UK Digital Economy Bill Concession Is To Allow In A Smidgen Of Due Process, After You've Been Declared Guilty

from the guilty-until-appealed-innocent dept

As the debate continues in the UK over the Digital Economy Bill, Stephen Timms, the minister for Digital Britain, is trying to appease critics of the bill, by promising to include an appeals process for those who are accused of copyright infringement and threatened with having their internet access removed. This is mind-boggling for a few reasons. First, the admission shows that such an appeals process hadn't been in the plan already. More importantly, it shows the general thinking: this is a guilty-until-proven-innocent process. You get accused and you're guilty until you "appeal" and can prove that you were falsely accused. That doesn't seem like reasonable due process. That seems like stacking the deck in favor of copyright holders against the public.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 8:57pm

    Innocent until proven guilty was such a quaint concept but here in the 21st century everybody is guilty of something.

    I can hardly wait for the encryption of information to be made illegal.

    "Is that guy wearing a mask in public! Arrest him! Or her! I cannot tell! They're obviously trying to hide their resounding guilt! Why are you wearing a mask?"

    Because it's freezing out?

     

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    nelsoncruz (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 9:07pm

    Proving a negative

    Not only that... but in an appeal, how the hell does one "prove" they are not guilty? How does one prove a negative?

    This whole thing is like if people started to report license plates of cars we see busting speed limits, etc, and the police fined the owners... unless they appeal and prove to be innocent. It's absolutely mind boggling!

     

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    Kevin Marks, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 9:08pm

    The DE Bill compares badly to Magna Carta

    http://epeus.blogspot.com/2009/10/baron-mandelson-and-magna-carta.html

    Indeed, it looks like the BPI took Bono's advice on being like China when drafting the clauses they wanted:

    http://bit.ly/ChinaBPI

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 9:14pm

    either way, im glad im not a british citizen, tho i fear how long it will be until this idiocy makes it way across the pond(into law that is)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 9:18pm

    the us legal system is also a guilty until proven innocent system too then by your standards. if i dont appeal being charged i will be found guilty even if i am not. your logic is lacking on this one mr masnick

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 9:25pm

      Re:

      You're wrong.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 9:37pm

      Re:

      False. Your intelligence is lacking on...every single comment you've posted.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 9:55pm

      Re:

      Except of course that they can't punish you until after you are found guilty. It's not verdict first trial after. Unless of course you have come from down the rabbit hole.

       

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        Haywood (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 3:08am

        Re: Re:

        Depends on your definition of punish. I had a friend falsely accused of malicious mischief on the slimmest of evidence, he turned himself in rather than be arrested & was held for a bond hearing. That resulted in him requiring a $300 bail, which couldn't be paid where he was held, and required a trip to the county seat, then a return trip to the jail with a paper to release. Then a court appearance to get the whole thing straightened out. The final outcome was a complete exoneration with records expunged, but I would consider that life interruption, a punishment. fortunately he had friends who were willing to blow off a day to get him out.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 4:30am

        Re: Re:

        just being charged is often punishment. arrested, handcuffed, maybe perp walked into the station, try to make bail, get stuck in jail for 24 hours while the bond comes through, and so on. oh yeah dont forget to declare your pending criminal trial if you try to get a new job.

         

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    Beverly Crandon, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 9:30pm

    Yeah... It seems as though the UK government hasn't thought this through. The amount of energy they will have to exude to manage this pre and post appeal will be daunting for them

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 9:55pm

    Heard of Gitmo?

    Here they just call you a terrorist and throw you in Gitmo, well that is until they move them all into the states. Course this is also assuming you don't have comcast, in which case they will tell you that the fair limit for your ip has been used. Then ban you for a year :D

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 10:12pm

    This is just a "two steps forward, one step back" scam. They will likely get huge backlashes and then agree to repeal some of the most absurd laws in an attempt to get more absurd laws on the books.

     

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    sinsi (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 10:26pm

    Sounds like the DCMA takedown process and the default judgement process. You don't appeal, you lose. Thanks USA.

     

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    Richard (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 10:55pm

    I'm sure they'll probably put the appeals form in a nice easy online form... that you won't be able to access because you've been kicked off the internet. I wonder what the penalties for letting someone kicked off the internet for filesharing use your internet will be?

     

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    mike allen (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 12:07am

    i was talking

    to our MP yesterday and put this to him If there was a murder here would you sanction the whole family or street being arrested and sentenced without trial he didnt reply!

     

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    Davem (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 12:52am

    Been here before

    This 'appeal' process has been discussed here a couple of months back:
    "Insult To Injury: Mandelson Wants Those Wrongly Kicked Off The Internet To Pay To Appeal
    from the guilty-by-association dept
    As if Peter Mandelson's Digital Economy Bill proposal wasn't bad enough, Dave sends in yet another problem with it. While it does include a process for appealing if you are cut off for accusations (not convictions) of unauthorized file distribution or reproduction, you will have to pay up to appeal. So even if you are innocent, it will cost you money to make your case for why you shouldn't have been cut off in the first place."

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100127/0527467922.shtml

    So, you can appeal, but unless the plans have changed, you'll have to pay for the privilege.

     

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      abc gum, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 4:54am

      Re: Been here before

      After this three strikes income is added to the budget, there will be quotas to meet.

       

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      Danny, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 1:23pm

      Re: Been here before

      And that is the key. By putting it all on you the internet user your ability to get back in the net and more importantly clear your name will be proportional to how much money you can spare. This will probably result in a lot of people getting kicked off by default due to simply not having the money to fund their own appeal. But of course when it comes time for supporters of this nonsense to celebrate they are only going to count that they kicked "so many illegal downloader" off the net.

       

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    dwind (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 5:02am

    they need 50mb per second bw to the house if they are unable to download anything?
    It was announced at the same time a $9 levy would be assessed to pay for the upgrade.

     

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    Jake, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 2:21pm

    I'm accessing this site on a pre-pay 3G modem. My provider does not know my name or my address, I signed no contract, and I bought the modem and every bandwidth top-up with cash.

    Catch me if you can, Mandy.

     

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    DanVan (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 6:39pm

    What a total disaster

    Grandmothers will be brought for little to no crimes, children will also be brought forward, etc....

     

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