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Secret UK Plan To Appoint "Pirate Finder General" 332

mouthbeef writes "A source very close to the UK Labour government just called me to leak the fact that Secretary of State Lord Mandelson is trying to sneak a revision into the Digital Economy Bill that would give him and his successors the power to create future copyright law without debate. Mandelson goes on to explain that he wants this so he can create private copyright militias with investigatory and enforcement powers, and so he can create new copyright punishments as he sees fit (e.g., jail time, three strikes)."
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Secret UK Plan To Appoint "Pirate Finder General"

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  • New internet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cellurl ( 906920 ) * <> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:22PM (#30157988) Homepage Journal
    We need a new Internet. Any ideas?
  • Film at 11 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:27PM (#30158078)
    Sith Lord Mandelson wants sweeping powers that any sensible person would consider grossly out of all proportion? Film at 11!

    He can want all he likes: this shower of bastards, including Sith Lord Mandelson himself, is unlikely to be in a job by the summer of next year anyway. With Christmas and the General Election they wont have the time to enact much of any legislation anyway.
  • Re:New internet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Captain Splendid ( 673276 ) <> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:28PM (#30158092) Homepage Journal
    No, you need new politicians. Which, in the UK's case, means you're due for another round of governance by the Tories. So you're basically fucked.
  • by AmigaHeretic ( 991368 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:29PM (#30158112) Journal
    Oh, not those kind of Pirates.
  • WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:30PM (#30158140) Journal
    Okay, this comes from BoingBoing so it may be nonsense, but what does the government think they're doing appointing Sith Lord Mandleson? He's an out-of-control power-crazed sociopath and should never have been allowed back into government.
  • Re:New internet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jaysyn ( 203771 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:31PM (#30158150) Homepage Journal

    The UK needs a successful non-religious Guy Fawkes.

  • by elucido ( 870205 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:32PM (#30158176)

    This is the same sort of moves that were made during prohibitions and during the war on drugs. They do not care about the consequences to the economy or about the UK citizen. He only cares about the people he really works for and thats the copyright cartel. This Mandelson works for the RIAA/MPAA. He is their man, not yours. If you want this to change then your man will have to be in that position.

  • Re:New internet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:34PM (#30158220) Homepage Journal

    The people of Great Britian need new governance

    That would be a good thing for the people of Great Britian, but what about the people in the UK?

  • You need more (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elucido ( 870205 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:35PM (#30158244)

    But you need more than new politicians. You need "your" politicians. You need more influence, and it will only change when people who profit from peer to peer are financing campaigns and getting people elected. It will only change when the political atmosphere changes. The old timer curmudgeons rule the political arena and until you put new minds not just new faces into these positions it will not change. Keep in mind that bribery/quid pro quo is how things get done and corruption is how things work.

  • you know (Score:3, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:35PM (#30158248) Homepage Journal

    the law versus technological progress is a pretty heavily loaded contest

    please study your history on the outcome of these contests

    a lot of supposedly smart, but hopelessly old (not necessarily chronologically, just in terms of anyone set in their thinking) people just do NOT understand the full implications of the internet

    again, for anyone who's missed it, even though hearing it for the 1,000th time isn't probably going to finally open your eyes:

    the internet has effectively replaced pre-internet distribution models. copyright law consists of gentleman's agreements between major publishers from that era. you cannot extend those gentleman's agreements to random anonymous teenagers the world over. rather, random anonymous teenagers the world over will compel you to rewrite fundamental copyright law, simply because its completely unenforceable in a new technological reality

    were you listening? do you get it yet? do you understand?


    well then onward with the fucking copyright secret police then brave soldier. whatever. fucking retarded. i guess we just need to wait for certain closed minds to just fucking die already like the ossified dinosaurs they are then. stubborn ignorant blind obstacles to progress

    ten thousand lawyers, government paper pushers, and enforcement goons


    ten million media hungry, technologically savvy, and most importantly, POOR teenagers

    figure it out

    you lose, you fucking morons

  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:36PM (#30158264) Journal

    ...what does the government think they're doing appointing Sith Lord Mandleson?

    Has it ever occurred to you that they might know exactly what they're doing?

  • by elucido ( 870205 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:39PM (#30158312)

    Lets accept that politicians are bribed robots programmed by moneyed masters.

    The reason the RIAA/MPAA copyright cartel is making the rules in this instance is because they won over the moneyed masters who control the politicians. If you support limited copyright rather than unlimited then you are in the minority of the moneyed masters because in most cases unlimited copyright just like some of the scams on wallstreet is free money. The owner of the copyright doesn't have to work for it.

    I'm not against copyright but I'm against using copyright infringement as a political weapon.

  • by QuoteMstr ( 55051 ) <> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:41PM (#30158350)

    You know your government is truly in the gutter when an American begins to criticize its brazen corruption and abject stupidity. How the hell are you guys still stuck with Mandelson?

  • A Tad Biased (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:42PM (#30158372) Journal

    Secretary of State Peter Mandelson is planning to introduce changes to the Digital Economy Bill now under debate in Parliament.

    So that's what you consider secret? I mean, it sounds bad but I probably wouldn't flip out until it's actually introduced and added to the bill. I guess I'm not an expert on UK law ... by saying "planning to introduce" do you mean it's already law? If not, I would expect parliament to be highly suspect of the introduction of something designed to give the Secretary of State such power ... when it's introduced by the Secretary of State.

    This is as bad as I've ever seen, folks.

    So, it's worse than ACTA [] (which affects the entire world)?

    It's a declaration of war by the entertainment industry and their captured regulators against the principles of free speech, privacy, freedom of assembly, the presumption of innocence, and competition.

    Are you aware what "declaration of war" and "captured" mean? How about swapping that out with "threat of control" and "purchased"? I mean, if it's a declaration of war then the populace should just capture their parliament as prisoners of war, right?

    This proposal creates the office of Pirate-Finder General, with unlimited power to appoint militias who are above the law, who can pry into every corner of your life, who can disconnect you from your family, job, education and government, who can fine you or put you in jail.

    That's it. You had a really informative post going there but that last part is a level of fear mongering I haven't seen since the United States invaded Iraq.

    I heavily suspect you are being played as an unwitting rube by the party opposite of those planning to introduce this. If you had kept your post informative I'd have gobbled it up but at this point I'm dubious that another propaganda tool isn't at work somewhere along this channel.

  • Re:You need more (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Captain Splendid ( 673276 ) <> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:44PM (#30158400) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, well, we did that in 1997 and elected Labour. Right after that, Blair turned the party hard right, cut the Tories' balls off, and the rest is history. If the Lib Dems had ever been able to get their shit together, we might have had a chance, but now, we are just like the US, with two different flavours of corporatist parties. It's over.
  • Analogue pirates (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Potor ( 658520 ) <farker1@gmai l . c om> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:46PM (#30158462) Journal
    Yeah - perhaps they could could better worry about the analogue pirates off the Horn of Africa.
  • Re:New internet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:47PM (#30158478) Journal
    People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.
  • Re:New internet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jaysyn ( 203771 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:49PM (#30158520) Homepage Journal

    What part of "successful" do you not understand?

  • Re:you know (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:50PM (#30158536)
    You are wrong about the purpose/origin of copyright law. Copyright law was written to protect against someone else profiting from "stealing" your creative work. It was not designed to keep me from copying your stuff for my own use. Until the advent of computers it to some degree it had that effect. The cost of producing copies was high enough that, for most people, it was more cost efficient (counting both time and money) to buy a copy from the copyright holder (although with the advent of home recording devices that began to change).
    As the cost of copying dropped with modern technology, many companies that based their business on distributing copyrighted material wanted to use the reduced cost of producing copies to increase their profit, intending to use copyright law to prevent people from using the now affordable methods to produce copies for their own personal use from obtaining copies.
  • Re:New internet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by caramelcarrot ( 778148 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:53PM (#30158612)
    The Conservatives will be all for this, I don't expect a change in govt will affect this plan at all, unless widespread opposition can be made.
  • it helped destroyed the feudal code and the social stratification that came with that

    "The only technology that usually always wins is guns, and that is why we have a 2nd amendment."

    i don't know where this fantasy cam from that yahoos in the backwoods are somehow protecting us from fascism. if anything, if our democracy is destroyed by fascism, it will be yahoos in the backwoods with guns who are the shock troops of that fascism

    just study what these rabid teabaggers think about the need to "protect" the "real" america from (modern urban existence) and how they intend to do that: with a gun. this is the soil in which fascism grows, not a bulwark against it

    the second amendment is about native americans, british and french running around in the backwoods. which isn't a reality anymore. the second amendment is a quaint historical anachronism, that has been reinterpretted and repurposed by vaguely paranoid schizophrenic rural folk to put them in a starring role as heroes and saviors in the valiant struggle against modern urban politics

    problem is, demographically, the united states is majority urban nowdays. meaning rural folk will have to give up their guns at some point, since the country will only accelerate towards urbanization. reverence of the second amendment as if it were the word of god is a rural thing, not an urban thing. it is inevitable, but gun control will only tick up in this country, as it should

    in urban environments, guns are not tools of the valiant struggle against fascist scoundrels (cue ride of the valkyries and slip dirty harry into the dvd player and dream about boy scout wish-fulfillment fantastic scenarios), but simply the tools of moronic thugs to unleash senseless tragedy

  • Re:You need more (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Farmer Tim ( 530755 ) <> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:59PM (#30158724) Journal

    Aye, England's finest politician [] is sorely missed.

  • by Alinabi ( 464689 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:00PM (#30158736)
    That was exactly my reaction. I thought they were dispatching an actual general to Somalia. But I guess oil-tank-jacking is not as big a problem as counterfeit Jonas brothers CDs.
  • No consequences. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by damburger ( 981828 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:00PM (#30158748)

    Politicians are offered incentives to fuck over human beings, but face no consequences for doing so. Now, I'm not normally one to consider people as pure incentive-following machines - but politicians aren't people in the strictest sense. They are psychopaths.

    Look at Tony Blair. He lied to start an illegal war which killed probably hundreds of thousands of people. He left office when he chose to, and is now living comfortably, despite what he did. Why wouldn't a British politician simply do as they will? They know they are fucking untouchable.

    I'm trying to think of sane and enlightened ways the people can deal with this situation, but the only thing running through my mind is sic semper tyrannis. They need, somehow, to fear the consequences of their actions.

  • Re:You need more (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gedrin ( 1423917 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:01PM (#30158766)
    It's been over for you for a long time. You live in a rapidly nationalizing, disarmed, surveilence society. The world needs the UK and her historic spirit of resolve. It makes me sad to think that it's gone. I hope I'm wrong.
  • Re:Undemocratic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mbone ( 558574 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:02PM (#30158782)

    Except for sometimes in military affairs, it is an iron law that secrecy in Government is intended to cover up malfeasance. Like the ACTA [], if it's secret it's bad.

  • Re:New internet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheMeuge ( 645043 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:06PM (#30158850)

    Actually I think the people of Great Britain need new governance that doesn't think that Aldous Huxley had the right idea.

  • by Zordak ( 123132 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:15PM (#30159010) Homepage Journal
    When I first read the headline, I literally thought, "Cool, the Brits are going to build a super-secret navy to hunt down pirates and send those bad boys to Davy Jones' locker!" Then I was disappointed when I read the summary and realized these would just be lame copyright police. I WANT A SECRET NAVY!
  • by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:15PM (#30159034)

    Yes, but at times the House of Lords is the only thing standing between the House of Commons (the elected one) and some truly asinine, knee-jerk legislation.

    By being unelected and essentially in the job for life, they don't have to worry about pandering to the populist cause of the moment and can (theoretically) take a more level-headed view on things.

    Why do you think NuLabour has spent so much time and effort slowly chipping away at the Lords? They're tired of being forced to introduce less batshit insane laws...

  • Re:You need more (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pbhj ( 607776 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:20PM (#30159132) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, well, we did that in 1997 and elected Labour.

    That's the problem right there, we didn't elect Labour but "New Labour" which is like labour but more Conservative so as to be sure the Tories didn't get in again.

  • Re:New internet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Canazza ( 1428553 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:27PM (#30159264)

    The scary thing is is that Mandelson is a capable man in a house of incompetent loonies and he may just get his way with this. Ofcourse, that's only if the rumour is true (I wouldn't put it past him though)

    The Conservatives are no different, they have a few more capable members than loonies, but they're as removed from the general population as they ever were, and no-one in Scotland will vote for them.

    The Lib Dems are a non-entity since they kicked out their leader for being an alcoholic (he was the only personality the party had)

    The SNP are still popular in Scotland (and ofc, they have their boy as first minister)

    the BNP are making disturbing headway into certain areas (they came fourth in the Glasgow North East by-election)

    Our only real hope is that the next election sees no one party gaining majority and forcing power sharing between Labor, Conservatives, Lib Dems and the SNP to prevent any one party dominating.

    Or, and this is only a win in the worst of terms, Scotland goes for full independence and disconnects itself from the English. As much as I hate the idea, it's becoming more and more likely as time goes on and confidence in Westminster is dissolved.

  • Finally (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:39PM (#30159478)

    I think it's great that the UK is going to dedicate a whole branch of government to fight something as important as piracy off the coast of Somalia...

          Oh wait, what?

  • Re:New internet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EasyTarget ( 43516 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:40PM (#30159488) Journal

    And don't forget that Murdock (yeah.. the guy who's future business plans rely on the removal of free-to-view alternatives and full copyright micro-enforcement) has just 'switched' to them, and they will be in power in the UK soon. I wonder what the deal was; I suspect he thinks it is elimination of both peer-to-peer and the BBC. But I really doubt Camerons ability to deliver that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:42PM (#30159530)

    Yeah yeah - every damn time something on the UK comes up, some nutter attributes it to our lack of firearms.

    Tell you what - try actually doing something against your own Governments anti-liberty antics with your oh-so-precious guns before coming back and suggesting we lament the loss of ours*.

    *Not that we ever actually had them - please remember the UK and its Government pre-dates guns.

  • Re:New internet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EasyTarget ( 43516 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:44PM (#30159546) Journal

    Your ignorance of UK politics is amazing..

  • by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:45PM (#30159562) Journal

    Yeah, 'cause you Yanks can sure show 'em a thing or two with your handguns against squads of armored SWAT teams with grenades and automatic weapons, helicopter support, and the latest in anti-riot gear. Worked well at WACO. Good luck with that.

  • by tjstork ( 137384 ) <todd DOT bandrowsky AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:46PM (#30159594) Homepage Journal

    I completely disagree with the parent post. I am one of the backwoods yahoos that he talks about. But, what this guy wrote is not flamebait.

  • by damburger ( 981828 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @02:00PM (#30159900)

    You are starting from a false assumption; that the election will result in a change of government. Don't get me wrong, the Tories are certain to win - but there will be no real change in government.

    Consider that The Sun, owned by News International, has publicly changed its allegiance from Labour to Tory, indicating that the Tories are now in Murdoch's pocket; given that we know well the views News International have about the Internet, do you not think the next government will continue the same anti-freedom policies and abuse the laws that Mandelson is proposing?

  • by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @02:05PM (#30160018) Journal

    The answer is not to ignore the judiciary, penalise innocent people and throw away the principles embodied in the Magna Carta.

    The answer is to encourage copyright holders to leverage the reduced distribution costs and easier access to their markets, and to reduce copyright terms to something that benefits society.

    If Mandelson is still in power in June I'm going to end up getting arrested :(

  • Re:You need more (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @02:14PM (#30160194) Journal

    Meanwhile, here in the US the Supreme Court is about to rule that restrictions on corporate contributions are a violation of free speech. How it is that corporations have free speech rights, and how money is considered speech, I don't know.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 19, 2009 @02:52PM (#30160920)

    The internet is a negligible threat on the grand scale of things. What destroyed new production in China is that there's no enforcement against owning a CD/DVD pressing factory and churning out endless copies of music/video/software and selling them for 1/20th the price.

    Everywhere *else*, both the factories and the sellers would be in major trouble under existing laws and enforcement.

  • Re:Great Idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @03:19PM (#30161374) Journal

    Actually, I wonder if that might not be so farfetched... could a case be made that the *AA-type powers actually support content piracy, provided it's aimed at their competitors??

    No; the last thing the *AAs want is for people to learn that content can be found outside their rubrick. Even if people are pirating it.

  • by internewt ( 640704 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @03:49PM (#30161972) Journal

    The way this government brings in unpleasant legislation follows certain patterns, and I would bet that this plan by Vold^WMandelson is going to fit the model.

    What they do is come up with what the goals they want to achieve in private. They know what they come up with, no matter how "good" or "bad", it will come under attack from groups with vested interests and political opposition, and what they want will inevitably get scaled back.

    So they come up with their plan, and come up with a version 3 times worse than they want. They leak the extra bad idea to the press (or to a blog this time), and the press and internet go nuts in reaction to the plan. But the politicians can hide behind the fact it was leaked and deny that is their plan at all.

    The vitriol generated tells them which parts of the plan will not fly, and which they can deal with with some spin. They announce their revised plan (now at 2x what they want), roll things back a bit (to 1 times) as a token lip service to democracy, and then go on to implement what they wanted in the first place.

    We've seen it before, and we'll see it again: this system works for getting unpopular legislation on the books.

  • by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:50PM (#30163020)

    Do you seriously believe the public would take up arms against this? Seriously?

    The vast majority of the population won't care at all, let alone enough to pick up a gun and go up against armed police officers (or the army, if things really got that bad).

  • Witch Hunt (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 19, 2009 @05:22PM (#30163700)

    This feels very much like McCarthyism and witch hunting. Soon I will be able to accuse anyone of not paying for media without proof and they will be burnt at the stake.

    Do we learn nothing from history?

  • Re:You need more (Score:3, Insightful)

    by twostix ( 1277166 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @07:58PM (#30166182)

    What extraordinary cognitive dissonance.

    How can the party that has expanded the size of government to a size never before seen in the entire western world which employs one in four people in the workforce, has allowed unfettered immigration in an open and cynical attempt to change the culture, waged open class warfare against the middle and upper class family AND created the biggest welfare state in the western world possibly be called "conservative".

    Nu Labour are authoritarian LEFT. When they got in they ran to the extreme LEFT, not right.

    Authoritarian right is just as bad in different ways (shutting borders, looking after the upper class to the expense of everyone else, etc) but the current Labour party in the UK are the very definition of authoritarian champagne socialists.

    I mean how far more left do you want them to go?? There's nothing more in the left wing ideology that they can possibly fulfil, every box has been checked, every government programme run and every aspect of every part of the country fiddled with, altered, over regulated or suppressed in an attempt to reshape it and control it as they see fit.

    If you think the current labour party of not left wing I shudder to think what it is exactly that you want.

  • by ignavus ( 213578 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @11:09PM (#30167640)

    You seem to forget the fact that there are over 80 million gun-owners in the US

    They are not all in one place

    They do not have: machine guns; tanks; artillery; aircraft; cruisers and aircraft carriers; missiles; weapons of mass destruction ... the BIG stuff.

    They do not have a leader (aka organisation)

    The armed forces have all the above.

    The 80 million gun owners might just be suspicious enough of each other to start their own civil war, without the military stepping in.

    Have a look what happened when a superior force of armed peasants rose up against the King of England (Wat Tyler - look up Wikipedia) - they were outsmarted - not outgunned.

    The people are stupid, at least they are stupider than the people at the top. And if the armed people did win, things could well be worse.

Kill Ugly Processor Architectures - Karl Lehenbauer