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UK Government Abandons Piracy Legislation 155

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the abandon-all-hope-ye-who-enter-here dept.
arcticstoat writes "Following last year's reports of a scheme to 'ban' pirates from the Internet via ISPs in the UK, it looks as though the UK government has now decided to back down on the plan, saying that it hopes it won't have to apply 'the heavy hand of legislation'. The UK's Intellectual Property Minister, David Lammy, said that 'I'm not sure it's actually going to be possible,' as a result of the complexities of enforcing such legislation. Lammy also revealed that he had a different opinion on file sharers than many people in the music industry. He pointed out that there's a big difference between organized counterfeiting gangs and 'younger people not quite buying into the system'. He added that 'we can't have a system where we're talking about arresting teenagers in their bedrooms. People can rent a room in an hotel and leave with a bar of soap — there's a big difference between leaving with a bar of soap and leaving with the television.'"
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UK Government Abandons Piracy Legislation

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  • First (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @11:50AM (#26639451) Homepage Journal
    First outbreak of common sense by the Uk government? Pinch me!
    • by MindKata (957167) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:06PM (#26639705) Journal
      ... "then try try again", as the old saying goes.

      So, "First outbreak of common sense by the Uk government". Its not common sense. They just plan to use a bigger net to catch people with.

      In other words, Jacqui Smith's team of control freaks will be able to watch everyone (and then punish) via their much bigger plans to monitor all Internet communications, i.e ...
      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/18/imp_tim_hayward/ [theregister.co.uk]
    • Re:First (Score:4, Funny)

      by Blue Stone (582566) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:23PM (#26639997) Homepage Journal

      >First outbreak of common sense by the Uk government? Pinch me!

      Don't worry, our error will be corrected and normal service will resume shortly.
      Thank you for your patience, loyal citizen (your lack of faith has been noted).
      - Zanu Labour.

    • Re:First (Score:5, Funny)

      by commodoresloat (172735) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:26PM (#26640035)

      Actually, that's not possible, because pinching is considered harassment under UK law. Sorry about that.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by eeyore (78059)

      [Looks outside at typical January day in Pudding Island]

      Nah, too wet for flying pigs. Bit dark, too.
      --
      E

    • by drsquare (530038)

      Let's see:
      1. Common sense
      2. Understanding modern technology
      3. Not trying to pass tyrannical legislation
      4. Not sucking up to big business

      This man won't last five minutes in this Labour government.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @11:52AM (#26639477) Journal

    it looks as though the UK government has now decided to back down on the plan, saying that it hopes it won't have to apply 'the heavy hand of legislation'.

    Call me stupid but I was kind of hoping they would pass legislation and attempt to arrest a 100,000 people--flooding their legal system with 'guilty' file sharers and stealing valuable time from police officers who should be focusing on real threats to society.

    You know, it's not until they actually try to rigidly enforce this that they'll realize that the premise of "stealing from the IFPI/MPAA/RIAA" is utter bullshit. They'll be arresting (hopefully Brazil [wikipedia.org] style) large numbers of students that have no money and finding that the file sharing they were doing did not supplant an imaginary source of spending. They'll also cripple their legal system to try to reprimand people from "stealing" something that isn't physical.

    I'm not supporting illegal file sharing, I'm not condoning it, I am just hoping that they try to enforce something this stupid so they realize they are in no way providing a solution to a fix an archaic business model threatened by amazing new communications technology.

    • by A. B3ttik (1344591) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @11:57AM (#26639565)
      It's likely not economic for them to enforce, either. In a recent story on catching Internet Criminals, it was brought up that the UK Government has to pay something like $300 per request when requesting user data from ISPs. That -can't- be worth it, given the number of people and likely few convictions that this would actually result in.
      • by The Angry Mick (632931) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:27PM (#26640051) Homepage

        In a recent story on catching Internet Criminals, it was brought up that the UK Government has to pay something like $300 per request when requesting user data from ISPs.

        It seems kind of surprising to me that an ISP would try to charge the government anything for access to investigatory data. I'd think the government would just respond with an "OK, if that's the way you want to play it. Allow us to introduce you to our little regulatory friend; the "Federal Undernet Cooperative Knowledge and Unification Act" (aka: FUCK-U) that states you will give us this data for free, whenever we ask, and in whatever condition we desire."

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by 1stvamp (662375)

          It wasn't the government, it was the IWF (www.iwf.org.uk) who are actually an independant charity.

          (quoted from their about page)
          "We are an independent self-regulatory body, funded by the EU and the wider online industry."
          "We work with UK government to influence initiatives developed to combat online abuse and this dialogue goes beyond the UK and Europe to ensure greater awareness of global issues, trends and responsibilities."
          "IWF is an incorporated charity, limited by guarantee. Charity No. 1112398."

          • by kaiidth (104315) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @03:07PM (#26642571)

            Yes, an independent charity whose CEO is an ex-police officer.

            http://www.iwf.org.uk/media/page.66.200.htm [iwf.org.uk]

            Peter joined the Metropolitan Police Service in 1971 and completed his police career in 2002 as the Borough Commander for Hackney. During his service he worked in the Obscene Publications Branch at Scotland Yard and liaised regularly with Child Protection Units. He specialised in inner city policing and public disorder events and acted as an independent police advisor to the Independent Electoral Commission in South Africa in 1994.

            He was awarded the Queens Police Medal in 2001 for distinguished police service.

            Peter was appointed Chief Executive of the IWF in April 2002 and has led the organisation's expansion from a membership base of just fifteen companies to over ninety, a tripling of its income and the conversion from not-for-profit to charitable status. He has overseen major governance and role and remit reviews and a recent modernisation of the IWF's Board, stakeholder and consultation structures. He continues to foster the extensive partnerships and organisational integrity on which the success of the IWF relies and is presently engaged in developing the IWF's new three-year strategic plan.

            He is a member of the Executive Board of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety and a National Internet Crime Forum. He was a member of the Home Secretary's Task Force on the Protection of Children on the Internet until it was replaced by the new UK Council for Child Internet Safety. He chaired a national Search Engine Working Group on behalf of the Government which culminated in the publication of a good practice guide for search providers and consumers. He regularly presents at events relating to illegal online content and frequently speaks to the media at home and abroad.

            Peter was awarded the OBE in the Queen's 2008 New Years Honour's list for services to Children and Families.

            No offence to them but at best it's a quango. Robbins joined fresh from his police career the year that Malcolm Hutty, executive director of the Campaign Against Censorship of the Internet, and two other members resigned [bbc.co.uk]. At the same time that the IWF came up with its 'Tough New Approach', in fact, curiously enough.

            Whether or not it is funded as an independent charity, the Powers That Be very definitely have a hand in IWF sockpuppetry. As far as I can see the only differences between this approach to the IWF and the directly govt funded approach are a) the govt don't have to pay for it, because they can just lean on the ISPs to get 'donations', and b) a complete, total lack of accountability. The govt pretty much forced the creation of the IWF in the first place by threatening to raid ISPs...

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by mdwh2 (535323)

            It wasn't the government, it was the IWF (www.iwf.org.uk) who are actually an independant charity.

            Except it was the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre [bbc.co.uk] who are a Government agency headed by a senior police officer [wikipedia.org].

        • by carou (88501) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:40PM (#26640285) Homepage Journal

          First the average payment was £18 (about $25), which is hardly unreasonable. Secondly the law explicitly allows for ISPs to make a charge covering the costs of data retrieval. If it wasn't for that, you'd get police forces on fishing expeditions requesting information on just about *everybody*.

          • by arkhan_jg (618674)

            Wheras now, they're just going to log everything, at the ISPs expense, and copy it to a giant government database where it'll be available for fishing expedition by lots of different government bodies; police, security services, revenue and customs, local councils investigating littering...

        • I recently read that a child protection agency in the UK government makes an average of 1 request for users data every 15 minutes. For a large ISP that could be a fair bit of work.
          • by x2A (858210)

            I'd think if you were a large ISP and getting that many requests, you'd just write a script (or collection of) to automate the process.

      • by rrohbeck (944847)

        Who cares about economic? See the War on Drugs. It's always economic for *some*.

      • It's likely not economic for them to enforce, either. In a recent story on catching Internet Criminals, it was brought up that the UK Government has to pay something like $300 per request when requesting user data from ISPs. That -can't- be worth it, given the number of people and likely few convictions that this would actually result in.

        On the other hand, they can just pass another law that requires ISPs to foot the bill. That won't take long, if cost becomes an issue.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by superskippy (772852)
      To be fair, I don't think you'd need to arrest 100,000 people- I think about 1,000 would do it. Everyone else would soon stop after that. It's all about the fear of getting caught.
      • by neokushan (932374)

        It didn't stop many people when the RIAA were on a rampage. It didn't even stop any of my friends when they got cease-and-desist-on-fear-of-being-taken-to-court letters from the MPAA.

    • by carrier lost (222597) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @01:17PM (#26640947) Homepage

      Call me stupid but I was kind of hoping they would pass legislation and attempt to arrest a 100,000 people--flooding their legal system with 'guilty' file sharers and stealing valuable time from police officers who should be focusing on real threats to society.

      See, "Drug War"

    • by Subm (79417) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @02:13PM (#26641853)

      > Call me stupid...

      You're stupid.

    • by descil (119554)
      This was all just an excuse. Welcome to the culture war... nothing is what it seems.

      In this episode we managed to equate information with materials, increase the corruption coefficient of several members of Parliament, and decrease the credibility coefficient of that annoying guy with the corruption coefficient of zero. Bob is so annoying.
  • Not common sense (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @11:53AM (#26639495) Journal

    They just ran out of money [denninger.net], that's all.

  • Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @11:58AM (#26639577) Homepage

    "'we can't have a system where we're talking about arresting teenagers in their bedrooms."

    Why not? We do it here daily in the USA.

    we also financially ruin their families just for good measure as well.

    • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:18PM (#26639911)

      > Why not? We do it here daily in the USA.

      In Europe, we forgive and turn the other cheek ;)

      I take it the devout christian states in the US have less severe sentences than the evil athiest states?

      • by hvm2hvm (1208954)
        "I take it the devout christian states in the US have less severe sentences than the evil athiest states?"

        I hope that was sarcasm...
      • > Why not? We do it here daily in the USA.

        In Europe, we forgive and turn the other cheek ;)

        I take it the devout christian states in the US have less severe sentences than the evil athiest states?

        Nope. They just squeeze in between both cheeks.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Tim's on him laptop at home in his bedroom

      (In a IM window) Hey Tim, what does "little Timmy" look like?
      (Tim sends a picture of "little Timmy")
      (In the IM window) Wow, that's so b

      At that instant SWAT teams blow-up the front door of both of their houses and arrest them on the spot

      Both are now on the Sex Offender lists for the rest of their lives.
      We do it here daily in the USA.

    • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:57PM (#26640573)

      There's a big difference between stealing a bar of soap and stealing a television. There's also a big difference between stealing a television and maliciously burning down the hotel. In the USA, the potential penalties for sharing a few albums are up there with the penalties for arson.

      • by descil (119554)
        Not to mention the difference between taking a bar of soap and taking a newspaper.

        Although, these days the only difference between a bar of soap and a newspaper(or mp3) is the overhead... most all commercialized products are just copied information no matter how you look at it.
    • by RDW (41497)

      '"we can't have a system where we're talking about arresting teenagers in their bedrooms."

      Why not? We do it here daily in the USA.'

      I think there were some complaints about the previous (US-assisted) UK policy:

      http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=CGXavXZwRcg [youtube.com]

    • arghh.... "give it to me baby, uh-huh, uh-huh"

      damn - change your sig. /me burns karma

      • by Zerth (26112)

        arghh.... "give it to me baby, uh-huh, uh-huh"

        damn - change your sig. /me burns karma /blockquote.

        Or you could try to just hear the start of Def Leppard's Rock of Ages.

        Which bothers you more?

  • by unity100 (970058) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:04PM (#26639669) Homepage Journal

    a sensible politician in UK ? i wouldnt expect to see that after last 8 years !

    • by Stormx2 (1003260)

      I personally emailed him to thank his careful and considered approach. May I recommend others do the same? clicky [davidlammy.co.uk]

  • by Budenny (888916) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:07PM (#26639723)

    The problem always was, Company A complaining about person P to Company B, who then has to refuse P service. If you think about it from B's point of view, do they check or not? If not, what if they get it wrong and get sued - does A indemnify them? Further, from the Government's point of view. There are some services which are reasonably considered essential, and which, if you are denied them, may be more damaging to your quality of life than some criminal sentences. Yet in the case of the criminal law sanctions, the Human Rights legislation (entered into by this Government) demands due process and open hearings of the evidence. Where would that be in the present case?

    To see the absurdity of it, and why it would not fly, consider the following case. The country is in the grip of smoking hysteria. Suppose we pass a law that on three accusations of buying tobacco for minors, a person must be denied access to his local supermarket. Suppose there is only one. His ability to buy food at a reasonable price and selection is being abridged solely on an unsupported allegation, the evidence for which does not even to have to be presented to him. No judge is involved.

    In the UK we have anti social behaviour orders. These enable magistrates to order almost anything - like barring people from certain streets, certain associations or meetings, some behaviour. But even these, you do have to get an order from a magistrate. When you think about it, the proposal would be giving the record industry the power to disconnect anyone they chose from the internet with no reason given, no hearing, no comeback, not even a magistrate being informed.

    It was never going to fly. The EC Charter guarantees access to information. This sort of measure is totally incompatible with it. It is going to be down to old fashioned policing and prosecution if they want to stamp out file sharing in violation of copyright. Yes, it will be expensive and time consuming. And yes, it may not work, or may not be worth working. And yes, maybe they would be better off revising their business model. But if they don't want to revise, that's the only way. Very glad the government has seen the cliff in time, and stopped. Not that you could really miss it, it was pretty obvious. The only people who would have enjoyed it would have been the lawyers, blowing up case after case with unconcealed glee!

  • Wow. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Xest (935314) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:09PM (#26639753)

    I'm left speechless. It's as if someone with an ounce of intelligence has cunningly infiltrated their way in.

    Someone in British government with a clue, this really should be headline news in every paper.

    No doubt Jacqui Smith will implement emergency legislation and have him shot by firing squad ASAP on terrorism charges now however.

    • I'm left speechless. It's as if someone with an ounce of intelligence has cunningly infiltrated their way in.

      Well, I'll reserve judgment on how bright the man is until I see what kind of policies ultimately result ... but damn, I gotta give the man credit for a good analogy. Now, if he could just come up with one using a car, Slashdot would welcome him with open arms.

  • by Brad_McBad (1423863) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:11PM (#26639801)
    The law, as I understand it was proposed, would have made ISPs responsible for monitoring their networks and enforcing the law, which ain't their job.

    All this does is open the way for a properly appointed government body to do it.

    Bugger.
  • David Lammy MP (Score:2, Informative)

    by auric_dude (610172)
    His work as an MP http://www.davidlammy.co.uk/da/15560 [davidlammy.co.uk] and his works as a Minister of State http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.php?mpn=David_Lammy&mpc=Tottenham [publicwhip.org.uk] & http://www.theyworkforyou.com/search/?s=David+Lammy&p=4 [theyworkforyou.com] - indeed a busy man.
  • In other words... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot@nOspaM.spad.co.uk> on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:13PM (#26639839) Homepage

    People can rent a room in an hotel and leave with a bar of soap â" there's a big difference between leaving with a bar of soap and leaving with the television

    In other words, it's fine to steal things as long as they're of low value. I'm fairly certain the hotel *could* have me arrested for stealing their soap, it's just not usually worth their time.

    • Re:In other words... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Rayban (13436) * on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:28PM (#26640071) Homepage

      That's why it's such a perfect analogy. Crime isn't binary - there are decent people that would take soap from a hotel room, but wouldn't consider stealing gum from a shop.

      Society is better off if we don't prosecute crimes of low value or low impact, but rather leave it to citizens to work out between themselves.

      • Society is better off if we don't prosecute crimes of low value or low impact, but rather leave it to citizens to work out between themselves.

        I'm thinking that class action law suits exist for the case where one big guy illegally squeezes a little bit of blood out of a large number of small guys.

        None of the small guys have an incentive to file suit (because each individual act is too small to be worth it), but if they all go together there's only one per-case overhead and so it will be worth it.

        I'm not sure how I'm best served as the hotel owner (big guy) in that case. Oh well, I could just write the stolen soap off as the cost of doing business

      • De minimis non curat lex.

        (Or as it is better known...

        There once was a young man named Rex
        With a minuscule organ of sex.
        When charged with exposure
        He said with composure,
        "De minimis non curat lex.)
        • De minimis non curat lex.

          Not bad. How about these:

          There once was a young man named Lin,
          Whose prick was the size of a pin,
          His girlfriend laughed,
          As she fondled his shaft,
          and said "Well this won't be much of a sin."


          There was a young woman named Goda,
          Who once built an erotic pagoda,
          For the walls of its halls,
          Were festooned with the balls,
          And the tools of the fools who bestroda.


          There was a young plumber of Leigh,
          Who was plumbing a maid by the sea,
          Said the maid, "Stop your plumbing,
          I think someone's coming

      • by descil (119554)
        A perfect analogy? Wow, who do you work for?

        It would be a more perfect analogy if the soap didn't cost the hotel anything. Since it does, this analogy introduces external influences that were not previously part of the equation. THAT is why it's a perfect analogy (for the RIAA) - because it gives them a lever to say, "stealing this one song was worth a bar of soap, but that's not all they did. They stole that song and sent it to 100,000 other people, along with 60 video games and 1000 episodes of television
    • Re:In other words... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Timothy Brownawell (627747) <tbrownaw@prjek.net> on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:30PM (#26640093) Homepage Journal

      I'm fairly certain the hotel *could* have me arrested for stealing their soap, it's just not usually worth their time.

      Can they actually use the soap after you leave? All the ones I've seen have (unopened) individually wrapped soap, which I assume is meant to be disposable for hygiene reasons (can't have people using the previous guest's dirty soap).

      • Re:In other words... (Score:4, Informative)

        by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @07:44PM (#26646919)

        Can they actually use the soap after you leave? All the ones I've seen have (unopened) individually wrapped soap, which I assume is meant to be disposable for hygiene reasons (can't have people using the previous guest's dirty soap).

        Under Australian health regulations, they have to. Those little packets of soap are covered under the same regulations as the little packets of butter and jam, Anything that is touched by a customer must be disposed of and not reused regardless of weather it is opened or not. Of course this little regulation is sometimes ignored in private with unopened packets.

        But when it comes to taking soap from a hotel room, is it really stealing? The cost of replacing that bar of soap and the little bottles of shampoo are factored into the price you paid to stay there. It's not like taking the towels or replacing vodka in the minibar with water (not that I've done this, walks away whistling). Shrinkage is also factored into a hotel's operating costs but it still doesn't make stealing towels right.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      By making the soap available in the bathroom, they entitled you to use it, possibly completely. They can not arrest you for taking the soap.

      The big problem about Internet users and the music industry, is the difference of expectations they have about music made available in a digital form.
      "You are not allowed to download this song !"
      "But you just put it online !"
      • by descil (119554)
        Nope, still not a good analogy.

        By putting the soap in the bathroom, they put some soap in their hotel room. That doesn't mean you have the right to take it out of the hotel room. Do you have the right to take the television? It doesn't matter how much it cost.

        I like the old analogies.

        1) Hacking into a system is not like breaking into a house and stealing the jewels. It's more like looking through the window and seeing a winning lottery number.

        2) Downloading music online is not like stealing CD's from the mu
    • I'm fairly certain the hotel *could* have me arrested for stealing their soap, it's just not usually worth their time.

      I'm trying to imagine a way they could prove you stole the soap.

      Maybe they could simply decide that if the soap wasn't there after you were gone, you surely stole it. And if that event happened three times, they could permanently ban you from all hotels.

      • by Thiez (1281866)

        Yes, because surely all this soap-stealing is costing them so much money that they can't possibly make a profit when GP visits. Also, when the cleaners start stealing soap the hotels will start banning customers who haven't even touched the soap for stealing it.

        Try to estimate the severity of the problem before you come up with an expensive way (that will piss off innocent people and require more administration) to 'solve' it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by totallyarb (889799)

      I'm fairly certain the hotel *could* have me arrested for stealing their soap...

      I doubt it. Not when the packaging calls it "complimentary soap". I think it's fair enough to consider the soap to be a gift from the hotel to you, much like the little chocolates on the pillow.

      It's a flawed metaphor anyway. If you take the soap, it's gone, whereas when you download an MP3, it's still there. A better comparison would be dodging your fare on the Underground - and Transport for London levies a £50 fine [tfl.gov.uk] for that, which is less than a parking ticket will cost you.

      • It's a flawed metaphor anyway. If you take the soap, it's gone, whereas when you download an MP3, it's still there.

        On the other hand, the packaging calls it "Complimentary Soap." The mp3s aren't called "Complimentary mp3s."

        The soap is a consciously given gift, the mp3s are not.

        • by neokushan (932374)

          The mp3s aren't called "Complimentary mp3s."

          Maybe not on your fileserver....

    • by Inda (580031)
      I happen to value soap far, far higher than I do most music singles. In fact it's is a lifesaver in terms of hygene.

      I know those little bars in hotels I stay at don't cost much, but I'm sure the price of a large bar is higher than the price of a song on iTunes. The wife buys Imperial Leather...

      I have never stolen soap. I have copied songs. I no longer feel guilty thanks to David Lammy. Cheers matey.
      • by xaxa (988988)

        Asda "Smart Price" soap is about 7p for a large bar. I bought it when I was unemployed, but I've continued to buy it as I couldn't tell the difference.

        Even Imperial Leather soap is still less than an iTunes song.

    • >In other words, it's fine to steal things as long as they're of low value.

      More importantly and relevantly, it's fine to steal music, since it's no worse than stealing a bar of hotel soap.

      • by descil (119554)
        No. More importantly and relevantly,

        1) it's not fine to steal things of low value.
        2) the RIAA wants you to think stealing a song is like stealing a bar of soap, not like stealing a television - which means later they're going to be talking about the television more
        3) stealing songs is not like stealing a bar of soap at all, because you didn't bring your own materials and copying machine(soap maker? lol..) to copy the soap, so you took the materials they used to make it.

        most important and relevant of all,
        4)
        • >4) MATERIALS are PROPERTY and INFORMATION is NOT.

          Yes, yes, I have heard this countless times before. Copying music is not stealing since the original still exists.

          But from the perspective of the person who owns it, the effect is the same. Whether you physically took the object from me or not, by copying it without paying for it you have reduced its value to zero.

          I also find the argument that information is not property a bit sketchy. For example, I consider my medical information my property and cons

          • by descil (119554)
            How is your copy's value reduced to zero? Neither copy is of zero value at any point, since either copy may be sold (legally or illegally) for real value. Your value comes from the ability/"legal right" to distribute information, not from the information itself. Information by itself is invaluable, it's the withholding of information that can have a debt instead, are you following the basics here?

            If I were to create a glut of availability for your information (eg distribute it for free), that would be viola
            • >How is your copy's value reduced to zero? Neither copy is of zero value at any point,
              >since either copy may be sold (legally or illegally) for real value.

              Since copies can be obtained for free, while in theory either copy can be sold, as a practical matter no one will want to buy it for any meaningful sum. It's simple supply and demand. As supply trends towards infinity, price trends towards zero.

              [b]Your value comes from the ability/"legal right" to distribute information, not from the information i

    • by neokushan (932374)

      It's possible he's referring to someone who has a quick once-over of the Maid's cart the next morning when they're leaving and helps themselves to a few of those complimentary soaps.

    • In other words, it's fine to steal things as long as they're of low value. I'm fairly certain the hotel *could* have me arrested for stealing their soap, it's just not usually worth their time.

      In the hotels I usually stay in you're invited to take the soap/shampoo/conditioner etc.

      I've got some rather nice shampoo and conditioner at home now from my most recent stay in a hotel, ironically, one that used to be a prison and I was staying in one of the cells (actually three cells knocked into a single room) wit

    • by Zoxed (676559)

      > In other words, it's fine to steal things as long as they're of low value. I'm fairly certain the hotel *could* have me arrested for stealing their soap, it's just not usually worth their time.

      The analogy used in the article is even worse: as every Slashdotter knows file sharing is not *stealing* (under the legal terms of most countries (IANAL etc).

      In fact, as I understand it, the legal system regards stealing a bar of soap (a *criminal* offence) as more serious than file-sharing (a *civil* offence).

  • by Xest (935314) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:15PM (#26639863)

    Bear in mind the Gower's report on copyright terms that was an independent review on what was best for the country. The report fed back that 50 years as is is fine, but less would be better.

    Both the Conservatives and Labour outright ignored this independent report that they commissioned in the first place and still decided to push for 70 years.

    This could just as well end up the same. Unfortunately common sense holds no place in the corrupt halls of British parliament. Why follow the recommended route and gain nothing when you can just vote for harsh punishments and get all sorts of goodies and incentives from the music and movie industry? That's how most of them see it. It aint just the Lords that's corrupt, I felt David Cameron's comment the other day that he'd put someone from the creative industries (music, movies, books, advertising) in charge of Britain's broadband future quite telling- I mean really, what the hell qualifications do the creative industries have for solving what are basically technological problems?

  • It really is! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nabeel_co (1045054) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:22PM (#26639971) Homepage

    Wow it really is a sudden outbreak of common sense... I am shocked. Then again, it would be 10x more amazing if it were the US dropping the DMCA...

    • by Spatial (1235392)
      A more accurate description might be: a rare, contained, non-transferrable and temporary occurance of common sense.
      • A more accurate description might be: a rare, contained, non-transferrable and temporary occurance of common sense.

        Yes, probably a Class Five Full Roaming Vapor. Definitely not a Free-Roaming Repeater, so don't expect to see it again anytime soon.

  • Did this guy just equate the value of a song to a bar of hotel soap?

    BWHAHAHAHAHAH

  • So, given AT&T and Comcast colluding with the RIAA now, it sounds like now would be a great time for somebody in the UK to set up an encrypted VPN connection, available to folks for a nominal monthly fee.

    I swear, I'm starting to consider subscribing to one and routing all of my traffic through it permanently. I am sick of these fuckers pawing through my traffic looking for evidence of wrongdoing.

  • The UK's Intellectual Property Minister...

    Someone at the IFPI or the RIAA has dropped the ball. They either bought the wrong guy or they didn't pay enough - one of the two.

  • Because well it seems that UK doesn't have much in the way of privacy
  • by mattbee (17533) <matthew@bytemark.co.uk> on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @02:42PM (#26642225) Homepage

    Of all the potential legislation that the government have been talking about over the last few months, this music industry stuff reeks of lobbyists doing whatever they can to gain influence in Westminster. And what has been in the headlines in the UK the last few days? [guardian.co.uk] Ah yes, allegations that unelected members of the House of Lords are being paid by lobbyists to table amendments to UK law. Maybe there's a hurried shakedown going of this kind of overly "lobbied" legislation - before a pesky journalist joins the dots while the legislation is still on the table.

  • Given that there is some very real *piracy* occurring in the seas near Somalia, perhaps this might be a good time for this note.

    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html#Piracy [gnu.org]

    âoePiracyâ

    Publishers often refer to copying they don't approve of as âoepiracy.â In this way, they imply that it is ethically equivalent to attacking ships on the high seas, kidnapping and murdering the people on them. Based on such propaganda, they have procured laws in most of the world to forbid copying

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