back to article Grow up, judge tells EFF: You’re worse than a complaining child

A district judge last week denied two activist groups the chance to file a supporting motion in a copyright case. In a stinging and derisive rejoinder, he compared their complaints to those of a spoilt boy. His boy. It’s part of a court case that stateside ISPs and rights-holders are watching with keen interest. Cox …

  1. RIBrsiq
    Trollface

    Who needs this new-fangled Internet thing, anyway? What good is it?

    Kids these days...! Why, in my day, we'd be happy if we had a couple of cans and some string!!

    1. jake Silver badge

      @RIBrsiq

      My cans were (and are) Koss DR9s ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @RIBrsiq

        I hope you felt properly validated by spending money on them whilst ignoring cheaper, better alternatives.

        1. jake Silver badge

          @AC(was:Re: @RIBrsiq)

          Cheaper, better alternatives? In 1977? Care to enlighten us?

          (Yes, they are nearly 40 years old, and I still haven't heard better headphones.)

  2. jake Silver badge

    The Judge is right ...

    ... tehintrawebtubes is hardly a necessity. Claiming otherwise is laughable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Judge is right ...

      http://www.wired.com/2011/06/internet-a-human-right/

      While blocking and filtering measures deny users access to specific content on the Internet, states have also taken measures to cut off access to the Internet entirely. The Special Rapporteur considers cutting off users from internet access, regardless of the justification provided, including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights law, to be disproportionate and thus a violation of article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

      1. James Micallef Silver badge

        Re: The Judge is right ...

        a) "human rights" include things like liberty and free speech, which are abstract concepts not physical things. The Internet is a physical thing (as IT professionals more than anyone else should know) and Internet access is simply a possible channel for these rights, which nevertheless can be exercised even without Internet. So while I can consider Internet access to be very important, it is a bit of a stretch to include it as a 'human right'. Otherwise by the same logic, one could argue that good roads, mobile phone connectivity and a functioning metro system are human rights.

        b) "human rights", strictly, do not exist in the way they are often presented, ie as 'innate', 'inalienable' etc*. They are simply standards that some humans drew up based on their view of morality, that a bunch of other humans then agreed to follow. Some humans now do not follow the guidelines, the guidelines might change over time, and there is no guarantee that these 'rights' will hold at any time in the future. As expressed far batter than I ever could by George Carlin with respect to Japanese-Americans in WW2

        * 'god-given' ???

    2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: The Judge is right ...

      I disagree(ish).

      Not in the sense that the net is a necessity now, but that we're fast getting to the point where it soon will be.

      Banks are closing branches (use Internet Banking), public services are moving to digital by default (need to file your tax return?) those two are pretty important, and just the first that comes to mind.

      There are meatspace options for both of those, but it, at a minimum, introduces additional inconvenience (where's the nearest branch of your bank)?

      Whether it's proportional is a different argument, but disconnecting a downloader isn't "just" taking away their internet, there's a whole heap of other knock-on effects. Effects that as time passes are probably going to get worse the more businesses/govts go online only.

      On the flip side though, a lot of the above can be said for taking away someone's car (or more precisely, their driving license), and we do that. The difference being (aside from the mashed meat cars can generate), there's a legal structure in place dictating at what point (12) we consider the driver's behaviour severe enough to warrant it. Even then, it's generally "reasons of public safety" not protecting a corp's income that's the decider.

      What I',m getting at is, whilst I don't think it should be impossible to disconnect someone's net, the point at which it's done is something that needs to be considered/laid out by society, not dictated by an interested industry (not that I particularly trust our politicians, but it'd at least have the outward appearance of democracy).

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: The Judge is right ...

        While I tend to agree with you, usually driving is called "a privilege" and not "a right". The wording of the briefs try to say the internet is "a right". It isn't. There is the issue of the ISP and money along with the copyright holders that the sticky part as the way the laws are written and the way the lawyers and various organizations have tended to apply them.

        1. Alan_Peery

          Re: The Judge is right ...

          A UN Report has declared it *is* a right, as linked in a comment above:

          http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2015/11/25/grow_up_judge_tells_eff_youre_worse_than_my_teenage_son/#c_2707119

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: The Judge is right ...

            Sorry, in the States it's still a "privilege" until the laws make it a "right".

            1. Barbarian At the Gates

              Re: The Judge is right ...

              Agreed. It might be possible to make an argument that internet access is a "necessity", but it's not currently a "right" in the United States.

              It's not like you have a "right" to food and shelter in the United States, so...even if it seems crappy that you don't have a "right" to internet access in the USA...I could see why the judge found a brief making a claim that internet is a "right" laughable in this context.

        2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Re: The Judge is right ...

          While I tend to agree with you, usually driving is called "a privilege" and not "a right". The wording of the briefs try to say the internet is "a right".

          Which I'd also lean towards saying is going a bit far, though we're getting to the point where it might become such a fundamental requirement to day-to-day life that it has to become one.

          Even if we call Internet access a privilege though, it still doesn't quite make sense. We don't take away your driving license if you rob a bank (depending on how you drive making your get-a-way of course).

          There is the issue of the ISP and money along with the copyright holders that the sticky part as the way the laws are written and the way the lawyers and various organizations have tended to apply them.

          Which is pretty much the bit I have issue with. Removing the internet from someones life does far more than simply stop them sharing/downloading copyrighted content and just doesn't feel like a proportional response to me.

          For me, that's a much bigger issues than whether access to the net is a privilege or a right. In either case, it should only be forcibly denied when proportional to do so - in other words taking into account the other consequences on someones life.

          If you're caught (seriously) speeding, a judge will often look at how loss of your license will affect you and those around you. He might instead opt to give you a large fine and a buttload of points, but not suspend your license because you've a young family and live in the sticks.

          Similar consideration should be given here, especially as misusing a car can cause immediate pain and death, whilst copyright infringement is largely a financial issue.

        3. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: The Judge is right ...

          > driving is called "a privilege"

          Which is bullshit as I'm pretty much f*cked w/o being able to drive to work, the bank, and the grocery store.

          There is NO public transportation available here for any of the above 3 tasks (yes, I've looked) and none of them are within walking distance either.

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: The Judge is right ...

            "> driving is called "a privilege"

            "Which is bullshit "

            Idiot. If it was a right you wouldn't have to take a driving test and be required to hold a license.

            "There is NO public transportation available here for any of the above 3 tasks (yes, I've looked) and none of them are within walking distance either."

            I doubt you were forced to live in the middle of nowhere. If lack of public transportation is an issue

            then move to somewhere that has it.

      2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: The Judge is right ...

        @Ben Tasker - "legal structure in place dictating at what point" is the key point. There is an agreed upon system of assigning points and when one has "won" the lose your license lottery for moving violations. The "Six-Strikes" is not legislated but an agreement between ISPs and various semi-criminal organizations to avoid constant litigation.

        Thus, until America's Native Criminal Class (Mark Twain) decides to enact such a scheme for copyright infringement the judge is not more than a prima facia example of a shyster.

    3. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: The Judge is right ...

      Not sure if serious. With more and more things becoming ONLY possible over internet I'm not so sure having internet access ISN'T a necessity.

    4. Jagged

      Re: The Judge is right ...

      Someone needs to take the Judge's internet away.

  3. Ole Juul Silver badge

    To opine or not

    I do see how the wording from the EFF is lacking seriousness, but the judge too sounds somewhat privileged in his response. In my case, I rely on the internet for my phone and 911 connection. It is also how I get news and weather warnings which are often important to me. I can afford either a land line or an internet connection and certainly not a satellite television package (which I would not like anyway). I can accept that the 200 people named are likely not rural and probably have many more communications options for which they also have money to pay. However, the judge is speaking from the point of view of someone who is making assumptions about other people's lives. He does sound like he is adding personal opinion to his response.

    1. jake Silver badge

      @ Ole Juul (was: Re: To opine or not)

      "In my case, I rely on the internet for my phone and 911 connection."

      If true, you are a fucking idiot.

      TCP/IP isn't a guarantied delivery mechanism. Never has been, never will be.

      1. Ole Juul Silver badge

        Re: @ Ole Juul (was: To opine or not)

        " you are a fucking idiot.

        TCP/IP isn't a guarantied delivery mechanism. Never has been, never will be."

        Of course I'm an idiot. You don't need to tell me that. However, where I live the land based telephone line has had a very bad record of not staying functional and the whole little town has been disconnected for days on end. My internet connection is wireless and has been on almost 100%. For emergency use I'll take my VoIP over a corporate don't-care approach. Especially if my life depended on it. Yes, in larger centres the copper has a stellar reputation for both reliability and quality but that is not the case in many smaller places. Remember too that my local ISP depends on it's uptime for making a living. The big telco (Telus) operates under law that says it does not even have to reimburse you beyond a legally mandated very low amount if the service is poor or non-existent. Even worse, the metric used by the Canadian phone companies in their legally mandated quarterly quality of service reports avoids most serious outages. Jake, I recommend you don't comment on communications relate matters until you have a look around. :)

      2. MrDamage

        Re: @ Ole Juul (was: To opine or not)

        The "fucking idiot" in this conversation, is clearly the one who refuses to acknowledge more and more telecoms providers are transferring their customers phone lines, into voip systems.

        Congratulations Jake, you've won the "fucking idiot" award. You'll receive your commemorative pin in the mail, as soon as you develop a chest to pin it on.

      3. Titus Technophobe

        Re: @ Ole Juul (was: To opine or not)

        Whilst I agree with Jake's robust assertion here... a further thought on your point .... "In my case, I rely on the internet for my phone and 911 connection."

        I rely on my car, now then, now then, in the pretend democracy in which I live the speed limit and indeed some of the other rules of the road are repressive. Additionally there is a "sort of" three strikes rule. That said because I rely on being able to drive what I do is comply with the rules .... maybe you could do the same with your internet use if it is important to you?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @ Ole Juul (was: To opine or not)

        TCP/IP isn't a guarantied delivery mechanism. Never has been, never will be.

        There's more to the Internet than TCP/IP.

        Did you think that phone network backhaul still uses dedicated copper lines for each call?

        1. James O'Shea Silver badge

          Re: @ Ole Juul (was: To opine or not)

          "The "fucking idiot" in this conversation, is clearly the one who refuses to acknowledge more and more telecoms providers are transferring their customers phone lines, into voip systems."

          My phone line from AT&Totally Useless has been a VOIP line for at least the last five years. AT&T knows damn well that the future is in internet services, they're doing their (totally incompetent) best to change from being a (completely doomed) phone company to a (future unclear) internet services company as quickly as they can. (Which isn't very fast, but they _are_ Totally Useless. Better behaved than ComLast, though.)

        2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

          Re: @ Ole Juul (was: To opine or not)

          @Ole Juul - Having lived in rural Ohio many years ago, I can understand the issues you are referring to. All communication services will have a history of spottiness and so one has to make the best choice between bad, worse, and worst. The only idiot is someone who refuses to acknowledge that not everyone lives in a major city with all the amenities. I do not know what is the best solution for parts of rural Canada for someone living there other than if you are lucky you might have marginally functional as option - some parts of Canada are awfully remote.

        3. boltar Silver badge

          Re: @ Ole Juul (was: To opine or not)

          "There's more to the Internet than TCP/IP."

          SIP works over TCP and UDP.

          "Did you think that phone network backhaul still uses dedicated copper lines for each call?"

          None of the US phone networks AFAIK route calls over the public internet - they used their own dedicated lines.

          1. jake Silver badge

            @boltar (was: Re: @ Ole Juul (was: To opine or not))

            "None of the US phone networks AFAIK route calls over the public internet - they used their own dedicated lines."

            And therein lies the crux of all the misunderstanding above.

            I cut my teeth on SS7. SS7 took in "input", manipulated it for transport, sent it to it's destination, un-manipulated it, and delivered the original input. Video, voice or data. SS7 was nothing more than wire. The mechanics of how it worked weren't observable to the casual observer. The "public internet" has always been routed over dedicated telco lines, starting with Switched56 (which went through SS7).

            The TCP/IP protocol suite doesn't care about the wire. Thus my point.

        4. jake Silver badge

          @AC (was:Re: @ Ole Juul (was: To opine or not))

          "There's more to the Internet than TCP/IP."

          Uh, no. TCP/IP defines The Internet (whatever that is).

          "Did you think that phone network backhaul still uses dedicated copper lines for each call?"

          TehIntraWebTubes dosen't care about wire. Wire is wire. Even if it's fiber. Or smoke signals. Or homing pigeons. Or sneaker-net. Really. Read the RFCs

        5. jake Silver badge

          Re: @ Ole Juul (was: To opine or not)

          " However, where I live the land based telephone line has had a very bad record of not staying functional and the whole little town has been disconnected for days on end. My internet connection is wireless"

          Your "wireless connection" depends on TCP/IP, which doesn't give a rat's ass about the hardware layer. And yes, according to TCP/IP, your "wireless connection" is actually wire. Read the RFCs for the protocols involved, if you don't believe me.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @ Ole Juul (was: To opine or not)

        TCP/IP isn't a guarantied delivery mechanism

        if you had said UDP/ip then you would be correct.

        tcp requires ack so it does know if delivery has occurred, so it would seem you are the fucking idiot!

        pot's is not guaranteed deliver either.

        1. jake Silver badge

          @AC (was: Re: @ Ole Juul (was: To opine or not))

          I wrote:

          "TCP/IP isn't a guarantied delivery mechanism"

          Which is true.

          "if you had said UDP/ip then you would be correct."

          Kinda. Read up on the protocol(s). Particularly "TTL". If you get into a routing issue in a modern data center, the time to live field can count down in milliseconds ...

      6. James Micallef Silver badge

        Re: @ Ole Juul (was: To opine or not)

        erm, telephone isn't a guaranteed delivery mechanism either. There's just differing degrees of reliability.

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @ Ole Juul (was: To opine or not)

        "TCP/IP isn't a guarantied delivery mechanism" [sic]

        Really jake, so what is your guaranteed delivery mechanism for phone calls? Surely can't be mobile or a copper line if you're talking guaranteed delivery. Satellite? ... yes I was joking. The only one I can think of is you walk to your local emergency services department and tell them the issue and take a note with it written down on in case you lose your voice on the way?

        The main issue is that usually it requires a modem/router which requires power and the times when you might need to make an emergency call are times when you might not have power, nothing to do with a "guarantied delivery mechanism" [sic] as on a SIP trunk which is separate from the internet it can be way more reliable than a copper line - millions of businesses around the world use it every single day. In fact there's a good chance that your local emergency call handling centre is use a VOIP system of some kind, or is likely to inthe near future.

        But jake isn't known for being knowledgeable about subjects that he didn't invent ... oh he did invent TCP/IP ... maybe things have changed since then?

  4. g e

    'not known to Plaintiffs'

    Impressive, they claim to know what they don't know. You'd think the judge, based on experience here also with his son, might have spotted that one, too.

    Obviously there will be some quantity of unknown 'perps' which means the number will be higher but given that they've obviously been tracking the listed perps for a while they can't claim to know that the unknown number will be 'substantially' higher of large-scale naughty folk, as you'd think they would have blipped across their spying radar simply due to the volume of their activity.

    And yes, I too would think that 'unverified' would be a reasonable cause for complaint. This judge has a strong whiff of backhander bias about him.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'not known to Plaintiffs'

      Only if bias means interpreting the law correctly.

      Do read the EFF brief it is totally hysterical.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: 'not known to Plaintiffs'

      "This judge has a strong whiff of bias about him."

      Which should come in handy for the appeal.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: 'not known to Plaintiffs'

        "Only if bias means interpreting the law correctly.

        Do read the EFF brief it is totally hysterical."

        Be that as it may, the judge's mode of expression is not what I was used to hearing in courts on this side of the pond*, let alone introducing an additional party, his teenage son. Is the son to be called as a witness?

        *Well, maybe in a magistrate's court but would a court deciding on the admissibility of an amicus brief be the US equivalent of a magistrate?

      2. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: 'not known to Plaintiffs'

        To be honest, what seems to be going on here is a clash between the freetards trying to paint everything in black and white, and the judge going for a more nuanced shades of grey approach. By way of analogy, consider driving a car.

        I have a right to drive a car provided I do so with due consideration for others, and abide by the rules and regulations of driving. Thus I have the right to drive at the speed limit where appropriate, but I do not have the right to floor the accelerator and go everywhere at top speed.

        The UK telecoms company Virgin Media seem to me to have sorted this sort of thing fairly well; if you use over their really rather generous fair use quotas of bandwidth, they choke down the network speed of your connection for a while. If you rampantly abuse the copyrighted material of major corporations, they give you several warnings before legal action.

        In other words, try to abuse their service and your ability to do this is first reduced, then after much noise and repeated warnings is removed altogether. This sort of approach is proportionate, polite and generally highly effective.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 'not known to Plaintiffs'

          The rules that govern how you can use the roads to drive on and at what point you might lose your license are set in law. The rules are made with a balance between the public's safety and your rights in mind. These rules can only be changed by changing the law, they are evenly enforced, there is a way to challenge bad rulings, etc.

          The rules that govern how you can use your connection and at what point you might lose it are at this point mostly based on voluntary agreements between private corporations, with their profit in mind.

          They can be changed at any point, and the public has no real way to challenge them (voting by using a different ISP is difficult if there is only one ISP to choose from)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'not known to Plaintiffs'

      Liam O'Grady apparently is an ex -disney lawyer!

      so his behavior is no surprise!!

  5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Not the point

    The case seems to be about making an ISP an agent of copyright holders. This is obviously nonsense without a contract. The ISP is contracted to its customers and the networks it peers with but not with BMG or anyone else. If BMG wants Cox to police its network then it should pay it do so (this might pave the way to offer stuff cheaper legally than illegally), otherwise the case should be dismissed as without merit.

    The issue of whether access to the internet counts as a fundamental is entirely separate. I don't know US law so I don't know if there are any provisions for such services: water, electricity, telephone and internet. Oh and TV for Merkins. If there is no such provision then the amicus is also without merit. Some countries (France and Estonia, I think) have made an internet connection a human right which, especially in France, could lead to some interesting legal wrangles.

    I really don't understand the copyright holders. Pursuing theses cases eats up a lot of resources while at the same time they seem content to sign up streaming services for a pittance and streaming services is where the market is moving: people seem to have been largely convinced that access to something online is all they need.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Irony

    Judge accurately describes freetards as spoiled adolescent brats.

    Freetard commentards react to Judge like spoiled adolesecent brats.

    QED.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Calling the EFF slactivist so stretches the definition of the word as to render it entirely meaningless.

  8. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. The First Dave

      So when was the last time that the EFF did an honest/full day's work?

    2. Daggerchild Silver badge

      Hate-painting the EFF weakens one of the few remaining *active* defenders people have here.

      There is a big, important DMCA safe harbour fight with nasty implications going on here, and every other journalist leads with that. It's not even mentioned here. The important thing is that the Judge hated something the author hates because Google (actually, seriously).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Daggerchild

        "There is a big, important DMCA safe harbour fight with nasty implications"

        You mean, the Internet is Breaking?

        But it isn't at all. Cox refuses to kick off Torrenters who breach T&Cs they have signed up to. Remember that clause that said you agreed that said you abide by the network rules?

        Yeah. That one.

        Your use name is "Daggerchild" - are you really a child with a dagger? The second part sounds right.

        1. Daggerchild Silver badge

          Hello Anonymous Coward. No, the Internet isn't breaking. Have a nice day.

    3. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Not the point

      "I really don't understand the copyright holders. "

      It's quite obvious you don't. But here goes.

      Cox Communications is trying to differentiate itself from other big US ISPs by making itself freetard-friendly. All the other ISPs signed up to dealing voluntarily (ineffectively maybe) with hardcore Torrenters. "Come to Cox, oh ye 'tards, and Torrent away - you will be safe here."

      You don't have to agree with either party in this case to understand their grievances and fears. I devoted a paragraph to what ISPs fear from litigation from copyright holders.

      Understanding people's position is a useful skill to acquire in life.

      Good point about them giving their catalog away for a pittance, though. Vinyl earns more than YouTube:

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/11/20/lessons_from_rdio_and_vinyl/

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not the point

        "Come to Cox, oh ye 'tards, and Torrent away - you will be safe here."

        And yet you (righly) state that high bandwidth users cost more than they bring in revenue. Therefore there would not seem to be any reason for an ISP to try to attract overly expensive customers?

    4. Youngone Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Not the point

      @ Charlie Clark

      I really don't understand the copyright holders

      The point seems to be, (as demonstrated by Andrew O's reply to your post) that there are several different ways of looking at Copyright. There are the maximalists like Andrew and BMG who seem to have the view that the current laws are fine, and anyone who disagrees must be a Freetard.

      There are some other people who profit from others' work, and intentionally break said laws for their own profit.

      Then there is everyone else who view the current copyright system as more or less broken, so choose to ignore it. I don't mean actively breaking the law, just choosing the quickest and easiest way to consume whatever media they wish. This is often achieved through illegal methods, but only because BMG and their competitors have absolutely no clue how to make their own customers happy.

  9. Yugguy

    Somebody better arrest me then

    We have an app on our daughter's tablet which gives her a generous amount of time per day of unrestricted activity. When the time is up it restricts her to using only things like overdrive or kindle reading apps. Access to youtube netflix etc is blocked.

    Is denying her access to AmyLee33 Minecraft vidoes REALLY a violation of her human rights?

    REALLY?

    I'm with the judge - stop whining.

    1. steward

      Re: Somebody better arrest me then

      If your daughter is a minor you are exercising your parental rights. It has nothing to do with matters of law. Stop whining.

    2. Alan_Peery

      Re: Somebody better arrest me then

      Comparing parental oversight and guidance to this situation isn't particularly sensible.

  10. Camilla Smythe Silver badge

    “Frankly, it sounded like my son complaining when I took his electronics away when he watched YouTube videos instead of doing homework. And it's completely hysterical.”

    That's a bit harsh. Maybe his homework was not teaching him much of any general use about electronics so he got his soldering iron out and resorted to YouTube.

    Bit of a crap move on his part but rather than taking his electronics away I might have been inclined to show him how to use the intertubes to do a bit of meaningful research... prior to going down the school and wasting a few teachers for not doing their job properly.

    We could also chill out on the Pron thing.

    .... Unless .SNR II is expecting .JNR III to enter the legal profession.

  11. Purple-Stater

    No, Mr. Judge

    It's not like taking your kids internet away because he watches youtube instead of doing homework.

    It's like taking the internet away from your family of six because one kid watches youtube instead of doing his homework.

    1. Yugguy

      Re: No, Mr. Judge

      A common tactic used to stamp out individual bad behaviour within a group is to punish the group as a whole. The idea being that the group will then begin self-police to remove the bad behaviour.

      It often works quite well.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: No, Mr. Judge

        "It often works quite well."

        So long as it doesn't backfire and everybody act up on behalf of having been punished unfairly. There's a fine line.

        [How I know? I went to boarding school where this was a favourite method of dealing with problems; and sometimes it went very wrong...]

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No, Mr. Judge

        "A common tactic used to stamp out individual bad behaviour within a group is to punish the group as a whole. The idea being that the group will then begin self-police to remove the bad behaviour.

        It often works quite well."

        Maybe they should cut off the town completely, in theory this will work even better?

      3. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: "punish the group as a whole"

        You are aware that article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention specifically forbids collective punishment?

      4. Purple-Stater

        Re: No, Mr. Judge

        "A common tactic used to stamp out individual bad behaviour within a group is to punish the group as a whole. The idea being that the group will then begin self-police to remove the bad behaviour.

        It often works quite well."

        Please, the next you are having a problem with a co-worker, let your boss know that you approve of this method of punishment.

        1. Yugguy

          Re: No, Mr. Judge

          It can only be used on children, or those acting like one.

          Internet a human right? My big, fat, sweaty, hairy arse it is.

        2. DocJames
          Coat

          Re: No, Mr. Judge

          I think the commentards here have missed the point: yugguy isn't advocating this approach, just pointing out that it can be used as an effective tactic. It is illegal for exactly the same reason (and that it's somewhat regressive to punish the weakest members of any group by giving them the alternatives of being outcasts or forced to comply with group norms).

  12. Ironclad

    Pay as you use?

    In the UK you can have your electricity and/or gas supply cut off. It's very unusual but it can happen. This would seem a more essential human right than internet access.

    In fact what's more likely to happen is the utility will install a pre-pay meter:

    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/energy/energy-supply/problems-with-your-energy-supply/if-youve-been-told-your-energy-supply-will-be-disconnected/

    Perhaps the same measure could be applied to proven offenders. So a bit of light browsing, shopping, filling in forms, short calls, relatively inexpensive. Downloading/uploading gigabytes of pirated material becomes prohibitively expensive?

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Pay as you use?

      I inherited pre-pay Leckie and Gas meters from the previous tenant and can't afford to swap 'em out, so I'm left paying 20% more than I would do if I had your right to switch supplier.

      Now if your proposed 'improval' was in place I'd likely be banned from having internet too. Draconian laws are never implemented sensibly, they are always implemented to squeeze the poor for the benefit of the corporates. The internet was a leveller, and you are Charles I.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Pay as you use?

      Here in France it is not legal to disconnect an electricity supply for non payment. The solution is to replace the meter with one that trips out if the occupant draws more than a kilowatt. That tends to concentrate people on sorting out the problem. No coffee? No hot water? No coffee? No heating? No coffee? Argh!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't be a sheeple

    People should investigate who the EFF is and who's interest they represent. Hint: They do not represent the best interest of the populace.

  14. Danny 2 Silver badge

    You don't want to do that, you want to do this

    "In just over a decade Randall Munroe has become firmly established and it’s safe to say adored as the author of xkcd."

    And yet look how he did achieved that:

    " This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

    This means you're free to copy and share these comics (but not to sell them)."

  15. moiety

    In reality, ISPs are deeply ambivalent about high volume torrenters. Privately, they will readily acknowledge that the hardcore torrenters rack up most of their costs, and cause most of the congestion on their networks.

    I'm not sure that this is the case. As I understand it, ISP's pay for capacity (ie, an availability to shift a certain amount of data/second); not per-megabyte. The extra cost comes in when everyone's sucking hard on the pipes at the same time and you have to buy more capacity. I'd contend that Netflix -where it is essential that you not only serve the bytes; but have to serve them at a minimum rate- would cost ISPs more. Torrenters aren't so much of a problem because they can be throttled at peak times and let them go for it during slack periods with not too much in the way of squawking and at no extra cost. Steam and similar game outfits are also going to be shifting some serious data and there is, again, a minimum rate that's acceptable if you're playing multiplayer.

  16. strum Silver badge

    Let me get this straight, Andrew. Do you think it's right to be deprived of anything "based on nothing more than unadjudicated, unverified, unreliable allegations of civil wrongdoing"?

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