’t seem to care, and as usual, is blinded by its own ignorance."

What can we do? Well, we can start by letting the ISPs know that by adopting such policing measures, they will be alienating their profit source: the customers. To do so, click the link below and sign the petition. Thank you for reading.

Bash the Fash

If you reside in a country that has implemented such a law, please leave a comment and share your experience. Thank you!


  1. Sour Diesel x Bubba BlueberryJune 24, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    Is that part of hopey changey, meet the new boss same as the old boss? In other words share and download while we still can? Why does every enjoyable thing in life have to be fuxxed with?

  2. Sour Diesel, I wish I knew the answer. There are certainly ways to circumvent these types of policies, for example VPNs, but I get the feeling some ugly shit is on the horizon in the U.S. (it's already reality in Europe and there is pressure for this in Japan). There have been signs of this for a while. I think I remember you mentioning last spring that your ISP was starting to limit bandwidth for uploads/downloads, and things like that are just the first step. I guess everything good gets fucked with because larger profits are at stake for the greedy arseholes who have the money to influence the ignorant corporate sycophants who "represent" people like you and me

  3. Sorry, I'm in the USA. SC, to be exact, but I'd like to share a story. When Congress first started these shenanigans (like there aren't any more serious matters to spend their time on), I emailed my Senators, asking them not to support a Bill which was obviously lobbied by the entertainment industry. I warned of what internet censorship could lead to and how it grates against the very fibre of all personal freedoms allegedly guaranteed to us by the Constitution. One of my Senators was kind enough to write me back, stating "piracy" was a big problem and he was the co-sponsor of the COICA bill. (Oops!) He provided not one explanation of what kind of piracy he meant and to what ends it was harmful to the USA... I checked out his major campaign contributors and guess who gives him big money - yep!, The Entertainment Industry! If you live in the States, please sign the petition and also email your Senators and Congressmen (email addresses are very easy to find by googling).

    If you sit like sheep and let them do this to you, even sites like this (that only offer out of print music, where potential revenue for label or artist is not even in question), these sites will slowly fade out of existence or your internet access to sites like this will be limited or terminated. In other words, you'll get what you deserve. A lot of Americans on both sides of the political arena like to rant about the US Constitution and its guarantees of personal freedoms, yet they allow Bills like this (don't get me started on the misnomered Patriot Act) slide by them without a peep. Get off your ass and make your voice heard or you will have no one to blame but yourself when this Bill is passed and all the music blogs you love slowly disappear!

  4. Welcome to cyber-fascism...

  5. The business does not rhyme with freedom and civil rights: Internet is first and foremost a business; as says RIAA Chairman Internet is "as an engine of economic growth and a platform for innovative business models"
    Music sharing or ideas sharing are not compatible with the business.
    Now it's the sharing of music, after it will be the freedom of information, and after that?
    Our freedom and our dignity are in our hands and our voices
    if not now when?
    "Se non ora quando?"

  6. well this is pretty ridiculous

  7. Eek gads man, that is grim. A friend of mine actually got popped for illegally downloading music. Before she got nailed I thought it was next to impossible to have The Man catch up with you. Now, I feel he's lurking around every corner. Personally, if they don't want me to engage in file sharing then they need to call it something other than piracy. That very word compels me. Perhaps they should call it "Voting Republican" or something similar. I would then no longer feel compelled.

  8. Oxy, eloquently put. I completely agree. Thanks for taking the time to contribute that important message

  9. one, well-stated. There is definitely an inherent conflict between business interests and the freee distribution of information, though I'm not sure the internet has to be so business-first, though suggesting it could be otherwise is probably very unrealistic on my part

  10. Ol' Foggy, the irony is that the term "piracy" literally means replicating and distributing copyrighted material for monetary gain. Since music sharing is free, it doesn't fit comfortably under this term, though politicians and entertainment industry wonks love to throw the term around

  11. There have been signs of this for a while. I think your ISP was starting to limit bandwidth for uploads/downloads.

  12. Vote republicrat or demopublican all you want, there is not a dimes worth of difference in the best government money can buy. I didn't get to vote on Iraq and Afghanistan did you? I don't have as much money as the corporation©®, so my voice won't be heard. The system has failed you but don't fail yourself. If voting changed anything it would be illegal by tomorrow morning. Since money is the bottom line I'll vote with my feet and say bye bye to any isp that kisses the ass of fascists. If it means going back to dial up and only being able to look at basic pages then so be it.

  13. Its absolutely shocking what the future of the internet holds, i suspect the internet of 2015 will be a very different place to what we enjoy now.

    Obviously most people that get their arses kicked for downloading seem to always be doing so via torrents i.e. downloading mp3s directly, so theyre easily traceable. But what about our methods, we encrypt them (a little) and put the in zip/rar files, are ours traceable? or are we blissfully ignorant?

    Ive never really took the time to view my/our place in all of this, i suppose i should.

  14. All comments are welcome Starry, it is a free and open internet and that's what they really fear and despise. You might get news not filtered by corporate media. You could download and preview an album or movie before wasting good money on filler. Never have used torrents even though I'm sure everything I'm looking for is there. I just don't trust p2p or torrents.

  15. thestarry, it's quite random regarding who is targeted for prosecution. The "profile" is typically (there are many exceptions) someone downloading movies/tv shows/new mainstream music releases from sites like Pirate Bay, and one thing I will put out there is to NEVER dl movies/tv shows without a good encryption program. Torrenting is best done through private sites such as ? and waffles. Our thing, so far, hasn't really come under the radar of the beast yet. Rest assured, it will happen sooner than later :(

  16. Hey Bubba!

    I wasn't talking about voting. I was talking about signing the damn petition to kill this Bill. For God's sake, a link is even provided above. It takes less time to do than it did typing out your response. I urge you all to do the same. While our "Representatives" may be a joke, each signature increases the number by one and one and one and so on.... and there IS power in numbers. At least, make them think twice before sliding this Bill through and shafting the public (yet once again).

    For those of you dling torrents, almost all the current ones have been seeded and your downloads are being duly noted by the cybercops. I'd like to warn all that here is NO such thing as a good encryption program, so I would advise everyone not to download torrents, period! If anyone out there thinks you have any internet privacy at all, that's just wishful thinking or naivety. The software is already in place and improving all the time. Who do you think hires the best hackers and code writers? Big Brother has already been watching. Let's hope sites like this are deemed unimportant in their scheme of things.

    Does this make anyone else feel sick and also pissed, like I'm feeling right now? If you haven't signed the petition, please do so now.

  17. I live in France and the vote to get the law through was a joke. It was first rejected and when it finally went through alot of us were so sick of it that we don't follow the news about it at all. The law only punished torrent users put not other methods! Another joke - they can't even get it right!! You're supposed to protect yourself (ie be able to prove that you're didn't download something (if you get accused) because you've installed a special programme that blocks you're dowloading capabilities - but they still don't know how to. Anyway, I've said this before elsewhere - if the industry knew how many albums I've bought through the internet, how many groups I've discovered through downloading concerts and albums - and I can't be the only one ... they wouldn't grumble as much. Not even to mention the re-editions that we buy to replace old versions. For example I've pre-ordered Dark-side of the moon (the big box) which I've had on vinyl, the first CD (sound not too good) , the 20 years re-edition (still got that one - like the box!) , the 1994 live edition on CD, VHS and DVD and SACD. Ok, it's a brilliant album but I've paid for it like 6 times (plus assorted bootlegs, but don't say anything). Sometimes I can sell a CD second hand to recoup and often I got them cheap(ish). And it's not the only one. I know alot of people don't buy and it can be problem but they should try and find other ways of doing it. I would never have found out about the Black Angels, Demians, Ephrat, The Eden House, Esben and the Witch (thanks VoixAutre), The New upcoming March Violets album, the Janice Whaley Smiths Project, amongst others, would not have seen the light of day ... It's not you lot that I have to convince. Just click the button above...

  18. I see the respected vinyl ripper pbthal of vinyldoneright has just closed his blog due to a 'SWARM OF ANTI-PIRACY ACTIONS'.. Jeebus.

  19. Signed the petition and when I am at my bros house and buddies I will ask them to. One group that does have your online back is the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) support them in any way you can. Thanks for sharing and who owns the music anyway.

  20. Appick, thank you for giving us a sense of how this has proceeded in France. It sounds like some of the major US ISPs are actually voluntarily agreeing to this without legislation requiring it, which of course avoids public debate over the issue. I guess that's the "American way"

  21. My 2 cents. As the previous poster has noted the monitor applications are in place and ISPs are allowed to monitor their subscribers traffic. Torrent traffic IS monitored and currently the big giveaway that you are on the torrent network is the upload activity from your computer.

    Just as the wild west was tamed the internet's days of freedom are quickly coming to an end, sadly.


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