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Lord Mandleson speaks out on disconnecting pirates
Wednesday 28 October 2009 13:54:23 by Andrew Ferguson

Copyright infringement and illegal file sharing are at the top of the headlines again, and it appears to be Lord Mandleson pushing the drive for a tough stance. at a government sponsored forum he has re-iterated plans that would see persistent infringers getting their Internet connection cut-off. BBC News covers the conference including quotes from Peter Mandleson.

The way it would appear that Lord Mandleson is proposing the system would work is two notifications of infringement, and then the connection would be cut off on the third, with a chance to appeal prior to that. The devil will be in the detail of the appeals process, as if you protest that no-one in your household has infringed the copyright of any material but the rights holders have some evidence saying otherwise, who is more believable? Putting this another way, how do you prove you did not do something? For those complaining that this is a reversal of the 'innocent until proven guilty', remember that this only applies to criminal courts; in the civil courts the burden of proof is very different.

As always there is a carrot dangling in front of the stick and that is that we can expect a more relaxed copyright arrangement whereby what almost everyone does now at home will be allowed, i.e. copying a CD to their MP3 player, or sharing it with family members. It begs the question why this change has taken so long to come in since the birth of the MP3 player.

The area that generates the most concern among broadband providers is the costs of the notification and the newly announced appeals process. For the notification at least, the rights holder will pay a flat fee towards the cost of sending this, but it's unlikely that the full costs of the service provider will be covered. No mention has been made as to whether the broadband providers will stand to benefit from any increase of sales for music and video media. It would seem the fair thing to do, as surely the point of enforcing copyright is to increase sales. If all these changes do not increase sales, then the effect on the music and broadband industry will have simply been to increase the costs of doing business.

France has announced its new system for policing the copyright area, and it seems those cut-off in France will still be expected to pay their broadband bill, and one presumes will remain tied to the service so they cannot simply move elsewhere. The new French system (HADOPI 2) does address concerns over disconnections, requiring a judge to sign off on disconnections (albeit through a streamlined process) which can last up to a year. Loss of an Internet connection could be potentially very damaging if it were to be for a period of a month or more, both for individuals, families and businesses. Consumers might find an increased costs of banking and shopping or and inability to work from home, whilst businesses could face worse problems when connections are cut-off due to the actions of an employee.

The creative industries in the UK are worth some £16bn, and employ 2 million people. Those who have worked in other industries in the UK will be asking what makes this industry so special that it needs government backed protection? Many privately run businesses and industries have been allowed to collapse in the face of overseas competition and social changes. The Internet does not stop at the water that surrounds the UK, but spreads worldwide, and it would be wise for the creative industries to remember this. A number one single in the UK will generate a decent amount of money (dependant on how much was spent in promoting it), but it is very often the volume of sales possible in much larger markets abroad that make the money for the big corporates involved.

Copyright infringement does need to be tackled, but one can see dangers in the methods currently under proposal. One of the big computing topics of today, 'cloud computing', might undermine the ability to monitor traffic, with fragments of material being delivered from many locations around the world. Until the Digital Economy Bill goes before the House and is passed through we cannot be sure of what will happen, and with a General Election due by June 2010, no matter which party is elected, if the Bill becomes a hot potato in the campaigning we may see it changed in years to come.


Posted by shaunhw over 7 years ago
I've just complained to my MP about all this.
One importantant thing no one seems to have considered is that some providers actually PRINT their SSID and WPA keys on the router itself. Sky certainly did, and perhaps still do. So, neighbour pops in for a cup of tea, makes a note of number at back of rounter, and then goes back home to pirate with impunity and get his neighbour in bother.

It will be simpy unfair, and completely unjust.
Anyway, I hope Mr. Mandleson is out of work soon.
Posted by Darkness123 over 7 years ago
The problem I have with this law is this. If I create a website such as with 3 different pictures of me and anyone goes there the browser will automatically download the images into the cache which is in itself is copyright infringement. Can't I get people disconnected from this alone?
Posted by shaunhw over 7 years ago
Darkness123 -

I think not. By placing your pictures on a site yourself, you are in effect allowing people to download them. If someone else put them there it might be different. In anycase this is about P2P file sharing, where people allow others to access certain files on their computer over the internet, without the permission of the copyright owner.
Posted by meldrew over 7 years ago
P2P is the tip of the iceberg. Music can be shared easily enough between phones and MP3 players. Additionally if you want a particular track (quicker than trying to copy your LPs in real time) just go into Google and look for an MP3 specific search engine.

The genie is out of the bottle and it ain't going back in again.
Posted by Darkness123 over 7 years ago
shaunhw: Actually even if I put the images on my website, that doesn't mean I give anyone access to download them.

The way I am thinking is, someone does what I say and demands money from the person visiting your website otherwise have their internet cut-off.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 7 years ago
If you put the images in a publically available part of your website then you don't stand a chance.

If the person does more than simply view the pictures, e.g. re-uses them on their own site then copyright infringement takes place.

In your scenario 100% of people are violating copyright everytime they ever visit a website.
Posted by Darkness123 over 7 years ago
What if someone puts a Private link without a password or anything? Does it become copyright infringement then. Since it says Private.
Posted by Darkness123 over 7 years ago
Sorry. What if someone puts a link which says Private without a username or password.
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
The whole point is to take over the internet, not profits.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Oh mandelson it will never happen move onto something else you can actually enforce... silly man
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
There just no way:-
1) ISP's will monitor traffic to the degree needed (it will also be circumvented in days if they did)
2) Will cut off their paying customers. Broadband provision is a cut throat market there's no way they will upset their customers and if they did what would stop the customer signing up elsewhere will they prevent that as well

They may think its a good idea, but it just won't happen.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
What will they propose next? Cutting off your home/mobile phone if you are found using it to organise illegal activity's? Ban you from certain stretches of roads if your found to be carrying stolen goods? I'm sure stuff like this will be laughed at in years to come "Remember when the government tried to control what you could/couldn't do on the Internet, mad eh!"
Posted by drteeth over 7 years ago
I wonder how long it will be until some bright spark thinks it would be a good idea to have a national censoring central proxy etc like China and some Islamic states?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Yes, and how many people work in IT? How many of them are going to be negatively impacted by changes in the law, which will increase the price and slow down connections?

And private format shifting is non-prosecutable in any case, ANY limit on it is actually going back on the status quo.
Posted by MrTAToad2 over 7 years ago
Cant see how a loss of an Internet connection could be potentially very damaging for individuals - all you would need is to pop around to a friend, use an internet cafe or perhaps use mobile internet.

I thought the EU will stop France from disconnecting people : "In response to the French legislation, European politicians ruled that cutting off someone's internet connection could be a breach of their human rights."
Posted by Rroff over 7 years ago
How is this guy still in any position of power?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 7 years ago
For individuals there would be the stigma of neighbours knowing you've been cut off.

Plus who will type in all their banking details on a neighbours computer, read and reply to emails.

Cutting off a homes Internet access will reduce the amount of goods bought online, or maybe in total. So could have an effect on the economy as a whole - not seen that analysed yet.
Posted by lloydio over 7 years ago
no chance of getting cut off in Finland then if a connection is a legal right! the EU needs to come up with a rule on this or else Europe will be split on the subject.

would of Mandelson been interested in this issue if he hadn't recieved a bung from the music/record industries?

Shouldnt be in his position going on his previous charades.
Posted by herdwick over 7 years ago
"Many privately run businesses and industries have been allowed to collapse in the face of overseas competition and social changes. "

I don't recall any of them collapsing due to sustained unlawful activity that went unchallenged though ?
Posted by Aqualung over 7 years ago
i see no problem with a connection being cut off if its being used illegally.....
Lets see a few people being taken to court, up to press this supposedly rife practice is just hearsay !!!!
Just how many people have been found and convicted ??? perhaps we should just have a lottery style draw,and assume we are all at it !!!
Posted by shaunhw over 7 years ago
"I don't recall any of them collapsing due to sustained unlawful activity that went unchallenged though ? "

Fair enough. But the proper place to deal with these kind of issues is a COURT OF LAW, along with the PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE and this is the problem. The government are systematically trying to undermine due process IMHO and are being encouraged to do so, by the media companies. This is quite wrong.

Posted by shaunhw over 7 years ago
Andrew wrote:
"For individuals there would be the stigma of neighbours knowing you've been cut off.

Most neighbours wouldn't care one iota, and would probably think "there but for the grace of God" and all that.
Posted by MrTAToad2 over 7 years ago
The only problem neighbours will face is when they suddenly find they cant connect to the internet as well...
Posted by rian over 7 years ago
It's a problem about how solid the evidence will be:
1. Wireless security issue (WEP by default or no password protection)?
2. Trojan or viruses?
3. Many P2P site encrypted the traffic and giving wrong IP information.

Don't forget the Davonport cases last years which thousands of people have been potentially accused for an IP record.

If the person is intended to perform illegal activity, they will definitely encrypted the traffic and those get caught may probably just unwise or wrongly accused.
Posted by herdwick over 7 years ago
try telling someone locked up on remand that one is innocent until proven guilty :-)
Posted by kamelion over 7 years ago
Can we have someone who has been elected to make our laws please?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Why? The cabinet isn't even required to be made up of people in either house (although these days it basically is). Plz read up on the UK governmental system...
Posted by kamelion over 7 years ago
Why? because otherwise what is the point of a democratic system of law? We might as well go back to the queen ruling by decree.

PLZ don't be so condescending dawn. If you have nothing nice to say then keep it shut
Posted by pigfister over 7 years ago
its about the gatekeepers keeping control and p2p is a free distribution platform for indie bands/directors.

lets not for get who is actually behind the MPAA - RIAA, these are the companies that need to be targeted and boycotted into changing their ways, purchase only 2nd hand media and do not purchase anything branded sony, why allow the fecktards to dictate Orwellian hardware DRM designed to take away rights not to stop piracy anymore.


# Sony BMG Music Entertainment
# Warner Music Group
# Universal Music Group
Posted by pigfister over 7 years ago

# Sony
# Warner Bros. (Time Warner)
# Universal (NBC Universal)
# Disney
# 20th Century Fox (News Corp)
# Paramount Pictures Viacom

If Sony payola (google it) wasn't bad enough to destroy indie competition you have this:

Is it justified to steal from thieves? READ ON.

RIAA Claims Ownership of All Artist Royalties For Internet Radio

Posted by pigfister over 7 years ago
continued from above >>

With the furor over the impending rate hike for Internet radio stations, wouldn't a good solution be for streaming internet stations to simply not play RIAA-affiliated labels' music and focus on independent artists? Sounds good, except that the RIAA's affiliate organization SoundExchange claims it has the right to collect royalties for any artist, no matter if they have signed with an RIAA label or not. 'SoundExchange (the RIAA) considers any digital performance of a song as falling under their compulsory license.
Posted by pigfister over 7 years ago
continued from above >>

If any artist records a song, SoundExchange has the right to collect royalties for its performance on Internet radio. Artists can offer to download their music for free, but they cannot offer their songs to Internet radio for free ... So how it works is that SoundExchange collects money through compulsory royalties from Webcasters and holds onto the money. If a label or artist wants their share of the money, they must become a member of SoundExchange and pay a fee to collect their royalties.
Posted by pigfister over 7 years ago
a government controlled by the corporations is called fascism.

we have fundamental laws in the UK that protect us, we are innocent until proven guilty these laws must be upheld & not allowed to be taken away by labour like the rest of our civil liberties have been eroded.

The correct action should be that a civil suit should be taken up by the copy-write holder, not the UK people paying for their lack of willingness to litigate.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
kamelion - No. You're a uneducated fool spouting nonsense because you don't understand the way the UK's democratic system works. Calling for massive changes to the UK system without understanding the cabinet basis of the legislature is ignorant.

If you don't like that, the door is that way.
Posted by TGVrecord over 7 years ago

Why do you insist on insulting people? It does not help your argument.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Why do people persist in being ignorant? I'm not making an argument, I'm pointing out how the British government works, which far too few people bother researching before crying over how bad it is...
Posted by Canopus over 7 years ago
Lord Mandleson, the Minister without responsibility does it again.

Meanwhile, the consensus of opinion seems to be drifting toward boycotting all media industries that are leaning on governments to bring in these ill thought out draconian laws. I would go along with that especially where Sony is concerned.
Posted by Canopus over 7 years ago
As far as Sony goes, I posted a clip on You Tube from a Russian TV talent show, You Tube informed me that they had detected that the clip was copyright of Sony. Since when did Sony start owning copyright of minor Russian TV Talent shows? And if they can get something as blatant as this wrong.....
Posted by Karlroe over 7 years ago
So are ISP's meant to police this and if so should petrol suppliers be made to check people are not using their cars for illegal purposes too where do you draw the line
Posted by jcp8161 over 7 years ago
Posted by jcp8161 2 minutes ago
Time mandelson & co fixed the state of the country and leave this alone.Whats in it for them???????
Posted by TGVrecord over 7 years ago
"Since when did Sony start owning copyright of minor Russian TV Talent shows?" It is possible that Sony own the production company that makes the Russian TV talent show. After all many show formats are sold all around the world.
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