Mandelson Wants Gov't To Have Sweeping Powers To Protect Copyright Holders
from the this-is-not-good dept
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.