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United Kingdom Crime Piracy Your Rights Online

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

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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  • rights (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ragzouken ( 943900 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @11:33AM (#46046267)

    "withdrawing [...] rights from lawbreakers" I don't think that's how rights work?

  • The only solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kardos ( 1348077 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @11:34AM (#46046279)

    is not to play the game. The rise of creative commons and the like will end this oppressive copyright regime. Free software and free culture is the only way to go.

  • Wrong approach (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Peter Simpson ( 112887 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @11:38AM (#46046313)
    The only way to fight personal, noncommercial "sharing", is to provide a one-stop download center with reasonable prices. It has worked for Amazon and Apple, but the media companies stubbornly refuse to cooperate and make their complete catalogs available in one place...so Pirate Bay does it for them.

    The market is speaking as loudly as it can, but the media companies refuse to listen.
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @11:39AM (#46046329) Homepage
    not to point out the obvious, but im sure its quite clear whos funneling cash to the Cameron administration when it comes to the policy of Imaginary Property.

    What astounds me the most is that most foreign governments can simply choose to ignore the mpaa/riaa. future trade agreements with the states may be coloured by ones choice in dealings with them, but the large reality stands that no major disruption will occur if you pay them no regard as is evidenced by China. the problem stands that most foreign govrenments are chaired by a handful of plutocrats or career politicians that will gladly accept funding for continued operation in the contrary interest of their constituents that have comparatively no funding. A tipping point is reached at some point but by then the ruling class doesnt care; it was all just a game. They leave politics and become advisors or consultants, pad the lining of their pockets just a few dollars more, and retire comfortably in obscurity having not even the slightest notion what a 10 year prison sentence looks like outside of a newspaper article they once inspired during their tenure.
  • plea bargain (Score:4, Insightful)

    by k6mfw ( 1182893 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @11:43AM (#46046363)
    I can see it now, someone arrested for copyright infringement accepts a plea bargain for a violent crime conviction to get less jail time.
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @11:44AM (#46046371) Homepage

    Is this guy a martyr or do we just chalk this up as another politician with crazy ideas that won't pass the majority test?

    You seem awfully confident it couldn't get passed into law.

    I'm less certain of that. The copyright owners and their lobbyists are working to chip away at our rights to make them secondary to theirs -- because they essentially want all digital technology to be controlled and used as they allow us.

    I fear this could be something which happens eventually. And I fear that they will be pushing this exact same agenda elsewhere.

    Case in point, the FBI gets called in because someone was wearing Google Glasses in a movie theater, even though he wasn't recording. And ICE and DHS do domain takedowns of places suspected of violating copyright (or facilitating it).

    Governments are increasingly becoming tools of corporations to enforce their wishes on us.

    So what you and I is becoming irrelevant, it's what the big corporations can pay for. And they have far more money than we do.

  • by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @11:45AM (#46046383) Homepage Journal

    We have it in the U.S. too. People with extreme pro-corporate positions making it to office...

    In the U.S. we've got people under surveillance because they have spoken up against Fraking. That's what happens in a corporate state.

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @11:53AM (#46046483) Homepage

    They may have powerful corporate backers, but these are the kinds of things that the younger generations just aren't going to put up with much longer.

    And as long as you convince the older generations (or the wealthy) that you're being tough on crime, doing your best to cut taxes, and cutting social spending ... they'll keep voting for you. Because they don't give a damn about much else.

    And, as we saw from the Occupy protests ... they'll just turn the national security forces against them, and either deem them to be terrorists, or actively work to find other ways to make sure they can't get very far -- which is easy when you monitor everyone's communications just in case you need to single someone out later.

    Even democracies suffer from those in power trying to keep the world the way they want it, and there's a huge imbalance of power.

    I agree with your hope. I'm just far less confident in it.

  • by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @11:55AM (#46046493) Homepage Journal

    ...is legalisation. Non commercial sharing of information isn't wrong, or bad for the economy, so the best solution is to legalise it.

  • Re:Wrong approach (Score:5, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @12:07PM (#46046625) Journal

    And add to that no DRM.

    Yeah they love the DRM for some reason I can't quite work out. But basically it makes the product crap. It's either "streaming" in which case you need a decent, wired internet connection (how's your 3G data usage doing...?) or it's locked to some device in some way which means playing it on a decent screen or another portable device will suck.

    The problem is not competing with "free" it's competing with "better".

    Of course, most people don't really know about DRM. But that doesn't matter because they are at least vaguely aware of the effects. The pirate bay is better because:
    * Excellent search engine.
    * Nice one stop place for all media.
    * Excellent choice in download clients (can prioitise, batch up, etc)
    * You can use your favourite media player.
    * You can play on any devices you own.
    * You can copy from your laptop to your phone, tablet, other laptop, builtin player in TV
    * You can transcode to a smaller file for your phone
    * You can shove it on a USB stick and go to a friend's house for movie night
    * You can play on any screen you own.
    * Generally good download speeds, excellent for popular stuff.
    * Generally a good choice of different size/quality
    * Available in your country right now.

    The fact that's is free is at worst icing and best actually a minor disincentive since a good number of people don't like the idea of being a freeloader.

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @12:12PM (#46046669) Homepage Journal

    Oh, cry me a river. Companies bending over backward? Wooo-hoo. You're hallucinating. THE COMPANIES HAVE YOU BENT OVER A BARREL, AND YOU LIKE IT!

    The thieves are those who have gone to Congress to get copyright law changed, so that copyright will never expire. In effect, they have bribed congress to grant them a monopoly on music into perpetuity.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @12:15PM (#46046699) Homepage

    So when technology and the interests of the people and technology all change around them and their business model, the best answer they can come up with is punishment? This is the interests of a few dominating the interests and even the needs of the masses. Perhaps not the best definition of tyranny but it rather fits.

  • by WillAdams ( 45638 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @12:32PM (#46046917) Homepage

    Is it possible to make lots of money from copyright infringement w/o breaking lots of other laws?

    If that's not the case, why do we need more?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 23, 2014 @12:40PM (#46047037)
    I for one wasn't going to pirate anything today. But I am making it a point to hit The Pirate Bay and download whatever catches my eye. Fuck John Leech.
  • Re:Ob frosty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @12:44PM (#46047075)

    No, he's still pretty much an asshole, but he was also the victim of some fairly serious abuse of process, involving governments across at least two continents. As with many laws, you have to defend people you don't like.

  • Re:rights (Score:4, Insightful)

    by causality ( 777677 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @12:53PM (#46047177)

    It's generally accepted that withholding rights from some is required to ensure public safety or other collective benefit.

    In some cases, I feel that infringing upon certain rights is unacceptable no matter what. Copyrights and patents will always be absolutely disgusting to me because of their effect of private property, and copyright's effect on freedom of speech.

    Copyright wouldn't be nearly so bad if it stuck to its original term of (IIRC) fourteen years. That's fourteen years, during a time when movable type was one of the most advanced information dissemination technologies available. Now we can reach many, many more people in much less time, resulting in much greater distribution (and sales) of a work than anything that was possible in the late 18th century. Logically, achieving a similar balance would now mean a shorter copyright term, but instead it's been ridiculously extended. This is why so few people respect it anymore; it simply isn't respectable and hasn't been in a long time.

    It's disgusting and maybe no reform would ever satisfy you. I can't speak for you there. As for me, I think a reasonable copyright term of say, 5-10 years, would remove nearly all of the problems with it. I also think that would put a bigger dent in piracy than any unreasonable new laws.

  • by Zimluura ( 2543412 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @01:00PM (#46047287)

    This! This! 1000 Times!

    Unlike theft, when you share a file it doesn't deprive anyone of their copy, when the **AA lobbies congress to extend copyright it deprives us all of any (even unprofitable) works entering our public domain.

    The certainty of all works entering the public domain after a limited time is key to understanding copyright. It was not supposed to devolve into the IP dynasty creation that it is now.

  • Re:rights (Score:4, Insightful)

    by causality ( 777677 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @01:25PM (#46047567)

    Don't forget that it's practically unenforceable. An unenforceable law is soon made a mockery of.

    The UK recently extended our copyright term from fifty years to seventy for music. Mainly to make sure the Beatles stay covered - it's important to make sure their property rights are protected, or they might not make any more music.

    Heh that's hilarious and I appreciate the irony you're spelling out (or I could act like a typical Slashdotter and assume I'm the only one who got it because everyone else is so stupid). Of course, the entire purpose of a short-term copyright that expires is that the artist has an incentive to make NEW works, not continuously profit from old ones.

    The real problem with unenforcable laws that are widely broken is that they give the government an excuse to target someone they don't like. Many of these laws would require a police state to enforce, something the political class is only too happy to provide ("think of the children!"). Look at the way the idiotic War on (some) Drugs has destroyed the 4th Amendment for an easy example.

    You end up with all kinds of mental-gymnastic nonsense just to let them do what they wanted to do anyway. A police dog is a device used to perform a search. Using a dog's nose to search a vehicle is no different from using the police officer's hands and eyes. It performs the same task for the same purpose. It's merely more efficient. Yet it's legal to have roadblocks with police dogs that effectively search everybody in a given area, with no warrant and no probable cause, and if the dog gives an indication (after using its nose to search) then that's all the excuse they need. That's just one example. It's insane. We're willing to give up fundamental liberty in the name of making sure adult people don't smoke weed.

    If this society thrives and continues to prosper, it won't be because it deserves to.

  • Re:rights (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <VortexCortex.project-retrograde@com> on Thursday January 23, 2014 @06:35PM (#46051313)

    Now, consider that the citizens can withdraw the government's right to imprison them.

    Once you've done that enough times you'll soon see that freedom does exist in the absence of punishment or laws or 'rights', but laws do not exist without punishment -- application of force against another's will.

    In the natural lawless state we have the freedom to do whatever our moral compass allows. Not all laws are immoral, but history is full of examples. It's better to err on the side of caution and have as few laws as possible, and thus the most freedom.

    In the age of information Copyright is artificial scarcity of infinitely reproducible information -- It's propping up a business model akin to selling ice to Eskimos. There is no evidence that Copyrights are beneficial for society. It's terribly dangerous to run the world on untested hypotheses. We should do the experiment and see if the laws that grant 'rights holders' monopoly of information should exist. There is only evidence to support the null hypothesis: That copyrights and patents are not required for innovation or social benefit. The fashion and automotive industries sell primarily on design, are very profitable, and have no copyrights or design patents.

    Information is not scarce. Market that which is scarce: The ability to create new information. Sell the labour to create new information instead, and you'll get more art. If you get paid once for your work to build a home, fix a car, make a song, etc. then you have to do more work to make more money.

  • Re:Ob frosty (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NotSanguine ( 1917456 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @06:45PM (#46051451) Journal

    No, the crime is copyright infringement. THAT is what infringement is, not someone downloading an episode of Downton Abbey because they missed it the other day.

    I don't recognize copyright infringement as a crime. At best it is a tort [thefreedictionary.com], IMHO. Yes, I am aware that various governments have criminalized "copyright infringement." That doesn't mean I have to agree, or incorporate it into my worldview.

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