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UK Government Abandons Piracy Legislation

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the abandon-all-hope-ye-who-enter-here dept.

The Internet 155

arcticstoat writes "Following last year's reports of a scheme to 'ban' pirates from the Internet via ISPs in the UK, it looks as though the UK government has now decided to back down on the plan, saying that it hopes it won't have to apply 'the heavy hand of legislation'. The UK's Intellectual Property Minister, David Lammy, said that 'I'm not sure it's actually going to be possible,' as a result of the complexities of enforcing such legislation. Lammy also revealed that he had a different opinion on file sharers than many people in the music industry. He pointed out that there's a big difference between organized counterfeiting gangs and 'younger people not quite buying into the system'. He added that 'we can't have a system where we're talking about arresting teenagers in their bedrooms. People can rent a room in an hotel and leave with a bar of soap — there's a big difference between leaving with a bar of soap and leaving with the television.'"

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155 comments

First (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639451)

First outbreak of common sense by the Uk government? Pinch me!

Re:First (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26639597)

Now we can download stoner movies, but can't smoke a reefer whilst watching them.

Swings and roundabouts.

Re:First (4, Insightful)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640107)

Now we can download stoner movies, but can't smoke a reefer whilst watching them.

Stoner movies don't actually make you think about stuff that much, granted, pot does make you think incoherent stuff at times but it makes you think nonetheless. The last thing the UK government needs now is people thinking stuff about their incoherent policies.

Re:First (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26639683)

First outbreak of common sense by the Uk government? Pinch me!

Well put! Brilliant addition to this story. Your insight is admirable! I especially enjoyed your proposed solutions!

Uk government, "if at first you don't succeed" ... (5, Interesting)

MindKata (957167) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639705)

... "then try try again", as the old saying goes.

So, "First outbreak of common sense by the Uk government". Its not common sense. They just plan to use a bigger net to catch people with.

In other words, Jacqui Smith's team of control freaks will be able to watch everyone (and then punish) via their much bigger plans to monitor all Internet communications, i.e ...
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/18/imp_tim_hayward/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:Uk government, "if at first you don't succeed" (1, Insightful)

x2A (858210) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640787)

Dude. Weak. The Register?! You may as well be referencing Fox News, I've never read anything in the register that wasn't bleeding of oversensationalisation and regularly hit spots where they obviously haven't even made a slight attempt at verifying their story elements. The Register isn't a reliable source of anything, please don't spread their panic stories, you can do so much better I promise you.

Re:Uk government, "if at first you don't succeed" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26642699)

I have to agree The Register has gone downhill terribly in the last 5 or so years.

You can read articles by the likes of Andrew Orlowski without looking at the author and know after the first paragraph that it's him that wrote it simply by how utterly full of bollocks it is. Orlowski doesn't even enable comments on 99% of his articles because he simply can't take people pointing out how wrong he is not to mention the fact their comments system is heavily moderated such that even where it is enabled any attempt at pointing out logical fallacies or other obvious flaws in their arguments are silenced quickly.

I think it's basically changed it's business direction as a result of the realisation that it was losing popularity to other sites and as such has aimed to take the Daily Mail approach- over the top fearmongering, controversy, sensationalism and a severe lack of fact or common sense. It's effectively a blog, and there's plenty of those around, many of which are much more sensible at least.

It's a shame because they do actually come out with some unique stories that are sometimes missed elsewhere and deserve better coverage but I guess they feel that alone isn't enough to increase their userbase so they go down the same path as Bush did as a politician and play the hate and fear card. The linked article is a great example, the underlying point of the article is great, but the article itself is abysmal.

Perhaps what I find most odd about The Register now is the amount of time spent attacking other people and their credibility in the IT industry be it Jimmy Wales or Steve Jobs when their very own credibility is at an all time low. Even some of the better reports seem to have caught the idiocy disease there- Verity Stob has joined the random bickering style of journalism but then there's people like Lewis Page who covers all defence industry stuff. His qualification is that he was a mine sweeper in the Navy, apparently this somehow means he feels he's qualified to do an in depth analysis on various geopolitical situations and other armed forces both in the UK and across the world as well as pretending this means he has in depth knowledge of the MoD's procurement process and so on. The fact is, the bloke leaves such glaring flaws in his articles it becomes obvious why he was just a low ranking peon on a ship- because that's the kind of job people do when they're not the brightest of the bunch. But aside from their personal credibility, whilst they're attacking people who are well established and have proven they're good at what they do, they often, such as in the case of their support of the anti-global warming lobby, bring forward people whose ideas and comments have been thoroughly discredited through proper scientific method as being false as examples to support their arguments. The only possible explanations for this is that they're either mind bogglingly stupid or it's part of their agenda to gain hits through controversy.

So yeah, I agree with you, if you take your news from The Register and base your understanding of the world on it then it's highly unlikely you'll ever have a decent understanding of whats going on in the world, just as the Daily Mail blinds people to the facts and reality of many situations. The Register along with the Daily Mail is the pinnacle of the big-brother generation's anti-intelligent thought attitude in it's media manifestation and is a plague on a decent, intelligent society.

Re:First (3, Funny)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639997)

>First outbreak of common sense by the Uk government? Pinch me!

Don't worry, our error will be corrected and normal service will resume shortly.
Thank you for your patience, loyal citizen (your lack of faith has been noted).
- Zanu Labour.

Re:First (2, Funny)

eeyore (78059) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640859)

[Looks outside at typical January day in Pudding Island]

Nah, too wet for flying pigs. Bit dark, too.
--
E

Re:First (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26641181)

Impossible. Must be an alien from out of space hiding in a human suit.

Re:First (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642779)

They're about to get voted out of power. The Conservatives will probably reintroduce the death penalty for file sharers.

Inside every silver lining is a cloud.

Oh, I Was Kind of Looking Forward to It (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639477)

it looks as though the UK government has now decided to back down on the plan, saying that it hopes it won't have to apply 'the heavy hand of legislation'.

Call me stupid but I was kind of hoping they would pass legislation and attempt to arrest a 100,000 people--flooding their legal system with 'guilty' file sharers and stealing valuable time from police officers who should be focusing on real threats to society.

You know, it's not until they actually try to rigidly enforce this that they'll realize that the premise of "stealing from the IFPI/MPAA/RIAA" is utter bullshit. They'll be arresting (hopefully Brazil [wikipedia.org] style) large numbers of students that have no money and finding that the file sharing they were doing did not supplant an imaginary source of spending. They'll also cripple their legal system to try to reprimand people from "stealing" something that isn't physical.

I'm not supporting illegal file sharing, I'm not condoning it, I am just hoping that they try to enforce something this stupid so they realize they are in no way providing a solution to a fix an archaic business model threatened by amazing new communications technology.

Re:Oh, I Was Kind of Looking Forward to It (4, Interesting)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639565)

It's likely not economic for them to enforce, either. In a recent story on catching Internet Criminals, it was brought up that the UK Government has to pay something like $300 per request when requesting user data from ISPs. That -can't- be worth it, given the number of people and likely few convictions that this would actually result in.

Re:Oh, I Was Kind of Looking Forward to It (4, Funny)

The Angry Mick (632931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640051)

In a recent story on catching Internet Criminals, it was brought up that the UK Government has to pay something like $300 per request when requesting user data from ISPs.

It seems kind of surprising to me that an ISP would try to charge the government anything for access to investigatory data. I'd think the government would just respond with an "OK, if that's the way you want to play it. Allow us to introduce you to our little regulatory friend; the "Federal Undernet Cooperative Knowledge and Unification Act" (aka: FUCK-U) that states you will give us this data for free, whenever we ask, and in whatever condition we desire."

Re:Oh, I Was Kind of Looking Forward to It (2, Insightful)

1stvamp (662375) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640189)

It wasn't the government, it was the IWF (www.iwf.org.uk) who are actually an independant charity.

(quoted from their about page)
"We are an independent self-regulatory body, funded by the EU and the wider online industry."
"We work with UK government to influence initiatives developed to combat online abuse and this dialogue goes beyond the UK and Europe to ensure greater awareness of global issues, trends and responsibilities."
"IWF is an incorporated charity, limited by guarantee. Charity No. 1112398."

Re:Oh, I Was Kind of Looking Forward to It (5, Informative)

kaiidth (104315) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642571)

Yes, an independent charity whose CEO is an ex-police officer.

http://www.iwf.org.uk/media/page.66.200.htm [iwf.org.uk]

Peter joined the Metropolitan Police Service in 1971 and completed his police career in 2002 as the Borough Commander for Hackney. During his service he worked in the Obscene Publications Branch at Scotland Yard and liaised regularly with Child Protection Units. He specialised in inner city policing and public disorder events and acted as an independent police advisor to the Independent Electoral Commission in South Africa in 1994.

He was awarded the Queens Police Medal in 2001 for distinguished police service.

Peter was appointed Chief Executive of the IWF in April 2002 and has led the organisation's expansion from a membership base of just fifteen companies to over ninety, a tripling of its income and the conversion from not-for-profit to charitable status. He has overseen major governance and role and remit reviews and a recent modernisation of the IWF's Board, stakeholder and consultation structures. He continues to foster the extensive partnerships and organisational integrity on which the success of the IWF relies and is presently engaged in developing the IWF's new three-year strategic plan.

He is a member of the Executive Board of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety and a National Internet Crime Forum. He was a member of the Home Secretary's Task Force on the Protection of Children on the Internet until it was replaced by the new UK Council for Child Internet Safety. He chaired a national Search Engine Working Group on behalf of the Government which culminated in the publication of a good practice guide for search providers and consumers. He regularly presents at events relating to illegal online content and frequently speaks to the media at home and abroad.

Peter was awarded the OBE in the Queen's 2008 New Years Honour's list for services to Children and Families.

No offence to them but at best it's a quango. Robbins joined fresh from his police career the year that Malcolm Hutty, executive director of the Campaign Against Censorship of the Internet, and two other members resigned [bbc.co.uk]. At the same time that the IWF came up with its 'Tough New Approach', in fact, curiously enough.

Whether or not it is funded as an independent charity, the Powers That Be very definitely have a hand in IWF sockpuppetry. As far as I can see the only differences between this approach to the IWF and the directly govt funded approach are a) the govt don't have to pay for it, because they can just lean on the ISPs to get 'donations', and b) a complete, total lack of accountability. The govt pretty much forced the creation of the IWF in the first place by threatening to raid ISPs...

Re:Oh, I Was Kind of Looking Forward to It (4, Informative)

carou (88501) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640285)

First the average payment was £18 (about $25), which is hardly unreasonable. Secondly the law explicitly allows for ISPs to make a charge covering the costs of data retrieval. If it wasn't for that, you'd get police forces on fishing expeditions requesting information on just about *everybody*.

Re:Oh, I Was Kind of Looking Forward to It (1)

nogginthenog (582552) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640597)

I recently read that a child protection agency in the UK government makes an average of 1 request for users data every 15 minutes. For a large ISP that could be a fair bit of work.

Re:Oh, I Was Kind of Looking Forward to It (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640867)

I'd think if you were a large ISP and getting that many requests, you'd just write a script (or collection of) to automate the process.

Re:Oh, I Was Kind of Looking Forward to It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26643383)

Unless, of course, if you had any morals and would actually like to check the backgrounds and basis for all those requests before giving over the data.

Now, I am not saying that businesses had such morals... But now that they have financial interests to uphold them, they just as well can. It's good for the rest of us.

Re:Oh, I Was Kind of Looking Forward to It (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641443)

Who cares about economic? See the War on Drugs. It's always economic for *some*.

Re:Oh, I Was Kind of Looking Forward to It (1, Insightful)

superskippy (772852) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639767)

To be fair, I don't think you'd need to arrest 100,000 people- I think about 1,000 would do it. Everyone else would soon stop after that. It's all about the fear of getting caught.

Re:Oh, I Was Kind of Looking Forward to It (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640951)

It didn't stop many people when the RIAA were on a rampage. It didn't even stop any of my friends when they got cease-and-desist-on-fear-of-being-taken-to-court letters from the MPAA.

Re:Oh, I Was Kind of Looking Forward to It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26640647)

Call me stupid...

OK..You're stupid! :p

Re:Oh, I Was Kind of Looking Forward to It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26640819)

Of course it would be interesting to see what happened to student loans after fining 100,000 students who would probably all simply declare bankruptcy.

Bye bye student debt and hello another company collapsing.

Re:Oh, I Was Kind of Looking Forward to It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26641483)

Student loans can not be absolved through bankruptcy.

Re:Oh, I Was Kind of Looking Forward to It (5, Insightful)

carrier lost (222597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640947)

Call me stupid but I was kind of hoping they would pass legislation and attempt to arrest a 100,000 people--flooding their legal system with 'guilty' file sharers and stealing valuable time from police officers who should be focusing on real threats to society.

See, "Drug War"

Why not? (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639577)

"'we can't have a system where we're talking about arresting teenagers in their bedrooms."

Why not? We do it here daily in the USA.

we also financially ruin their families just for good measure as well.

Re:Why not? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26639911)

> Why not? We do it here daily in the USA.

In Europe, we forgive and turn the other cheek ;)

I take it the devout christian states in the US have less severe sentences than the evil athiest states?

Re:Why not? (1)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640999)

"I take it the devout christian states in the US have less severe sentences than the evil athiest states?"

I hope that was sarcasm...

Re:Why not? (1, Informative)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640301)

Tim's on him laptop at home in his bedroom

(In a IM window) Hey Tim, what does "little Timmy" look like?
(Tim sends a picture of "little Timmy")
(In the IM window) Wow, that's so b

At that instant SWAT teams blow-up the front door of both of their houses and arrest them on the spot

Both are now on the Sex Offender lists for the rest of their lives.
We do it here daily in the USA.

Re:Why not? (4, Interesting)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640573)

There's a big difference between stealing a bar of soap and stealing a television. There's also a big difference between stealing a television and maliciously burning down the hotel. In the USA, the potential penalties for sharing a few albums are up there with the penalties for arson.

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26641949)

You might not be stealing the telly. You might just be borrowing it. Borrowing isn't a crime, unless you're a real twat of a hotel manager who just likes to get in your face.

holy crap !!! (2, Funny)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639669)

a sensible politician in UK ? i wouldnt expect to see that after last 8 years !

Re:holy crap !!! (1)

Brad_McBad (1423863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639763)

I wouldn't scream too loudly, Jacquie Smith is still trying to run the country like her own personal penal system...

Re:holy crap !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26641391)

I agree entirely with David Lammy's comments on this matter.

However, you should be aware he is notorious in Britain for an astonishingly bad performance on a 'celebrity' edition of 'Mastermind' (a highbrow quiz where you get 2 minutes of questions on a specialist subject, and 2 minutes on general knowledge).

You can view his performance here [youtube.com]...

I'm King Arthur, Lord of the Britains (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26642267)

For some reason, this feels like some French guy in a castle taunting me.

It's refreshing to see someone in charge somewhere actually using that thing attached to the upper neck.

Problem always was standards of proof (5, Interesting)

Budenny (888916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639723)

The problem always was, Company A complaining about person P to Company B, who then has to refuse P service. If you think about it from B's point of view, do they check or not? If not, what if they get it wrong and get sued - does A indemnify them? Further, from the Government's point of view. There are some services which are reasonably considered essential, and which, if you are denied them, may be more damaging to your quality of life than some criminal sentences. Yet in the case of the criminal law sanctions, the Human Rights legislation (entered into by this Government) demands due process and open hearings of the evidence. Where would that be in the present case?

To see the absurdity of it, and why it would not fly, consider the following case. The country is in the grip of smoking hysteria. Suppose we pass a law that on three accusations of buying tobacco for minors, a person must be denied access to his local supermarket. Suppose there is only one. His ability to buy food at a reasonable price and selection is being abridged solely on an unsupported allegation, the evidence for which does not even to have to be presented to him. No judge is involved.

In the UK we have anti social behaviour orders. These enable magistrates to order almost anything - like barring people from certain streets, certain associations or meetings, some behaviour. But even these, you do have to get an order from a magistrate. When you think about it, the proposal would be giving the record industry the power to disconnect anyone they chose from the internet with no reason given, no hearing, no comeback, not even a magistrate being informed.

It was never going to fly. The EC Charter guarantees access to information. This sort of measure is totally incompatible with it. It is going to be down to old fashioned policing and prosecution if they want to stamp out file sharing in violation of copyright. Yes, it will be expensive and time consuming. And yes, it may not work, or may not be worth working. And yes, maybe they would be better off revising their business model. But if they don't want to revise, that's the only way. Very glad the government has seen the cliff in time, and stopped. Not that you could really miss it, it was pretty obvious. The only people who would have enjoyed it would have been the lawyers, blowing up case after case with unconcealed glee!

Wow. (5, Funny)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639753)

I'm left speechless. It's as if someone with an ounce of intelligence has cunningly infiltrated their way in.

Someone in British government with a clue, this really should be headline news in every paper.

No doubt Jacqui Smith will implement emergency legislation and have him shot by firing squad ASAP on terrorism charges now however.

Re:Wow. (1)

evildopey (153031) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640645)

Don't forget the frivolous lawsuits brought on by the hotel industry for inciting "mass widespread theft of soap and televisions from hotel and extended stay rooms". Then we'll take him round back and fire a round off in his general direction.

What about stealing the pillows? Is that like downloading an entire artist's discography or something?

Just means someone else will do it. (5, Insightful)

Brad_McBad (1423863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639801)

The law, as I understand it was proposed, would have made ISPs responsible for monitoring their networks and enforcing the law, which ain't their job.

All this does is open the way for a properly appointed government body to do it.

Bugger.

David Lammy MP (2, Informative)

auric_dude (610172) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639825)

His work as an MP http://www.davidlammy.co.uk/da/15560 [davidlammy.co.uk] and his works as a Minister of State http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.php?mpn=David_Lammy&mpc=Tottenham [publicwhip.org.uk] & http://www.theyworkforyou.com/search/?s=David+Lammy&p=4 [theyworkforyou.com] - indeed a busy man.

Re:David Lammy MP (2, Insightful)

malkavian (9512) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642355)

Ah, the wonderful "4 hour wait" in the Accident and Emergency departments..
Nice idea, in theory.. But the implementation is something along the lines of:

"Ok, this task that took you anywhere between 30 minutes and 6 to 8 hours, depending on how many people walk through the door (a random number, very roughly predictable in trends analysis, but often with huge discrepancies), will now definitely be done in 4 hours or less. No, we won't give you any more money to employ extra people to cope with the extra load. If fact, if you don't do as we say, we'll take some of your money away. Yes, I know you don't have the money to employ staff sufficient to do this, or have the beds available to admit enough people, but there you are. No, we don't know how you do it, that's your job. We've done ours in telling you to just do it".

Some places just honestly can't do that. It's not feasible.. I've seen some that now have ticketing systems, where you take a numbered ticket, and when they call the number, you get to go up and register at the desk. At that point, you're "officially waiting". Before that, you're just "in the queue to register to wait".
Most places are better, but that's meant closing wards on some days, so there's an overflow to medical assessment, where you can throw the cases that aren't urgent but there aren't the staff to perform the basic treatment. The initial triage is a rush to get done. I know of doctors and nurses that have been pulled off their usual wards to help out in triage (so you end up with people not getting neuro/cardio treatment, so they can examine and patch up the drunkards who aim for a fight on friday and saturday nights).

The "Targets Culture" in the UK NHS is absolutely crippling it. And the biggest waste of money on it is working out a "legitimate workaround" so you can do what's possible with the staff you have, and not run headlong into getting fined huge amounts of money for breaching an arbitrary target that was not possible to meet in the first place.

Still, seems like he does have a touch of common sense!

In other words... (3, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639839)

People can rent a room in an hotel and leave with a bar of soap â" there's a big difference between leaving with a bar of soap and leaving with the television

In other words, it's fine to steal things as long as they're of low value. I'm fairly certain the hotel *could* have me arrested for stealing their soap, it's just not usually worth their time.

Re:In other words... (4, Interesting)

Rayban (13436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640071)

That's why it's such a perfect analogy. Crime isn't binary - there are decent people that would take soap from a hotel room, but wouldn't consider stealing gum from a shop.

Society is better off if we don't prosecute crimes of low value or low impact, but rather leave it to citizens to work out between themselves.

Class-action law suits! (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641897)

Society is better off if we don't prosecute crimes of low value or low impact, but rather leave it to citizens to work out between themselves.

I'm thinking that class action law suits exist for the case where one big guy illegally squeezes a little bit of blood out of a large number of small guys.

None of the small guys have an incentive to file suit (because each individual act is too small to be worth it), but if they all go together there's only one per-case overhead and so it will be worth it.

I'm not sure how I'm best served as the hotel owner (big guy) in that case. Oh well, I could just write the stolen soap off as the cost of doing business, and charge my customers a bit more. That's of course not just towards the honest customers, but it's the cheapest justice I can give them.

Re:In other words... (4, Interesting)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640093)

I'm fairly certain the hotel *could* have me arrested for stealing their soap, it's just not usually worth their time.

Can they actually use the soap after you leave? All the ones I've seen have (unopened) individually wrapped soap, which I assume is meant to be disposable for hygiene reasons (can't have people using the previous guest's dirty soap).

Re:In other words... (1)

LatencyKills (1213908) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641769)

That's always been exactly my thinking. I take the soap because they're just going to throw it out anyway, right? Efficient use of resources, saving the landfill, and all that.

Re:In other words... (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640125)

By making the soap available in the bathroom, they entitled you to use it, possibly completely. They can not arrest you for taking the soap.

The big problem about Internet users and the music industry, is the difference of expectations they have about music made available in a digital form.
"You are not allowed to download this song !"
"But you just put it online !"

How? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640143)

I'm fairly certain the hotel *could* have me arrested for stealing their soap, it's just not usually worth their time.

I'm trying to imagine a way they could prove you stole the soap.

Maybe they could simply decide that if the soap wasn't there after you were gone, you surely stole it. And if that event happened three times, they could permanently ban you from all hotels.

Re:How? (1)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640627)

Yes, because surely all this soap-stealing is costing them so much money that they can't possibly make a profit when GP visits. Also, when the cleaners start stealing soap the hotels will start banning customers who haven't even touched the soap for stealing it.

Try to estimate the severity of the problem before you come up with an expensive way (that will piss off innocent people and require more administration) to 'solve' it.

Re:In other words... (2, Insightful)

totallyarb (889799) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640155)

I'm fairly certain the hotel *could* have me arrested for stealing their soap...

I doubt it. Not when the packaging calls it "complimentary soap". I think it's fair enough to consider the soap to be a gift from the hotel to you, much like the little chocolates on the pillow.

It's a flawed metaphor anyway. If you take the soap, it's gone, whereas when you download an MP3, it's still there. A better comparison would be dodging your fare on the Underground - and Transport for London levies a £50 fine [tfl.gov.uk] for that, which is less than a parking ticket will cost you.

Re:In other words... (1)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640519)

It's a flawed metaphor anyway. If you take the soap, it's gone, whereas when you download an MP3, it's still there.

On the other hand, the packaging calls it "Complimentary Soap." The mp3s aren't called "Complimentary mp3s."

The soap is a consciously given gift, the mp3s are not.

Re:In other words... (1)

ben0207 (845105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640909)

They probably call it "complementary soap", unless it's the kind that say "What lovely hair you have. Is that a new tie? It looks really good on you."

(sorry, but I hate that mistake)

Re:In other words... (3, Informative)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641151)

Haha - you're entirely wrong.

Complimentary = with our compliments.

Complementary = making complete.

Unless you are trying to claim that the meaning of 'complementary' is that the bathroom sans soap is somewhat less than whole, you've just made a complete arse of yourself.

Thankyou for playing the pedantry game - please feel free to come back when you are better at it.

Re:In other words... (1)

IAmAI (961807) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641471)

It's a flawed metaphor anyway. If you take the soap, it's gone, whereas when you download an MP3, it's still there.

I completely agree. We continuously see the recording industry and politicians equating copyright infringement with physical theft. This is dangerous and misleading, let alone defiant of logic. It seems obvious when I say that when I take, for example, a bar of soap from you, you no longer have the bar of soap. When this is applied to intellectual property, I simply cannot take it from you as it is not tangible. This is significant, yet this seems to be forgotten or ignored my some.

Re:In other words... (1)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641979)

It is not the -same-, no, but it can be more dangerous and more destructive.

If we head down the path of "Stealing is only wrong when something physical is lost" then what about stealing blueprints or architecture plans or patent ideas?

If you go to BMW and photocopy the blueprints for their latest engine, you likely either believe that there's something wrong with that or that our entire society needs revamping into some kind of Anarcho-Communist hippie state.

Ideas can be worth more than the physical goods themselves. If you write a book, what's worse for you... me stealing one physical copy of that book or me claiming that you've got no rights to it, and distributing up a printing press and handing out copies on the street corner for 25c a pop?

Re:In other words... (1)

I'm not really here (1304615) | more than 5 years ago | (#26643205)

The laws on the books are fine, it's the interpretation of damages that is ridiculous. If the fine was actually in keeping with the tort/crime then it would be ok.

Violate the copyright on 50 songs? $1 per song = $50 fine, plus legal fees.

Don't want to go to court? Pay the $50 fine and closed case (treat it like a traffic ticket is treated).

Get held liable 3 times? Fines increase exponentially, and "points" are applied to your record, which fall off your record after a certain amount of time (3 years?).

Accrue enough "points", and your ability to access the internet is revoked (that would be similar to getting to the point where your license is revoked... very serious, indeed, and not a frivolous thing to do to someone). This, like the points, would wear off over time.

The punishment should really fit the crime.

Re:In other words... (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640157)

I happen to value soap far, far higher than I do most music singles. In fact it's is a lifesaver in terms of hygene.

I know those little bars in hotels I stay at don't cost much, but I'm sure the price of a large bar is higher than the price of a song on iTunes. The wife buys Imperial Leather...

I have never stolen soap. I have copied songs. I no longer feel guilty thanks to David Lammy. Cheers matey.

Re:In other words... (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641397)

Asda "Smart Price" soap is about 7p for a large bar. I bought it when I was unemployed, but I've continued to buy it as I couldn't tell the difference.

Even Imperial Leather soap is still less than an iTunes song.

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26640181)

And if you left the used soap bar on the sink the cleaning staff would throw it in the trash anyway.

I tried to make an analogy here, but it turned out to be crap. Unlike the record industry, I chose not to release it. (The analogy. Because it's crap. Duh.)

Re:In other words... (1)

Corson (746347) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640221)

"the hotel *could* have me arrested for stealing their soap, it's just not usually worth their time."

I think that's precisely what he meant.

Re:In other words... (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640501)

You pay for the soap with your room fee; you can take it home with you. Now, if you take all the furniture and leave all the soap in a neat little pile on the bare floor...well, that's just hilarious.

More importantly. (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640513)

>In other words, it's fine to steal things as long as they're of low value.

More importantly and relevantly, it's fine to steal music, since it's no worse than stealing a bar of hotel soap.

Re:In other words... (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641133)

It's possible he's referring to someone who has a quick once-over of the Maid's cart the next morning when they're leaving and helps themselves to a few of those complimentary soaps.

Re:In other words... (1)

locofungus (179280) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641293)

In other words, it's fine to steal things as long as they're of low value. I'm fairly certain the hotel *could* have me arrested for stealing their soap, it's just not usually worth their time.

In the hotels I usually stay in you're invited to take the soap/shampoo/conditioner etc.

I've got some rather nice shampoo and conditioner at home now from my most recent stay in a hotel, ironically, one that used to be a prison and I was staying in one of the cells (actually three cells knocked into a single room) with the original metal studded door (although you can open the door from the inside and the peephole looks out rather than in)

http://www.malmaison-oxford.com/the-hotel/architecture [malmaison-oxford.com]

http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2077/2110748750_f0f86a21fa.jpg%3Fv%3D0&imgrefurl=http://flickr.com/photos/67596892%40N00/2110748750&h=500&w=375&sz=122&tbnid=YfqUxyrH4O0-BM::&tbnh=130&tbnw=98&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dmalmaison%2Boxford%2Bimages&hl=en&usg=__6NfZj9MmXRT88WAWGDKWStGjHn0=&sa=X&oi=image_result&resnum=4&ct=image&cd=1 [google.co.uk]

Tim.

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26642341)

No, not in other words at all.

In other words, it's not worth prosecuting them if they do. That doesn't condone the behaviour. It says it's not worth prosecuting.

You go to the police saying someone stole 5 pence from you and see how much of a shit they give.

A hotel would be similarly reprimanded by the police if they called in the theft of a bar of soap (soap which is freely offered for the use of the guest anyway).

Re:In other words... (1)

Zoxed (676559) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642381)

> In other words, it's fine to steal things as long as they're of low value. I'm fairly certain the hotel *could* have me arrested for stealing their soap, it's just not usually worth their time.

The analogy used in the article is even worse: as every Slashdotter knows file sharing is not *stealing* (under the legal terms of most countries (IANAL etc).

In fact, as I understand it, the legal system regards stealing a bar of soap (a *criminal* offence) as more serious than file-sharing (a *civil* offence).

Don't get too excited yet. (5, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639863)

Bear in mind the Gower's report on copyright terms that was an independent review on what was best for the country. The report fed back that 50 years as is is fine, but less would be better.

Both the Conservatives and Labour outright ignored this independent report that they commissioned in the first place and still decided to push for 70 years.

This could just as well end up the same. Unfortunately common sense holds no place in the corrupt halls of British parliament. Why follow the recommended route and gain nothing when you can just vote for harsh punishments and get all sorts of goodies and incentives from the music and movie industry? That's how most of them see it. It aint just the Lords that's corrupt, I felt David Cameron's comment the other day that he'd put someone from the creative industries (music, movies, books, advertising) in charge of Britain's broadband future quite telling- I mean really, what the hell qualifications do the creative industries have for solving what are basically technological problems?

It really is! (3, Insightful)

Nabeel_co (1045054) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639971)

Wow it really is a sudden outbreak of common sense... I am shocked. Then again, it would be 10x more amazing if it were the US dropping the DMCA...

If you do leave with the TV (1)

MeisterVT (1309831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639977)

we can't have a system where we're talking about arresting teenagers in their bedrooms. People can rent a room in an hotel and leave with a bar of soap - there's a big difference between leaving with a bar of soap and leaving with the television.

But if you DO leave with the TV you get to go to another hotel and this time the soap comes on a rope!

Holy Shit! (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640083)

Did this guy just equate the value of a song to a bar of hotel soap?

BWHAHAHAHAHAH

Re:Holy Shit! (2, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640227)

Hey, don't mock him for rounding up the value of songs. Some numbers are just too small to comprehend.

Re:Holy Shit! (1)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640237)

Not suprising really, after listening to some of the drivel that passes off as 'music' nowadays you do feel an urge to wash your ears out...

Re:Holy Shit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26641087)

i'll say 3 ip id's and you get mailed a soap

Re:Holy Shit! (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640259)

Using a bar of soap makes me claen.

Listening to modern day music makes me feel dirty.

I'd rather have the soap.

I felt a disturbance in the Force. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26640281)

It's as if millions of RIAA lawyers suddenly cried out in terror... and were suddenly silenced.

UK Business Plan (1)

glindsey (73730) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641055)

So, given AT&T and Comcast colluding with the RIAA now, it sounds like now would be a great time for somebody in the UK to set up an encrypted VPN connection, available to folks for a nominal monthly fee.

I swear, I'm starting to consider subscribing to one and routing all of my traffic through it permanently. I am sick of these fuckers pawing through my traffic looking for evidence of wrongdoing.

Re:UK Business Plan (1)

skyride (1436439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641367)

Well, you could always get a low-spec VDS in the UK, and set it up on that? I thought of doing that for a small fee for the poor people in Australia when the "great firewall of australia" was going to come in. Im fairly active on one of the larger forums there and I know alot of the people I regularly speak to would happily pay a small subscription fee for it. I am in the UK and im glad of this sudden outburst from the department of "no shit sherlock".

Re:UK Business Plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26641927)

you mean like i do so i can watch tv on us websites
what you need is a uk version of hotspot shield (and adblick to get rid of the ad's)

translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26641357)

someone might die if we cut off there phone service and if we were wrong OH NO.
and
theres just too damn many of them and we should remember what happened when oliver cromwell got going

why not put a sold-to tag in the audio-track (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641805)

If I were the content side of this struggle, I would encode a serial number tag somewhere in the DVD. Change it around so often that people have to spend >1 hour finding it. Make it spread-spectrum. Then when the DVD is stolen, the RIAA can return it to you.

Binary (1)

carrier lost (222597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26641937)

The UK's Intellectual Property Minister...

Someone at the IFPI or the RIAA has dropped the ball. They either bought the wrong guy or they didn't pay enough - one of the two.

Hmm, I wonder if this has anything to do with... (2, Informative)

mattbee (17533) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642225)

Of all the potential legislation that the government have been talking about over the last few months, this music industry stuff reeks of lobbyists doing whatever they can to gain influence in Westminster. And what has been in the headlines in the UK the last few days? [guardian.co.uk] Ah yes, allegations that unelected members of the House of Lords are being paid by lobbyists to table amendments to UK law. Maybe there's a hurried shakedown going of this kind of overly "lobbied" legislation - before a pesky journalist joins the dots while the legislation is still on the table.

Bad Analogy Man (1)

DeeVeeAnt (1002953) | more than 5 years ago | (#26642455)

Don't know about anyone else, but every time I've been to a hotel, they always have brand new soap bars laid out. Who would like to go to a hotel and find they have not changed the soap? Such a joy to pick the previous occupant's pubes off before you wash. I'm definitely coming back here again.
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