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 …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. g e

      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.

      1. h4rm0ny
        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.

        1. It wasnt me

          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.

          1. h4rm0ny

            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?

        2. Archie Woodnuts

          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.

  2. Brent Longborough
    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

    1. Andrew Orlowski (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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Uberseehandel

          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.

          1. Smooth Newt Silver badge
            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.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              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.

          2. g e

            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?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          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?.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          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!

        4. h4rm0ny

          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.

      2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        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.

      3. inmypjs Silver badge

        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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.

          1. hplasm Silver badge
            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...

          2. vgrig_us

            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!"

        2. h4rm0ny
          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.

      4. Dan 55 Silver badge

        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.

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          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.

      5. Daniel B.

        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.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        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?

      7. PassiveSmoking

        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...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. David Roberts Silver badge
        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?

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        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.

    3. macjules Silver badge

      Re: His (her) Master's Voice

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

    4. Mark 65 Silver badge

      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).

  3. A. H. O. Thabeth

    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.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      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.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    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...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  5. Andrew Orlowski (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.

    1. moiety

      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.

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        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.

        1. moiety

          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.

      2. Suricou Raven

        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.

      3. Seajay#

        Re: Actually, no

        "On a related note; what's the penalty for defrauding billions with sub-prime mortgages and causing a global depression?"

        Sub-prime mortgages weren't fraud, they were ill-advisable but no-one was being lied to. Where banks were defrauding customers, there were penalties. PPI for instance cost the banking industry £22Bn which kind of puts a £50k fine in perspective (and rightly so).

        1. SolidSquid

          Re: Actually, no

          The issue with sub-prime mortgages wasn't the mortgages themselves, but rather that they were packaged up with enough other, more reliable, loans and then rated highly for investment security. Because of this, large numbers of people invested in them thinking they were a safe bet, when in actual fact they weren't. There weren't any charges for this, but I don't know if it was technically illegal (and it would be difficult for the government to prosecute, given the people who rated them highly are the ones who set the country's credit rating, and so the rates that countries can borrow money at)

        2. h4rm0ny

          Re: Actually, no

          Thanks banks weren't lying (generally, that we know of). The ratings agencies, e.g. Standards and Poor, were lying. They rated packages as AAA when they knew they were no such thing. And the reason for that is almost undoubtedly that the banks wanted them to. So in fact, there was wilful deception involved. The film The Big Short which came out recently is worth watching on the subject.

        3. Crisp Silver badge

          Re: Sub-prime mortgages weren't fraud

          Yet HSBC's money laundering was most definitely a crime. And nobody went to prison for that either.

      4. h4rm0ny

        Re: Actually, no

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

        That's the point, they're not. You're not going to get ten years for torrenting a few current movies. This whole article is click-bait and I'll happily debate the author on it and tear their argument apart piece by piece if they'd like to engage me on it.

        >>"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."

        If you're now using Goldman-Sachs et al as a way of making yourself look moral, you need to raise your standards. A lot.

        1. moiety

          Re: Actually, no

          That's the point, they're not. You're not going to get ten years for torrenting a few current movies.

          You're saying that with a confidence that I don't share. You appear to be expecting common sense from the law; whereas -not only do I not expect it- but when you think a little bit about recent legal history scope creep; RIAA maths and so on, the exact opposite is what will likely happen in practice.

          The proposal has 2 serious flaws: The first is that digital copying is not the same as physical copying. The second is that torrenting is technically making files available; potentially to a large -instant industrial scale- number of people and I see no mention; exemption or even knowledge of that in the proposal.

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: Actually, no

            >>"You're saying that with a confidence that I don't share. You appear to be expecting common sense from the law; whereas -not only do I not expect it- but when you think a little bit about recent legal history scope creep; RIAA maths and so on, the exact opposite is what will likely happen in practice."

            I've been citing actual cases of multi-year convictions in UK legal history and showing the level of wrong that had to be committed to achieve that. They are rare and extreme cases, all with massive distinctions between them and domestic piracy that others here are discussing. You accuse me of confidence, well yes - I'm basing this on actual cases. You declare vague hints about "RIAA maths" and declare that the exact opposite will happen. Well then put your money where your mouth is and do what I have done: cite some actual cases and lets examine them. Show me cases in the UK where people have received multi-year sentences for piracy in the UK and we'll take a look at whether these are domestic pirates or are actually some non-representative case that has special reasons for it. Go for it - show me cases where people have got multi-year prison sentences in the UK for this. And don't make the mistake of saying you can't because this is a new law because this is a rationalization existing law to remove discrepancies between the same act taking place online and offline. Multi-year sentences have been possible for piracy under UK law for a long time. Cite me some examples of this that support your case as I have done for mine.

            >>"The proposal has 2 serious flaws: The first is that digital copying is not the same as physical copying"

            If someone hands me a cracked copy of photoshop on a pressed DVD or if they send me the file via Dropbox, the fraction of a penny difference in plastic is not the concern. Similarly, if I stole a retail copy of it and then applied a crack, do you really think the pennies of difference and pressing of an extra copy is the concern to Adobe? Or that it's the copy of the software that is their concern. No, the distinctions you are attempting to make are not the relevant ones here. Steal a piece of plastic with the information on or steal it via a torrent, it is logical and correct that the law shouldn't have wildly different sentences and guidelines over these. That is simple and correct. Attempting to say "but in the former case, they no longer have a piece of plastic that someone might have bought" when the plastic is just another medium of transporting the real thing of value, is knowingly trying to dodge the important elements here.

            >>"The second is that torrenting is technically making files available; potentially to a large -instant industrial scale- number of people and I see no mention; exemption or even knowledge of that in the proposal"

            Well, I'll resist the urge to suggest you don't participate in massive distributed attempts to defraud people of the product of their labour and point out that (a) you haven't seen the actual draft law itself yet and (b) there is indeed a response addressing proportionality of response. Several in fact. Amongst them they highlight previous cases for guidance including one where people got two years and that this wasn't for simply obtaining the movies as domestic downloaders, but people who aimed to be the initial seeders of content that wasn't yet generally obtainable by torrent and did so for over 2,500 movies.

            Generally when laws cite specific technological methods, it's a BAD thing. Such laws rapidly become out of date. You are now effectively arguing it's a weakness in the proposal that it [I]doesn't[/I] do this. The point is addressed by multiple citations of existing history in this area so you're wrong that it doesn't cover it. It just doesn't cover it in the way that you think it should be done but would in fact be very problematic and short-sighted to do so.

            Now, back to you finding cases in the UK that actually support your belief that domestic pirates are going to get ten year sentences over my actual examples that indicate they wont...

            1. moiety

              Re: Actually, no

              And don't make the mistake of saying you can't because this is a new law because this is a rationalization existing law to remove discrepancies between the same act taking place online and offline. Multi-year sentences have been possible for piracy under UK law for a long time.

              Isn't the entire point of the proposal that the most you could do online copyright infringers for was 4.5 years by using fraud laws? And you're asking me to cite examples of a law that hasn't even been written yet? Come on.

              If someone hands me a cracked copy of photoshop on a pressed DVD or if they send me the file via Dropbox, the fraction of a penny difference in plastic is not the concern. ...knowingly trying to dodge the important elements here.

              I would suggest that physical piracy is far more likely to involve a commercial element. For a start you're going to want to recover the cost of the blank media and if you're doing that, it's easy to add a couple of quid for time...plus cash exists and you have to physically meet to exchange media anyway, so no extra arrangements need be made and no extra risk needs be taken. Now online infringement can be monetised; but you need to add a mechanism to do that and that is always going to add significant risk.

              Well, I'll resist the urge to suggest you don't participate in massive distributed attempts to defraud people of the product of their labour

              Well, I'm in Spain; where there is a tax on blank media and the rights groups get a payout. Downloading films and music for personal use is perfectly legal here for that reason (currently), so you may want to dismount from that high horse a little.

              Generally when laws cite specific technological methods, it's a BAD thing. Such laws rapidly become out of date. You are now effectively arguing it's a weakness in the proposal that it [I]doesn't[/I] do this.

              When it's hands-down the most popular method of downloading large lumps of data and when that method intrinsically means that you are technically making that data available to large numbers of people, then fuck yeah, it's a weakness.

              1. h4rm0ny
                Alert

                Re: Actually, no

                So let's begin with the obvious. I've made the point, with examples of actual UK legal history, that this clickbait suggestion of ten year sentences for domestic pirates is inaccurate. You've argued against my posts and I've asked you for any counter-examples in UK law of your own. You have none.

                You claim you can't give me examples of ten year sentences because this law hasn't been written yet. But I'm not asking for that and already addressed this. We can sentence someone to 4.5 years right now so you're entirely able to give me the examples of multi-year sentences for domestic downloaders I've asked for. Well, assuming they exist. Where are they?

                You claim the courts will abuse this ten year maximum but you can't even find me examples of abusing the current maximums! In fact, I'll go one better. In the Surfthechannel case they were prosecuted under Conspiracy to Defraud, which has a maximum sentence of ten years (same as this proposal) and the defendant received a sentence of four years. And THAT was a case of someone making £30,000+ per month and filtering the money through foreign banks to hide it. Yet you are promoting this idea that the domestic downloader is going to get ten years in prison for it.

                >>Isn't the entire point of the proposal that the most you could do online copyright infringers for was 4.5 years by using fraud laws?

                No. This is about rationalizing online and offline penalties. Is it fair that someone who commits fraud online should be penalized differently from someone who does the same thing resulting in the same harm offline? I mean you attempt to argue that this should be done later on and I'll get to that. But it's plainly wrong. The law needs to keep up with technology and here is an example of it doing so. So, no the entire point isn't about upping it from 4.5 years, it's about making the law consistent with itself. Now lets talk about the 4.5 years and the fact that it's gone up. It's also about making the law more readable and clear - also good things - because there are many cases where the CPO has dropped cases because of the confusion with the existing laws. If somebody ripped you off you would be most unhappy if the CPO came back and said "sorry - the law is too complex to prosecute".

                >>"I would suggest that physical piracy is far more likely to involve a commercial element. For a start you're going to want to recover the cost of the blank media "

                People make hundreds of thousands of pounds from advertising on piracy sites. And you're talking about pennies! So firstly, since when did reduced costs become a factor for making something less likely to appeal to criminals? Think over what you've just argued! Secondly, when you've answered that, tell me why it should matter what methods of crime are most popular to the case of prosecuting some individual for their particular crime. If it's not relevant, then don't bring it as a counter-argument about proposed laws.

                >>"plus cash exists and you have to physically meet to exchange media anyway, so no extra arrangements need be made and no extra risk needs be taken"

                Oh yes, meeting dodgy people and moving around unmarked smuggled boxes is a great incentive over sticking up a website. Sure it is.

                >>"Now online infringement can be monetised; but you need to add a mechanism to do that and that is always going to add significant risk."

                It's called advertising and adding it to your site is easy. As is telling the advertisers where to put the money. "Significant" is really a lovely vague term, isn't it, btw?

                >>"Well, I'm in Spain; where there is a tax on blank media and the rights groups get a payout"

                Well that might explain why you're repeatedly able to support your points about UK law. Regardless, a tax on blank media is a terrible, terrible idea. Why? Firstly, you're forcing people who don't pirate to subsidise those that do. Secondly, profits are divvied up by big rights organizations such as the MPAA and RIAA who take a nice fat cut of that for "administration" and independent and small artitsts are fucked as well. Thirdly, it's deeply out of touch. Do you honestly think that all those people torrenting movies and MP3s are busy sticking them on plastic discs? No? Then don't offer this stupid law up as a justification for piracy.

                "When it's hands-down the most popular method of downloading large lumps of data and when that method intrinsically means that you are technically making that data available to large numbers of people, then fuck yeah, it's a weakness"

                No. Laws citing specific technological methods of doing things rather than aims and results is always a bad idea. Do you seriously want a scenario where copyright law was re-written for Betamax and VHS and vinyl and cassette tapes and then CDs and then DVDs and then Blu-Rays or MP3 players? Have you seen the mess the US patent system is in when it focuses on specific bits of technological method rather than general principles? Would you like international law to have lots to say about mustard gas but nothing about Sarin or nuclear weapons? Well-written laws have to be written about aims and results, not about specific stages of technology.

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