from the cluelessness-in-power dept
Gerry Sutcliffe MP said that he believed that “millions of complaints [to Google] have not been dealt with”, a point underlined by John Leech MP who recalled “the complacent attitude taken by [Google's] representatives to the whole issue, as though it had nothing to do with them and was not their problem.”Of course, it's hogwash that the complaints "have not been dealt with." Google has shown time and time again that when it receives valid complaints, it takes down the links to that content within hours, despite receiving so many requests. Most other search engines take much, much longer. Second, the whole 50 million links thing is a total red herring. If the sites are illegal, as Sutcliffe claims, then there should be lawsuits against them to take those sites down. But the problem is that the sites generally, have not been found to be illegal. And, many of the sites are used for all sorts of legitimate offerings as well. Yet, Sutcliffe and BPI seem to think there's a magic wand that can be waved to determine what's legitimate and what's not.
[....] “At some time, this Government must have a proper look at the almost monopoly status of this huge, multinational, non-UK business and ask whether it is good for our content industries. I have a sneaking feeling that it is not,” Sutcliffe said.
“I have seen the evidence from the British Phonographic Industry. It sent 50 million notices to Google asking it to take down links to illegal — I emphasize, illegal—sites. Google should not be doing that. What on earth is going on if it receives 50 million requests to take down links to illegal sites?
“It is time to call in the Competition Commission: we cannot continue to allow Google to be the gateway to content industries when they do them so much damage.”
Even more troubling, however, were the comments from Mike Weatherly, who is now David Cameron's "Intellectual Property advisor," but who in the past worked for both the legacy recording and movie industries.
“Ultimately, we need to consider withdrawing internet rights from lawbreakers, along with imposing fines and, as a last resort, custodial sentences,” he told the debate.Yes, even as countries are backing away from the insane move of cutting off internet access -- a form of punishment that has been shown not to work -- he wants to go even further, and put those people in jail. When another politician tried to say that individuals in their bedrooms are different from companies setting up file sharing offerings, Weatherly made it clear that he meant that even those downloading in their bedrooms should face jail if they keep downloading.
“My point was that, when we get the education right and people understand that stealing intellectual property is wrong, and when the industry has alternative downloading models, if we exhaust fines and other means of stopping persons downloading illegally, we must consider some sort of custodial sentence for persistent offenders and people who operate on a commercial scale,”That's the old entertainment industry we've grown to know so well. No matter how many times they ratchet up the punishment and find that it doesn't slow infringement, they just think that if they keep cranking up that dial, it'll work next time. It's why the US passed 15 different anti-piracy bills in the course of 30 years, after none of them actually worked. Perhaps, next time, they should try to offer the death penalty for copying. Except that won't work either.
Maybe, just maybe, rather than trying to punish everyone, they should focus on trying to make things convenient and worth buying. Just a suggestion.