Lord Lucas Keeps Wanting To Chip Away At Digital Economy Bill: Exempt Search Engines

from the how-will-rupert-murdoch-survive dept

We've been discussing how Lord Lucas in the UK has spoken out against Peter Mandelson's Digital Economy Bill, which would give Mandelson (and his successors or anyone he deputized) massive powers to change copyright law on a whim. Beyond that, the technology-savvy Lord Lucas has been proposing various amendments to the bill, including requiring copyright holders to detail actual damages and also a penalty for bogus copyright threats.

Another proposed amendment, as pointed out by Copycense would automatically exempt search engines from copyright law. While, for the most part, what search engines do seem to be covered by existing law (fair use, and the like), there are still some questions about whether or not the fundamental actions of search engines do or do not infringe. Clearly exempting them, however, could expand what search engines could do in some pretty impressive ways. This would also serve to negate the threats by the likes of Rupert Murdoch to remove News Corp. content from Google (since Google could then ignore any attempted block, as there would be no copyright violation).


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 10:43pm

    It is a pretty dumb idea. I could call anything a "search engine" and suddenly could ignore all copyright laws. That just doesn't seem right.

    Clearly, this would play nicely for torrent sites, as their "just a search engine" refrain would play nice in the courts. Perhaps Lord Lucas is secretly running TPB now?

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Jim, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 10:58pm

    Tech Savy

    I wish we could get a few lawmakers in the U.S. that are that tech savy and have enough guts to stand up to the media companies.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 11:21pm

    Well, at least there's one resonable person in the industry.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 11:42pm

    Re:

    It is a pretty dumb idea. I could call anything a "search engine" and suddenly could ignore all copyright laws. That just doesn't seem right.

    If you called something a search engine then shouldn't it behave like a search engine?

    The same way that if you call something a library then shouldn't it behave like a library?

    "What do you mean officer, I wasn't making illicit copies in my own home, I was making copies in a library, man. It's totally legit!"

    Perhaps Lord Lucas is secretly running TPB now?

    Stay classy, TAM.

     

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  5.  
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    zegota (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 12:04am

    Re: Re:

    He's right though, it's the biggest legal loophole there is. I murdered like 8 dudes, but I called it self-defense, so they couldn't touch me.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 12:23am

    TAM always used to have some sort of twisted devils advocate logic but now its just sad

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    :), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 12:45am

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/open/documents/open-government-directive


    From Groklaw comes the news that Red Hat launched a new website called opensource.com that was build to inform about opensource and its spread into everything.

    Like the Open Government Directive which basically says that the government will give the people information and a voice to pitch in solutions. This could be huge.

    Lord Lucas should start doing that in the U.K.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    :), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 12:51am

    IP buble burst?

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    :), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 1:01am

    Community building the open source way.

    Community the open source way


    Great article of how people are coming together to solve their own problems inside their own communities.

    Couple that with the government open initiative and people are starting to build the foundations to a better way where people take point at the issues not the government.

     

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

  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 1:01am

    A search engine defence

    An exemption for search engines isn't a get out of jail free card. It would be a specific clause that said that if you were able to demonstrate to the prosecutor and/or the judge that you were operating a search engine then they would deal with the initial complaint accordingly.

    There would be fairly little doubt that a complaint against Google would invoke the search engine exclusion defence and a prosecutor could decide early not to pursue the case. A complaint against TPB would be subject to scrutiny and probably require a legal ruling.

    Even with the "I murdered 8 people and called it self defence" argument, the decision to prosecute the crime and its subsequent treatment will depend on the prosecutor's view of the initial evidence.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Doctor Strange, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 1:03am

    Re:

    Aggregation is a particularly effective and profitable form of free-riding, especially when you have no incentive or need to contribute in any way to the things you're aggregating.

    The Internet has given people incredible power to act with unprecedented degrees of anonymity and impunity. While there are a few good reasons to provide a measure of both anonymity and impunity (e.g., political dissent, whistleblowing), it seems that far, far more people will just abuse both privileges.

    The attitude around this site seems to be that maximum anonymity and impunity are absolute goods that need to be encouraged. Yet when a natural consequence of having them occurs, like spam, nobody steps up to defend the spammer.

    "Search engines" that broker primarily unauthorized, highly-desirable content while also providing anonymity and impunity are especially good free riders.

    In an era where original, socially-valuable content is becoming more and more of a public good (in the economic sense), doing everything in our power to encourage more free-riding isn't the best idea.

     

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  12.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 1:43am

    Re: Community building the open source way.

    I think you have just become a meaningless spammer.

     

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  13.  
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    Modplan (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 1:49am

    Re: Re:

    Aggregation is a particularly effective and profitable form of free-riding, especially when you have no incentive or need to contribute in any way to the things you're aggregating.


    Apart from making it easier for people to find content they care about in one easy place, of course.

    And assuming you have any model that allows you make money from simply aggregating, and assuming your aggregation service in particular is one people will want to use, and assuming aggregation is some form of public menace and evil.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 1:51am

    Re: Re: Community building the open source way.

    That's a good one coming from you SPAM, I mean, TAM.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    :), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 2:08am

    Re: Re:

    Aggregation is a particularly effective and profitable form of free-riding, especially when you have no incentive or need to contribute in any way to the things you're aggregating.


    Well think about it, I stopped using things like TVFox or was FoxTV(a firefox addon that gives you 2500 tV channels to watch) and started to use Miro that could be seen as an aggregator and I found some things to watch over there, I rarely see TV or cable, don't buy movies and am not aware of what is happening, music the same thing if it is not on youtube or jamendo is invisible to me.

    So I think content distributors that believe in copyrights to the extreme should beg those search engines not to die otherwise people will have to make what I do and if they think people will flock to websites they own they are truly mistaken.

    Adultswin is owned by Warner why would I ever go there? I hate the company, stopped buying movies because of them and other big studios, Sony opened my eyes about what "copyright" and IP laws really meant to my privacy and well being why would I want to finance, promote or even consume something from them?

    The only thing keeping those people on top is because of those said search engines free riders because people could have moved on a long time ago to others things.

     

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  16.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 2:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Community building the open source way.

    Except I don't spam, tard.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 2:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Community building the open source way.

    You spam insults.

     

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

  18.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 3:34am

    Re:

    Once again you wade in with an ill thought out contrary opinion based on an inadequate reading of the article and an inadequate understanding of technology and the law.
    The exemption merely legitimises current common practice. After all if you put stuff on the web then I guess you want people to see it. It would be pretty dumb otherwise wouldn't it?

    If you want people to see it then I guess they need to be able to find it so letting a search engine index it is pretty sensible isn't it?

    After all as a rights holder you always have the option of NOT PUTTING IT INTO THE WEB IN THE FIRST PLACE (or of putting it behind some kind of access wall - which can be configured to keep search engines out).

    If you read the article you will find that the exemption only allows the search engine to provide "search engine services" so it isn't a license to ignore copyright law.

    When you start talking about torrent sites you really descend into stupidity.

    The only people who are being presumed to have given consent are the people who put up the content that the engine indexes. If they don't have the right to that content then this amendment would not alter the legal situation in any way.

     

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  19.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 3:44am

    Re: IP buble burst?

    Nice article - but maybe you should submit it as an article to Mike (follow the link at the top of the page - rather than just put it onto a thread where it doesn't quite belong.

    Same applies to the article below...

    btw don't be put off by the anti-Mike - he's just our virtual village idiot.

     

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  20.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 3:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Community building the open source way.

    nice comeback, son.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Rabbit80, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 3:58am

    With the recent OiNK ruling, this would merely strengthen the position of torrent search sites in the UK.. and rightly so - they provide a search service - nothing more, nothing less!

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 4:20am

    Re: A search engine defence

    If this is the case, then there's no practical difference. TPB spent half their trial trying to show how they don't do anything different than Google. I love TPB, I even have the t--shirt... but I sincerely think that the search engine part is a minimal part of what they do. If this passes, everybody can add a "search engine" to an indexer, a database or whatever and claim they're just a "search engine". Not good, IMHO.

     

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

  23.  
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    martyburns (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 5:28am

    Re: Re: A search engine defence

    Yes, but in that case you would go after the person who owns the database or whatever - not the 'search engine'.

     

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

  24.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 5:33am

    Re: Re:

    Aggregation is a particularly effective and profitable form of free-riding, especially when you have no incentive or need to contribute in any way to the things you're aggregating.


    Seriously? Providing a service to help people find things is "free riding"?

    Rand McNally is "free riding" on those who create the roads, right?

    You know who else are massive free riders? Librarians! How dare they.

    It is not free riding. It is providing a useful service. Until you can understand that they are valued not for the information, but for the service of providing filters and directions to information, it's difficult to take you seriously.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Hahaha, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 5:34am

    Re:

    "It is a pretty dumb idea. I could call anything a "search engine" and suddenly could ignore all copyright laws. That just doesn't seem right. "

    I think there is more to the story.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    lucas aint arts, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 7:09am

    and without search NO BIT TORRENT

    think about how vague life is and how these fucktards will use that to make illegal your favorite things

     

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  27.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: IP buble burst?

    "btw don't be put off by the anti-Mike - he's just our virtual village idiot."

    BIG OLE GRIN!!! I just pictured him with one of those silly jester hats... thanks you made my morning.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 7:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Community building the open source way.

    Yes, you do. See, if you can just call anything a search engine, anyone can just call you a spammer, and they'll both be true.

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Community building the open source way.

    TAM doesn't spam, he trolls.

     

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

  30.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re:

    "Aggregation is a particularly effective and profitable form of free-riding, "

    It isn't free riding. You have to do a good job of aggregating.

    Google is where it is because they had a MUCH cleverer search algorithm than AltaVista, Yahoo etc etc.

    If you view search as free riding then you would have to view ALL publishing as free riding (record companies, book publishers TV channels etc etc).

    Come to think of it YOU are free riding of the evolutionary progress of millions of years of your ancestors / the creative energy of your God (delete whichever you don't believe).

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Doctor Strange, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 10:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Rand McNally is "free riding" on those who create the roads, right?

    And what is the business model that maintains the roads?

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Dan, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Rand McNally is "free riding" on those who create the roads, right?"

    Only those who make private roads...

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The same business model that maintains intellectual property?

     

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

  34.  
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    nasch (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 1:34pm

    Re:

    It is a pretty dumb idea.

    Oh no, I agree with TAM. For different reasons though. I don't think there should be special exemptions for anyone; let the law apply equally. That way if there is really bad copyright law put in place, maybe it will start really messing people up and there will be public outcry about it. Exempting this or that would just sweep the problem under the rug to some extent, and maybe make it much harder to reform the bad laws.

    I don't remember who said it, but there is a very old quote to the effect that the fastest way to get rid of bad laws is to see to their strict and universal enforcement.

     

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

  35.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re:

    After all as a rights holder you always have the option of NOT PUTTING IT INTO THE WEB IN THE FIRST PLACE (or of putting it behind some kind of access wall - which can be configured to keep search engines out).

    Fail.

    One of the big issues is users taking content from CDs or DVDs, ripping them, and putting them online. The rights holders aren't getting a vote in that discussion at all.

     

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  36.  
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    Tek'a R (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 3:47pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    bzzzt, try again.

    Is google ripping people's cds and putting them online?

    no?

    So not only does that statement have nothing to do with granting search engines some limited exemptions to allow them to to keep functioning, I think you Knew that your statement was baseless and not at all genuine.

    Double fail, TAMmy

     

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  37.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Jan 30th, 2010 @ 1:02pm

    Please tell me it's possible to get this guy as New Zealand's next Governer General?

    please?

    ('course, like all such things, it's 'with the recommendation of the prime minister' or some such, so it won't happen, but i can dream.)

     

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


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