Music downloads mean no free wireless

A confusing title perhaps, but let me explain. BT are currently trying to convince people to open up their wireless routers so that the UK becomes a huge wi-fi zone. Very commendable, especially when a lot of their accounts are bandwidth-limited, so if some guy sat in a car outside your 2-up/2-down decided to leach Lost Season 3 on BitTorrent, your downloads are crippled or chargeable for the month thereafter…

The illegal download thing comes in again with this case in the US where a woman has been charged £108,000 for downloading 20 songs. Bizarrely, the case hinged around the fact that she made them availabl for download, so it wasn’t so much how she got the songs – it was what she did with them afterwards. The prosecuting lawyer said she broke the law by making them available, she maintains it was an accident and she knew nothing about it.

So, folks, lock up your CDs. If you leave them lying on a table then someone could copy them and you’re looking at a twenty grand fine for each track that someone else steals. Well, that’s te loiv they’re following.

OK, so how does this relate to the BT story? Simple – if someone else uses your router (no matter how “secure” a portion of it is and regardless of a logon being needed), any illegal activity goes back to your IP address. Child porn downloads, Torrents, hosting of pirated films… by the ruling in that court case, it’s your responsibility. The two clash completely. OK, you have the defense that it wasn’t your computer so you had no control, but it’s your responsibility and the music lawyers seem to have started a nice precedent for “guilty until proved guilty”.

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Dewi Morgan

I love the idea though – if everyone does it, then everyone has plausible deniability. There is no assurance that just because you have a DSl line that you ever use it – you will use whichever router gives you the best signal, and so will all your neighbours, so it balances out.

Plausible deniability can only be a good thing.

Equally, wide open access to the net anywhere in the country can only be a good thing. As a roamer you can’t argue with that.


Oh, as a roamer, it rules. I’ve used the system they’re proposing in Europe and – though the connections are throttled so you can’t abuse bandwidth – it’s superb for checking email etc.

Still, it does leave you wide open if the cops knock on the door. It flies against everything the government are trying to do. Such as send someone round to look over your shoulder at what you’re downloading in case you get upset or something. *******.

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