"Copyright infringement is theft, pure and simple.”
Theft is theft, copyright infringement is copyright infringement.
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid has threatened to introduce legislation if Google doesn’t stop promoting pirate sites above legitimate sites in its organic search results. “Search engines also have to play their part. They must step up and show willing,” Sajid Javid told the BPI at their AGM yesterday. “That’s why Vince Cable …
"Theft is also commonly understood to mean "taking something that doesn't belong to you". A word can have more than one definition."
True, but if you're talking about the legality (or otherwise) of a behaviour or action, it's not unreasonable to expect that you use words based on their legal definition.
The Cambridge dictionary linked to above also defines 'rape' as "destruction of the natural world, often for profit", yet I'm not sure anyone would be happy with seeing an implication that someone behaving in that way should be treated as if they'd committed the sexual offence.
The definition of theft is simple:
1. Picking up and
2. taking away
3. someTHING that doesn't belong to you and
4. not returning it when asked.
Since I am not picking up your software (tried to pick up bits and bytes lately?), it can't be theft. Nor have I taken it away - you still have the orginal. Oh, and how do you return it? I made a copy, so you still have your copy.
So copyright breach isn't theft.
Hah. Of course 'theft' can have more than one definition. But this is the "Law" section of El Reg and under the law the only definition which counts is the legal one. And under that law, making a copy but leaving the original with the rightsholder is an infringement, but not theft.
They are *ordering* Google to be an extrajudicial Big Brother, to decide EU-style what is and isn't legal, in *their* opinion. Lose/Lose for Google. Either the Government lynch them, or we do.
Additionally, the Government don't have to pay anyone, and get to blame Google for any fallout.
I'm curious as to *why* the pirate sites rank higher. Maybe, I dunno, the legitimate sites could take a leaf from their books? Maybe do something about this themselves instead of legislating that their sites be more popular?
Funny thing is that photographing paintings worth hundreds of millions is not even copyright infringement as was decided in Bridgeman v Corel by Justice Kaplan in the teeth of opposition even from such luminaries as Patry. And that held good in the US as well as the UK.. That's why the museum is reduced to a miserable "terms and conditions" violation, which is basically being naughty for buying admission and not observing the rules of the contract. Tut, tut.. Slap on the wrist, I wonder? But in any event, not theft.
In the USA A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another.
" permanently depriving " is not required. There is also theft of service and theft of time. Example. If I take your car with permission and return it I'm, still guilty of auto theft.
"Auto theft" as you describe it doesn't exist in the UK for the exact reason that it doesn't fit the definition of theft. In the UK legal system, you HAVE to know and understand definitions correctly, in advance. This is why we get so brassed off with Americans using our language improperly - because it breaks the meaning of what is being said and leads to stuff like this.
In the UK, if you "steal" a car, it is not theft. It is the criminal offence of "Taking without consent" or "Twocking" in the British Bobbys' common vernacular.
"In the USA A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another."
...but the music we have "purchased" from iTunes or any other site these days doesn't actually "belong" to us - we simply licence the use of it. We can't, for example, bequeath it to our next of kin on our death as we could property.
...so this wouldn't seem to apply.
...even if this was something happening in the USA, which it isn't.
Hmm the property in question is consumption of the content by way of copying. The value of the property is in the right to control the consumption of the content by way of making copies. By making unauthorized copies you are permanently removing the value that the rights holder had in control of copying.
We wouldn’t stand idly by if paintings worth hundreds of millions of pounds were being stolen from the National Gallery. Copyright infringement is theft, pure and simple.
Not this awful analogy again - if a painting is stolen from the National Gallery, it is completely removed from the National Gallery and the National Gallery can no longer use it.
If they really want success in tackling copyright infringement and more respect for their efforts, they should try being a bit more honest about it.
"Taylor said the scheme-formerly-known-as-VCAP, Creative Content UK, which will email visitors to pirate sites with educational information"
So a visit to a p2p site, not the act of downloading a torrent or content, will trigger an educational email. And they know you visited the site because? ISPs providing the information? Packet sniffing?
Will Taylor be forthcoming on how they determine who gets the re-education email?
If I had to guess, based on the current 'porn' filtering in place. If your ISP's server receives a DNS query for TPB (for example) they'll make a note and you'll later receive an email. Only a guess mind, but it'd be cheaper/simpler for the ISPs to implement than going the DPI route.
Course, it'd be no proof that you'd actually visited the site, but not sure that'd stop them sending an email.
Opens up a new, much more legitimate phishing angle though. Once it becomes known that CCUK are sending email notifications, it'd become more believable if you received a notification with a link to pay your small 'fine'.
On the other hand, given the general ineptitude often shown by the media companies, most of their emails will probably only ever see the inside of a spambox anyway
Not a downloader, but my sympathies are with Google. They invent a simple product that pretty much revolutionises how we use the web and can be run with a handful of people and a shed full of servers. Suddenly, every Tom, Dick and Lapdog Politician starts feeling all entitled and Google end up spending more on lawyers and administrators than they do on tech, research and development.
"Not a downloader, but my sympathies are with Google."
I feel sorry for the folks who are locked up for offering an identical service from their bedroom while Google have been taking the piss massively since year 0 of their existence and trousering $bns in the process. Judging by their words and actions it appears that HMG believes Google are too big to prosecute.
"They invent a simple product that pretty much revolutionises how we use the web and can be run with a handful of people and a shed full of servers"
Copyright infringement was a concern for folks setting up search engines from day 1, simply because they are present content lifted from other websites (eg: the quotes you see in the search results). Google had smart folks working for them, they've got a bunch of well paid lawyers on their payroll, they have no excuse for facilitating copyright infringement on a massive global scale.
For the record I don't feel the world will end without copyright legislation, but equally if there are rules, I believe that they should be enforced consistently and fairly. Currently that is clearly not the case at present, and it has enabled a US multinational to gain a massive advantage over any of their competition. The sad thing is that even if Google were to be prosecuted, you won't see Larry Page's front door kicked down, his assets frozen, and Larry fined + sent to jail, despite that being the established precedent here in the UK.
you do realise that there were search engines around BEFORE Google came on the scene. What Google did was to use a page ranking scheme coupled with automatic spidering to rank a page accordingly in the search results... before then you would get all sorts of crap on the first page that contained words in your search term...
hidden junk keyword text (white on white or black on black etc.) at the bottom of the page or in sections that disn't show in the browser, but still came back to the search engine's spider...
the old algorithms simply used frequency and number of matching keywords in the page to rank the item in the results. Google's method was far more precise... and used other methods to rank a result.
The thing is... they are illegal where?
If a judge has determined that they are illegal, I agree with them: they should be removed in that country.
If they complain that a website is illegal because it allegedly contains illegal material and/or links to such material.. no way... a judge has to decide.
Agree. There seems to a distinct lack of those two little words, DUE PROCESS. Correct me if I'm wrong but shouldn't things like this be decided by a court to set a precedent one way or another? Only then should a site be declared illegal. There seems to be far too much of this business of folk setting themselves up as judge and jury. City of London Police comes to mind.
The very concept of an "illegal site" is pretty troubling.
A site that hosts, or links to content that is hosted, in contravention of the rights-holder's - erm - rights, is not illegal. Neither the host, nor anyone who visits the site, is open to prosecution from that fact alone. The UK Supreme Court ruled very clearly on that only last year.
Sites that promptly take down material when formally notified of its contravening nature, but still host an awful lot of dodgy material? - Heck, that sounds like YouTube.
What's an "illegal site"? What is a "pirate site"? I want some flesh on those definitions, before someone tries to criminalise my visiting one.
“I know some people say the IP genie is out of the bottle and that no amount of wishing will force it back in. But I don’t agree with them. We don’t look at any other crimes and say 'It’s such a big problem that it’s not worth bothering with'. We wouldn’t stand idly by if paintings worth hundreds of millions of pounds were being stolen from the National Gallery. Copyright infringement is theft, pure and simple.”
No, probably not, but would the Government really concern itself, fund a special police force and regularly meet with the owners of the National Gallery etc., if there was constantly visitors photographing the paintings on their phones (leaving the original in place but 'stealing' the IP)?
I don't pirate stuff or agree with doing it but I also completely don't agree with the special measures given to copyright holders or the tactics they or their collection agencies use. Either way using analogies like this just undermines the argument.
Perhaps someone can tell me which web sites, under UK law, are classed as illegal? Some content on some sites may be, but a whole site being "illegal"? I'd like to see details...
I think that the only one officially illegal is PirateBay, and even that I'm not sure of in the UK.
torrenthound and it's proxies for one...
and several other torrent search sites are classed as illegal and blocked by the ISPs
you only find out it's blocked when you get the ISP's page that tells you they've had to block it due to a court order...
what will be really frightening is when they block sites by just blocking the request and not returning any result or a 404 error instead...
They can't crack down hard enough on these evil pirates.
I am CEO of an insurance company and, until this internet thing came along, we used to only deal with a few hundred claims for theft a month. Some little toerag would nick a Nolans 45 from the counter at Woollies and we would pay out the 50p that it was insured for, now that same toerag has grown up and is 'Downloading' 'Files' from pirate sites such as 'Napster' and the 'Cloud' and we are paying out hundreds of millions of pounds an hour.
A particularly bad case was when a 'Hacking Pirate' was arrested and the Armed Response Unit who had torn the street down with their tank reported that the 'Hacking Pirate' had used mirrored servers and tape backups! This meant that we had to pay out FIVE times as much for each infringement because the music was either 500% more stolen or had been stolen an extra 4 times. We never did work out which.
"we would pay out the 50p that it was insured for, now that same toerag has grown up and is 'Downloading' 'Files' from pirate sites such as 'Napster' and the 'Cloud' and we are paying out hundreds of millions of pounds an hour."
It is hard to be sympathetic, when all you have to do to counter that problem is up your premiums, which is the normal practice for the insurance biz... Also the insurance industry in the UK has the benefit of guaranteed income from car insurance, I am finding it hard to find any shred of sympathy. :)
Sounds to me like you're doing a poor job of assessing the risk, assuming you're making a loss because of the payouts....
Not that I disagree with your sentiments about Copyright infringement being wrong, but add me to the list of people who have a hard time gathering much sympathy for an insurer.
"asking them to work with you to stop search results sending people to illegal sites"
Search engines don't send you anywhere at all.. You actually have to click on the link yourself, it is a conscience act on the part of the user.
>despite fully knowing that they’re criminal operations.
Google et al are not the law, the decision is not theirs to make. What's acceptable one day might change the next.
Sajid Javid is free to host/publish a website which lists, names all these illegal companies and send the URL to the UK public of necassary in order that they can then make an informed decision about whether to use them or not.
Please leave the search engines alone..
I know some people say the IP genie is out of the bottle and that no amount of wishing will force it back in. But I don’t agree with them.
We don’t look at any other crimes and say 'It’s such a big problem that it’s not worth bothering with'.
We wouldn’t stand idly by if paintings worth hundreds of millions of pounds were being stolen from the National Gallery.
Copyright infringement is theft, pure and simple.
"The idea is to make pirate sites more inaccessible for the casual user - although they're still accessible to the determined tech savvy leecher. BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said the top 25 pirate sites were now blocked by the major UK ISPs, reducing traffic to them by around 80 per cent."
So the UK accounted for more than 80% of the traffic to these sites?
"We wouldn’t stand idly by if paintings worth hundreds of millions of pounds were being stolen from the National Gallery." - Sajid Javid.
If people were going into the National Gallery and taking a photo of a painting to enjoy at home, nothing would have been stolen. People that visit piracy sites aren't taking the thing, they are taking a copy of the thing.
TFA says: "Google has shown the ability to ... make large parts of the internet disappear entirely."
That would be a good trick, if it was true, and would net the company many beelions more if repressive governments could license the technique.
There's some excuse for the technically less aware to equate "can't find it on the WWW with Google" and "disappeared from the Internet ", but it's not what I expect to see splurged around on The Register.
Google has shown the ability to refrain from referring one to many websites in response to certain queries. Fixed, but I'll admit it isn't as dramatic.
 I thought there was general agreement that internets in general were so written, but that the global TCP/IP Internet is capitalized.
I agree with Khaptain: leave the search engines alone. We know that Google can manipulate the results, but we'd much rather that they didn't.
And yet there are ways for someone to manipulate search engines to promote their site, so we want Google to intervene, which is manipulation.
Does this mean that we should shoot the messenger? Difficult.
Unfortunately, Google has been diddling our search results any time these 15 years. That ship sailed basically about the time the company was formed.
All that remains to talk about is what criteria they should use, and whether we (the public, through our political apparatuses) can or should induce them to change those rules from time to time - and annoyingly enough, that's exactly what this idiot is talking about.
Another jackass mp, appointed by those with I.Q's closer to house bricks than human beings, spouting off about something he knows nothing about from a speech written by his lackeys that know exactly the same...nothing. Look at this idiots profile, he's a banker ffs. I'm not even going to mention the subject he was talking about because every time I see a MP spouting off about the internet my mind screams 'STFU and get back in your hole'
Yah, it's theft and I'm a thief. That's what not paying for something with a price tag is, theft.
But when is theft also justice? Profits for music and movie companies are obscene and, apart from A list stars, the artists see damned little of it. It's a new game out there with all that lateral connectivity. Scarcity cannot be manipulated by monopolists to jack prices one way or another.
Read my lips- this is the economics of surplus wealth. You won't find a theory about it at the Wharton School of Economics because it is a concept foreign to their feudal, slave owning, snake oil roots.
Hell, I'd do it just to smack them back for all the lies and hypocracies their advertising conjures, making the average citizen into a creature of neurotic narcissistic hyperbole aching for commodities that are out of reach.
It's just me eating the carrot and using the stick against my tormentors in a provoked ecstasy of culture jamming. One day we'll differentiate between "property" and "properties". 'Till then, the electric hand is quicker than the jaundiced eye.
"That's what not paying for something with a price tag is, theft." One of the cases I had to deal with in second year law involved a stolen car which the owner then saw on a used car lot, with of course a price tag.. He still had a spare key, got in, and drove it away. In another similar case the rightful owner demanded it back - the used car dealer refused and was done for "detinue". You, my friend, really need to study up on your definitions. Theft is NOT taking something with a price tag. Many are those who attempt to copyright something not actually theirs and charge for it.
Forget about Google linking to copyright material. I watch full movies and TV shows on Youtube and they're not exactly hard to find. Sure the more popular ones only last a few days before they're removed, but there's still thousands of full movies and hundreds of thousands of TV shows.
Once again the British Government, and the media barons, show a complete lack of understanding of how the internet works, and concentrate on the search engine indexes.
If they want to stop people accessing pirated content, why aren't they taking down the sites that host it?
They claim that they've forced the ISPs to block the sites, so they must think they know which sites they are, but they seem incapable of removing the content at source.
Is that too hard or too expensive for them? Or is it because there would have to be some semblance of juducial oversight involved in the process?
Far better to create blacklists which they can add sites to at will, with no judicial process, and no appeal.
"Once again the British Government, and the media barons, show a complete lack of understanding of how the internet works, and concentrate on the search engine indexes."
It pays to judge people by their actions rather than what they say...
In this case you will see that the folks making these huge blunders in understanding are trying to change the internet into something completely different that suits them better (typically: from unrestricted distributed control to an authenticated & centralized control model). It is easy to make fun of these plonkers, but some of them carry enough to weight and influence to make life very miserable for everyone.
This blather is corrosive, some people have questioned why I choose to run my own mail server in preference to using a more "legit" service like gmail... Go figure where that kind of thought process is going to lead...
So the BPI has sent out 93 million infringement notices? I guess the BPI system is automated so every time someone mentions "dead parrot" Google gets an infringement notice (opps, did I just take El Reg off-line?) - and they wonder why Google caps the number of notices that can be sent?
I'd like to suggest that Google automates the response to infringement notices to include an email to the postmaster address at each site that sends a notice thanking them and with a 2Mb T&C attachment ... preferably in .doc or .xls format.
Let the fool spout off his ill informed rhetoric.
In the meantime, i will continue to circumvent the "blocks", i will continue to pilfer music and films and software. In fact anything i can. Most of which is deleted 24 hours later when the dawning realisation of how utterly shit most of the music and tv/films are these days.
The occasional gem (breaking bad) is worthy of my hard earned £££.
The occasional bit of code (keyscrambler) is worthy of my £££.
Thats the key, if something is worthwhile, most people will purchase it. If not, its downloaded, watched, scorned and then deleted.
I searched for paintings that may be stolen by pirating and was left traumatised.
Javid is defending a bunch of sick perverts, he must resign or go to prison!!!!!
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