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The Internet Networking Your Rights Online

3 Strikes — Denying Physics Won't Save the Video Stars 284

Posted by Soulskill
from the even-scotty-would-have-trouble dept.
Philip K D writes "Award-winning SF author and BoingBoing co-editor Cory Doctorow has an editorial in today's Times of London. Doctorow elegantly eviscerates the basic injustice posed by the imminent Mandelson '3 Strikes' law in Britain. He makes the explicit observation: 'The internet is an integral part of our children's education; it's critical to our employment; it's how we stay in touch with distant relatives. It's how we engage with government. It's the single wire that delivers freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly. It isn't just a conduit for getting a few naughty free movies, it is the circulatory system of the information age.' It is worth noting that Doctorow was influential in the creation of the Creative Commons. He has enjoyed considerable commercial success for his writings, owing in no small part on his insistence that his work be made available for unrestricted electronic distribution and copying." In related news, the UK's second-largest ISP, TalkTalk, is now threatening legal action if Mandelson's plan goes through.
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3 Strikes — Denying Physics Won't Save the Video Stars

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  • Not helping (Score:5, Insightful)

    by russotto (537200) on Friday October 30, 2009 @03:03PM (#29928159) Journal

    He makes the explicit observation: 'The internet is an integral part of our children's education; it's critical to our employment; it's how we stay in touch with distant relatives. It's how we engage with government. It's the single wire that delivers freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly.

    Cory, that's only encouraging them. Now you've told them that if you can arbitrarily cut off people's Internet access, you've got those people by the gonads and can make them do whatever you want without going through the annoying process of actually passing laws and obtaining convictions and such.

    • Of course, the 3 strikes idea is about censorship. Anybody who thought otherwise?

    • Re:Not helping (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Philip K Dickhead (906971) <folderol@fancypants.org> on Friday October 30, 2009 @03:13PM (#29928293) Journal

      Sadly, I agree. The governments in the "west" are in their "wind-down" phase. They see enormous advantages in operating closed-cartel oriented markets, with severely curtailed republic systems and controlled public messages. It is working well (in their eyes) for China, with whom they imagine they must compete.

      "Let 'em buy Mazdas and Nike, and they won't care if they're free. Control the information they are allowed to consume, and they will vigorously attack with extreme chauvinism, any messenger that points out that they are not free."

      I am consistently amazed at how deadly accurate was the prescient vision of Terry Gilliam, in the movie Brazil - so clearly seeing the dreadful intersection of a corporate/consumerist substitution for the values of a republic, and the enlistment of "state power" as the lick-spittle to enforce corporate conformity.

      • Re:Not helping (Score:4, Informative)

        by blackraven14250 (902843) * on Friday October 30, 2009 @03:29PM (#29928485)
        We also saw how well communist ideas worked for Russia (from our perspective) during the early 40's, and actually did things that headed us ever so slightly in the direction of communism. (You can definitively say that social security is a small step in that direction, considering the generally "free market" position of the country beforehand.) We saw many, many state-sponsored programs emerge during that time, when Russia was actually something to be reckoned with. Do you think that this time, the aspects we see as working the best for our main competitors that we integrate will destroy us, or will we have another pullback from the edge of going down the path others have?
        • Re:Not helping (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid.gmail@com> on Friday October 30, 2009 @03:35PM (#29928565) Homepage Journal
          I think you and GP are onto something. Consider: The US, in its infancy, models itself after the biggest guy on the block, the UK, and builds an empire. Mid-century, as you said, the UK is supplanted by the USSR as the biggest competition, and now China. Something to think about. But what happens when the US becomes more and more irrelevant? China vs the EU?
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            EU is a desperate hedge. It will mean little, except by way of contrast with the hideously diminished US.

            Look to Brazil and a South American power to emerge. 20 years from now, it will seem as obvious as China does today. It's like India - without quite as much of a ridiculous demographic problem to overcome. By this time the US will be forced, at long last, to concede that its effort in Afghanistan are a failure.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              Yeah, been paying a lot of attention to Brazil lately, and they do seem poised to kick unholy amounts of ass.

              Which can only mean one thing: Time for a US/UK-sponsored coup!
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            This, however, assumes the US will become irrelevant. It seems to be heading that way; however, that isn't enough to make that judgment yet. Speculation of the future is nothing more than just that.

            I was just trying to point out that the strength of the US throughout history is its ability to integrate the best aspects of other societies and cultures into its own blend, and that emulating the other big guy isn't a bad thing.

            My concern for the US isn't the ability to use methods we find beneficial; I worry a

        • by gad_zuki! (70830)

          >We also saw how well communist ideas worked for Russia (from our perspective) during the early 40's, and actually did things that headed us ever so slightly in the direction of communism.

          Communism isnt social programs like Social Security. Communism is state owned property and means of production. This is something tea baggers should have been taught in school. Social Security isnt paid for by nationalizing all the business, its a tax, same as roads, navies, etc.

          Removing property from people and runnin

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by AJWM (19027)

            Communism isnt social programs like Social Security. Communism is state owned property and means of production.

            What, you mean like banks and automobile manufacturers?

        • by cas2000 (148703) on Friday October 30, 2009 @07:56PM (#29931001)

          i'm not american, but even i know 20th century american history better than you.

          neither communism nor socialism were dirty words in america until the 1950s with all the scare propaganda about the Red Menace.

          right up until then, there was an active, large, and popular socialist movement in america. it wasn't likely to hold government in its own right but was strong enough to provide a moderating influence on the growing corporate control of american government.

          after mccarthy, socialism became a thought-crime in america and corporate control had no effective opposition.

          i'm constantly astounded by the mindless american hostility to the idea of government - it's like children denying reality. the fact is that government is inevitable and unavoidable, you can't deny its existence or power by just subscribing to some moronic "rugged individualist" mythology. so, if government is inevitable, then only sane thing for citizens do is to ensure that it works for THEM....because if it doesn't work for the citizens, it will be controlled by the rich and powerful for their own benefit. which is *exactly* what you've got. as a whole, the people of america have abdicated and the power vacuum has been filled by corporate interests, which is precisely why there is so much corporate-sponsored propaganda brainwashing citizens into believing that socialist principles like universal health care are bad for them.

      • Re:Not helping (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gad_zuki! (70830) on Friday October 30, 2009 @03:58PM (#29928801)

        >They see enormous advantages in operating closed-cartel oriented markets, with severely curtailed republic systems and controlled public messages.

        I know this is popular in libertarian circles but its a bunch of BS. Unlike a lot of anti-US commentators I have been to some of these countries and know immigrants from there. Its cute to see people go apeshit over internet connectivity and scream "decline of the west!!!" while tipping their hats to countries like China and Russia where human rights are less than a joke. Where political prisoners are the norm, where censorship firewall is the norm, where gays are beaten to death in front of police, where joining the opposition party is a risk to your life, where not subscribing to the state religion is a death sentence, where education is propaganda, etc.

        I think this all stems from certain people hating the West for getting things right like the enlightenment, allowing criticism of religion and politics, allowing women full rights, allowing free speech, giving rights to minorities, allowing more than one party, univeral healthcare (sans a few), etc. Its sad that the 'small government' people are cozying up to dictators, warlords, and thugs because they envy success done with the large modern state which is almost always democratic, free market, and free speech.

        As far as the East winding up, dont confuse catching up with getting past. A lot of these countries were poverty states until recently and have terrible GDP per capita and terrible governments, terrible crime, and terrible abuses. They have a significant portion of the population which is ready to revolt but is only held down by totalitarian elements (see China and Iran). Ironically, they have only grown by accepting Western values like capitalism, easy access to markets, and some level of government and social openness.

  • I think (Score:5, Insightful)

    by b0ttle (1332811) on Friday October 30, 2009 @03:05PM (#29928175)
    They should create a 3 strike law for dumb politician laws.
  • Alternatives (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday October 30, 2009 @03:06PM (#29928189) Journal

    Assuming that they're going to create something stupid, what would be the least stupid alternative?
    How about something along the lines of "3 strikes and you're limited to ports X,Y,Z"

    • by immakiku (777365)

      Hopefully nothing in the spirit of this law ever gets passed, but to entertain the question, port blocking has been obsolete for some times now. It's a huge annoyance, but there are always ways to get around it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bakawolf (1362361)
      howsabout 3 convictions in a court of law ?
    • Re:Alternatives (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wizardforce (1005805) on Friday October 30, 2009 @03:19PM (#29928351) Journal

      How about not punishing people who presumably have not been found guilty of breaking the law? If they broke the law and were found guilty, they'd be subject to the ruling of the court. If they haven't been found guilty or for that matter given no trial then the whole thing is a violation of due process.

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        How about not punishing people who presumably have not been found guilty of breaking the law?

        I agree with you completely, but:
        1. the **AAs are bastards
        2. existing copyright law is impractical to enforce
        3. the Brits have been getting soft in the head for years now with their nannyish statism

        The only possible outcome is that they do something stupid at the prodding of corporate interests.

    • Re:Alternatives (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rycross (836649) on Friday October 30, 2009 @03:32PM (#29928529)

      Take them to a court of law after doing due diligence to figure out if they were really the ones infringing. Subject them to due process. Don't play shenanigans in court or behave unethically in the proceedings. If found guilty, then charge them fair, not extortionist, penalties.

      The problem is that the media companies don't like the idea of not being able to railroad everyday people into settlement, or not being able to threaten the public with ridiculous penalties. This is because they lose the FUD-factor, and the cost of throwing lawyers at the problem becomes prohibitive.

      How do you solve this? I don't know. Its not my problem, and its not the duty of society to ensure that litigation is profitable. Its the duty of society to make sure that due process is followed and the justice system improves society. It's not my duty to ensure that the media companies stay in business.

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      Assuming that they're going to create something stupid, what would be the least stupid alternative?

      I have no idea, but I think I can figure out how to go in the opposite direction. The main problem, to me, is that they're using a baseball analogy instead of a boxing analogy.

      Instead of "3 strikes and you're out", it should be "roughly between 10 and 100 blows to the head and you're out". With an optional "technical knockout rule" where if you fall over three times watching illegally downloaded porn you're

    • From now on port 85 is the "port of shame."
  • UK government (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lord Ender (156273) on Friday October 30, 2009 @03:08PM (#29928219) Homepage

    In the Bush years, the US had become the poster child for bad government in the Western world. Now, though, it seams the UK is the clear leader in this respect. There are so man examples other than this one. For example, just today, the UK fired a drug policy advisor because his scientific findings "sent the wrong message."

    Yes, in the UK government, stating scientific facts is now a fire-able offense. Bush was pretty anti-science, but even he didn't outright fire people like that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      9 federal prosecutors would probably disagree about Bush firing people for doing their jobs.

    • Some commentators call this affliction, which seems to have harmed most English-speaking nations in the world, the "Anglo Disease [theoildrum.com]". (Keep in mind that this particular eerily prophetic article was written before the Great Recession.)

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Friday October 30, 2009 @03:17PM (#29928325) Homepage

    It is worth noting that Doctorow was influential in the creation of the Creative Commons.

    First I've heard of this. Citation, please?

    I know that Doctorow was one of CC's early adopters. I've never heard that he was involved in the creation of the license.

    IMO Cory Doctorow is good writer, but an absolute genius at self-promotion.

  • Hmm.. no (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the_leander (759904) on Friday October 30, 2009 @03:23PM (#29928391) Journal

    Even assuming the security services don't lynch the dark lord before this goes to the vote, i have to wonder how effective such a law would be. For 20 quid i can get a 3g pay and go modem. No contract, no names, just cash.

    Then we have TOR and i2p, which if the papers are to be believed have the aformentioned services bricking it.

    Still, so long as he keeps getting his back handers, I'm sure everything will work out fine.

    • by kalirion (728907)

      For 20 quid i can get a 3g pay and go modem. No contract, no names, just cash.

      Don't worry, those will be outlawed soon enough.

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      Don't know about the UK, aren't there any per-byte charges on a pay-as-you-go 3g plan? Unless it is truly "unlimited", (e.g. "go ahead and run you web server over it, we don't care!") there are going to be some serious downloading charges; it may in fact be cheaper to just buy the damn DVD or CD.
    • by Yaa 101 (664725)

      It's not about downloading, this is about shutting people up.

  • who fucking cares? its just so much damage to route around

    yes, they could make laws that would end filesharing... laws that would also essentially kill everything that makes the internet worthy our contribution and attention. that's not going to happen, unless media companies have more power than self-destructive military dictatorships

    therefore, let them pass all of the half-assed measures that don't essentially kill the joy that is the internet all they want. let them joust with that technological hydra, and waste all their resources, a pool of cash and manpower that just keeps dwindling every day. obfuscation schemes, proxy schemes, encryption schemes, steganographic schemes, etc ... some college freshman in his dorm will handle all the complexities, for free, and make it as easy as point and click, and the program will spread like wildfire. and will of course get stamped out, just as the next moronic big media-sponsored law circumventing tool is spreading like wildfire. whack-a-mole is never a game you eternally prevail at

    so let them buy as many legislators as they can, pass as many intrusive legal schemes as they want, waste as much of their dwindling reserves as they can

    again, who fucking cares?

    millions of media hungry, technologically savvy, and most importantly, POOR teenagers

    versus a counple thousand lawyers basing their strategy on a philosophically flawed premise: that the internet can be controlled, that the distribution tollbooths that allowed media companies to thrive in the pre-internet age can be preserved

    game over, douchebags

    it doesn't reflect well on you when you are already defeated, and don't know it or won't admit it

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chris Burke (6130)

      who fucking cares? its just so much damage to route around

      People who care about the ramifications and consequences of these laws on our lives today, rather than just the inevitable long-term outcome.

      therefore, let them pass all of the half-assed measures that don't essentially kill the joy that is the internet all they want.

      The DMCA and the DRM schemes protected by it have completely failed to kill internet piracy, much less the internet. Yet, they have resulted in people being inconvenienced, hassled, sue

      • you are of course absolutely correct

        however, i am merely pointing out that although the thugs on the street corner will extract their pound of flesh, they will not prevail

        it is still entirely valid and appropriate to directly confront the thugs, as you insist

        but your point, and my point, are complementary points, not mutually exclusive points. i can make my point without hindering yours, and visa versa, so there is no need to assume friction between our two areas of concern

        both of our enemies are the thugs.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Chris Burke (6130)

          both of our enemies are the thugs. so you fight your short term war, i'll fight my long term war, and we will both prevail (in the long term ;-)

          I'm just saying -- you should care about this law, and we should not let them pass any law they want.

          Well okay, but "who fucking cares" and "let them pass any law they want" makes it sound like you aren't fighting any kind of war, and are just waiting for the inevitable outcome. Taken that as just a turn of speech not implying an actual lack of caring, then sure, o

    • by QuantumG (50515) *

      Ya know, I kinda feel like I should go find all those old conversations we used to have on Kuro5hin where you expressed the exact opposite opinion. Back then you were pro-copyright and felt the Internet was going to be destroyed by law makers. Have you changed your tune on illicit drugs yet?

    • On a totally irrelevant note, what's going on with your movie? You've been editing it for as long as I can remember :p
    • by Yogiz (1123127)

      I fucking care.

      I'm sick and tired of everybody here cheering that "Internet routes around such damage etc." and proposing that we should just let them do that to us.

      That's just idiotic. Every day I'm hearing of tougher and more unjust laws being proposed by these people and every now and then these laws are accepted and become parts of our justice system. Every time a law like this gets passed we move closer and closer to the point in time where your explanation that you just "routed around damage" will no

  • I normally would not give the time of day with this bunch of cowboys(>£10 in phone charges just to cancel a landline) but if they do take legal action over the latest silly idea to come out of Darth Vader (aka Mandy) I'll support them.

    IF the EU has told the French that this goes against the EU laws why the f*** does NuLab think this will also pass their scrutiny. Dumb idiots.

  • Lord Mandelson has today announced that the outgoing Labour government will be going ahead with the "three strikes" plan against Internet filesharing, thus ensuring the widespread use of encryption [today.com] in all routine network communications.

    "Encrypted communications as standard is the best possible thing for everyone's privacy," he said today, "but there's so much inertia from the installed base of unencrypted systems. This will provide a rapid incentive for everyone to upgrade as soon as possible. In our last few months in power at the fag-end of a failed government, we need to leave a real legacy for the future."

    The benchmark for the new system will be illegal filesharing dropping by 70%. "That's measured illegal filesharing, of course. We have set out our metrics quite clearly. Furthermore, home taping is killing music."

    MI5 and the police have objected to the plan due to the difficulty of mass-monitoring encrypted systems, even with the RIPA power to obtain passwords, since mass anonymity systems such as TOR and Freenet have been constructed where the end-user never has nor sees the encryption key. "But a few hideous terrorist atrocities is a small price to pay for less Lily Allen songs being shared. Particularly if they happen on the Tories' watch. MuWAAAhahahaha. By the way, have you noticed just how much Dave Cameron looks like Iggle Piggle? Uncanny."

  • Physics killed the video star?

  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2014@virtual-estates.net> on Friday October 30, 2009 @04:03PM (#29928869) Homepage

    'The internet is an integral part of our children's education; it's critical to our employment; it's how we stay in touch with distant relatives. It's how we engage with government. It's the single wire that delivers freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly.

    Yes, it is amazing, that the Internet has become all this — and more — but civilization did exist before 1990ies, and all of the freedoms mentioned were there — some of them even more so than today, perhaps.

    • by element-o.p. (939033) on Friday October 30, 2009 @05:05PM (#29929435) Homepage
      Civilization existed several thousand years ago, but I don't particularly want to return to the stone age...
    • by Yaa 101 (664725)

      Yes, but the problem is that many of our government's communication and services ONLY run through Internet nowadays, due to modernism and budget cuttings.
      This means that when you cut someone from the Internet in my country, you effectively make him/her a persona non Grata.

      You might as well take that person's passport and social number and throw it away.

      Finland has got it right in saying that an Internet connection is a CIVIL RIGHT!!!

    • by migla (1099771)

      Yes, but today we use the internet. And shit is relative. If everyone else gets to go on to ebay or whatever, one might feel really bad if one wasn't allowed online.

      It might analogous to, if in the old days, one wasn't allowed to drive a car or use the postal or telephony service or walk the streets because one had used these to carry out crimes.

      • by migla (1099771)

        ...come to think of it, my analogy would perhaps be more to the point if I said "to carry out copyright infringement" instead of "to carry out crimes".

  • Physics? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blueg3 (192743) on Friday October 30, 2009 @04:13PM (#29928987)

    What bearing does physics have on this?

    • What bearing does physics have on this?

      The point, which you could easily find in the fine article by simply searching for the word 'physics,' - is that all the things which make piracy attractive - cheap fat network pipes, easy access to tons of storage, easy connectivity to millions of people, etc won't go away just because they ratchet up the legal restrictions. In fact, just the opposite, all of those things will continue to get fatter, cheaper, bigger and better due to engineering progress riding on the back of better applied physics.

  • As a counter weight...

    http://zotzbro.blogspot.com/2009/10/new-3-strikes-law-proposals.html [blogspot.com]

    What can you suggest.

    (Naturally, it would be best not to have these 3 strikes plays at all...)

    all the best,

    drew

  • of the things being pirated. The RIAA and MPAA should offer the lowest possible prices that still allow them to earn a profit and then sell at more reasonable prices. That would put big cuts in piracy of materials. Sell in quantities at lower prices, rather than sell less at higher prices and force poor people who cannot afford the materials into piracy.

    Most piracy happens because the person is too poor to afford the materials, but they can afford a computer and Internet connection and then get a free P2P file sharing program and get as many materials as they want for free.

    Hulu [hulu.com] was a good idea, free TV shows and movies but with commercials. The RIAA and MPAA need to make a free access Hulu like site for videos, movies, TV shows, songs, music videos, etc and offer commercials in-between them for making money. Paid members can have the commercials removed and then buy the media for a low cost to download it to their computer or media playing device. The Internet is really based on a free content model of business, people don't want to pay access for a web site, but they do want to pay low prices to download media.

    If the RIAA and MPAA did a Hulu like site, then there wouldn't be any need for media piracy as you could watch all you wanted for free, and then pay a small fee to download the media file you watched to your computer or media playing device. Commercials will pay for such free sites, and paying members can skip the commercials.

    But I doubt the RIAA or MPAA would do that, as it makes too much common sense, and they are more of suing people for downloading content and are in fact suing their fans and customers. That makes a bad business model and gives bad PR.

  • peter mandelson isn't even elected so he should fuck right off - he is in the house of lords and the role of the house of lords is to monitor legislation passed by the house of commons

  • Award-winning SF author and BoingBoing co-editor Cory Doctorow

    Is this really what first comes to mind when people think of Cory Doctorow? I thought "Disney obsessed douchebag and general internet wanker" would be the more appropriate description.

  • by John Pfeiffer (454131) on Friday October 30, 2009 @06:33PM (#29930259) Homepage

    It occurs to me that taking away peoples' internet for what they may view as a perfectly reasonable use of their access (Or even worse, through no fault of their own) is going to KILL PEOPLE. I wish I were joking. I wish this was a joke. But if some kid murders his parents because they took away his Xbox for playing too much Halo, or someone commits suicide because their WoW account was hacked... What's going to happen when people have their right to use the internet revoked?

    I have no qualms about saying that I cannot function without the internet. If I need to know something, I look it up on the internet. If I want to know what's going on, I check news sites. If I want to buy something, I buy it online. I do business online. And quite frankly, the number of people that I consider to be 'close friends' and 'colleagues' on the other side of my monitor far exceeds the number of people I know offline, by at least 20-to-1.

    Nevermind the whole ridiculousness of it all anyway. Piracy is not theft. Nothing is stolen. There are copies made. And there's only two kinds of people who want copies of stuff: The ones who never would have paid money for it to begin with, and the ones who will end up actually buying it anyway. You can apply that to literally anything.

    People are going to die because the entertainment industry doesn't want them getting something for free that they wouldn't have bought anyway.

    Hundreds of people die every day in the industrialized world because they can't afford healthcare...and now we have the entertainment industry killing people because they think they lost a CD sale?

    Here's a novel idea: Instead of trying to sell a CD with only one or two good songs on it for THIRTY FUCKING DOLLARS and giving the artist (You know, those people who did all the work and that the consumer actually gives a shit about?) fuck-all, how about you get with the program and actually try to leverage the goddamn internet to sell things-- ACTUAL PRODUCTS PEOPLE WANT --in a manner that MAKES SENSE for a REASONABLE PRICE.

    And people wonder why I don't want to participate in society.

It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm. -- Dion, noted computer scientist

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