For my Guardian column today, I took the LibDem Lords to task
for introducing legislation that would ban web-lockers because these services allow for copyright infringement. I won't argue that copyright infringement takes place on services like Google Docs and YouSendIt, but the reason that these services are great for piracy
is that they're great for privacy
: the same feature that lets me use YouSendIt to send a family member a private video of my kid in the bath is the feature that lets a copyright violator to share a pirated movie. And you can't get rid of the copyright violations without eliminating our ability to privately share large files for legitimate reasons.
And separate from that, there's the infrastructural cost of establishing a Great Firewall of Britain in order to block access to web lockers. Developing a system whereby parts of the net can be shut off for all of Britain creates the possibility that someone will use the system to shut off the wrong part of the net. I'm not just talking about the danger of a hijacker breaking into the system to shut down or redirect traffic to legitimate sites (say, Microsoft Security Centre or the BBC), but the attractive nuisance presented by such a system. Once you create the facility to shut off parts of the internet that are implicated in civil disputes, how long will it be before people who've alleged a libel or are worried about a trade secret being not so secret are lobbying to have this turned to their aid?
My Lords, you can't please the entertainment industry and sustain privacy
Which isn't to say that this will actually stop infringement. File sharers have already demonstrated their ability to use the perfectly legal, widespread proxy services abroad to circumvent network blocks - ask any 14-year-old whose school network is censored by blocking software and I guarantee you'll get an education in how to evade this kind of thing. Which is great news if you're a pirate, but why should sound engineers, doting grandparents, and solicitors have to learn how to evade the Great Firewall in order to conduct their legitimate business?
(Image: Lockers 3, a Creative Commons Attribution file from dizfunkshinal's photostream)
Wells Fargo got caught ripping off millions of customers by setting up fake accounts in their names, then billing them for “services” related to those accounts, sometimes tanking their credit-ratings, costing them jobs, even their houses — but the company says you’re not allowed to sue them because their employees fraudulently signed your name to […]
Yesterday, Congress voted to bar the FCC from ever making a rule that limits how your ISP can spy on you and sell your data, without your permission.
You might think that when companies impose crappy, abusive terms of service on their customers that the market could sort it out, by creating competition to see who could offer the best terms and thus win the business of people fed up with bad actors.
Maybe it’s entirely because of podcast ads, but drag-and-drop tools like Squarespace have gotten immensely popular in recent years. While it’s definitely a great tool for any non-coders who want to get a small website up and running quickly, managing content with a primarily visual interface can become a pain once you have more than […]
When you can’t wait for the world’s longest meeting to end, the mindless leg bouncing makes your boredom obvious and just annoys everybody else. Everyone knows the TPS reports need the damn cover sheet, but some sadistic colleague keeps forgetting, probably on purpose just to eat into your lunch hour. Enough is enough!While serving a […]
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]