UK Gov't Now Supporting 3 Strikes: Lobbyists Win Again

from the the-will-of-the-people? dept

Ah, those pesky lobbyists. It seems that the UK gov’t really has a way with doing a detailed report on what should be done on the music industry, which gets some of the important points right… and then it all gets tossed out the window once the recording industry lobbyists jump into things. Remember a few years back when the gov’t commissioned the Gowers Report, which said copyright terms should not be extended (and Gowers himself later admitted that all of the evidence actually suggests it should be shortened)? Yup, well, then the lobbyists took over, and suddenly the government’s Cultural Secretary Andy Burnham is singing the praises of copyright extension. These days, it looks like extension is almost certainly going to happen in the UK despite all the evidence as to why it shouldn’t.

Looks like the same thing is happening again. Earlier this year, the UK gov’t “Digital Britain” report clearly said that a three strikes regime, whereby ISPs would be responsible for kicking file sharers offline, didn’t make sense. While there were other problems with the report, at least it knew better than to drag ISPs into things as copyright cops.

But… then the lobbyists took over. Entertainment industry lobbyists have been working overtime in the UK (the stories we’ve been hearing are pretty nuts…), and a few weeks ago the British press was noting that UK Business Secretary Peter Mandelson had vacationed with David Geffen (who has ties to both the recording and the movie industries) and suddenly showed an immense interest that hadn’t been there before, on changing Digital Britain to make the rules tougher.

So, surprise, surprise… suddenly ISPs are finding out that three strikes is back on the table even after being promised it wouldn’t be. The original report had given regulators until 2012 to consider what technical measures ISPs should take — if any. But Mandelson’s department has suddenly declared that timeframe is “too long.” The minister for Digital Britain, Stephen Timms, practically comes out and admits that they were lobbied hard:

“We’ve been listening carefully to responses to the consultation this far, and it’s become clear there are widespread concerns that the plans as they stand could delay action, impacting unfairly upon rights holders.”

So, expect three strikes to show up in the UK. Of course, it will be a dreadful mistake. I still can’t understand why the recording industry thinks this is a good idea. You may kick people off the internet, but does anyone honestly think that will actually get people to buy again? It seems like a strategy designed to piss more people off. And when has that ever been good for business?

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Comments on “UK Gov't Now Supporting 3 Strikes: Lobbyists Win Again”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Realistically, it is only logical.

If people are going to continue to “infringe” there needs to be a suitable punishment for it.

To be honest, people should consider themselves lucky that no government has moved to put “infringing” into the realm of criminal offenses. That would take the top off it completely.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

My understanding of the civilized world is that “suitable punishment” is proceeded by “due process”.

If this actually goes through, though, I can’t wait to see some people running with the whole shebang. Get a handful of people with registered copyrights on some product, get another handful to spoof the IPs of some big-name politicians/companies, and submit an overabundance of warning notices.

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If people are going to continue to “infringe” there needs to be a suitable punishment for it.

So.. $1.92 million isn’t suitable enough for you? You want to go ahead and remove due process?

Do you realize the grief you’re asking for? Mike can see your IP address. He calls/writes/notifies your ISP that you’ve infringed 3 times and he can kick you offline. Fair use isn’t taken into account, and can vary widely from use to use.

All it takes is a letter from a *private* citizen to accuse you. No lawyer, no judge, no jury. They said you did it, so you must be guilty.

Stop and think, man. All of you shills would immediately be kicked offli– oh wait.. maybe this isn’t such a bad idea.

To be honest, people should consider themselves lucky that no government has moved to put “infringing” into the realm of criminal offenses. That would take the top off it completely.

I wish they would, really I do. Across the board, make it criminal.

“Beyond a reasonable doubt” is an awesome phrase.

Headbhang (profile) says:

Re: Logical my arse.

Forced disconnection would hurt people on so many levels that it’s ridiculous how anyone could think is a fair punishment for something as harmless as file-sharing. And that’s not even counting the huge potential for abuse and misuse.

How much was Mandelson bribed for during these vacations? (which were obviously fully sponsored by the industry, make no mistake)

bikey (profile) says:

Re: realistically, it's only logical

When someone starts a comment with ‘realistically, it’s only logical’, we know we’re in for a certain brand of sophistry, usually characteristic of male to female communication, but I digress. Since when is the government in the business of protecting an outworn exploitative sector of the economy (throw in pretty much the UK government protecting a segment of the US economy) by means of clear violation of the rule of law (remember presumption of innocence? due process, etc.? probably before your time). No government has criminalized alleged IP ‘offenses’? Where have you been for the last 30 years? This has been a landslide movement emanating from the US and its ‘creative’ (please) industries and is pretty much mandated (most recently by TRIPS. But wait until Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement rolls into your neighborhood – now that torture is ostensibly legal (because who’s going to prosecute?), wouldn’t that be the best way to ‘find the sources’ of these nefarious deeds? If you read the Times of London article this week, you’ll know that Peter Mandelson came back with this idea after being wined and dined in Corfu by Geffen, just as Sarkozy got the idea from his music-industry connected bride. Honestly, the cheap date really has become productive. Do wake up, won’t you.

RD says:


“If people are going to continue to “infringe” there needs to be a suitable punishment for it. “

wow what a FUCKING shill you are. No, seriously, you are a SHILL for the big media. Even if you werent hired, or get paid, you are a SHILL.

It’s people with attitudes like you that lead to things like the holocaust, the russian revolution and allow murderous dictators like Mao, Stalin and Kim Jon Il to run rampant. I’m glad I dont live in YOUR world, where guilt is presumed and a “suitable punishment” for making a copy of a song is the entire removal of your freedoms.

Really, if we are going to remove freedoms to appease the rich corporate overlords, then lets please start with the removal of your right to speak (or type) whatever idiotic thing comes into your little pea brain. At least we will be spared watching the voluntary wholesale march into fascism.

Josh (profile) says:

Re: WOW!

He RD,

Usually I agree with your Troll spotting, but I think you missed with this one.

It looked to me like this was a total blast at the idea of creating a “suitable punishment” for it [file sharing].

The second part of his post is what made me feel that way. It seemed that he was saying that we should be glad that the RIAA (and their like) haven’t pushed for this to be crimilized yet. But as another commenter said, bring it on. Then they have to have proof beyond a shadow of a doubt. Can you imagine them having that proof? Ever?

Alex Porteous (profile) says:

“We’ve been listening carefully to responses to the consultation this far, and it’s become clear there are widespread concerns that the plans as they stand could delay action, impacting unfairly upon rights holders.”

I think this is the most telling part. The question is who they are consulting with? Is it a balanced group of consumers, ISPs and media companies or is it just the latter? Its the problem in the UK these days, they only consult with the group that agrees with what they want to legislate.

Anonymous Coward says:

If they actually do implement this, how long before it becomes a nightmare for some people like the no-fly list here in the US? Someone moves, goes to get new service, and “Sorry, you’re on the no-internet list.” because someone with the same name got kicked off. Or what if you move into a new apartment but the ISP refuses service because the last person who lived there was kicked off. Either method is frought with danger.

jilocasin (profile) says:

If everyone's doing it. Why's it still illegal?

This reminds me of “Prohibition”. Drinking alcohol illegal, everyone and their grandmother doing it, everyone’s guilty, law repealed. Sure beats arresting everyone.

People infringing on copyright, everyone’s doing it (well a large portion of the populous anyway) it’s even less detrimental to people than drinking. Heck it’s not even a ‘criminal offense’. You would think the sane thing to do would be to make it legal. Instead I read about rampping up the punishment, doing away with due process, and just fining/cutting people off.

How about we vote for making it legal to ‘infringe copyright’ for personal use. Couple that with copyright must be specifically ‘asked for’, term limited to a twelve year term with the ability to request a single twelve year extension, and a liberal ‘fair use’.

Then we can stop trying to use copyright to hold back the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for unlimited Times to Authors and Inventors and Multinational Corporations, the exclusive Right to Writings and Discoveries or any other utterance.

*yes, I realize we are talking Great Britain not the U.S. but I think they too should be legalizing not criminalizing.

Yohann says:

Got just one word for you all...

TOR… That’s it. Tor.

No matter what OS you’re running, check out and learn more about it. It’s a great program. And apparently it works great when set up correctly, so read the documentation carefully. Protect your anonymity today. 🙂 It may run a bit slower, but it protects and apparently can be turned off easily and quickly.

Yohann says:

Re: Re: Got just one word for you all...

So you’re the guy dragging down tor.

Tor is not designed to handle bittorrent traffic, nor should it be used as such. It’s for anonymous BROWSING, not anonymous DOWNLOADING. Sheesh.

Look into a VPN service if that’s what you want to do.

That is true. I was actually speaking of browsing and downloading (there are sites to download uploaded content without resorting to filesharing). I agree with you on your point. It can’t take torrenting or filesharing in the least. Thanks for the clarification. I should’ve specified earlier.

Dave W (profile) says:

Mandelson's the weak link in this

The greatest irony is because Mandy has stuck his pointy old nose in the bigger news it will be and the greater the public backlash will be. People dislike him that much they will rationally or irrationally oppose anything that he “supports”.

Remember this guy was forced to resign *twice* and has been brought back basically to schmooze business types. The fact that he’s was brought back to an unelected position by an unelected Prime Minister is a seperate matter i won’t rant on.

We’re gonna have an election before June next year, so his days are numbered. If people get exercised by this and it remains a “hot topic” it will become important at the election, important enough for the pirate party to steal some votes….

Dave W (profile) says:

Re: Mandelson's the weak link in this

See this excellent column by John Naughton of the Open University (does he have a blog?).

Summarises it nicely with points that readers here will be familiar with – good to see this matter getting some exposure from someone who understands the issues involved.

Its also on a News International site – so see it before the paywall comes down.

Dave says:


I seem to remember reading a report that Mandy recently stayed with, or met with, someone abroad who was a big-wig in the entertainment industry. Low and behold, when he comes back, he’s pushing for file sharing legislation, three strikes, etc. Naturally, it was denied that this had ever been discussed. A likely story! Timing is everything, of course. Also see:

Idobek (profile) says:

The really annoying thing about all this is that there is often no possible legal download method. With music you usually have plenty of options, with film it’s difficult and with TV you’re pretty much stuffed.

Even when something is available the pricing structure is ludicrous: I’m sorry but a file of a TV episode, that I am only ever allowed to download once, and only ever allowed to watch on the computer I downloaded it to, does not have the same per episode value as a DVD.

I do not own a TV so I would happily pay to download and watch new shows from premium channels. I’d even pay to guarantee that content that is currently freely available stays available until I’ve have a chance to watch it. Unfortunately our TV companies don’t provide anything like a good enough online service (the BBC is streaks ahead but still falls short).

I’m sure Amazon and iTunes would happily fill the breach but they’re often hamstrung by shortsighted US networks who cannot understand that they might need to allow people outside the US and Canada access to new shows. The Murdoch family has beat a bit of sense into them over this, as evidences by the closing gap between broadcast dates across the Atlantic, but having to rely on the Murdochs is hardly ideal.

Fin (user link) says:

“No, responsible wifi hot spot operators will just block common torrent ports, perhaps also blocking access to popular file trading sites. It doesn’t do their business any good to have their bandwidth tied up by leeching file suckers.” – Anonymous Chill

Block common torrent ports?! Ha ha! Block access to a sites?! LOL! What a moron!

Anonymous Chill, your computer illiteracy speaks volumes. It’s no wonder technologically-challenge RIAA lapdogs like you are against p2p. Internet technology must sound like a boogie man.

Think about it. If, instead of puking your RIAA masters bile here, you spend some time with google you may improve your understanding of technology.

You and your masters already lost this war. The geenie is out of the bottle. I’m sure you know that. Even a retarded monkey knows.

Frankie says:

Bittorrent + the Root Problem

I would like to know, just how my isp can tell if I am sharing a Linux install disk,my own holiday snaps or Windows 7? Isn’t the whole problem the high prices of CD’s and DVD’s
I know from running a small record label that CD’s only cost about 50p to manufacture, obviously a fair bit to record the content but still £12 is a bit ott, I suppose it’s the obscene advances that artists get, I think the music industry needs to rethink it’s business model, it’s very out dated, greedy company’s and greedy artists, it all needs a good shake up and this 3 strikes thing is just like trying to cure tooth ache by taking pain killers, not getting the rotten tooth looked at!

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