back to article UK dons dunce hat on copyright law

Copyright reform in the UK has 'stalled' as the Government has caved in to the 'vested interests' of the content industry, the head of a digital rights activist group has said. The view comes as the UK 'abjectly fails' a test of its copyright laws. The international umbrella body for consumer rights organisations, Consumers …

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  1. Frank Thomas

    S. Korea

    I have to wonder if South Korea will fall off the 'A' list now that they have passed their own 3-strikes jackboot.

  2. A J Stiles
    Thumb Down

    Not quite like that

    What it says on the statute books and what happens in real life are two different things.

    If a copyright infringement case gets to a court of law, you can always plead "Fair Dealing" as your defence. If the jury then decide that you were dealing fairly with the material in question (and where are they going to find 12 people, out of whom there aren't two who have ever taped an album to listen in the car, or converted a CD they owned to listen on their MP3 player?) then a precedent will be set.

    Nobody in a position of power wants that -- not the record industry who want to sell you the same thing over and over again, and not the police for whom "illegally taped" cassettes found in suspects' cars are useful to get a warrant to search for evidence of bigger crimes -- which is why small-scale copyright infringements never get as far as court.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    big business and governemtn coluding against voters interests....

    ... say it isn't so!

    (isn't that the very definition of our current government... sell out to big business at the lowest cost possible).

  4. dervheid
    Unhappy

    No surprises there.

    No further comment needed, methinks.

  5. Tim

    It doesn't matter

    Given that we are not allowed to take pictures in a public place when that place includes policemen, sensitive locations listed on an unreleased database etc. Any dissent is then dealt with by a baton charge to the legs/back by a masked Goon of the Met.

    In order to take pictures of these areas, you need a black car with google down the side.

    so if the public cannot make copyrighted works, we shouldnt be so selfish as to assume we have any rights at all! Are you with me George Orwell?

  6. John Robson Silver badge

    This comment is licensed

    You may read it, word by word, only to incur a cost of £5 per word.

    This is a non negotiable fee, you chose to read it after all.

  7. Ian

    God no.

    If the government has given up on their reform in light of the Gower's report please, don't try and push them to revive it!!!!

    The government reform in light of the Gower's report outright ignored most of the recommendations. One recommendation was copyright term length suggesting it should be lowered or at worst left as is, but the government in it's reform decided to up it to 75 or 95 years instead of 50.

    If the government has given up it's for the best. Yes it's bad now, but if you push them to change it they'll make it even worse. Let's wait until we replace Labour and have a slightly more competent government in and push them instead please?

  8. Mike Richards

    'The UK was the only country to be given an overall 'F' score by the report. '

    So we still did well enough to study chemisty at A-level?

  9. DR

    creating property

    "Copyright is treated as property right…and hence copyright owners have the right to decide whether and how the copyrighted work is used."

    this makes sense... and surely it's not only in the UK this is the case, I'm sure that there was some story that the family of Johnny Cash had stopped the Ring of Fire track being used in a Diarrhoea medication commercial.

    that said, I can't understand why format shifting is a crime.

    and if format shifting isn't a crime, then surely downloading MP3's of songs you already have on CD, or downloading videos that you already have on DVD but are too lazy to convert wouldn't be a crime either?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    RE: Not quite like that

    "If a copyright infringement case gets to a court of law, you can always plead "Fair Dealing" as your defence. If the jury then decide that you were dealing fairly with the material in question (and where are they going to find 12 people, out of whom there aren't two who have ever taped an album to listen in the car, or converted a CD they owned to listen on their MP3 player?) then a precedent will be set."

    Erm... no. Fair dealing is tightly defined within the act (and with a great deal of court precident defining it very clearly), and none of the scenarios you state are anywhere near it. You could plead fair dealing, but a judge would instruct the jury to find you guilty if you did.

    Of course, in reality he wouldn't even do that, as you can't ask for a jury for a civil copyright case.

  11. Tony

    @Ian

    'Let's wait until we replace Labour and have a slightly more competent government in'

    I'm not sure I can wait that long Ian.. I may only have another 30 or 40 years left to live.

    At the next election it seems likely that we will replace the current crop of lying, thieving, cheating, embezzling low-lifes with the same lying, thieving, cheating, embezzling low-lifes that f*cked us up last time around. Not sure how much of an improvement that is likely to be.

  12. Simon Bradshaw

    Not quite like that either

    A J Stiles,

    Most copyright cases are civil tort actions, not criminal prosecutions, so will be heard by a judge alone rather than a jury. Unless your case gets appealed up to the Court of Appeal or House of Lords, it's not going to set a precedent. And even if it was a criminal case (e.g. for selling bootleg copies) jury decisions don't set precedents.

  13. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    Yep...

    Yep, I think an "F" rating sounds right. The US isn't great about this either, but at least we don't have an agency trying to ask for fees for people at work listening to the radio.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That report...

    I'm sure I've seen it somewhere before...

  15. Sooty

    the problem

    is that the companies want it both ways, they want it to be treated like property or copyright, depending on whichever happens to favour them.

    I'd like it to be one way or the other, either you buy a physical product, which you can do what you want with, or you buy a licence to use the content.

    for example, if it's the latter, then i'd be fully entitled to a blu-ray of a film i owned on dvd or vhs, however i obtained it, as i already have a licence to the content. Or, if i had a game on pc, i'd be fully entitled to an xbox version of the same game (again, however i obtain it). Music would be the same, if you have a licence for the music, the actual format or delivery mechanism is irrelevent.

  16. A J Stiles

    Still not quite like that

    Regardless of the fine details, the fact still remains that no case of simple format-shifting is ever going to get anywhere near a court of law. It is unprosecutable.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    @dr

    'I can't understand why format shifting is a crime'

    Simple: the music industry has been able to afford some very good lawyers and lobbyists over the past century.

  18. ShaggyDoggy

    Levy

    So tell me please, why are we still paying a levy on all blank media sold in the UK ?

    You know, that one introduced to allow us to legally make a copy for personal use only.

    Oh wait ...

  19. Andy Davies
    IT Angle

    if it ain't broke...

    one of the arguments put forward in support of software patents is that copyright protection is not enough.

    Weaken copyright law to benefit dodgy downloading / copying of toons and you could end up justifying software patents.

    AndyD 8-)#

  20. A J Stiles

    @ ShaggyDoggy

    We aren't.

  21. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Clueless fuckwits

    "The five countries rated best for user protections in copyright law by Consumers International were [...] China [...]."

    And we're supposed to take this report seriously? Yay, let's all rush to turn the UK into a totalitarian dictatorship where you can die for holding politically awkward views. Now *that's* user protection for you.

    OK, so China presumably gets brownie points from these idiots because their idea of copyright is you can pirate as much as you like as long as it's the other guys stuff being nicked. Sadly that only really works as long as the law exists for the benefit of parasites and (at most) one creative entity, (that exception hereafter being known as "we" or "us").

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    US didn't get an F?

    Anyone remembers about DMCA?

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