back to article Hunt: Online file-sharing is a 'direct assault on freedoms'

Search engines and internet service providers (ISPs) could be forced to make it harder for users to access copyright infringing content online under new UK communications laws, the Culture Secretary has said. Jeremy Hunt said that the UK needed to "explore all options" that would make it more difficult for websites that " …


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  1. Winkypop Silver badge

    The fail bus, now departing

    Here we go again.

    1. Mr Cheddarfingers

      Yes, I like to refer to Jeremy as The New Peter.

      As in the dark lord.

      As in Mandelson.

      At least Mandelson didn't try to hide the fact he was a corporate lobbyist puppet by making sure he went on boat trips with music industry moguls on the days before making these type of announcements. Jeremy is one of those lame ones who thinks people actually believe he thought up all this stuff of the top of his head and wasn't fed it by corporations. No The New Peter, we're not that stupid. Just basically admit it like Mandelson did, at least then you're not just outright insulting us by implying we're stupid whilst you also trample all over democracy and our rights.

      1. JimC Silver badge

        > fed it by corporations...

        Hmm, compare the size of the creators and the supporting rights industry with the size of the internet industries who benefit from leeching off the creators, and then tell me that you freetards are supporting the rights of the individual against big business... To me you look suspiciously like unknowing naive tools of big business against small business and the little guys...

        grief, I always thought there had to be something better than the damn record companies, but compared to the likes of Google and the ISPs they act like Mother Theresa...

        Cue 150 downvotes from the useful idiots...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          "Cue 150 downvotes from the useful idiots..."

          No, worse - just ignored as a troll.

  2. Andrew Moore Silver badge

    Care to elaborate?

    "freedoms and rights of creators of content to be rewarded fairly."

    I wonder if he would like to give us his definition of what 'rewarded fairly' actually means.

  3. Greem

    Never forget





    This is doomed to fail from the outset - determining what is "infringing material" is all but impossible in any automated system. The FP rate will be *enormous*.

  4. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    "Section 97A implements the requirements of the EU Copyright Directive which states that countries must ensure that copyright holders have the right to apply for injunctions against intermediaries, such as ISPs, whose services are used to infringe copyright."

    Does this mean that Sony music will sue Sony technology for enabling copyright theft by reason that they make DVD burners and blank DVD discs

    After all, without that technology, it would be hard to run off 1000 copies of the latest films for sale at the next car boot sale

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge


      Dunno what he means but no doubt he'd send the plods round as I'm sharing LibreOffice.

    2. irish donkey

      Seriously doubt...

      ...a Sony burner would last 100 burns never mind a 1000.

      Of course this is a joke and in no way am I casting dispersions against any Sony employees or products. But in this authors experience they are rubbish. Please do not use my comments as a justification for stealing, shoplifting, murder or rioting. And certainly don't use my comments as a justification for not buying a Sony product.

      I have used a joke icon because this is a joke and not to be taken seriously, or taken as fact or a declaration of war or an endorsement/or an dis-endorsement (Is that even a word) of Sony products.

      Of course if you give them you credit card details they will be all over the internet in no time

      see above for disclaimer

      I do not know the AACS cryptographic key. I never have know it and don't intend to own it. Nor do I know anybody that knows it. I have never visited the website where it is freely available because I don't need to know it because I don't have a blue ray player because its got a higher resolution that my own poor eyeball can perceive. But please don't take this as an... see above

      Careful what you say because MegaCorp is watching


    3. Mr Cheddarfingers

      RE: Never forget

      Scunthorpe, is that near Jeremy Shunthorpe?

    4. Mr Cheddarfingers

      "freedoms and rights of creators of content to be rewarded fairly."

      To be fair the rights of artists and creators to have their works protected is actually listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I'm not quite sure how that got in there alongside the right to not be tortured, the right to life, the right to fair trial, and other kind of fundamental rights that are central to civilised society, presumably the music/movie lobby was as powerful back then too but oh well, there you have it.

      The problem is though as you say, whilst it's listed as a fundamental human right that creators have their works protected what's not listed is that those rights be transferable and turned into an industry that does little, but hoardes lots, and actually often exploits artists. In fact, whilst Jeremy is right to call this a right, one might argue that music and movie industry as it stands today actually breaches that right themselves by taking rights away from the actual creators themselves.

      Another point is of course that whilst Jeremy is right in recognising this right, he unfortunately seems to miss all the other fundamental human rights which he seems hell bent on trampling over in protecting this one.

    5. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      I predicted this would happen when they invented the player-piano ... it may seem like a small thing but once "reproduction" of music became possible via piano rolls then the end of the civilized world was just a matter of time.

    6. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      "freedoms and rights of creators of content to be rewarded fairly."

      Ahhhh I see, its only wrong when it's the copyright mafiaa get ripped off

      Icon: for the copyright mafiaa, the bigest pirates of all....

    7. henrydddd


      Being fairly rewarded might mean the money that the music industry gets by having the RIAA sue a 7 year old girl for downloading a mp3 file.

  5. Pete 2 Silver badge

    A fair reward?

    > " ... rights of creators of content to be rewarded fairly".

    So a musician produces a track, plays it to a friend in the biz. Friend likes it and uses his/her contacts to get it played on radio. It becomes a hit and the muso makes £1M. Another musician, equally talented, produces a piece, but isn't so well connected. He/she/it goes on the road playing clubs, pubs, underground stations and anywhere until they get moved on. Over the years they sell a handful of CDs for £5 each.

    Where's the fairness?

    Films, TV, music, any of the creative arts is essentially a lottery. Some artists strike it lucky, other equally deserving and talented ones die in poverty. I would suggest that this initiative (like all the ones before it) has nothing to do with the content creators - who have a long tradition of getting screwed by all and sundry - but has everything to do with the fat-cats at the top of the pile.

    I'm all for making sure the creators get their dues - and anyone else who adds value, in proportion to what they contribute - and ISTM the simplest way to reduce piracy is to cut out almost all of the middle layers that get between a content creator and the content consumers (or maybe sponsors would be a better description). Make the provision and purchase of content direct and personal and I have a feeling that almost all the piracy will simply disappear - once people form a link with the authors and are asked to pay a sensible price for the entertainment they enjoy.

  6. Chris007

    There is a reason why people in the news keep getting his last name wrong.

    see title.

    (icon for this small minded, lobby driven idiot)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A fair reward?

      >Where's the fairness?

      Life isn't fair, get over it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Chris W

        "Life isn't fair, get over it."

        By that you mean: Life isn't fair so don't stant up for your rights just bend over and take it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @A fair reward?

          >Life isn't fair so don't stant up for your rights

          What rights? You don't have any right to download copyrighted material. You do have the right not to buy it. Just because someone got a break and another didn't, that's life. Or are you one of those namby pamby liberals who think everybody should win, or possibly a socialsit who thinks everybody should lose?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I see the freetard life owes me a living types are out in force

            Why am I not surprised?

            1. 2cent

              Capitalist make the best Freetards and somebodies paying for it.

              There seams to be a slight misrepresentation of the 'Freetard' identifiers.

              So I'd like to add some balance with a question.

              Do corporations steal ideas?

              If so who is causing more damage?

              I once saw an interview with Bill Gates and as I recall, I shall paraphrase...

              -A lot of people come to me with great ideas. I use them. It's not my fault that they tell me these ideas. It's my job to use them.-

              In other words, I owe them nothing.

              It seams that it depends on which Freetard you acknowledge that make the difference.

              It could be that we are in the balance, but aren't seeing the forest from the.........

          2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            "You don't have any right to download copyrighted material."

            A saying that must be appreciated by imagining a powdered whig and a slightly nasal court accent.

            This member of the anarcho-syndicalist collective claims that you don't have any right to copyright material.

            Fair is fair.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A fair reward?

        "Life isn't fair, get over it."

        It sure isn't. Ministers ask corporations for their "input" but not the public, or at least not properly. And since "A country’s character, the unique bonds that define its society and its democratic institutions are all shaped by its media..." you can be as sure as hell that the public aren't going to be focused on the issues when election time comes and they supposedly get to have their say.

        I can imagine that "industry leaders" don't even bother to vote. Why should they cast just one vote amongst the millions of others when they can just have a word with whoever gets into power anyway?

    2. Ru

      "Where's the fairness?"

      I don't see anything unfair there. If you cannot or will not promote, market, advertise your product then no-one will want it. This hypothetical muso might be the most awe inspiring and incredibly prolific artist in the world, but if no-one hears about his work, how the hell does he expect to get any money? Why should he be given money when no-one else is getting anything in return?

      Your example is crap. You seem to be confusing a fair reward for a fair amount of work, with some sort of magical fairy communist godmother who rewards talent, no matter how well hidden, with cash and drugs and women conjured from thin air.

      Like it or not, the non-creative side of the music industry does actually serve a purpose. It didn't just suddenly spring into being one day like a vast bureaucratic neoplasm killing off the wonderful utopian market that preceded it, because there was no such thing. If you took every single music publisher, recording studio and music-related advertising exec, employee and shareholder on earth and shot them, the same things would start reforming tomorrow.

      1. David Beck

        What another word for a lawyer?

        What's wrong with this is of course is that the hypothetical artist never gets the reward either way. All of the "profit" is consumed by the "marketing" costs so there is never any money to distribute back to the artist once the promotion, studio, distribution and overhead costs are paid. "Parasite" is the word you are looking for.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I hope that the first time either of the parties (come on only two really) uses a bit of music or video that they are not entitled to, they will feel the full power of the Non Law and have any and all communication of the copyright material blocked, web site un listed etc.

    [ Icon of Jeremy] or a bunch of them

  8. arrbee

    Hmm, be interesting to see the reaction when Universal or iTunes or one of the other majors is blocked due to offering unlicensed copyright-infringing tracks.

  9. David 45

    Private laws?

    This sounds a very dangerous precedent to me. Who's to decide - an auto robot? If so, I smell a few law suits up and coming.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      auto robot no, "IPR signature' database Yes

      (C) AC 2010

  10. Neil Charles

    He reminds me of King Canute

    Even Radio 4 called him a Canute not long ago. At least I think that's what they said.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    James Naughtie had it right

    This guy really is a see you next tuesday.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hunt - spreading FUD - Copyright infringement is not a kind of theft

    Theft requires physical property.

    Copyright infringements are material.

    1. kain preacher Silver badge


      Then you are saying theft of service does not exist ? What do you call it when you take a cab ride and not pay for it ? What do you call it when you take cable with out paying for it ? What do you call taking Internet service that you did not pay for (using a cloned cable modem)?

      1. saabpilot

        Oi Muppet

        Learn the LAW of the land !

    2. Mr Cheddarfingers

      That's because he's a FUD puppet

      Some years ago, when I was younger, and naive, when Tony Blair was still running things in our lovely country, I had this great idea of e-mailing David Cameron, taking him up on his offer of wanting to hear what we hated about the then Labour government of the time, and what we'd like to see from his party if he were to assume power.

      The issue I raised of course was the noise at the time about the Labour government bringing in anti-piracy measures and so forth, I pointed out that these were short sighted, and were an affront to justice because they did not allow for due process. This was some time ago- before even the DEA, when ministers were still just testing the water, perhaps as early as 2006 or 2007 or such.

      I got a response, not from David Cameron, no, it had been passed onto our dear friend Jeremy. I was quite suprised given Cameron's lip about how he was for the people blah blah blah when reading Jeremy's e-mail I noticed it was almost a word for word copy of the arguments put forward by RIAA executives in the US defending their actions in suing file sharers over there. His arguments made no sense of course, because the RIAAs arguments are not logical, do not follow, and are based on demonstrably faked statistics.

      So, he was parroting the RIAA's line all the way back then, I'm not really suprised now that he's a cabinet member that he's still emitting the same bullshit as if he'd taken it straight out of the RIAA's mouth.

      Note finally that my use of RIAA here isn't ignorance, it's not a typo- yes I know the RIAA is an American organisation, and therein lies the problem. Jeremy isn't serving the interests of the British people that much is clear, but the problem is he's not even serving the interests of British industry - no, he's serving the interests of a foreign group of corporations. Personally I find that more troubling than anything, a few hundred years ago we might have called that treason.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        So, what you're saying is - you sent a mail to the leader of a party, he sent it to the specialist in that area in his party who disagreed with you and somehow you manage to liken this to treason?

        I don't suppose you will, but I would like you to sit down and have a think about the reward people should get for their work. Specifically think about the people who make creative works designed for the mass market. How is it fair to reward them, I would contend that an amount of money from the sale of each copy of the work they have produced should be given to them. If this doesn't happen you would need rich benefactors to pay for the creation of the works and this would lead to stagnation of creativity.

        If you've any other ideas, I'd like to hear them...

        1. Mr Cheddarfingers

          @ AC

          "So, what you're saying is - you sent a mail to the leader of a party, he sent it to the specialist in that area in his party who disagreed with you and somehow you manage to liken this to treason?"

          No that's not what I'm saying, but as you read what you want to read rather than what is actually written it's no suprise you got it wrong. I wrote to the leader of the party specifically answering his supposed concerns for voters feelings. The response I got was one that was full of factual innaccuracies and was not representative of individual thought on the subject but in fact a near word for word copy of statements released by vested interests - not in protecting creators rights - but in protecting their ability to exploit creators, that is, the RIAA. If he were disagreeing whilst providing actual facts then you'd have a point, but as his comments were demonstrably factually incorrect - just like his use of the term "theft" is in this story, then it's clear he's got an agenda and is not being objective.

          "If you've any other ideas, I'd like to hear them..."

          I'm a creator myself, the difference is I do it 5 days a week for a wage, why should the creators you refer to be able to earn far more by doing far less work even though their work is of equal standard and requires equal levels of skill?

          I'm not suggesting this method of creation should be outlawed or any such thing but the fundamental problem is that the expectations of profit from this "lazy" method of creating - creating one product in a space of some months, then profiting off it for life - are absurdly high, and piracy is an inevitable response to that.

          You cannot expect the man in the street to have sympathy for creators who only wish to work a few months a year but have an expectation (which often comes true) of becoming millionaires in the process. You cannot expect the man in the street to slap down much of his hard earned cash to support this. You can say piracy is wrong, you can say it's evil, bad, theft, whatever you want to call it, but it happens, and it happens for good reason. You cannot eliminate piracy without eliminating the fundamental problem of over the top expectations that creators have.

          Of course you might argue what about the guy in the pub who can't even make a living off singing? Here's news - not everyone gets to work in the job they want to work in. Sometimes you have to do something else, and if you can't make a living off it then perhaps the simple truth is that you're just not good enough to make a living off it?

          Like with many 9 - 5, Mon - Fri software developers who develop software in their spare time to sell on the real key for the likes of musicians is to make touring their main job - a guaranteed income, we constantly hear about how tickets have sold out in 10 seconds so demand is there - and release their songs online for sale, and whatever they make from it, like the software developers, is additional income - a nice bonus, but foolish to rely on for a living.

          The fundamental problem is the entitlement attitude of creative types - the fact they believe they had a god given right to make a fortune doing very little work producing something that in fact it turns out no one actually thinks is worth paying for. So what happens if artists do leave the industry? music will die I hear you proclaim! - er, no it wont. Market forces will come into effect and if music become a scarcity people will start paying for it, but as it stands it doesn't matter if Jeremy Hunt bans the internet to stop downloading, kids will just go back to listening to the radio or borrowing the CD of their mate. Music etc. just doesn't have the intrisic value Jeremy Hunt and the music industry very mistakenly think it does.

  13. Danny 2 Silver badge

    "a direct assault on the freedoms and rights of creators of content to be rewarded fairly"

    Thanks to El Reg I now need to fairly reward Scarlett Johansson for the content she has created.

  14. Graham Marsden
    Big Brother

    "we must take care that...

    "...power is never over-concentrated in a few hands"

    Yet that is *exactly* what he is suggesting with a "cross-industry body [...] charged with identifying infringing websites against which action could be taken".

    Does he *really* think that they are going to operate in the best interests of the public? Or are they just going to operate in the best interests of their profits and bonuses???

    1. Clare (web specialist)


      Unlike you I read this with a degree of optimism. Assuming that the appointed body doesn't, as you suggest, act entirely in it's own interests it might just do something about the more objectionable content on the Internet.

      1. Graham Marsden
        Thumb Down

        @Clare (web specialist)

        Well firstly this "cross industry body" is going to target exactly what that *industry* doesn't want out there.

        And secondly, apart from kiddy porn, what other "more objectionable" content on the internet would you like to see blocked according to the personal opinions of the people on this or some other such body?

        We already have the Dangerous Pictures and Dangerous Drawings acts, what's next to be banned because "We don't like this, so you're not allowed to see it"?

        1. Clare (web specialist)
          Thumb Up


          You have pretty well answered the question yourself. Given that extreme pictures are illegal under the Dangerous Pictures and Drawings act, perhaps this body should enforce restrictions of access via the Internet?

          1. Graham Marsden

            @Clare (web specialist)

            Right, so let's block *everything* that *might* possibly give access to "extreme" pictures (defined as "pictures that people like Clare (web specialist) don't like".

            We can start with Google, Bing, Yahoo...

            1. Clare (web specialist)


              Society has enacted a law which determines which "extreme" pictures are illegal. Given that fact enforcing that restriction across the Internet would seem a logical next step?

              The fact that I do or don't like the pictures is irrelevant.

              1. Graham Marsden

                @Clare (web specialist)

                "Society" did nothing of the sort. A bunch of Labour MPs desperate for some publicity, seeing a band wagon they could jump on (and exploiting the grief of a mother whose daughter had died in what was actually probably a tragic accident), forced a piece of legislation (supported by policy based evidence making) onto the statute books without letting our elected representatives have sufficient time to debate the entire bill it was contained in.

                It was left to the Lib Dems in the Lords to question it but they couldn't get enough support to block it because, as one Tory Peer admitted to me, "Tory Lords don't vote on Lib Dem amendments".

                So we ended up with (yet another) nonsensical and utterly unenforceable piece of legislation on the statute books and if you are *really* a "web specialist" you would know perfectly well that attempting to enforce *any* restriction "across the internet" (even if only in the UK) is utterly impossible.

  15. A J Stiles

    OK, a serious question

    Is a temporary monopoly on control over the use of your work, in exchange for a promise that it will eventually enter the Public Domain for everyone's benefit, really still the best way to encourage authors to create works that will eventually enrich the Public Domain?

    Perhaps there is a better way to encourage the creation of new works; and if so, then copyright needs replacing as soon as possible.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      My thoughts exactly...

  16. JimmyPage Silver badge

    I'm surprised ...

    the industry hasn't suggested a "levy" (presumably per-MB/s ?) on domestic broadband, as a way of recompensing rights holders.

    They could even have a slogan "Home downloading is killing music". And put a skull and crossbones picture on CD inserts.

    After all, those who don't learn from history ....

    1. moiety

      The industry did suggest a levy and Spain went for it... was on writeable media. Not a tremendous success for the recording industry as it turned out

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe we should go back to the old ways where only the rich/nobles were allowed to own anything.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Considering the distribution of wealth we're about as close as we can get without actually enslaving anyone.

  18. Mr Young

    Filesharing is "theft"?

    It's not theft is it? How many file-sharers have been charged with theft Jeremy?


  19. Mike Flugennock

    Can't help laughing

    I know I should be furious and outraged at Mr. Hunt's remarks -- and I am, of course -- but somehow I can't help snickering, as this guy's outburst has got to be the funniest thing I've heard since about six or seven years ago, when some TV programming big-shot went on the NBC "Today Show", looked the whole country in the eye and told us, with an entirely straight face, that people who tape TV shows to view later -- and fast-forward through the commercials -- are "thieves".

    Oh, how I cackled at _that_ one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      At least with VHS...

      the industry eventually came up with a business model (rental shops, reasonably low prices) that most people saw as fair. That probably did more to kill tape piracy than any legal measures or campaigning.

      Perhaps within the next decade or two, they'll manage to do the same in the digital domain. Perhaps they'll even manage to make a system that channels a fair share of the rewards to the smaller creators (you know, the ones that might actually need it).

      And perhaps porcine-powered aviation will finally become viable - who knows?

  20. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    "...nor do we allow shops to be set up purely to sell counterfeited products..."

    No, we call them market stalls.

    There's no need to get me my coat - it was too chilly to bother taking it off.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From an end-users perspective, what's the difference?

    1. Record a TV series onto a PVR HDD, watch it over and over.

    2. Torrent a TV series onto a Computer HDD, watch it over and over.

    * apart from maybe having to whiz through the adverts with # 1.

    1. David Beck

      The difference is "geographic rights"

      In case 1. you are in the same area as the rights holder, who paid to distribute the content.

      in case 2. you need not be in the same area as the source of the content.

      None of this is really about copyright, it's all about distribution rights. The content providers (these are not the content creators) own the rights to distribution and pre-internet owned or sold licence for most of the distribution channels. They are having a bit of trouble with the fact that those days are gone and they can no longer control distribution. No one wants to pay that much money for the rights to distribute content that was distributed in the US a year ago if everyone outside the US who wanted to see or hear it has already done so using "grey" channels to acquire it. The noise about copyright is only made since enforcing distribution territories would be a non-starter in court (after all Obama gave region 1 DVD's to Brown, was that an offence?).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ David Beck

        Good answer.

        I agree.

        However, surely the end-user cares not for the distribution channel.

        They simply wish to consume the product.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Which yacht was he entertained on ? And what was he fed? I Would like this enlightening stuff, please.

  23. Dave 15 Silver badge


    The guy is clearly off his trolley. Pity he isn't sacked on the spot for such lunacy - guess its probably because most of the idiots he works with are too busy fiddling expenses to notice.

    Still, it would be good if the ISP's all got together and decided to completely shut all UK ISP operations completely... that would solve the problems for both sides.... and then cause such mayhem that perhaps hunt not cunningham will think a little

  24. Infernoz Bronze badge

    Evil Corporatism and Stasism farts on us again.

    This Hunt is a corporate stooge backing more gross over-extension of an anti-capitalist and destructive corporate privilege (not freedom) to lazily sabotage competition; shame on him!

    There is nothing fair or helpful to the economy about patents, copyright and any other form of so-called "Intellectual Property"; it is a state subsidy which breeds complacency, laziness, stagnation and higher costs to the economy.

    Adam Smith had a lot to say against the evils of government suppression of commercial competition against favoured commercial bodies, including the higher costs to society which result.

  25. Roger Mew

    Copyright. Huh

    OK so I make a tune and someone buys it and copies it thats copyright theft.

    I make a cabinet in wood, someone PHOTOGRAPHS it, not even bought it and thats OK.

    I wire a house and do something a bit novel and someone visits the house and copies it, thats OK. Why is it that only things done by so called artists get copy right whilst the people that work get zilch...

    Oh its just clicked, I get very little for my long hours and graft, people that would not know work if they fell over it want to keep getting paid over and over.

    Well I want to be paid a copyright for the street lighting at Chalfont St Peters Roundabout on the A413. It was my idea so everybody thats used it needs to pay me copyright of say 1/- everytime they pass it!!! Any body that modifies it is also breaking copyright including the drunk idiot that smashed into it with his Hillman Imp on the first nite I switched it on. (circa 1968)

    Roll on limewire stuff copyright and stop taking the michael. Use a IP hiding system and also OpenDNS.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How positively Oorwellian

    >>that freedoms and the law should "apply equally" online as they do "in the physical world"

    For "freedoms" read "restrictions".

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