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This week Top 10 Broadband headed into the heart of government in Westminster for TalkTalk’s, ahem, talking shop regarding the government’s draconian drive to cut online piracy. And after digesting all that went on, we’re now even more behind the broadband provider’s campaign to resist attempts to make ISPs responsible for policing usage than ever before.

Naturally Bono didn’t show – probably not too much of a surprise given his previous comments on the matter. But the event did attract an altogether cooler class of guest in the shape of firebrand comedian Mark Thomas and fellow scourge of the political establishment Billy Bragg. Here’s the latter in conversation with Charles Dunstone, CEO of TalkTalk’s parent company Carphone Warehouse:

TalkTalk event pic2

On paper they’re pretty unlikely bedfellows, no? And to be fair it’s doubtful that they’ve much in common when it comes to their political convictions. But still the Bard of Barking's presence at the event, which also attracted human rights group Liberty, serves as some measure of how far opposition to the file-sharing proposals has the support of more progressively minded musicians. That's something that's easy to forget when the likes of Bono wade in to the debate to mither moralistically about file sharing.

Hobnobbing aside, though, our personal highlight of the event was a neat demonstration from one of TalkTalk’s team, whose remit it is to patrol the corners of the net to uncover new ways that people are accessing content illegally.

Among the trends he expounded on was the burgeoning popularity of the likes of sites such as Audials 1 and Replay. Both are applications that trawl through up to 20,000 internet radio stations and YouTube to grab content for users to download to their hard drive. They’re also sophisticated enough to be able to bypass DRM protection and strip out advertising and DJ’s inanities and just leave you with the tracks – all shrink-wrapped and ready to go.

But the really eye-opening thing is that use of Audials 1 et al is even more difficult to detect than file sharing via torrent sites, which by all accounts actually appear to be on the way out in terms of user numbers. Rather pirates are turning to new apps and methods to nab music and movies.

Where this leaves providers, we can’t say for sure. But it does rather suggest that by the time that the Digital Britain report’s proposals for broadband suppliers to crack down on file sharing actually become law, they could be so out of date as to be nigh-on pointless. And not merely hugely impractical.

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