Saturday, June 13. 2009
....maybe it makes their brain hurt thinking about things that have no direct bearing on their personal enrichment or perhaps they are just ethically challenged and morality is a concept they were never introduced to during their upbringing?
We met with two people (with two more teleconferenced in) from the Department Of Broadband etc yesterday as a part of their discussions with ISPs so they can brief the minister on, possibly, how to introduce a P2P illegal downloading policy for those ISPs who are prepared to 'voluntarily' agree with some yet to be decided (hence the purposes of this 'meet and greet' initial process) "guidelines". They were pleasant people with an apparently sound understanding of the issues and appeared to be genuinely interested in exploring our views as I am sure they had done with the one other ISP they had met with previously and the others they plan to meet with.
I assumed they were looking to find some way of addressing copyright infringement along the same lines that the UK government has done but perhaps they were considering something tougher such as the laws passed by the Irish and the French governments. They were aware of the IIAA's positioning based on a meeting they had held with them late last year which appears to be that any response to copyright infringement notices involves:
1) Intolerable burdens on the ISPs to do anything
2) Huge costs involved in developing the processes
3) Huge costs of the operating the processes
4) No legal basis for doing anything etc, etc
They had a set of points that the IIAA, and presumably others, had drawn up as to why it was impossible for an ISP to participate in any way with the control of the theft of other people's copyright. I had read them prior to the meeting (like all efficient people they had sent an agenda some three days before the meeting) and told them that everything they had asked about doing could easily be done at a trivial or zero cost by any ISP that wanted to do it....provided they used static IPs and at a very, very small cost if they used dynamic IPs. I also said that to implement 100% of their wish list would impose no operating cost on any ISP in any way and if anyone from any ISP continued to tell them anything to the contrary they were either simply lying or were so technically and managerially incompetent that they shouldn't hold any position in a commercial enterprise because they clearly lack the mental abilities to even tie their shoe laces. (maybe that's why they wear 'slip ons'?)
So we answered their follow up questions and showed them how Exetel dealt with the emailed copyright infringement notices we receive via email to 'firstname.lastname@example.org' every day along with the trivial amount of code that is needed to do that completely automatically with 'no human intervention'. They were impressed that we actually dealt with copyright infringement notices at all (it was their understanding that due to the enormous burden and cost it was impossible for an ISP to actually do anything) and appeared to be very surprised that it could be done so easily, at no cost and with no human being involved by us for almost five years- again totally contrary to everything they had been previously told.
They asked us if we had ever cut off anyone for receiving a copyright infringement notice and seemed intrigued with our answer that though we had never cut anyone off, a few customers each month elected to cut themselves off (by churning away at no contract cancellation fee). We explained that, as under the current laws we had no 100% certain way of knowing whether the copyright infringement notice was correct we simply passed the notice through to the alleged offenders email contact address and if we received a second notice we temporarily blocked the user's access via a 'block page until they took one of the simple actions available to them.
The block page had a brief explanation as to why the service was blocked and how to unblock it (by simply clicking on a statement that the customer had either not infringed or had infringed but had complied with the copyright notice by removing the offending material. The page gives the, optional, opportunity for the alleged infringer to reply to the copyright notice issuer via an anonymous (Exetel) email address should they wish to do so.
The third option is to not state that they deny the infringement and remain blocked which allows Exetel to completely absolve itself from any wrongdoing by:
a) If the customer denies (by clicking on the "I deny infringing" option or by clicking on the "Sorry but I've now removed the offending material option) any infringement/continuing infringement then Exetel has complied with the issuer's requirements and needs take no further action as, legally as we understand the law to stand right now, we are faced with an accusation of uncertain legal validity on the one hand and a categorical denial on the other hand. We, clearly, have no basis for adjudication and so we are legally advised that we are 100% absolved of any further responsibility.
b) If the end user we have blocked doesn't click on either of the denial/apology options then that user has, effectively, admitted breaching copyright and they remain blocked until they churn away - problem solved for Exetel (the customer made the decision on his/her own 'guilt' - not Exetel) and no 'blame' can be ascribed to us because the user has 'admitted' they did breach copyright and have no intention of complying with the breach notice's requests, nor with Exetel's terms and conditions of service supply.
It complies completely, and ethically and, I think probably morally, with the situation and, under the present legislation allows us to operate our business with a clear conscience and with zero additional cost.
Our visitors seemed to be impressed with both the legal elegance and the zero cost implementation of the solution that addresses every aspect of the "problem" completely and seemed more impressed that we had put it in place as a preventative measure many years ago (that everyone they talk to say is far too hard/impossible to address would seem to indicate that they are morally bankrupt and/or technically incompetent - well what other explanation can there be?). We made the final point that the code required to do it was available to anyone who wanted to download it under our open source policy if they truly believed it would take immense efforts and costs to write themselves.
However the fact remains that until Australian legislation clarifies the situation the impasse must remain as far as any ISP is concerned - an ISP can pass on an alleged infringement but if the person whose IP is cited then denies the allegation that is the end of it - the ISP has no ability to determine which party is correct and is obliged by no Australian law to involve itself further - it certainly is in no position to "cut off the internet service".
Our visitors left in, apparently, good spirits and I was equally pleased with what we may have accomplished.
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I think you are missing an option on that list of responses to a notice email/blocked page. What if the accusation is incorrect? That nothing illegal has been downloaded, and there is nothing to delete or accept responsibility for? Maybe im missing something in your explanation?
Also there are legitimate reasons for downloading some copyrighted material. For example, I work in the media industry, and have been branching out to video programs. Basically I make comedy videos which I then distribute. However often I use copyrighted material with which to parody. Now to access some of these, and believe me they are varying and rare, I use P2P file sharing. So under one regard im taking copyrighted material through an illegal way (apparently), but to use it in a legal way. Is there a fault here? I would argue against anyone who said yes.
Copyright owners are bullying government departments into making laws which supersede an issue which is really the crux of the argument. P2P file sharing. As you state, this is not the public domain.
The great thing about internet p2p file sharing is anonyimity. Not for the branded cover for illegal practices, but for the much simplier and innocent reason that our buisniess is our own. HAving anonyimity for sourcing information which you are initerested in and dont want braodcasted in the public domain.
I take offence that they would be tracking my usage, whether it be a byproduct or code specific to the copyrighted material or not.
This reeks of the problems associated with microsofts programs which continually send user information back to microsoft. But that is a part of the product when you buy it, and you (should) know that going into it.
P2P filesharing is not that, and never should be. If you referenced that to an offline practice, it would be like embedding a tracker in a pirated DVD. Now someone buys that, takes it home and houses it will all their other private files. In fact the DVD arrives with a bunch of other unrelated and private information which you dont want the public sector knowing about for innocent reasons.
Now then the authorities arrive, and go through the mail list which you recieved your order. Then have to come in and pick up the pirated DVD which you have in amongst your private files. And the extra bonus, you are not there when they do it, and have no idea it is happening.
Now they may claim that they are only getting the DVD, and nothing else was exposed, but that is rediculous. They have exposure to other private information, indirectly or not it is still not acceptable.
What if im downloading 3 files on P2P. 1 is a movie, the other 2 are personal copyrighted material of a business partner.
Should I then sue them for recieving or tracking my files? They have access to it, isnt that the same problem in reverse?
This is all rediculous of course, but its a aspect which parties involved in this situation all seems to glossed over
You have missed the ability of denying the allegation by one click of your mouse and restoring your service instantly.
As for P2P...no-one who advances the points you wish to make is going to be persuaded by anything I might say.
One of the options on the page appears to be "I deny infringing", which I think answers your question.
It's interesting that you mention the French government, John, because the French Constitutional Council recently declared the HADOPI system to violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Not that that would be a problem here, of course...
This blog entry just made the SMH:
You've been quoted in The Age: http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/download-pirates-to-launch-new-weapon-20090617-ch6c.htm
The primary reason why Governments around the world are currently inquiring with ISPs about regulating the internet so as to prevent so-called 'copyright theft' is simply because the entertainment industry, as a whole, is both too lazy and - currently - unimaginative to devise a new, successful business model to account for their lost revenue streams. So they blame the ISPs. Politicians are there to be bought. They have been bought and so now they are aquesing to the industry's demands. Once all vested interests realise, and sooner or later they will, that this problem cannot simply be solved by 'regulation', not least due to the shocking inefficiency and the relative incompetence of the bureaucracy compared to the free-market, the matter will be resolved. Until then, we can expect a lot of wasted time, money and energy. How tedious.
I do not agree in defining "morally bankrupted" someone that does not want to comply with the IP laws.
These laws have been written (like the DMCA) just for the benefits of the entertainment industry and to expand the power of control of the governments
Where I see the point of not have software stolen etc, you need to keep in mind that these requests from the governments are just a foot in the door to expand their powers of search and control, this is no paranoia, look at the search powers given to NSW police or to the new anti association laws.
I find morally bankrupted exetel that for quite living is giving in, voluntarily, to the pressure of entertainment industry and government.
I'm sure you understand that once you have "logs" the law can force you anytime to provide them, add to this the fact that in AU we do not have a bill of rights and I'm sure you see the picture starts becoming quite worrying
I understand that you need to run a business but so does IINET.
There are moments when you need to stand up and say no.
I believe JL does not want to say no. In fact he seems proud to say yes.
I think you, I and some of the other posters are probably posting in the wrong forum, but what the hell... a honeypot is for hands .
He has found a way to protect his business by pushing liability onto his customers, whether they're wrong or right- either way- he's pushing a burden that someone is trying to push onto him, onto people who more than likely will cave under threat on their own.
I believe he is trying to take ISP's out of the equation in a different way- by acting as a low latency conduit through to his customers for whomever makes a complaint.
He wants is to rid himself of responsibility. He wants his customers, to own it, and it doesn't really bother him whether they like it or not, and he does not seem to feel they should have a say in the matter.
I suspect there is retail logic here- 'if a customer steals, they are no longer a customer', if my deduction is correct, the part he is missing is police complaint, investigation, arrest, conviction at the hands of their peers, then they're a thief- that seems a bit like alot of process- so its easier just to ask them: "are you a thief? because someone said you are.. you can say yes, you can say no (good luck), or you can go somewhere else"
The little people generally do not know better. We just pay our bills, and he's happy with that as long as nothing his customers do inconveniences him.
He knows there is a lot of grey in these concepts, he pays people to explain it to him. It begins with an accusation; founded or not. For him to fight it would place his company side by side iinet against the metaphoric wall- that's just not good business.
iiNET going down the river would be probably fine by him. More customers to go around, less competition.
Asking his customers to make a decision, that would essentially make them a criminal, a liar or an ex-customer and in doing so is a win-win for him. He appeases the RIAA/MPAA etc. by getting an answer to the accusation; even if his customers didnt know what they were doing was wrong- either way- he's safe. It has worked (apparently) for 5 years and he is proud of this. It is fairly clearly explained at his feigned inability to grasp how anyone could fight this, either through apparent technical challenge or cost- he writes them off as idiots- that is his modus operandi, discredit the position of others by technical merit, attacking them, and top it off by calling them idiots. He isnt playing their game, he's playing his own game- but make no mistake- it is still a game.
Like a scientist who has mastered the process cloning a man, he speaks cooly of the simplicity of implementing the task, the ease at which he protected himself and his team on the road to success. He however does not appear to question at all whether he should have in the first place.
He is human though- when placed across the table from an executioner, and given the choice- we do what comes natural to all humans- we point the executioner at others. You say clearly "I am your friend, I'm with you".
There are some who choose not to- and they're the ones that get killed for their beliefs- or in the business world they're just known as "losers".
I wonder if faced with the ultimatum form of his own making, how would he answer it personally? is he fully aware of the legality his actions at all times, those of his family, and those he may not even be aware of that may be accessing his wireless router? if someone made a complaint against him, can he 100% say the internet account he is responsible for has never done anything wrong? Given the 3 options, none seem to address intent.. or mens rea.. the guilty mind. He seems to just assume it exists if they don't play ball, or indeed- if they do. A true win-win for him, because there is no other possible option.
Would he answer the form 100% truthfully? Would he have himself disconnected? If he has kids, I feel sorry for them the day they ever step over that line and get a complaint notice...especially if the laws become more stringent and he contributed to the process that made them so.
My final point; I cannot wait for encrypted tunneling services to become more mainstream. When ISP's become essentially little more than extentions to phone companies for delivering and receiving encrypted traffic- the choke hold will finally be relieved:
Yes your honour, on Thursday, June 18, 2009 and 12:05 AM I did indeed send a packet of data containing a seemingly random collection of characters to someone else on the internet, and when (Your honour) I examine the data I sent as it is presented here today, neither you nor I, nor they- the recipient of said packet of seemingly random collection of characters- know what they mean, and it fills me with joy to say that I am indeed telling you the truth.
What a load of rubbish.
"The part you are missing" is that no "innocent" customer is inconvenienced at all and will not be inconvenienced by their tiny ISP going out of business because it can't afford to defend a law suit brought upon it and it's customers by the actions of thieves.
"Guilty" customers get a reminder that copyright holders don't like people stealing their income.
Innocent and guilty alike are advised of an allegation and can deal with it a few seconds.
I think you are also "missing" the ability to read relatively well written English language sentences - alternatively I cannot write coherent English language sentences.
Either way it is pointless for you to continue to read what I write if that mish mash of cr** you wrote is regarded by you as sensibly addressing the points I made.
Why bother using the services of a company whose owners you despise?
In relation to:
"There are moments when you need to stand up and say no. "
....do you ever have a moment when you stand up and say "I must stop stealing other people's property"?
I think I just read a very cogent argument about why Exetel should never, will never, be my ISP.
If you have such a low regard for your customers, and are so easily led to precisely those assumptions that copyright cartels want you to have about what motivations end users possess, or what burden of proof is adequate to establish infringement, then I now know exactly who to avoid.
Good to hear that someone like you will never be an Exetel customer.
Perhaps you should take a course in English as a second language as you clearly have no ability to understand my ways of constructing simply worded sentences - based on the amount of stupidity you have managed to cram in to so few words.
You are assuming that the people complaining are the "guilty" ones, but there are people believing and acting on principles.
When you defend privacy or freedom of speech, it is not necessarily because you want to be free to insult, defame and so on.
The big picture is that we are not talking just about the P2P traffic, we are talking about filters, we are talking about interceptions etc.
Governments and lobbies do not attack our rights in one strike, thankfully we are not in dictatorship, but they erode them, day by day, trough small acts, "little" changes etc.
I believe this is something that goes beyond "guilty" or not.
Last thing, a large part of the Australian population is not English mother tongue, be respectful.
I am assuming nothing other than what I clearly (for people competent in the English language) state.
The issue is that the lack of ethics, morals or plain common sense inculcated into Australian, and other, societies has resulted in the wholesale theft of intellectual property.
This in turn has resulted in the commercial endangering of small/tiny companies like Exetel.
Owners of such companies, who have invested their lifetime savings and huge chunks of their remaining life expectancy in them find it intolerable that their lives could be shattered by thieves.
There is no "big picture" when a hooligan with a knife is threatening to kill you.
There is also no big picture when a casual commentator wishes to offer opinions on what others should do.
People who can't comprehend relatively clearly written English should NEVER involve themselves in discussion - they don't have the required skills.That is not "disrespect" it's a comment on futility.
If you can't understand what I have written DON'T comment on it.
If you can understand what I've written then you would realise your, and other's, comments are just plain stupid and completely wrongly interpret what I have 'said'.
School boy references to government 'big brotherism' is a silly attitude to take to commercial theft.
Re-read Orwell to see the joke it really was.
I don't bother downloading. The material is so mediocre that downloading is not justified. If it was good, I would go and purchase it, which is not the case.
But for copyright paranoids, if you want people stop downloading your material, you spend few bucks more in protecting the material with a hardlock or something like that. If you don't, then that's your problem, not the ISP's problem.
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