UK Gov't's Response To Petition Against Disconnections: We've Redefined Disconnection

from the it's-still-a-disconnection dept

Just as David Cameron has announced plans to review UK copyright laws (yet again) and the UK High Court announced the (somewhat surprising) news that it will do a judicial review of the Digital Economy Act, the UK government also responded to a petition that was filed by opponents of the Digital Economy Act. The petition asked for the repeal of the Digital Economy Act, claiming that it was not fair to have users disconnected from their internet connections. The government's response is a bit frustrating in its use of unsupported claims and what appears to be a willful misunderstanding of the complaint:
It is clear that online copyright infringement inflicts considerable damage on the UK's creative economy including music, TV and film, games, sports and software. Industry estimates place this harm at £400m pa.

The Digital Economy Act includes a number of measures to tackle the problem and we expect these to be successful in significantly reducing online copyright infringement. However this is an area of rapid technological change and developing consumer behaviour. The Act therefore includes a reserve power to introduce further "technical" measures if the initial measures do not succeed. These technical measures would limit or restrict an infringers' access to the internet. They do not include disconnection.
First off, that first sentence is silly. The government should never cite an industry's own stats when that industry is asking for protectionism -- especially when tons of independent studies have shown that such industry estimates are completely inaccurate. Second, pretending that "limiting or restricting infringers' access to the internet" does "not include disconnection" is playing a rather obnoxious game of semantics. If you're blocked from accessing the internet, you've lost your connection, and thus have been disconnected. This isn't the first time it's done so. During the run up to the vote on the bill, we noted that the politicians supporting it had decided to make sure not to call account suspensions disconnections. Effectively, they're trying to redefine "disconnection" to only mean a permanent disconnection. A "temporary suspension," is not a disconnection in their book of misleading propaganda.

Of course, to anyone who loses their internet connection, no matter what the length of time, it certainly is a disconnection. Calling it something different doesn't change that. It's pretty sad when the UK government officials can't even be intellectually honest on such a straightforward issue.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Nov 2010 @ 7:37am


    Seriously? Suggest you move out of the US then. It is at least as guilty of all those things as the UK. I think you might want to think carefully about any claims of any kind of "moral superiority".

    By the way, bp is a significantly american-based company, the last time I was in the US a couple of months ago their "gas stations" still seemed to have customers despite the big "bp" logos on the door, and if you think bp going down in the US would be a good thing I suggest you learn some economics. You'd hit approximately 100,000 jobs directly in the US, not to mention the large ripple effects through the service industries that support the oil industries. I think you'll also find that a lot of US as well as a lot of UK pension and investment funds have been hurt by the rabid rhetoric against bp and it's drop in value. I also find it interesting that their worst problems have all been in the US and all since they bought Amoco, which was an American operation.

    I assume you have the money to buy your own island where you can be happy in your own little world?

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