David Cameron appoints a Witchfinder General for copyright

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has appointed Mike Weatherley, an entertainment executive-turned-MP, to be his "intellectual property advisor." His remit will be "enforcement issues" on "the challenges that face the film and music industries." The previous Labour government passed the controversial Digital Economy Act without Parliamentary debate on its last day, and that bill allows future governments to establish a disconnection system whereby people accused of copyright infringement will lose their Internet access without proof or trial, along with everyone who lives with them. Weatherley's former colleagues from the entertainment industry have been lobbying to put this into place through a voluntary scheme, despite compelling evidence that shows that these systems don't reduce piracy.

Then yesterday there was more news that strongly suggests that the government intends to take a tougher line on copyright infringement. Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he had appointed Mike Weatherley MP as his advisor on intellectual property.

Weatherley, who says he will focus on enforcement issues relating to the creative industries, is no stranger to the entertainment world. The chartered accountant was the former finance director of record producer Pete Waterman’s empire. He later became Vice President (Europe) for the Motion Picture Licensing Company.

UK Prime Minister Appoints New Anti-Piracy Enforcement Advisor [Andy/TorrentFreak]

(Image: Matthew Hopkins, Witch Finder General/Wikimedia)

Notable Replies

  1. I would post a clip from the 'Witchsmeller Pursuivant' Blackadder episode; but I'm afraid that Mr. Weatherly might catch me...

  2. It would be so great if we could stop using the word piracy. Pirates steal property from people they have murdered. Copying a song by digital means, rather than analog, does not rise to the same standard of villainy.

    Add to that the vast number of cases of "piracy" that are actually fair use, or mistaken identity, or copyright trolling. I would be willing to bet the majority of people we are calling "pirates" are guilty of no crime at all.

  3. The one thing that gives me mixed feelings about this proposal is that content industry hatchetflacks have, in public, complained about how the term 'pirate' unfairly romanticizes copyright infringement.

    The fact that it makes them sad suggests to me that it might be a good idea.

  4. Indeed they do. And I like it.

  5. I believe that witchfinders general have a tendency to end up on the rack themselves. Sometimes even under swinging pendula or inside iron maidens. At least in many of the films they're so protective about.

Continue the discussion bbs.boingboing.net

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