Anti-Piracy Group Already Protesting That UK's Anti-Piracy Law Doesn't Go Far Enough

from the history-lessons dept

History teaches us that representatives of copyright holders will complain about any new development in information or communication technology and try to stop or limit its use. Well, it is no surprise then that, over in the UK, the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) is claiming that existing, already far-reaching copyright enforcement measures in the not-yet implemented Digital Economy Act (DEA) will be rendered useless when the new 4G mobile phone network rolls out. The 4G mobile phone networks has been anticipated with much fanfare and will provide mobile broadband speeds, which are many times faster than the 3G network we have become used to in the UK. According to FAST, mobile users and operators now also need to fall within the scope of the controversial DEA.

In a recent Techdirt post about the DEA, Glyn Moody finished with the sentence “The longer the great Digital Economy Act farce drags on, the more absurd it becomes from every viewpoint.” With FAST’s claims, the debate is set to continue, and yes, it will become more absurd. Here’s a short recap of DEA before we see how history repeats itself when its lessons are ignored:

  • The DEA was hastily passed at the end of the last UK Parliament’s term to “combat piracy”, or whichever rhetoric was used this time.
  • The act initially proposed to block websites and disconnect repeat infringers of copyright in a graduated response type system, or otherwise limit internet access. Customers may also be taken to court because ISP’s would be obliged to disclose personal information of their customers.
  • The scope is limited to the largest ISP’s in the UK, which covers about 93% of its citizens.
  • The implementation of the DEA has been delayed due to heavy criticism. Some of these ISP’s went to court about the hefty costs which need to be made to enforce copyrights online.
  • Some provisions, such as the blocking of websites at the ISP level, have since been scrapped. This was not met with much resistance from rights holders, as they already had their Supreme Court precedent set with the blocking of the Pirate Bay.
  • More specifics about this piece of legislation can be found around the internet, but as a final point it must be mentioned that — surprise surprise — the whole impact assessment of the act was based on highly inflated and controversial figures with bogus methodologies, provided by private stakeholders.

Let’s dive into the claims of this most recent attempt to attack the technology as legacy players try to stay relevant. Of course, every time they do this, they discover that they’re on the wrong side of innovation. Again. And, all too often, the goals of these groups run entirely contrary to the real wishes of those they claim to represent. Julian Heathcote Hobbins, General Council at FAST, states the following:

The DEA has the potential to be a valuable piece of legislation in the fight against illicit peer-to-peer copyright infringement and a significant development for rights holders as an educational programme. However, the DEA must remain timely. The issue is that by the time the DEA is finally implemented, technology could have moved on so far making the Act ineffective in helping to deal with those using 4G networks to share files. In its current form the DEA is not sufficiently flexible in scope to account for advances in technology.

Another representative, Jonathan Cornthwaite, a lawyer in London and member of FAST’s Legal Advisory Group, then goes on to state:

[…] As we are now witnessing, technology does not stand still and gaps are appearing in the DEA as the use of mobile devices accelerates. Unless this situation can be remedied, it may be of less assistance, leaving rights holders with a watered down remedy.

It is fascinating to see these representatives finally realizing that regulation will not be able to keep apace with technological developments, where innovation happens at internet speed. They are right in stating that legislation must be flexible to stay timely and to move with technological and societal advances, which are indeed moving at an unprecedented pace.

However, they fail to think through that it may not be the enforcement side, but actually that the copyright system lacks social legitimacy because it is out of date and out of touch with how we now live in media. The approach chosen by these representatives leans more towards a permission innovation society as identified by Mike in a recent post, where former Register of Copyrights, Ralph Oman, expressed that he feels any new technology should have to apply to Congress for approval, before it is allowed to exist. Instead, we should follow the sensible part of Mr. Heathcote Hobbins and Mr. Cornthwaite’s analysis and make the underlying copyright system timely and flexible so it takes into account technical reality, which, indeed, does not stand still.

A group of UK mobile operators have branded their 4G service “Everything, Everywhere” (EE), indicating they understand what consumers want: all media available at any time in any place. This does not directly mean consumers want media for free. Most are willing to pay for access, especially when the service purchased offers them the ability to use works without undue restrictions. A line can be drawn as to which uses are permissible and which are not. However, if restrictions inhibit normal media usage as consumers expect it, and penalties include disconnection, throttling or otherwise limiting the promise of the super-fast paced mobile internet experience, copyright will further lose social legitimacy and work-arounds will be found.

France’s graduated response scheme — HADOPI — has already failed miserably, thereby proving the critics right that such a scheme is not workable nor desirable with regards to media sharing on the internet. Why then push for a very similar DEA anyway? Give it another go in a new country, hoping for different results? Apply it to new technology and hope the criticism will go away? To quote Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”

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Comments on “Anti-Piracy Group Already Protesting That UK's Anti-Piracy Law Doesn't Go Far Enough”

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Anonymous Coward says:

They are smart. They want to make the Government constantly feeling that they aren’t doing enough for the “artists”, and ignore the public’s complaints that the new laws are *already* overreaching.

So instead of having the Government evaluating where they went too far and they should be implementing this or not, they want to make them feel like they are doing too little, and need to do a lot more to make them happy. Evil bastards.

I would hope the Government is not that naive to believe them, but reality has shown otherwise.

out_of_the_blue says:

Hang 'em from the yard-arms.

I didn’t actually read the piece, just was struck by “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” and wondered whether Mike notices that he EVERY DAY does the same thing over and over — as do most of you wannabe-pirates jeering and cheering his mediocre re-writes — and yet you all keep losing the battle for freedom (however defined), largely by continuing to think that the true pirates — capitalists — are benevolent.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Hang 'em from the yard-arms.

….yet you come back day after day, reading what he writes and commenting on it. How does that make you any different?

OOTB doesn’t actually read the articles before commenting on them, as evidenced by this comment.

That makes him different. And irrelevant. And trollish. And quite possibly insane, but for different reasons then Einstein’s quote.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Hang 'em from the yard-arms.

“I didn’t actually read the piece”
“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Like you. You do see the hilarity in your comment as you accuse Mike of EXACTLY what you do?

Day after day of personal attacks while appearing you have not read ANY of what he writes.

A+ for consistency though.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Hang 'em from the yard-arms.

“I didn’t actually read the piece”

Stop the presses! Seriously! OotB DID NOT read the article, yet commented on it not knowing a word of what was contained therein? Color me SHOCKED! SHOCKED I TELL YOU!

(I won’t bother disassembling the rest of your comment, as with that first line I read all I needed to know. It would be you harping on about this or that, yet still not having a clue about anything. Hmm. Doing the same thing, day after day, yet expecting different results. Ala people giving a shit what he has to say. OMG GUYS! OotB is insane! Again, COLOR ME SHOCKED! Or not.)

Anonymous Coward says:

all UK governments act in the same way. they did it with the minimum working wage. they waited until it had been tried in other countries, particularly poorer ones around, for example, the Mediterranean, saw it had failed miserably, then introduced it into the UK. once in, guess what, it did the same as elsewhere and failed miserably. had previous governments kept a grip on and stopped rogue businesses paying shockingly low wages, there wouldn’t have been any need for it. now, like the DEA, they are saying it’s no good, repeating what everyone, except the entertainment industries, admitted to years ago. why governments insist on traveling a road that has collapsed already rather than admit they need a different approach is beyond me. they would get more respect and trust from the people they are supposed to represent by doing so

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The only way the minimum wage has ‘failed’ is that it isn’t high enough and hasn’t followed the cost of living enough. I don’t think ANYONE who has actually had to live on the minimum wage would complain “it doesn’t work” compared to being paid even more of a pittance – and it saves all our jobs being given to Eastern Europeans who would have been happy to work for half minimum wage. Funny it’s all the Tory whiners who think the minimum wage is doing all the 1%ers out of all their “hard-earned” gains while the minimum wagers do all the actual work…


Duke (profile) says:

Some provisions, such as the blocking of websites at the ISP level, have since been scrapped. This was not met with much resistance from rights holders, as they already had their Supreme Court precedent set with the blocking of the Pirate Bay.

Technically it was the (England and Wales) High Court, not the Supreme Court. Neither case (the Pirate Bay or Newzbin2) was appealed because the ISPs don’t want to get involved (they didn’t even turn up in the Pirate Bay case) because it would be expensive, and there was no one else party to the cases.

As for FAST’s latest stuff… actually, this could be quite fun. If they did persuade the government to force Ofcom to change the DEA “Initial Obligations Code” (again), Ofcom would probably have to go through another round of consultation, rewrite a lot of it and send the new version to the EU for 3+ months for them to look into it. That would push back implementation by another 6-9 months, so it won’t be in force until late 2014/early 2015.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No, history teaches us that tech companies will abuse the law

David Lowery, is that you?

(I took a gander at that “fact filled” website your username links to. I put “fact filled” in quotes because it’s anything but. Love the conflation between a Kickstarter crowdfunded gaming device and piracy. At that point I realized it was like reading a website created by OotB and bob and David “why doesn’t anyone pay attention to me” Lowery combined. Not scary so much as sad and pathetic and a waste of bandwidth.)

Zakida Paul says:

Re: No, history teaches us that tech companies will abuse the law

The record labels who refuse to pay royalties for compilation CDs?

The collection agencies who collect royalties but never pass them on to the content creators?

The Hollywood companies who cook the books to make their gains look like losses to justify their tirade against technology?

History tells us that mammoth corporations abuse the law regardless of their industry.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: No, history teaches us that tech companies will abuse the law

Just because you posted it three times does it make it so. At every turn your beloved slave owners (MAFIAA) have fought tooth and nail to decimate any and all services where if they partnered with, would have brought them piles of money. As shown here many times, if they aren’t the ONLY ones making money, then no one else can make money.

Lord Binky says:

Re: Re: No, history teaches us that tech companies will abuse the law

I know I for one, WISH there were still ICE Block delivery men that came by my house every day so that I could keep my freezer box cold. But YOU people and your damn technology where the freezer runs on electricity! Those poor souls are now on the streets without a job because of your infernal inventions, you simply STOLE their livelihood, THEY made the ice for you and brought it to you. What more did you want? You wanted them on the streets penniless is what you wanted. Well you don?t fool me, I know, that?s why you bought that god forsaken contraption. It even says it?s made by an officer of the Devil?s army, General Electric printed right there on it! Infernal technology of the devil?s army putting good men starving on the streets, all so you can what? Keep things cold, when you were able to keep things cold before? It?s a plot to end the world, can?t you see? Even the Milk Man doesn?t need to come by as often now that??

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: No, history teaches us that tech companies will abuse the law

Kinda of funny that your “list” includes Google, YouTube and Broadband ISPs (just broadband ISPs? Is dial-up OK then?)

Google only shows results of what people are searching for. It makes money by providing a service people want. TV Guide has done this for years.

YouTube has come along way since being bought by Google. They provided the Content ID system on their own dime without asking those who benefit from it to chip in anything. Here is a great example of a tech company trying to make the content creators money, only to be villainized for it.

Broadband ISPs? Really? I suppose you think headphone manufacturers also owe content creators something too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No, history teaches us that tech companies will abuse the law

“Google” – Actively attempts to negotiate deals with studios, labels and publishers. Thus far has come to some agreements with them regarding DRM they actively push for (and by they I mean “studios, labels and publsihers”) in order to get their content accessible to the public. Through avenues like the Play Store.

“Youtube” – Actively, on their own dime, created and put in place ContentID. A system which scours YouTube for content belonging to the registered rights holder and monetizes it, providing them with revenue streams, even for content put up without their permission. As well as allows for the taking down of unauthorized content.

“Broadband ISPs” – Actively pass on copyright infringement notices, on their own dime, at the behest of copyright holders. Also attempt to bundle services to customers in attempts to reap more profits, but also in partnership with various media conglomerates.

“Megaupload” – Was in the process of creating an entirely new distribution model that would give 90% of all revenue to artists of all walks. Actively followed DMCA procedure, despite not being legally bound to do so.

“Limewire” – Meh. This one is sold old I don’t know why it’s even being brought up. But let me ask you one question, ethicalfan. How much of the money won in the suit against Limewire went to the artists again?

“Napster” – See previous bit. As well as previous question. Oh yeah, didn’t they go legal? So why are they being brought up?

“Grokster” – See previous bit. (Minus the part about going legal.)

“Bearshare” – See previous bit.

“Grooveshark” – See previous bit.

Etc. – You’re an idiot and the facts are against you. History teaches us one important thing. Those tech companies, who you would vilify, all actively go out of their way to create new products and services that content creators and those they tend to work under utilize, and without whom you’d still be creating silent pictures, recording to vinyl (maybe) and what have you. And who have more often than not, allowed you to generate new revenue streams, as well as open up entirely new markets for you (the royal “you) to have access to and market your products in.

But yes, let’s try and vilify tech companies. We’ll ignore the abuses of the law done by content creators and those who most often use the content creators (“we’re doing this for the artists”) to get their way. (I guess your list left off Hollywood accounting, royalty withholding, and so on and so forth. Hypocrite, they name is ethicalfan.)

Lord Binky says:

Yes Anti-Piracy Group, you will *NEVER* win.

There is no use arguing for it, nothing can or ever will be good enough. Any rules just change the specific means of the activity, but never stop the activity.

It is simple stupidity to imply anyone can/will. Don Quixote would piss his trousers laughing at your foolishness and proceed to charge a windmill.

What is considered piracy is simply sharing, and that behavior is so deeply entrenched into human nature as the greed that drives these groups.

To achieve their goal,the only chance of success would come from a Pyrrhic Victory where there are simply no humans left to share.

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s a friggin’ phone… not a network storage device. Certainly no cause to get their feathers all ruffled in the not-real world of caps for mobile internet.

It’s just another sign no matter what is done, it is never enough and by the way, someone else should pay for our concerns.

Plum sickening the greed that shows through these demands.

Anonymous Coward says:

I kind of like what FAST is doing here. They are making it clear that DEA in its current state is not something they support and with that being said they have just orphaned the law from support. If I was a politician, I would run with that statement and slam DEA in the dustbin while a new law is negotiated!

Unfortunately it is unlikely any conservatives will do so, liberals are under too much pressure to get any of their own ideas through to pull support and labour will just keep on being in excruciating birth-pains!

Anonymous Coward says:

when will people realise that it doesn’t matter what laws are brought in to keep the legacy industries solvent, they will never be strict enough? if those industries got everything they ever wanted, it still wouldn’t be enough! they are just like spoilt children, whatever they have, they want more. whatever anyone else has, they have to have it as well. greed knows no end!!

Al says:

4g has to be the final nail in the coffin for piracy. Super high speeds, lots of packets to sort through, even bigger cost of policing.

But most of all, there are so many ways to get things for free WITHOUT resorting to illegal downloads. Cyberlockers, dropbox, gdrive, spotify and the easiest and fastest of all, Youtube.

Despite the fact you can invest in a VPN with super high encryption in a piracy heaven for just a few quid, there really is nothing you can do to stop piracy.

And let’s not forget, in years to come, not decades, you will be able to download and print clothing, toys, art, tools and more with your own 3d printer and PNC machine at your desktop. Listening to free music and downloading films for free will be nothing compared to that.

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