"Communications systems are inherently designed to deliver communication," stated Mita Mitra, BT's Internet Policy overseer, yesterday while debating one of the most controversial aspects of the 2010 Digital Economy Act: that BT and other ISPs should be responsible for blocking websites that infringe copyright. "It's a big thing …
A lot of commonsense here, but I notice Warner Bros. are still furiously bailing. The lawyer is also quite detached form reality saying ISPs should block stuff because (in his uniformed opinion) they are 'best placed'.
I happen to be best placed to stop cats fouling my garden - doesn't mean I've got any chance of success.
Getting into an arms race with the Anonymous crowd is a bit like winning a brutal fart contest. Yes you have won but you have also caused a lot of collateral suffering.
Suffering ... from severely soiled strides?
and ... Collateral ... because must walk sideways to disguise dank patch.
Has anyone actually won against Anonymous? I've heard of people taunting them and having their web sites owned and reputations ruined, but never of someone who taunted them and forced them into capitulation.
Granted, it's much harder to quantify a win against Anon, given its distributed nature. Perhaps we could consider any operation removing Anon's ability to disseminate obscenity free, literate, and rather florid public letters as victory? I don't know if they've got one guy doing all of that, but if not, they must have one hell of an in-house style guide.
Anyway, they generally seem to have good policies. Some of it veers toward the juvenile-revenge trap, but by and large, I'll take a victory by them over one by people promoting web blocking, or the outlawing of pretending to have been in the military, or compulsion of people to place anyone else's text next to their own with no government oversight. Anonymous wins -that- one hands down, fart contest or not.
Will Virgin block itself?
Blocking Newzbin and other Usenet directory sites - all well and good, and I see how that will work (VPN subscriptions notwithstanding). But those sites don't actually host the Usenet groups containing the pirate software/movies/songs/etc.
So who does? Virgin, for one. I can right now (and I'm not saying I would, obviously!) download terabytes of stuff directly from Virgin via my account with them. The Usenet directory sites make it more convenient to group all the files together, but without them what would I do? Oh, maybe just list the contents of the Virgin groups and peruse at my pleasure... like I used to do before I discovered Newzbin (which I don't use - there are better alternatives, which I may or may not use... I'm saying nothing).
Virgin actually HOSTS the pirate stuff, and it's safer to download from your own ISP because it's not P2P, so not open to outside monitoring. Usenet is also WAY faster than BitTorrent. I can't see Virgin being keen to give up the personal details of anyone downloading pirate software directly from the Virgin servers because that implicates Virgin too.
Perhaps Virgin will simply block customer access to their own servers?
"An audience member from Warner Brothers argued that just because it was hard to enforce the law didn't mean you shouldn't try to enforce it."
But you don't bother when the effort is clearly for nothing as smarter people than you have already noted that the incentive needs to change because the technology will achieve nothing. For WBs information there are plenty of arcane laws out there that are not enforced.
Although some may have been since cleared up, including this one from the middle ages...
All English males over the age 14 are to carry out 2 or so hours of longbow practice a week supervised by the local clergy.
Don't recall doing that myself.
All tools should be used
All tools should be used to reduce piracy. ISPs are just coping out.
"just because it was hard to enforce the law didn't mean you shouldn't try to enforce it"
Hey Mr. RIAA mouthpiece, I have two words for you : laws change.
Proof in point : you're the ones who got that law into the books with your vast sums of money that didn't go to any artist.
Well We The People will, one day, remove that law from the books, because laws are meant to protect the People, not the Corporations.
Make em pay!
If the rights holders are so keen on blocking pirate websites, then they should pay for the implementation and maintenance of the systems used to do this.
After all is said and done, the only one's benefiting from this are the rights holders, not the ISP or it's customers.
I bet they would not be so keen if that were to happen.
"...the responsibility did lie with ISPs because they were best placed to enforce the blocks."
Presumably, then, the responsibility for preventing crime falls on the department of transportation?
Copyright is what they want to use blocking for?!?
I've been aware of this for some time and while I do think blocking is a crap idea I have to ask, why is it that this is coming up for bloody copyright? Surely if they were going to block anything it should be sites which promote terrorism, paedophilia, and anything else equally vile?
Blocking just isn't viable, even if it were though copyright should be the bottom of the frackin' list of things to use it for.
Broadly speaking I support copyright...
... but, given that blocking will be ineffective (for various values of ineffective) and inevitably there will be collateral damage, I can't support blocking.
I think David W.'s comment, "Presumably, then, the responsibility for preventing crime falls on the department of transportation?" is incisive.
The comment from Warner Bros. that "just because it was hard to enforce the law didn't mean you shouldn't try to enforce it" is rather superficial.
This is spot on I think: "It's not about about technology, technology can always be circumvented. It's about incentives, we put the technologists back in the box, and started to look at why people do it. It's about how you change the incentive structure, it's not a technological thing."