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back to article LibDems drop net blocking, blame activists

LibDem peers agreed to drop their controversial net-blocking clause from the Digital Economy Bill after the government advised that the proposal would be legally unenforceable. It means the Bill now heads for the Commons with one of the key copyright infringement countermeasures up in the air, although it's likely to be a return …

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Missing the point

Two things:

(1) The proposed amendment was not a court driven one, it was a case of the courts weighing in if the ISP did not block on request. That was the critical flaw in my view, as the ISP would not risk the court cost of objecting even if the request was of doubtful merit.

(2) That ease of finding 'illegal' options mentioned in the article is partly a reflection on the lack of appealing 'legal' versions. A constant gripe all along has been copyright holders wanting absolute control like in the old days, and not a pragmatic one of working to provide what people now want and generally would pay for (ease of use, reasonable price).

Why is a legal download more or less the same cost as a physical disk? Do they think people won't feel ripped off when they know there are minimal distribution costs compared to physical manufacture, shipping, shop overheads, etc? Why make legals products suck with DRM, and more so with DRM that goes beyond copy prevention in to non-skipable adverts, warnings, etc?

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hmmmm

you just said everything that i wanted to ....

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Big Brother

Liar, liar, pants on fire!

"Lucas said he'd gone shopping to buy Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter, but the first three pages of Google's search results all pointed to illegal versions."

Not when I did it!

http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=stephen+fry+reading+harry+potter&meta=&aq=f&aqi=g2g-m1&aql=&oq=

I simply can't believe that all the Amazon, Play etc pages only appeared on Google AFTER he'd done his "research" This man is a liar, and a very obviously discovered one as well! Either he's willfully lying because the facts don't support his arguement, or he's reading a BPI crib sheet and not bothered to check out the facts himself

"It was extremely difficult to find something that was legal ... I do not see why search engines should not be able to block these things."

Actually, Lord Liar, it is very easy for search engines to block "these things" China do it all the time. You've heard of China? There the country you and the government regularly condemn for stamping on their citizens rights using, amongst other things, blocking of the internet (they're also the conutry who look to the UK for a "successful" CCTV strategy, but that bit gets left out)

Before the BPI trolls start to flame me, I'm not in any way comparing legitimate political activism with downloading a few pirate mp3's, what I am saying is that by giving one person (and the present recipient of those powers has demonstrated time and again that hes's an "easily convinced" person) leaves the door open to function creep, unexpected consequences, powers vested in the wrong state organisation (or person) and corruption. I could give loads of examples as to how this has happened before (despite assurances that it won't), but I get the impression that if you're reading el Reg you probably know what all the examples are, and if you don't then you've probably spent the last 10 years with your fingers in your ears going "la la la nothing to hide la la la"

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Google searches have user orientated results

I tried the search when logged in and the first page results were from people like Amazon and play.com. When not logged in there is a more eclectic mix of legitimate online stores and torrent sites. So when the noble Lord says that he got three pages of illegal download sites, it brings in to question his previous search history.

Of course I am looking forward to the days when Lord Mandleson (or whoever replaces him) deems that (c) must include Sony style root kits on all music purchases, MS can be delegated to deem that all operating systems other than Mac (must have some competition) break copyright and blogs that "borrow" images from other blogs also fall foul of this new legislation. Wait for some lackey to say it would never be used in that way of course (Terrorism Acts) and delegated powers on copyright would only be given to experts and not those hosting dinners for the Secretary of State on a yacht.

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Metaphors +10

"You are the sellotape, holding down the Esc key."

I like that.

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Pirate

Not that hysterical

"It is incumbent on those who are absolutely dead-set against this kind of measure to demonstrate just how these new models can be set up unless there is adequate protection against copyright infringement"

There is already adequate protection against copyright infringement. It's called copyright law, and it sets out dos and dont's, and penalties for infringement.

Copyright is a balance - an agreement - between creators and the public, monitored by elected representatives, whereby creators can get paid for their work for a limited time after which the work falls into the public domain and people can do what they like with it. That's how Uncle Walt made millions with his re-telling of Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, et al: he didn't have to negotiate with the Brothers Grimm or their descendants.

Some (not all) copyright holders feel this is unfair, and they or their legal successors should be the sole arbiters of how their work is used, and how much should be charged for it, in perpetuity. To that end, they are seeking to destroy copyright as it exists and replace it with a system of continuous nickel-and-dime licencing.

As part of that process, they are also seeking to kill any distribution channels they cannot fully control, so as to force creators to use their distribution channels.

I really don't think Lilian Edwards is all that hysterical. There are very few people in power who even know they are expected to balance the effects of copyright between creators and the commons.

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Boffin

Not when it can't be enforced

"There is already adequate protection against copyright infringement"

There's no copyright protection if it can't be enforced. Copyright is meaningless, it is all Commons now. Take what you want, and don't pay, there are no consequences.

You can't have it both ways, Mr Freetard.

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and this can be enforced?

NONE of the proposals put forward in the draft stage of this bill are enforceable.

SSL, Tor, encrypted VPN's etc will make sure of that...........

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Pigopolistophile

So the (C) owners shouldn't have to revise the business model as times and technology move on because they're some special case?

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Big Brother

OH really ???

why can it not be enforced ??? all the copyright owners have to do is take someone to court......

loads of legislation available .... so why do they not do it ???? they are after all wanting to cut people off based on the same evidence... !!!!

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Exactly!

Well said Fred(erick)... this point has been missed completely by the Lords and the media YET AGAIN! An IP address does not equate to a singular person, a singular computer or even PROOF that the reported IP address is even the genuine originating IP address. So how can you cut someone off (or otherwise penalise them) for something you can't show they've done?

Support the artists - don't buy anything from major labels. It's better for all creatives in the long run.

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@Semihere

The Lib Dems ammendment said nothing about IP address, this is just what lots of people have presumed they said, IIRC it mentioned sites/services.

Yes, support the artists drive them to the poverty line in order to punnish large companies. I daresay that the artists would not agree with you.

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Unhappy

It is as if every street was lined with stalls selling counterfeit goods

Well the internet has been driven from day 1 on the principals of 'sharing and free'

Many of the technologies which we all enjoy so much were free but for how much longer? This is just the first step in the commercialisation of the internet.

Face it people we had a good ride but the gravy train has come off the rails and rules are being put in place which are to the determent of the internet and there isn't anything we can do to stop it.

In years to come I will tell my children how the hinterwebs were in the early days..... I remember all this when it was all free..... No rules no subscriptions and loads of fun.... but Daddy why did you let them change it?

We tried but .....we couldn't stop it... we just couldn't stop it.

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Stop

Hands in pocket, mate

Is paying for stuff so hard?

Boo-hoo. Calling it the end of utopia, when you're really just being an anti-social tightwad is a little tragic.

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Anonymous Coward

Counterfeit?

1. Copyright violations are not counterfeit goods.

2. A take-down notice is all it takes to remove any copyright material, a take-down notice is nothing but a fax.

"Face it people we had a good ride but the gravy train has come off the rails"

Not even a fax in some cases, just an email is all it needs, a DMCA form letter sent via email is all that is needed to remove the copyright violation.

If you introduce a court order to block websites, you create a serious problem. By making the ISP liable to fight this, they'll just block on the first threatening letter, to avoid the expense of the fight. THE ISP HAS NO COMMERCIAL REASON TO FIGHT FILTERING REQUESTS. Ergo you have no court procedure for filtering, you have simply to threaten.

The ISP does not have a contract with some far away website in a foreign country and hence has NO commercial reason to fight their fight for them. And the foreign website cannot endlessly fight foreign demands, even if that demand failed a DMCA request.

So UK will start this, and web lockers will disappear first (even though a take down is only an emailed form letter), next it will be blogs, trackers, search engines, large file transfer sites, web email that permits large files to be sent, youtube, facebook, myspace, photo exchange sites, Scientology criticism sites and on.

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@AC

A takedown, just an email? A bit like the emails sent to TPB that elicit the response: "Fuck Off!"

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FAIL

Hmm.. Google lessons needed for Libdems then ?

"Lucas said he'd gone shopping to buy Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter, but the first three pages of Google's search results all pointed to illegal versions.

"It was extremely difficult to find something that was legal ... I do not see why search engines should not be able to block these things.""

Hmmm... www.google.com, "Stephen Fry reads Harry Potter" entered. Top result, Amazon then Play then we start to get into the torrents.

What exactly is he putting into his google search ?

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Anonymous Coward

Really?

"A hysterical academic, Lilian Edwards, had told the Guardian newspaper that YouTube would be blocked by Section 18."

But surely that would be a good thing? Is there anything of any worth on there?

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Lord Lucas: Google FAIL

Google: stephen fry harry potter.

1st result -- amazon.co.uk, audiobook of Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone, narrated by Stephen Fry.

2nd result -- amazon.co.uk, complete H.P. audiobook collection, narrated by S. Fry.

Sponsored link: amazon.co.uk, pretty comprehensive list of H.P. audiobooks narrated by the great man.

"It was extremely difficult to find something that was legal".

[Insert your own witty put-down, perhaps in the style of Stephen Fry humiliating Alan Davies on Q.I.: I've tried to think of one, but the sheer disconnect between rhetoric and reality leaves me stumped.]

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i tried "harry potter audiobook stephen fry"

the piratebay was result 1, but then it was amazon, play etc.

Maybe if i had safesearch disabled (you know the filter built into google, on by default, that tries to get rid of the dodgy results) i might have had a few more downloads showup before amazon.

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Stop

Really?

"Lucas said he'd gone shopping to buy Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter, but the first three pages of Google's search results all pointed to illegal versions."

Funny, I put the phrase 'Stephen Fry Reading Harry Potter' into google and hit the 'shopping' link. Lo and behold, a great big long list of completely legal ways to by said audio book.

Even if you look at just the general web search results, the second one is a link to buy the thing on Amazon.

Methinks someone is being a littel disingenuous here, and has maybe searched for a term such as "Stephen Fry reads Harry Potter Free Torrent Download"?

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Pirate

More generousity than is deserved

But maybe the results he got were to expensive/riddled with DRM/region locked and, with no feasable legal alternative he started looking into the illegal torrents.

Welcome to the Dark Side Lord Lucas, you'll like it here, we have rational arguements and no cognative dissonance!

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FAIL

Inaccurate article

For the record: Lord Clement-Jones did NOT agree "to withdraw the Clause." He agreed to withdraw his proposed amendment to the clause (18) he got put into the bill in Report Stage. So that part of your article is wrong and so therfore is your title 'LibDems drop net blocking', when used in relation to this article.

The clause will likely bite the dust as the government stated both in this debate and in the debate at report stage when it said that clause 18 was "not a good idea " and that the Govt would " bring forward a clause that would ultimately achieve the same effect, but one which could be enforced, by proposing a power for the Secretary of State to bring forward regulations to achieve the desired effect in relation to site blocking."

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Anonymous Coward

Ha ha ha

"The Lib Dem frontbencher had a swideswipe at freetard activists - including those in his own party - who objected on principle to every attempt to enforce IP rights"

Ever noticed how many freetards slap copyright all over everthing they do? I've seen crappy youtube videos put together with copyright images, copyright stories and copyright music where the "author" has slapped copyright notices all over it. No creativity, no respect for anybody else's IP, but you'd better respect my IP!

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Anonymous Coward

@ha ha ha

Exactly the same as Disney then.

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FAIL

Not quite.

The fairy stories Disney based their heavily sanitised cartoons on were [i]folk[/i] tales. There was no "copyright" in them to begin with; most of them easily predate the very invention of "copyright" and were not covered by it. [i]A particular retelling[/i] of some folk tales, printed in the does not grant you indefinite rights to the original story. Perrault and Grimm were collectors, not originators.

E.g. The story we know today as "Puss in Boots" was first recorded in Italy by Straparola in the 1600s.

Read some of the older versions of these tales and you'll realise just how many changes Disney (and the Victorians) made to the originals. The Grimms had to remove some stories due to perceptions of excessive sex and violence! ("Rumpelstiltskin" is a good example: read it carefully and you'll understand why it is seen as a "coming of age" story centred on puberty.)

These stories were originally nowhere near as innocent and childish as we like to think they were. Children began their working lives [i]very[/i] young right up until the Victorian socio-cultural reformations. They didn't have a childhood in the way we think of it today, so they had to learn how to cope with the real world [i]quickly[/i]. This is what most folk tales were [i]for[/i]. Stories that were once used to scare the little buggers half to death at the merest [i]thought[/i] of sucking their thumb are now so sanitised, they've become lightweight cautionary tales used to help today's children go to sleep!

Disney's animated versions are therefore major rewrites of the much older originals, heavily bowdlerised and sanitised for the changed society they were aimed at. Most of those evil queens and witches were originally fairy "trickster" characters—fairies were nowhere near as nice and goody-goody until the Grimms came along and made this particular change.

So, er, no. Not "exactly the same as Disney", then.

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Terminator

Grimm

The Victorians didn't change them much, they loved their gruesome. In the older version of Cinderella the ugly sister hack their toes and heels off respectively to fit the shoe, and the blood gives them away. Then at the happy ending when the Prince and Cinders get married, Cinderella's friends the birds fly down and peck her step sisters eyes out.

So yeah, Disney changed it a bit...

There's at least one other story that ends abruptly with "so the villagers sewed him into a sack and drowned him in the village pond". The joys of medieval life.

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Music downloading...

Things like blogs with rapidshare links are responsible for a good portion of my salary being spent on buying albums. I'll download 10 or 15 albums, listen to them and then buy everything by the 3 or 4 bands I like.

I need money to buy new shoes :(

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cynical, moi?

"A hysterical academic, Lilian Edwards" oh yes? This would be the woman who said "I believe in copyright, I just don't believe in destroying the legal system to enforce it" (http://blogscript.blogspot.com/2010/03/day-democracy-died-deb.html)

The Guardian article you seem to be talking about (http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/mar/04/lords-digital-economy-bill) has this:

==================

Lilian Edwards, a cyberlaw expert at Sheffield University, said that the new proposals had some benefits but also had sweeping downsides.

"For the first time, Sony and the rest can now go to court and demand that every ISP in the UK blocks YouTube," she wrote.

"There will in reality be no, or few, court applications - just non-publicised notifications. This is essentially legislation for cover extralegal censorship for the benefit of entrenched private interests."

==================

I wouldn't call this hysteria, but the readers can now make their own minds up.

You report your boy as saying "that one safeguard specifically protected sites like YouTube" - whilst chapter and verse would be nice, I don't think we need to delve too far into the legal niceties to see what's going on. A discredited govt in its dying days is using an unelected minister, who has had to leave the commons under a cloud _twice_, to bring in a law (any law will do, so long as it's worth a seat on the board) that benefits it's mates in business. This is modified by some other unelected guy who's on £70 000 a year from a swanky firm of lawyers. Now I'm just guessing here, but I'd say this is going to be _another_ bad law. Rolling the turd in glitter isn't going to make it smell better.

No matter what happens to this poxy law, it will be swiftly circumvented by technical measures, eg IPredator, a truck load of CDs or what have you. The only sensible way forward for the content industry is for them to realize they have got lots of eager customers out there and find a way of giving them something they want at a price they are willing to pay; it's called a market economy. What they are trying to enforce here is a limited choice of goods at arbitrary prices: a bit like the USSR, now I come to think of it.

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Hysterical sums it up

The gal Lilian Edwards does look and sound pretty deranged, you have to admit.

She said the BBC and YouTube would be blocked. But the LibDem amendment specifically exempts sites where the majority of material was not infringing. Most of the BBC and YouTube is not infringing.

In other words, either she doesn't understand the law, in which case she's not a cyberlaw expert. Or she lied.

Still, she got her name in the papers. It worked.

Trebles all round.

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Now, let's not be too sneery

Perhaps the the good Lord Lucas has been resorting a tad to hyperbole, the fact of the matter is he has raised the point that it is not possible to soley blame the (possibly containable) menaces like the Pirate Bay, trans-global corporations like google are for the first time being highlighted as equally culpable in the file share shenanigans, possibly moreso than the Pirate Bay in that they also contain links to Fileshare et al.

This is an important point, in my opinion, since it's the first evidence I've seen that the old fuddy-duddies in the House recognise that do no evil is relative

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::shrugs::

""It is incumbent on those who are absolutely dead-set against this kind of measure to demonstrate just how these new models can be set up unless there is adequate protection against copyright infringement", he said."

This attitude makes no nevermind, regardless of how you feel about copyright.

Once it has been digitized and placed online, the cats have been released from the can of worms, and they can't be put back ... at which point, anyone can have a cat for the asking.

Facts is facts. No amount of legislation can change that.

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Stop

Bullshit.

The only thing preventing people from stabbing others on a whim is social mores, not the lack of ready availability of suitably sharp implements or motivation. (Seriously, try reading some of the comments on YouTube. There are plenty of morons out there I'd love to give a hearty slap in the face with a concert grand Steinway.)

If you know there won't be any ticket inspectors on your daily commuter train, would YOU buy a ticket? You would? Why? Because of some sense of honour or duty? Or because of the vanishingly tiny chance that you *might* get found out and have to pay a fine?

Wandering the less salubrious areas of Peckham while armed with a knife and some friends, waiting for some unsuspecting stranger to walk past and then threatening to "do" him if he doesn't give you all his wallet and any other valuables is neither conceptually nor physically harder than hunting down a torrent of a particular movie on the internet.

ALL laws in the West are social contracts. Not just the ones about IP. We obey them because we *want* to, not merely because we *have* to.

Those who aren't members of the police or armed forces greatly outnumber those who are. If the majority of us wanted "non-fatal mugging" to be made legal—it is now, after all, a more positive experience for both parties than flying with Ryanair—then there's nothing the minority would be able to do to prevent it. Laws are just words on paper.

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@Sean Timarco Baggaley

Nevermind your hyperbole equating "file sharing", where the original copy remains intact, with relieving tourists of their wallets in the Tenderloin at knife-point, where the original copy is purloined by the perp ... Is what I wrote really at odds with what you wrote?

The fact is that BigBidniz no longer controls the distribution channels for anything that can be digitized. This is reality. The cats are out of the bag.

Note that I'm not commenting on the right or wrong when it comes to copyright infringement. Rather, that copyright law needs to change to reflect this new reality. Check out this article (and follow up) written by my friend Janis Ian in May of 2002, before iTunes even existed:

http://www.janisian.com/article-internet_debacle.html

She puts it a lot more eloquently than I can ... and from the perspective of an actual recording artist, to boot. It should be mandatory reading for anyone having a conversation (or passing laws!) on this topic ... Not that I know anything, mind.

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Incumbent upon whom?

"It is incumbent on those who are absolutely dead-set against this kind of measure to demonstrate just how these new models can be set up unless there is adequate protection against copyright infringement"

When did the burden of proof get placed upon the defendant? Common decency says that if you make a claim you demonstrate its merit.

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Grenade

Distributors.

<Take 2 - first draft didn't make it past the moderator>

<Take 3 - Hint: remember to click "Post anonymously" when posting anonymously!>

Dear Distributors (you know who you are - you're the guys furiously masturbating like the monkeys at the zoo over copies of the draft legislation you've "helped" to write!).

If you'd spent a fraction of the money you've clearly spent buying^H^H^H^H^H^H lobbying politicians on actually listening to what your intended customer base were saying, you'd be getting somewhere.

If you'd spent a fraction of your energy on providing a reasonable digital download facility, one which didn't involve DRM, region locking or staggered release dates, instead of trying to turn us all into criminals, we might actually brake if we saw you crossing the street.

If you'd spent a fraction of your time preparing a reasonable business model for the digital age, instead of wistfully dreaming about days gone by, you'd have been in a position years ago to make money from this thing called the internet.

But no, you'd rather be the greedy, self-serving, arrogant bunch of cocks that we all believe you to be.

Anon, obviously.

(There, was that better?)

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Stop

Oh for the love of...

Lucas said he'd gone shopping to buy Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter, but the first three pages of Google's search results all pointed to illegal versions.

"It was extremely difficult to find something that was legal ... I do not see why search engines should not be able to block these things."

----

You are a plank! How about you start with a Google search for, oh I dunno, "audiobook and book retailers", like erm...what's it called, Ama-something or that other one Waterwoods or something?

Strange when I searched for "Pervy Nights in Bangkok", I got loads of links to porn sites not DVD retailers!!!

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Real costs?

A lot of people seem to have a pretty unsophisticated idea of how much it costs to produce and distribute content. Just because a download has very minor marginal costs, that doesn't mean content should therefore be almost free. It still costs a lot of money to make it. The emergence of the iPad and Kindle have kicked off a more sensible discussion for ebooks than we've had for music, film and TV (perhaps reflecting the average intellect of the consumers and producers). Here is a decent analysis:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/01/business/media/01ebooks.html?emc=eta1

Of course, we could all slip Joe Author a pound in exchange for his latest .doc file. It might be good or it might not. Nobody much likes the parasites of the content industry, but they're not all parasites and they do need to get paid somehow.

Just because it will always be logically possible to bypass copyright control does not mean it is the right thing to do.

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Anonymous Coward

Advertising

One of the largests costs can be advertising and marketing. Nobody is going to buy a new album/film/book/game if they don't know it's out there. Fair enough some things, like a new Harry Potter book, don't take much advertising. Others do.

Some may talk of word of mouth advertising (some may use words like viral, but they probably ought to be shot) as if they were free. How much do they think it cost, for example to print and distribute all those free copies of Lord of the Rings?

"So what?" You may say, "I don't give a flying fornication about advertising. I ignore it." But we're not just talking about the cost of getting the adverts designed and the cost of running the ads. We're also talking about all the work that goes into wooing potential distributors and stockists. Convincing reviewers that the product is worth reviewing. PR costs big.

But the real problem with all this is that if the marketing, advertising and PR costs aren't covered then it's the new stuff and the small stuff that suffers. New music by new bands will get the elbow, the established stuff won't suffer. So if anybody is keen on a world where we all download our content gratis then remember you will be stuck with mainstream dross and the new stuff and the minority interest stuff will disappear. The publishers will only be interested in the stuff that's guaranteed to make big bucks.

Just a thought.

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WTF?

"the government advised....

"...that the proposal would be legally unenforceable."

Wow! There's a first time for everything!

Oh, but, hang on, what they meant was that *someone else's* proposal would be legally unenforceable, not one of their own...

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In my crystal ball....

Flash forward 2015, Digital Economy Bill's almost killed the internet, entertainment industry's on it's death bed, blames the Digital Economy Bill.

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Pirate

Lord Lucas and Google

Well, Google does seem to personalize its results pages quite a lot nowadays, so perhaps Lord L.'s search history showed a preference for torrents over shops?

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Legislative Bullseye

It’s like some hellish parliamentary quiz show.

“Think about the Clauses you’ve won. Clauses 4 to 17, you take home whatever. You’ve got the time it takes the House to dissolve to decide what you’d like to do about that new Clause 18. Remember what it is: the start of wide-ranging Internet censorship in the UK. Two readings and a wash-up in six weeks, if you’d like to gamble it against tonight’s mystery Clause hiding behind Mandy.”

And, as for the Open Rights Group. I should be just the sort of person who’s inclined to support them, but even I have a problem with their homepage. Some of those many instances of the word ‘stop’ need to be replaced with more positive ones.

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FAIL

Hysterical?

"A hysterical academic, Lilian Edwards"

Nice bit of belittling there - I wonder if you would have said the same of a male academic?

Does the Reg's editorial policy condone this sort of overt sexist posturing?

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FAIL

Sexist posturing.

I'd say let's ask the Moderatrix, but she's no doubt getting her bum slapped by mysanthropic editors while they comment on her jubblies...

hysterical [hɪˈstɛrɪkəl], hysteric

adj

1. of or suggesting hysteria hysterical cries

2. (Psychiatry) suffering from hysteria

3. Informal wildly funny

hysterically adv

Fail to see how the word hysterical implies sexism, but there's always someone willing to take random offence these days...

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Sexist posturing.

I think you mean 'misogynist'. Kind of surprised you don't know that, actually.

Missed the original comment here, but hysteria was originally considered an exclusively female condition:

1610s, from L. hystericus "of the womb," from Gk. hysterikos "of the womb, suffering in the womb," from hystera "womb" (see uterus). Originally defined as a neurotic condition peculiar to women and thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the uterus. Meaning "very funny" (by 1939) is from the notion of uncontrollable fits of laughter.

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=hysterical

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