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Censorship Government The Internet United Kingdom Your Rights Online

DMCA Amendment Proposed For UK 208

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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  • no no no no... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2010 @05:23AM (#31355898)

    Along with our stupid libel laws this will destroy our democracy. This is no longer about kids sharing mp3s this is giving corporations and governments the power to silence anyone they want to.

    For instance a lot of the documents leaked on wikileaks are copyrighted. So that's it, we will no longer be able to access anything that they don't want us to see. How about our MP's expenses that got leaked? Well that's copyrighted to the government right?

    I also bet it wont even protect the little guy. If someone republishes my copyrighted work I bet the system won't even work unless I have a team of lawyers and a truck of money.

    Its all just another way of suppressing us.

  • by El_Muerte_TDS ( 592157 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @05:30AM (#31355934) Homepage

    What do you mean since 1998? I'm pretty sure music producers have been in limbo of lost revenue since the invention of the home recording devices like the compact cassette. And the music performers have been in severe limbo of lost revenue since the invention of the phonograph.

    But as Lawrence Lessig already pointed out, this hasn't killed culture or entertainment, but resulted in new forms of entertainment (and income through other means).

  • by BiggerIsBetter ( 682164 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @05:36AM (#31355960)

    Bollocks. Make better, less formulated music, don't compress the hell out of it, and sell it online so people can use it in their iPods and in-dash MP3 players. As for doing nothing, that's what you want to do, right? Not change? Your old business model doesn't work any more, so man up and deal with it. Improve your marketing and online distribution, stream it from your site for a taste, and sell CDs and whatnot online. Christ, you bitch about lost sales but you don't even have a link to your website in your profile!

    You'd rather fuck the entire online communication revolution because you can't compete? No. We (the entire technically literate world under 40) won't let that happen.

  • by FriendlyLurker ( 50431 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @05:37AM (#31355962)

    Seeing zero reporting on this in the media (apart from the excellent interviews professor Geist linked on his blog []). Big media all for this. The majority of "big media" business models are based on artificial scarcity []. That is, big media charge for the packaging and distribution of bits and bytes as a if these things are scarce commodity. Note that I am not talking about the actual artistic content creation, but only the packaging and distribution. Packaging and distribution are certainly value adding exercises, but when talking about digital media, the cost to reproduce and distribute is a fixed cost or as close to fixed as you can get (see wikipedia article reference - "duplicated billions of times over for a relatively cheap production price (an initial investment in a computer, an internet connection, and any power consumption costs; and these are already fixed costs in most environments)").

    It is physically impossible to maintain the current (substantial) profit differential between charging for the packaging and distribution of each digital item as if it is a scarce commodity, while running that part of their operation at or very close to fixed cost (The most profitable and central part of big media). Any other business model that embraces the digital medium for what it is (a fixed cost medium for duplication/distribution), and not based on artificial scarcity simply could never maintain the same levels of profitability they currently enjoy.

    They only have one choice if they wish to maintain their currently profit levels: Legislate scarcity into the digital medium (hence we see secret ACTA treaties and other morally questionable political clout being thrown about in favor of this goal)

    If we actually talk about the artistic content creation part of the business model, that could be considered and entirely different issue. Big media obviously pay artists to produce content. The interesting "moral high ground" issue that both sides of the debate are claiming revolves around the question of if Big Media should also be allowed by society to charge for artificial scarcity well into the future (even well beyond the original artists death!) because they also happened to contract the artists to create the work to begin with. Big Medias defense so far seems to me to be a "muddy the debate" tactic, ignoring the artificial scarcity issue entirely and just shouting "your damaging the artists" in an effort to maintain the moral high ground.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2010 @05:38AM (#31355980)

    To hell with that. STOP THE THING. We cannot allow ignorance, fear, and greed to destroy our freedoms and rights any more.

    Governments are only made up of people. They can and SHOULD be told that what they are doing is wrong, and blocked. They cannot be allowed to destroy all of the progress made just because a bunch of people are scared of the internet somehow destroying our way of life just because it gives the power back to the people.

    It's time for the people who know better to stand up and block this garbage from happening. Stop doing weak garbage like "strongly criticizing" and go tell the old idiots off, and if they refuse, take back the government for the people. Certainly the UK has some sense of national need for a government that works for the people and not for those in power, right?

  • Blanket law (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2010 @05:44AM (#31356018)

    The problem with these laws are that they pretty much cover anything and can easily be misused and breaking an injunction costs $$$ which means these laws favor corporations not consumers. A government is supposed to protect it's citizens and not play into the hands of large corporations.

    A better solution would be for the record industry to realize CD is DEAD!!! Try to embrace the internet not fight against it, adapt or die a simple darwinian principle.

    If you need a law like this make sure it's specific and that it target's real problems. The current problem with Piracy is born of record companies inadequacy to adapt and offer an alternative. Apple store is one of the few that exists and even there the record companies don't really like it.

    I agree piracy is bad, but also it's like civil disobedience it points out there is a problem. There are lots of examples of civil disobedience that have inspired good change instead of more fear mongering and draconian rules.

  • by BiggerIsBetter ( 682164 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @05:49AM (#31356040)

    ACTA Jr has been introduced to Parliament [] in New Zealand a week ago. It includes 3 strikes, and responsibility for the ISP to keep IP address records.

    We've had a few talks about it at work, and the general consensus is that it's a joke, with so many ways to render the IP addresses "evidence" questionable... and subjective application of the disconnection criteria and fines... but it's one we have to stop. You don't lose your phone if you break a law with it, and you shouldn't lose your internet connection (email, facebook, skype, etc) for the same.

  • Who can you trust? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @05:49AM (#31356046) Journal

    The supposingly "defenders of the Internet" turn out to be the one who table the bill.

    Who else can you trust?

    Internet is indeed the whipping boy of the political scums !

  • by Aceticon ( 140883 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @05:51AM (#31356054)

    I'm disapointed with the Lib Dems (which are the 3rd largest party in the UK) but not overly surprised: they have pretty much adopted the style, dialetics and posture of the two major parties.

    This probably goes a long way to explain why, at a time when people are very disapointed with politicians in the UK (and one would expect that the two main parties, being more visible, would bear the brunt of it), the Lib Dems are not increasing their share of the vote.

    The sleazy salesmen in designer suits have taken over the party and the result is that people, instead of going for them as an alternative, are just not voting at all or voting for more fringe parties, especially younger people.

    Honestly, even though they are a bit of a "one issue" party, the UK Pirate Party are more in tune with what matters for the Internet generation than any of the "traditional" parties. 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.

  • Pirate Party? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PhantomHarlock ( 189617 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @05:53AM (#31356056)

    How is anyone going to take you seriously with a name like that?

  • by I confirm I'm not a ( 720413 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @05:59AM (#31356086) Journal

    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.

  • by AmonTheMetalhead ( 1277044 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @06:12AM (#31356138)

    Take this from someone who sees 100+ concerts a year & buys alot of CD's:
    Piracy is NOT the problem, quality is.

    About 99% of current music simply sucks monkey balls, they would have to pay m to even listen to me
    Ripping off customers: Why do cd's feature different numbers of tracks for different countries?!
    Artificial scarcity: Some cd's don't see a release in this or that country for no logical reason, or are unavailable for sale because, well, they stopped making them
    No means of listening to the whole cd before actually buying the bloody thing

    That said, i'm a big user, and i still buy a lot of cd's at concerts directly of the bands (whom tend to be smaller bands mostly), but sampling a cd before buying it requires piracy.
  • by Alarindris ( 1253418 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @06:16AM (#31356150)

    Bollocks. Make better, less formulated music, don't compress the hell out of it, and sell it online so people can use it in their iPods and in-dash MP3 players.

    Wrong. This is exactly what the majority of consumers want. Case in point, American Idol. Lady Gaga, etc.

    Sure, they spend an asston on promotion and create the hype, but people happily eat it up. No, they can't help but eat it up or feel like a loser because it's been drilled into them that they NEED to hear the next throwaway artist or risk not being hip and cast out of society.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2010 @06:42AM (#31356268)

    A very good point. I have a sinking feeling about the whole matter.

    I've grown up in a world where items of negligible value are price-inflated through packaging, advertising and pointless distribution channels. I have had enough. Now when I buy something, be it a movie, music or a game I seem to own nothing less than the packaging, whereas the items I desire remains the property of those who sold it to me and I am denied any freedom in it's usage.

    This is a hypocrisy of greed.

  • by Mr Thinly Sliced ( 73041 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @06:43AM (#31356274) Homepage Journal

    The usual keywords like "crack" "moderators" "on".

    Re-arrange into a well know slashdot saying.

  • by Heed00 ( 1473203 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @06:44AM (#31356276)

    Eventually people will start realizing that infringing is illegal and it prevents many of us (music producers) from making a living.

    Why should I care whether you can make a living or not?

    I might care about the continued production of content (the music itself), but you most certainly are not necessary for that to continue. You might believe you are and you might believe you are entitled to make a living doing what you've always done, but that in no way makes it so. Many industries have changed over time and left people out of work and their old roles redundant -- we didn't legislate to keep those industries in limbo and those old roles viable -- nor should we legislate to keep your industry in limbo or your role viable.

    It's the, "but, but, we're so important" attitude that really bites my ass. No, you're not -- you're Artie Fufkin -- now bend over and ask us all to collectively kick your ass. C'mon, for a man -- do it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2010 @07:05AM (#31356360)

    It is physically impossible to maintain the current (substantial) profit differential between charging for the packaging and distribution of each digital item as if it is a scarce commodity, while running that part of their operation at or very close to fixed cost (The most profitable and central part of big media). Any other business model that embraces the digital medium for what it is (a fixed cost medium for duplication/distribution), and not based on artificial scarcity simply could never maintain the same levels of profitability they currently enjoy.

    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.

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @07:26AM (#31356476) Journal
    In Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Korea,New Zealand, Switzerland, and the United States in theory you can find the political party and minster linked to this.
    Stay on public property and expose them.
    Never drive to an event, they will note all car license plates in the area.
    Read out the laws they are working on in your name in dark places.
    Speak some truths at their next walk about, meet and greet, mall trip or suburban town hall meeting.
    Have a few friends around you to film the response of their public security and party helpers.
    If they allow you to protest, keep on showing up.
    If they get physical you have some great clips for the local news, youtube and keep on showing up.
    File complaints about your mis treatment, turn up in court with video evidence and a real lawyer.
    Always ask for the collar numbers/shoulder number/badge number of anyone without it on display.
    Make sure your friends record the reaction.
  • by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @08:06AM (#31356634) Homepage

    I have some news for you: Music is nice to have, but I value my freedom and the Internet more. If you're going to stand between me and that, you're the one I can do without. And if you somehow succeed in instituting draconian laws, I'll make sure that not a cent of my money goes to you, and will simply find some other way to entretain myself.

    If you want me to buy your music, make quality, unrestricted music. Drop the awful compression, drop the DRM, and drop the bullshit. Offer FLAC for download with no strings attached, selling individual tracks, and I could be interested. Sell DRMed stuff, and I definitely won't be.

    BTW, I'm surprised you complain yet miss such an obvious chance to advertise your work. What do you make?

  • by N1AK ( 864906 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @08:51AM (#31356868) Homepage

    In the meantime it simply means a lot of people are going to made into criminals for making use of maths.

    Anything bar a physical entity can be replicated as a number (if others have a means to interpret it) including novels, music, blueprints and medical formulas. The entire premise that limiting the unauthorised distribution of anything without a physical form is punishing people for using maths is pure and utter nonsense.

    If you don't think people should have a right to control anything other than a physical entity then cut out the amateur debating of a dubious premise and get to that point.

    Personally I have no issue with granting people this right but feel these rights should be sufficient not excessive.

  • by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:30AM (#31357152) Journal

    Note that this is happening in the House of Lords. Of course yes, as a Lib Dem voter I am horrified by this, but it's important to work out whether this amendment actually came from official Lib Dem party policy, or was an amendment put forward by Lib Dem and Tory Lords.

    From the link, all it shows is an amendment proposed by a Lib Dem Lord. A Lord can propose what they like (this is both the advantage and disadvantage on the system - they're not tied to party policy).

    Please don't throw away your vote for your MP for the House of Commons, based on what someone else is doing in a completely different House! Please write to your Lib Dem MP, let them know what you think, and hope ensure that this doesn't come Lib Dem policy (and preferably, get them to distance themselves from this amendment).

    (Even in the House of Commons, sometimes you can have individual MPs proposing amendments that aren't party policy. I don't care whether you decide to vote based on your individual MP, or party policy, but deciding who you vote for based on the actions of other MPs is just throwing away your vote.)

  • by julesh ( 229690 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:36AM (#31357200)

    Sigh, it's another kind of super injunction and of course there's a catch all, meaning it can be used not just against copyright infringment but "any issues of national security" or "any other matters which appear to the Court to be relevant".

    You appear to be misreading it. These aren't reasons why an injunction should be granted. They are things that a court must consider before deciding whether or not to grant it. "Any other matters which appear relevant" is actually a way for the court to *avoid* issuing an injunction where there's a good reason not to, e.g. if having the copyrighted document available to the public is in the public interest (e.g. much of the content on wikileaks).

    In the end, the court is limited by the description of the power in (1). It can only issue an injunction under the proposals of this bill if it is "for the prevention of online copyright infringement." So I'm pretty sure the national security clause is not an issue, and I'm beyond certain that the "any other matters" clause is fine.

    UK courts have a history of interpreting legislation from a much more liberal perspective than the legislators who made it. I don't think there's much to worry about here.

  • by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:02AM (#31357454) Homepage Journal


    - Andrew Robinson, party leader, Pirate Party UK.

    (hey look, politicians can give a straightforward yes or no answer... when the slashdot filter lets them).

  • by dasunt ( 249686 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:18AM (#31357592)

    And now we the creators need legislation to stop this tyranny of the majority, and we are going to get it. If this wasn't important compared to the other freedoms you are about to lose, you would stop.

    I did stop. I stopped buying any new music from RIAA members. I'll pick up the occasional RIAA-member-produced album used, but never new. Luckily, there are independent music publishing houses, and they are getting most of my money now.

    If the copyright treaty passes, I'll make sure not to buy music from any organization that sponsored it.

    I'm not interested in paying others to trample a free internet.

  • by VJ42 ( 860241 ) * on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:30AM (#31357714)

    ...You didn't...

    Because itunes & amazon are making a loss on their music sales, right? Am I? Or are digital music sales actually increasing?

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:45AM (#31357832)

    Profits can be made selling merchandise and playing live.

    I really wish people would stop auto-repeating this line. It might be true (or it might not) for professional musicians, but how is an author, or an artist of the drawing/painting/photographer variety, or a software developer supposed to make a living in those ways?

  • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:28AM (#31358232)

    It might be true (or it might not) for professional musicians, but how is an author, or an artist of the drawing/painting/photographer variety, or a software developer supposed to make a living in those ways? I really wish people would stop auto-repeating this line. It might be true (or it might not) for a media creator to have their business model propped up by the law, but how is an IT worker or an accountant, mechanic, or teacher supposed to make a living in those ways?

    Boy, I sure wish my choice of career was backed up by draconian enforcement of 100 year old laws based on a technologically and educationally outdated age. God forbid a "content creator" should have to do something else if their products don't sell.

    (By the way, if people are willing to buy buy a copied disk of your product for $2 in a Thai market, maybe they should reconsider your pricing structure. It's obviously not worth what you think it's worth, and you don't get to pick the price I pay. Before the internet, you'd just go bust like every other business with a product too overpriced for the market.)

    N.B. Any instance of the word "you" is not directed personally at the parent, just as a way of saying "someone other than myself, as I'm not in that situation."

  • by Grumbleduke ( 789126 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:55AM (#31358552) Journal

    As I pointed out in my original article [] that response from Lord Clement-Jones just highlights his lack of understanding.

    He makes a major mistake in the first sentence - I pretty much stopped reading after then - although his assurances about it involving due process are worthless as the debate (and text) made it clear that the Court is not expected to be involved and if it is, the service provider will have to pay all the costs.

    The Digital Economy Bill, as currently drafted, only deals with a certain type of copyright infringement, namely peer-to-peer file sharing.

    Wrong!"P2P" or even the word "peer" do not appear at any point in the current text of the bill. The original recommendation in the Digital Britain report was limited to P2P if I remember correctly, and the major consultation over the summer (that I wrote 20,000 words on pointing out many of the flaws in their plans) was on P2P only, but when the actual text was published it had been expanded to cover any online activity.

    Lord Clement-Jones may have seemed technologically competent and knowledgeable, but that was just in comparison to the government Ministers, so doesn't say much. The direct debate between him and the Earl of Erroll highlighted just how limited his understanding was.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito