Shiver me timbers! Virgin wants to fight those pesky pirates, however allegedly it still gives you up to 50mb broadband AND access to the alt.binaries.
Shiver me timbers! Virgin wants to fight those pesky pirates, however allegedly it still gives you up to 50mb broadband AND access to the alt.binaries.

Firstly I will need to repeat myself from previous articles, as I really dont want to have to do it countless times when the Microsoft faithful start putting libelous comments my way.

I am against piracy completely. Ive often said that some of the best features of the Net have been ruined and given a bad image by those who consider that someones IP is theirs for the taking (for example the BT protocol is excellent for Linux distros, IRC was once a haven for PD and FOSS & newsgroups are now flooded with pirated material).

I have seen firsthand the damage piracy can do to a firm and maybe why I have the belief that for those who complain DRM is the most evil thing since The Spice Girls, its the people who are downloading the copyrighted work who have encouraged its existence.  If everyone could be trusted to pay for the works they consumed, then there would be no need for DRM, would there?

I dont intend to make this article into one of my opinions on DRM (which I believe is a necessary evil) or piracy as a whole, so lets just agree to differ there.

The other thing that I hate is double standards.  Weve seen it with the Microsoft shillers or the posters who really dont know what they are talking about.  So this article is going to be about a little double standards IMO from Virgin Media Broadband.

Virgin Media very proudly advertises its broadband speeds, its adverts will tell you of optical cabling giving you great download speeds and a great online gaming experience.  Apparently though, whilst they advertise the fact you can download at great speed, its not copyrighted material they want you to download.

That in itself would be quite reasonable.   Virgin Media take the issue of illegal filesharing very seriously and have made press releases to this effect:

“We want people to enjoy music online without infringing the rights of musicians and music companies. This campaign is about helping our customers understand how they can do this.”

and how about this one:

“As a responsible ISP, Virgin Media is taking this problem seriously and would favour a sensible voluntary solution”

Like a Knight in shining armor Virgin Media charges ahead in its crusade against piracy, but take away the brave words of a press release and look a little deeper...
Like a Knight in shining armor Virgin Media charges ahead in its crusade against piracy, but take away the brave words of a press release and look a little deeper...

Fine sentiments?

Well not really IMO.  Whilst Virgin Media appears to be charging forward in its quest for fairness to artists, its at the same time recently increased its broadband to 50mb.

So I know what you are asking.  Whats the problem with all this?  How can it be double standards?  Let me continue…

Whilst Im sure Virgin Broadband will be doing their part to assist the BPI with issues surrounding the BT protocol, all parties concerned seem quite happy to let Virgin customers have access to newsgroups provided by them.  Including but not limited to alt.binaries.boneless which is a well known place to for pirated movies etc.

So my question is this.  Why does Virgin appear to take the moral highground on piracy? and surely if the Piratebay owners can end up in court for simply having meta data of a torrent on their server, wouldnt that make Virgin a case for the courts too with its newsgroup contents?

Theres no justification IMO for having a 50megabit connection for simply online gaming, so if they are suggesting its for files, what exactly are they proposing you download at that speed?  Maybe the BPI should consider that whilst Virgin is at the forefront of a brave new fight on piracy on one hand, its giving its users superfast access to copyrighted material on the newsgroups on the other.

Of course Virgin would say that they would not condone the use of newsgroups to infringe copyright, so I ask them, why have alt.binaries at all?

Virgin media have something to say about newsgroups.  This was taken from their site which can be found at http://www.virginmedia.com/myvirginmedia/newsgroups/

“Some groups allow subscribers to post or download not only text, but files like music, pictures or videos, these are known in the newsgroups world as binaries. As always, caution should be used when downloading files from the Internet, but you’ll find this a great way to share that killer song you’ve just mixed.”

Which to me really doesnt clear up Virgin media’s position.

I hope Im forgiven for thinking that whilst Virgin agrees with the ethos of anti-piracy, its also aware how enticing it is to customers.  Thats my opinion, Id like to hear yours.

Id suggest if Virgin Media is as committed to anti-piracy as it suggests, it starts by removing the alt.binaries newsgroups from its customers.

Somehow I dont think that will happen.

In my opinion something needs to be done about piracy NOW.  Whilst I may have no love for certain Microsoft products, I would not condone the piracy of any IP.  IMO the people who are tasked with tackling this problem really dont have much of an idea of how to do it, if they did there would not the rise in popularity of certain BT trackers and the problem worsening as more and more people learn where to go.

The most dangerous time for any company is in recession.  Add a piracy problem to that and your asking for trouble.  People who download movies may justify that behaviour because “the DVD’s are too expensive” but if the result of that piracy ends in the closure of that company or the ending of that product line then everyone looses regardless of your views on the cost of the product.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com