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UK Anti-Piracy Law Survives Court Challenge 47

Grumbleduke writes "The UK's controversial Digital Economy Act survived its second court challenge today. Two ISPs had appealed last year's ruling that the measures included did not breach EU law and, for the most part, the Court of Appeal agreed, ruling in favor of the Government and the 10 unions and industry groups supporting the law in court. The decision was welcomed by the industry groups, but criticized by the UK's Pirate Party, whose leader pointed to the lack of evidence that the law would have any positive effects. A UK copyright specialist noted that the ISPs may still appeal the decision to the UK's Supreme Court, seeking a reference to the Courts of Justice of the European Union, and wondered if the law could now attract the same attention from the Internet as SOPA and ACTA. The law is still some way from being implemented, and the first notifications are not expected to be sent to alleged file-sharers before 2013, and the next steps could also be open to a legal challenge."
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UK Anti-Piracy Law Survives Court Challenge

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @11:15PM (#39270521)

    SOPA/PIPA were defeated.

    So the next option for the MafiAA is to buy similar laws in a few other countries, then argue the US needs to pass SOPA/PIPA anyways to "harmonize with international law."

    • What I'm wondering is: how do such small fry corporations in the grand scheme of things wield such vast lobbying power in comparison with other industries?
      • It's because they're the media. "Never pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel."

        Which is also why they're starting to lose. Ask yourself, do you get most of your news today from cable TV or from the internet?

      • by NicBenjamin ( 2124018 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @01:14AM (#39271397)

        They don't really have vast power. What they have is unchallenged power.

        Ford can't just do things. If they started writing a law specifically to benefit Ford (and screw everyone else) the next day every Democrat would oppose it because the UAW/environmentalists said so, and every non-Michigan Republican would join in because businesses in their district were being screwed.

        Hollywood's unions are on their side re: piracy, which means the AFL is on their side, which means all the other unions have solidarity with the Hollywood studios. The business community doesn't care about fair use, because restricting fair use doesn't screw them. Therefore Hollywood gets to be the only people in the room when decisions like SOPA are made, which gives the ability to write the damn treaty.

        To an extent the internet and geek activism can stop this. When we are organized we are unstoppable. We are everywhere, and we can influence all those people who jumped on the SOPA bandwagon when it was easy, and then jumped off when we noticed what they were doing.

        The problem is convincing geeks to all give money to the same organization, on a consistent basis, even after said groups issues a press release they don't like.

        • by Znork ( 31774 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @05:11AM (#39272675)

          Well, the business community should care, as IPR is part of what makes western cost levels prohibitively high. From a macroeconomic perspective monopoly rights are equatable with taxation (having exactly the same effect as, for example, VAT) and should really be counted as part of the total tax level in an economy.

          That, of course, means that any 'gained jobs' that the monopoly rights proponents claim to get are taken from someone else. And that any jobs lost in those industries are gained elsewhere as consumer discretionary income is directed to other services. Which means that other unions should certainly consider any support, as it's their members that lose their jobs as more money is directed to Hollywood.

        • The problem is convincing geeks to all give money to the same organization, on a consistent basis, even after said groups issues a press release they don't like.

          Speaking of which, you all may be interested in this link [] and specifically the box that says "I want to donate this amount monthly."

      • by Desler ( 1608317 )

        Huh? In what universe do you live in where Disney, Sony, Vivendi, Viacom, Time Warner, GE and Comcast are "small fry"? It's apparently not this one.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Because these laws are about controlling the Internet. As China has learnt, being behind only the USA and perhaps 8 years from having the largest economy on the planet, the most effective way to rule this spinning ball of rock is to hold a technocratic iron grip over your people.

        The reward to RIAA/MPAA/blah is secondary. The potential for corporation-government to control the flow of information to the people is fantastic.

    • No, neither were. Perhaps by name i guess, but not by intent, and will return in more subversive ways.

  • by LiroXIV ( 2362610 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @11:17PM (#39270539)
    The European Court of Justice also recently declared that soccer match schedules can't be copyrighted because they're not creative enough, completely going against British case law which suggests that the amount of effort and labour is the factor to something can be copyrighted or not. Of course, the U.S. already rejected that idea. But does this matter? Yes. Because even under this regime, your site won't get wiped off the face of the earth for daring to mention who's playing games this Saturday.
  • That's it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @11:29PM (#39270615) Journal
    This was the best the pirate party could come up with? From the article, "No one has proved that the Act will help the creative industries financially, that is just lobbyists' spin." He couldn't point out the damage it might cause? The chilling effect it could have? The annoyances it would cause the average citizen? Or short of that, he didn't try at least tried to demonstrate the financial benefits to publishers of piracy? If that's the best they can come up with, no wonder they lost the case.
    • Re:That's it? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @07:37AM (#39273265) Homepage Journal

      Having tried a lot of different approaches to writing press releases, we've found that what works best for us in the UK is to issue short press releases like this one within moments of news breaking, and to make one short point, that is sensible, moderate, and very difficult to argue with.

      This particular release might not go down so well with the slashdot crowd, but it achieved our objective of getting on to the front page of the BBC news site ( see [] ) with a strong, well argued message that doesn't paint us as alarmist, aggressive, or irrational. We did go on to say "Threats to chuck entire households off the web will be bad for the economy, bad for society - and for us as a creative nation too.", (just as you suggest) but we're always at the mercy of editors who, as I think this proves, often cut out most of what we actually say.

      At this early stage in the Party's development, getting press coverage is tough, especially because we're don't fit the preconceptions the press have of loony people with eye patches. This particular story gave us a big headache, the verdict was actually on a fairly small portion of the act that referred to ISP costs, and the question of parts of the Act that should have been notified to the European Commission under the Technical Standards Directive and weren't possibly rendering them unenforceable. The full verdict was likely to be several hundred paragraphs of dense legalese, and crucially, there is usually a delay of several hours between the press reporting the yes/no verdict and any of the court's reasoning being available for us to read.

      We've found that waiting for the reasoning means we can put out strong, detailed press releases with point-by-point demolitions of our opponents messages... that don't get picked up on by the press. Simlarly, rants full of venom and references to chilling effects don't go down very well either, partly because the UK doesn't have the same constitutional devotion to free speech that the US does, and therefore 'chilling effect? so what' is usually the public's attitude, but mostly because nobody quotes them except for the Register.

      Ideally, I'd love to come up with something like HeadOfLegal's analysis (see [] ) and get it quoted, but realistically, no mainstream journalist is going to read, digest, summarise and quote something like that in the few minutes they have to get the story online. Print journalism is a different matter, as the deadlines are longer, but we've found that if the BBC website quotes us, then we get interview requests where we can go into more detail.

      On this particular story, an appeal on a small part of the bill, followups were actually not that likely if the verdict went against the ISPs. There isn't really much in the verdict that's actually interesting to the general public to be honest. We knew that the press coverage would therefore be vague (hence the understandable impression you got that 'we lost the case' because the damage to the public wasn't highlighted, when it was actually two piracy-neutral ISPs that lost a cost-splitting debate over an obscure point of EC procedure), and that on past form the quotes from the copyright lobbyists would be emotional rants with little basis in reality. If you look at the BBC story from the point of view of a neutral observer, we got a much bigger quote than the pro-copyright lobby did, and we come across as more rational and less scare-mongering. For a bunch of unpaid amateurs taking on the might of the copyright lobby, I think we actually did pretty well this time.

  • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @12:04AM (#39270915) Homepage Journal
    Royal Navy rejects, back in the day
    • With this information, Pirates of the Caribbean would have been a much different movie:

      "Ellow! Oym Cap'n Jyeck Sparra, epples 'n' peers! Moi new fiiiist mayt, Meeeeeeeery Poppuns! Uhhh, oi mean Keeeeeeera Noytlee, wonders if she moyt be a-comundeeeeeeerin' yer Jersey Moat, me ol' choyna!"
    • Actually the Navy were often Pirate rejects ...

      Cptn Henry Morgan (as in the rum) ...was a Pirate, but later became Sir Henry Morgan, and Lt Governor of Jamaica ....

  • by SlithyMagister ( 822218 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @12:05AM (#39270921)
    Never EVER again buy any CD, DVD, Blu-Ray or ANY OTHER crap that these industries try to sell you.
    Go to movies if you must -- when you're done, remember them.
    Attend music concerts -- the artists get more money from live performances, so you're helping support them. Buying media does the artist very little good -- pennies per item, or so I'm told.
    If they come on TV record 'em on your PVR if you like.
    Listen to music on the radio, and enjoy its fleeting beauty
    Download whatever you please, after all, your advertising dollars, your theatre tickets and your concert tickets paid the FULL COST OF PRODUCTION.
    All the rest of the drek merely goes to line the pockets of the rich greedy leeches that use the performers as pawns in their quest to mine your pockets.

    So take it away from them. Don't buy the crap.
    • by bipbop ( 1144919 )

      Download whatever you please, after all, your advertising dollars, your theatre tickets and your concert tickets paid the FULL COST OF PRODUCTION.

      Buh? No.

      Buying media does the artist very little good -- pennies per item, or so I'm told.

      Okay, but if you're going to download, at least send the artists some money. You said you're choosing not to give them money, because their slice of the pie is too small. So send them a check for the whole pie.

      Of course, if you're just downloading because it's free, and th

      • and this is all just rationalization

        Meaning what? Is rationalizing (explaining or attempting to justify, the latter of which is a subjective matter) something pure evil or something? I see a lot of people mentioning "rationalization" when speaking of copyright infringement, but I've never understood it. If you're in an argument with someone, how can you even avoid rationalization?

        • by bipbop ( 1144919 )

          The term "rationalization" here means they're deciding to take something because they want it, but they're saying some alternate explanation to make it sound like it's noble to download whatever they want without paying.

          I'm not saying not to download things. But if someone's reason for downloading rather than buying is because the musician isn't getting paid enough, then it seems to me like they should give money directly to the musician to compensate. Otherwise, it sounds like a "rationalization", rather

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            But if someone's reason for downloading rather than buying is because the musician isn't getting paid enough, then it seems to me like they should give money directly to the musician to compensate.

            That is exactly what the parent is suggesting. Go to their concerts and buy their merchandise because they get more money that way. Try to cut out the parasites in the middle.

            And yes, I do feel entitled to enjoy that work for free. We contributed to it (because it wasn't created in a vacuum, it leached from the public domain for inspiration, ideas, language and so on) and we already paid for it (advertising, TV license). In fact I have to spend money avoid it at times.

      • by bug1 ( 96678 )

        Okay, but if you're going to download, at least send the artists some money.

        Is this even possible ?

        I expect this evil industry requires contracts that move all money through official channels so they can distribute the proceeds "fairly".

      • The moment those artists stop preaching and performing for dictators for million dollar payments. The moment those artists stop using tax shelters the moment their subsidized careers start to generate a profit.

        In Holland a recent cost cutting measure was to increase the vat from 6% to 19% for "art" (tickets). The art industry thought they could use the publics sympathy to protest this... the public protested alright... but NOT in favor of the art industry. Artists have lost a lot of sympathy with the common

        • by bipbop ( 1144919 )

          The moment those artists stop preaching and performing for dictators for million dollar payments. The moment those artists stop using tax shelters the moment their subsidized careers start to generate a profit.

          Do these things apply to the creators of every song you've ever downloaded? Do you go out of your way to find some ethical lapse for every artist you like, and if you can't find one, you pull out your wallet or stop listening?

          Or perhaps you download rather than buying not because every musician in th

    • by Anonymous Coward

      but if you do this, the recording industry will use the loss of sales as proof that piracy hurts them it's lose-lose.

    • by anubi ( 640541 )
      What you say is what concerns them so.

      The business model they have milked for years is dry.

      Technology changed things. Their business model is dead, just like our privacy.

      Grouse as we might, there is no stopping the likes of business entities such as TransUnion, TRW, Equifax, ChoicePoint, and others from acquiring and sharing our personal information. We may even claim "copyright" over our life, as we are the author of it, but its not going to stop them.

      Once ANYTHING digitizible is released, it IS
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @12:39AM (#39271173)

    Well. Isn't that a coincidence?

    USA - SOPA/PIPA, ACTA, TPP, NDAA, PCIP, etc. - NO proportional representation

    Canada - ACTA, TPP, C11, C30, PCIPA, etc. - NO proportional representation

    UK - DEA - NO proportional representation

    Australia - AUSFTA - NO proportional representation

  • This was pretty much a rigged game to begin with. Fox watching the hens as it were.
  • As soon as people cant get to the "TPB" there will be a lot of "Well I don't need that 120Mbit connection anymore, take me down to 10Mbit" or "Stuff this, i'm moving ISP" (I realise the same end result, but Joe Average won't until they have moved.)

    There will be a big backlash, aimed equally at the idiots in government and the record labels and the ISPs will just be screaming about their butt hurt that no one can be bothered getting the Virgin Media 120MBit/s solution (Not that you get that speed you underst

  • by agentgonzo ( 1026204 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @06:29AM (#39272973)
    "The Act will mean ISPs will have to send warning letters to alleged illegal file downloaders, as well as potentially cutting users off." (emphasis mine)

    My wondering is this. It's been stated many many times that a major problem with this is the lack of proof - ie, the 'alleged' illegal filesharers. If you could find out the (home) IP address of the heads of the BPI (British equivalent of RIAA) and then send notification to BT that you have detected that IP address illegally downloading a copy of your book/movie/song/poem (no proof required) then potentially BT will have to send warnings to them. If enough people do this, then by these rules BT would have to disconnect the user (the heads of the BPI's home internet connection) from the internet.

    Sure, it's not going to stop the problem, but it will at least annoy them with the blatant abuse of power that they are wanting over the telecommunications industry.
    • by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @08:25AM (#39273487) Homepage Journal

      I'd love to be able to tell you exactly why that would (or wouldn't work), but I can't because of the very unusual way the Digital Economy Act is supposed to work. The bill was passed in the dying hours of the last government, without proper debate. There was no time for it to be properly drafted and for the quirks and loopholes to even be thought about, let alone debated, debugged, and finalised. All of that essential the detail was sidestepped by a promise that it would all be in "the code", a document written by Ofcom (the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries).

      Ofcom have been put in a very difficult position by this, suddenly they have been bound by parliament to step well outside their role as regulators and become unelected legislators. To their credit, they have sidestepped the temptation to power-grab, that have consulted widely, they have told the government they need more time, and they have even taken on board a lot of Pirate Party feedback that warns of absurd situations like the one you suggest. What they haven't yet done is actually finish writing "the code", so nobody really knows precisely how the DEAct will actually do what it is supposed to do, at this stage, which makes it quite difficult to fight. The ISP costs split which sparked off this appeal we're (theroetically) discussing in this story is one of the few bits that's actually in the bill, which is why it's getting all the attention.

      Interestingly, it's possible that Ofcom will turn round to the government and say 'You're trying to implement collective punishments here, and that's not just wrong, or even very wrong, it's actually so spectacularly wrong that it's specifically mentioned as a no-no in the Geneva Convention on War Crimes, which means we can't actually write you a code that would stand up to the and degree of judicial scrutiny.'

    • by Shagg ( 99693 )

      You're assuming that random internet users and the heads of the BPI are treated equally under the law.

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"