back to article Ten years in the clink, file-sharing monsters! (If UK govt gets its way)

The UK government will insist on jail sentences of up to 10 years for illegal file sharing, despite its own public consultation saying the opposite. In an act of almost unparalleled Whitehall hubris, the decision was announced in the foreword to a report [PDF] that revealed only two per cent of respondents agreed with the …

Anonymous Coward

You COULD NOT...

...make it up. Stupidity, short-sightedness, spineless and other 's' words incarnate.

Makes me want to run screaming into the night with an axe!

Anon cause there are many legitimate things one could be doing running round with an axe, probably. Certainly not dismantling the government chunk by chunk, honest guv.

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Re: You COULD NOT...

Just checked - you get less for Manslaughter with anything other than 'Low Provocation'...

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/manslaughter_provocation/

So the MAFIAA are obviously more important than human life - of course we already knew this, naturally.

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Mushroom

Re: You COULD NOT...

>>"Just checked - you get less for Manslaughter with anything other than 'Low Provocation'..."

And here come the silly comparisons. Though it's usually driving offences that are preferred, car analogies and all.

Presumably everyone outraged by this also thinks that when an ISP promises "up to 100Mbps" that's what they'll get. Or that because you can get up to two years for dangerous driving, you'll get two years for accidentally going through a red light.

This is about harmonizing offline and online penalties so that someone producing knock-off DVDs gets treated the same as someone transferring ISOs online. It's not about upping the penalties.

Let's look at actual prosecutions resulting in multi-year sentences in the UK. To recall two, we had a guy who traded in $20million of pirated software and made a very handsome profit on that. He got seven years, iirc. The other multi-year sentence I can recall was someone running a piracy site and he was channelling about £50,000 advertising revenue per month through Latvian banks to South American-registered companies. I don't recall how long that person got, but it was less than ten years.

If you're someone at home distributing some movies via BitTorrent, you're not going to get a decade inside, you're going to get a fine, in all but the most exceptional cases.

Discretion in sentencing is a thing and exists for a very good reason. Meanwhile El Reg. and Ars Technica go into a feeding frenzy of click-bait profits whilst freetards go into moral outrage and complain about comparisons to manslaughter. Well home torrenters aren't going to be sentenced the same way as people committing manslaughter and if you throw out all historical evidence from this country to the contrary, and refuse to acknowledge that maximum sentences are not the be all and end all of how you assess a law, then you're wilfully [b]trying[/b] to be outraged because you enjoy it.

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Re: You COULD NOT...

If you really wanted to harmonise the sentencing guidelines then you could lower the penalty for the physical crime.

Comparing maximum sentences with different crimes is perfectly legitimate.

Your "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear" argument is a dangerous one.

It is perfectly reasonable to use stronger laws (fraud etc) to prosecute the more serious cases.

Sorry. I fundamentally disagree that you could be locked up for 10 years for sharing an ISO. And I disagree just as strongly with the way that policy was created.

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Re: You COULD NOT...

>>"If you really wanted to harmonise the sentencing guidelines then you could lower the penalty for the physical crime."

Yes, you could resolve it either way. But in the case of someone who was pulling down £400,000 from advertising on the back of other people's work and funnelling that money secretly via international banks to hidden accounts in South America (not a hypothetical example but one of the rare cases of someone in the UK getting a mult-year prison sentence for this kind of stuff), should it be lowered? Frequently cases like this are not prosecuted simply because the complexities in the law have made it difficult to proceed. This clarifies and rationalizes the law and that's a good thing. If you want to argue that industrial-scale fraud should have its penalties lowered to inline with what some home torrenter might get (a fine), then that's going to need some support.

>>"It is perfectly reasonable to use stronger laws (fraud etc) to prosecute the more serious cases."

Discretionary sentencing is a valuable tool in the British legal system. Without it you get an inability of judges to be lenient. and cases being thrown out because the prosecution picked the wrong gradient of the crime. E.g. dangerous driving can be anything from a fine to two years in prison. And if you kill someone it can go up to fourteen years. What happens if the prosecution pick the variant of the crime and don't meet the necessary burden of proof for the ten year dangerous driving law, but would have met it for the eight? And it leads to US-style plea bargaining.

Discretionary sentencing is, if not vital, certainly very important.

>>Sorry. I fundamentally disagree that you could be locked up for 10 years for sharing an ISO.

You wont be. The article has misled you. If you're talking about sharing some popular movie, you'll get a fine, same as you always would. This is about commercial-scale piracy which your example certainly doesn't meet the criteria of.

>>And I disagree just as strongly with the way that policy was created.

Public consultation followed by vote by elected MPs? What would be your preferred method of enacting and removing laws?

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Re: You COULD NOT...

It's a good thing the law is never used to make knee-jerk reactionary statements of intent.

Oh, hang on.

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Black Helicopters

His (her) Master's Voice

This is the movie and recording industry pulling the strings.

Treating torts as criminal cases is no better than having debtors' prisons.

Welcome to the Britain of Dickensian Dave

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: His (her) Master's Voice

Perhaps you were misled by the headline. The penalty for industrial scale digital piracy is being brought into line with the penalty for physical piracy and counterfeiting. These are not torts.

Given that the games, TV, movie and music industries in Britain employ millions of people (including loads of high quality tech and engineering jobs), I would expect them to a view on industrial scale piracy, wouldn't you? They would be negligent if they didn't.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: His (her) Master's Voice

The crimes aren't the same though are they?

If i steal a warehouse of cd's and dvd's they're gone, i nicked em and made a profit selling em. I have deprived someone of real things.

If I copy a mates mp3 via bluetooth on my device, no one has lost out.

I wouldn't have bought it anyway, so no loss of sale.

And EMI or whoever are able to continue selling their wares regardless.

go watch the new Tower Records documentary, at least they are honest enough to admit it wasn't napster that killed the music industry, its was themselves charging £20 for an album and not releasing the hits as singles. THe music industry caused napster.

And now they wanna lock me up for 10 years.

Do one.

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Re: His (her) Master's Voice

Not really the same, many media "pirates" are usually the media's best customers. "Piracy", to some degree, is a form of advertising.

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Re: His (her) Master's Voice

Frankly Oriowski I wish you would piss off.

I take the opertunity to post here because you would censor such comment in your own articles. Your censoring means I won't add any comment to your articles or bother reading them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: His (her) Master's Voice

As someone who has also experienced Orlowski's censorship of comments he didn't like, I entirely agree.

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Re: His (her) Master's Voice

Any torrenting of copyrighted work is by its nature industrial scale piracy because it's P2P between thousands of nodes and the sharers are accomplices.

The copyright lobby know this but the baroness is too dim to realise. Or maybe she does but it'll teach the serfs anyway.

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Re: His (her) Master's Voice

So it is OK to steal what you wouldn't pay for?

Don't worry this has been an observable nerd phenomenon since computers began.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: His (her) Master's Voice

I understand that there is no physical theft. I don't understand the sentence part 'not releasing the hits as singles'. Doesn't a song have to have been a single for it to be a hit?.

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Flame

Re: His (her) Master's Voice

So it is OK to steal what you wouldn't pay for?

Can we please not call this stealing or theft. Stealing is "the wrongful or willful taking of money or property belonging to someone else with intent to deprive the owner of its use or benefit either temporarily or permanently."

Sharing of copyrighted works on the Internet might be a crime (although you'd have to speak to Google Books' lawyers about the fine points), but it is not theft or "stealing".

Hence the phrase "copyright theft" to try to spin it into depriving the copyright owner of something, as if the people doing the sharing have somehow stolen the copyright. Of course the copyright owner still possesses the copyright, so it is not "copyright theft" either, even if the copyright owner has in fact, or in their imagination, failed to generate some income as a result.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: His (her) Master's Voice

There is a word for this kind of behaviour by a women, Whore.

These greedy crony-capitalist (fakes) corporations, with unjust state privileges need to be told to get lost. I bet because of tax discounts favouring the increasingly rich, they don't even fully fund the current Industrial Protectionism oppression, so will be even more parasitic with this proposed new oppression too!

It would be far more positive to prosecute actual harmful and costly /real/ crime, like unlawful killing, unlawful assault, real theft and fraud, including by most of the financial sector, all fractional reserve or other leverage lenders, and fiat currency central banks.

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Big Brother

Re: His (her) Master's Voice

"I take the opportunity to post here because you would censor such comment in your own articles. "

Censored, you say? By AO? Deleted?

Surely not! Oh, wait-

Me too, when I pointed out something about his apparent support of fascists ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H big media barons...

+++comment deleted+++ by something that looks like a duck...

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Re: His (her) Master's Voice

Orlowski is also the same guy who ended up defending FunnyJunk... The guys who were actually engaging in piracy, only because it proved his own twisted view on IP matters.

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Re: His (her) Master's Voice

Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG MPAA RIAA SONY RCA UMG perchance?

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FAIL

Re: His (her) Master's Voice - whore

Downvoted for the implication that only women can sell sex.

Or is there no such thing as a male whore?

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Re: His (her) Master's Voice

There is a word for this kind of behaviour by a women, Whore

Why only in women? The moment you apply this term to politicians it transcends sexual orientation.

As my dad used to say. Son, never mistake a v**ina for a c*nt. The former is an essential part of anatomy in half of the human population. The latter is a type of character, usually male and most often found in politicians and celebrities.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: His (her) Master's Voice

@"Perhaps you were misled by the headline. The penalty for industrial scale digital piracy is being brought into line with the penalty for physical piracy and counterfeiting. These are not torts."

I notice you said "industrial" and not "Commercial scale" since the proposal doesn't limit itself to any commercial activity.

i.e. a torrent might have 100 people on it, hence *industrial* scale piracy. A youtube tribute video with a Prince song on it, 1000 views, industrial scale piracy. Already the penalty is 50,000 quid, your home for your tribute video! So the penalties are already excessive. Commercial scale piracy would also lose all profits too.

This is the Tescos baroness, the former Tescos Director who retired in 2013.

She says "Creative industries add £84.1billion to the UK economy each year" in this report, but that looks to be mainly retailing, i.e. Tescos selling DVDs and CDs is being counted as creative industry GDP.

She was never elected, she was given a Baroness position after he 'success' at Tescos and then appointed again by Cameron to be a minister. So she doesn't answer to Joe Pubic, she's very much a cronies crony.

So will the people who been involved in Tescos accounting black hole be prosecuted and given 10 years in prison?

Tell me Serious Fraud Office, how come Tescos has taken 9 *BILLION* in consolidated profit hits in the last 3 years, yet the underlying supermarket is profitable???

www.tescoplc.com/index.asp?pageid=30

250 million black hole admitted? Yet 9 BILLION hit on the consolidated profits sheet so far!

Will those involved be given 10 year prison? Or will you cut some deal with the company to let them off?

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Re: His (her) Master's Voice

Not OK to 'steal' (duplicate, actually) what you wouldn't pay for but then, where's my refund when the film I just watched in the cinema was NOWHERE NEAR as good as the intentionally misleading trailer suggested?

Hmmm advertising standards, perhaps?

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Re: His (her) Master's Voice

Yes, because scope creep never happens in the British legal system, does it? Nobody has ever been persecuted with anti-terrorism laws for putting the wrong wheelie bin out or letting their dogs crap all over a public park, have they? And nobody has ever ended up in prison for making a crap joke on Twitter about blowing up an airport.

Oh, wait...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: His (her) Master's Voice

"The crimes aren't the same though are they?

If i steal a warehouse of cd's and dvd's they're gone, i nicked em and made a profit selling em. I have deprived someone of real things.

If I copy a mates mp3 via bluetooth on my device, no one has lost out.

I wouldn't have bought it anyway, so no loss of sale."

But the actual physical CDs and DVDs cost pennies, they only have value because of what's on them. If I steal them and sell them only to people who promise me that they wouldn't have bought the full-price versions of the films, I've only really stolen a few pence worth of plastic and paper.

That's bollocks of course. The valuable thing is the information so whether you steal it physically or copy it unlawfully, you're doing the same amount of harm. You're right that copyright infringement is not theft but you're wrong to think that it's morally any different to legging it out of HMV with a DVD.

.

AC because, despite my moralising, I'm torrenting GoT right now!

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Re: His (her) Master's Voice

>>"If i steal a warehouse of cd's and dvd's they're gone, i nicked em and made a profit selling em. I have deprived someone of real things. If I copy a mates mp3 via bluetooth on my device, no one has lost out."

Both are methods of depriving the content producer of payment for their product. Unless for some incalculable reason you think the primary cost of producing a movie or album is the plastic that goes into the DVD, then it really makes no difference how you take it without paying for it. This is a fact.

>>"I wouldn't have bought it anyway, so no loss of sale."

This is you deciding unilaterally the worth of someone's work and depriving them of a say in it. You declare it's not worth £10 but is worth £0, so it's therefore okay for you to take it for £0. Trade depends on both parties being able to negotiate on a price. If the seller prices it too highly, you choose not to buy. If you find it worth the price they demand, you do choose to. Taking it at a price that the seller does not agree to is theft, even if (especially if) that price is £0. The customer always wants everything cheaper, that's why they don't get to set the prices of it unilaterally.

Also, utterly absurd to argue from a position that piracy doesn't cost sales. Whilst the comments sections of IT news sites seem to be filled with people who pirate nothing that they would ever buy, the real world contains people I know who absolutely use piracy as an alternative to buying, renting or cinema.

And before I get the utterly predictable retort that this doesn't mean that every pirated good is a lost sale, let me point out I haven't made such an argument.

All of the above is fairly straightforward logical progression from supportable premises. You're trying to justify piracy and doing a piss-poor job of it.

>>"And now they wanna lock me up for 10 years."

No, the article is misleading you. They want to slap a fine on you and say "don't do it again." Unless you happen to be engaging in large-scale software piracy for profit which is more what this is about despite the frothing rant that has just attempted to pass itself off as journalism without so much as pretending to consider the opposing view.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: His (her) Master's Voice

>Sharing of copyrighted works on the Internet might be a crime [...]

Malum Prohibitum, is the term you're looking for.

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Pint

Re: His (her) Master's Voice

>>"Frankly Oriowski I wish you would piss off."

And I am very glad he's here as he actually backs up his articles. I can also spell his name!

Whenever Orlowski posts in the comments on El Reg., I always picture him as George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life: standing in front of the mob when there's a run on the bank desperately trying to explain how the system works as people keep shouting for their money.

Beer for our resident IT masochist.

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Re: His (her) Master's Voice

Every comment i had taken down on Reg was to Orlowski's article.

In general, if you read comments to his articles, you can see how one sided they are and also how few votes they have - pretty much one or two votes each, despite articles covering hot topics...

It's really shameful and reflects badly on Reg.

Now for fun part - just in case Orlowski read this, let's make him foam at the mouth:

"Google!"

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Re: His (her) Master's Voice

Welcome to the Britain of Dickensian Dave

Surely the Britain of Dick-in-pig Dave?

Sorry, couldn't resist (said Dave, allegedly).

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Re: Re: His (her) Master's Voice

The consultation response removed any ambiguity that this was about the Torrenter at home in his shed.

Freetards completely need to have a persecution complex, just like Nelson Muntz needs to argue Bart hit him first.

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Is this a fiendishly clever plan?

Let us circulate the idea that we will jail people for 10 years; and then we can look "reasonable" when we only fine them £50,000 per violation.

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Re: Is this a fiendishly clever plan?

...But still have this law on the books ready to use against someone we *really* don't like. Pour encourager les autres, aussi.

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Anonymous Coward

What is wrong with these 'People?'

When money, self-interest, and future lucrative employment (more money) are involved, these bought-and-paid-for politicians are happy to ignore the 'Voice(s) of Reason' from their OWN ADVISORS!

What with this shill doing the dirty work of Big Business (Film Industry Lawyer-Parasites), and Hameron/May messing with the few shreds of perceived privacy we have remaining, I've decided that I'm going to retire to my bed once and for all.

I do not agree with Illegal File Sharing (I will NEVER call it 'Piracy' - it isn't!), but this is just idiotic! This is all about seeming to do the right thing, without actually doing it correctly and with measure. True Justice may be blind, but Baroness Back-Hander can certainly see all that filthy lucre floating into her purse as a result.

Justice is for the Rich after all. Not for peons.

Anon, because...

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Anonymous Coward

A lot of people misunderstand the role of government advisors. They do not exist to advise the government on the correct policy. They exist to generate plausible justification for decisions that have already been made. Like every other public sector job, it is about arse-covering.

First the decision is taken behind closed doors, then the advisors are asked to carefully collect some raw data and misrepresent it in a way that supports the decision.

Occasionally the advisors fail to understand this themselves and produce reports that are completely contrary to the decision that has already been taken - at which point the government simply ignores them or finds other advisors.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Actually, no

The penalties, which bring punishments for digital piracy into line with penalties for physical piracy, apply to commercial scale infringement. Not to individual file sharers.

The conviction that one is being persecuted by shadowy powers is is a kind of mental illness. (A "persecution complex") There is no need to succumb to it, when the threat isn't actually real.

Unless you're actually running a pirate site, I wouldn't worry.

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Re: Actually, no

It's not a persecution complex or paranoia if they actually are out to get you.

Also the quote is "large scale" not "commercial scale" with no definition of what large scale is supposed to be. By one definition, hooking into a popular torrent would do the job, because you are making that file or files available to a large number of people.

On a related note; what's the penalty for defrauding billions with sub-prime mortgages and causing a global depression? Yeah, I fucking thought so.

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Re: Actually, no

So you're saying file sharers should hold off from switching hobbies to rape and murder to get more lenient sentencing for the time being?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Actually, no

But what is classed as commercial scale infringement? If you download a movie, a tv show or an mp3 over bit torrent, you will then be uploading to others, there may be 1000's of leechers downloading from you. Now when your IP is picked out and set for prosecution, for setting an example, you can be classed as infringing on a commercial scale as you have just enabled 1000's of copies of that movie/tv show/mp3 to be made even if you only sent enough data to not even make a single whole copy. 1000's of people did connect to you and copy some data from you after all.

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Re: Actually, no

So you're saying file sharers should hold off from switching hobbies to rape and murder to get more lenient sentencing for the time being?

By the baroness' logic fraud is looking pretty good...a 4.5 year jail term cap and no specified limit on the amount you can defraud.

More on the torrent thing...the example given is people distributing 2500 films. Now I have been on torrents with 12,000 people on, so -instead of 2,500 x 1 file- we're looking at 1 x 12,000). Didn't see any clarification there, but technically I've been (nearly 5x) naughtier than the bunch of pirates that she wanted the decade for. Don't fancy that much, to be honest.

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Re: Actually, no

On a related note; what's the penalty for defrauding billions with sub-prime mortgages and causing a global depression? Yeah, I fucking thought so.

I can see the point you are making but I believe it to be flawed. Imagine that some item of your property is stolen; you report the theft but the police immediately decline to investigate. I might be wrong but I suspect that you would be rather pissed off about it, and you would not welcome someone pointing out that as no "penalty for defrauding billions with sub-prime mortgages and causing a global depression" had ever been imposed then not investigating the theft of your property was in a perverse way entirely consistent.

Multiple wrongs do not make a right.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Actually, no

'The penalties, which bring punishments for digital piracy into line with penalties for physical piracy, apply to commercial scale infringement. Not to individual file sharers....Unless you're actually running a pirate site, I wouldn't worry'

Ah, but what exactly will the legal definition be of a 'pirate site'?

I know you say that this won't apply to 'individual file sharers', but, knowing lawyers, there'll be weaselly legalistic loopholes in the law as drafted to allow for future 'interpretation'.

I foresee that rather than use the word 'commercial', they'll use 'industrial' or something else which sounds overtly similar, but which in legalese has a more wider scope so that, one day, suddenly sharing more than n files will be flagged as 'industrial' scale infringement beit commercial or otherwise..as other commenters point out elsewhere.

I look forward to the fun and games..there's an apocryphal story about a character who tried to get the point across to his minions about the limits of regal power by getting slightly damp, almost a thousand years later it seems the MAFIAA and their (tame|paid) political stooges haven't figured that one out yet.

(Fires up Nicotine for the first time ever in the spirit of fsck them all..)

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Re: Actually, no

I am reminded of the NET act over in the US - it was written to target commercial infringement, but defined commercial as including supplying infringing material with an expectation of receiving more infringing material in return.

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Re: Actually, no

@Commswonk - You're correct that two wrongs don't make a right, but I was using the dichotomy between the penalty between two different types of fraud. On the one hand there's 10 years in prison vs. no penalty at all and a fucking huge bonus. Now the copyright infringement does disadvantage a group of people (who have spent the last 20 years being colossal dicks if we're talking about the MPAA etc, so fuck them) while simultaneously benefiting all the people who download free stuff. Contrast that with a very few people making humungous stacks of money and the whole planet suffering for it...and over those sorts of numbers there are going to be a not insignificant number of deaths through suicide; cost cutting in safety measures and so on.

I could have used public figures shuffling money away into Panama -another type of fraud- as a maybe better, more pertinent, example; but that doesn't have the sheer scale, offensiveness or wreckage as sub-prime mortgages.

Where you're picking up your downvotes I suspect (none of which are mine, by the way...you didn't piss me off enough and your point is mostly valid) is by comparing copyright infringement with physical theft. With copyright infringement, the owner still has use of their thing; and that's an important distinction.

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Re: Actually, no

how easy people forget history ...

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Re: Actually, no

I thought the Reg was a garden where many different flowers were allowed to bloom, each planted according to the article writer's opinion.

Stop stomping on his geraniums and go back to tending your own flowerbed.

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Re: Actually, no @dan 55

IT and El Reg are such gardens and a virtually real jungle way out there, Dan 55. They are what makes the two such a roaring success and impossible failure.

And your flowerbed tending advice is ace prime and a terror for established corrupt and inequitable systems administrations.

Personally speaking, I have never suffered censorship from AO but can imagine the rantings of many be fully deserving of it because of gratuitously offensive inappropriate content/comment.

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Re: Actually, no @dan 55

I had one rejected for suggesting that articles include the writers name to save me the trouble of hitting back when I realised they were his.

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Facepalm

Re: Actually, no @dan 55

Believe it or not, I had one rejected simply because I indicated I can recognize the author simply reading the article without having to look at the name. In these words, nothing more, nothing less. Go figure...

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