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Lord Lucas Says Record Companies "Blackmail" Users 236

Kijori writes "Lord Lucas, a member of the UK House of Lords, has accused record companies of blackmailing internet users by accusing people of copyright infringement who have no way to defend themselves. 'You can get away with asking for £500 or £1,000 and be paid on most occasions without any effort having to be made to really establish guilt. It is straightforward legal blackmail.' The issue is that there is no way for people to prove their innocence, since the record company's data is held to be conclusive proof, and home networking equipment does not log who is downloading what. Hopefully, at the very least, the fact that parliament has realised this fact will mean that copyright laws will get a little more sane."
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Lord Lucas Says Record Companies "Blackmail" Users

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  • Always another way (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @03:11AM (#31032070) Journal
    Flood you local MP and legal watch dogs with "due diligence" claims.
    Make the ambulance chasing legal teams feel the heat of well written complaints to all MP's in the area.
    Write to the local press. get on radio, tv, youtube, name the lawyers.
    Protest outside their offices and public events demanding legal reform.
    Make a web page with the legal teams letters to attract many others.
    Make it out rank their own site in google searches.
    If they sue you, go to court.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05, 2010 @03:19AM (#31032098)

    Finally a politician who acts like they have a pair, working in government to actually bring the issues faced by the Great British public to light.
    The British people need more men like Lord Lucas representing them in politics. Hats off to him. Lets just hope his voice has not fallen on deaf ears...

  • by JoshDD ( 1713044 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @03:34AM (#31032142)
    He might just be blackmailing the record companies in his own way. (Pay me and I'll shut up.)
  • by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @03:38AM (#31032154)

    He's a lord, not an MP.

    I wonder if people here will now realise why a lot of us in the UK value the fact that there is a second, non-elected House that can act as a brake on the excesses of the elected one?

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @03:49AM (#31032186)

    But will anything really happen or will this just be another excuse for yet more surveillance of home computer usage?

    The track record of the House of Lords hasn't been so good over the long run has it?

    I would bet that if Lucas gains any traction great pressure will be brought to shut him up one way or another.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @04:02AM (#31032230) Homepage

    The problem is there's no real scenario where they lose. You say "Fuck you", they take whatever evidence they have to court and maybe they win and maybe they don't but the evidence passes enough standards to never be considered a frivolous lawsuit. Didn't you see this case [] that was just covered on slashdot, fight for 5 years and end in stalemate. Now this is UK law and not US, but I assume it's civil with a standard of "preponderance of evidence", I've heard that this means in practice something like a 60-40 probability. Is it possible their accusations are 60% correct? Quite possible, 40% is a huge error margin. And if so, their evidence really does meet that legal standard, disturbingly enough as it is for the 40% who ends up falsely paying.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @04:42AM (#31032416) Journal

    Lords like Lucas are very difficult to pressure or to get them to shut up. As a whole, the lords are a bit of a nuisance because they tend to get in everybodies way. If you are on the left, they go against a ban on fox hunting and if you are on the right they keep insisting on this bloody liberty thing. That is where they get this bad rep from, because politicians don't like to be questioned. As citizens, we shouldn't take politicians word for it that the lords are all bad.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05, 2010 @04:48AM (#31032442)

    I'm not aware of any _courts_ ever deciding that copyright infringement is theft. Do you have any examples?

    The "copyright infringement is theft" claim is just one being pushed by RIAA, MPAA, etc.

    (Note that I'm not arguing that copyright infringement isn't illegal - I'm just saying it's not theft.)

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @04:48AM (#31032446) Journal

    If he is who I think he is, he is also a real lord, not a made one. Means he is rich, or at least of that kind of well to do family that scoffs at the typical goverment bribes as being WAAAAAAY to low.

  • Re:mistaken analysis (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Marcika ( 1003625 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:17AM (#31032854)

    Typically what is happening in one of these situations where some certain politician has one of these "epiphanies" is that he just wants to change his position on something because he has decided that it will benefit him. He makes out like he's been misinformed and has discovered the light. By implying that the opposing side is an unjust position, he's making a persuasive argument for people to support his position.

    You know what's the mistake with your argument? Ralph Lucas is not an electioneering politician and does not need to be. He is a hereditary peer for life.

  • by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:23AM (#31032878)
    Vader? I think you mean Mandelson.

    Are they not the same person?

    New labour: Government by the Mandleson, for the Mandelson

  • by jabuzz ( 182671 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:32AM (#31032912) Homepage

    The problem with the House of Lords is that the vast majority of people have no idea as to the real work that they do. The amount of poor drafting of legislation that they correct is truly staggering. The amount of just nasty ideas that get blocked is also quite staggering. However because the chamber is unelected (which has traditionally made them very hard to bribe) people see it as undemocratic, and we get the fiddling that Blair did which just served to make them prone to bribery.

  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:45AM (#31032952)

    Ok, where does Lord Sutch fit into the picture?

    He was never a lord. He took advantage of the fact that it's perfectly legal to change your name by deed poll to anything you want - so he changed his name to Lord David Sutch.

    Legally, he would have been "Mr. Lord David Sutch".

  • by Talderas ( 1212466 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @09:23AM (#31033686)

    The House of Lords functions in a manner that the US Senate should have functioned. Since the appointment is life time, the Lords are not subject to listening to the populism. Thus they are free to make intelligent and informed decisions rather than relying on listening to the whims of the populace, potentially serving as a mechanism by which to prevent utterly stupid laws from passing.

    The US had that with the Senate, by making Senators a 6 year term and not making their appointment subjected directly to the whim of the people. Since the 17th Amendment in 1913 things have gotten progressively worse as Senators suddenly pay heed to populism.

  • by VJ42 ( 860241 ) * on Friday February 05, 2010 @03:50PM (#31038364)
    You were the one who said it was and I quote "For the courts to decide". I just pointed out that they had, but in the opposite direction to the one you originally suggested. I didn't comment on the decision itself, so how you can infer that:

    People like you are what give companies excuses to try and control our software and the internet.

    from what I said, I don't know. My actual opinion is thus: I don't personally wilfully infringe copyright, however I support copyright reform as I feel the current lengths are far too long; I think that a standard length of 10-20 years is probably about the correct limit. As such I am a Pirate - a member of the Pirate Party UK [], that is.

VMS must die!