back to article Ten years in the clink, file-sharing monsters! (If UK govt gets its way)

The UK government will insist on jail sentences of up to 10 years for illegal file sharing, despite its own public consultation saying the opposite. In an act of almost unparalleled Whitehall hubris, the decision was announced in the foreword to a report [PDF] that revealed only two per cent of respondents agreed with the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You COULD NOT...

    ...make it up. Stupidity, short-sightedness, spineless and other 's' words incarnate.

    Makes me want to run screaming into the night with an axe!

    Anon cause there are many legitimate things one could be doing running round with an axe, probably. Certainly not dismantling the government chunk by chunk, honest guv.

    1. g e

      Re: You COULD NOT...

      Just checked - you get less for Manslaughter with anything other than 'Low Provocation'...

      http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/manslaughter_provocation/

      So the MAFIAA are obviously more important than human life - of course we already knew this, naturally.

      1. h4rm0ny
        Mushroom

        Re: You COULD NOT...

        >>"Just checked - you get less for Manslaughter with anything other than 'Low Provocation'..."

        And here come the silly comparisons. Though it's usually driving offences that are preferred, car analogies and all.

        Presumably everyone outraged by this also thinks that when an ISP promises "up to 100Mbps" that's what they'll get. Or that because you can get up to two years for dangerous driving, you'll get two years for accidentally going through a red light.

        This is about harmonizing offline and online penalties so that someone producing knock-off DVDs gets treated the same as someone transferring ISOs online. It's not about upping the penalties.

        Let's look at actual prosecutions resulting in multi-year sentences in the UK. To recall two, we had a guy who traded in $20million of pirated software and made a very handsome profit on that. He got seven years, iirc. The other multi-year sentence I can recall was someone running a piracy site and he was channelling about £50,000 advertising revenue per month through Latvian banks to South American-registered companies. I don't recall how long that person got, but it was less than ten years.

        If you're someone at home distributing some movies via BitTorrent, you're not going to get a decade inside, you're going to get a fine, in all but the most exceptional cases.

        Discretion in sentencing is a thing and exists for a very good reason. Meanwhile El Reg. and Ars Technica go into a feeding frenzy of click-bait profits whilst freetards go into moral outrage and complain about comparisons to manslaughter. Well home torrenters aren't going to be sentenced the same way as people committing manslaughter and if you throw out all historical evidence from this country to the contrary, and refuse to acknowledge that maximum sentences are not the be all and end all of how you assess a law, then you're wilfully [b]trying[/b] to be outraged because you enjoy it.

        1. It wasnt me

          Re: You COULD NOT...

          If you really wanted to harmonise the sentencing guidelines then you could lower the penalty for the physical crime.

          Comparing maximum sentences with different crimes is perfectly legitimate.

          Your "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear" argument is a dangerous one.

          It is perfectly reasonable to use stronger laws (fraud etc) to prosecute the more serious cases.

          Sorry. I fundamentally disagree that you could be locked up for 10 years for sharing an ISO. And I disagree just as strongly with the way that policy was created.

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: You COULD NOT...

            >>"If you really wanted to harmonise the sentencing guidelines then you could lower the penalty for the physical crime."

            Yes, you could resolve it either way. But in the case of someone who was pulling down £400,000 from advertising on the back of other people's work and funnelling that money secretly via international banks to hidden accounts in South America (not a hypothetical example but one of the rare cases of someone in the UK getting a mult-year prison sentence for this kind of stuff), should it be lowered? Frequently cases like this are not prosecuted simply because the complexities in the law have made it difficult to proceed. This clarifies and rationalizes the law and that's a good thing. If you want to argue that industrial-scale fraud should have its penalties lowered to inline with what some home torrenter might get (a fine), then that's going to need some support.

            >>"It is perfectly reasonable to use stronger laws (fraud etc) to prosecute the more serious cases."

            Discretionary sentencing is a valuable tool in the British legal system. Without it you get an inability of judges to be lenient. and cases being thrown out because the prosecution picked the wrong gradient of the crime. E.g. dangerous driving can be anything from a fine to two years in prison. And if you kill someone it can go up to fourteen years. What happens if the prosecution pick the variant of the crime and don't meet the necessary burden of proof for the ten year dangerous driving law, but would have met it for the eight? And it leads to US-style plea bargaining.

            Discretionary sentencing is, if not vital, certainly very important.

            >>Sorry. I fundamentally disagree that you could be locked up for 10 years for sharing an ISO.

            You wont be. The article has misled you. If you're talking about sharing some popular movie, you'll get a fine, same as you always would. This is about commercial-scale piracy which your example certainly doesn't meet the criteria of.

            >>And I disagree just as strongly with the way that policy was created.

            Public consultation followed by vote by elected MPs? What would be your preferred method of enacting and removing laws?

        2. Archie Woodnuts

          Re: You COULD NOT...

          It's a good thing the law is never used to make knee-jerk reactionary statements of intent.

          Oh, hang on.

  2. Brent Longborough
    Black Helicopters

    His (her) Master's Voice

    This is the movie and recording industry pulling the strings.

    Treating torts as criminal cases is no better than having debtors' prisons.

    Welcome to the Britain of Dickensian Dave

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: His (her) Master's Voice

      Perhaps you were misled by the headline. The penalty for industrial scale digital piracy is being brought into line with the penalty for physical piracy and counterfeiting. These are not torts.

      Given that the games, TV, movie and music industries in Britain employ millions of people (including loads of high quality tech and engineering jobs), I would expect them to a view on industrial scale piracy, wouldn't you? They would be negligent if they didn't.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: His (her) Master's Voice

        The crimes aren't the same though are they?

        If i steal a warehouse of cd's and dvd's they're gone, i nicked em and made a profit selling em. I have deprived someone of real things.

        If I copy a mates mp3 via bluetooth on my device, no one has lost out.

        I wouldn't have bought it anyway, so no loss of sale.

        And EMI or whoever are able to continue selling their wares regardless.

        go watch the new Tower Records documentary, at least they are honest enough to admit it wasn't napster that killed the music industry, its was themselves charging £20 for an album and not releasing the hits as singles. THe music industry caused napster.

        And now they wanna lock me up for 10 years.

        Do one.

        1. Uberseehandel

          Re: His (her) Master's Voice

          So it is OK to steal what you wouldn't pay for?

          Don't worry this has been an observable nerd phenomenon since computers began.

          1. Smooth Newt Silver badge
            Flame

            Re: His (her) Master's Voice

            So it is OK to steal what you wouldn't pay for?

            Can we please not call this stealing or theft. Stealing is "the wrongful or willful taking of money or property belonging to someone else with intent to deprive the owner of its use or benefit either temporarily or permanently."

            Sharing of copyrighted works on the Internet might be a crime (although you'd have to speak to Google Books' lawyers about the fine points), but it is not theft or "stealing".

            Hence the phrase "copyright theft" to try to spin it into depriving the copyright owner of something, as if the people doing the sharing have somehow stolen the copyright. Of course the copyright owner still possesses the copyright, so it is not "copyright theft" either, even if the copyright owner has in fact, or in their imagination, failed to generate some income as a result.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: His (her) Master's Voice

              >Sharing of copyrighted works on the Internet might be a crime [...]

              Malum Prohibitum, is the term you're looking for.

          2. g e

            Re: His (her) Master's Voice

            Not OK to 'steal' (duplicate, actually) what you wouldn't pay for but then, where's my refund when the film I just watched in the cinema was NOWHERE NEAR as good as the intentionally misleading trailer suggested?

            Hmmm advertising standards, perhaps?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: His (her) Master's Voice

          I understand that there is no physical theft. I don't understand the sentence part 'not releasing the hits as singles'. Doesn't a song have to have been a single for it to be a hit?.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: His (her) Master's Voice

          "The crimes aren't the same though are they?

          If i steal a warehouse of cd's and dvd's they're gone, i nicked em and made a profit selling em. I have deprived someone of real things.

          If I copy a mates mp3 via bluetooth on my device, no one has lost out.

          I wouldn't have bought it anyway, so no loss of sale."

          But the actual physical CDs and DVDs cost pennies, they only have value because of what's on them. If I steal them and sell them only to people who promise me that they wouldn't have bought the full-price versions of the films, I've only really stolen a few pence worth of plastic and paper.

          That's bollocks of course. The valuable thing is the information so whether you steal it physically or copy it unlawfully, you're doing the same amount of harm. You're right that copyright infringement is not theft but you're wrong to think that it's morally any different to legging it out of HMV with a DVD.

          .

          AC because, despite my moralising, I'm torrenting GoT right now!

        4. h4rm0ny

          Re: His (her) Master's Voice

          >>"If i steal a warehouse of cd's and dvd's they're gone, i nicked em and made a profit selling em. I have deprived someone of real things. If I copy a mates mp3 via bluetooth on my device, no one has lost out."

          Both are methods of depriving the content producer of payment for their product. Unless for some incalculable reason you think the primary cost of producing a movie or album is the plastic that goes into the DVD, then it really makes no difference how you take it without paying for it. This is a fact.

          >>"I wouldn't have bought it anyway, so no loss of sale."

          This is you deciding unilaterally the worth of someone's work and depriving them of a say in it. You declare it's not worth £10 but is worth £0, so it's therefore okay for you to take it for £0. Trade depends on both parties being able to negotiate on a price. If the seller prices it too highly, you choose not to buy. If you find it worth the price they demand, you do choose to. Taking it at a price that the seller does not agree to is theft, even if (especially if) that price is £0. The customer always wants everything cheaper, that's why they don't get to set the prices of it unilaterally.

          Also, utterly absurd to argue from a position that piracy doesn't cost sales. Whilst the comments sections of IT news sites seem to be filled with people who pirate nothing that they would ever buy, the real world contains people I know who absolutely use piracy as an alternative to buying, renting or cinema.

          And before I get the utterly predictable retort that this doesn't mean that every pirated good is a lost sale, let me point out I haven't made such an argument.

          All of the above is fairly straightforward logical progression from supportable premises. You're trying to justify piracy and doing a piss-poor job of it.

          >>"And now they wanna lock me up for 10 years."

          No, the article is misleading you. They want to slap a fine on you and say "don't do it again." Unless you happen to be engaging in large-scale software piracy for profit which is more what this is about despite the frothing rant that has just attempted to pass itself off as journalism without so much as pretending to consider the opposing view.

      2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: His (her) Master's Voice

        Not really the same, many media "pirates" are usually the media's best customers. "Piracy", to some degree, is a form of advertising.

      3. inmypjs Silver badge

        Re: His (her) Master's Voice

        Frankly Oriowski I wish you would piss off.

        I take the opertunity to post here because you would censor such comment in your own articles. Your censoring means I won't add any comment to your articles or bother reading them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: His (her) Master's Voice

          As someone who has also experienced Orlowski's censorship of comments he didn't like, I entirely agree.

          1. hplasm Silver badge
            Big Brother

            Re: His (her) Master's Voice

            "I take the opportunity to post here because you would censor such comment in your own articles. "

            Censored, you say? By AO? Deleted?

            Surely not! Oh, wait-

            Me too, when I pointed out something about his apparent support of fascists ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H big media barons...

            +++comment deleted+++ by something that looks like a duck...

          2. vgrig_us

            Re: His (her) Master's Voice

            Every comment i had taken down on Reg was to Orlowski's article.

            In general, if you read comments to his articles, you can see how one sided they are and also how few votes they have - pretty much one or two votes each, despite articles covering hot topics...

            It's really shameful and reflects badly on Reg.

            Now for fun part - just in case Orlowski read this, let's make him foam at the mouth:

            "Google!"

        2. h4rm0ny
          Pint

          Re: His (her) Master's Voice

          >>"Frankly Oriowski I wish you would piss off."

          And I am very glad he's here as he actually backs up his articles. I can also spell his name!

          Whenever Orlowski posts in the comments on El Reg., I always picture him as George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life: standing in front of the mob when there's a run on the bank desperately trying to explain how the system works as people keep shouting for their money.

          Beer for our resident IT masochist.

      4. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: His (her) Master's Voice

        Any torrenting of copyrighted work is by its nature industrial scale piracy because it's P2P between thousands of nodes and the sharers are accomplices.

        The copyright lobby know this but the baroness is too dim to realise. Or maybe she does but it'll teach the serfs anyway.

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: His (her) Master's Voice

          The consultation response removed any ambiguity that this was about the Torrenter at home in his shed.

          Freetards completely need to have a persecution complex, just like Nelson Muntz needs to argue Bart hit him first.

      5. Daniel B.

        Re: His (her) Master's Voice

        Orlowski is also the same guy who ended up defending FunnyJunk... The guys who were actually engaging in piracy, only because it proved his own twisted view on IP matters.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: His (her) Master's Voice

        @"Perhaps you were misled by the headline. The penalty for industrial scale digital piracy is being brought into line with the penalty for physical piracy and counterfeiting. These are not torts."

        I notice you said "industrial" and not "Commercial scale" since the proposal doesn't limit itself to any commercial activity.

        i.e. a torrent might have 100 people on it, hence *industrial* scale piracy. A youtube tribute video with a Prince song on it, 1000 views, industrial scale piracy. Already the penalty is 50,000 quid, your home for your tribute video! So the penalties are already excessive. Commercial scale piracy would also lose all profits too.

        This is the Tescos baroness, the former Tescos Director who retired in 2013.

        She says "Creative industries add £84.1billion to the UK economy each year" in this report, but that looks to be mainly retailing, i.e. Tescos selling DVDs and CDs is being counted as creative industry GDP.

        She was never elected, she was given a Baroness position after he 'success' at Tescos and then appointed again by Cameron to be a minister. So she doesn't answer to Joe Pubic, she's very much a cronies crony.

        So will the people who been involved in Tescos accounting black hole be prosecuted and given 10 years in prison?

        Tell me Serious Fraud Office, how come Tescos has taken 9 *BILLION* in consolidated profit hits in the last 3 years, yet the underlying supermarket is profitable???

        www.tescoplc.com/index.asp?pageid=30

        250 million black hole admitted? Yet 9 BILLION hit on the consolidated profits sheet so far!

        Will those involved be given 10 year prison? Or will you cut some deal with the company to let them off?

      7. PassiveSmoking

        Re: His (her) Master's Voice

        Yes, because scope creep never happens in the British legal system, does it? Nobody has ever been persecuted with anti-terrorism laws for putting the wrong wheelie bin out or letting their dogs crap all over a public park, have they? And nobody has ever ended up in prison for making a crap joke on Twitter about blowing up an airport.

        Oh, wait...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: His (her) Master's Voice

      There is a word for this kind of behaviour by a women, Whore.

      These greedy crony-capitalist (fakes) corporations, with unjust state privileges need to be told to get lost. I bet because of tax discounts favouring the increasingly rich, they don't even fully fund the current Industrial Protectionism oppression, so will be even more parasitic with this proposed new oppression too!

      It would be far more positive to prosecute actual harmful and costly /real/ crime, like unlawful killing, unlawful assault, real theft and fraud, including by most of the financial sector, all fractional reserve or other leverage lenders, and fiat currency central banks.

      1. David Roberts Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: His (her) Master's Voice - whore

        Downvoted for the implication that only women can sell sex.

        Or is there no such thing as a male whore?

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: His (her) Master's Voice

        There is a word for this kind of behaviour by a women, Whore

        Why only in women? The moment you apply this term to politicians it transcends sexual orientation.

        As my dad used to say. Son, never mistake a v**ina for a c*nt. The former is an essential part of anatomy in half of the human population. The latter is a type of character, usually male and most often found in politicians and celebrities.

    3. macjules Silver badge

      Re: His (her) Master's Voice

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

    4. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: His (her) Master's Voice

      Welcome to the Britain of Dickensian Dave

      Surely the Britain of Dick-in-pig Dave?

      Sorry, couldn't resist (said Dave, allegedly).

  3. A. H. O. Thabeth

    Is this a fiendishly clever plan?

    Let us circulate the idea that we will jail people for 10 years; and then we can look "reasonable" when we only fine them £50,000 per violation.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Is this a fiendishly clever plan?

      ...But still have this law on the books ready to use against someone we *really* don't like. Pour encourager les autres, aussi.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is wrong with these 'People?'

    When money, self-interest, and future lucrative employment (more money) are involved, these bought-and-paid-for politicians are happy to ignore the 'Voice(s) of Reason' from their OWN ADVISORS!

    What with this shill doing the dirty work of Big Business (Film Industry Lawyer-Parasites), and Hameron/May messing with the few shreds of perceived privacy we have remaining, I've decided that I'm going to retire to my bed once and for all.

    I do not agree with Illegal File Sharing (I will NEVER call it 'Piracy' - it isn't!), but this is just idiotic! This is all about seeming to do the right thing, without actually doing it correctly and with measure. True Justice may be blind, but Baroness Back-Hander can certainly see all that filthy lucre floating into her purse as a result.

    Justice is for the Rich after all. Not for peons.

    Anon, because...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A lot of people misunderstand the role of government advisors. They do not exist to advise the government on the correct policy. They exist to generate plausible justification for decisions that have already been made. Like every other public sector job, it is about arse-covering.

      First the decision is taken behind closed doors, then the advisors are asked to carefully collect some raw data and misrepresent it in a way that supports the decision.

      Occasionally the advisors fail to understand this themselves and produce reports that are completely contrary to the decision that has already been taken - at which point the government simply ignores them or finds other advisors.

  5. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

    Actually, no

    The penalties, which bring punishments for digital piracy into line with penalties for physical piracy, apply to commercial scale infringement. Not to individual file sharers.

    The conviction that one is being persecuted by shadowy powers is is a kind of mental illness. (A "persecution complex") There is no need to succumb to it, when the threat isn't actually real.

    Unless you're actually running a pirate site, I wouldn't worry.

    1. moiety

      Re: Actually, no

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

      Also the quote is "large scale" not "commercial scale" with no definition of what large scale is supposed to be. By one definition, hooking into a popular torrent would do the job, because you are making that file or files available to a large number of people.

      On a related note; what's the penalty for defrauding billions with sub-prime mortgages and causing a global depression? Yeah, I fucking thought so.

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: Actually, no

        On a related note; what's the penalty for defrauding billions with sub-prime mortgages and causing a global depression? Yeah, I fucking thought so.

        I can see the point you are making but I believe it to be flawed. Imagine that some item of your property is stolen; you report the theft but the police immediately decline to investigate. I might be wrong but I suspect that you would be rather pissed off about it, and you would not welcome someone pointing out that as no "penalty for defrauding billions with sub-prime mortgages and causing a global depression" had ever been imposed then not investigating the theft of your property was in a perverse way entirely consistent.

        Multiple wrongs do not make a right.

        1. moiety

          Re: Actually, no

          @Commswonk - You're correct that two wrongs don't make a right, but I was using the dichotomy between the penalty between two different types of fraud. On the one hand there's 10 years in prison vs. no penalty at all and a fucking huge bonus. Now the copyright infringement does disadvantage a group of people (who have spent the last 20 years being colossal dicks if we're talking about the MPAA etc, so fuck them) while simultaneously benefiting all the people who download free stuff. Contrast that with a very few people making humungous stacks of money and the whole planet suffering for it...and over those sorts of numbers there are going to be a not insignificant number of deaths through suicide; cost cutting in safety measures and so on.

          I could have used public figures shuffling money away into Panama -another type of fraud- as a maybe better, more pertinent, example; but that doesn't have the sheer scale, offensiveness or wreckage as sub-prime mortgages.

          Where you're picking up your downvotes I suspect (none of which are mine, by the way...you didn't piss me off enough and your point is mostly valid) is by comparing copyright infringement with physical theft. With copyright infringement, the owner still has use of their thing; and that's an important distinction.

      2. Suricou Raven

        Re: Actually, no

        I am reminded of the NET act over in the US - it was written to target commercial infringement, but defined commercial as including supplying infringing material with an expectation of receiving more infringing material in return.

      3. Seajay#

        Re: Actually, no

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

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

        1. SolidSquid

          Re: Actually, no

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

        2. h4rm0ny

          Re: Actually, no

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

        3. Crisp Silver badge

          Re: Sub-prime mortgages weren't fraud

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

      4. h4rm0ny

        Re: Actually, no

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

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

        >>"On a related note; what's the penalty for defrauding billions with sub-prime mortgages and causing a global depression? Yeah, I fucking thought so."

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

        1. moiety

          Re: Actually, no

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

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

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

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: Actually, no

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            1. moiety

              Re: Actually, no

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              1. h4rm0ny
                Alert

                Re: Actually, no

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: Actually, no

      So you're saying file sharers should hold off from switching hobbies to rape and murder to get more lenient sentencing for the time being?

      1. moiety

        Re: Actually, no

        So you're saying file sharers should hold off from switching hobbies to rape and murder to get more lenient sentencing for the time being?

        By the baroness' logic fraud is looking pretty good...a 4.5 year jail term cap and no specified limit on the amount you can defraud.

        More on the torrent thing...the example given is people distributing 2500 films. Now I have been on torrents with 12,000 people on, so -instead of 2,500 x 1 file- we're looking at 1 x 12,000). Didn't see any clarification there, but technically I've been (nearly 5x) naughtier than the bunch of pirates that she wanted the decade for. Don't fancy that much, to be honest.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Actually, no

          >>"More on the torrent thing...the example given is people distributing 2500 films. Now I have been on torrents with 12,000 people on, so -instead of 2,500 x 1 file- we're looking at 1 x 12,000). "

          This is misleading. They weren't given the sentence because of the number of films they participated in torrenting. They were given it because that was the number of undistributed films they managed to be amongst the first seeders of and their stated goals as a team were to obtain and be the first to pirate these movies and get the torrenting started. If you had read the reference in the proposal you would have seen this. If you're going to try and clarify things for people, research your facts, first.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Actually, no

      But what is classed as commercial scale infringement? If you download a movie, a tv show or an mp3 over bit torrent, you will then be uploading to others, there may be 1000's of leechers downloading from you. Now when your IP is picked out and set for prosecution, for setting an example, you can be classed as infringing on a commercial scale as you have just enabled 1000's of copies of that movie/tv show/mp3 to be made even if you only sent enough data to not even make a single whole copy. 1000's of people did connect to you and copy some data from you after all.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Actually, no

      'The penalties, which bring punishments for digital piracy into line with penalties for physical piracy, apply to commercial scale infringement. Not to individual file sharers....Unless you're actually running a pirate site, I wouldn't worry'

      Ah, but what exactly will the legal definition be of a 'pirate site'?

      I know you say that this won't apply to 'individual file sharers', but, knowing lawyers, there'll be weaselly legalistic loopholes in the law as drafted to allow for future 'interpretation'.

      I foresee that rather than use the word 'commercial', they'll use 'industrial' or something else which sounds overtly similar, but which in legalese has a more wider scope so that, one day, suddenly sharing more than n files will be flagged as 'industrial' scale infringement beit commercial or otherwise..as other commenters point out elsewhere.

      I look forward to the fun and games..there's an apocryphal story about a character who tried to get the point across to his minions about the limits of regal power by getting slightly damp, almost a thousand years later it seems the MAFIAA and their (tame|paid) political stooges haven't figured that one out yet.

      (Fires up Nicotine for the first time ever in the spirit of fsck them all..)

    5. Mad Chaz

      Re: Actually, no

      how easy people forget history ...

    6. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Actually, no

      I thought the Reg was a garden where many different flowers were allowed to bloom, each planted according to the article writer's opinion.

      Stop stomping on his geraniums and go back to tending your own flowerbed.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Actually, no @dan 55

        IT and El Reg are such gardens and a virtually real jungle way out there, Dan 55. They are what makes the two such a roaring success and impossible failure.

        And your flowerbed tending advice is ace prime and a terror for established corrupt and inequitable systems administrations.

        Personally speaking, I have never suffered censorship from AO but can imagine the rantings of many be fully deserving of it because of gratuitously offensive inappropriate content/comment.

        1. ISP

          Re: Actually, no @dan 55

          I had one rejected for suggesting that articles include the writers name to save me the trouble of hitting back when I realised they were his.

          1. DropBear Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Actually, no @dan 55

            Believe it or not, I had one rejected simply because I indicated I can recognize the author simply reading the article without having to look at the name. In these words, nothing more, nothing less. Go figure...

            1. moiety

              Re: Actually, no @dan 55

              I can't recall ever having one rejected and I've mentioned being able to guess who wrote it from the title alone.

              Just playing fair here...I pretty uniformly disagree with AO's stance on copyright and have often been forthright -even unkind- when saying so. Yet I can't recall a comment being outright rejected...even some that I later withdrew when I sobered up went back to review them later.

        2. vgrig_us

          Re: Actually, no @ amanfromMars 1

          "Personally speaking, I have never suffered censorship from AO but can imagine the rantings of many be fully deserving of it because of gratuitously offensive inappropriate content/comment."

          And you're wrong - any comment that questioned his point of view, no matter how polite and to the point, was taken down. Even pointing out actual inaccuracies - like Orlowski keep claiming EFF is a Google because Google give it million bucks (payment was actually part of the settlement in court case AGAINST Google). Yeah, he's that bad...

    7. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Actually, no

      "Unless you're actually running a pirate site, I wouldn't worry."

      ...and Iceland isn't a terrorist nation. RIPA isn't used to check where the parents of school children live. I don't have to show my DBS every time I visit a school.

      I'd have thought a tech journalist might have heard of feature creep.

    8. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Actually, no

      >The penalties, which bring punishments for digital piracy into line with penalties for physical piracy, apply to commercial scale infringement. Not to individual file sharers.

      Incorrect. The relevant parts of the legislation mention businesses, but they also say:

      "distributes otherwise than in the course of a business to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the owner of the copyright,"

      This gives lawyers open season on torrenters, because it's the easiest thing in the world to argue that sharing a copy of something with the entire Internet is suitably prejudicial.

      Worse - let's say someone is politically active, and they're also foolish enough to download a copy of Stupid Movie II, which gets shared with thousands while they're torrenting it.

      It's now perfectly legal to jail that person for a decade using their torrenting activity as an excuse.

    9. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  6. Commswonk Silver badge

    In other news...

    the majority of respondents in an open poll recommended that there should be no penalties for robbery, burglary, TWOC, PWITS, <offence of choice>.

    What possessed HMG to run a poll in which the "I want everything to be free" brigade could participate? A similar poll could be run to determine the level at which Income Tax should be set but I think we could all make an intelligent guess at what the result would be without having to incur the time and effort of actually running the poll.

    I wonder how many members of the "Open Rights Group" give their work away free? Not many, I would suspect, so why do they expect IP / creative rights holders to give their work away without proper payment?

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: In other news...

      A similar poll could be run to determine the level at which Income Tax should be set

      And if it were presented in light of total tax take and the proportion of spending in each category (pensions, health, schools, further education, universities, defence, police service, fire service, legal aid, etc) you might find that a majority do actually understand the need for funding a well-run state capable of benefiting its citizens. I'd be willing to bet more people would want to restore corporation tax back to its general historical level rather than cut income tax yet further.

    2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

      Re: In other news...

      "I wonder how many members of the "Open Rights Group" give their work away free?"

      A few moments of research revealed that... "All ORG materials, unless otherwise specified, are published under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license."

      So yes, they do indeed give away their work for free.

      Perhaps next time one should do some research before one spouts?

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: In other news...

        >>A few moments of research revealed that... "All ORG materials, unless otherwise specified, are published under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license."

        That's ORG materials. ORG members are also private people with careers and contracts. I would not be surprised if more than one of them worked in software and depended on copyright law for their income.

        >>"Perhaps next time one should do some research before one spouts?"

        Given that you didn't actually answer the GP's question...

  7. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    A Congress Critter in Blighty

    Is the Baroness running for Congress? She seems to the mental capacity (none) to make a good Congress critter.

  8. redpawn Silver badge

    Why not life?

    Disproportionate sentences are the norm in the US. Lucky you don't have the death penalty.

    Since little evidence is needed to convict, it may also allow the long term imprisonment of opposition party members.

    Invest in the private prison industry ahead of the crowd.

    1. hellwig Silver badge

      Re: Why not life?

      Maybe the UK will bring back the Death Penalty for these most egregious of offenders?

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Meanwhile

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-36115657

    I wonder what the baroness would think of these sentences. Does the offence count as industrial scale?

  10. kryptylomese

    Don't worry about bittorrent or any other internet file sharing technology - do they think they can police Sneakernet?

    I find it annoying that government comes up with this kind of plan at the cost of a plan that might do some good for the the people living in this country.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'Don't worry about bittorrent or any other internet file sharing technology - do they think they can police Sneakernet?'

      Shhh, first rule of Sneakernet?

      (actually, considering almost all the pre-release copies of films I've seen recently came via the-method-which-we-shouldn't-mention-lest-they-get-silly-about-that-as-well long before they hit the torrent sites..the advent of cheap large capacity pendrives and hard disks have made this very viable)

      1. Fr. Ted Crilly
        Coat

        Sneakernet

        Ah yes, good old Samizdat, that's it help yourself to that coat pocket comrade.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samizdat

    2. Seajay#

      Can they police sneakernet? Yes they can, find a pretext to search your computers then discover the copyrighted material on it and add 10 years to whatever they were investigating you for in the first place.

  11. ma1010 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Good to know the US doesn't have a monopoly on stupidity

    Apparently you Brits have an equivalent of Diane Feinstein? Well, sorry to hear it and all that. These are the sort of people we need to get onto the "B" Ark (we'd have to tell them it was the "A" Ark, of course, to massage their egos). We don't need FTL travel. Just launch it into the sun.

    1. Cynicalmark
      Thumb Up

      Re: Good to know the US doesn't have a monopoly on stupidity

      Upvote on 'B' Ark for daft politicians

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Good to know the US doesn't have a monopoly on stupidity

        Given the level of crass stupidity in the UK political arena we might have to commission Arks C and D as well.

        Never mind, we'll just use HMS Tony and HMS Cherie - which other country on earth would build 2 major aircraft carriers without 1) the aircraft 2) enough sailors to crew?

  12. Graham Marsden
    Holmes

    In an act of almost unparalleled Whitehall hubris

    "In an act of typical Whitehall hubris..."

    FTFY

    Government consultations are *only* organised in order to get the responses they want and any others will be ignored, cf John Whittingdale claiming that "all" the replies to their consultation on the BBC's future had been read, except that the Radio Times sent in a USB stick with over 6,000 responses which was *password protected* so the responses could not have been read without the password, yet the Government never asked for it...

    1. Fr. Ted Crilly

      Re: In an act of almost unparalleled Whitehall hubris

      Good old consult & ignore.

  13. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Double edged sword?

    So if I copyright some aspect of my life and GCHQ shares it with the Americans, can I sue them?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and what are you, plebs, gonna do about it, huh?

    like what, riot and overthrow the government? Sorry, not allowed, 10 years. Anybody else wanting to ridicule our... greatest friends, Bigus Governmentus, eh? Do you find it... risible...?! :(

    1. Chairo
      Big Brother

      Re: and what are you, plebs, gonna do about it, huh?

      Yes, if the fine for uploading stuff is 10 years, what is the fine for overthrowing the government?

      What do you say? Vote them out of office? It is perfectly legal? Oh well, I guess we need to change some laws soon...

  15. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Is there anything worth pirating these days?

    That is the question we should be asking ourselves.

    The latest Hollywood Blockbuster? Meh. Probably a remake that is worse than the original or a pre/sequel that is also crap

    The latest Tunes from Adele or K-W? Why? It is clearly available legally for you to record anyway.

    Perhaps its time has passed?

    1. Chairo
      Unhappy

      Re: Is there anything worth pirating these days?

      Given that you can stream pretty much everything from Youtube, including copyrighted stuff, filesharing has become a bit pointless lately. Apart from blockbusters pretty much everything is avalable. And as you say - apart from a few exceptions I also feel they are pointless to watch, at least on the small screen.

      Some years ago I used to download anime fansubs of stuff that was not yet (or never would be) licensed in Europe, which used to be a gray area at that time. A few weeks back I checked out some anime, but most sites seem to be dead now. Not sure, if the legal eagles came down on them or the scene just moved on to youtube. Anyway, it's now all there. All in the hands of Google.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is there anything worth pirating these days?

        It's still around, just mainly aimed at uncensored Blu-ray releases these days.

        Esp. since the West has an overwhelming hard-on for censorship and editing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is there anything worth pirating these days?

      I personally can't wait for the remake of the remake of Judge Dredd.

  16. Christian Berger Silver badge

    In an authoritorian regime that makes perfect sense

    If you allow DRM to exist, large parts of your society will have to make copyright violations. Either by directly pirating the content or by breaking the DRM.

    Essentially this allows regimes to pick people they don't like, claim they committed copyright violations (which is probably true) and jail them.

  17. Fihart

    Stakeholders ?

    As usual with "consultations" stakeholders are the one who hold the stake (as in cash).

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Watch out Teresa!

    There's an even bigger CunT out for your job.

  19. Christoph Silver badge

    Will these penalties apply to executives of large companies using material copyrighted by individuals, without permission or payment?

    No? Imagine my surprise.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Well, yes, obviously, and since these large companies are obviously acting on a "large" or " commercial" or "industrial" or "any other word you choose" scale, I'd expect the maximum penalty that the law allows for every Director who knew that it was going on.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear author, please stop the emotional appeals on sentences. It makes you like the "think of the children!" demagogues. There is a huge potential variation in the potential impact of copyright theft (from #*0.01 to #lots and lots and making a product not commercially viable, killing businesses) so there needs to be a huge variation in sentencing.

    If there's a concern about sentencing it's that there might need to be clarification on the association of impact with sentence, but then, looking at the law, looking at legal precedents and handing down a sentence is what judges are paid to do.

    And to all of those twats comparing it to bankers getting away with the crap they get away with, it's due to the complexity of proving _actual_ fraud in a system in which complex instruments are allowed, and then _also_ proving who knew what. Governments shy away from it because when they prosecute, spend millions and lose, which they are very likely to do, they get hammered for being wasteful and incompetent. If you don't like what the banks are doing, put your money into ethical investment funds. There are plenty of them around.

    * US keyboard, can't be arsed to find code for UK pound symbol

    1. Tomato42 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      > then _also_ proving who knew what.

      ah, right, because the ignorance of the law does not protect proles, but does protect the inner party

      Manslaughter and paedophilia, crimes that cause real, long lasting harm to very specific people have less severe penalties than this new law.

      Piracy hurts only big fish in distribution, don't even try to give me the shit that it hurts artists. Artists get peanuts from MAFIAA for their work. (not to mention that there are hundereds of artists that release their work for free - ever heard of The Martian? the ebook was released for free

      so, please, have some effing perspective

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Please don't do the same thing as the hack that posted the article. Manslaughter is the killing of one person and by its very definition assumes carelessness instead of a malevolent desire to kill. Putting someone in prison for a long time for a mistake is just punitive idiocy.

        And let me repeat: the sentence is _up_ _to_ 10 years. A 10 year sentence would be for very large scale operations. So, yes I have perspective. And no it doesn't hurt the big fish. It hurts _us_. People who pirate instead of actually supporting a workable alternative model just perpetuate the model they hate through support of the products involved. If you don't like the company, don't buy the product, but don't steal, share or promote the product in any way. Doesn't matter if you like the artists, just as it doesn't matter if you have a friend who works for a company you hate.

        PS paedophilia is not a crime. Raping and sexual assault of children, and supporting that abuse through consumption of child porn is a crime. I wish people would stop mixing up thought with action. Raping a child is _not_ worse than raping an adult, it's exactly the same crime. Paedophiles need _help_, rapists need to be stopped.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          >Paedophiles need _help_

          Why?

          If their actions harm nobody then why care?

          Or is it because you dislike the fact that someone exists with an attraction that they can't choose and you can't abolish? (And no, supressing how someone feels with force and bigotry isn't "help.")

          I'd prefer that LE spend time going after the ones who do abuse or exploit children.

          But this is a sideline and has no relevance to the topic at hand.

          1. h4rm0ny

            >>>>Paedophiles need _help_

            >>Why?

            I guess because it's a sickness and left unaddressed leads to suffering and potentially horrific consequences.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              >I guess because it's a sickness and left unaddressed leads to suffering and potentially horrific consequences.

              [citation needed]

              1. h4rm0ny

                >>[citation needed]

                You really need a citation that if a generally good person found themselves attracted to children they wouldn't feel distressed about that? Or that keeping your sexual attractions secret from everyone you know wouldn't lead to suffering? You genuinely question whether a sexual attraction to prepubescent children can lead to horrible outcomes?

                You're a moron.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  >You really need a citation that if a generally good person found themselves attracted to children they wouldn't feel distressed about that?

                  But isn't that only because of the persistant fear and scaremongering that exists now thanks to the ilk of the Daily Mail, et al.

                  "If you have an attraction to children, it's physically impossible you to lead a normal life based on the fact I said so. I have no evidence to back this up whatsoever. But I said it, and it's good enough."

                  >Or that keeping your sexual attractions secret from everyone you know wouldn't lead to suffering?

                  Do you tell everyone about your sexual attractions? Do you tell everyone that you're a heterophile? Homophile? Podophile? Zoophile? Whatever attraction floats your boat? No, probably not.

                  >You genuinely question whether a sexual attraction to prepubescent children can lead to horrible outcomes?

                  You mean child molestation? By that logic, what's stopping you, a person with an attraction, from raping every person that you meet?

                  For the purpose of Devil's Advocate though.

                  "I'm an X8-year-old who suffers from auto-pedophilia. Therefore I am aroused by the thought of myself as a young boy having sex with older women."

                  Now, explain what the horrible outcome of that is?

                  1. h4rm0ny

                    >>"But isn't that only because of the persistant fear and scaremongering that exists now thanks to the ilk of the Daily Mail, et al."

                    I wouldn't have thought so. Sex with a prepubescent child is intrinsically damaging to that child and equally is inescapably taking advantage of a child through one's greater power over them. It is not arguable that sex with a child isn't both harmful to the child and lacking in even the pretence of consent. It is inherently wrong. Anyone who was a good person and found themself sexually attracted to children is going to suffer distress about their urges. Hence why any good person who finds themself suffering from this would want and need help.

                    >>"Do you tell everyone about your sexual attractions? Do you tell everyone that you're a heterophile? Homophile? Podophile? Zoophile? Whatever attraction floats your boat? No, probably not."

                    I tell anyone who asks that I'm heterosexual because I am. However, having seen the distress homosexual people have suffered historically (and may still do today with their families), I can see how having to keep a sexual attraction, even one that is harmless like homosexuality, can cause immense distress for the person who has to live the lie.

                    >>"You mean child molestation? By that logic, what's stopping you, a person with an attraction, from raping every person that you meet?"

                    Well I have no penis, so I guess lack of the necessary equipment for a start. But you're badly failing to comprehend what is being said to you which is that sexual attraction can lead to horrific outcomes. Which it can. I didn't say that someone who is a paedophile necessarily will - that part was covered by the suffering in my first part. But I do go on to say that unaddressed paedophilia is a risk. I would think a lifetime of any unfulfilled sexual desire would have a high chance of leading someone towards giving in at some point. What's up for debate in that? So again, the OP wasn't unreasonable in saying they need help. You're being unreasonable in contesting that.

                    >>"For the purpose of Devil's Advocate though. [...]"

                    No. You're arguing against points I didn't make through your own inability to understand. Additionally, this is a massive distraction from what the article is actually about. What is happening here is plain: you have some particular issues with paedophilia and having seen an off-hand reference to it in someone's post are now going into some death spiral of arguing about it for your own reasons. I'm satisfied that the points I made are clear and reasonably uncontroversial to any bystander so I decline to derail this forum discussion any further for the sake of your issues. I am done on this.

      2. h4rm0ny

        >>"Piracy hurts only big fish in distribution, don't even try to give me the shit that it hurts artists. Artists get peanuts from MAFIAA for their work"

        It hurts everyone involved in the music and movie industries. If you work in the movie industry - whether you're a caterer, a carpenter or a movie star, you're hired on the basis of expected profits and paid by investors who look at returns on previous films. Anything that reduces profits on a film impacts investment in future films. Which knocks on all the way through the system.

    2. IT Poser
      Black Helicopters

      Easy way to get a pound sign

      Then type pound symbol into your search engine and copy it from there. I used to know the code for the cent sign(¢) but it's quicker to copy it.

      What is that strange noise? It sounds like a strong breeze but it's a calm day.

      Crap...see ya in 10 years. Their coming for me for nicking someone's IP and sharing it here.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Our mission is clear

    Destroy the MPAA by any means necessary, including nukes.

  22. Terry 6 Silver badge

    she'll be damned if public opinion or reasoned argument is going to change her mind.

    This does not differ significantly from many of the other things this gov does.

    e.g. Evidence that privately run chains of Academies do better than Locally Managed schools? None.

    Public support for making schools become academies? Little.

    Decision- make all schools join academy chains.

  23. Chris Cartledge

    YouTube

    Are they running scared?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow, this is an absolutely unfair penalty! Whenever I see something as stupid as this it makes wonder what the Politicians involved in these decisions have been promised by Industry.

    1. moiety

      A large envelope full of cash, I expect. What I'm really hoping is that the baroness put it into Panama and will get caught doing it.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem with overly harsh punishments for minor crimes is that if they are going to bang somebody up for 10 years for nothing then they have nothing to lose by rioting or general bad behaviour. Either way they're going away for a long time so they may as well get their monies worth. All you need is a few hundred like minded people then we have civil war, which will fix all this nonsense. The first against the wall and all that...

  26. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Holidays

    Anyone know if the Baroness has recently had a lovely holiday on David Geffen's yacht? Mandelson got one and came over all Digital Economy Act shortly afterwards.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Way way too severe.

    There a guys who gun people down in cold blood in the U.S. who get less. It doesn't make any sense - at all - to jail someone for so long for a non-violent crime; the notion comes across as a travesty to me. I get that there is money at stake, but surely a better solution is available?

  28. scrubber
    Paris Hilton

    Her priorities are all wrong. Maybe this will help...

    If I rob her of a DVD using minimal violence I'll get 1-3 years. But if I upload that DVD I'll get up to 10 years.

    Is she sure it's the upload part she wants to deter here?

  29. Zot

    So if you wrote a book...

    You wouldn't mind if I nicked it and posted a complete e-book version online for free?

    No, because you think it's OK to copy, right? It's advertising right?

    It's a very good book. now how many years did it take you to write that book? - A couple of years?

    Oh, and you wanted to make a little money from it, just a little bit of holiday money perhaps?

    Well, tough, the internet has it now, wuhahahaaaa!!!.

    [/devils advocate mode]

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So if you wrote a book...

      s/internet/Google/

    2. TWB

      Re: So if you wrote a book...

      I'd be pissed off but I don't think you'd need to go to prison.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: So if you wrote a book...

        Bullshit. If you spent two years of your life working on something, e.g. a computer game, and then someone took it for free and shared it to the world free, you'd be livid. You'd want them fined to get recompense for the lost sales and I'd lay pretty good odds that you'd be angry enough to want them to go to prison as punishment.

        1. Zot

          Re: So if you wrote a book...

          If I wrote some software and it took me two years to write..oh right, I did. And yes it makes my blood run cold whenever I see it hacked, and the hacker sends me a message to inform me how clever they are at breaking the registration code. Well, yeah, they need to be in prison for as long as I want them to be, but I think they are based in China somewhere so that idea's gone out the window then!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They're gunna need more prisons

    Invest in HM Klink industries.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LP to Cassette, CD to Cassette, CD to CD....

    So, turns out I've been a (minor) pirate for over 40 years!

    1. Zot

      Re: LP to Cassette, CD to Cassette, CD to CD....

      "So, turns out I've been a (minor) pirate for over 40 years!"

      But I bet you weren't making thousands of copies and standing at a global market giving them out for free.

  32. NiteDragon

    I need to get out of this joke of a country. Somewhere a bit more liberal - like China.

    1. Captain Boing

      everywhere will catch up sooner or later... there's money involved, if only perceived.

  33. Esme
    Stop

    Disproportionate

    When the laws are changed such that those who commit crimes against the person get harsher sentences than those who commit crimes against property, then I might be happier about the legal system.

    Funny thing is that over the years we've seen prison populations rising due to folk being committed to prison for trivial 'victimless' crimes (non-payment of TV licence for example), and much talk about how that isn't fair; then much hand-wringing over how sending yoofs that have gotten into drugs or committed GBH etc to prison isnt good, they need help, etc, as sending 'em to prison tends to just teach them further bad ways (all of which are sensible points worthy of consideration); then there was the banking fiasco where small numbers of individuals were responsible for billions of financial damage but got barely more than a collective slap on the wrist, yet now, of a sudden, people are to be committed to prison for longer than they'd get for physical assaulting someone for the crime of copying a file they shouldn't?

    Only a cretin would think that proportionate or just.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Disproportionate

      If someone slapped or punched me, that would be assault and a "crime against the person" as you call it. Would that inherently demand a harsher sentence than if I'd had spent two years working on a computer game and then that same person took it from me and shared it online costing me tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of pounds and wasting two years of my life? Because that's what you've just argued. And then you've declared that only "a cretin" would think otherwise.

      You should review what you've written here. You've allowed this (admittedly very biased and one-sided article) to lead you into thinking this is about ten years for occasionally downloading movies. It isn't.

  34. Keith Glass
    Trollface

    Nice to see. . .

    . . . .that poverty, corruption, infrastructure, et cetera have been solved, so HM Government is now concentration on file-sharing.

    Of course, it's just as crazy here in the States: we're arguing about who can use which bathroom.

    The Zombie Apocalypse, Killer Pandemic Asian Bird Flu, or the Sweet Meteor of Death can't come soon enough: the gene pool needs some SERIOUS chlorine. . .

  35. This post has been deleted by its author

  36. @digikoolaid

    Contracted-out prisons - Privately managed prisons were introduced to the UK in the 1990s. At present there are 14 private prisons contractually managed by private companies such as Sodexo Justice Services, Serco and G4S Justice Services. These need revenues and inmates on long-stays are preferred. And you ask "who is Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG?" Is she the Minister for Private Prison Profitability?

  37. teebie

    "Under the Fraud Act, they got four-and-a-half years."

    So, this is legislation for a problem that has already been solved?

    1. h4rm0ny

      >>"So, this is legislation for a problem that has already been solved?"

      No, because previously the same crime was handled differently depending on whether it took place online or offline. This rationalizes the law on the subject so that there is no double-standard.

  38. Alan Edwards

    So disproportionate

    Someone on TorrentFreak's comments posted this link: http://www.thelawpages.com/court-cases/maximums.php to a list of the current maximum sentences.

    So...

    Walk into Piccadilly Circus with an AK-47 - 7 years.

    Have sex with your 12-year-old daughter - 7 years.

    Download some films off the internet - 10 years.

    1. h4rm0ny
      WTF?

      Re: So disproportionate

      >>Someone on TorrentFreak's comments posted this link: http://www.thelawpages.com/court-cases/maximums.php to a list of the current maximum sentences.

      Okay. Let's examine this:

      >>Walk into Piccadilly Circus with an AK-47 - 7 years.

      Carrying a firearm. Not shooting it, not killing anyone, not murdering anyone... just carrying it unauthorized in a public place. Our prisons are pretty over-crowded anyway, isn't seven years fine for this? Is carrying a firearm without actually attempting to use it or evidence of planned murder (both of which could bump it up to Life) inherently worse than causing millions of pounds of lost profit through software piracy (real example of a multi-year sentence).

      I mean you're example is really incredibly stupid. Simply 'possessing or distributing a prohibited weapon' carries a maximum of 10 years and a minimum of 5 years whilst 'Possession of Firearm with Criminal Intent' carries a maximum of Life. You're contriving a situation in which someone legally owns an AK-47 in this country and then without any criminal intent carries it into a busy public place just so that you can try to show the penalty is 'only' seven years.

      You are, quite plainly, being dishonest in your attempt to misrepresent proportionality here.

      >>Have sex with your 12-year-old daughter - 7 years.

      There's a boatload of crimes that would be committed here, not least of which: "Sexual intercourse with girl under 13" - which can carry a life sentence and rape, which can also carry a life sentence.

      You've skipped over these very deliberately in your list and then gone down to find attempted versions of the crime. So yes, if a person tried to seduce a twelve year old girl, they might get away with seven years. But if they have sex with her complicitly or uncomplicitly, those crimes carry life sentence maximums.

      Again, you're misrepresenting things deliberately. You're lying, in fact.

      >>Download some films off the internet - 10 years.

      False. You'd get a fine. We've never had a 10 year sentence for this in this country. Even case of someone trading fifty million in pirated software as a commercial business only got seven, iirc.

      If you want to lie to rile people up and get them angry about something that isn't true, your post is going about it in the perfect way. If you want to actually deal with accuracy and fair argument, you've badly lost your way.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If it wasn't for filesharing, people outside of the U.S. wouldn't be able to read "An Ocean Full of Bowling Balls."

    But the anti-filesharing types seems to think that's okay...

  40. Crisp Silver badge

    How much is the IP Lobby paying for all this?

    If our legal system is up for sale, we should at least make sure we get a good price for it. We don't want a repeat of the Royal Mail fiasco.

  41. EvilBanana

    Killing UK citizen. 8 years.

    Harming someone's yacht repayments in America who steals ideas from Britain without paying, copyrights it, monopolizes it through the IP law system and inserts itself like a cockroach between the user and the artist. 10 years.

    I fail to see how the UK, with a trade deficit, and negligible intellectual property to speak of, is so eager to enforce laws that make no sense and force the uk people to pay American middlemen.

    Let's not forget, not a single penny of piracy lawsuits goes to the artist. Let's not forget also that Hollywood claim losses, that's more than the GDP of the entire planet on copyright infringement in order that they don't have to pay any taxes. Lets not forget also that piracy is the holy grail of information sharing and that a wonder of the world was actually a library once upon a time.

    Seems like humanity has fallen behind a few thousand years culturally.

  42. Wolfclaw Silver badge

    Selling out to the media cartels. So we should be see corrupt MP's fiddling their expenses being sentenced for life, or are they still above the law. Personally, I would put them up against a wall and run them over with a bulldozer, they are not worth the price of bullets !

  43. Cody

    My previous comment seems to have gone astray someplace.

    The penalties proposed are for publishing. That is, making available in breach of copyright, whether for profit or not.

    As far as I know, and please correct if wrong, there is no proposal to penalise getting a copy by a ten year sentence.

    Much of the furious reaction here appears to be because people are assuming that to download, or obtain a copy in breach, is going to attract a ten year sentence. I don't think it is.

    You may think that the sentence possible for publication is excessive, and that could be. However, it is for publication, dissemination. Its not for receiving.

    If we want to have a publishing industry at all, there has to be a penalty which deters from the act of copying and publishing at will. The question of what penalties are required, if any, for the act of downloading or receiving is a quite different matter.

    It would help with the discussion if people felt able to say how they expect the industry to look after their proposed solution to this issue is implemented. Does anyone, for instance, want to allow unlimited publication by anyone? If not, what do they want done to discourage it?

    Do you want to penalise publication, but to make downloading legal for anyone anytime? That would be rather odd, and would be a perverse incentive for concealment of publication.

    How do you want it to work, then?

  44. william flipflops

    Obama?

    A cynic might say this is to support Obama and his Hollywood mates in exchange for his pro EU lectures

  45. Captain Boing
    Facepalm

    SHOCK!

    Big business pulls strings of government

  46. Zot

    Oh good grief...

    ...either use free stuff (Gimp / VS Community / 7-zip), or grow up and pay for something for once!

    Yes, actually pay for something! And forget the lame excuses to rip - they're just Justification Bias. And your cognitive dissonance knows it! :)

  47. gnasher729 Silver badge

    Let's take something else, like littering. Say what you think the maximum punishment for littering should be. And then say what you think the punishment should be for someone who drives truck after truck full of rubbish and dumps it in some village. Which is nothing more than littering, just taken to the extreme.

    For something like manslaughter, the range from the most harmless case of manslaughter to the worst imaginable case isn't very big. For online copyright infringement, the range from the most harmless case (copying a single song from a CD that came for free in a newspaper) to the worst case (making millions from selling stolen music and videos) is huge.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    10 years porridge?

    Do they serve it in bed?

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