Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Monday 8/10/2001Embattled BT is getting slightly more exposure than it might like, as bitter users haul it over the coals for throttling broadband connections to peer-to-peer file sharing services. The situation is a mixture of reason and deception: yes, BT is reasonable to try and manage its bandwidth; no, it's deceptive to not tell people that when they sign up.

Monday 8/10/2001

Embattled BT is getting slightly more exposure than it might like, as bitter users haul it over the coals for throttling broadband connections to peer-to-peer file sharing services. The situation is a mixture of reason and deception: yes, BT is reasonable to try and manage its bandwidth; no, it's deceptive to not tell people that when they sign up. But the real story's not being examined – according to BT's contract, and those of all broadband providers I know, you the user aren't supposed to use the service for copyright infringement. BT would be quite within its rights, and maybe its obligations, to cut off such access altogether. In fact, in the US some ISPs have been told to do so by the recording industry – and, of course, have often targeted the wrong people.

But then, that makes nonsense of the way these services are being sold – superb ways to get hold of just such copyright material. Nobody makes the copyright situation explicit, but try reading any broadband sales material without coming across glowing references to music downloads. And, of course, that's what most people use it for.

Tricky, and it'd be a hard-hearted cynic who'd lack any sympathy for BT in this situation. Um..

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