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United Kingdom Crime Piracy Your Rights Online

Cameron's IP Advisor: Throw Persistent Copyright Infringers In Jail 263

Posted by timothy
from the gradient-of-values dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "During a debate on the UK's Intellectual Property Bill, the Prime Minister's Intellectual Property Adviser has again called for a tougher approach to online file-sharing. In addition to recommending 'withdrawing Internet rights from lawbreakers,' Mike Weatherley MP significantly raised the bar by stating that the government must now consider 'some sort of custodial sentence for persistent offenders.' Google also got a bashing – again." The article goes on to say "Weatherley noted that the Bill does not currently match penalties for online infringement with those available to punish infringers in the physical world. The point was detailed by John Leech MP, who called for the maximum penalty for digital infringement to be increased to 10 years’ imprisonment instead of the current two years."
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Cameron's IP Advisor: Throw Persistent Copyright Infringers In Jail

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  • Re:rights (Score:4, Interesting)

    by i kan reed (749298) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @10:47AM (#46046413) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, it sort of is. Rights, as we know them, are derived from the social contract, and withdrawal of one or more of those rights(such as freedom of movement) is necessary to preserve the benefits of the social contract to everyone else. It shouldn't be done unnecessarily(like this) or to unreasonable extremes(like removal of right not to be tortured), but protection of rights is done with the understanding that you won't use your rights to infringe the rights of others.

    *You can make the argument that rights are natural or divine in origin, but that's an unprovable derail I'd prefer not to go down.

  • Sounds good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EMG at MU (1194965) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @10:48AM (#46046433)
    Great, it should apply to everyone. Government officials, corporate execs, and the music industry itself.

    The problem (besides jail time being a disproportionate punishment for copyright infringement) is that when someone in the government is found to have stolen an image or text from the internet, nothing happens. When a politician illegally uses a song for a campaign rally and the band finds out, all the politician has to do is release some press statement saying an aide made a mistake. When corporations infringe on copyrights nothing happens. When the music industry is found to have infringed on copyrights nothing happens. The only people subject to punishment are the commoner.

    If laws applied to us all equally then lawmakers would stop passing asinine laws.
  • by RichMan (8097) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @10:52AM (#46046463)

    It seems to me when politicians or corporations misuse a photo or song they get off with a "opps". Yet they want to throw people in jail.
    Step #1 should be much steeper penalties to corporations and other functioning entities that should have proper procedures in place to avoid violations.

  • Re:The only solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @10:58AM (#46046533)

    No, it won't, for a number of reasons:
    - The power of marketing. Commercial interests can throw enough money at promoting anything to make it popular, at least for a time. Who wants to go see Obscure Indie Horror Flick that they read about on facebook when there is massive television advert promotion for Buckets of CGI Blood VII - and it's being featured on talk shows, endorsed by celebrities, and appears on billboards?

    - Incidential infringement. It happens, a lot. The greatest source of clipart today is google image search. People frequently grab popular songs to remix or dub over their own videos for youtube. Typically this is done by people who just don't care about copyright and know next to nothing about it.

    - Closing the wagons. If creative commons every seriously becomes a threat to entrenched interests, do you expect them to just take it lying down? No, they'll use every dirty trick in the book! You'll probably find informal agreements abound to exclude the upstarts, making it very difficult for them to be promoted outside of social networking. Radio stations will likewise refuse to play creative commons music, for fear of being blacklisted by the major labels they depend upon a lot more heavily. Same goes in software - look at the measures Microsoft has taken over the last twenty years to fight linux with deliberate incompatibilities and aggressive business tactics, and continues to take with such measures as Secure Boot. They've not been entirely victorious, but they've certainly made linux advocates and developers fight hard for every scrap of ground they have gained.

    CC may well bring on a real revolution in popular culture, but it's certainly not inevitable.

  • Re:The only solution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stealth_finger (1809752) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @11:14AM (#46046691)

    I'd love to see these people who try to justify being a thief at least put some skin in the game so when their content is ripped off they'll have a taste of what they're dishing out. A lot of "if I made music I'd let people trade it" happening and not a lot of "I make music and I've released it for free" going on.

    I love the way it's always thiefs.

    Bottomline is, the people that are going to buy it will. They may pirate it first but that will mostly be followed by a sale unless the product is not as good as expected and even then in the case of collectors etc it may get bought anyway. The people that aren't going to buy it won't. They may also pirate as well but only because they can, they get it because it's there but if it wasn't then no big deal.

    Obviously there are the minority that are going to pirate everything they can for whatever reason they choose, but they haven't deprived anyone of any property so nothing has been thieved anyway.

  • Re:rights (Score:4, Interesting)

    by shentino (1139071) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @11:20AM (#46046781)

    You don't have an unconditional right to freedom. What you do have is the right to due process before it is taken away.

  • Re:Ob frosty (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DocGerbil100 (2873411) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @02:49PM (#46049225)
    Just to clarify, the crime Vickerman was prosecuted for is Conspiracy to Defraud, purely for running SurfTheChannel, a streaming links site.

    This is quite a different law from Fraud, it's vaguer and much more prone to abuse - it seems to be FACT's go-to law whenever they realise a suspect they've spent time and money investigating isn't breaking any actual laws.

    Without it, Vickerman would probably never have been prosecuted for anything, although civil action would have been likely, IMO.

    If some defendant somewhere ever gets an appeal up to the ECJ, I think it quite possible they'll shoot the law down in flames, just for being so badly written.

    More information:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conspiracy_to_defraud [wikipedia.org]
    http://torrentfreak.com/surfthechannel-owner-sentenced-to-four-years-in-jail-120814/ [torrentfreak.com]
  • Re:The only solution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by msobkow (48369) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @05:28PM (#46051239) Homepage Journal

    I'd love to see these people who try to justify being a thief at least put some skin in the game so when their content is ripped off they'll have a taste of what they're dishing out. A lot of "if I made music I'd let people trade it" happening and not a lot of "I make music and I've released it for free" going on.

    Funny. There seem to be thousands of open source projects like mine (MSS Code Factory [sourceforge.net]) where people have done exactly that: put in years of work and released it for free.

    Furthermore, while I do torrent movies and music, I've also spent in excess of $60,000 so far in my life on media. There comes a point where you realize it's just an insane amount of money to be spending on entertainment. Particularly as I've watched a whole two movies to the end in the past year, giving up on most after 20 minutes as being an utter waste of time to watch such drivel (and that includes a number of "big name" block busters like the latest "Star Trek" drek.)

    Most of the music I do download is music I already own. It's easier to download it than to go rifling through the boxes to find that particular CD. And ripping 5,000+ CDs would just be a royal pain in the anal sphincter. Not to mention requiring an obscene investment in hard drive storage.

    Sure I end up getting some albums I never owned and checking them out. But with a collection my size, I don't feel I've "ripped off" the media industry in any size, shape, or form. They've gotten more than their fair share out of me.

    I worked it out once. What I've spent on media so far is the equivalent of paying a $100/month "streaming fee" for my entire life, from birth to expected death around 72 years old. And that's just what I spent on physical media -- it doesn't include movie tickets or cable and satellite fees, nor the massive numbers of movies I rented over the years.

    Nope. I'm pretty guilt fee about my "theft" nowadays. They've been paid, paid, and paid again over the past 49 years.

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