UK Parliament Asks For Public Comment On Six IP Policy Questions

from the get-your-thoughts-in dept

It appears that the UK Parliament is asking for thoughts from the public on six key policy questions around intellectual property. You can be assured that the large lobbying organizations will make their voices heard, but it would be great if others in the UK, who have a more modern and nuanced view of what's happening around intellectual property issues, would make their voices heard as well:
1) What should the objective of IP policy be?

2) How well co-ordinated is the development of IP policy across government? Is IP policy functioning effectively on a cross-departmental basis? What changes to the machinery of government do you believe would deliver better IP policy outcomes?

3) There have been numerous attempts to update the IP framework in the light of changes brought about by the digital environment. How successful have these been and what lessons can be learnt from these for policy developments?

4) How effective is the Intellectual Property Office and what should its priorities be?

5) UK IP policy sits within European and supranational agreements. How should the UK government co-ordinate its policy at an international level and what should it do to promote IP abroad to encourage economic growth? Do you have examples of good and poor practice in this area?

6) Protecting, and enforcement of, the IP framework often sits in very different departments to those that develop IP policy and those that have responsibility for the industries most affected. What impact does this have and how can it be improved?
If you do decide to respond, obviously take time to carefully detail your position and back it up with facts and analysis, rather than any sort of emotional response. The details of how to respond to the request can be found in the official announcement (pdf) of this inquiry. It's worth noting that the group organizing this does appear to come at these questions from an already biased position -- in that the person collecting these responses works for "the Alliance Against IP Theft." So, you're already dealing with someone who falsely defines infringement as theft. That's all the more reason to be careful, thorough and detailed in any response.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2012 @ 5:40pm

    Notice what's not asked,

    How long do you think IP lengths should last?

    Should there be a one size fits all length?

    What would be considered a balanced and fair penalty structure, for example,

    What's considered to be a fair penalty against those who infringe?

    Against those who raise false infringement claims?

    Should copy protection be opt in or opt out?

    Should there be a centralized database where people can register their works for storage so that when the works finally do enter the public domain, the public can enjoy the fruits of its unowed state granted monopoly and for others to reference?

    Should there be licensing caps?

    What safe harbors should be further included in the laws to prevent service providers from being deterred from providing for valuable services?

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2012 @ 6:02pm

    Re:

    These are not asked for the very obvious reason that it is not the purpose underlying the inquiry.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2012 @ 6:38pm

    It should be pointed out that the "group" is actually 5 members, at least 1 of which is a member of the house of lords, not actually elected, and NOT some official government body. It's just 5 guys who happen to be in politics. The name is VERY misleading!

     

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  4.  
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    Duke (profile), Mar 16th, 2012 @ 7:02pm

    Re:

    The title of this article is misleading, but the original article, and inquiry document make it quite clear it's just the All-Party Group asking these quests. There are APGs on all sorts of topics, it's a way for MPs with similar interests to get together and get direct lobbying support. In this case, the APIPG (which seems to have a minor cross-over with PICTFOR, the ICT group (that holds quite a few open debates and talks, including on copyright), and seems to be made up of avid copyright enforcement supporters (at least one of whom I've spoken to).

    It doesn't surprise me in the least that the Alliance Against IP Theft is behind the APG. The "Alliance" has been lurking in the background as a giant enforcement lobbying group in the UK for a few years now, a combination of all those acronymed groups, that want to make more money for themselves, technology be damned.

    I'll try to get something in for this, but I have a feeling it will fall on deaf ears.

     

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  5.  
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    ken (profile), Mar 16th, 2012 @ 7:02pm

    Copyright Unconstitutional?

    An excellent article about Freedom of Speech and Copyrights and how The 1st Amendment when enacted made some parts of copyright law unconstitutional in the context of freedom of speech.

    The copyright clause was part of the original Constitution. The Bill of Rights came after which included the 1st Amendment barring the free exercise of speech which means that amendment essentially repealed copyright law in the context of free speech.

    If I quote a copyrighted poem the 1st Amendment should protect me from any kind of government action which includes being sued via the courts. If I perform a song or perform a play or post a photo or news article in connection with speech then that must be protected under the Constitution.

    Now when it is not in context of speech such as using the content for commercial use then the free speech aspect would not apply.

    It would be interesting if copyright law was challenged under the 1st Amendment.

    http://c4sif.org/2011/11/copyright-is-unconstitutional/

     

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  6.  
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    TheLoot (profile), Mar 16th, 2012 @ 7:11pm

    Not in the U.K., but my personal answer to the only important question:

    1.) Just like Trademark laws, IP laws should cover COMMERCIAL activities only.

    Just let businesses fight it out after that.

     

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  7.  
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    ken (profile), Mar 16th, 2012 @ 7:13pm

    Copyright Unconstitutional?

    This is an excellent article and makes a great point about copyright law and the 1st Amendment. The copyright clause was part of the original Constitution before the Bill of Rights was passed. Once the 1st Amendment was passed it essentially repealed the copyright clause in the context of freedom of Speech.

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech"

    For instance if I were to recite a copyrighted poem the 1st Amendment should protect me from any government action including being sued via the courts. If I perform a copyright song I should have the same protection. Anything in context of free speech should not be actionable by a copyright holder because of the 1st Amendment.

    If I use copyrighted material outside of free speech such as using it for commercial purposes then that would be actionable and Congress can make laws barring that activity.

    The public should have virtually unlimited rights to use any copyrighted material in connection with free speech. It would be interesting if someone made this argument to the courts. Framed correctly this would be a very compelling argument.

    http://c4sif.org/2011/11/copyright-is-unconstitutional/

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2012 @ 8:18pm

    1) What should the objective of IP policy be?
    Promote progress, through the spread of knowledge.

    2) How well co-ordinated is the development of IP policy across government? Is IP policy functioning effectively on a cross-departmental basis? What changes to the machinery of government do you believe would deliver better IP policy outcomes?
    End of IP laws.

    3) There have been numerous attempts to update the IP framework in the light of changes brought about by the digital environment. How successful have these been and what lessons can be learnt from these for policy developments?
    Disastrous.

    4) How effective is the Intellectual Property Office and what should its priorities be?
    Ineffective to promote progress and the spread of knowledge.

    5) UK IP policy sits within European and supranational agreements. How should the UK government co-ordinate its policy at an international level and what should it do to promote IP abroad to encourage economic growth? Do you have examples of good and poor practice in this area?
    The right mixture to create an enviroment that creates sustainable economies can't be based on infinite growth, that is not realistic, what everybody wants is increase in wealth and that means increase in goods and services delivered to more individuals, now how do we achieve that? Not through granted monopolies that can't and will never respond rapidly enough to market forces, not by excluding others from that market, not by locking up knowledge that is for sure.

    6) Protecting, and enforcement of, the IP framework often sits in very different departments to those that develop IP policy and those that have responsibility for the industries most affected. What impact does this have and how can it be improved?
    End the monopolies and there will be no need to protect anything, the best protection against stagnation and scarcity is openness.

     

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  9.  
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    nasch (profile), Mar 16th, 2012 @ 8:51pm

    Answers

    I'm guessing how much attention your response will get depends on whether you answer questions 1 and 4 "correctly".

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2012 @ 9:33pm

    Re: Re:

    The title is very misleading, because it makes it look like this is something being driven by the parliament as a whole, rather than a small outside group run by a couple of members and someone from the house of lords.

    It's the sort of misrepresentation that Mike is famous for.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2012 @ 9:38pm

    Re:

    Answers such as you present are directed to matters having nothing to do with what is contained in the solicitation, and would accordingly be treated as non-responsive.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2012 @ 10:05pm

    Re: Re:

    The government should serve the public and the public should decide what the purpose of governmental inquiries are.

     

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  13.  
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    Loki, Mar 16th, 2012 @ 10:08pm

    Does it really matter how people respond? If the government (whether UK, US, or whomever) ignore their own internal report if the go against what the entertainment industry suggest, why would they pay any attention to anything the general public says that goes against the desires of the entertainment industry?

    They'll get a bunch of feedback, then handpick the stuff that supports the conclusions/positions they have already decided are right.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2012 @ 11:15pm

    Re:

    Correct. Which is why IP laws have to be an election issue. Unless the pollies are seriously frightened that they are about to get kicked out by the voters, they will go right on accepting the bribes from the copyright maximalists and hoping to get away with it.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2012 @ 11:18pm

    Re: Re:

    That sounds like bureaucratic incompetence and complacency getting in for a pre-emptive strike. Public servants who decline to serve the public get to lose their public service jobs.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2012 @ 2:18am

    Re: Re:

    Exactly the inquiry is just lip service to democracy and to give it a cloth of legitimacy, they already know what they want, they are just trying to find a way to make it legitimate to the public, not that they do care in the UK, somehow UK citizens are not humans they are sheep and it is being governed just like it was when the Queen actually had power.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    uk boy, Mar 17th, 2012 @ 2:42am

    Request for help.

    We need well written responses and balanced arguments.


    Please help us Mike.

    Every response helps

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2012 @ 2:54am

    Re: Re:

    How so?

    The Questions where:

    1) What should the objective of IP policy be?

    As a member of the public my interest in IP law is that it should benefit me somehow and that means it should show some benefit to me the public, if it doesn't promote the progress or spread of knowledge and only grants monopolies to people who will threaten democratic values like free speech and can be used as a powerful censor tool with a hint of legitimacy without providing financial benefits to me the public why should IP law even exist?
    To make it more expensive for me the public to buy something?
    To make it harder for me the public to find an "authorized" seller?
    To censor me the public in a way that seems legitimate?
    Why should me the public abide by such things then?
    It does not even stimulate commerce, it does exactly the opposite, it is an exclusion tool and one that we have thousands of years of accounts of how bad monopolies are and how detrimental their effects are.

    2) How well co-ordinated is the development of IP policy across government?

    Extremely coordinated, the government and the IP holders are at times almost like one and the same.

    Is IP policy functioning effectively on a cross-departmental basis?

    Apparently yes.

    What changes to the machinery of government do you believe would deliver better IP policy outcomes?

    The end of IP policy would have a better outcome in policy terms, it sheds the burden of having to waste money on "protecting" monopolists that through unfair advantage stop the production of goods and the delivery of services. That is no small amount, further it free the courts for attending to more important matters like real crime, not invented crimes that no one can prove harms anything.
    We have undeniable proof that IP law is not necessary, Arduino is a open source hardware manufacturer based in Italy, their designs can be copied, modified, distributed and even sold by others without having to pay anything back and still they make millions, like Arduino there are others doing the same.

    3) There have been numerous attempts to update the IP framework in the light of changes brought about by the digital environment. How successful have these been and what lessons can be learnt from these for policy developments?

    Disastrous, it criminalized and burdened the public, it eroded the public trust on government institutions and their ability to command and it showed people that they should be very aware of their own government and pay more attention to what it is doing. Lessons learned? IP like any other monopoly is an horrendous thing to inflict upon the public and there will be consequences to it.

    4) How effective is the Intellectual Property Office and what should its priorities be?

    Ineffective and I find it amusing that it needs to be stated again what the priorities of it should be, it should promote the progress through the spread of knowledge or their priorities should be whatever the answer to question "1)" is.

    5) UK IP policy sits within European and supranational agreements. How should the UK government co-ordinate its policy at an international level and what should it do to promote IP abroad to encourage economic growth?

    Promote openness and curtail monopolies? But of course that means not promoting IP abroad or at home but actually ending it, so the market can find their own solutions.

    Do you have examples of good and poor practice in this area?

    - Speculative invoicing which is the act of sending threatning letters to people with the intuit of not righting a wrong but to cash in on the fear of the law. (bad)
    - Patent trolling where non-practicing entities threaten the people who make something. (bad)
    This one also highlights the problem with an IP system that allows the transfer of IP to others, which innevitably will converge into a single super pool which will exclude everyone except the wealthiest of the wealthiest and can be used against countries since others can just buy the IP and stop locals from being able to enter the market.

    There are more reasons why IP should end.

    6) Protecting, and enforcement of, the IP framework often sits in very different departments to those that develop IP policy and those that have responsibility for the industries most affected. What impact does this have and how can it be improved?

    It has no negative impact since IP cannot be protected from the public and if done so it will generate the right environment for rebellion to improve matters end IP laws and open the market, that is better protection against external forces and competitors that won't be able to exclude the locals from doing anything and force those people to find solutions based on cooperation and mutual interests instead of mandated obedience.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2012 @ 3:26am

    IP law the 21th century heredited anachronism that threatens the world.

    Quote:
    You might say Watson or Crick for the structure of DNA – but while both did key work they also needed Rosalind Franklin and a host of other supporting characters. There is also far more to DNA than its structure. Or what about Tim Berners Lee who “invented” the World Wide Web? Undoubtedly “TimBL” was vital to its development but what about his less well lauded partner – Robert Callieau - or the many thousands of others who have left their mark on what it has become? And Ian Wilmut – the man who brought Dolly the Sheep to the world’s attention? Sure enough, the paper that describes just how the world’s first cloned mammal was “created” shows the names of at least four other scientists involved in the research.

    Source: BBC News: The myth of the lone genius by Quentin Cooper on the 16th of March 2012.

    Without open research there would be no innovation, but somehow some people believe we should grant a monopoly to the last individual on the chain of events that lead to some discovery, but in a world where you need dozens of others to work with you so you can have that aha moment it doesn't seem fair that only that one person would get it all does it?

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2012 @ 3:45am

    So awesome that this blog can now be used as empirical evidence of Google's evil agenda.

    And it's also very sweet that most people thought the new tech billionaires would be nice, as opposed to every other example in history of robber barons being greedy, blood-sucking gutter vermin.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2012 @ 5:03am

    Re: Re: Re:

    In addition to your points, the UK government also ignored the content of their very own reports (Gowers and Hargreaves) on copyright, and went straight for increased enforcement.

    The UK government didn't even attempt to make it look like they took any notice of their report, not even the prime point that any future laws on copyright should be based on objective evidence.

    Why should they bother listening now?

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2012 @ 5:46am

    "learnt"?

    Did they get Larry the cable guy to write this question for them?

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2012 @ 6:00am

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 16th, 2012 @ 5:40pm

    From reading the questions it sounds like they are asking broader general questions that solicit feedback which could include answers to the questions you posed but not be limited to them so I can not really fault them for that, however given the source of them, this looks like a case of asking just to give the appearance of listening even if they don't ever intend to use the feedback constructively.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2012 @ 6:14am

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 17th, 2012 @ 3:45am

    I have to ask. What twisted sense of logic are you using to link any of this to Google? Six degrees of separation?

     

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  25.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Mar 17th, 2012 @ 8:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    But is it misleading, or VERY misleading?

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2012 @ 9:55am

    Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 17th, 2012 @ 3:45am

    Many people believe this blog to be nothing but a front for Google's pro-piracy agenda.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Mar 17th, 2012 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 17th, 2012 @ 3:45am

    Many people believe this blog to be nothing but a front for Google's pro-piracy agenda.

    "Many"? Or you? And what evidence do you have? You said you have "empirical evidence", so let's see it.

     

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  28.  
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    nasch (profile), Mar 17th, 2012 @ 10:08am

    Re: "learnt"?

    The Brits have interesting little words like "learnt" and "whilst".

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2012 @ 10:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Money speaks louder than words.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2012 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re:

    I got that but shouldn't there be a "have" or "has" in there? When I read it, it just sounded like something LTG would say.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2012 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 17th, 2012 @ 3:45am

    Is your tinfoil hat on too tight?

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2012 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think if it was RD noting it, it would be:

    VERY MISLEADING AND TOTALLY HORRIBLE and I think it WOULD BE TOTALLY UTTERLY INSANELY MISLEADING!

    For the rest of us, it's just very misleading.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2012 @ 5:56pm

    Re:

    Incidentally robber - or rubber - barons eventually had to have their rubber seeds pirated by Great Britain who had someone smuggle rubber seeds outside of South America, or "pirated/stolen" if you will.

    I'm not seeing the parallel between robber barons and "tech billionaires".

     

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  34.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Mar 17th, 2012 @ 8:41pm

    Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 17th, 2012 @ 3:45am

    Many people think the holocaust never happened.

    Many people think that the world will end sometime this year.

    Many people think that the earth was populated by souls brought here by some alien dude called Xanadu(or something like that).

    You point being?

     

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  35.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Mar 17th, 2012 @ 8:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 17th, 2012 @ 3:45am

    *Xenu, not Xanadu, the first is the alien dude, the other is a musical.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2012 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 17th, 2012 @ 3:45am

    Many tinfoil hat wearing lemmings of the Content Cartels may believe that but still as they say... "What does that have to do with the price of rice in China?" Nothing in the story had anything even remotely related to Google. I must have missed the story where the members of the UK Parliament were all hired on as Google employees. When did THAT happen?

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2012 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 17th, 2012 @ 3:45am

    Xanadu is actually an ancient Mongolian city referenced in the famous Coleridge poem Kubla Khan...

    "In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasuredome decree..."

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanadu

     

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  38.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Mar 18th, 2012 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Totally utterly insanely misleading, or VERY totally utterly insanely misleading?

     

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  39.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Mar 20th, 2012 @ 2:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 17th, 2012 @ 3:45am

    Actually, according to wikipedia it's both, go wikipedia for quick name checking I guess.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanadu_%28film%29

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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