In 1985, Top UK Government Law Official Knowingly Shared Pirated Document With Prime Minister's Office; Asked For 'Discretion'

from the hypocrisy-much? dept

Copyright and hypocrisy seem to go hand in hand, judging by the numerous stories here on Techdirt about copyright maximalists being found with infringing materials. A tweet by Graham Smith points out that in the UK, this has been going on for decades at the highest levels of government. He links to a copy of a 1985 letter from a senior official in the UK's Royal Courts of Justice (pdf), who is forwarding a document to the Prime Minister's team at 10 Downing Street in London:

In case you can't read that, here's the rather extraordinary admission it contains:

May I point out that what you are getting is a "contraband copy", made in this Department, of another "contraband copy" made by the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions, the official responsible for prosecuting criminal offenses] from a copy which he legitimately obtained from the shorthand writers on the usual commercial basis. The making of extra copies in this way is, I think, a breach of the shorthand writers' copyright and I think that they would be aggrieved if they knew about it. I should therefore be grateful if you would use the enclosures with discretion.
That is, one of the UK's top legal officials admits to making an infringing copy of an existing infringing copy made by another top legal official, and writes to ask that the Prime Minister's office keep this bit of governmental piracy quiet. After all, who cares about what the law says when you are the law?

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Filed Under: government, piracy, uk


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  • identicon
    Just Another Anonymous Troll, 7 Jan 2015 @ 9:22am

    Ahoy, matey!
    Inb4 they are sued for $150,000 in statutory infringement damages.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2015 @ 9:26am

    Is this an example of corruption in government, or the absurdity of UK copyright law regarding legal documents? I'm so confused.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2015 @ 9:27am

      Re:

      Both since existing copy protection laws are a result of undemocratic corruption and back door dealings.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2015 @ 9:40am

      Re:

      A little of Column incompetence, a little of Column malfeasance. Bear in mind that this was before the fines for knowingly infringing a copyright became a craiminal offence if done by a member of the public.

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

  • icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), 7 Jan 2015 @ 9:41am

    I can only imagine the amount of illegal copying that goes on in Hollywood, but they justify it by thinking they're not pirates, they're just trying to run their business. In fact, if they complied with copyright law, their business would be almost impossible to run.

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

  • identicon
    Colin, 7 Jan 2015 @ 9:43am

    But this insinuates that government officials are hypocrites! Surely there's more to this story.

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

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 7 Jan 2015 @ 9:53am

    Laws aren't written to prevent the actions of people.

    They're written to punish.

    Those who abuse them can only be punished if someone tells.

    Clearly, someone didn't, with this story.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2015 @ 10:10am

    Leaders lead; rulers rule.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2015 @ 10:54am

    Do as I say...

    ... not as I do.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2015 @ 11:23am

    as usual, it's only the ordinary 'man on the street' who mustn't do anything that companies, industries, law makers, law enforcers and just about any other official person or body do on regular basis. the hypocrisy, as mentioned, is pretty gross! Cameron has only implemented it in the UK, along with the web censorship, because he wants to do whatever he can to be Obama's best buddy and do whatever possible for the entertainment industries, particularly those in the USA. he hasn't taken any notice of the findings of the report he had done concerning piracy and it's effects or even looked at the independently produced figures again on piracy and it's effects. the reason is, he had no intentions of doing what was advised as he had already promised action in the way he has. i will enjoy reading about the cases that are going to be heard in the EUCJ and the EUCHR and even more interesting will be whether he enforces or ignores the rulings!!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2015 @ 12:40pm

    Coincidence? I think not.

    I get the feeling it's more than coincidende.

    The letter from 1985 is signed by "H STEEL", that looks like family to that other famous "Steele". It's the 1% all the way to the turtles.

    /me dusts off my (illegal) copy of "The Illuminatis".

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2015 @ 1:09pm

    Im SHOCKED, shocked i tell ya.......that the new zealand swat team working on behalf of the US government, who in turn is working in behalf of a corpororation.....HASN'T .....i tell you hasn't ......knocked down the doors of parliment already for this god damn heinous crime of sharing

    What has the world come to...i tell ya

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2015 @ 11:24pm

    would a summing up document from a supreme court judge, that was delivered in the Old Bailey have a copyright on it?
    Public record surely?

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


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