Democracy Inaction: UK’s DEB Passes

By Jim Rossignol on April 8th, 2010 at 11:45 am.


The bill was opposed by the Liberal Democrats and some Labour MPs, but it has essentially been forced through by Labour and the Conservatives in around two hours of the final reading. Although Clause 18 – which gave the government extensive powers to block sites across the net – has been removed, it has been replaced with powers for the secretary of state for business to block “a location on the internet which the court is satisfied has been, is being or is likely to be used for or in connection with an activity that infringes copyright”. That means an unelected peer, Lord Peter Mandelson, now gets final say over content on the internet, albeit mediated by the courts. Forty-two other clauses were considered in just five minutes.

If you are British, please make sure you are registered to vote in the upcoming general election. As James Graham points out in the Guardian today, only a vote for the Liberal Democrats will do anything to fix the broken political system that allowed this to happen in the first place.

.

379 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. Benjamin says:

    Just wanted to say I’m glad RPS picked up on this. Thank you for mentioning it when others have glossed over it.

  2. Wulf says:

    What gets me about this whole fucked up business is that I don’t pirate, but… what if someone tips them off that I do and they stop by and find my DVDs with GoG.com backups? How exactly do these blasted halfwits actually tell the difference between digital downloads and pirated games??

    The stupidity of this is so painful that it feels like it’s turning my brain inside out, I’ve seen our Gov’t do some amazingly idiotic things in my life, I really have, I’ve seen the parties run this country into the ground, I’ve seen them do some things which I have detested for how corrupt and unethical they are, but this really takes the cake. It’s going to be fun living in fear because of this because I have stuff which isn’t pirated but looks like it is.

    Yay.

    • KikiJiki says:

      Echoes of the Terrorism Act really. Another law passed with little scrutiny, little understanding and massive loopholes gleefully exploited by local government.

  3. mandrill says:

    By all means register to vote, but under no circumstances should you actually vote.

    The UK gov’t is corrupt. We’ve had enough evidence of this in the past few months to prove that beyond doubt. I’m not saying that every individual MP is taking backhanders, but that the system is inherently broken and unrepresentative at a fundamental level. This bill is simply the tip of the iceberg, under the surface is a whole world of patronage and graft which looks after the interests of the parties’ big sponsors and friends.

    The Digital Economy Bill has shown that our MPs will not listen and are not prepared for the new world that the increasing connectivity of its citizens ushers in. They live in the past, just as those companies and publishers who lobbied for this bill do. They are unwilling to embrace the monumental changes that our technology is bringing about and try to keep the status quo when everything about it simply will not work in this new world.

    By voting you give your tacit approval for the gov’t to do whatever it likes in your name, even if you don’t vote for the party in power. The basis of any government is that it only governs with the permission of the governed. By not particiapating you withdraw that permission.

    The current government has no mandate. The prime minister was elected by an elite (the labour party) and not chosen by the people in a general election as he should have been. In the last general election they gained power through the votes of a minority of the UK population (due to low turnout).

    If there is a general election and no-one turns out to vote, they will no longer be able to make the false claim that we live in a democracy (they can’t really make that claim now, but even lower turnout would make it obvious)

    We stand on the edge of a precipice, on one side a plunge into tyranny, on the other a long hard climb to freedom. That climb will be easier if we dump the dead weight of our government over the cliff.

    • Ffitz says:

      Mandrill, with the greatest of respect, that’s fucking dumb.

      Register to vote, AND VOTE. Just not for one of the big two parties. It’s shit like this that means that governments get elected on shamefully small turnouts, and then proceed to crow about how they’ve got a “mandate from the people”.

      By not voting, all you’re doing is contributing to that. We’re not going to have some sort of revolution in this country. The only way we have to effect change is with the tools at our disposal (and here’s a clue, they don’t include V For Vendetta masks).

      If you don’t vote, you have no right to get angry at what’s going on in this country. I’ll repeat that, because it’s important. If you don’t vote, you have absolutely no right whatsoever to bitch and whine and complain about everything that’s wrong.

      If you vote, you’re involved in the process. You have the right to disagree with those who voted differently to you. You have the right to argue with them, and try to make them see your point of view, even to change their minds about things.

      You could even go further than that, and join, or form, a political movement that fits your beliefs. Campaign, influence, fund raise, be engaged.

      But don’t, DON’T, believe that apathy, cynicism and inaction will ever solve a single problem, because they won’t. You’ll just be bitter and spiteful.

      So vote. For the Lib Dems, the Greens, even the fucking BNP if that’s what you believe, but DO something, rather than sitting on your arse expecting some magic political fairy to come along and make it all better.

      Yeah, politics is bent, many politicians are in it for themselves and the two main parties differ only in the colour of their rosettes, blah blah blah. Find someone else to vote for, and get to work trying to convince other people to vote for them too.

      But don’t come round here complaining that “it’s all shit” if you don’t fucking vote.

    • Wulf says:

      I want to vote for the Greens. It’s my honest belief, knowing how left they are that one good mail would have their Prime Minister turning this horrid thing over on its head. I really do believe that. I know it in fact because I know they’ve campaigned about the same things before, they’re very clued in, unlike almost every other party. I really wish they could get in, but they don’t have a chance, do they?

      I’m likely going to be voting for the Lib Dems, since they have a chance, but my ideal party is the Greens. I’d love to see them in Gov’t, because they’re probably the least corrupt party we have, and I say this from the personal experiences I’ve had with them. Bless ‘em. I wish they could get in.

    • Mike Arthur says:

      I’m still going to vote, regardless, to that’s your plan screwed.

      If you want to make a difference, get off your arse and campaign about these issues and run for parliament yourself.

      Opting out of politics does not make any statement at all, it means your voice is completely silent.

    • mandrill says:

      Are you all blind? Can’t you see that by voting you give them the right to dictate how you live your life? Your vote is absolutley worthless, it means bugger all. It doesn’t matter who you vote for its always the people with the deepest pockets that are going to be listened to.

      You’re sheep, all of you. Voting is a waste of time and effort for absolutely nothing in return but a life of servitude to the parasites in Westminster. You’re brought up to belive that voting matters, that it actually makes a difference, because thats what they want you to believe. The truth is that voting doesn’t matter, your voice will never be heard, because the ears of the governement are plugged with banknotes provided by their corporate sponsors.

      A protest vote for a marginal party is even worse than not voting at all. not only does it not make a difference, it cements your approval of the government that does get in, becaus they can say “look you voted, you believe that the system works, This is a democracy, sorry your party lost but now you have to do as you are told.”

      The system is broken. The system is corrupt. The system wants control over every aspect of your life.
      Break it. Break the laws you don’t agree with, uphold the laws you do. By all means tell the MP, that you didn’t vote for, what you think of them, but don’t expect them to listen.

      You think you live in a free society? You’re blind and deluded.

    • jsutcliffe says:

      I’m really on the fence about whether to vote, for two reasons: 1) I’m registered to vote in a constituency I won’t be living in shortly after the election, and I don’t think it’s proper that I have a say in who represents that constituency. 2) Both the constituency I’m registered in and the constituency I’m planning to live in are very safe Labour seats. Until we have proportional representation (even a mixed member system like the Scots have would satisfy) it is hard to believe that my vote counts.

      As far as I’m concerned, two things need to happen for electoral reform:
      1) Drop FPTP and get proportional representation going
      2) (wishful thinking) Make it mandatory to vote in all elections (i.e. local and national), with the choice of a ‘none of the above’ candidate.

    • Premium User Badge

      HermitUK says:

      Actually if you’re looking to make some sort of statement you’re better off going along and spoiling your ballot paper – Spoilt ballots are recorded as such, and it’s certainly more of a protest than simply not voting (by not voting, your “protest” will be seen as nothing more than voter apathy).

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      Voting is expressly our only way of indicating our disapproval of the the government. Yeah, it’s a shame that our electoral system is bollocks and most votes are meaningless, but the only way to get reform is to vote for someone who’ll actually push it through.

      I was very surprised to see that http://voteforpolicies.org.uk/ recommended I vote Labour on democracy issues, until I remembered they promised electoral reform in ’97 and it still hasn’t happened. I couldn’t support the Lib Dems on that, as they’re still proposing PR rather than ATV, which would strengthen the party system not weaken it. I think all the whipped morons rolling in from the pub after the debate had finished last night illustrates how that would be a bad thing.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      @jsutcliffe
      You have every right to vote if you’re moving. This is a national election. It dictates national policy, and you’ll be affected by it wherever you live.
      FPTP won’t be dropped unless people indicate in the election that it must be. Basically, unless a party with an interest in an alternative system has a say in government. So, even ‘protest vote’ is worth it if it helps us get a hung parliament.

    • Ffitz says:

      Mandrill

      Then au barricades, mon frère, and lead us to glorious victory in your new free world. Or, you know, go and live in Antarctica.

      Yes, the machinery’s a bit fucked at the moment, because it’s been roundly abused by those in power. And you know what? We’re partly to blame, as well. It’s our job as voters to hold those we elect to account. And most of us can’t be bothered, because the football’s on, or the wife’s nagging about geting the door fixed, or a million other reasons.

      So from that point of view, it’s not about the politicians, it’s about the people. Lots of people don’t care, which is the tragedy. If you can get someone to care, you’ve made a difference. Shouting “sheep!” at people probably won’t have the desired effect though.

    • Mike Arthur says:

      And, as for ignoring laws we don’t like, presumably it’s fine for someone who doesn’t like the law about “murder” to come round and torture you to death in your own home?

      I assume not. What you are advocating is basically anarchy. Feel free to opt out of our political process and we’ll continue to get involved. I don’t see you trying to make it better, I just see you complaining.

      I do live in a pretty free country. Other countries are better in many regards but I’m not being persecuted for my religion, I can say what I like in person and on my blog and I have no personal desire to break any laws (even although I do think not all laws are just).

      If it’s not working for you, go live in the wilderness.

    • CMaster says:

      @Mandrill you make so many errors in that first post, but I’m just going to correct a couple of them:

      The current government has no mandate. The prime minister was elected by an elite (the labour party) and not chosen by the people in a general election as he should have been. In the last general election they gained power through the votes of a minority of the UK population (due to low turnout).

      OK, two things here.
      One, no the Prime Minister was chosen by The Queen. Always is. Convention and political reality dictate that she need pick a Prime Minister who enjoys the support of the Commons – this almost always means the leader of the largest party. When the lead of the Labour party, who had a working majority stepped down, she simply selected the new leader as a replacement. The general public never get to vote on PM. Their vote for their local MP may (although most of the while it doesn’t) effect the party that ends up with a majority in parliament. Best way of having a say in who is PM is to join the party likely to win the next election and vote in their leadership ballot.
      Two, almost every (if not ever) UK government has been selected by a minority. The “Labour Landslide” of 1997 with one of the largest parliamentary majorities ever seen came off the back of 43% of the vote in a 71% turnout election where far from every eligible adult was even registered to vote. The lack of a genuine mandate isn’t a new phenomenon, although it may be a problem.

      Beyond these inaccuracies, I really don’t think your idea will work. Low turnout just means low turnout, and the politicians will just talk about how to improve it. (The cynical ones may talk about how to improve turnout among their supporters and suppress it among others). The only ways you will get the system as a whole to change is either by electing those who profess a desire to change the system, or by revolution. Non-participation doesn’t in itself lead to change. Non participation leading to disenfranchisement leading to violence, maybe but thats a long cycle and you’d look less silly to stake your position as a revolutionary now.

    • golden_worm says:

      @mandril Why can’t we have a default “apathy party” that receives registered votes from those who can’t be bothered or who would vote “none of the above” if given the option?

      Their basic policy would be to vote “no” to anything suggested by the ruling party.

      If they got in (automatic if turnout is less than 50%) they immediately call a general election, with the proviso that no one from the other parties who has stood before in a seat won by the apathy party can stand again.

      It might take a couple of goes but eventually we would get to what people actually want.

    • Corporate Dog says:

      @Mandrill: What IS The Matrix?

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      @golden_worm

      I looked into starting a political party called “None of the Above” that would do nothing but lobby for the creation of a none of the above/reopen nominations option on ballot papers, and then resign their seats once it was introduced. Turns out it’s illegal!

    • RobotRocker says:

      Reminder: Don’t vote BNP as a protest against this as they were actually for the bill before it was signed in as they are still ridiculously butthurt over Wikileaks hosting the member list leaks and other stuff and want the ability to censor. They will probably flip-flop over it because of the anti-Labour sentiment in the next while but generally you should go for the Greens if you want to throw in a protest vote.

    • TeeJay says:

      @ mandrill: “The basis of any government is that it only governs with the permission of the governed. By not particiapating you withdraw that permission.”

      Sorry mate but noone gives shit about you giving or withdrawing ‘permission’. If there was actually a mass movement that was boycotting the elections then it would mean something – it would be a meaningful political expression.

      You however are just burbling a load of meaningless sixth-form philosophical slogans. How are we ‘giving them the right to dictate how we live our lives’? You can’t seem to make up your mind whether voting is ‘meaningless’ or it is this great moral transaction that ‘transfers rights’. You can’t decide if noone is listening or if our votes are taken as an ‘indication’ of something.

      Worst of all your great cause simply seems to be a half digested wish to “do what I want” without any kind of meaningful political programme of any sort – you know, stuff about people’s welfare, justice, rights, the environment, society, education, health, economic activity etc.

      Make some *practical* and *concrete* suggestions and people might pay attention – what you’ve said so far just sounds like an angsty teenage tantrum, not a coherent plan.

  4. Frenz0rz says:

    Oh fuck, now I have no idea who the hell to vote for. Lib Dems have looked appealing to me, but I totally disagree with their stance on Europe. Damn, damn, damn. Sent a letter about the bill to my Conservative MP, who was totally like “yeah, we sort of oppose it, meh” and proceeded to list off a load of stuff about the economy that had nothing to do with the bill. Plus he’s the only local MP of any party who refuses to join a local debate because the BNP have been allowed to join in. Idiot.

    Oh, what to do, what to do.

    • Mike Arthur says:

      For what it’s worth, the Lib Dems support a referendum on any other major changes on our relationship with Europe. I honestly believe we would have had one on the Lisbon treaty if they were in power.

    • mandrill says:

      Don’t vote. see above triades for why.

  5. Gwyn says:

    It’s daft to base an attack on the Lords on the fact they don’t get the Internet. The Commons doesn’t get the Internet either, and most of those guys have paid researchers to explain it to them. I guarantee you that in ten years’ time we’ll have appointed peers with a lifetime of experience in IT, Telecoms and the Internet, and we’ll still have nobody in the Commons who know what the fuck’s going on.

    Witness the Human Embryology Bill of a few years ago – nobody in the Commons had a clue about biology or medical ethics, so it fell to the luminaries in the Lords who drafted a comprehensive piece of progressive legislation. Without the Lords under New Labour, we’d have been much worse off.

    Also I have to point out that the Lords has no power to block legislation, only to suggest amendments to be debated in the next Commons session. In theory they could use this delaying power to block legislation forced through the Commons at the last minute, but in practice such a move would only be done if it was necessary to defend the Constitution. The DEB isn’t really a concern on those terms, so peers will likely shrug and let it pass.

    There’s no need to emphasise that peers are unelected. They need to be in order to work properly. They scrutinise and oversee legislation without needing to grab headlines or toe the party line. They don’t have any constitutional power, and so have nothing to be accountable for. The fact they are unelected is in fact immaterial, as they can’t exert any power on the Commons save to give them the benefit of experience and expertise which the elected chamber lacks.

    But yeah, vote Lib Dem.

    • Biggles says:

      Very well said.

    • Jimbo says:

      Agreed.

      So long as they are subservient, I think Lords has a lot of merit as a ‘dampener’ on the legislative process. How they are initially selected could be better, but not not having to worry about subsequent elections often allows for much sounder decision making. I think replacing them with essentially a ‘Second Commons’ would be a huge mistake.

  6. Wulf says:

    I vote we all lobby Moffat into power, it’d be very helpful if we had an obsessive Doctor Who fan as the Prime Minister. It would change things radically if the person with the most power there would be the sort of person to ask himself what The Doctor would do. Plus, the man has a decent understanding of technology. Who knows? Putting a man like that into power could lead to a golden age.

    (Yes, this is a joke post… buuuut I find all this incredibly depressing and I had to add something frivolous. Though mostly this was on the back of being reminded of what Douglas Adams said in Hitchhiker’s, that the most fit people to lead are usually the ones that absolutely don’t want to.)

    • TeeJay says:

      “ask himself what The Doctor would do”

      Run around in a state of near-manic psychosis making random smart-arse remarks while waving a “sonic screwdriver” at things to a Carmina Burana soundtrack?

  7. QBall says:

    Did your MP vote for or against this trash? Check it out here…

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmtoday/cmdebate/32.htm#hddr_2

  8. Lukasz says:

    can someone please explain what’s so bad about this bill?
    wiki is useless.

    • Wulf says:

      It’s a potential life-ruiner and can leave you without any Internet access at all if they believe you’re a pirate. The chance of false positives is very high.

      Ex: They get a call from someone I’ve had a disagreement with saying that I sell pirated things, they investigate and on doing so they find my GoG.com backups, which will look very much like pirated games to the fucking uneducated mendicants they’ll have doing the enforcing. They might decide then and there that I’m a problem, and remove my Internet access, or worse. Will I get a chance to defend myself? Un-fucking-likely.

    • Mike Arthur says:

      Basically gives the government power to tell ISPs to deny access to any sites of their choosing, gives rights-holders some similar abilities and you can now get disconnected from the internet for illegally downloading stuff. All of this is outside a court and if you want to fight it in a court you’ll need to defend yourself or pay up.

    • cliffski says:

      people are upset because it gives the copyright holders the right to have a letter sent to people suspected of pirating content, and asking them to stop. If they dont stop, and dont deny it, after 3 letters they can apply to have their conenction cut off.
      Apparently this is how nazi germany started.

      I’d rather not have this bill, but a bill that just slung people in prison for a year if they got caught running a warez or torrent site where > 95% of the content was copyrighted. They knwo what they are doing
      Nobody can pretend thepiratebay isnt a pirate site, ditto many warez forums. Doubtless some are UK hosted.
      Lets make hosting that stuff, or uploading it, illegal as fuck, and not waste time on the kdis getting voter puberty by sticking it to the man.
      but even if someone did propose this, the ‘pirate party;’ would be on here moaning about that. Unless all content producers work for free, dicks like that will never be happy.

    • Alec Meer says:

      People are also upset because a) it’s taking brutal, cynical advantage of a time when MPs are otherwise engaged to slip something through b) the resulting low turn-out and minimal debate proves that a vast number of MPs are deeply uninterested in even remotely engaging with the concerns of their constituents and c) it gives terrifying precedent for an unelected peer to create and modify a law to suit his own interests, and the interests of his business partners.

      The bill itself is the least of the problems surrounding the DEB.

    • Wulf says:

      @cliffski

      Questionable as ever, I see. This is why I kind of don’t like you, I’m sorry. And the thing is that this impacts your games, since your games are sold via a method where it’s hard to defend them as legally bought.

      “people are upset because it gives the copyright holders the right to have a letter sent to people suspected of pirating content, and asking them to stop. If they dont stop, and dont deny it, after 3 letters they can apply to have their conenction cut off.”

      Bullshit. People are against it because if someone falsely implicates them and the examiners are too witless to properly judge whether the person is pirating or not then they can have their Internet cut off, or worse, even if they are innocent.

      “Apparently this is how nazi germany started.”

      Bullshit. No one’s claiming this.

      “I’d rather not have this bill, but a bill that just slung people in prison for a year if they got caught running a warez or torrent site where > 95% of the content was copyrighted.”

      You’d be putting this in the hands of people who wouldn’t understand what defines a warez site. Well done.

      “They knwo what they are doing”

      That’s a laugh.

      “Nobody can pretend thepiratebay isnt a pirate site, ditto many warez forums. Doubtless some are UK hosted.”

      Actually, the Pirate Bay is about 50/50, like any torrent service. There’s plenty of free software, free music, and other, similar resources on their trackers. To damn someone for having downloaded a Linux distro from the Pirate Bay tracker is as idiotic as the morons who penned this bill, and just as clueless. Well done.

      “Lets make hosting that stuff, or uploading it, illegal as fuck, and not waste time on the kdis getting voter puberty by sticking it to the man.”

      Let’s make sure that we have intelligent people checking up on this stuff, first, people who actually understand the Internet. And let’s make sure that we don’t have idiots pushing for laws that can’t possibly be handled properly if we don’t.

      “but even if someone did propose this, the ‘pirate party;’ would be on here moaning about that.”

      Yes, because of course only the fucking pirates would have a stake in this, rather than people who are well aware of how fallible such an investigative system could be. Of course. Right.

      “Unless all content producers work for free, dicks like that will never be happy.”

      And [I tragically undermine myself by resorting to puerile name-calling.]

    • Wulf says:

      Alec: I can understand why you edited me but this whole thing was just Cliffski being incredibly patronising to people who take umbrage at this, and painting them all as pirates, therefore he is being an apologist. I’m sorry for my views, but that’s how I feel.

    • Gwyn says:

      Alec, it’s not a precedent. Ministers are routinely given powers of this sort, and Prime Ministers have always been allowed to put peers in his cabinet. This sort of legislation has a pretty long tradition.

      What people are actually angry about is that Mandelson’s the current Biz Sec. But Labour aren’t going to be reelected, so he’s not going to see a sniff of the DEB power.

      Also, the DEB powers are totally arbitrary and won’t stand up to scrutiny by the Supreme Court anyway.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Wulf: there’s flat-out no excuse for the personal insults. It’s absurdly easy to make the exact same points without ‘em.

    • Matthew says:

      Wulf: nothing like hyperbole, eh?

      I think when cliffski said ‘they know what they are doing’ he was talking about the warez site runners, not the people behind this bill. But honestly, I suspect you were in the mood to jump on anything you didn’t like the look of by that point.

    • Wulf says:

      Fair enough Alec, then let the edit stand as a personal lesson, I really have no problem with that… but I’m still very angry at Cliffski. I can’t help it. This is the sort of thing that could ruin someone’s life, even if they’ve never pirated in their life, and to whitewash over it like that is just infuriating. I guess he pushed all the wrong buttons, there.

      The thing is, you’re right though, and I should have kept my cool. I shouldn’t have done that. But as I said, the edit stands and lesson learned. I think the rest of the post sums up how I feel pretty well, anyway. I’m just stunned, and a little bit disgusted, that anyone would try to defend this anyway.

    • Wulf says:

      @Matthew

      “Wulf: nothing like hyperbole, eh?”

      I don’t agree, everything I’ve said has a very real chance of happening.

      Let’s wait and see.

      “I think when cliffski said ‘they know what they are doing’ he was talking about the warez site runners, not the people behind this bill”

      It didn’t look like that to me.

      “But honestly, I suspect you were in the mood to jump on anything you didn’t like the look of by that point.”

      Same thing could be said about Cliffski, but I can understand you jumping on me, everyone takes a side in this.

    • Matthew says:

      Well here’s the thing Wulf: not once in cliffski’s post did he say he was in favour of the Bill, other than a passing comment that suggested he felt the reaction to the Bill was overly strong (the ‘nazi germany’ comment). In fact he wrote, ‘I’d rather not have this Bill’. So yeah, I think you were jumping on him.

      The rest of your response was a critique of his alternative, which is entirely your right to do, but I’d argue that a lot of your response was objecting to the practical aspect of enforcement of cliffski’s idea rather than the actual plan itself. That’s entirely fine. But you’re setting him up to vent at something he didn’t actually say and that’s what I’m taking issue with.

    • cliffski says:

      sigh
      I knew I’d just get abuse hurled at me.
      I even said I didnt support the bill. Nobody noticed that though.
      I guess nobody is ever willing to read any comment on this topic unless its ‘rah rah rah! copyright is teh evil!’
      Its truly pathetic.

    • mandrill says:

      What cliffski fails to realise is that this bill is not being brought in to protect him, far from it. I doubt any of the people involved in drafting it even know that independent games developers exist let alone rely on digital distribution in their business model.

      This bill is to serve the interests of the middle men, not the creators. Its the publishers, record labels, movie distributors andothers who have lobbied for this because they (if not the politicians) know which way the wind is blowing and their time is almost up. There is no real need for them anymore when creative people, such as yourself cliffski, can deal directly with the consumers of theri work, cutting the middle men out of the picture completely. Musicians, authors, filmmakers and games makers can offer their music directly to their fans.

      This is what this bill will be used to curtail, puiracy is a smokescreen. Anyone with even a basic understanding of the internet knows that piracy (whilst it is a ‘bad thing’) will never be beaten completely. Especially with such a blunt instrument as this bill. The ‘pirates’ and ‘hackers’ will find a way to continue doing what they do anonymously, secretly and securely. Simply because they are very very good at it and there are thousands of them.

      You’ll find that if this bill stands, the big publishers will be able to call for smalltime creatives such as cliffski, to be blacklisted, simply because they don’t like the competition. Unless of course they sign up with the publisher and hand over a substantial cut of their profits. Its a protection racket pure and simple. “Play along with the way things are and keep us in the gravy and everything will be fine”

      This bill has so much wrong with it that any debate would have killed it dead, this is why it was rushed through. Deals were done and I would check out the campaign funding details for the labour party when they are finally published, I wonder how many publishers are on that list.

      This bill is not for you cliffski, its for those who see you as a threat and they will try to beat you down with it if given the opportunity.

    • Mike Arthur says:

      I’ve not ever bought any of cliffski’s games, I played the demos and they didn’t appeal but … GOOD GRIEF PEOPLE!

      He said he doesn’t want the bill! Please, please read! Also, his opinion IS valued because he is someone who actually has stuff to lose from piracy. How many of you have your incoming depending on people paying money for your games? Yes, this bill is bad (as cliffski himself says) but copyright violation is also a crime and unless someone has said you can have their product for free (as some musicians do) then you are a bit of a dick, when demos are available to try them before you buy.

      I’m willing to bet cliffski could get a nice job doing something other than making games and that would pay his bills probably better than doing what he does. I’d also be willing to bet that some of those who download his games actually take home more money in a year than he does. Lets try and think of the little guys and the PC gaming industry, the more you justify piracy the more you work into the hands of those who would impose disgusting, draconian legislation in order to stop it.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      @cliffski
      Copyright is not teh evil. I’d fully support the right of authors and content creators to have some kind of say over the use of their material and to earn money from it. That doesn’t mean that it’s not in need of reform. Broadly speaking, I think the proposals of the UK Pirate Party (have you read their manifesto?) are sensible in this regard.

      There was a line on the Now Show last week that compared the DE bill to an attempt to protect blacksmiths by requiring that horseshoes be nailed to cars. Apologies to Mr. Walker, of course, for finding anything of merit in that show, but I didn’t think that was an unfair comparison.

    • AbyssUK says:

      @cliffski – The DEB as pointed out by many is much much more than just about copyright, also I suggest you read the pirate party manifesto, they want to give content creators more rights not less, many freelance music producers like the pirate party manifesto.. it isn’t about just getting free software its about a better way a different direction. cutting out the middle men and the idea for the drug patenting process should be taken very seriously!

      Please don’t label the members of the pirate party as freetards.

    • cliffski says:

      From:
      http://www.pirateparty.org.uk/blog/2010/mar/22/pirate-party-uk-launches-its-2010-election-manifes/

      A new right to share files (which provides free advertising that is essential for less-well-known artists).
      # The right to share files provided no money changes hands.

      Someone explain to my feeble brain how this right does not totally, utterly destroy copyright 100% overnight.

      if this was the law, I’d be looking for a new job immediately. I’d have to. I have to pay the rent FFS.
      Sorry, but people who claim the pirate party are not anti-copyright are just WRONG.
      If everyone gets your work without paying you, it makes NO DIFFERENCE whether anyone else profited from your work…

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      @cliffski

      So, as a “less-well-known artist”, do you now regret your decision to release Gratuitous Space Battles without DRM? ‘Cause I’d always imagined that the free publicity they mention was part of the reason you did it?

      I understand that game developers don’t have the ability to make money from live shows as musicians do, but this letter by an independent musician to his union is more articulate than me: http://www.stevelawson.net/2010/04/my-letter-to-the-musicians-union-about-the-digital-economy-bill/

      The roots of copyright are in preventing others from making money from your work. That’s the understanding of copyright that most laypeople still have, and it’s this that the Pirate Party proposals get back to.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      The Pirate Party are ridiculous. They propose to not raise taxes whilst simultaneously proposing massively expeinsive policies. Supporting them based on the idea that content should be easily shared and ignoring the obvious flaws in this and some of their other policies is pretty stupid.

      For example, I don’t see how they can possibly afford to cover pharmaceutical R&D expenditure if they do as the propose and remove drug patents. They’d also discourage new and potentially benificial research by removing the potential rewards. Why would anyone in a small company bust a gut to make something novel when they know it’s just going to get made either generically or by one of the big pharma companies. That sort of policy will hinder innovation as well as being unaffordable. Sure the way the pharmaceutical sector works is far from perfect but this sort of policy isn’t going to help.

      It’s far from the only one of their policies which is dubious at best.

    • CMaster says:

      @Lambchops
      Actually, it’s pretty clear how that policy would pay for itself. The state-funded health service saves a vast amount of money by buying cheap generics whose margins are driven down by competition, rather than proprietary drugs and treatments with a large markups (oh, and a big bill to fund the marketing of this drug in the first place, and a smaller one for the R&D). Some or all of this saved money is put into government funded medical research, with the additional benefit that money and effort could go into things like developing new antibiotics (which nobody has done in years) rather than lifestyle drugs (baldness cures, Viagra etc)
      Sure, you run the risk of harming innovation in terms of people coming up with some new, exiting idea and getting it all the way to market. It might not be any better than the current system. It hasn’t been tried yet. But it’s easy to see how it could be afforded.

      That said, I haven’t read the Pirate Party manifesto, so I can’t comment in if they do make largely unaffordable promises.

    • Grunt says:

      @Wulf

      Mate, you really need to lay off the caffeine or whatever you’re drinking these days. The is the second time in a week I’ve seen you fly off on some rant about a comment that in no way justified your response. Seek help. Get laid. Take a holiday. Whatever works for you, dude. Just quit turning these posts into your private one-man crusades against whatever the hell is bugging you this week.

      ““Apparently this is how nazi germany started.”

      Bullshit. No one’s claiming this.”

      Yeah – right here? I don’t think he was being entirely serious. I see it as some very dark humour. But you? “OMG – he just compared the UK to Nazi Germany!?!? What is this guy ON???!!!!”.

      Totally out of proportion. I remind you again: RPS is not Digg! If you want the clash of polarised opinion against hardened viewpoint I suggest you find somewhere more suited to it, before the Hivemind are forced to ban your antics.

      My money’s on you not even having the grace or humility to apologise, either.

    • Lukasz says:

      thx guys. that was very informative. lots of problems with the bill and everybody has slightly different idea on what’s so bad about it.

      wonder whether Australia will follow UK.

      (the answer is most likely yes)

  9. Chris Evans says:

    The only way we will get change in the political system is to stop voting for Labour or the Tories, Lib Dems are the best bet for an overhaul which is much needed, bring in a form of PR and change the Lords. The worst thing about the passing of the DEB is that is occured during ‘wash up’, if it hadn’t been going through parliament so close to the announcement of the election we may have seen more debate on it. Not to say it wouldn’t have been passed, but the way our system works, there should be debate and checks and balances occuring all the way through the development of a bill, not rushing through because an election has been called.

    From Rich McCormick’s PCG blog post (http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=241929)

    “Spending over one hour debating one clause of a 50 clause bill with one hour for all the rest… it’s frankly disgraceful”

    I put my thoughts in long form here – http://thereticule.com/2010/04/on-the-digital-economy-bill/

  10. Matthew says:

    MY MP is Iris Robinson. Oooops.

  11. Bob says:

    Just goes to show none of them listen to anyone, only time you see or hear from them is when they want voted in! lol That’s why I don’t even bother voting as there is no point

  12. The Great Wayne says:

    For all it’s worth, you british guys have my total support on this question.

    We’ve been suffering from the same bullshit in France for a few months, with state controlled medias campaigns talking about “the evilness of the Internet” so that the masses would support this kind of laws. Fortunately, we got some people in the senate that are extremely reluctant to go on the securitarism route -all political tendencies appart- even if it means displeasing some lobbies. And even then it’s still a tight question.

    Also, you should try to contact your european parliament delegates. There are things that are no longer under national sovereignty only, and liberties upon the Internet are one of those.

  13. Schyz says:

    Here in Spain we do have the same problem. Our “Culture Minister” is a producer from the movies industry and recently achieved to approve a law that allows a political comission to close websites without trial in less than 4 days.
    We do have a civil movement here supporting a campaing called “Internet will not be another TV”:
    [Spanish] http://internetnoseraotratv.net/
    Anyway there is an english word to define my feelings about this: riot.

  14. somnolentsurfer says:

    RPS is carrying ads for the Lib Dems now? Really? lol.

  15. deejayem says:

    I wrote to my MP, too. Got a very nice letter back saying how concerned she was – didn’t bloody turn up for the vote, though.

    More worryingly, she included a letter from Steven Timms, who is Minister for Digital Britain, trying to answer some of my queries. He ignored most of the more serious ones – what rights do copyright holders have to spy on internet users; what right to internet users have to appeal if they are wrongly accused, etc.etc. – and his letter was full of basic errors of terminology – eg “IP address” = “Intellectual Property address”.

    Nice to know we’re being taken seriously …

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      This is all rather sad. Until now, I’ve quite liked Timms, but this clearly isn’t his field. I thought Tom Watson was supposed to be a “close personal friend of the Prime Minister” or something? Why didn’t he get the digital Britain portfolio? Is it ’cause he might be a bother for Mandy’s mates?

  16. john says:

    “continental Europe has a near-sterling record in protecting basic individual freedoms.”

    HA HA, ha ha, ha ha ha!

    Classic, the common law countries ie US UK Australia NZ Canada, have a tradition of protecting the freedoms of the individual going back centuries. Concepts like jury trial, natural rights innately belonging to free born men rather than granted us by the almighty state, freedom of speech and habeas corpus etc are utterly alien to continental Europe. The protection of life,liberty and property has been non existent in Europe until extremely recently. Spain Portugal and Greece were fascist dictatorships until the 70’s and eastern Europe and East Germany communist ones until the late eighties. Being part of the EU has seen the civil law of the continent rape our legal system and the infection of our parliamentary democracy with European style political corruption and hubris.

    If you think individual freedoms are comprised of some rather lame anti-business consumer protection laws then you’ve probably been smoking too much weed.

    • Rinox says:

      I wouldn’t exactly take Portugal, Spain and Greece as historical examples of European norms and values. The founding members of the EU are generally speaking much more representative.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Stalinism domination over eastern europe, franquism or the Ioannidis ruling over greece could hardly be taken as examples of the european ideology. In fact, this kind of totalitarian episodes are what motivated the creation of the european geopolitical entity in the first place, so that it never happens again.

      Considering history with manicheism is a very bad way to analyze it. No country has emerged all clean from the centuries, be it Britain or whatever.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Right; because Stalinism and fascism all occurred in the last twenty years:

      in the last two decades

      Edit: because someone is bound to miss what I’m saying here: the whole comment thread is talking about the last two decades. You know, the period since the fall of the USSR and the Treaty of Maastricht.

  17. Roadrunnerr says:

    Man, our democracy system sure is full of win ¬________¬

    I’m too young to vote, but If I could, with my limited knowledge of politics, I would probably use my vote as a countervote against labour and the tories, primarily because Brown is characterless and Cameron is a complete, full on tosser.

    I see absolutely no point in not voting.

    • Wulf says:

      I don’t take so much umbrage at Brown, he’s not as bad as the others, but he’s just a bit of a puppet. He always came across as incredibly apathetic, and therefore he doesn’t really say anything against the likes of Mandelson. What little fight he had I think was beaten out of him in the tiffs he had with Blair.

      Whomever we vote for, this year, it should be anyone except the Tories or New Labour. Vote for whomever you like, but not them. Never them.

  18. Hogofwar says:

    Well, fuck. They are probably going to block the Pirate Bay now aren’t they? “Uh, block thepiratebay.org because the bill says i can so duh!”

    • Wulf says:

      Yup. I can’t believe it. There’s a lot of great stuff on the Pirate Bay which is free. I mean, that’s where I downloaded PoopMods from (Oblivion mod package), and that’s where I downloaded the Vampire – The Masquerade: Bloodlines community fix pack from, too.

      :/

    • Rob says:

      For sure there’s content on The Pirate Bay that’s legitimate, but it’s a stretch to suggest that there isn’t as much or more clearly pirated material, and that the legitimate material would be unable to find an alternative place for torrent hosting. I think the danger of making a site like that your rallying cry is that it makes it very hard for your arguments to be taken seriously.

    • Wulf says:

      @Rob

      You may think that, but from where I sit, you’re totally wrong. But I think you’re wrong in regards to comprehension of what I’m saying, so I’ll reiterate.

      I’m really into the PC mods scene, and a lot of people seem to really like using The Pirate Bay as their primary source. My problem isn’t with losing The Pirate Bay, so much, because as you suggest there will be other services, my problem is with damning a user who uses The Pirate Bay in order to get some of that legitimate content that is there. And as I said, it’s widely used by the modding community. In fact, the PB trackers were the only place that had PoopMods when I checked.

      That’s all I’m saying, please understand that.

  19. Rinox says:

    I just checked the MP distribution in Parliament in the UK and I was pretty shocked at just how big the dominance of Labour and Conservatives is. Disregarding Libdem for a moment, every other party seems utterly powerless. Heck, Sinn Fein (more or less a one-issue party) is about as big as any other remaining ideology-based party. That’s pretty weird.

    I can’t really imagine that the division of seats in Parliament is a proper image of the voting behaviour in the UK. Is this because of the first-past-the-post principle?

    P.S. Oh and where are the Greens? I saw them mentioned in this thread. Maybe their party name doesn’t refer to being green and I just missed them?

    • Colthor says:

      @Rinox.

      The Greens are, indeed, green. They just have no seats and got about 1% of the vote last time out.

      But, apparently, everybody likes their policies: http://voteforpolicies.org.uk/

    • Rinox says:

      Thanks for the clarification Colthor. It’s strange that they didn’t even manage to secure one single seat when all sorts of fringe parties get 4+. The more in light of that link you posted. :-)

      The main thing that strikes me about that website is that the votes per policy seem much more divided than the towering dominance of the 2 big parties in Parliament.

    • Mike Arthur says:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_general_election,_2005#Votes_summary

      It’s worth comparing votes to seats here. Yes, this is broken and yes it’s because of FPTP. This would be fixed by proportional representation and improved by single-transferable vote.

      SNP are in power in the Scottish government. I think they’ll pick up quite a few more Westminster seats in the next election.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      @ The Greens

      It’s no suprise the greens are doing well in terms of people liking their policies. Read their manifesto and there’s lots of stuff that sounds great (some tosh too but a lot of it is clearly going to be popular tosh!). However knowing they are a marginal issue based party they know they don’t have to worry about practicalities like how they are going to fund all these wonderful things. You can pretty much identify the green policies with ease on that site (they are the ones that mention policies that only those with a severe hatred of Europe, immigrants or disbelief in climate change could possibly disagree with) but personally having done so I tended to shy away from them as unrealistic. Hence ending up with supporting the Lib Dems on a third of the policies and even split of Greens and Labour on most of the rest and . . . err . . . UKIP . . . on the environment of all things. What can I say, I just like nuclear power!

    • TeeJay says:

      @ The Green Party

      The 1% figure (283,084 votes) in the 2005 general election is partly because they only contested about 40% of UK constituencies. In the places they did stand they got a slightly better 3.4% on average, they managed over 5% in 23 places and their best result was 22% in Brighton Pavilion.

      They always do far better in European and regional elections, for example 6.3% (1,033,093 votes) in the 2004 euros and 8.7% (1,223,303 votes) in the 2009 euros. Their best results in 2009 included first place in Norwich with 25%, in Oxford with 26% and in Brighton and Hove with 31%. Their strongest regions were London and the South-East (11-12% overall).

      In London Assembly elections they got 11.1% (2000), 8.37% (2004) and 8.29% (2008). In 2006 local elections they got a 10% average vote and in 2007 fielded a record 1,421 candidates in local elections. As of 2009 they had 125 local councillors.

      They are hoping to finally win a seat – in Brighton – at this 2010 general election. The Green Party vote is most likely far lower in general elections because people are focussed on the ‘main event’ between the big three political parties and the Green candidate isn’t a contender, but this is starting to change in a few places where the Green party has built up a strong base (eg Brighton, Norwich, Oxford, Lewisham) and as they have gained a higher public profile with people like Caroline Lucas as an MEP and appearing on Question Time etc.

      The Green Party is not “a marginal issue based party”, it has a full range of policies covering all areas and is broadly ‘liberal-left’ with a splash of “libertarian”. They have had a reasonable stab at costing out all their manifesto policies (as far as any political party does that properly these days) and they don’t tend to go for massive top-down tax-and-spend style stuff in any case.

      The Green Party has a lot of very practical and sensible ideas – for example the Green Party were very much involved in Ken Livingstone’s expansion of buses, pedestrianisation and congestion-charging in London, which was intially opposed by others but is now a role-model for other cities. Other examples are pushing to upgrading UK homes in terms of energy insulation and introducing energy efficient light bubs – in fact a whole range of things that 10 years ago people were laughing at the Green Party about have now become the new orthodoxy that all parties want to claim as their own ideas.

      You have probably guessed by now that I kind of like the Green Party, which yes, I admit I do. They are not perfect but overall I like what they contribute to UK politics and hey deserve to have more of an input than they currently do, so whenever I get the chance to vote for them, even if it is just to encourage them to carry on standing in subsequent elections and help them get 5% and save their deposit – even if this doesn’t mean they win immediately it does help build up a local support base for the future and other people will notice them doing well. This can in turn persuade more people to vote for them and it can also persuade other political parties to take their policies more seriously.

    • Rinox says:

      @ Teejay

      Thanks for the explanation! What’s their stance on the EU, exactly? I assume positive (most green parties I know in Europe are positively inclined towards the EU in any case)?

    • TeeJay says:

      I’m not sure how to sum it up so I’ll just link you to their policy: http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/mfss/mfsseu.html

      Also their 2009 European Election has lots of stuff about the EU and Europe: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/EU_Manifesto_2009.pdf

      tl;dr re. current EU – they like some aspects, dislike some aspects and have a list of various reforms they want to see.

  20. Hmm says:

    When did RPS become Liberal Democrats’ propaganda tube?
    I just checked what those people stand for. Commies in disguise.

    • Wulf says:

      Commies? The evil red menace? Really?

      :/

      Sigh. ‘Commies’ are a better choice than New Labour or the Tories at the moment, in my opinion.

    • Rob says:

      We’re still using ‘Commies’ as a slur for liberals? Plus ça change indeed.

    • Wulf says:

      That’s what I thought too, Rob.

      Commies does make me though though, because whenever I think of that word, I think of a large, overweight man, with a bible in one hand and barely carrying a shotgun with the other, yelling about the “DAMN PINKOS!”. I find this image utterly hilarious, and that’s what my brain summons up whenever I see that, because really… commies? Really? Are we going to go back to calling them pinkos next? Are the Lib Dems really the *gasp.* Red Menace? Did the world go back a number of decades when I wasn’t looking?

    • mandrill says:

      More like the yellow peril.

      The liberal democrats are not classically Liberal in any sense of the word (look it up, Classical Liberalism in google, go on) They are basically socialism lite, and just as statist and freedom hating as all the rest.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Even though they’re a central party, the Lib Dem’s are probably more to the left than ‘New’ Labour these days so yeah they’re evil commie scum when you think about it really hard & squint quite a bit.

  21. Sobric says:

    The Lib Dems should have taken this stance on basically every issue over the last year. This is a perfect election to really become the “third” option (“We Are Not Them”), but they’ve absolutely failed to capitalize on it.

    This is partly because ol’ Cleggy is rubbish, and partly because they probably aren’t all that different from Tory or NL.

  22. K.Boogle says:

    Wow, I thought the bill was so absurd there was no way it would have passed.
    Ah, humanity, you surprise me again.

  23. anonymous17 says:

    Having just looked through the bill, it seems to me that the copyright infringement enforcement commences two months (usual) after the royal assent of the bill. Presuming that it does not get held in the Lords (unusual), it could mean that the bill enters effect before the end of the summer.

    Several websites seem to say that the bill will not be enforced until sometime next year – but the bill itself say nothing of this.

    Anyone have any thoughts on this?

    • TeeJay says:

      “Anyone have any thoughts on this?”

      That this illustrates exactly how shit this Bill is – it leaves a lot of the detailed rules very vague and ‘to be decided later on by an agency’ (eg OFCOM or whichever quango it is) and/or ‘the minister’ in consultation with ‘relevant interest groups’ (aka businesses).

    • Gorgeras says:

      This confuses a lot of people because the parts of the bill that I’ve read(concerning clauses 11-18) do not say “ISP’s must do this” or anything like that. For almost the whole thing Ofcomis used as a proxy(irony) for government action. The bill lays out what new powers it is giving Ofcom and then telling Ofcom what they must do with them broadly speaking. The actual minute details are up to Ofcom; the bill simply legislates on what the effect should be.

    • TeeJay says:

      IMO there is something a bit suspect about giving people the legal powers to enforce rules way in advance of those rules being written as it leaves the door open to abuse and manipulation. These agencies should first of all publish their proposed rules before getting the legal authority to enforce them, giving parliament and general public the opportunity to check that the rules and procedures are in fact fair, proportionate and workable beforehand.

  24. subversus says:

    Can someone explain to me, an outsider, what is so bad about this bill? As far as I understand it gives authorities power to block sites with copyright-infringement content. What is so bad about it if you’re not an active user of course?

    • anonymous17 says:

      For copyright issues, it certainly makes some sense – the ability to identify those in breach and outlining some basic powers to shut them down. This is effectively how the MPs see the bill. However it is broad and could easily be used to effectively police websites or users in any way the government decides – which seems to be Wulf’s main contention. Wulf further points out the problem of having people policing the system that know absolutely nothing about copyrighted material or sites such as gog.com.
      Additionally, the common law system in Britain relies on establishing ‘beyond all doubt’ before a conviction can be found in the criminal courts, but only ‘in liklihood’ for civil offences. A legal problem with this bill is that it seems to blur these two boundaries in effectively establishing a civil crime but then leaving the doors open for a criminal conviction.

      The real point is not so much that it is trying to prevent copyright but that it effectively gives a way for a government to clamp down on media that casts the country or government in a negative light. Whilst most people in Britain in automatically declare that such a thing could never happen, it does happen all the time – lack of transparency and whip control at Parliament are two high level examples.

      It effectively is letting the government into the internet in its typically heavy handed and adolescently awkward way. Personally I doubt the libdems would have any alternative other than to acknowledge the bill should they gain a majority or a hung parliament formed.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      The government is taking the stance that Internet access should be equivalent to a human right, and pushing for universal broadband access nationwide. At the same time they’re including a clause allowing for Internet access to be denied to a household on the basis of simply an accusation, and that it be done without trial.

      Irrespective of whether you think it’s right to consider broadband a human right (and it’s certainly hard to function in today’s society without it), that is hypocrisy of the highest order, dangerously anti-democratic, and a breach of basic principles of justice.

    • Rob says:

      The amendment inserted yesterday concerning the control of access to websites is what has a lot of people bothered subversus.

      From the Bill itself:

      “The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision about the granting by a court of a blocking injunction in respect of a location on the internet which the court is satisfied has been, is being or is likely to be used for or in connection with an activity that infringes copyright.”

      Two elements of this amendment concern people. Firstly that it is the Secretary of State making said provisions, and secondly that the remit is as vague as “is likely to be used for or in connection with an activity that infringes copyright.” It is the vagueness that causes the issue, because at what point is the line drawn?

      Going further into the amendment, although “The Secretary of State may not make regulations under this section unless satisfied that […] the use of the internet for activities that infringe copyright is having a serious adverse effect on businesses or consumers [and] making the regulations is a proportionate way to address that effect”, this is again vague – what is “proportionate” in this case – and somewhat undermined by the next subsection, which allows the injunctions against a site “which has been, is being or is likely to be used to facilitate access to a location […] from which a substantial amount of material has been, is being or is likely to be obtained in infringement of copyright”; which read at its broadest could be a reason to prevent access to any site which allows obfuscation of web history, VPNs and so forth.

      In the end it’s conjecture, but the fear is that the law is there and the breadth of its application is as yet unknown, but potentially enormous.

      I don’t know quite what to make of it myself, parliamentary language has never been the easiest stuff to parse.

    • Wulf says:

      The funny thing is that the media of other countries are all ready having a field day with this. Just wait until it’s passed and we become known as “UK, the country where Internet access is an inalienable human right, but keep in mind that if the British Government decides they don’t like you then you technically aren’t human, because they can take that Internet away! If those who have their Internet taken away aren’t human, then what are they? It seems a very interesting and dubious line is being drawn, here.”

      We’re going to be a laughing stock. Again. That’s, what, the 183rd time in as many weeks? I lost my ability to take any pride in this country a long time ago.

    • Wulf says:

      Errr… bad wording there. What I meant to say is: wait until it’s active.

    • anonymous17 says:

      Is it not better that at least as people of a nation we are able to actually view and criticise government legislation?
      Many countries simply do not allow this and frequently brand intelligent and comprehending people as non-human.

      Whilst you may not be able to respect the country, acknowledging its advantages and recognising the debate for its worth is hardly formidable – despite it being so elsewhere.

    • subversus says:

      well, thanks everybody for such detailed answers, I can see what’s wrong with this bill now. And there I was thinking that such lawmaking nonsense occurs only in my country’s so called parliament. Stupid people are stupid.

  25. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    @ Mandrill

    OK so you’ve ranted about “them” and “sheep.” You’re upset. You’re angry.

    What is your response? Do nothing? Be miserable?

    If you feel that strongly about something then surely you can suggest an alternative? i’m not even looking for something that’s particularly realistic. Surely you must stand for something? Surely there is some system that you’d prefer; even if it is just anarchy.

    Sitting there being a cynic and dismissing everybody as part of a broken system is well within you’re rights but it’s hard to take you seriously unless you have some sort of stance on the right way to do things and the way things should be rather than simply decrying what you think is wrong with the country.

    • mandrill says:

      I left. I no longer live in the UK. I have removed myself form a country I believe is going straight to hell.

      You may say that this gives me no right to comment, you’d be wrong. The UK is my home and I hate what is being done to it. I also know that staying wouldn’t have got me anywhere, it would have just made me more angry and depressed. I’m happier now, though only marginally.

      My opinion is there is no right way to do things that will suit everyone. That is the heart of the problem. A one size fits all gov’t does not work. I therefore refuse to be governed by anyone but myself. I’m big enough and rational enough to make my own decisions between what is right and wrong and don’t need some pleb in a suit who knows nothing about me or my life to tell me what to do. They have no moral or ethical right to do so. I basically make my own rules and live by them.

      Unfortunately this won’t work for everyone for a whole variety of reasons, most prominent being that the state has taken so much personal responsibility away from the populace that they no longer know how to be responsible from themselves or their own actions. They’ll need parliament to tell them how to wipe their arses soon enough.

      You say I’m cynical, I belive I have every right to be. Your MPs have lied, stolen, cheated and been bribed (or at least made it clear that they could be) and still you let them rule your lives. Of course I’m cynical. I question their motives, just as I question the motives of those who vote for them.

      They say you get the government you deserve, think about that for a while.

    • Mike Arthur says:

      Lots of people think the UK is in a bad way. Most people decide to try and do something about it rather than running away from their problems.

      You of course do have the right to comment but telling us what we should do with our political system when you’ve chosen to opt out is not helpful, it’s just destructive.

    • CMaster says:

      @Mandrill
      How is Somalia this time of year?

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      @ Mandrill

      “I left.”

      Fair enough. It’s more than a lot of people who moan about their country do (indeed while I was writing my post above the “if you don’t like it then fuck off” line did cross my mind briefly but I’ve always felt that’s a rather pathetic response whenever I see people use it, so I refrained and felt rather guilty that it had crossed my mind in the first place!).

      May I ask where you moved to?

      As for cynicism – there’s nothing wrong with it, I just feel that if people don’t act on their cynicism (something which you certainly can’t be accused of) then it’s all a bit wasted. I’ve got a certain degree of cynicism about the political process myself; however it hasn’t reached the levels wehre I don;t think that changes can be made and that compromises can be made that do just a little bit to improve things in this country. Also despite my cynicism about some aspects of politics I have few complaints about quality of life and my ability to pursue what I want to achieve in the UK, despite its problems. Maybe that will change in the future but for now I’m content and will take whatever opportunities I have to try and make a stand in making whatever improvements are possible.

      In short, much as I may disagree with your views, fair play to you for actually taking a stand.

    • Ffitz says:

      Fair enough, if you can’t stand it any more, but why not then leave it all behind, make the break and get on with your new life where ever you are? Why fall in to the old ex-pat trap of looking back at the old country? It’s not your home any more, after all.

    • TeeJay says:

      @ mandrill

      Unless you are floating around in a boat somewhere you are still living in a jurisdiction and under a set of rules. You can “refuse” all you like but noone cares. You are still subject to the law of wherever you are, just like anyone else. “Making your own rules” – what does this even mean?

      Guess what, whenever you have more than one person you end up with “rules” – at their most basic they consist of ‘could you please wash up after you’ve used stuff’ – ie consideration for each other. You may argue that people have no “moral or ethical right” to make rules you don’t like, but then again why should they put up with your behaviour either? The idea of compromise is at root the basic basic version of a ‘law’ and government a way of administering these.

      OK, so you are going to explain that your voluntary anarchism community is not government, but it does have rules, doesn’t it? Either that or you live in a cave up a mountain somewhere, all by yourself.

  26. DarkFenix says:

    I normally don’t care much about the elections, living in a traditionally safe Labour constituency, but last election Labour only won a 7% majority over the Lib Dems here. I guess it’s finally time to get out and see if democracy actually does something for a change, not that I’m holding my breath.

  27. 7rigger says:

    I have to agree that a vote for the Lib Dem’s seems the only logical choice. Sure, they may turn out to be as bad as the rest – but when I look back at this debacle I would like to be able to say I did SOMETHING to try and change it.

    @Mandrill – I can see your point, but it is rather stupid. If you believe that not using your vote will bring change, then go ahead. Just don’t expect me to follow you.

    “You’re brought up to belive that voting matters, that it actually makes a difference, ”

    Yep. I was also brought up to belive that pain hurts, gravity makes things fall and fire burns. I’m not about to change my opinion becouse some random person on a gaming site called me a “sheep”

  28. Ken McKenzie says:

    Mandelson did not ‘resign twice due to corruption’, and I’d suggest that libel was a bit of a baddie even if Mandy is the target.

    First time, he resigned over a home loan made to him by Geoffrey Robinson that was not declared. Robinson was under investigation by Mandelson’s department and it was felt this was a conflict of interest (Robinson ended up having to resign as well).

    Second time, he resigned after it was alleged he affected a passport application made by one of the Hindujas. He left the Government but was exonerated by an official enquiry.

    • mandrill says:

      My point is that voting does absolutely nothing to change anything. If it did I would be the first person to advocate it. I’m not advocating armed revolution but simply ignoring the whole sorry lot of them and living by your own rules and not theirs is a good start.

      Those in power, and those who will be in power, have a vested interest in keeping the status quo of gov’t as it is, when it really isn’t adequate to a 21st century society, as this bill has proven.

    • CMaster says:

      @Mandrill

      Just ignoring the rules and doing things your own way doesn’t work.
      The government have the legal system, the economic controls, the police and the military all on their side. They’ve got a million sticks to beat you with and carrots to tempt you, or tempt others to stop you. If you want to live in libertarian fantasy land, or anarcho-communist love land then you’re going to need to remove or change the established system. Sure, a revolution at this moment would probably fall flat on its face – but that or change from within is necessary for what you are suggesting.

    • 7rigger says:

      @Mandrill -I think you may have replied to the wrong person there :P

      As I stated – I understand your point (It’s not a very difficult one) I just think it’s silly and lazy.

      “When they tried to take our freedoms through democratic reforms, I was there.”
      “What did you do daddy?”
      “I ABSTAINED”
      “Yay! Because silence is the only true form of revolution!”

    • mandrill says:

      yeah I replied to the wrong person o\ that was aimead the comment above yours *facepalm*

      In answer to you though.:

      Its not absaining, its passive resistance. I will not allow a system of government which I believe to be broken and corrupt to have any say in how I live my life. I will not give my approval to a system which I believe to be a complete charade by participating. I will not allow my moral code to be defined by laws which were written by people I have no wish to associate with and who know nothing about me or my life.

      If a law detrimentally impacts my way of life as I choose to live it I will break it. If I find that I agree with a law and that it agrees with my moral and ethical philosophy, then I will uphold it. Any law that has no impact one way ot the other will be ignored. I’m a rational being and my moral code is based on reason, and experience. I don’t need one imposed from outside thankyou very much, especially one imposed without my consent.

      There is no point in civil disobedience if you are not willing to take it to its logical conclusion, which is total refusal to participate at any level. I will not recognize anyone’s authority over me but my own, and I accept the responsibility that comes with that freedom.

    • 7rigger says:

      @Mandrill – Your point is well put – now that you have stopped calling people sheep :)

      In short, I’m not going to convince you – and you’re not going to convince me – so I suggest we “Passivley Resist” any further arguments or attempts to convince people.

      I’m still voting Lib Dem.

    • TeeJay says:

      @ mandrill “There is no point in civil disobedience if you are not willing to take it to its logical conclusion, which is total refusal to participate at any level. I will not recognize anyone’s authority over me but my own, and I accept the responsibility that comes with that freedom.”

      You don’t really have your ‘freedom’, nor do you have any real ‘responsibility’. The idea that you are not ‘participating in any way’ is suspect – here you are using a computer and the internet, using all the resources of the economy and society around you – you don’t have any responsibility for that. You don’t have any responsibility for running a hospital or school. You have the same freedoms as anyone else, and as soon as you step beyond that you will be jumped on just like anyone else. I somehow doubt you are creating some mini-‘free-state’ which you can physically defend for very long.

      Maybe I’m wrong – you have bravely headed off into the deepest wilderness and are building a new civilization. But my guess is that you are just doing the old euro-squat-festival-demo tour thing. Which is cool etc. but which does actually involve cooperating and collaborating with people, making group decisions and respecting some kind of rules rather than just doing whatever the hell you want and damn everyone else.

      Some people argue that this kind of small scale community living is fundementally different from what goes on in wider society and in elected governments, but I’d argue that in many ways it is just a matter of scale from small group > village > town > city > country. At any scale you can have someone ‘owning’ key resources, and varying levels of voluntarism and compulsion, freedom versus rules. A self-selecting group (eg a small communal house) can fool itself by externalising various things (value conflicts, getting resources, need for healthcare, childcare etc) to outside the group, but this doesn’t make it a viable model for the rest of society which can’t pull this trick.

  29. LAWLS says:

    @battles_atlas
    Yes I’m hugely envious of you Americans with your political system unencumbered by the taint of corporate lobbying.

    Big Tobacco was one of the biggest lobbyists in the US and they banned flavored tobacco sales, still. So, what, exactly, is your point? You’re sarcasm does not improve your internet situation and hopefully the constitution will be enforced long enough for it to not happen here.

    Oh btw, check out lobbying in the UK. Seems lobbying has a pull their too, at least enough for politicians to start complaining about.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/election-2010/7189466/David-Cameron-warns-lobbying-is-next-political-scandal.html

  30. Rosti says:

    At least it’s not quite the Aquinas protocol…

    I was disappointed in my MP’s (excellent, well-written) letter agreeing that this Bill is important enough to deserve proper scrutiny and discussion. And then didn’t. Ho hum.
    I’ve got the Lords discussion of the Bill on in the background, which is intriguing. I don’t know enough about the system to comment properly, but it’s interesting to see nevertheless, particularly the bit where Lord Young claimed that they’d spent sufficient time discussing it. Again: Ho hum.

    Many thanks for keeping an eye on the serious stuff as well as the whimsy, RPS.

  31. ulix says:

    Luckily (for once) I live in Germany, where the liberal party (FDP) stopped a law like this from happening (actually its the law against the blokcing of child-pornography, but since the reasoning behind it is to not create an infrastructure for censorship, it wouldn’t have mattered what kind of content).
    And I am still hoping they won’t fall under pressure from their coalition partner, the CDU, which would not only like to block websites, but also ban violent videogames (not unanomously, granted).
    Otherweise the Pirate-Party would probably get into Parliament, which would also be cool, but lets just hope it won’t come that far.

  32. Tei says:

    My problem with democracy, is that the system seems geared to “vote who want to command the system”. Thats not really what I am interested. I don’t have a strong position on most things, I have not magic formula to fix economy, or make the education system better, etc. but I have a strong position about Internet. A better system would make a better question “vote if you want internet neutrality”, “vote if you want privaci of comunications on the internet”, and things like that. This democracy systems is not direct in a way that you have to choice betwen too few options, people that may probably disagree about these issues. Is a WTF of a political system.

    A possible workaround, could be to ignore the query, and choice the party that support your strong position issues. Here will be (probabbly) to vote the Piracy Party, not because you think will be better at govern the country. Only because are more probably with the same opinion as you about that issues.

  33. Ian says:

    I think it’s fair to say we can ignore anybody who advocates ignoring any rules “you don’t like” and move on.

    • 7rigger says:

      I’m ignoring this comment :P

    • mandrill says:

      Sorry but I can’t ignore this.

      So mindless obedience is your thing is it? If they passed a law saying that everyone should skin a baby once a day, you’d do it would you?

      Too many laws do not only weigh down a government with bureacracy, they also strip away the basic ability of people to reason for themselves with regard to right or wrong. There are people who now believe that it is against the law to photograph a policeman, simply because a policemand has told them not to. Over-reliance on laws to define a moral and ethical code is what causes those codes to break down along with our ability to think about them rationally.

      Instead of relying on ‘someone in authority’ to tell you what is right and wrong, use the reason and intelligence you were born with to figure it out for yourself. Who is to say the authority figure is right?

    • 7rigger says:

      And another of my jokes starts an argument.

      7rigger = Humour fail

  34. Shrewsbury says:

    I’m voting Monster Raving Loony.

  35. Xander says:

    Wait… doesn’t Youtube infringe on copyright on a daily basis? Hell I’m sure using ‘Hourly’ would be restrained. Goodbye to watching old episodes of Screenwipe then…

  36. Ygtdf says:

    “Can’t complain when you vote a bunch of racists into power tbh.”

    Not really sure where did you get that from / what does that has to do with the topic at hand / who are you talking about exactly / why are you assuming most people support the government, especially in light of the recent election results that showed otherwise.

    Out of touch, offtopic, sounds like your standard anti-french propaganda that some people in the english-speaking world seem to like so much.

    To be honest.

    • Wulf says:

      I’m actually glad that doesn’t apply to me, as racism tends to rub me the wrong way. I’ve never liked the idea of racial supremacy, no matter who’s responsible or what excuses they have, because there’s no race or creed that’s any better or worse than any other.

    • 7rigger says:

      Personally I’ve always hated the term “racism”

      In my mind we are all the same race. Collies and pugs are both dogs, and I don’t really see humans as any different. I feel that that by defining yourself or anyone else as a seperate “race” you are opening the door to discrimination.

      Just my thoughts on the matter – however off topic they may be :)

  37. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    cliffski: “Someone explain to my feeble brain how this right does not totally, utterly destroy copyright 100% overnight.”

    Copyright infringement wasn’t a crime until very very recently. Yet copyright as a concept was not destroyed. The policy you quote doesn’t totally, utterly destroy copyright because most people, despite your paranoid rage, aren’t desperate to bankrupt you. Most people realise perfectly well that if nobody BUYS creative content, creative content will stop being made.

    That’s why most people don’t pirate, and it’s also why numerous studies all show that most pirates spend MORE money buying creative content legitimately than non-pirates.

    There’s no need for anyone with even the most basic internet literacy to pay for any kind of digital content now, because absolutely everything can easily be found and downloaded in a matter of minutes, or hours at the outside. The pirated product is usually easier to obtain and often superior in quality (eg lacking DRM or those fucking DVD nag screens designed purely to punish legitimate purchasers).

    AND YET. Videogames sold more and made more money last year than any year in history. FOUR TIMES as many singles were sold in 2009 as in 2003, despite 2003 being roughly the point where broadband went mainstream and brought the possibility of easy piracy into almost every home, when previously it was solely the preserve of tech nerds. The App Store generates billions of dollars despite jailbreaking being simple. Etc etc.

    Piracy has become exponentially easier over the last decade or so. The chances of detection and prosecution are microscopically small. But sales of creative content have not plummeted accordingly – in fact, the reverse is true. Care to put forward an explanation for that? Or would you rather stick to your normal Daily Mail ranting, whereby a tiny handful of people who would never pay for anything get wildly exaggerated into the norm, and we end up putting every benefit claimant and every immigrant in prison?

    • Wulf says:

      Bless you for being a reasonable and intelligent person.

      The thing is with this is that it’s like DRM: DRM doesn’t care about its targets, and usually it will hit legitimate customers harder than anyone else.

      This Bill? The shrewd pirates will find ways to outwit the slow, lumbering, prehistoric beast that is our Government, I guarantee it. The people who’ll be hurt by this? Well, those are the innocent false positives who’ll get accused and get their lives turned upside down despite not being guilty of anything.

      When will they stop this? All they’re doing is punishing good, decent people and convincing them that they have to be unethical in order to survive.

    • Grunt says:

      Rev, I’d be interested in seeing some data to back up those statistics you’ve mentioned. Have you got a link or two to share?

  38. Dan (WR) says:

    From the HC debates ( http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debate/?id=2010-04-06b.877.2 )

    “The best way to illustrate this is by means of an old-tech linear-medium metaphor. In this metaphorical world that they have constructed, my hon. Friend Mr. Watson, who is in his place but not paying attention, is Luke Skywalker. He is the little guy, the plucky loner fighting the machine. Clay Shirky is Obi Wan Kenobi, the wise, broad, almost mystical guru figure. Peter Mandelson is obviously Darth Vader. Rather more counter-intuitively, however-this is where the metaphor begins to fracture-the evil Sith Chancellor Palpatine, the most evil universally bad figure of all, turns out to be Steven Spielberg. ”

    … >.> … <.< … 0_0 … ;_;

  39. ArtyFishal says:

    I respect the right to intellectual privacy, but through lawsuits, not legislation. These are big interests with big money we’re talking about. They have the resources to devote to identifying and bringing charges against copyright violators, it is not governments’ responsibility to proactively protect against possible copyright violation but to enforce the law when such a violation has been proven. The internet the potential of the internet is dwindling everyday.

    • Wulf says:

      I couldn’t agree more with that, legislation should stay well out of this…

      All I really want at the moment is to move to a country that’s known for more sane laws, something that’s worthy of respect, maybe a nation that has a higher HDI index value than 21.

      I still love Wales, I really do, it’s a beautiful land and it has some fantastic people, but my respect for Britain has gone down the crapper.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      The UK is at position 21 in the HDI ranking. Out of 182.

      Its HDI value is 0.947 out of 1, and the highest-ranking nation, Norway, has a score of 0.971.

      If you’re looking to move up to somewhere with a higher HDI score, I hear Canada is pretty nice, though.

    • Wulf says:

      Canada and Scandinavia are the most tempting prospects, actually.

      And yes, I think 21 is low when those countries are setting the standard, a standard that we could follow, but don’t.

    • CMaster says:

      @Wulf
      HDI differences on the scale of 0.02 are pretty close to trivial, and HDI also doesn’t really helpfully distinguish between developed nations.

      Free (bad) Games || Mountainbiking Videos || Gaming Videos

  40. clive dunn says:

    Right i’m not happy. I sent that email thingy to my MP and she promised to ‘look into the issues’ blahdeblah. Now i’m getting fucking spammed morning and night by her; begging for my fugging vote. I’ve even had phone calls from the local labour party; how the fuck did they suddenly get my number? What the fuck is going on. Is my little vote worth that much?

    Oh and by the way, i always vote for the candidate who seems least likely to get his (£500) deposit back (as long as they arn’t the fucking fascists). That, my freind, is called supporting democracy.

    p.s. One little observation from last week. Was in Burnley town centre (really wouldn’t recommend it) and there was this BNP stall handing out flyers and generally being your freindly nazi representatives. They were even handing leaflets to passing asian families.
    Now i may have just been playing too much GTA IV but i wanted toi jack a car and drive it at full speed through these fuckfaces.
    Now THAT’S democracy!

  41. Arca says:

    Anybody else think that the ‘Pirate Party’ would get hell of a lot more support from people if they changed their name and made it seem that they were more for the freedom of speech, yada yada than just being able to pirate on the internet, which the name implies.

    • mandrill says:

      Yeah its a tricky one this. the name ‘The Pirate Party’ gets them a helluva lot more publicity than their eminently sensible policies ever would. Have any of you ever heard of the Libertarian Party, or seen them get any mainstream coverage? I’m willing to be the number is small.

      Being called the Pirate party is a calculated risk.

  42. mbp says:

    A couple of weeks back Obama made a speech that scared me somewhat. In it he pointed out that Western nations are no longer competitive at manufacturing anything. The whole wealth imbalance that we enjoy in the West is based on the tenuous notion of intellectual property.

    Intellectual property is an artificial concept so the laws made to protect it are almost certainly going to be unfair and abusive but without them all wealth would flow to whoever can manufacture stuff cheapest which is certainly not anywhere in Europe or the USA.

    The conclusion is that without these silly restrictive laws that enforce dubious intellectual property rights there is no reason why a worker in Los Angeles or London can expect to earn more than someone doing the same job in Beijing.

    If you accept that perspective, which does make a lot of sense if you think about it, then someone one in the UK voting against the DIgital Economy Bill is a bit like a turkey voting for Christmas. The rules created to enforce intellectual property rights may be unfair and silly but ultimately they are allowing you and I to enjoy a totally unrealistic standard of living compared to the bulk of the World’s population.

    • Wulf says:

      All of that, as eloquent as it is, totally misses the point.

      The point is this: Pirates will always exist. Governments won’t stop them, laws won’t stop them, and most of them will be shrewd enough not to be caught. The Digital Economy Bill is just like DRM. Pirates will be smart enough to sidestep it as though it didn’t exist, to the point where it’s totally impotent at the job it’s designed for.

      The Government will likely find other uses for it when they realise this, uses which wouldn’t be at all legal without the presence of the Digital Economy Bill, such as manipulating media and holding this over the heads of people. So who’s going to suffer the most?

      Who suffers the most at the hands of DRM?

      The legitimate customer, that’s right!

      This will hurt the legitimate customer with false positives, because the people who’ll be investigating piracy won’t be able to tell Steam, from GoG.com, from Digital River, from Direct2Drive, from piracy, and if it doesn’t have a case and/or receipt then it’s a pirated copy, that’s that, that’s one count against you, one count that could quickly turn into three, you’d then lose your Internet. They’d decide that you’re guilty and defending yourself is very difficult.

      If we’re not careful, stuff like this will destroy intellectual property by convincing people that intellectual property (especially digitally distributed stuff) just isn’t safe to own.

    • 7rigger says:

      I agree with you there. I heard somewhere (please don’t ask me to provide a link) that one of the biggest contributors to the American economy is the state of California, and that money can only really come from Hollywood. If we devalue the intellectual property that they produce then we could destroy what allows us our cushy western lifestyle. (If America gets a sniffle, Britian gets a cold)

      As said above though, I’m not entirely against the act – just the way it was forced through.

    • 7rigger says:

      I meant I agreed with mbp.

      But I agree with Wulf as well.

      I am getting confused

    • Grunt says:

      “because the people who’ll be investigating piracy won’t be able to tell Steam, from GoG.com, from Digital River, from Direct2Drive, from piracy, and if it doesn’t have a case and/or receipt then it’s a pirated copy, that’s that”

      You don’t keep your receipts? Maybe you should start.

      But to save your lazy ass the companies that sold you games WILL keep tabs on which products you bought, all neat and provable should the twisted lamp-light of the law ever shine upon you. But if you’ve got a copy of Assassins Creed, say, sitting there on a burned DVD – no corresponding shop-bought copy or receipt to prove ownership – well that’s slightly trickier to explain away as an innocent mistake, isn’t it? I’d be interested in hearing how you’d justify that….

      Also, I find the fact you believe that only utter incompetents will be investigating these cases to be extraordinarily laughable. Won’t be able to tell the difference between a digitally encrypted Steam game and GoG unbranded? Funniest thing I’ve heard in ages. No, really.

    • Wulf says:

      I expected better Grunt, I really did, from you at least…

      “You don’t keep your receipts? Maybe you should start.”

      See, I didn’t say that. But whatever.

      “But to save your lazy ass the companies that sold you games WILL keep tabs on which products you bought, all neat and provable should the twisted lamp-light of the law ever shine upon you.”

      But what if they don’t understand an email receipt from Digital River?

      “But if you’ve got a copy of Assassins Creed, say, sitting there on a burned DVD – no corresponding shop-bought copy or receipt to prove ownership – well that’s slightly trickier to explain away as an innocent mistake, isn’t it? I’d be interested in hearing how you’d justify that….”

      Don’t bullshit me, please. You know that’s not what I’m talking about and we both fucking well know it. See, this is what pisses me off the most: intellectual dishonesty. You’re making a flawed assumption, and it appears to be on purpose, and you don’t bother to check with me if what you’re saying is true, you just present it as something I said in order to cover your own backside. This is called intellectual dishonesty. I don’t like it, I never will.

      You’re implying a pirated copy of Assassin’s Creed II and trying to paint me into the corner as a pirate, it’s almost like you’ve been bloody brainwashed. Look, here’s the point: I buy a game from GoG.com, GoG.com has a DRM free installer. I write the installer (and maybe some others) to a DVD and write the name(s) of the game(s) down on the label. To you, and to them, that would look like a pirated copy, your own flawed assertion there backs me up on that.

      Now the question is: If this looks like a pirated copy to you, and them, would they be educated enough then to understand an email receipt? Would they accuse me of fabrication and ask me for a paper receipt for these products? Would they then assume guilt (out of incompetence) and damn me anyway? These are perfectly reasonable doubts to have. To err is human, to be incredibly fucking fallible is a human Government, and this is a system which assumes guilty first and gives you little chance to defend yourself.

      “Also, I find the fact you believe that only utter incompetents will be investigating these cases to be extraordinarily laughable.”

      Yes, laughable like a British Internet police cop having porn on his own computer, the same kind of porn that he’s supposed to be investigating, and being guilty of the crimes he’s supposed to be investigating, and being too fucking stupid to hide his own porn. Look it up.

      Usually when computers are involved, investigators are not smart people.

      “Won’t be able to tell the difference between a digitally encrypted Steam game and GoG unbranded? Funniest thing I’ve heard in ages. No, really.”

      All right, then take a trip to your local constabulary and ask them if they know what Steam is, or even if they know what digital distribution is. Likely the people enforcing this will be none the wiser. You put far too much stock in the competence of your own Government. Far too much. Considering the huge fuck ups our Government has made over the last few years I’d have to say that you are providing the laughs by believing in their competence without a basis to do so, regardless of a heavy amount of evidence to the contrary.

      Let me know once you’ve woken up to the real world, where people aren’t perfect and mistakes happen, often at the hands of people who’re given jobs they don’t understand.

    • mandrill says:

      Well said Wulf, bravo.

      Government is very rarely competent, do you know why? Because they have ‘rules’ and ‘guidelines’ and ‘laws’ to do their thinking for them. Ours is a government of bureaucrats and managers, bean counters and jobsworth’s. They dare not overstep the bounds of their responsibilities by thinking for themselves and fall back on doing things ‘by the book’. So that they can say, when it inevitably blows up in their faces, that they were only following the rules.

      The MP’s expenses hoohah is a prime example of this. The people in power, the people you voted for, were prefectly correct when in their defense they stated “Nothing we have done has broken any rules.” As if in some way this absolved them of all blame.

      Now we have a whole new set of ruled (the DEB) which will allow the jobsworths and busybodies to pry and poke some more and exert their petty power over us. It may walk like a duck and quack like a duck, but to them, if the rules say its an ostrich, then by god its an ostrich.

      Do not trust your gov’t to be fair, just, competent, or even to care about you in the slightest. It exists not as a benevolent parent does, to care and look after you. It exists only to continue its own existence, at any cost.

    • Grunt says:

      “I expected better Grunt, I really did, from you at least…”

      Thanks for the compliment, albeit slightly back-handed.

      But what if they don’t understand an email receipt from Digital River?

      See, this is the crux of where we disagree. You tend to fear the worst. I agree it is entirely possible that an investigator could fail to grasp the most basic tenets of their job but see it as unrealistic. Tthe degree of incompetence you seem to expect simply does not correspond with my own experiences of the real world. Of course there are huge f***-ups in every line of work, and outright stupidity being perpetrated on a daily basis, but by-and-large these events are the exception rather than the rule.

      “But if you’ve got a copy of Assassins Creed, say, sitting there on a burned DVD – no corresponding shop-bought copy or receipt to prove ownership – well that’s slightly trickier to explain away as an innocent mistake, isn’t it? I’d be interested in hearing how you’d justify that….”

      “Don’t bullshit me, please. You know that’s not what I’m talking about and we both fucking well know it. See, this is what pisses me off the most: intellectual dishonesty. You’re making a flawed assumption, and it appears to be on purpose, and you don’t bother to check with me if what you’re saying is true, you just present it as something I said in order to cover your own backside. This is called intellectual dishonesty. I don’t like it, I never will.”

      No, I was positing a hypothetical example, not trying to pin any skullduggery on you personally, Wulf. If you must be ever vigilant for ‘intellectual dishonesty’ (whatever that actually is) at least learn to give others the benefit of the doubt before reaching for the great stick of condemnation. I do concede, though, that this should have been more clearly expressed, My apologies. To clarify, I was trying to point out that there WILL be a distinction made between genuine downloads and those sourced illicitly.

      “You’re implying a pirated copy of Assassin’s Creed II and trying to paint me into the corner as a pirate, it’s almost like you’ve been bloody brainwashed. Look, here’s the point: I buy a game from GoG.com, GoG.com has a DRM free installer. I write the installer (and maybe some others) to a DVD and write the name(s) of the game(s) down on the label. To you, and to them, that would look like a pirated copy, your own flawed assertion there backs me up on that.”

      Look like a pirate at a glance. It would take precisely one day to train an officer (or whoever) in at least the existence of the various types of digital downloads that exist in the market today, and to put in place a process that would require on-site evidence be corroborated. Having built processes and trained people in their use in the past this is well within my sphere of expertise.

      “Now the question is: If this looks like a pirated copy to you, and them, would they be educated enough then to understand an email receipt? Would they accuse me of fabrication and ask me for a paper receipt for these products? Would they then assume guilt (out of incompetence) and damn me anyway? These are perfectly reasonable doubts to have. To err is human, to be incredibly fucking fallible is a human Government, and this is a system which assumes guilty first and gives you little chance to defend yourself.”

      Not educated enough to understand an email receipt? Who is being sent out here – Peter Griffin?

      “Also, I find the fact you believe that only utter incompetents will be investigating these cases to be extraordinarily laughable.”

      “Yes, laughable like a British Internet police cop having porn on his own computer, the same kind of porn that he’s supposed to be investigating, and being guilty of the crimes he’s supposed to be investigating, and being too fucking stupid to hide his own porn. Look it up.

      Usually when computers are involved, investigators are not smart people.”

      That’s an over-generalisation. I cannot agree with it based on only one example of what does sound like incredible stupidity but sadly, having looked as you suggested, I can’t seem to find any corroborating evidence to back that up.

      “Won’t be able to tell the difference between a digitally encrypted Steam game and GoG unbranded? Funniest thing I’ve heard in ages. No, really.”

      “All right, then take a trip to your local constabulary and ask them if they know what Steam is, or even if they know what digital distribution is.”

      Oh, you’re being silly now. Your local constabulary may not know now (what if they do?) but if they have to enact and enforce this law I fully expect at least the merest hint of education and briefing to take place on the subject, or do you think that the people investigating child porn were simply pointed at the internet and told to “get on with it”? They’d have accomplished NOTHING if that were the case.

      “Likely the people enforcing this will be none the wiser.”

      An entirely subjective opinion.

      “You put far too much stock in the competence of your own Government. Far too much. Considering the huge fuck ups our Government has made over the last few years I’d have to say that you are providing the laughs by believing in their competence without a basis to do so, regardless of a heavy amount of evidence to the contrary.”

      On the contrary, I put stock in the general decency of human beings to at least try to do their jobs to something like a competent level, if not to the best of their ability. You, by contrast, seem to automatically assume the worst. I’m no fan of UK Govt; I’d have the whole corrupt edifice torn down and reconstructed if the power to do so were mine. But I refuse to believe that the whole organisation, the civil services, and other services surrounding them such as the police are staffed predominantly by mental incompetents. It’s just not realistic given what they DO achieve.

      “Let me know once you’ve woken up to the real world, where people aren’t perfect and mistakes happen, often at the hands of people who’re given jobs they don’t understand.”

      Typical Digg-baiting. The call to “wake up”. Your opinion is so clearly the paragon of reason while my own must be the fevered ravings of an unhinged, unseeing mind. Unworthy of you, Wulf. Must Try Harder.

  43. undead dolphin hacker says:

    That picture reminds me of a university math(s) course three quarters of the way through a semester.

    • 7rigger says:

      Thanks for the link, I had no idea direct democracy was failing that badly.

      I worked from these facts (from wikipedia)

      “California’s economy is the largest of any state in the US, and is the eighth largest economy in the world.”

      I wonder how their problems will relate to the rest of the U.S.?

  44. Quercus says:

    If you want proper Electoral Reform, you HAVE to vote Lib Dems – end of.
    If they had been in power the Expenses scandal and lobbying scandals would never have happened.
    It is a shame they only got 29% of their MPs in the Commons for this debate but presumably the rest of them (and definitely Nick Clegg) are already involved in the election campaign and are either campaigning in their constituencies or (in the case of Nick Clegg), rushing around the country campaigning.

    My own MP (Sir John Butterfill) was the Tory MP caught out by the lobbying scandal so that says everything about his moral status.

    Seriously, make a change by voting LibDem.

  45. clive dunn says:

    Fuck voting! LET’S RIOT!
    Get ourselves down to the BPI and burn the fuckers out of their offices.
    Call yourself a pirate?!

  46. jsutcliffe says:

    … I just can’t reconcile my childhood image of Clive Dunn with the monster he’s become.

  47. DJ Phantoon says:

    Jim Rossingnol for House of Commons!

    Though this isn’t a nomination, I’m not British. Merely a suggestion.

  48. clive dunn says:

    apologies folks. long day today, ending in anger at reading all this. Sometimes you just wanna smash some shit up.

    • mandrill says:

      It may yet come to that Clive.

      I’m not going to say anymore on this subject (I can hear the cheers from here, thanks :P) but I’ll leave you with three choice quotes which I feel sums up how I feel about the whole debacle quite well:

      “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”

      “I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.”

      “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”

      I’ll leave you to figure out who said them.

  49. Mario Figueiredo says:

    This is not good bill. But this is the necessary bill. And for once I’m happy my own country is a spineless lap dog ready to follow on the ankles of Europe’s greatest. Because that means sooner than later we will have the same bill over here.

    I just simply don’t like living in a world that promotes, encourages or otherwise protects the trash that tries to steal from me my right from gathering dividends for my work.

    And if anyone here sees this Bill as a wrongdoing, you are probably right. But exactly what did you expect? What exactly was our answer to unregulated internet access? The rampant violations of copyright laws, technological barriers to protect minors from pornographic content, an ever increase of identity theft, rampant and uncontrolled cyber crime,…

    How many slaps in the hand do we really deserve until action must be taken? Just yesterday I was reading on Ars Technica people commenting on what they felt was their right to download eBooks from P2P websites for books they already owned. What the fuck?!

    What? Anyone in here thought they could have an unregulated internet forever? Are you dreaming!? Today the internet is a multi-billion dollar arena for large and small business. It can amount to as much as a 2 figure digit in a country’s internal product. And we asked for these businesses to be here. We asked for them! For Amazon, for D2D, for cloud networks, for all sorts of services and products. And then what? They weren’t going to do anything to protect their investment?

    Who cares if you think this is not going to stop piracy! It will put a damn dent on it. And do pray it stops it or seriously hampers it. Because if it doesn’t, the answer is not a new world where everyone will have Greensleeves parties around the fireplace singing about the free world. No, it will be even more restrictions.

    Because, my friends, we need an economy. It puts the food on our plates. And on my case, I need my rights as a creator to be protected. Not vandalized.

    • Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “It will put a damn dent on it.”

      No it won’t. Don’t be fucking stupid.

    • Uhm says:

      Odd, then, that there’s such vocal opposition from big companies. On the internet.

    • diddly says:

      you’re insane if you think that the future of digital media is going to be anything but free for the vast majority of pirating users, and this won’t make the slightest difference to that.

      good luck making money in whatever field you work in, but my advice would be to adapt, not to hang on to the past.

    • nil says:

      Anyone in here thought they could have an unregulated internet forever?
      The interesting thing about the internet is that regulations don’t really matter. Code does. And given the choice between trusting politicians or math, I think obvious answer is obvious.