It’s been a busy month in the never-ending copyright and information wars. This article looks at the Surf the Channel verdict, and the mysterious disappearance of Vickerman’s statement from the web. It looks at the progress of the legal assault on Kim Dotcom in New Zealand, and establishment of the principle that linking is legal in the USA.
Tag Archives: internet - Page 2
Yesterday, I read and commented on Judge Purdy’s judgement as to why Richard O’Dwyer had committed a serious crime in the this country and hence was liable to extradition to the USA. Here’s the source of my outrage,
he is due to face charges of copyright infringement while no-one claims he has copied anything
It seems the Liberal Democrats are gearing up to oppose the extradition of Richard O’Dwyer. Good. He shouldn’t be extradited; it’s not the asynchronous nature of the Anglo US extradition treaty which is the problem here. In order to be extradited, you need to have a case to answer that you have broken a serious law in both jurisdictions.
In Feburary, TechDirt discovered that one of it’s key anti-SOPA polemics had been deleted from Google’s index as a result of a bogus DMCA takedown notice. The article goes onto detail similar dirty tricks on Torrentfreak.
In my article, “More on the Newzbin2 affair”, I comment on BT’s attempt to clarify the initial injunction and the issue of false notifications and liability for acting on them. The judge said there was no evidence that false notification would be significant. Despite the well documented existence of speculative invoicing scams, this would seem to add to the evidence that while accusing innocent infringers is free of consequence, some at least will do it.
Red Sin Censura, published an Internet in Danger page the other day, which pointed me at Le Monde’s “What’s wrong with ACTA”. This has been worrying me, since much of the opposition has been based solely on secrecy, although this bleeds into democratic oversight. Since the treaty has been negotiated primarily between democracies and their politicians and public servants, to me secrecy alone is not sufficient to win broad support to opposition to the proposed treaty; there’s a lot of people that trust their politicians.
The UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency, part of the UK’s small national police force and a Home Office QUANGO, undertook a US Government style raid on the web site of rnbxclusive.com, which was reported by Techdirt in an article called “UK Now Seizing Music Blogs (With American Domains) Over Copy Right Claims”. The most startling part of this, for Brits, is the amazing splash screen factoids that greeted visitors to the site, which among other things states that the people behind the site have been arrested under suspicion of fraud, they know who you are (or more accurately, who your ISP is), the penalties for conspiracy to commit fraud and the quote below. The most startling part of this for Yanks and their law enforcement officers is that a foreign law enforcement agency can take down a .com i.e. a US site.
Glyn Moody in a an article called “Serious Organised Crime Agency Takes Down Music Site”, after talking to SOCA states that SOCA are pursuing enquiries to prove, to the point of arrest, that some, their notice said most, of the sound tracks previously available had been obtained pre-release by hacking. This is a crime under UK law and the copyright owners and licensees deserve the protection of the law, as the accused deserve a fair trial.
Arstechnia also comments in an article, entitled “Police: download a file, go to jail for 10 years and pay an “unlimited fine”. They clearly examine the notice and deconstruct the lies and disinformation. The notice includes statements about theft and the economic impact of the downloaders actions. i.e.
“As a result of illegal downloads young, emerging artists may have had their careers damaged. If you have illegally downloaded music from this site, you will have damaged the future of the music industry.”
It’s a disgrace that a law enforcement agency is publishing the BPI’s propaganda. The interests of a copyright licensors and the interests of artists are not synonymous!
Why are the police using our taxes to fund such bullshit? Why use British taxes to fund a free advert pointing at an american registered web site for so-called legal music? How much would that cost on google?
Innocent until proven guilty means that even the most egregious, industrial scale pirates are innocent until proven guilty.
Others have made the point that this notice may well prejudice any trial. I am also informed that the scary spyware doesn’t work with Mac or Chrome. Also IP addresses are private data under UK and European law, the use of the program code that displays the IP address requires a number of compliance actions. Perhaps I’ll check if SOCA registered this use of private data under the Data Protection Act.
The DE Act was passed during the Parliamentary wash-up. While researching for my blog article, “Copyright in the UK, the next steps”, I looked for some facts on “Hybrid Legislation”, which I had been, wrongly, told was not permitted. I found the BBC’s page on Hybrid Bills, which states Hybrid Legislation is that which affects the public interest, but also specifically the private interests of a person, organisation or community and that interested private parties are entitled to a select committee hearing. So instead of an accelerated passage, a Hybrid Bill requires additional steps in the parliamentary process.
Does the restriction of the “Initial Obligations Code” to six specific internet service provider companies, make the DE Act a Hybrid Bill?
If so, that’s two failures in parliamentary processes that the passage of this bill required.
Earlier this week I attended the @pictfor meeting advertised as about “Search Neutrality”. It had entered my radar when Alec Muffett who had been invited to speak, announced his attendance on twitter and his Computer World blog, “The Google Dialogues : Search Neutrality”. The speakers were Alec, and Shivaun Raff, the CEO of Foundem and Mark Margaretten, Professor at U. of Bedford. Foundem is one of the complaintants to the EU provoking an EU monopoly investigation into Google. This is covered in the Guardian, on the 20th November, in an article called “Google search investigation sparked by complaint from British site”.
Shivaun argued that Google manipulates its sort order to benefit its own alternative properties, particularly the price comparison sites. (Foundem is a vertical price comparison site.) They argue that over 90% of European search is fulfilled by Google, and that when Google chose to discriminate against them, their traffic fell off to a business breaking trickle.
Alec and Mark took a similar line to each other, Google is one click away from failure, relevance including sort order is subject to competitive pressure & no-one has a right to a place in a search engine’s sort order. Alec in his blog post points at James Grimelmann’s article,“Some Skepticism about Search Neutrality” who makes similar points, although Grimmelmann argues that vertical search sites are rarely useful or usable. Margaretten dealt with this less judgmentally by pointing out that Google also prefers sites with original content, which is why aggregator sites do less well. He reinforced the point that there are good reasons to devalue vertical search sites, although Foundem can prove that they were specifically penalised. Grimmelman distinguishes between regulating for “Search Neutrality” which he opposes and anti-trust law which he argues is different and has its own theory and practice. The meeting missed this dichotomy between monopoly regulation and search neutrality.
Shivaun Raff was backed up by a spokesperson from Streetmap, who provided some evidence that Google had manipulated their sort order when they launched Google maps in order to better compete with the established players. I hope that they have made a submission to the Commission. The talk in the bar after was that streetmap lost out due to Google Maps technical superiority particularly features such as navigation, user generated content, personal customisation and world wide coverage; however even if this is true it doesn’t necessarily mean that the allegation of malicious action is unjustified.
I’ll be interested to see if the Commission come to consider Google to be a monopoly. It dominates in search, and its maps and mail are wildly popular but it’s definitely second choice for microblogging (g+) where it’s outgunned by twitter and facebook, identity assurance where Google Profile trails behind twitter and facebook, picture blogging (Yahoo), bookmarks (delicious and reddit) and blogging (wordpress). It’s interesting to consider this in the light of some changes made by google to their user experience over the last couple of months where they are staring … » Read more …
Cory Doctorow, the coming war on the general purpose i.e. programable computer
And on to the EU’s attempt to implement strong copyright enforcement. I’ll return to the UK in the next week or so, but the European Commission signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) a couple of days ago. This proposed trade treaty has been negotiated in secret amongst a group of governments from the developed world. The US agenda was to strengthen international enforcement of intellectual property laws, and the original European agenda was similar, but orientated more around the protection of a number of geographic brands, such as champagne or cheddar. The Open Rights Group talks, on their blog, about the secrecy and how we have came to this point.
The White House, in a reply to a petition on its e-petitions site calling for them to oppose the current legislative attempts to censor the internet in the name of anti-piracy says, among other things,
“Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small. Across the globe, the openness of the Internet is increasingly central to innovation in business, government, and society and it must be protected. To minimize this risk, new legislation must be narrowly targeted only at sites beyond the reach of current U.S. law, cover activity clearly prohibited under existing U.S. laws, and be effectively tailored, with strong due process and focused on criminal activity…..”
“We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet. Proposed laws must not tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet through manipulation of the Domain Name System (DNS), a foundation of Internet security. Our analysis of the DNS filtering provisions in some proposed legislation suggests that they pose a real risk to cybersecurity and yet leave contraband goods and services accessible online. We must avoid legislation that drives users to dangerous, unreliable DNS servers and puts next-generation security policies, such as the deployment of DNSSEC, at risk.”
It’s a shame they didn’t come to this conclusion earlier and continued to permit the US Trade Representative and the US’s Embassies the world over to lobby and bully for Hollywood’s laws and to seek extradition clearly non-criminal behaviour.
I demand that the US Government withdraw their extradition request for Richard O’Dwyer; its not in-line with the policy above. O’Dwyer is not a criminal; links are legal in the UK. (So actually, it is my view that foreign nationals should not lobby the US Government, just as I do not expect foreign nationals, or tax non-domiciles to finance politics in the UK . I have,however, signed one anti-SOPA petition; it was clearly labelled as a global initiative, so I would ask my US friends and comrades to take up O’Dwyer’s case. )
It is a disgrace that the White House can grandstand for its own fundamental rights and laws and its own business innovation while funding an oppressive lobbying regime and the legal pursuit of hobbyists.
It is a disgrace that British politicians and Judges, spinelessly permit this abuse to occur.
It is a disgrace that American legislators are prepared to attack the freedom of speech for the rest of the world in order to protect the super-profits of billionaires.
Just before the turn of the year, I published a back dated personal review of the BT/TalkTalk vs Secretary of State for BIS seeking judicial review of the DE Act and a summary. The longer review was accidentally deleted, I have reposted it, dated 21st April 2011, and amended the hyper-link in the article of 30th Dec 2011. The old URL and it’s SURL no longer work. This http://is.gd/pODktv is a new SURL if you want one.