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Proposed UK File-Sharing Laws May Be Illegal, ISPs Upset 198

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-tread-on-them dept.
mindbrane writes "Once in a while, a sidebar will throw a lot of light on a difficult problem. The BBC has a short piece on British ISPs' anger over proposed new laws governing file sharing in the UK. The new laws would include cutting repeat offenders off from the Internet. Early response suggests such tactics would fail: 'UK ISP Talk Talk said the recommendations were likely to "breach fundamental rights" and would not work. ... Virgin said that "persuasion not coercion" was key in the fight to crack down on the estimated six million file-sharers in the UK. ... Talk Talk's director of regulation Andrew Heaney told the BBC News the ISP was as keen as anyone to clamp down on illegal file-sharers. ... "This is best done by making sure there are legal alternatives and educating people, writing letters to alleged file-sharers and, if necessary, taking them to court."' The article also mentions a statement issued by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills which 'proposes that internet service providers are obliged to take action against repeat infringers and suggests that the cost of tracking down persistent pirates be shared 50:50 between ISPs and rights holders.' Unsurprisingly, said rights holders are in favor of the idea."
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Proposed UK File-Sharing Laws May Be Illegal, ISPs Upset

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  • Sith Mandelson (Score:5, Informative)

    by duguk (589689) <dug AT frag DOT co DOT uk> on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:20AM (#29203467) Homepage Journal
    What's weird is the Digital Britain report said they should NOT cut people off, and European Parliament said it might be against human rights.

    It's Sith Mandelson that's trying to introduce this. Strangely it was reported in some newspapers that he was caught having a meeting last week with some Record companies. Wonder if they bought him a iPod or something?
    • >>>Wonder if they bought him a iPod or something?

      My local GM dealer (now owned by the government) gave me a free MP4 player! Awesome. All I have to do is pay $29.99 in shipping costs. How generous of my government to do this for me. /end sarcasm

    • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:03PM (#29204105) Homepage Journal

      Of course it's illegal. It has always been illegal for a special interest group to attempt to run the country. That's true in every society that makes any claim to be "democratic". The question is not whether these attempts to control society are legal or not. The question is, when are people going to get pissed off enough to tell the government that these attempts will no longer be tolerated?

      All of the lobbyists should be tarred and feathered, and run out of town on a rail. When that's finished, go back and grab the paid off politicians for the same treatment.

      One round of that, and we'll see all lobbyists reconsidering their strategies.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hurricane78 (562437)

        Now think about why you only wrote "should" instead of "will" and actually doing it.
        Long and hard. For at least a hour a day for a week.

        Then you might come to the root of the problem. :)

    • Baron Mandelson, 679, of Transylvania [today.com], smiled for the cameras, only having to reconstitute himself twice when the flashes dissolved him into dust. "I only enter where I am invited," he said in sepulchral Eurocratic tones. "When I am called upon, I shall return."

      Labour MPs rushed to greet the chief architect of New Labour, many carrying wooden stakes, garlic and crosses.

      Mr Mandelson has had a chequered career in office. Previous Cabinet terms have ended with unfortunate resignations due to being beheade

  • 50:50 cost? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sanosuke001 (640243) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:21AM (#29203469)
    Why should ISPs foot the bill to protect rights holders IP? Honestly, the idea of making ISPs liable is ridiculous. They should provide a service and be blind to anything on their networks.
    • Re:50:50 cost? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by DamonHD (794830) <d@hd.org> on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:23AM (#29203539) Homepage

      This sort of lopsided silliness (and the RIP Act) was why I walked away from being a ISP (one of the very first in the UK, with sensible notions of who owned the data passing over our wires).

      So glad that I'm out of it, and still not really believing anyone makes money being an ISP.

      Rgds

      Damon

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gnick (1211984)

      They should provide a service and be blind to anything on their networks.

      OK - take that argument into some other industries:

      Do you really think that the postal service should be immune if they carry a package containing methamphetamine? Even if they deliver it to a 13-year-old child?
      Do you really think that a bus-line should be immune if they give a ride to a terrorist with a bomb in his back-pack on his way to blow up a kindergarten?
      Do you really think that the phone company should be immune if they allow a 6 year old child to call a fetish phone-sex line?
      Do you really think t

      • Re:50:50 cost? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by twidarkling (1537077) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:51AM (#29203951)

        Yeah, I do think they should all be immune. The PS shouldn't be "inspecting" my packages. They're private. They aren't paid to snoop. The bus service isn't paid to look in back packs and conduct background checks. The phone company isn't paid to check the ages of people on the handset. The gun company isn't paid to parent people's kids. You know who is? The police. In every single case it's the legal authorities who should be doing something (well, apart from parenting, that should be the parents). A private citizen could call them and say "hey, there's a package labelled "meth" that was just delivered to a kid," or "there's a guy wearing a sign saying 'I'm on my way to blow up kids and all I'm getting is entry to heaven'" or "Hey, there's this kid on a public phone talking dirty," or "There's a kid on the playground with a glock." So, yeah, private industries should be blind and immune to abuse of their services.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          *whooooooosh*

          You were even clearly warned and missed the clue. Do we really need to bring back the <blink> in big red letters to warn people that the post may contain irony?

          • Actually, no woosh. I figured it was funny, since at the time he was rated 1: Flamebait. I figured a response was a better use of my time than using a mod point to really poke at him.

      • by yincrash (854885)
        THINK OF THE CHILDREN!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by dbet (1607261)

        OK - take that argument into some other industries:

        Do you really think that the postal service should be immune if they carry a package containing methamphetamine? Even if they deliver it to a 13-year-old child?

        Yes. Are you suggesting that the post office be held liable for something that could not have known about unless they opened and inspected EVERY package? Are you suggesting that the post office in fact DOES inspect every package?

        Do you really think that a bus-line should be immune if they give a ride to a terrorist with a bomb in his back-pack on his way to blow up a kindergarten?

        Yes, they should be immune. Or again, should they inspect every backpack of every bus rider? Should every bus driver be an expert on detecting bombs?

        The rest of your examples are equally invasive. You seem to want people to be responsible for things they can't possibly be

      • After the bit about the post office I strongly suspected sarcasm. After the second line about the bus-lines I was certain this was sarcasm. By the time I got to "Woosh hammer" I thought this was such well written sarcasm making such a good point that your average sixth grader would fully comprehend this comment.

        After reading the comments I realize I've either severely overestimated the reading comprehension of your average sixth grader or severely underestimated the reading comprehension of your average s

        • by gnick (1211984)

          I'm as amazed and disappointed as you, but it's been interesting to watch. Over the last couple of hours I've watched that post bounce from my starting '2', down to a '0', up to a '5', and now back down to a '1' (lower than your current '2' lamenting the fact that so many people missed the point.) And I don't think I've ever seen so many 'Whoosh'es responding to people's comments to a single post. I've no idea whether I'm coming out karma positive or negative today, but I've enjoyed watching the "Shoot f

      • by Mex (191941)

        Do you really think that a bus-line should be immune if they give a ride to a terrorist with a bomb in his back-pack on his way to blow up a kindergarten?

        What happened to the airline that carried the terrorists that crashed into the towers on 9-11?

    • Re:50:50 cost? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreak@nosPAm.eircom.net> on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:43AM (#29203821) Homepage Journal

      Why should ISPs foot the bill to protect rights holders IP?

      Because ISPs have a sparkly magic wand that will simply make this dreadful internet business and its calamitous effects on the entertainment industry disappear in a puff in punitive smoke.

      I mean, really. There was a time in this country when a 5 minute pop song meant something. It was a sacred institution, protected by copyright and ensuring the livelihoods of distributors across the land. Now any old miscreant feels he can whisk his songs backwards and forwards over those ghastly green tubes just like one sends emails or spreadsheets or power-point slides. Well you can't! Music is not supposed to be treated like that. There are proper channels for its distribution and the ISPs know they they aren't it!

      It's clear that they're being malicious. I remember meeting their representative. Frightful man. He accosted me with technical clap-trap; data, broadband, packet inspection, encryption, legitimate uses, feasibility studies. I told him what I'm telling you now. If the Chinese government can block off their entire internet from the BBC, then surely you can stop young scruffs from downloading things they're not supposed to. And if you can't stop them then you should cut them off! He threw his hands up in the air and left, but I sensed defeat.

      It's only a matter of time. We have petitioned the Her Majesty's Government, and they have responded favorably. Soon we will make these ISPs bring their customers to heel, and we will do it with the full force of the Law. Honestly, the attitudes and doomsdaying of some people on this never cease to amaze me. Just last week I was in conversation with a chap who felt too much restriction on the Internet was dangerous or some such rot.

      As I said to him at the time: "My dear Norfolk, this isn't Iran. This is England."

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Why should ISPs foot the bill to protect rights holders IP?

      Because they want to keeping getting the profits from raping people with their licensing agreements, but don't want to lose those profits in legal proceedings they are obligated to undertake in order to continue to have a valid claim on the copyrighted work. If they don't do something about this, a lot of copyrighted works could fall into the public domain because the derived income is less than the cost of legal proceedings to protect it. So all these manipulations of the copyright law will be for nothing.

  • by damburger (981828) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:21AM (#29203473)

    Lord Mandelson of Sith went to dinner with a corporate interest, and came back with a policy that suited that interest without regard to either citizens rights or even practicality.

    How do you stop illegal torrents without crippling the UK Internet? I mean, more than BT has managed to do?

    • >>>Lord Mandelson of Sith

      I'm waiting for the trumpets of the Grand Republic to start playing. Ahhh... here comes Chancellor Palpatine now.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by damburger (981828)
        Well, there is precedent... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG23bVpw65o [youtube.com]
        • This just in.....

          The Welsh military has been issued a copyright violation notice by FOX Studios. They are expected to pay $1000 per second of song played without FOX's permission.

          • by VJ42 (860241) *

            This just in.....

            The Welsh military has been issued a copyright violation notice by FOX Studios. They are expected to pay $1000 per second of song played without FOX's permission.

            That'd be great; **AA lawyers against this [wikipedia.org]. Personally I'm putting my money on the longbowmen. In fact, is there anyone on /. who doesn't want to see **AA lawyers cut down by a shower of arrows? I'd certainly pay for the privilege.

  • Meddling Mandy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by segedunum (883035) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:21AM (#29203491)
    Once again we've got a totally unelected, dictatorial government 'minister' who starts rattling his saber over file sharing, *conincidentally* after meeting with David Geffen and being wined and dined, and then lies barface to us - again - that this unprecendented personal poking of his nose in policy that has nothing to do with him wasn't connected to that in any way.
    • by pbhj (607776)

      Who does Mandelson have dirt on he seems to have been running the shop off and on since Blair got in; I wouldn't trust him to wash my car never mind giving him power over the countries affairs.

  • by JustNiz (692889) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:21AM (#29203495)

    This is entirely a problem for the music and movie industry. Why are the government acting as their bitches against the will an freedom of the people who elected them?

    • by pjt33 (739471)

      Your big mistake here is assuming that the government was elected. In particular, the minister moving this is Lord Mandelson - and he's a Baron because that was the easiest way to get him into government without the pesky election business.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)
        He was elected several times: in 1992, 1997 and 2001. He resigned from parliament to take a job in the UK's European Commissioner, and was made a lord in 2008 to bring him back into the UK government. Given the number of scandals he was involved with from 1992-2001 it's surprising that he was reelected, and especially that he was reelected twice. Given the lack of judgement shown by the Labour government, it's not surprising he was brought back. There is, apparently, no truth to rumours that he is a vam
        • by Rogerborg (306625)

          There is, apparently, no truth to rumours that he is a vampire.

          He likes to suck on young virgins. That's a vampire, surely?

          • by Pig Hogger (10379)

            He likes to suck on young virgins.

            Who doesn’t?

            • Who cares if they're virgins, so long as they are young with firm boobies and tiny butts.

              Uh oh...something's come up.

              I must go.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by rich_r (655226)
                Everyone seems to forget that Mandy's batting for the other side. The butts will be firm, yes, but the boobies will not be what you were after...
        • by pjt33 (739471)

          Mandelson was not elected to the current Parliament, though, which is my point. He isn't accountable to any electorate.

    • by Shagg (99693)

      Because the music and movie industry lines their pocket with more cash than the people do.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dan541 (1032000)

      Because the UK is not a democracy.

      There are more files sharers than there are content producers, there for in a true democracy file sharing would be legalised.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by westlake (615356)

      This is entirely a problem for the music and movie industry. Why are the government acting as their bitches against the will an freedom of the people who elected them?

      The geek is convinced that he speaks for everyone.

      The James Bond and Harry Potter films have earned ten billion dollars, unadjusted for inflation. The Lord of the Rings trilogy, three billion.

      You could quite plausibly double or quadruple these numbers when you total up the return on book sales, home video and other merchandising.

      The numbers a

  • Sith Lord Mandelson (Score:5, Informative)

    by hattig (47930) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:22AM (#29203509) Journal

    This evil man, who somehow reappears in UK politics despite having been thrown out twice for being scum, has now become a Lord (!!!) and basically cares only for himself and his rich friends. He recently had chats with media companies, and suddenly he is espousing this hard line response. Coincidence ... hmm ...

    I don't think that many people will be sad to see Labour lose in the next election. We might not be too happy with who will come in though.

    Anyway, if 1 in 10 people is doing the same illegal thing, then what needs assessing? Surely the law itself!

    • by hughk (248126)
      It was the only way that they could get Mandy a role as minister when he hadn't been elected. The conservatives have used the same technique before to bring in some industrialist to help them out in the Department of Trade and Industry, but at least he had some real experience. Mandy's is limited to being something to do with the media. This is why he takes the side of media management so quickly.
  • If somebody sharing a file on a network is breaking the law then why not pursue them within the law? For any other crime the approach would be to obtain evidence, and then prosecute them. I can't see why the "special status" of file-sharing means that the law should be circumvented in this case to allow punishment (disconnection) without any sort of due process.

    • Because following due process requires money. The media companies have no money because people keep downloading their stuff illegally.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Shagg (99693)

        Because following due process requires money.

        Not to mention evidence. It's more difficult to conduct a reign of terror if you actually have to start proving things.

  • Traditionally, the UK Parlement has had primacy and complete authority without any overarching controls such as the US Constitution serves in the American system. Whatever they pass becomes new law, and old law is automatically modified/voided.

    Now, with the EU, Parlement might face some laws being invalidated by EU courts. A bigger question is whether the UK Courts can or will respect EU findings. It may be that UK citizens will have to petition EU courts, but UK courts might not enforce the rulings.

    It is

    • I don't think 'Primacy of Parliament' means what you think it means (and it's certainly not how you spell it). To start with the monarch technically retains executive authority, delegated to ministers. While it's true that there is no supra-legal constitution equivalent in the UK (the Human Rights Act is legislated), the ammendability of the US constitution makes them both mutable in practice. That said, the real-politik of the situation is that you can't just go rewriting the HRA or constitution willy-n
      • by Shakrai (717556)

        While it's true that there is no supra-legal constitution equivalent in the UK (the Human Rights Act is legislated), the ammendability of the US constitution makes them both mutable in practice. That said, the real-politik of the situation is that you can't just go rewriting the HRA or constitution willy-nilly.

        Umm, it's a bit harder to pass an amendment to the US Constitution than it is to pass an Act of Parliament.

        • Both can be changed, but neither easily. It would be political suicide to try to curtail the HRA; it effectively serves the same purpose as the constitution even if it's framed differently. There was much debate in Australia at one point, as well, as to whether we needed a bill of rights; in the end it was said that a bill of rights was superfluous and unnecessary since existing legislation did all that in practice (conspiracy theory: they wanted the power to remove our rights and enumerating them would m
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Shakrai (717556)

            It would be political suicide to try to curtail the HRA

            Given the number of other rights willingly surrendered by the good people of the British Isles I'm not sure that I believe it would be political suicide to go after the HRA. They've willingly surrendered the right to remain silent, the right against self incrimination and the right to keep and bear arms. Why is the HRA sacrosanct if those rights aren't?

            • I disagree because... uhm... er... well... You make a good point there.

              I guess there is a spectrum of sacrifices people will make; most people don't value privacy and liberty as much as they value life or food. Makes you wonder how far people would be prepared to go? People trade liberty for safety; would people give up the right to education if it meant guaranteed employment? And then would they trade self-determination for guaranteed food?

              And then would they in anyway distinguishable from slaves?

              *su

            • by VJ42 (860241) *

              Given the number of other rights willingly surrendered by the good people of the British Isles

              We havn't all given them up, Some of us [liberty-hu...hts.org.uk] are fighting to retain the rights we have and get back others. We now even have an political party [pirateparty.org.uk] to vote for. And even if the Pirates don't win a seat, there is another major political party committed to passing a bill to reclaim our freedom [libdems.org.uk]. Even the TFA is about people standing up against government committing to free ideals, even if out of selfish motives. The cause of Freedom is nowhere near lost in the UK.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      Not really. The government is required to either abide by international treaties or withdraw from them. European courts have had UK laws overturned in the past, and no doubt will again. If the government really wants to push the law through, it can withdraw from the Treaty of European Union, but I suspect a lot of companies would object to suddenly being charged import duties moving goods to and from the EU and not getting any more EU subsidy money.
      • European courts have had UK laws overturned in the past, and no doubt will again.

        Which is why all those innocent people whose DNA was being held on the national database have had their records deleted, in line with the recent court ruling.

        Oh, wait, they haven't. The government is still planning to hold those DNA records for several years, and longer if the (not even charged, never mind prosecuted) offence involved was in certain categories.

        If the government really wants to push the law through, it can withdraw from the Treaty of European Union, but I suspect a lot of companies would object to ... not getting any more EU subsidy money.

        You do realise that those of us on this side of the channel are some of the biggest net contributors to EU coffers, right?

        • by VJ42 (860241) *

          If the government really wants to push the law through, it can withdraw from the Treaty of European Union, but I suspect a lot of companies would object to ... not getting any more EU subsidy money.

          You do realise that those of us on this side of the channel are some of the biggest net contributors to EU coffers, right?

          You're right, but so was the GP about companies complaining, just for the wrong reasons. If we withdrew from the EU, UK companies would lose not only free access to the worlds largest trading block, but also the large pool of reasonably cheap labour from Eastern Europe that goes with it. Indeed, it's not just companies; all those Polish plumbers and Bulgarian builders would have to go home, the supermarkets couldn't import cheap European goods and prices for you and me would rise; suddenly the eurosceptic m

          • by hughk (248126)
            The Eurosceptics believe that the UK could withdraw from the EU and join the EEA to retain access to EU markets. A nice theory for them but in practice it forces the countries to comply with many EU policies without any representation in the decision making.
            • by VJ42 (860241) *

              The Eurosceptics believe that the UK could withdraw from the EU and join the EEA to retain access to EU markets. A nice theory for them but in practice it forces the countries to comply with many EU policies without any representation in the decision making.

              I know. It's funny watching their reactions when you mention that Norway and the Swiss have to implement 70-80% of EU directives to stay in the EEA, but don't get a seat at the table when they're made... "So you'd like to give us even less power over our trade laws then Mr UKIP man?" ;p

    • >>>A bigger question is whether the UK Courts can or will respect EU findings.

      Well during the early years of the United States, many state governments simply ignored the rulings of the Federal or Supreme Courts. I suspect we'll see something similar within the European Union where states like the UK or France simply ignore the rulings.

      In the U.S. the solution was to keep a standing army such that States were afraid to challenge the authority of the U.S. Perhaps the EU will follow a similar tactic

    • We don't have a written Constitution like the US, which can be amended as the government wants if it can get a majority ... what we do have is the body of law, which the government can modify as it wants if it can get a majority .... ... it has also international treaties (including EU treaties) it has signed up to that may invalidate some laws, just like the US ...

      It's simple the law governs Parlement and Parlement makes the laws (including international treaties) just like in the US ....

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Shakrai (717556)

        We don't have a written Constitution like the US, which can be amended as the government wants if it can get a supermajority in Congress and supermajority of the States

        Fixed that for you.

  • Car and Gun manufacturers being held responsible when their products are used in a crime..
  • An internet provider should no more be police for content than the postal services, who don't open and read every letter or packet to see if there's something incriminating in it. Besides which, how much volume of information is flowing around per hour on the internet, and you're somehow going to police that for who owns copyright on the files?! Idiots.

    These schemes are always thought up by politicians who have NO qualifications in engineering, information technology or ANYTHING remotely relevant. All we ha

    • An internet provider should no more be police for content than the postal services, who don't open and read every letter or packet to see if there's something incriminating in it.

      Dunno about the UK, but in the US, the post office does have an inspection service [wikipedia.org] that does just that. Not routinely (I'd hope), but they routinely cooperate with other branches of law enforcement, and IIRC, are authorised to carry guns and make arrests, and regularly do so.

      Put another way, if you want to advocate ISP neutrality,

  • You know, I keep hearing the phrase "illegal file-sharers" -- but in truth, what's left to share that's still legal? Upload it to a website and they now likely own the copyright via some license you didn't read. Transfer it over the internet, and the ISP can claim it has certain rights to it. It seems like almost anything that can be made digital is now controlled by some corporation rather than the original creator of the work -- and anything introduced into almost any distribution medium is gobbled up by

    • by The Moof (859402)
      ISO images of free operating systems.
      • by Bakkster (1529253)

        As well as any other open source, public domain, creative commons work, or anything that the rights-holder decides to distribute for free.

        Why transmit it through file sharing? Easy: bandwidth. The file can reach millions of people for a fraction of the bandwidth, meaning for a fraction of the cost.

    • by pjt33 (739471)

      NASA distributes vast quantities of imagery to the public over bittorrent.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:34AM (#29203697) Journal

    That's basically what this boils down to. You are punished without a trial, or a chance to convince a jury of your peers that you don't deserve to be punished. Yes it's efficient but it's also tyrannical... like living under the old monarchy where punishment was swift but arbitrary.

    • by schon (31600)

      Exactly.. note the wording...

      internet service providers are obliged to take action against repeat infringers

      The problem is that they want service providers to take action against alleged repeat infringers.

      If the media providers want the ISPs to cut off people while they're in prison for copyright infringement, that's not so unreasonable. Unfortunately, this likely isn't what they meant.

  • Guess who is trying to get these laws passed. When you buy music, make sure to check http://riaaradar.com/ [riaaradar.com] to see if the album is from a company that funds the RIAA. If they do, don't buy it and stick it to them a couple dollars of lost earnings at a time.
    • But if all albums of a band I like are there, then I can only:

      1. Record the songs off the radio or TV assuming they are still played (requires a lot of time).
      2. Buy it second-hand (does not change the fact that I bought it).
      3. Download it (free, but illegal).
      4. Borrow it from a friend and copy it (illegal, and the friend had to do [1-4]).
      5. Do not listen to the band (but I like it and want to listen to it!).

      Of course most of the time I end up doing #3, like everybody I know personally.

  • Members of parliament need to be reminded that they work for us, not Big Media Corp. They need to be reminded that their job security depends heavily on our support, not the support of a corporate lobby group - especially a FOREIGN lobby group. Members of parliament need to become aware that serving the interests of the people whom they represent is their number one priority and serving the interests of lobby groups can come somewhere much further down on that list. They need to be reminded in the simplest
    • by jimicus (737525)

      Write to your member of parliament. Vote smart.

      Yep, done this. Several times, in fact.

      My MP is a member of the labour party, and a very loyal one at that. Chances of her rebelling against any measure the government propose is somewhere close to zero.

      • by Andy_R (114137)

        The major UK parties are well known for making policy swerves to chase votes. While the Pirate Party UK realistically stands no chance of winning seats in the next general election, we will do our best to offer voters a chance to demonstrate that technology issues are important.

    • by hughk (248126)
      Lord Mandleson was never elected. He was called to the Lords as the only way to give him a rank of Minister of the Government without him being elected. Essentially he has always been considered as knowledgeable but unelectable but his ability to manage the media that made him an excelleent manager of spin for Blair.
  • Britain on the edge (Score:4, Informative)

    by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:49AM (#29203925)

    Too bad the Labour Party has been taken over by a bunch of neo-conservative autocrats. The people of the UK now really have no choice except that between far right and even further right. Personal rights and due process are becoming a thing of the past, surveillance cameras proliferate like rats on Viagra, and the state is pushing its way into every area of one's private life...all in the name of security.

    I'm entirely unsurprised that this latest assault on individual freedom and dignity is gaining currency with the UK government. Who cares whether the person whose connection is cut was actually responsible for the alleged piracy? Who cares whether they were even breaking the law? And how much more efficient it will be when the notoriously greedy and dishonest entertainment industry can inflict its will on average people without even having to prove its case in court!

    All the fascists we fought during WWII would be laughing their asses off, because the current pack of neocon thugs are bringing about everything they wanted with the stroke of a pen. This latest offense against due process and the rule of law is just the cherry on an excrement sundae.

    • Labour are now neo-conservative are they?, they may be in US terms, but even our Conservative party only has a few people we would consider neocons and Labour are still (just) to the left of the majority of Conservatives ....

      You forget that totalitarian regimes come in both left and right flavours and they both use the same tactics ....

  • by ibsteve2u (1184603) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:50AM (#29203939)

    What annoys me is that business chronically shrieks that the consumer should be ever more regulated and that the penalties for breaking those regulations should be ever harsher.

    But when it comes to their own behavior, what I hear from Business is that they should be ever less regulated and the penalties for their noncompliance should range from weak to non-existent!

    Now that kid over at the university who swiped 10 songs is costing me little or nothing...pennies, at most. But, at least here in America, the Businesses who have so successfully bought deregulation have cost my country, me, and my children trillions of dollars.

    The system is whacked!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by krou (1027572)

      It reminds me of when Adam Smith rallied against the mercantile system: "It cannot be very difficult to determine who have been the contrivers of this whole mercantile system; not the consumers, we may believe, whose interest has been entirely neglected; but the producers, whose interest has been so carefully attended to; and among this latter class our merchants and manufacturers have been by far the principal architects. In the mercantile regulations, which have been taken notice of in this chapter, the i

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:55AM (#29204007) Homepage

    If a copyrighted work doesn't come with a fair license, don't consume it.

    Simple fact is, as long as we keep feeding these trolls, they will keep biting our hands. It's not hard to give it up, particularly if you allow yourself the occasional dalliance. Prior to the Metallica/Napster debacle, I had built up a collection of more than 1,000 CDs. Since then, I have bought maybe two dozen CDs and one downloaded album. I think all the CDs were used.

    Meanwhile I have more than 30 gigs of podcasts on my iPod, and another 30 gigs on my hard drive. All downloaded perfectly legally, and most of it is an excellent replacement for the lackluster material coming from the gated cloisters.

    As an added advantage, I'm spending a helluva lot more time listening to educational material about hobbies I am interested in, and a lot less time sucking on candy-media.

    Give 'em what they want. They don't want us to use their media the way we want to use it? Fuck 'em.

    • by Pig Hogger (10379)

      If a copyrighted work doesn't come with a fair license, don't consume it.

      Pirate it. When everyone will have bled the content distributors to death, they will not harm people anymore.

    • by jimicus (737525) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:13PM (#29204261)

      Even that doesn't work very well.

      In order for it to work well, you'd need to cut the money off suddenly and more-or-less entirely. In other words, almost everyone on the planet starts a boycott simultaneously while loudly explaining exactly what they are doing and why. This would force them to re-think their business pretty well.

      Unfortunately, what's happening is a few people here and there are starting a boycott and the industry doesn't know what's happening - all they know is they're making fewer sales. They've been blaming this on piracy for years, what makes you think they'll stop now?

      • by Bob9113 (14996)

        I agree we need a more pervasive boycott, and we need it to spread more rapidly.

        That is why I posted a call to boycott. Spread the word. :)

        • by ijakings (982830)
          You really are preaching to the choir here, most peole on /. already hold those views and if they dont they probably arent going to change them because one random person makes a post that has been done before ad nauseum. In order to make a difference you have to explain to everyone around you offline the situation and try and change their minds, and if you have already done that youve done your part, unless you want to take to the streets or something. Us telling each other the same good idea over and over
          • by Bob9113 (14996)

            I say it every time the subject comes up, online or off. It is not about whether you fall down, it is about whether you get back up. Keep pushing until we win. Even if that means going to my grave 40 years from now still pushing, and not yet having won. Never give up. Never surrender. Never sit in silence.

  • It is simple, efficient, and the people oppressed by this approach are already painted as "criminals." Would YOU want to stand in defense of "criminals and thieves" ? Didn't think so.

    Move along people, nothing to see, RIAA's boot has finally found it's way to your collective ass.

  • by improfane (855034) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:14PM (#29204279) Journal

    It is not the ISP's jurisdiction to protect the rights of content holders. This is ridiculous.

    It's like a telephone company being legally responsible for checking if I am reading copyrighted material. They're just trying to reduce they're own costs.

    Media companies need to get with the times and compete.

  • Seven million Britons face having their internet connection cut off and fines of up to GBP50,000 as Steampunk Britain [today.com]

    is implemented.

    Lord Carter, the report's author, has now left the Government for consultancies unknown. Lord Mandelson, who has taken over responsibility for digital policy, has been persuaded of the need for a tougher approach after entreaties from starving music mogul David Geffen, who was introduced to him by the Rothschild family. "He warned me in 2001 that these 'MP3 players' would le

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