Britain's new Internet law -- as bad as everyone's been saying, and worse. Much, much worse.

The British government has brought down its long-awaited Digital Economy Bill, and it's perfectly useless and terrible. It consists almost entirely of penalties for people who do things that upset the entertainment industry (including the "three-strikes" rule that allows your entire family to be cut off from the net if anyone who lives in your house is accused of copyright infringement, without proof or evidence or trial), as well as a plan to beat the hell out of the video-game industry with a new, even dumber rating system (why is it acceptable for the government to declare that some forms of artwork have to be mandatorily labelled as to their suitability for kids? And why is it only some media? Why not paintings? Why not novels? Why not modern dance or ballet or opera?).

So it's bad. £50,000 fines if someone in your house is accused of filesharing. A duty on ISPs to spy on all their customers in case they find something that would help the record or film industry sue them (ISPs who refuse to cooperate can be fined £250,000).

But that's just for starters. The real meat is in the story we broke yesterday: Peter Mandelson, the unelected Business Secretary, would have to power to make up as many new penalties and enforcement systems as he likes. And he says he's planning to appoint private militias financed by rightsholder groups who will have the power to kick you off the internet, spy on your use of the network, demand the removal of files or the blocking of websites, and Mandelson will have the power to invent any penalty, including jail time, for any transgression he deems you are guilty of. And of course, Mandelson's successor in the next government would also have this power.

What isn't in there? Anything about stimulating the actual digital economy. Nothing about ensuring that broadband is cheap, fast and neutral. Nothing about getting Britain's poorest connected to the net. Nothing about ensuring that copyright rules get out of the way of entrepreneurship and the freedom to create new things. Nothing to ensure that schoolkids get the best tools in the world to create with, and can freely use the publicly funded media -- BBC, Channel 4, BFI, Arts Council grantees -- to make new media and so grow up to turn Britain into a powerhouse of tech-savvy creators.

Lobby organisation The Open Rights Group is urging people to contact their MP to oppose the plans.

"This plan won't stop copyright infringement and with a simple accusation could see you and your family disconnected from the internet - unable to engage in everyday activities like shopping and socialising," it said.

The government will also introduce age ratings on all boxed video games aimed at children aged 12 or over.

There is, however, little detail in the bill on how the government will stimulate broadband infrastructure.

Government lays out digital plans (Thanks, Lee!)


  1. I seem to mention it in every item about this subject but I think it’s worth highlightING what nobody seems to be mentioning even though it should be repeated EVERY SINGLE TIME. Mandelson suddenly became interested in this after a David Geffen funded trip to Corfu. He denies the connection between paid excursion and policy changes but it’s hard not ask questions about what exactly they discussed over dinner. He is unelected. He has had to resign TWICE in the past for his activities. Not just once. Twice. HE IS COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY CORRUPT AND YET IT IS BEING IGNORED.

    1. As nauseous as Mandy makes me feel. I’m afraid your argument amounts to an ad hominem attack. We need to judge his new proposal on it’s own merits/faults.
      Filesharing is a problem for the music, film and software industries. That much is a given, so it’s right that the government should be trying to sort it out. Unfortunately, this proposal seems half-baked and unthought through.

      1. My dear friend read what you have posted….its you who is saying Mandelson makes you feel nauseating, Not Me. In fact I was saying to penalise the websites which allows file sharing instead of punishing people. This will probably solve the problem from the root. But again it’s just a thought and there would be other things which need to look into. And also if they start disconnecting people from the internet then the ISP’s would start loosing revenue. On the top how would you feel if your teenage family member or a friend is caught and the whole family suffers for it? It doesn’t make any sense at all.
        Peter Mandelson got this job based on his experience and reputation even though he was not a close ally of Gordon Brown. He is known to be a FIXER and it’s hard to believe that he came out with this kind of solution.

  2. Just a note: The new game rating system isn’t actually that different than the old one – in fact, it removes the BBFC (who can and have banned games, Australia style) and uses only PEGI ratings (which have been used up til now anyway). It is a big improvement for this reason.

    Everything else, though… ugh.

    1. And is probably focusing on games because kids are more likely to play them than go to the opera. It’s sad, but it’s true, so opera can pretty much be edited out of this whole ‘report’, along with the sarcasm and crap attitude.

      1. It’s sad, but it’s true, so opera can pretty much be edited out of this whole ‘report’…

        I’m pretty sure a lot more “illegal downloading” is done with IE and Firefox than with Opera, FWIW.
        Or do we need to crack down on torrents of bootleg videos of Madame Butterfly and the Ring cycle?
        I’m not sure.

  3. Are the Open Rights Group lobbying the Lords? Because that seems to me the best place to strike this bill down.

    I don’t see the Tories objecting to this as it’s the kind of legislation they’d bring in were they in Mandy’s place, therefore the Commons will probably just be whipped into obedience – with a small Lib Dem objection.

    The Lords however are far more independent from their parties, and have a decent track record of slapping down over-reaching and anti-democratic legislation (see recently the 42 days kerfuffle). If I were the Open Rights Group I’d start lobbying them now on the assumption that the whips will prevent any real back bench rebellion on this, and so it will pass through the Commons.

  4. is this actually in place now? or do they still have to give it the ok in parlament?. and most important, could we avoid all this by using VPN services or do they have to show their customers info too?

  5. Anybody have a list of Mandelson’s questions, proposals, etc. before the Corfu trip versus afterwards?

    Are Labour *trying* to set themselves up for a beating next May? Why not go all the way and have Mandy head the party going into the elections.

    1. “Are Labour *trying* to set themselves up for a beating next May? Why not go all the way and have Mandy head the party going into the elections.”

      Mandelson is a Conservative. If Cameron gets in then Mandy will probably still have a seat in government – he must have some amazing blackmail material on someone because he sticks around without election and no matter what he does, all of which the electorate appear to hate, he stays. He seems pretty evil to me.

  6. “(why is it acceptable for the government to declare that some forms of artwork have to be mandatorily labelled as to their suitability for kids? And why is it only some media? Why not paintings? Why not novels? Why not modern dance or ballet or opera?)”

    sshhh! don’t give them ideas! they’ve forgotten the history of banning things deemed “pornographic” by whatever is in power at the time…

  7. Militia … this would be like the car-clamping firms!

    Mandelson’s questions … “why am I so wonderful?”

    We need to embarrass and shame the people who’ve put this bill into motion. This is a waste of valuable parliamentary time, and as Cory states, nothing more than a sop to the entertainment industry. Silliness encapsulated.

  8. Hey! This sounds just like the ACTA over here in the US. Do you think governments are getting just a tad sketchy about how liberating this whole “freedom of information” thing is? Yes. Yes, indeed!

    1. My hope with ACTA over in here in the US is that we still have recourse in the constitution- which has primacy over foreign treaties undertaken in the name of the executive branch. The Seventh Amendment, in particular, is of relevance here. It assures the right to a jury trial in civil disputes. IANAL, but I believe infringement isn’t strictly a crime, but a tort. Anyone care to clarify that point of law for me?

      I don’t rightly know what recourse the British have, if any. I get the idea that Mandelson and much Labour’s leadership are all complete hacks, but I can’t say I’m well-versed in British politics at all. Though I have been developing a recent interest- mainly to understand some of the British topical humor out there. (Never mind the buzzcocks, Mock the week.)

  9. Lots of nasty stuff but there are some points worth noting. In particular, the mechanism for amending the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act is expressly not allowed to create criminal offences (the new s.302A(7), under Clause 17), and all such changes must be expressly approved by Parliament rather than nodded through on the side (s.302A(10), same Clause).

    Also, that £50k fine is the new max penalty for criminal copyright infringement, which is pretty much confined to bulk physical piracy (e.g. import or production of fake DVDs).

    And it does do one positive thing – it introduces an orphan works right. At least I assume it’s a positive thing because various rights-holder groups are foaming at the mouth about it. (My worry is that this is horse-trading for a tougher enforcement regime.)

  10. I’ve written to my MP, Fiona McTaggart. She’s got a terrible voting record, and I’m confident that she will do what the whips tell her. On the other hand, it never hurts to remind an elected official that you will not vote for them, especially if it looks like they’re about to get the boot.

  11. Having said that a friend points out that the last time Parliament rejected a statutory instrument was around about the time I was born, so it’s still very problematic. Much better to change primary legislation via new primary legislation – you know, the thing that gets debated.

  12. I invite everyone to join me in tweeting the UKLabour party to voice our disapproval.

    The tweet I sent uses one of my favourite lines from the popular 1980s UK comedy “Yes, Minister”:

    @UKLabour If you must do this bloody stupid thing (pander to media giants), don’t do it in this bloody stupid way (cut-off innocent users)

    My labour party membership is up for renewal at the end of this month, and on the basis of this issue I don’t believe I can continue my membership. It truly shows how out of touch with this community and nation of people the Labour Party is.


  13. So, does anyone have a technical work-around to this? Does whole disk encryption and a VPN that exits somewhere else in the world solve it? What are others doing to disappear from the ISP log files?

  14. This story sounds a lot like stories that would’ve been coming out frequently a few years before the plot of the movie “V for Vendetta” begins…… Anyone else agree with that?

  15. “£50,000 fines if someone in your house is accused of filesharing.”

    Just by accusation? Damn. It looks like British government is just as corrupt at American government. And a fine to the ISPs for not participating? Reminds me of the stupid fine built into the new health care legislation here in America (fines for not having health insurance).

    I cringe and wonder when they will try to tax air and breathing.

    1. “£50,000 fines if someone in your house is accused of filesharing.”

      does it rly say that in the proposed act?

  16. “He has had to resign TWICE in the past for his activities. Not just once. Twice.”

    Mandelson is a bit like herpes really. Every time you think he’s gone for good he always comes back.

    Venereal disease aside this is a truly terrible bit of legislation and I hope the House of Lords sees this for the stupidity that it is. It is depressing that we have to rely on unelected representatives to sort out the stuff the elected ones (and Mandelson) mess up.

  17. While fighting back through tweeting and letter writing and using the law is necessary. . .

    It seems that at some point there needs to be civil action on the part of audiences to boycott media that plays by immoral and illegal rules. .. and civil action on the part of artists to not participate in an economy that can ruin the lives of the artist’s readers, viewers, gamers, etc. I know that I have made that decision.

    When Philip K. Dick imagined that in the future reproducing machines would spit out degraded copies, he imagined with it that capitalism would be faced with a crisis of value: real objects would begin to devolve.

    The genie has been let out of the bottle. Anybody can afford a complete recording studio and stick it in their basement. There is no rational reason that artists can make to justify the existance of “record” companies. There are no records.

    Most people I know have already implicitly boycotted mass media by basically ignoring most of its output. Movies are next: they are a consistent disappointment and the new measure of success is “that didn’t completely suck”.

  18. This simply can’t pass. It’s utterly ludicrous. Instead of writing or calling your MP, perhaps some enterprising hacker can spoof a few Labour IP addresses and provide preemptive copyright infringements (don’t forget to tip off the rights holder). Nothing less will drive home the absolute lunacy of this proposal.

    Otherwise, if this passes, UK Boingers, it’s been a pleasure. We will miss you.

    1. You won’t need to spoof any IP’s because more than likely, the children of at least one MP will be using some kind of file sharing service. I’d suggest befriending those children if you want to really expose this garbage. See MPs react when £50,000 fines get thrown their way!

  19. >[The] power to make up as many new penalties and enforcement systems as he likes. And he says he’s planning to appoint private militias financed by rightsholder groups who will have the power to kick you off the internet…

    This is as good as declaring martial law on the internet in the UK. Thanks, Cory, for keeping the spotlight on this, and please let us know *any* further ways in which we can help to bring this bill down, either on-line or directly on the streets.

  20. Eroding Democracy and Constitutional Law should be a criminal offense, not a business model. What happened to society?

    Good luck I am in germany, where the Bundesverfassungsgericht has stated clearly that a three-strikes law is unconstitutional.

    Greetings, LX
    P.S.: keeping my fingers crossed for the UK community.

  21. meh. it’s a lost cause. The music industry already proved that media companies are willing to spend themselves into oblivion to buy the laws needed to fight the scary pirates.

    meanwhile technology moves forward. Any reason not to expect that anyone with any sense will be doing their own “internet” using peer-to-peer wireless to share stuff with friends and neighbors with anonymous encrypted wireless connections and terrabyte media servers?

  22. The laws, and the society being shaped by those laws, has ceased to be a reflection of scientific reality.

    This isn’t just about this one (ridiculous) piece of legislation. It’s about the fact that copyright exists at all in an age when I can reproduce anything I find online with the same ease that I might whistle the tune I hear from a bird in the woods.

    It’s about the fact that everywhere I go I’m bombarded with psychological warfare from massive corporate entities whose only goal is self-perpetuation.

    It’s about the fact that the media are so devoted to shifting units that they don’t report news any more, they concoct it, to serve an industry that deals in selling worthless goods attached to the images of manufactured phantoms whose appearances are graphically altered to make them appear impossibly perfect.

    The whole thing has to come down, all of it.

    1. >The laws, and the society being shaped by those laws, has ceased to be a reflection of scientific reality.

      as hpl noted, scientific reality is super scary, look what happened to poor crawford tillinghast.

      1. >> crawford tillinghast


        Well – how about *any* sort of reality. We’re just living in a crazy system that manufactures bilge to maintain to illusion that we still have to work for 8.5 hours a day.

        Perhaps the idea of a 2 hour working day really is as terrifying to the powers that be as the fate of Crawford Tillinghast.

        1. >how about *any* sort of reality

          I try to avoid it whenever possible. ybh, I’d prefer inverting the sense of the week, 2 days of work, 5 days off. current implementation seems a bit arbitrary. otoh moneys is nice, it helps with the avoiding part.

    2. **It’s about the fact that copyright exists at all in an age when I can reproduce anything I find online with the same ease that I might whistle the tune I hear from a bird in the woods.**

      I would find it far easier to reproduce anything I find online than to reproduce a bird’s song. Thank goodness no one’s figured out a way to license that! Yet…

  23. The obvious answer is for every Torrent tracker to start adding the IP ranges assigned to parliament, Dept. of Business, Innovation and Skills, Ofcom and others to their peer lists and let the fun commence.

    1. You ,sir, are an absolute genius. One thing I come away with when I read about something like this is how absolutely futile these efforts by government on behalf of mega companies really are. The internet is changing so rapidly it is essentially impossible to police. I could argue how immoral it is for government to suppress the people they are supposed to represent to line the pockets of massive corporations. But come on, I think we are all smart enough to know that is precisely what most do.

  24. Oh god, mandelson is such a media whore. This is the final nail in the coffin, im leaving the country as soon as i can afford to do so. our government is clamping down on civil libertys left right and centre and now they are heinously invading the only space in which i consider my self a free man, the internet. I dont think theres much we can do about all this, its so depressing…

    1. While you might be joking about leaving the country, I’m going to Amsterdam (I love Holland) with some friends in March and I am, seriously, taking CVs and starting to learn Dutch. If I can find work in Holland then I’m gone. I was going to rant about why but, you know, I don’t have the energy to get mad about this stuff any more.

    2. When you finally have had enough, come to Costa Rica to live. The high speed internet is great, the cost of living is low and both the country and the women here are very beautiful. I can set you up in a 2 BR luxury beach condo right on the Pacific sands for under $250,000…

    1. Re: “Rick Roll…..”

      That won’t help, it’s pointless. We need to do something real and staggering that sends a serious signal to everyone that we’re not going to be trodden on anymore.

  25. anyone got any good tips for books or websites on encrypting your interent traffic? it’s not that i’m up to anything bad, it’s just that i don’t trust these snooping fucks not to screw up and lose my internet history on the fucking train like they seem to do every few weeks.

  26. Hi there

    After contacting my MP about this, I also looked up Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer who appears to be an active member of the House Of Lords with interest in Internet Freedom

    When contacting my MP, I took the angle that foreign and unaccountable bodies funded by commercial interest deciding the fate of the British Public’s access to government, education, health, employment and freedom of speech was a potential threat to National security.


  27. What’s sad is I could see something like this being proposed here in the U.S.

    And they’d probably add prison sentences for an American version of this bill.

    Imprisonment and fines without due process? That’s where Western “democracy” is headed.

  28. Maybe it’s because I’m not British, (or because I’m not very smart), but every proper noun in this thread sounds like it’s a person/place from Harry Potter. (Crawford Tillinghast, Mandelson, Corfu)

  29. You can protect yourself from corrupt idiots like this by buying a VPN connection. I purchased mine from for only 5$/month. I have a Choice between 128bit and 1024bit encryption and am able to use any of their VPN endpoints. They have servers in US, DE, NL, and UK.

  30. @scdevine: No, what you want is the right to beat *their* asses if they produce movies not worth buying. ;)

    Seriously – if they want to prohibit file sharing and the like, and you’re not allowed to see it unless you pay the bucks, there should be a right to recourse if the movie fails in its implicit guarantee of suitability for intended use. Seems fair to me.

  31. I’m sure at least one of the people voting for this has kids who file share illegally. So someone should just accuse them of file sharing, have the whole family cut off from the internet, and then we shall see how long this law lasts!

    Unless they have some method of vetoing internet cut offs if it goes against them.

  32. If as an audience we had the opportunity to value the movie after it was seen, this would not happen. For example, being able to walk into a movie theater and after the movie is done you could pay what you think it’s worth.

  33. A bill like that pushes a society closer to a complete totalitarian state which is under constant surveillance. One where its citizens can be accused of whatever illegal material the office of the Secretary of State can come up with , because it won’t be passed trough a legislative process and citizens can’t defend themselves.
    A society where e there is no boundaries of how far the power of a single governmental office can reach to the households it vigils.

    A society where the government manages and the corporations and industries with money and “power” dictate the rules to the government managers. Who will put up an act of passing those rules trough a democratic process to make it a law and slap it back to the people saying: “it was democratic”.

  34. There are just soo many issues.

    1) what about zombies. Click on a dodgy link, get infected, get chucked off the internet for life.

    2) fall out with the neighbours, they start accusing you, get chucked off. Retaliate! I can see fun for whole neighbourhood, spreading internet darkness as whole areas get blacklisted.

    3) No reprisals for accusations, no proof required. Simply finding out someones IP address can allow you to get them off the net. How long will the network connection of the house of commons last?

    4) Terrorism. What better way to disrupt infrastructure than a few well placed accusations knocking out vital services. Don’t need guns or explosives any more, knock out air traffic control by an accusation of illegal downloads of hello kitty. (and yes, Cory, you CAN use that as a basis for a story if you wish! as long as you use ‘fatgeekuk’ as one of the characters.)

    5) like 3, but even easier. silly pranksters just spamming accusations, they don’t care who they get banned, just that it affects lots of people.

    Final point.

    The entertainment industry is one of the few relatively health areas of the economy, and yet they are the ones bleating for this sort of legislation. Why not spend time working out how to make money in the new landscape rather than trying to hold back the tide. The software industry is now much bigger than the entertainment industry and yet…… oh, why bother, it has been said better and by much more visible people. I guess, if I can’t wine and dine you in corfu, I don’t have a voice.

  35. Rough idea for a story…..

    Creative Commons Licensed.

    Jerry the Mandelbot.

    I am Jerry the Mandelbot, and I am very happy.
    Today, my owner drove me to a new place, where I talked
    to many other mandelbots through my wifi hardware.
    I sat in the boot of my owners car and talked to the other
    mandelbots nearby all day, we swapped tv shows and films,
    music and games. When I got home, Andy, my owner asked me
    what I had found, and I told him. He was very happy too.

    I like being a Mandelbot, it is lots of fun and I get to
    meet lots of other Mandelbots all over the place.

    But, let me describe myself, I am not very big, except on the inside.
    I have 2terabytes of disk space. Andy says that when he was
    young, a terabyte was an aweful lot of storage that only
    very rich companies could own. but now, two will fit in the
    palm of your hand. on top of my drives, I have a wrt54g access
    point with custom mandelbot v12.95 firmware. Next to my disks and
    network hardware I have two car batteries, enough to keep my
    talking for a long long time.

    I always listen for other MBs, all the time. when I hear one
    we talk and compare what we have. we then each pick a random thing
    to ask for from the others list, and share them. It does not
    matter much what it is, with 1terabyte of stuff to share and 1
    terabyte of space to fill up, I can be busy listening for days and days
    before I fill up.

    earlier MBs where very stupid, they did not learn from their owners
    what their owners liked. but after v0.7, we started learning.
    When Andy gets home and asks me what I have found, he tells me what he
    likes and what he doesn’t, and I know better next time.

    Then, something strange happened, when version 0.8 was released
    it included a real blast from the past. Something called
    Personal Usenet. Apparently usenet used to work on the internet.
    You know, the network that existed before all the righters ruined it.
    Righters? oh, sorry, Copyrighters. Before that the internet
    was THE big thing. but now, it’s almost dead. Now its us, the
    mandelbots and adhoc roaming networks.

    You see, we started off like the internet, as a geek thing.
    A way of transferring large chunks of data without having to use the
    internet and risk our owners getting cut off from it.

    We started getting carried around by our owners as they travelled
    and whenever we got close to each other, we would swap things. Even
    without our owners knowing each other or even seeing each other.

    It used to be, I would go hours and hours, sometimes days
    without talking to another of my kind. But as time passed, I started
    hearing more and more of us. When 0.8 came along with usenet support
    we started to be used for more than a replacement for torrents
    we started to be a medium of communication. When 0.82 came along and
    piggybacked mandelbot updates on usenet, we REALLY exploded.

    Now, the internet is pretty much quiet. websites for a few dying media
    companies and the odd video archive. Now, we run the information show.
    The point is, my owner controls me and I do what he says. He bought me
    and thats it.

    1. Yes, that’s where it will go if things get bad enough. Something like a new FIDOnet will emerge, an ad-hoc network of sites that have some local content, and a mechanism of spreading that content to other peers.

      Too bad phonelines can’t handle modern media; if only there were some already-established infrastructure that nearly every home has that could be used as a channel parallel to the current internet…

  36. ‘And why is it only some media? Why not paintings? Why not novels? Why not modern dance or ballet or opera?’
    FFS! Don’t say that. They’re listening you know.

  37. Whole-disk encryption (like Truecrypt) can only slow down detection. The authorities would have to break into your house upload the key logger to your computer, via a patch to Truecrypt bootloader, and wait for you to type in your passphrase and then they can come back and get access. VPNs via secure proxies is again only a slow-down but coupled with the encryption it is quite a slow-down. You will have to pay for the secure proxy service but the encryption is free. Moreover you will have to learn how to use all this technology.
    They will of course go after the dumb”er” kids first to instill fear, the big uploaders will have already instigated these slow-down procedures but they can get a few of them for show. –>Be prepared to go after the pocketed judges who sign any warrants that are asked of them.<-- Hopefully your ISP like mine will have some guts along with the knowledge that they possibly stand to loose some monies and get into a corporate dog-fight. Don't vote for any politician, they are all crooks!!!

  38. Some years ago I read an article in either Forbes or Fortune, can’t remember now, that recorded a conversation that Buffett had with Gates. They were discussing Gates’s strategy of giving away Microsoft software FOR FREE to China. Buffett asked why he’d do such a thing? Gates replied, ‘because they too will be addicted in 10 years time’.

    FREE is a ‘hook’. It always has been and it always will be. Nothing is ‘free’. But hey, you’re all addicted NOW so you just don’t SEE this TRUTH anymore. You can wince and belly-ache all you want, but SOMEONE is going to make money off YOUR use as a ‘content consumer’. If you are a ‘content provider’ (on the net, and for the record, I loathe this term … ) you are either ALREADY making money out of it, or are fast figuring out HOW to, directly or indirectly, just like Doctorow.

    If YOU were a FILM producer, a WRITER, a MUSICIAN or a PROGRAMMER of some TALENT, you’d likely feel quite a bit differently about this proposed legislation. If you were a VIABLE business entity that has actually managed to make the internet WORK for you, and/or you have produced something that others actually WANT, you’d find some comfort that your LIVELIHOOD might actually be protected. But if you are just a spoilt rip-off geek who thinks the WORLD owes you a living, well, guess what – it doesn’t.

    Time to grow up fellas.

    Tangentially, you all might be interested in the ‘House of Lords’ blog – It is filled with thought-provoking commentary and insight about the bumpy but successful running of a parliamentary democracy. Raise your concerns there: engage like men, speak like men, act like men.

    Good luck.

    1. @#54: You are saying nothing is free. But you seem to have mixed up your definition of freedom. Freedom comes in many forms. ‘Free’ can mean ‘without legal issues’ or ‘without a pricetag’ or even ‘not to be claimable by anyone’.

      If I were a film producer, I would take a leaf out of Joss Whedon’s book who released Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog for free on the net – btw. I bought it (and I am not the only one, I guess). Since I am a musician, all my music and lyrics are CC-licensed. I will try to fight any zealot who wants copyright to support business models instead of artists.

      (sung to “The times are a-changing”:)
      Come musicians and actors
      who want more than they earn
      and you greedy producers
      too will have to learn
      if we don’t like your media
      we won’t pay in return
      and it will not ever be staging.
      So the copy protection
      shouldn’t be your concern
      for the times, they are a-changing!

      (CC-by 2.0, 2009 Alex Kloss)

      Greetings, LX

    2. Anonymous posed the question:

      “If YOU were a FILM producer, a WRITER, a MUSICIAN or a PROGRAMMER …”

      The argument that “artists” are currently suffering is specious. The cultural climate has not been this exciting, dynamic & just generally good for artists since the 1930’s.

      I AM a WRITER married to a PROGRAMMER. My family is literally riddled with ARTISTs, WRITERs, SONGWRITERs, PRODUCERs and MUSICIANs.

      These ridiculous laws don’t help creators, they help corporations at the expense of citizens. The changes wrought by the internet is essentially freeing artists from big media slavery. But the corporations want to legislate the world back into the 20th century. It is too late for that.

      The Canadian government recently initiated a copyright consultation process and asked for our opinions on copyright law reformation. Read these submissions and see how many Canadian “content creators” do not agree with implementation of draconian 3 strikes laws. Canadian Copyright Submission Website

      Of course this copyright consultation may turn out to be window dressing, since our government is participating the the secret ACTA negotiations. We’ll have to see.

      Meantime: As a Canadian I can’t sign the TalkTalk petition, but I’ve just completed a blog post explaining BitTorrent which details many LEGAL BitTorrent uses with links if you’re compiling info for submissions to your MPs (BTW, the blog is public domain/public service.): StopUBB – D: BitTorrent

      After Project Gutenberg, the recently established Pirate Party of Canada BitTorrent tracker is my personal favorite. This BitTorrent Tracker allows content creators a free and legal means of distributing their original material online. Since BitTorrent seems to have become illegal in the UK I suggest that British filmmakers, writers, musicians or programmers who wish to distribute their content internationally via BitTorrent should check it out: PPoC CaPT

      This law criminalizes personal use copying, equating your kid’s download for himself with professional bootleggers making a profit. This means that Mom and Dad will be liable for the £50,000 fine– the same as Joe Bootlegger.

      Moving to a different jurisdiction will not help. It might appear to be a good idea short term, but this is happening EVERYWHERE. (See ACTA.) The only way to put this down is to fight. In every jursidiction. And help educate since the media isn’t about to. The best thing you can do is speak out.

      Tell your politicians NO.

  39. Hmm… Let’s see.
    1) First off, It just says a “Frequent infringers list”. Doesn’t say what it takes to get on that list.
    2) to all those worried that “I’ll leave my wi-fi open”, etc., NO. As it says in the bill, after the first “suspected infringement” the ISP will send you a letter or e-mail telling you that you were suspected, and that maybe you should close your wi-fi if you haven’t already, other safety tips to avoid this, etc.
    3) ANY PUNISHMENT CAN BE SENT TO COURT! you can appeal it, and if you do the punishment only happens if your found guilty.
    4) It might not even block the internet, just limit bandwidth, etc.
    5) some other stuff.

    This isn’t the best law, but from what I can tell from the bill and the explanatory notes, it’s not the devil incarnate, as some people think it is.

  40. 3) Do you realise how much it costs to get to court these days? Do you believe in this utopian world where everyone is treated equally under the law because that world does not exist, unless you are well funded. And before you say people who can’t afford it should get legal aid I think most people would agree that the legal aid system has enough financial pressure with serious cases not being heard due to lack of solicitors willing to work for the pittance. The last thing the legal aid system needs is god knows how many cases where accused file sharers sap yet more life out of it.

    I have to take my hat off to the MPAA and RIAA. They have really really pulled an amazing trick. I am speechless at its bold and brassy nature. The MPAA/RIAA open up a few limited companies – Alliance Against IP Theft (Lobbying), Industry Trust For IP Awareness (Propoganda), Federation Against Copyright Theft (Enforcement) – and then proceed to staff these companies with people that the Government will listen to. They lobby incredibly powerfully and finally in 2006 get the Government to publish “The Gowers Report” which in effect for the first time criminalises copyright infringement, albeit on a commercial scale.

    So they are in the door, now they start to work their FACT company into the statutory bodies by buying all the former police officers it can find and giving them lucrative jobs, even buying the former Chief of Police for London. FACT then buys its way into Bedfordshire Trading Standards by funding its own personal unit and its own personal Police unit in Metropolitan Police Film Crime Unit. Now they have access to state databases containing all our details. So good so far.

    Problem is the Police don’t have the resources to go chasing supposed copyright infringers, they are too busy, you know, catching murderes etc. Don’t worry, says FACT, as long as you back us up with search warrants we will do it all and they do. Police powers buy de facto then get rented out to FACT (and therefore the MPAA) whenever they want.

    But that isnt enough. They want more. They want to actually have the power to kick people’s doors in and take their property rather than have the bother of going through due process. So they find a corrupt and powerful politician, one who has shown in the past he isn’t adverse to taking a handout or two and they book him in for a dinner with them. Cheap at half the price! Jobs a good’n. Couple of months later and their new bill gets presented onto the floor.

    Now all they have to do is wait a few months and these US corporations (if you doubt this please go to Companies House and check who owns these companies) will have Police powers and the ability to simply point and say “J’accuse” and you are guilty. Today it is a streamlined process of disconnecting file sharers but given the history of these parasites they will be back soon with their lobbying machine asking for more.

    Anyone who believes that people will get a fair hearing in court against these people need to understand that these companies are unregulated and exist to serve their US masters who have no conscience. How well would you fare against a corporate machine with unlimited funds, yeah I thought so.

    In my opinion the way this bill has been created and pushed does more to sully UK politics than the expenses scandal.

  41. Yep, good old Britain is definitely moving in the direction of totalitarism. Just let BNP win, and there will be full blown “V for Vendetta”. There is no representation of people, all these MPs think about is their pockets.. Glad i’m moving abroad as so many others. Can’t stand this “democratic” (what a joke!) society any longer. You’re monitored in what you do, say and think in every way… And actually we’ve already been taxed on the air we breathe..

  42. Is this article about the Czar’s Russia or Stalan’s Russia? It must be the Czar’s Russia because there’s no Gulag’s or murder and this is a very foolish and self detrimental policy for a government to enact… Wait, this is about the internet, it can’t be about anything that happened that long ago. Perhaps Britain’s Labour Party meerly aspires to be as great and popular as the Czar and his ministers were… SHAME!

  43. Who might want the Labour Party to fail big at the General Election next year? This has Mandelson and corruption dripping from the seams; a putrefying mass of fail, made up of the ordinary people who will be beaten down by these proposals. This reeks of lost votes, and of ignoring all that has been said about cleaning up Parliament.

    Will killing the influence of the Labour Party kill any hope of restraining the financial industry? Or will this get rid of New Labour? It’s hard to say, but perhaps this will be the test for whether a Labour MP is worth re-electing. Which tune does he dance to?

  44. If that happened here in Australia all the isp’s would go broke . I don’t no any one here that dose not file share ):
    I can see this happening in the uk , imagine all the taxes the government would loose when that happens .

  45. Nothing new here for the Nanny States of Britain. The sooner governments, people and the entertainment industry realise digital piracy can’t be beaten; the sooner they can work towards a compromise. Sadly this will never happen, as the fat cat entertainment moguls are just greedy, a-holes with no original thought in their heads.

  46. If everyone uses their work-place computer to download lots of ‘pirate’ stuf and the ISP then has to take them down, how long till the UK grinds to a halt?

    They will never be able to afford to police it anyway.


  47. Instead of this law,it is time to ban intellectual property. Wasting resources to protect the rich is no longer right.

  48. I don’t understand why the entertainment companies won’t accept that downloading is no different than paying for on demand cable/ satellite. I pay for on demand and get maybe 10 movies I will never watch. They change very seldom (maybe every 3-4 months or longer) & most definitely do not cater to the wants of people I know. Most on-demand shows are not the shows I missed & want to see. As well as maybe 4 episodes at most of a show (if that)at any one time. So I download a few things before I buy them. There really is no difference, I am paying for cable & internet. If I download an episode or movie I have still payed for it by virtue of the $100/ month in bills, plus the fees for the modem & cable boxes.
    They don’t seem to realize that downloading actually gives them an enormous market studying tool. Companies can judge more accurately what the people want. Everyone I have ever met that is a downloader is also a customer. Sometimes when economic times are tough people may download more, but that does not mean most of us won’t buy these things once the money is there. The trick is helping the little people to have the money to spend so we all benefit. As always it comes down to the lowest common denominator, us, the people. If we can’t afford to buy these things they can’t afford to make them. Governments morality compasses are comlpletey skewed at this point. Focusing on all the wrong issues & trying to find as many things to restrict as possible. When will they learn that on a sociological level, the more restrictions you place on a society, the more rebellious that society will become. There will be a tipping point if more people do not speak out now.

  49. Written to my MP through, thanks for the heads-up.

    I do think the blunt exaggerations made here are a bit much (no one is going to get fined £50k for a single accusation of an isolated case of file sharing, for example) but at the other end of the spectrum you have the lying bastard snotty prick politicians, so I like to think the actual truth lies somewhere in between, but blunt exaggerations are certainly the way to go to get people to act.

    Anyway, will be interested to see if my MP replies, I wrote a veritable wall of text (1500 words is a fair bit for what was intended to be a brief expression of disagreement).

  50. Well, isn’t this great. How long will it be before the idiots in Congress decide to copy this horrible bill to use against U.S. citizens? After all, if it’s a terrible idea, they’ll mimic it.

  51. UK seems to be in dark ages.
    It should take example from the Romanian president who said:
    “Piracy helped the young generation discover computers. It set off the development of the IT industry in Romania,” Basescu said during a joint news conference with Gates.

    “It helped Romanians improve their creative capacity in the IT industry, which has become famous around the world … Ten years ago, it was an investment in Romania’s friendship with Microsoft and with Bill Gates.”

    Gates made no comment.

  52. On the particular issue of ratings systems, I find the ones for films and video games useful when judging what to watch or play with my child. I don’t rely on the rating system alone but I do find it helpful.

  53. You all didn’t see this coming? U.K. Will be just the first. If you didn’t absolutely expect this you’ve never read a William Gibson novel or anything by Vonnegut and Orwell. Don’t take it sitting down. If this passes it’s your DUTY to fight this tyranny by any means. It’s time the U.K. got together for the good of the common man.

  54. This whole affair stinks to high heaven. Is Mandy in someone’s pocket? All this has only happened since his “association” with a high-end entertainment industry honcho. Just sheer coincidence, of course, if you can believe that. Mandy must be pretty naive indeed if he thought that the public wouldn’t come to THAT conclusion after he rapidly started steam-rollering everything through.

  55. Its truly not that hard to download anonymously if you want to. Starbucks, neighbours unprotected wifi, tethering your mobile, even on a train. I don’t see how this will stop anyone downloading illegal stuff…

  56. Let’s be clear these new moves by the UK government have taken the debate from that of economy, filesharing and copyright to the sphere of protecting democracy. We need to make our voices heard beyond leaving comments on blogs. The government need to understand that if they create a justice system that excludes due process then we the British people will exclude them from OUR parliament. I suggest that we start with a hash tag on Twitter so we can stand up and be counted.


  57. So if someone hotlinks an image of mine on MySpace will I have super powers now? Or will only certain categories of rights holders be considered ‘important?’

  58. wow.. that’s really bad.. really really bad, where´s freedom?? are we returning to the middle ages with inquisition suppressing evolution? internet is evolution.. hope that law doesn’t get approved..

  59. No wonder this country is in such a dire state.

    Never has so much competitive damage been done by so few to so many!

  60. Somebody’s gotta say it:

    England has a history of remarkably stupid laws. Of all modern western nations (and of all western nations in the past, say, 300 years), England is the one nation that has shown consistent mind-numbing stupidity in all laws pertaining to the rights of it’s citizens.

    If only it were possible to have a Boston Tea-party and throw the house of commons into the drink.

  61. I think file sharers in all countries should boycott the media companies by refusing to download and share their content. Then, everyone’s problems would be solved.

  62. …and it’s perfectly useless and terrible.”

    Terrible, indeed. Useless? I think not. It will be very useful, for a few.

  63. MAINLY though, could you please remove that picture of Mandelson from the home page, he’s a creepy bastard, about as evil as a British politician gets.

  64. This is absolutely the best Bill ever, and everyone who cares about digital freedom should support it. Why? Because by criminalizing every normal 15 year old with a computer, real anonymous encrypted communications will become the norm, and all the dreams of government and corporate control over information will die. PASS THIS BILL BABY JESUS!

  65. please, superhackers of the world, stop these motherfuckers. your all basically jedis now. help us superhackers, your our only hope.

  66. The uguly worm at the bottom of the tequila bottle makes me dream in black and white. copyright pending. Since I’ve coined most of the slogans that you’re currently planning to use please feel free to BYTE me after you’ve paid a royalty. As for trusting a machine, you really know how to make me laugh you silly heartless genetically polluted people. Enjoy your mind toxins and please don’t tell me what to do. I thank you for not wasting more of my time.

    “please, superhackers of the world, stop these motherfuckers. your all basically jedis now. help us superhackers, your our only hope.”
    hahaha! yeh! the internet needs to be free…we have enough political conservativeness and restrictions in our lives, we dont need em on the web!

  68. I would not believe it … judiciary system of UK & ROI is built up upon the common sense, seems like there is nonsense in the law they want to bring to life. NOT GONNA HAPPEN … otherwise their own system will suffer from hackers’ attacks.

  69. If this bill does go through it will show how out of touch our govt is but will it really matter.
    If everyone truecrypts and vpns to file share the worse thing about is there getting an extra £3 a month from you. I also believe it would be hilarious to see either Mandy trying to actually use file sharing and any MP’s with anything to do with this fined for there kids file sharing.

  70. A little advice for the British people: Thomas Jefferson once said, “I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”

    Start the rebellion! :-)

  71. I’ll be voting against them in the election because of this.

    If it comes in to effect – I’m leaving the country.

  72. >And it does do one positive thing – it introduces an orphan works right. At least I assume it’s a positive thing because various rights-holder groups are foaming at the mouth about it.

    The orphan works right is so that big media companies can take from individual artists but not the other way around. (Our janitor spent 2 seconds looking for the artist and couldn’t find him, so the work is ‘orphaned’ and ours for free now.)

    As a photographer, I’d rather see copyright expire much faster for everyone vs. creating special loopholes for big media companies.

  73. This is like trying to close a can after all the worms have escaped. Young people have had a taste of freedom they will never forget, and never give up on.

  74. Would I be correct in saying that if this is passed and someone hacks your computer they could in theory get you fined or have your internet service withdrawn depending on what they do……

  75. Have been reading all these comments with some interest!

    The interesting thing is that NO ONE HERE has actually mentioned anything about the real REASONS why such action is deemed necessary by the UK Government.

    I’ve never downloaded illegally obtained files, music, films or anything else I did not pay for. I grew up in an environment where true honesty, values and a thought for works of others really do matter, if you can’t afford something, then you can’t have it..SIMPLE!

    BUT we are living in an increasingly hedonistic society, where many people want and expect everything given to them FREE!!

    Now thanks to the increasing number of greedy freeloaders, we all have to suffer this!! But, I’m sure that these freeloading THIEVES will try to find another way to get their “Fix”…hence I’ll expect to see further stringent measures and even MORE government policies that will tighten the use of the Internet further.

  76. When everybody stops going on the internet because everything costs more than they make a week and the economy dries up the greedy will get their due.

  77. Increasing number of government policies is not scary. One has to expect that as the world changes. What is scary is when foreign entertainment industry giants successfully drive and create that policy and thus force substantial amounts of tax revenues to be spent in monitoring and enforcing the compliance on their behalf.

    I think the government should insist that the businesses lobbying legislation be forced to pay the ongoing cost of enforcing them.

  78. It’s Labour, they never listened to any common sense and they signed away our country to the EU. What does one expect especially someone as corrupt as Peter Mandelson?
    They are all corrupt, petty-minded and against any forms of progression of technology.

  79. Best of luck to you guys from the states. We had our scare with sort of shameful ridiculous legislation and thankfully it was struck down. Things like this are a declaration of war on our virtual freedom. If you dont strike it down decisively chances are you would be better off disconnecting from the internet entirely. We are wishing you luck. Pray that this bill does not pass.

  80. Now that Britain no longer has an empire where it could completely suppress the freedom of the people it ruled – old and bad habits die hard, if there is no else to suppress, then suppress your own people.

  81. Seriously, how repressive can the UK government get before the angry villagers start to revolt? If this type of crap was even on the horizon in the US, there would likely be some serious violence directed toward the people behind it – and deservedly so.

  82. Someone mentioned the Orphan Works act is included in this bill and I think they implied it was a good idea.

    Let me explain how the Orphan Works act works.

    Today, when large companies or any company for that matter want to use a piece of artwork made by a graphic designer or illustrator they have to search for the artist and write to them asking permission to use their work.

    The artist can then decide to accept and accept on terms that he or she gets a commission, or they decline, perhaps because they don’t want their work associated with such a company. Either way it is totally illegal for the company to use the work of the artist without their express permission.

    Now, Orphan Works proposes that it is ok for companies to use ANY piece of artwork they happen to stumble upon without expressed consent from the artist if they could not ‘get in contact’ with the artist. This basically means that Mr Smith at Company A could be in a pinch to find some ‘rad new artwork those kids will like’, go onto DeviantArt or any other website, find a picture he likes, download and use it in their multi-million ad campaign and then claim that after emailing you the artist that you did not respond in time and therefore they went ahead and used your work, without paying you, or giving a toss about if you wanted your work associated with them or not.

    Now that’s a rare case because most people check their email and such regularly, but a huge corporation is always going to have tricks up its sleeve to dodge this. Plus, what if the artist dies and they don’t leave their work in the hands of a trustee or solicitor or anyone else? Then all of that artists’ work is fair pickings for Company A.

    So, if you are a professional artist, digital or traditional, or just a hobbyist who produces damn good work, chances are if this bill goes through the actually likelihood of your work being safe will drop dramatically.

    Again, as someone already stated, this entire ‘law’ is nothing but a coup by the media industry to reduce our digital rights. Write to your MP. Object. If a US corporation can get this far into British politics how much more do we as British citizens have to do to stop this.

  83. We have the same lunatics/fanatics over here with the “anti piracy” laws.
    Everyone who thinks moving over to Holland should think again.
    I’m Dutch but I’m also thinking about leaving the country here.
    The laws they want to push upon us here are just as ludicrous as the ones in GB.
    Here is an MP who wants us to have a box in the car that will track every mile you’ve driven, register your speed and it can see where the car has been. (this already starts in 2011 for trucks and in 2012 for cars)
    It’s all to cut down on traffic jams they say.
    So you pay per mile driven and naturally, when the system is in full progress, it will be linked to the police system.
    Speeding or just driving a bit over the limit and you’ll get fined.
    If the box is broken or damaged, you can got go jail for 4 years or a € 67000 fine.(nice…)
    Think again, because Big Brother will be watching you here too.

  84. lol I can see it now. Pirates going back to actually buying software, copying it then POSTING them out for a few bucks in return.
    Shouldn’t have given the public the ability to copy eg. cd/dvd Burners. Piracy cant be abolished, Definately cant send 2 billion or more people to jail at any given time.

  85. I work for the NHS in a mental healthcare unit and recently , ALL COPIED CD’S HAVE BEEN CONFISCATED from patients who rely on free music for some happiness and are no longer allowed , these folk suffer enough as it is.
    This should be illegal ,its a DISGRACE !!!!!Its property theft and because the laws arent yet in place , any music downloaded previously should be perfectly legal
    Mandelson is EVIL and will get his come uppance along with the rest of the criminals in power .

  86. ISPs should just threaten to shut down the internet on regular but random days.

    See where it leads when the economy is loosing millions because of this.

  87. I will stick to having a nice 35bit pass eraser on my machine and tell them to prove that i “aquired” those files.

  88. there was an article stating that pirates tend to buy more music/games then those dont – if this works in the way its intended this will destroy the digital industry for britain and as a result land us in a deeper recession that we may never get out

  89. How does “sharing” a $0.99 (US) song or file turn into a 50,000 pound fine? Hmmm, sounds a little bit like “Taxation Without Representation” to me.

  90. As a composer and author, I have posted my work on the internet. I run an “Indie” label and have no connection to the majors, much like countless others like me.
    If this law goes through, anyone could have my content removed from the internet and it would be up to me to prove my ownership of my material at considerable cost and inconvenience to myself. (i.e. guilty until I can prove otherwise.)
    What an excellent tool for the Major record labels to eliminate the competition … well done Mandy!

  91. I think one of the biggest things that the Government doesn’t like about the internet is that it is unmoderated by any higher authority. Sure, there are bad bits of the internet, but for the most part it was an excellent example of how we don’t need governments and higher elected powers to molly coddle us over stupid stuff. Fair enough, I can understand where big music industries are coming from with pirate copying, but then why not try and find something new that works instead of sticking to outdated ideas?
    The world is changing and the music industry doesn’t like it. But when sites like Spotify and are becoming more and more popular everyday and online shops such as iTunes are becoming a huge success story, then doesn’t that show us something? People have been copying music for as long as we’ve been able to record it, from tape recordings from the radio to copying CDs to other CDs and now the internet makes it even easier. No-one can say that the majority of people steal music when they can, because we’ve seen that it is not the case.
    As well as this, the internet as proved to be good at self-regulation. Creative Commons anyone? Its a good system that isn’t getting the credit it deserves. It brings back to my first point that government doesn’t like the idea that we can look after ourselves. What is even more painful about the increased Government control of the internet is that they clearly don’t have a clue what they should do. They’re throwing it all onto IPS companies who want very little to do with what the government are trying to do because they know that its a load of rubbish.

  92. Good luck my (cultural) cousins across the pond. If you fall and ACTA gets passed, we may all have to rely on VPN servers located in eastern Europe for our internet freedom.

  93. Hmmm whilst I agree that we should look into this, I do think there are a lot of wild claims in this article and it is not 100% the truth. Or it is the truth but with a hell of a lot of your own personal spin on it.

    For the record no one in the Cabinet is elected, not even the PM. In British politics we elect a party into power, not an individual. It is the party who chooses who to represent them (the Prime Minister) and then the PM who chooses who his/her ministers of state are going to be.

    £50k is the maximum for copyright infringement, I doubt somoene downloading the latest Dizzy Rascal song is going to be slapped with that. It is primarily used for people bringing large quantities of copyrighted media into the UK.

    Mandleson can not make jail terms under this new legislation. That would require primry legislation and the scruitiny of both houses of parliament.

    I fail to see how bringing in age restrictions to videio games is a bad thing. After all we have them for films don’t we?

    Sure, lobby your MP, but do so with both sides of the arguement first. The lack of any real plan for the digital expansion is far more of a reason to lobby then any of the over-inflated penalties you have described.

  94. Wow! I feel bad for you! I am from Canada, and I think this is some major BS! I hope this bill does not get to pass. If our gov’t tried this crap, I would hope there would be a huge uproar! work together and take this guy out!

  95. The fight between media, artists and file sharers hasn’t, and won’t be resolved in any short period of time.

    I’m sorry to go off topic here, but I feel I must comment on the wonderful literacy, cogency and grammar I see in these replies. Reading American comments to news stories tends to be like visiting the school for cranial accident victims. British comments are more like small essays!

  96. This is big business trying to bully people. They need to grow up and realise that traditional revenues are dead and they need to generate their cash in new ways. Its interesting that file sharers spend more on music than none file sharers….

    We must stop this bill.

  97. It seems like a joke…Peter Mandelson is hired as a Business Secretary because of his reputation of a Troubleshooter but in this case it seems like he is a trouble himself. Its quiet clear that he doesnt understand the problem and totally biased towards the entertainment industry.Insted of penalising the websites which are allowing file sharing they are going to make people suffer who are using it and how by jail term / £50,000 fine. Its riculous when the country itself is going through recession, thousands of people have lost jobs and more are loosing every day. And its only the poor who’s going to take the hit if this bill goes through. The business secretary should think better.

  98. I guess theres going to be even more unemployement now, as blank cds and dvd’s which are normally being bought by the millions will no longer be needed when theres no free downloads .
    Same as ink cartridges for printers , the bans will lead to job losses and the stupid goverment will have to pay these people benefits out of our hard earned taxes .

  99. So…. Again, does anyone know when this thing is supposed to be voted upon. I mean, Im assuming that it is not already indefinite, and we still get a chance to rip it to shreds in parliament right?

  100. What to expect from the private copyright militia, back in the day when video tape piracy was the thing, they had just such militia staffed by ex policemen who had showed excessive zeal in extracting confessions.

    I saw them in action at my local corner store, the owner was threatened with violence if he did not co-operate. He was told not to bother going to the Police “because we still have friends there”, and remember this was done in front of a witness.

    Just thought I would let you know what to expect.

  101. Think we could sit in McDonalds enjoying their free wifi – sip on a coke, share a few files, and wait for the lawsuits to begin.

  102. Here’s an important question – how will this new Bill relate to people who download American TV shows? And I mean ones that are currently airing, not DVD rips (as I’m aware those would constitute an infringement). Would an individual who downloads, say, ‘Heroes’ every week be subject to the same penalties as somebody who routinely downloads the entire back ctalaogue of any band he’s just gotten into?

  103. I’m with anonymous #54 – if Cory Doctorow were a WRITER of some kind, he’d have a different perspective on this… eh? Oh. Oy.

    The funny thing is, this isn’t addressing software piracy, and specifically software piracy in industry – by which I don’t so much mean a small office using the same Microsoft Office licence across two or three computers but big, expensive logistics or automation software, one copy of which might cost thousands of pounds.

    (Incidentally, regarding age restrictions on other forms of media – this is true, but it’s not complete. Two photographs have been removed from display in major art galleries in the past year on Police advice, and of course New Labour is trying hard to create a framework for prosecuting “dangerous words” and “dangerous drawings”…)

  104. The best thing anyone can do is to go outside of these politicians, wardrive, and grab some files. Show them how ridiculous the law and fines are with modern tech. Down the river go the politicians who did nothing wrong. See ya!

  105. Hey, guys!!

    I just saw this post on google news!! :o is trusted as a news source by Google!! xDD

  106. MAC spoofing will create a situation where there is not enough evidence to determine that your specific PC is responsible for the infractions documented. How can non tech savvy people be held responsible for a person hacking a wifi connection and using it; it would be like being found guilty of murder for a criminal stealing a legally licensed gun and then shooting someone with it.

    Furthermore it is easy to encrypt data in a peer or point to point network. I am not from Britain but it seems to me that this will not hurt Tech Savvy people as there are obviously ways around being “spyed” on… however it will harm people who would be considered Novices.

    I hope this never comes to the United States. We shoot these bills that eliminate net neutrality every chance we get.. if only we could shoot down the MPAA and RIAA also. They waste more tax dollars in court than what they recover. Governments around the world make it too easy for us to get screwed.

  107. Time to set up a Pirate Internet Network.
    A few WiMax ships anchored in the channel, some new tech daisy chained wifi, and you can all hop across each other to a French Connection.
    Nothing like a Boycott to make the silly pollies realise they’ve got it wrong.

  108. What in the heck…..!!!!!! This is the most useless crap of law that’s ever seen the light of the day… Looks like the Mandelsons are trying to build a new Chinese Britain…!!! What’s next… if you said three swear words during a call, you & your family’s cut off from the mobile phone network…??? Absolute bollocks!
    I’m in India for another month till my vacation ends… and then am gonna be back to a lesser democratic London(which I consider home!)… Where is this democracy headed… or will it even remain a democracy after a few bills like this show up! It seems like every time someone with big money farts, it becomes a ridiculous “Bill”…. What the EFF???? Filesharing…for heaven’s sake… what if I’m sharing my pictures or home videos…? Some stinkass makes a complaint and they just kick me off the net…cuz that’s all they need it to kick someone off it seems..!!!??? Going backwards towards “no-internet” is so much fun… right Mandy..???

  109. It’s interesting to see a view of our own country from another. There’s a UK view of this quoting your article on Apart from your questioning of the actual regulations I’m curious to know why you think steps are needed to help the poorer members of the community get internet access, when I would think most people in the UK do have that access. Is internet access limited only to wealthier members of society in other countries? The main television channels are also freely available here and I think internet access in schools is excellent. What do you think are the advantages in terms of speed and connection in other countries so I can compare? I was happy with mine but would like a bit more info about what you think needs improving in the UK to make our connection better.

  110. There is a good chance this awful law won’t become law. But as there is always the possibility, here is one reason to be scared.

    If you are a gamer you should be worried. The bill does indeed propose moving game classification (currently voluntary unless involving gross violence or sexuality) away from the BBFC to the Video Standards Council – who will have the power to ban games deemed unsuitable for the UK market.

  111. RE-READ comment number 69

    Or, in my world… when (if) this insane policy goes live I will immediately make a £35 per month saving… firstly by cancelling my ‘no longer of any remotely functional use’ internet connection and shortly thereafter my newly redundant telephone line.

    Least we forget though, the government is also planning a 50p per phoneline “improve rural access to the internet” tax… cool – I’ll save that 50p (presumably plus VAT) too. If this mindless blinkered and retarded government seriously WANTS the entire country on the internet they can pay for my subscription and ONLY THEN they will have earned the right to comment on, control or castrate it.

    1. Yes you would get a fine and/or cut off.

      Or if your flatmate downloads stuff.

      Or if someone SAYS you download stuff.

      Everyone who lives there pays the price for one alleged Infraction.

  112. i swear the public should band together (it’d cost 1p) and pay someone to constantly play

    everywhere mandelson goes….

  113. seems like a good way to throw the ‘digital economy’ into a recession without fixing the last one..

  114. Sounds like the government yet again is going at it like a bull in a china shop. They have done the same thing in the past by attempting to ban “pop radio” because some boring person in government didn’t like it (just need to watch the ship that rocked to see how much of a boring old person he was). Mandelson is now joining him by killing off the internet, and how will Mandelson prove that people using P2P are using it legally or not? I use P2P when playing WoW and Guild Wars to download updates, or when getting a Linux distro, I am not breaking the law but is Virgin going to instantly send a message to the government to tell them that I could be breaking the law because I’m downloading something via P2P. In addition to this I have numerous other people that share my internet, what do I do if one of them decides to download something illegally, I also have a friend that regularly goes away on business trips, when he comes back he quite often finds that people have been installing things like Limewire on his computer, so why should he take the blame for something that is nothing to do with him. I can see this law costing us tax payers a lot of money by people suing the government for making libellous accusations about innocent people. Before making accusations that people are downloading illegal content the government need to prove without any reasonable doubt that the person who downloaded the content is the right person and have video evidence of this, without this they have no way of proving you broke the law, this law is like if someone saw my car speeding through a camera and the government deciding to send me a speeding ticket and expecting me to pay it and accept the points with no proof that I was actually driving the car at the time. An absolutely stupid law, and not very well thought out, looks like Labour are certainly ensuring themselves a major defeat at the next general election.

  115. I certainly hope this doesn’t ever see the light of day.
    It’s totalitarian rule at it’s beginning if it happens.
    This could be ultra damaging for business since so many companies use varying forms of VPN services – will they start disconnecting someone because they were connected to their co.’s network over VPN trying to get their work done?
    Interesting thought.
    Maybe people should sincerely start supporting things like the Freenet Project en masse (, should it ever be needed.

  116. If everybody in the UK who fileshared, sent one letter to their M.P. every week. Their would be millions of letters every week. They would have to start converting London into a Parliament mail room. Think of the amount of time it would take to open each letter & how that converts into millions of minutes. Very time consuming & like a previous message said. it is only been put into place to try & make us accept sub-standard, money making music & films & pay for them before we know what they are like. But what can you acceot from worshippers of the great green money god. The FASCISTS !!!!!

  117. I don’t live in Britain (I’m in the US) but I’d like to help make sure this bill doesn’t become law for you chaps across the pond. If there is anyone I can email to voice my disapproval and help the cause let me know!

  118. k.

    Time to take the internet away from the kids, password protect your computer , and if you have a seperate computer for anyone else get it off the internet and stand alone.

    Oh , since you’re not rocking four computers anymore you can lower your speed and stop paying your internet provider so much. Probably the bottem level of speed is all you need now. Think of the money you’ll save !

    Forget banking over the internet , or any kind of account anywhere. Random strangers with no security clearances or checks at all (the employee’s of your Internet Provider) are now legally allowed to monitor traffic to and from your house, so thats now just way too risky.

    And when you’re voip’ing or skyping to the other side of the world to talk to your realitves in india … LIttle brother at the ISP is listening.

  119. Quite simply, the present kakistocracy that masquerades as the UK government is the most venal and corrupt for a hundred years or more. The meddlesome Mandelson was twice forced to quit as a government minister over dishonesty, yet he was brought back into government, given a seat in the House of Lords so he would not even need to be elected and given all manner of jobs in the Labour rabble’s pursuit of power.

  120. Join the FaceBook Page, and help protect us online – what happened to the Data Protection Act!

    Let’s stop the ISP from giving out our Online identity! We as the comsumers have the right to the Data Protection Act to hide us from the internet and stop The Music Industry getting our details People in the UK who go online and illegally download music and films ma…y have their internet access cut under plans the government is considering.

  121. Ok people there are clandestine methods to avoid isp detection and software avalible to clocke your isp address.
    so get reading, we have to beat the cooprate evil on this this is not about being able to down load crappy modern music and crappy modern film that arnt worth buying the music and film industry hates torrents because it puts them under pressure to make films and music worth buying and keeping on dvd, when you watch somthing good online you think “hey I want a proper copie of this”
    but they want you to spend 15 pounds on a pile o crap and take a risk!
    sorry guys you have had your time ripping us off

    This is about internet freedoom of infomation and ilegal spying from the goverment,
    if you accept this then your grandparents may have well not bothered fighting the nazi cooprate war machine because so far its modern predesessor has been creeping into british and US politics since 2002.09.11,
    fight them or lose your freedom

  122. i live in Malaysia, politician being bought is usual here. being told/forced to do things. it seems like UK and Malaysia share similar traits. just can’t believe it. it is hard to find someone that you can emulate to

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