UK tries to sneak in redonkulous new anti-piracy legislation

BB reader zestypete was among many who wrote in to point us to this bit of news:
Since Cory's not immediately available to kvetch about this, here's an annoying bit of news from today's Times Online in the UK:

"People who illegally download films and music will be cut off from the internet under new legislative proposals to be unveiled next week. Internet service providers (ISPs) will be legally required to take action against users who access pirated material, The Times has learnt.

Users suspected of wrongly downloading films or music will receive a warning e-mail for the first offence, a suspension for the second infringement and the termination of their internet contract if caught a third time, under the most likely option to emerge from discussions about the new law."

Now there's a bit of entirely unenforcable legislation that they're likely to push through regardless.

Link.

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  1. THAT’LL work.

    They never heard of wireless networks?

    Geez, you can go into McDonald’s and get hooked up. Here in the States, almost every public library has free wireless internet.

  2. How are they going to know? For example, will it be by monitoring sites that you visit? It can’t be simply based on traffic – what happens if you are watching the BBC iPlayer, or listening to the radio and watching c**p on YouTube at the same time as downloading your friends pictures / video / essay / whatever? Or are they looking for files with signatures of some sort?

  3. Just don’t do it and you won’t have to worry, right? AT&T’s DSL lines can be monitored, and that’s what they are planning to do. If the movie that you’re downloading isn’t tagged properly (with proof of purchase), then you can get busted. Data management is something we want with regard to spam. We should support controls that make it harder for anyone that wants to use the ‘verse for illegal activity.

  4. the article refers to the suspicion, which means that even if the Internet Police is not sure, they can send you the warning.

    If this is implemented in the U.K., the equivalent of the MPAA in the U.K, Recording Industries, will track the sales of music and movies after the is introduced (if it’s introduced..). This could set a precedent for another industrialized countries to follow on the example and will have numbers (they will use it as a fact)to back it up.

  5. I don’t do it Jeff – I’m worried that people might think I do, the amount of time I spend on the interwebs.

  6. @moon:

    if you had a beef with a place like McDonalds that would make for some poetic justice…

    “What do you mean our internet is shut down? We downloaded what?? We’re McDonalds!!”

  7. And, I understand the Free Internet Mindset, but I also know that it’s used for a lot of bad things. I’d like to see some more heads busted over the bad stuff, like child porn. Someone I know was busted for it. Shocking.

  8. Pushing aside the whole “inconvenience big corporations and lose your livelyhood” mentality that seems to be pervading current content industry lobbying, here’s another disconnect:

    These legislators, for whom the internet is “oh, that thing that I use occasionally when I don’t read the paper” don’t seem to realize that for a lot of Brits, “cutting off” their internet connection is essentially putting them under house arrest. Everything they do is online, so cutting off their internet is a massive loss of liberty.

    Indefinite house arrest on suspicion of depriving a rightsholder of £10.00. Welcome to the new serfdom, peon!

  9. It seems like quite a coincidence that this happens so soon after Cory goes on paternity leave. Almost like they were waiting for the opportunity.

  10. Way to drive the development of encrypted, untrackable p2p networks!

    I wonder if disconnecting you from teh interwebs is a violation of EU human rights law?

  11. “Home taping is killing music. And it’s illegal!”

    Remember that stupid logo – cassette tape as skull and crossbones? God knows how many bands I got into via “illegal” tapes made of their records by friends, and how many purchases ensued. Kuh!

    I consider it none of anyone’s business but my own what travels down the wires or waves into my computer. What’s next? A ban on any encrypted data?

    Jeff – would it be OK for the authorities to go through all your snailmail, just in case there was – oh, I dunno, child porn or bomb-making instructions in there? Go on, you’ve got nothing to hide. Oh, and while you’re at it, strip off and bend over so the nice policeman can check there’s no drugs up your backside.

  12. I, for one, can’t wait for this law to be passed so I can start sending fake infringement notices to MPs, ministers, priests, police officers, recording industry officials, newspapers and any person or organisation who might have been even remotely instrumental in getting this thing passed.

    Let them eat cake.

  13. Jeff: “Just don’t do it and you won’t have to worry, right? AT&T’s DSL lines can be monitored, and that’s what they are planning to do. If the movie that you’re downloading isn’t tagged properly (with proof of purchase), then you can get busted.”

    “And, I understand the Free Internet Mindset, but I also know that it’s used for a lot of bad things. I’d like to see some more heads busted over the bad stuff, like child porn. Someone I know was busted for it. Shocking.”

    Are you deliberately trying to link downloading and child abuse in people’s minds? A bit hysterical, don’t you think?

  14. I think it’s ridiculous you can’t even listen to BBC podcasts outside the UK, but this… this is just ridiculous Orwellian doggie doo.

  15. I have created a petition opposing this. It should be up at:

    http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/process4pirates

    by tomorrow. (It’s just waiting for approval.)

    The full text follows:

    We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to refrain from introducing legislation mandating the disconnection of individuals suspected of piracy. We hold that the government should not be aiding in the bringing of civil procedures against suspected pirates and that criminal liability should only be imposed after full judicial process has been followed, in line with the existing criminal law on copyright infringement.

    Planned legislation would mandate ISPs to disconnect users who download pirated material. We the undersigned strongly oppose this. It is very hard to distinguish my downloads from those of a user of my open wireless network, just as it is very hard to distinguish the legitimate sharing of a film in the public domain from the sharing of the latest blockbuster. Thus it seems inevitable that many innocent parties would have their internet connections disconnected by ISPs who would be scared of criminal proceedings were they to let any pirates slip through. We hold that punishments such as disconnection can only be legitimately dished out if a court finds the suspect guilty beyond reasonable doubt, and though we recognise the rights of copyright holders to seek civil damages against those infringing their rights, we strongly object both to the state helping in the accumulation of evidence for the rights holders and to paying more for our internet connections to subsidise costly piracy detection technology at our ISP.

    Please sign it!

  16. There has to be something behind this. It is so obviously stupid and unworkable that is must be a stalking horse for something else, something ugly.

  17. There’s also another problem with this. Look at it from a Kafkian perspective, which is a possibility. Whoever is in charge of monitoring what’s illegal(let’s say that you’re doing social activism stuff and you start to annoy the people in charge ) can and will suspend your internet activity based on suspicion. Again, this is the key word, because it means they don’t need a fact that what you downloaded was illegal, they only need to suspect you’re doing it. So, if you oppose the current administration policies, therefore, the easiest way to silence you would be to cut you out from the internets. It is moronic that they did not target this law against pedophiles and things that everybody can view as illegal, so instead of going against a real criminal who’s downloading child pornography, they rather target the person who downloaded the latest Harry Potter movie.

  18. The government is not ‘trying to sneak in’ legislation- this is a leak from a Green Paper, a consultation and discussion document, which is nowhere near becoming law.

    Can we wait till we see what the green paper actually says (when it’s released next week) before we get up in arms about it?

  19. “Jeff – would it be OK for the authorities to go through all your snailmail, just in case there was – oh, I dunno, child porn or bomb-making instructions in there? Go on, you’ve got nothing to hide. Oh, and while you’re at it, strip off and bend over so the nice policeman can check there’s no drugs up your backside.”

    If the Feds had the ability to scan every bit of paper mail, and if a package was found to contain child porn, sure, let them arrest me. If they want to read my Christmas cards and bills and junk mail, let them. I have nothing to hide. Do I think my mail should be private? Yes, but I’m not dumb enough to do something illegal through the mail. Currently a warrent is required to open someone’s mail. But if you put that mail in a trash can and that can is on the curb outside your home, it’s free to pick over. No warrent required. A body search for drugs? If there is just cause to think there are drugs up my butt, then I’m going to get searched.

    This is obviously an issue of technology changing the way we do things, and particularly how we define our privacy.

    And I wasn’t trying to connect the issue to child porn to be hyperbolic. It’s a real problem and it needs to be stopped. The fact that most of it happens on the web is a problem to be solved with web technology, right? Or should we just depend on the pedophiles to play nice?

  20. I got this back from the petitions site:

    I’m sorry to inform you that your petition has been rejected.

    Your petition was classed as being in the following categories:

    * Potentially libellous, false, or defamatory statements

    Further information: No such proposals have been put forward.

    Hmm.

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