Mandelson Wants Gov't To Have Sweeping Powers To Protect Copyright Holders

from the this-is-not-good dept

As pretty much everyone who reads Techdirt has been submitting today, Lord Peter Mandelson over in the UK -- the guy who just discovered copyright law after a resort vacation dinner with entertainment industry mogul David Geffen -- wants to go even further in changing copyright law against consumers' rights. We already know that he was the major force behind getting the UK to move forward with a plan to kick file sharers off the internet based on a "three strikes" plan that involves accusations, not convictions. This was despite a study by the government which had already concluded that three strikes was a bad idea.

However, the latest plan seems even more ridiculous. Not only would it include a new offense for those who download unauthorized material, it would allow the government to give powers to "any person as may be specified" to do whatever is necessary to try to stop online infringement. In other words, it would allow the government to basically deputize anyone they wanted (such as record labels...) with near complete power and little oversight to do whatever they thought necessary to fight online infringement. And this includes changing copyright law at will through "secondary legislation" that involves no Parliamentary oversight or debate. Talk about a broad, sweeping and totally ridiculous change to copyright law.

Part of the reasoning, supposedly, is to be able to force online digital lockers like YouSendIt, which are quite useful for legally sharing all sorts of things, to get rid of privacy, so that any infringing works sent via those tools can be revealed. The whole thing is an incredible overreach of power, well beyond anything that is necessary. Mandelson doesn't even hide the fact that this is done purely in support of copyright holders and against consumers' rights:
"These can be used entirely legitimately, but recently rights holders have pointed to them as being used for illegal use,"
Because if rights holders don't like it, it must be stopped? He admits in the letter that consumer groups will oppose this proposal, but he doesn't seem concerned. Consumers, after all, don't take him out to dinner at expensive resorts.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:08pm

    hmmmm.....

    Seems like he is trying really hard to get that job over at RIAA ...

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:13pm

    Sigh...

    "In other words, it would allow the government to basically deputize anyone they wanted (such as record labels...) with near complete power and little oversight"

    And it's been a beautiful day here at the Corporatism 500. As we head into the final leg of the race, the contest is a close one going into the 400th lap. Recently the South Korean car had made a strong push into first place inhead of Team America, but just when the Koreans thought their lead was sound, here comes the UK with a surge to lead the pack!

    Uh, wait folks, apparently there is some guy in an oversized black helmet waving the caution flag and spitting on the cars as the go past. Well, this is a Corporatism 500 first!

    Caution! Caution! Danger Will Robinson!

     

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      Killer_Tofu (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 6:07am

      Re: Sigh...

      And we were just talking yesterday about the corruption and them blatently pissing on our rights in broad daylight.
      This is a case that exemplifies our wanting some sections of law / lawmakers completely redone.

       

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    Ryan, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

    Similarities

    However, the latest plan seems even more ridiculous. Not only would it include a new offense for those who download unauthorized material, it would allow the government to give powers to "any person as may be specified" to do whatever is necessary to try to stop online infringement. In other words, it would allow the government to basically deputize anyone they wanted (such as record labels...) with near complete power and little oversight to do whatever they thought necessary to fight online infringement. And this includes changing copyright law at will through "secondary legislation" that involves no Parliamentary oversight or debate. Talk about a broad, sweeping and totally ridiculous change to copyright law.

    Replace copyright with something about the economy, and isn't this the same sort of power the U.S. already gave to the Federal Reserve?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:15pm

    I think comparison with Hitler would not be completely inaccurate.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:29pm

    Sorry, you said something about "everyone who regularly reads Techdirt sent this in"...

    I was busy writing this and missed the memo:
    http://techdirt.com/article.php?sid=20091118/0740516984&cid=589#addyourcomment

     

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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:39pm

    Wow

    Mandelson is a huge douchnozzle. How does he still have a job in the government? I'm not very familiar with the UK's political process, but I take it this ass bag wasn't elected. So how would the UK citizenry go about getting him removed from office?

    They should really go about it soon; they might not have any rights at all before long if they let this sort of poppycock propagate.

     

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:48pm

      Re: Wow

      Like most of life's problems, this one can be solved with proper application of explosives. ; P

       

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      Call me Al (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 2:13pm

      Re: Wow

      Mandy was forced to resign twice in disgrace when he was an MP but each time he came back. However as a Lord we cannot vote him out. The only way to take him out of power is to ensure that the Labour party are not the Government.

      Fortunately we have an election in about six months and hopefully they'll get kicked out.

      I'm not wildly ecstatic about the Conservatives closeness to business but I have read articles by leading members which shows a lot of more sense on Copyright issues and on the Internet in particular. Whether they stick to it when elected is another matter.

       

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    TDR, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:45pm

    Not through normal means, I'd guess, Nasty. He's too entrenched. A more radical approach may be necessary.

     

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    cc, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:48pm

    The current UK gov't is so disliked that, I think, don't mind what people make of their actions anymore. They are prepared to do all the dirty work for the next 10-20 years.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 1:02pm

    How do you make decisions made by the US Supreme Court irrelevant?

    Simple- Make your own court. Then pass ACTA in secret and get UK support.

    Creative Commons and Lessig/Patry/Nesson looks better and better for artists every day.

     

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    Darren, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 1:11pm

    I live in the UK and this guy represents just about everything that is wrong with our political system. Never mind, there's going to be an election next year and the tories will almost certainly get in. Maybe they'll reverse this ridiculous state of affairs.
    Oh no, I forgot, they're even more pally with the business sector.
    Joy!

     

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      eclecticdave (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 1:36pm

      Re:

      > the tories will almost certainly get in

      Only if everyone votes for them because they "will almost certainly get in" - that sort of thing is self-fulfilling.

      Seriously I really wish I could convince everyone to vote for *Someone Else* next year. Really, I couldn't even care less who people vote for, as long as it's not LAB or CON. It's time we shook things up around here.

      If you need an incentive just remember that there were many MPs in both parties abusing the expenses system - and Cameron saying "well guys we'd better give the money back then" *doesn't* make it all right!

       

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        Fraggle850, Nov 21st, 2009 @ 7:24am

        Re: Next election

        I gather that the Digital Britain measures have cross-party support so don't expect the tories or the lib-dems to do anything if either of them get in.

        I agree that assuming the tories will get in when labour lose is a self-fulfilling prophecy that serves none of us well (apart from those with an interest in maintaining the status quo)

        We will undoubtedly be free of the blairite legacy of control-freakery after the next election but nothing will change: covert surveilance will continue to rise, more laws will be enacted in less democratic ways that seek to do away with whatever illusory freedom we retain.

        Foul your voting paper! They have to count fouled ballots and you could argue that a statistically significant increase in fouled ballots after a campaign to encourage such behaviour indicated a mandate for change because all of the parties were obviously failing the people. It's better than an apathetic no-show because your disapproval counts.

        I quite like the sentiments expressed here: http://www.noneoftheaboveparty.org.uk/

        As an aside I was interested to note that within hours of an announcmeent banning MPs from employing family members to screw our tax money into their bank accounts they were already talking of having 'wife swapping' agreements to get around it! The arrogant little Shi-ites.

         

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    Dink, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 2:38pm

    This sounds very much like Reds under the Beds and the Salem Witch Hunts. Accuse someone of not paying for media and the Mendelsonist movement will take your job, lock you up and tarnish your reputation, all based on a single accusation.


    We've been here before and it doesn't work.

     

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    cc, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 3:01pm

    Darren, the Tories are supposedly good buddies with Mr Murdoch, so we're basically screwed no matter how you look at it.

    And we also have *shudder* the BNP.

    Oh, and the Pirate Party.

     

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      Dom S, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 2:00am

      Re:

      I share the horror of the BNP getting in somewhere. all the racist working class trash (ie 90% of the working class population) from every council estate in the country already back the riduculous views of that fat c**t Nick Griffin so there is the possibility (no matter how remote) that they will end up running the country. I woul dhope to see Lib Dem in power just to see how they struggle and the Pirate Party would be the ultimate downfall of the country for sure.

      for the record, it doesnt matter who ends up in power in the UK, we're too chummy with the US who already have other stupid laws being suggested and we dont listen to the voice of reason (ie the EU and the public). whats the point in voting anyway. whoever gets voted in will do what they want and for whatever reason they *think* is good enough (usually making the rich and themselves richer).

      removing the rights of freedom belonging to us (the people) has clearly been on the agenda for years. Mandelson just wants his slice of the bribery pie so he wont think about whats best for us, just whats best to help increase his bank balance.

      I HATE THIS F**KING COUNTRY AND OUR DUMBASS DRACONIAN GOVERNMENT/POLITICAL SYSTEM.

       

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    Chris in Utah (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 3:41pm

    Forgetting something?

    One thing ya forgot is the UK is the forerunner how the rest of the European Union is run. Hope Spain screams bloody murder again for civil rights.

     

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    Chris in Utah (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 3:56pm

    Oh wait I forgot

    Oh yeah, the European Union needs no oversight!

     

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    drewmerc (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 4:04pm

    when spain is the voice of reason in europe you know it's time to leave

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 11:12pm

    If there was ever any urgency in voting Pirate Party... this is it!

     

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    John, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 1:55am

    Car clamping

    This is a repeat of the car clamping fiasco-
    They allowed car clampers to set their own terms and were then surprised when it can cost over 1000 GBP to request a clamper to release your car. Of course it is necessary to put a sign up where you cannot park but if it is small enough put high enough no one will see it and the car is clamped.
    A better scam was "I'll keep the driver talking and you nip round the back and clamp a wheel".
    The outcry eventually caused the government to arrive at a code of practice and move to licensing the car clamp operators. All I believe at incorrect use of secondary legislation.
    So we in the UK can look forward to copyright holders accusing you of using something trivial like using the word "Hello" in an essay and need to pay for that usage - say 10 GBP per usage. My school essays - about 500 words could cost say 5000 GBP on this account alone.

     

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    D Man, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:03am

    Labour will lose the next election, and the Tories will decide to implement these Draconian measures (as they're in big business' pocket even more). This will prove unpopular with both young voters (and those accused), and will therefore help Labour in the following election (when Mandy will probably be Labour leader). By this time it will be established policy so no changes whatever the party.

    So, the record companies get what they want (from both Labout and the Tories), and Mandy doesn't do any harm to his leadership bid (funded by those he's helped). In a two party system everyone's a winner - except the public of course.

     

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    cc, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 4:41am

    I don't know about the pirate party. They do sound like little kids with lofty ideals, but funnily enough when it comes to running a country they might do a better job than what we currently have.

    I may need to seriously consider voting for them the way things are going! :P

    Lib Dem definitely deserve a fair chance, but I doubt they'll make a stand against this country being run by companies (and banks especially), which is what the real problem is.

     

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      Hephaestus (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 7:49am

      Re:

      "I may need to seriously consider voting for them ..."

      The unintended consequences of draconian IP laws being the election of a house majority of idealists ....

       

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    Rabbit80 (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 5:52am

     

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      Hephaestus (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 8:23am

      Re:

      The subsection (124C - 4b) I like is ...

      "(b) payment in advance of a contribution towards meeting costs incurred by the provider."

      the word "contribution" stands out the section should read ....

      (b) payment in advance of "all" costs incurred by the provider.

      If it doesn't read "all" the copyright holders can say we are only going to provide you with 1% of the costs of policing your subscribers. Transfering the cost to the ISP. Plus there doesn't seem to be any method for the ISP's to dispute or bill any incidental costs incured. If I ran an ISP in the UK I would be really scared.

       

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    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 8:46am

    Okay ....

    This is weird ... the UK's Digital Economy Bill reads like who ever wrote it referenced ACTA and modified for the UK's legal system.

     

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    John Barron, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 8:51am

    will only drive support for Pirate politics...

    ... bringing us more and more voters who are disgusted with what's being done in the name of copyright enforcement.

     

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    Dave, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 12:43pm

    Mandy

    This guy is going power-crazy. Like to know whose pocket he's in. Previous comments about being un-elected get to the point. He needs to be stopped. He has absolutely no room to talk, having been involved in dubious activities in the past and, wonder of wonders, came bouncing back!

     

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    Philip Hunt, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 8:24pm

    I won�t vote for any MP who supports Mandelson�s Digital Economy Bill

    I've created a Facebook group I won’t vote for any MP who supports Mandelson’s Digital Economy Bill. The group’s name is pretty much self-explanatory. While Lord Mandelson wasn’t elected, all 646 MPs in the House of Commons were, and most of them would like to keep on being MPs.

    We’re lucky in the timing of this, because there has to be a general election within the next 8 months. There are roughly 40 millions internet users and 7 million filesharers in the UK; if we all makes our voice heard, they have to care what we think, at least until the election is over.

    If you want to fight this unjust law -- or even if you just don't want your friends to be thrown off the net on an unfounded allegation -- you should join this group, invite all your friends to join, and publicise it on your blog or website.

     

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