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DMCA Amendment Proposed For UK 208

Posted by samzenpus
from the some-ides-are-better-than-others dept.
Grumbleduke writes "During today's debate in the UK's House of Lords on the much-criticized Digital Economy Bill, the unpopular Clause 17 (which would have allowed the government to alter copyright law much more easily than it currently can) was voted out in favor of a DMCA-style take-down system for websites and ISPs. The new amendment known as 120A sets up a system whereby a copyright owner could force an ISP to block certain websites who allegedly host or link to infringing material or face being taken before the High Court and made to pay the copyright owner's legal fees. This amendment was tabled by the Liberal Democrat party, which had so far been seen as the defenders of the internet and with the Conservative party supporting them. The UK's Pirate Party and Open Rights Group have both strongly criticized this new amendment."
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DMCA Amendment Proposed For UK

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  • by arethuza (737069) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @04:37AM (#31355966)
    I had been contemplating voting Liberal Democrat as they seemed to have at least one MP who actually has a clue (Vince Cable) - which is one more than the other parties can muster. I'll go and read up on this and if they did table this then that's my vote going somewhere else... of to check the Pirate Party site to see if they are going to have a candidate here at the next general election.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2010 @04:51AM (#31356052)

    In the US, when you "table" a bill you kill it, whereas in the UK when you "table" a bill you introduce it. It can only cause confusion, so please find another word to use.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2010 @04:57AM (#31356078)
    Michael Geists recent 20min presentation [michaelgeist.ca] to American Uni, Washington College of Law was very interesting, he basically says that ACTA is a sly underhanded run-around of existing treaty. If I understood correctly, big media/content producers did not like having to negotiate using open democratic processes built into existing agreements - so they sponsored ACTA to subvert the democratic process. Worth watching to understand where ACTA is coming from.
  • by OrwellianLurker (1739950) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @05:58AM (#31356336)
    Well, sort of. I always pirate music, and if I especially enjoy an artist's music and continually listen to it I will buy T-Shirts and other merchandise. That way they get most of the money I spend and the ones I truly appreciate get all of my money-- the garbage albums with a few hits and some filler songs get rm -rf'd.

    For my software, I use FOSS all the time and rarely need to use proprietary software (I'm a student).

    I am a HUGE movie pirate. Why? Well, for starters movies are just too damn expensive-- and the quality of movies has been steadily declining for years. I pirate to avoid annoying DRM, but most importantly: I pirate so that the few quality movies I have the pleasure to watch can get all of my money. When I see a good movie, and I know I'll want to watch it again, I buy the fucking DVD. Shitty movies don't deserve my money, and good movies deserve all of my money that I would plan to spend normally.

    I would LOVE to see a theater with a membership sort of deal; I enjoy going to the theaters, but paying $10 a ticket is unreasonable. I would pay $30 a month to see 10 movies. That way, the theater would get $360 a year from me instead of the $35 they're getting now. I feel like the entire entertainment biz is giving us the finger-- they routinely produce shit, at a low cost to them, and act surprised when people stop paying for it. Instead, people begin to pirate and rarely spend their dollars on such inferior goods.

  • Re:Pirate Party? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @06:03AM (#31356350)
    I understand the reasoning behind it... but the problem is, the name will be way over the head of most people. Hardcore Geeks may get it. But hard-core geeks are not numerous enough to tip the scales in an election. We need to rally the common people behind us, or else it is a lost cause.

    And how do you garner support with a name where almost half of your audience goes "is this like the beer-drinker's party", and almost the other half goes "so you mean, you want to get everything for free at the expense of the poor starving artists?". And only a tiny epsilon gets the sarcasm, but those won't vote for you either, because they'll assume that with such a name it's a lost cause, and their vote is better spent with the Green party.

    IMHO, the "Open Rights Group" has a far better name than the "Pirate Party".

  • by TractorBarry (788340) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @06:41AM (#31356542) Homepage

    One thing that totally clarifies this point for me is the fact that any sequence of bytes can be thought of as a number. If the byte stream is large (long ?) then admittedly we're talking about a huge number but it's still effectively just a number. The fact that this number can be interpreted by software and hardware to represent music, film, images, words etc. is very nice but doesn't change the fact that it's just a number.

    So would it make sense to have a business model that tried to charge people money for telling each other a number ? Obviously not. Imagine trying to stop Jim from telling Tim that by writing the byte representation of 4,932,345 into a file he could load this file in "SoftwareX" which would then play Beethovens Vth or load the same file into "SoftwareY" which would show him a picture of a naked lady.

    Selling numbers (in the form of collections of bits) is an anachronism which will go the way of the Dodo. You can't stop numbers being copied, used, added to, factored, divided, multiplied etc. etc. (well not without killing off maths !)

    The only business model that will survive is one in which people pay for access to collections of well catalogued, well maintained works which they can add to themselves. And we all know somewhere this is already happening. A lot of us probably already subscribe to such a service.

    Large music/film companies seem to be run by complete idiots who simply can't adapt from their old business model of selling physical copies in the form of vinyl, cassettes, film reels etc. and are going to die off. Sadly they have the financial muscle to temporarily hinder progress by buying laws etc. but this is only temporary. They are in their death throes and will not last long.

    In the meantime it simply means a lot of people are going to made into criminals for making use of maths. What a fine society we live in !

    Once a work can be represented by a number (held as a sequence of bytes) it's duplication and delivery costs are so close to zero they might as well be zero. This is a fact made possible by the internet, electricity and maths. Numbers do not recognise the concept of artifical scarcity.

    Oh well on with the show...

  • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @06:42AM (#31356548)

    Your assuming that a decrease in price point won't increase sales, by a similar ratio. In other words if they cut the cost by 50% and the sales increase by a little over double( double would assume that the cost to them was 0 per copy), then the profit margin would not change.

    That is only based on the assumption that only "they" can distribute the media - so we are back where we started - legislating artificial scarcity into the unlimited copies, fixed cost distribution medium so that only those who are allowed by law to distribute can profit - everyone else cannot benefit from the Internets innovation. In the "normal" scarce goods model, distributors (companies running trucks, boats...) all take their cut of the profits for moving the physical goods around (and employed people outside of big media in the process). Big Media does not need those distributors anymore, at least not like they needed them before to before move CD boxes around. However In the Internets fixed cost distribution medium *anyone* can distribute, and redistribute for fixed cost. Without ACTA and legislation there is no massive profit for moving bits and bytes around. The power to reach people goes back to the artist and is no longer solely in the hands of of a few big media companies who used to be the only ones who could facilitate the distribution of their artistic works to the masses. However the artist can't try and ride on the next to free fixed cost distribution but charge for artificial scarcity either - profit is no longer in distribution (without ACTA and strict laws forcing artificial scarcity into the internet, that is).

  • by PeterBrett (780946) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @07:02AM (#31356610) Homepage

    If I could vote for the UK Parliament (i'm not a UK or Commonwealth national, so I can't vote in those elections) they would have my vote.

    I am and I still can't vote for the UK Pirate Party. I would if I could, but they don't have anyone standing for election in my area. It's like some kind of pseudo-democracy.

    Want to stand as a candidate in the general election? Get in touch with us.

  • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @08:07AM (#31356972)

    Not exactly surprising.
    Now all that have to do is slap a copyright notice on anything embarrassing.
    Next time someone leaks the MP's expenses or some other embarrassing piece of info they can just send a takedown to have it blocked.

    The DMCA has a few half decent elements like the safe harbour stuff and a lot of awful crap.
    I just wish that when other governments try to copy the idea they'd learn from others and at the very least try to magnify the good and cut out the crap.

    Instead they do the exact opposite, rather than exclude material with significant political implications and material which is in the public interest to know to prevent copyright law being used in place of the official secrets act they write it with that goal in mind.

  • by mdwh2 (535323) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @08:38AM (#31357218) Journal

    Thanks, interesting - although it doesn't really tell us much. I'd like to see what the Lib Dem MPs say about their party policy on this matter, not handwave the issue over to what that Lord has to say. Do they support it, or not?

    "Site blocking is not a new phenomenon, the most well-known being the recommended list of sites to block provided by the Internet Watch Foundation"

    Ah yes - which blocks (potential) child pr0n. Leaving aside that they can't even get that right (remember Wikipedia?), extending censorship from child pr0n to copied mp3s (or even just linking to them) is absurd.

    Even people criticising the IWF on slippery slope grounds could never have dreamed that it would be extended so far, for so petty things, so quickly!

  • by VJ42 (860241) * on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:00AM (#31357442)

    Cool - I can just imagine the question "So, how did you get into politics"... "I replied to a posting on Slashdot"

    So are the Pirate Party seriously looking for candidates? I live in Edinburgh North & Leith.

    No; the correct answer is "I found out about that the Pirate party were looking for candidates from one of my favorite internet sites, and I already supported their principle, and it snowballed from there." or something similar, that shows the power of the internet and the power that the Party has in reaching the demographic that uses it most. Disclaimer: I'm a Pirate party UK member. It's only £10 a year join!

  • by Andy_R (114137) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:26AM (#31357658) Homepage Journal

    Lord Clement Jones "is paid £70,000 in respect of his services as Co-Chairman of DLA Piper's global government relations practice" according to http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldreg/reg06.htm [parliament.uk]

    DLA Piper works on behalf of the MusicFIRST coalition.

    The RIAA is a founding member of the MusicFIRST coalition.

  • by VJ42 (860241) * on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:39AM (#31357782)

    For goodness sake let them know what you've just told us. A polite letter explaining that you were seriously intending to support them, but won't now, will do more than you might expect.

    Even an email via http://www.writetothem.com/ [writetothem.com] makes a big difference. I know my MP has answered me every time I've emailed her. Hell, my MP even responds to my tweets to her twitter account, she's a Lib-Dem and I was going to vote for her as we won't have a Pirate Party member standing in my constituency.* It now depends on her response to my email about this vote.

    *I'm a member, but don't think I would want to stand myself.

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