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Study Shows Educational And Social Harm 'Three Strikes' Punishment Would Cause Young People

from the better-late-than-never dept

One of the extraordinary aspects of the "three strikes" approach to copyright enforcement is its blind vindictiveness. After three or so alleged acts of infringing on copyright, it's not one individual that's punished, but the entire household that depends on the family Internet connection in question, irrespective of the personal situation of those affected. This kind of collective punishment is something that is regarded as abhorrent in other contexts, but the power of the copyright industries is such that several governments around the world followed the French lead and introduced precisely this kind of scheme, and to hell with the damage it might cause to innocent and vulnerable people caught up in it.

A major issue is that no research was carried out before introducing the legislation in order to understand just what its wider effects might be -- pretty much the only exploration of the consequences is in Cory Doctorow's "Pirate Cinema", the Techdirt Book Club's current choice. That's typical of the evidence-free way that copyright legislation is drawn up and passed, but it is particularly unforgiveable here because some belated research shows just how serious the knock-on damage is likely to be for some:

Teenagers who do not have access to the internet in their home have a strong sense of being 'educationally disadvantaged', warns the study. At the time of the study, the researchers estimated that around 10 per cent of the teenagers were without online connectivity at home, with most of this group living in poorer households. While recent figures from the Office of National Statistics suggest this dropped to five per cent in 2012, the researchers say that still leaves around 300,000 children without internet access in their homes.

The researchers' interviews with teenagers reveal that they felt shut out of their peer group socially and also disadvantaged in their studies as so much of the college or school work set for them to do at home required online research or preparation.
The research is about homes that do not have an Internet connection for economic or other reasons, but clearly the same consequences could be expected for those that were cut off as a result of a "three strikes" punishment against someone in the same household. Students in families affected are likely to be educationally and socially at a considerable disadvantage. Fortunately, as Techdirt has reported, the "three strikes" approach seems to be collapsing under its own weight in France, and more or less ruled out in the UK for legal reasons.

That's just as well, since this new research suggests that the knock-on consequences for young people caught up in this scheme would have been serious and long lasting as far as their employment prospects and social integration were concerned. Moreover, it's not hard to see that the impact on everyone in the families affected would have been similarly disproportionate in terms of cutting them off from online government and business services that are now practically indispensable for modern life.

It's shameful the governments concerned either didn't even consider these issues before plunging ahead with their "three strikes" laws, or did, but simply didn't care about the suffering they would cause. In either case, it shows once more how they are more interested in pleasing their friends in the copyright world than in serving the people that elected them.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and on Google+

Filed Under: harm, three strikes, uk


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  1. identicon
    Shane Roach, 9 Jan 2013 @ 1:33pm

    Fingerprints and IP numbers

    When I was younger, I did not believe people like you existed.

    For the record, it is impossible to find out what the probability of two fingerprints being identical even is. You have to have a certain number of fingerprints and then check for uniqueness to even get an outside figure using mathematical probability calculations.

    Whenever they finally get IPv6 rolling, the number of unique IP's will be 3.410^38 if you want to take Wikipedia's word for it. Whatever it is, it is going to be significantly less than the effectively infinite variety of fingerprints.

    And the IP address is not associated with any specific person, which you and yours continually ignore.

    Some people in this world do not like to deal in facts, but instead dangerously cling to whatever they perceive as the authority of their time. Sadly, facts trump perceptions of authority, and have a well documented influence over who wins physical conflicts.

    I've watched a man die because of current application of IP law coupled with the utter mismanagement of our monetary system and our medical system. Life saving treatment is too expensive in no small part because of IP law. Artificial money, constantly inflated to keep up with the interest payments necessary to motivate bankers to lend, pools in what investors perceive to be reliable investments. Medical technology is a secure investment because people, by and large, will pay whatever it takes to stop suffering or to prolong life. Therefore, the cost of medical care skyrockets in comparison to other living costs, and people cannot afford it.

    In trying to right this wrong artificially while maintaining our ridiculous monetary and IP laws, various systems have been put in place. The catch all in the US was supposed to be that if you had an emergency, you went to the emergency room where they were not allowed to refuse treatment.

    The man I am speaking of had a grapefruit sized tumor growing on his neck when he walked into the emergency room. Since he was not strangling to death yet, they sent him home. This happened on at least one more occasion.

    Predicably, the man strangled to death in his sleep a week or two later.

    I hold you and people like you accountable for what we have become as a nation. Wake up, sir. Wake up.

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