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Lord Lucas Says Record Companies "Blackmail" Users

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the lord-timothy-yields-his-time dept.

The Almighty Buck 236

Kijori writes "Lord Lucas, a member of the UK House of Lords, has accused record companies of blackmailing internet users by accusing people of copyright infringement who have no way to defend themselves. 'You can get away with asking for £500 or £1,000 and be paid on most occasions without any effort having to be made to really establish guilt. It is straightforward legal blackmail.' The issue is that there is no way for people to prove their innocence, since the record company's data is held to be conclusive proof, and home networking equipment does not log who is downloading what. Hopefully, at the very least, the fact that parliament has realised this fact will mean that copyright laws will get a little more sane."

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Finally, someone gets it. (5, Insightful)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032040)

This is the best thing I've read all week. If I went to someone and said "You have wronged me so pay me money or I'll report you to the cops", I could be reported and sent to jail. Maybe if I had a lawyer write my threat up, my demand would magically be non-extortionate.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (1, Troll)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032094)

The chamber of Lords has been busy proving themselves useful, lately, be it with the climategate [wattsupwiththat.com] , for instance.

It's quite good that the Nobles finally stand for their nation and condone globalisation.

I would have expected it to come from a civil entity as it should be expected from a democracy.
Note that, on the other hand, the US of A are close to the end of democracy [nytimes.com] . Unless Obama(hahahahaha) finally proves himself useful and just kicks the lobbies down to Hell where they belong.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032318)

When you say condone, do you mean condemn? Because they are actually opposites, as it happens.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032396)

Yep, thanks for that.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (5, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032640)

It's quite good that the Nobles finally stand for their nation and condone globalisation.

I would have expected it to come from a civil entity as it should be expected from a democracy.

Most of the hereditary lords lost their seats years ago when Labour first came to power. So they're not the nobles they once were.

However - and this is the important bit - they are not elected by the voting public. Seats are (generally speaking) for life.

This is completely counter-intuitive and flies in the face of democracy. I guarantee there will be at least one person who will reply saying "What a ridiculous system" or words to that effect. But the thing is, it works quite well. IIRC the Lords can't introduce legislation themselves but they can discuss and block legislation that's coming through - and because their seat is for life, they don't need to worry too much about pandering to either a panicked electorate or to commercial interests who are going to be funding their next election campaign.

In fact, it works rather too well in some cases. Our Glorious Former Leader, Blair, very nearly discovered this to his cost with a few of his anti-terror bills. They only got through because of the use of "emergency" legislation which essentially allowed him to bypass the House of Lords.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (4, Informative)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032848)

You're right, the House of Lords gets a lot of negative press, and perhaps that's a legacy of what it used to be like with hereditary peerages and a lot of people deciding the laws of the country purely because of who their ancestors were, but yes it's changed a lot and is actually now a very useful legislative tool (along with its judicial function). It's great that people with a lifetime of skills and experience aren't simply discarded but have a real input into the way our laws are decided, and although its structure is partisan, the voting generally isn't, people generally vote with their conscience not just to bolster their party line.

A lot of the Lords' powers to block laws have been stripped away by the Parliament Acts unfortunately. As you mention certain legislation can bypass the Lords completely, I think this includes anything to do with finance and taxation, and on top of that no law can be delayed in the House of Lords for more than - IIRC - two parliamentary sessions, so while they used to be able to send laws back to "the other place" indefinitely, now they can only delay for effectively about a year. It's good that they can't hold up new laws forever, but at the same time a strong government can pretty much force through anything it wants now - as we've experienced in the last decade.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032930)

The Lords can block 'money' bills but, by convention, don't. They did once at the start of the 20th century, that's why we had the first parliament act.
The Lords also let through any bill which is an implementation of the ruling party's last manifesto.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (4, Insightful)

dargaud (518470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032892)

I used to think the house of lords was a ridiculous system, particularly when it was inherited. But now I recognize the need for a permanent govt structure with long term goals and stability. I think a system like that would work well with its members being elected for life based on various criteria: some named by the govt, some voted, some through some lifetime achievements (a few famous actors, journalists, artists, sportsmen, winners of work trade awards, persons nominated for civilian bravery, etc) in order to maximize variety. You don't want pro politicians in a system like that.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032932)

Ok, where does Lord Sutch fit into the picture?

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (2, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032952)

Ok, where does Lord Sutch fit into the picture?

He was never a lord. He took advantage of the fact that it's perfectly legal to change your name by deed poll to anything you want - so he changed his name to Lord David Sutch.

Legally, he would have been "Mr. Lord David Sutch".

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (5, Interesting)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032912)

The problem with the House of Lords is that the vast majority of people have no idea as to the real work that they do. The amount of poor drafting of legislation that they correct is truly staggering. The amount of just nasty ideas that get blocked is also quite staggering. However because the chamber is unelected (which has traditionally made them very hard to bribe) people see it as undemocratic, and we get the fiddling that Blair did which just served to make them prone to bribery.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (1)

JoshDD (1713044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032108)

If your falsely accused don't give in. A "Fuck you" written under a lawyers letterhead can do wonders and isn't quite as expensive as court or the blackmail. Giving into blackmail only encourages it and the blackmailer will say "Damn that's easy." and come back for more.
If you will give them $1,000 and they demand another $1,000 will you say no?

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (4, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032230)

The problem is there's no real scenario where they lose. You say "Fuck you", they take whatever evidence they have to court and maybe they win and maybe they don't but the evidence passes enough standards to never be considered a frivolous lawsuit. Didn't you see this case [slashdot.org] that was just covered on slashdot, fight for 5 years and end in stalemate. Now this is UK law and not US, but I assume it's civil with a standard of "preponderance of evidence", I've heard that this means in practice something like a 60-40 probability. Is it possible their accusations are 60% correct? Quite possible, 40% is a huge error margin. And if so, their evidence really does meet that legal standard, disturbingly enough as it is for the 40% who ends up falsely paying.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (0)

JoshDD (1713044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032274)

I've been in court over a dozen times in my life and spent several thousand dollars on lawyers. The last time 5 years ago my accusers were unwilling to to enter the court house after a 5 minute conversation with my lawyer but they postured right till the end. Sometimes $4000 on a lawyer makes you feel better that settling for the $2000 they wanted. And they leave feeling like bitches with their heads down. Mind you I did grow up and now I never pirate anything for moral reasons (my religion does not condone theft) plus I can't handle the stress anymore but it was kinda worth it. Btw software licences are cheaper and I only use OSS now.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (4, Insightful)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032344)

Copyright infringement is not theft.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (-1, Troll)

JoshDD (1713044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032388)

Well that's a matter for the courts to decide and unfortunatly for you they have decided.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032442)

I'm not aware of any _courts_ ever deciding that copyright infringement is theft. Do you have any examples?

The "copyright infringement is theft" claim is just one being pushed by RIAA, MPAA, etc.

(Note that I'm not arguing that copyright infringement isn't illegal - I'm just saying it's not theft.)

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (5, Informative)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032572)

Well that's a matter for the courts to decide and unfortunatly for you they have decided.

Yes, in UK law they decided that information wasn't property and thus couldn't be stolen. See the case ofOxford v Moss [wikipedia.org] for more detail.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032590)

I can see why you end up in court a lot :) Copyright infringement and theft should be quite easy to distinguish and courts all over the world are able to do that...

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (1)

Kidbro (80868) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032700)

(my religion does not condone theft)

Copyright infringement is not theft.

Well that's a matter for the courts to decide

The courts decide how you interpret your religion?

For what it's worth, I support your decision not to pirate anything, I just found that twist of the conversation strange...

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (2, Informative)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032924)

Unfortunately for you the this is U.K. law and the legislation makes it quite clear the offense is "making unauthorised copies" and not theft, and is only criminal if you are doing it for profit.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032668)

Religion? In what way does religion play into it? If religion were a grouds for morals, women would be considered property, not being a jew considered a crime punishable by death (by extrapolation, but still), eating pretty much anything non-vegan an afront...and that's a very short list and mostly centered around The Big Three.
How, when and why would you event _want_ to give religion as a reason for your morals?!

Yes, I see that this is sort of flamebait, but it needed to be said...

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032922)

Thanks for that Professor Dawkins. You are correct of course. Religion has absolutely nothing to teach us about right and wrong, except insofar as it is "the root of all evil".

I am a huge fan of yours, Professor. I would love to know the results of your laboratory experiments to determine the nature of "good" and "evil", "right" and "wrong", so that moral questions can be settled by materialism without having to refer to philosophical and religious tradition.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (3, Insightful)

LainTouko (926420) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032314)

If you say "Fuck you", they'll leave you alone and go and find someone more easily intimidated into giving them money. None of these cases has ever gone to court, and they're clearly worried about killing the cash cow if it does happen.

(A couple of related cases did go to court a while back, but I think they cherry-picked people who chose ill-advised defenses which effectively admitted the bits which are impossible to prove. And someone who had moved and wasn't getting any letters, so would never turn up to defend themselves in the first place.)

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (1)

JoshDD (1713044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032424)

Summons are sent by registered mail and you have to sign for them and you have 5 days to respond in writting (Court of Queens Bench) if you don't respond they automatically rule against you. But you have to sign for the package. Some jurisdictions (USA for example) buddy walks up are you so and so? If you say yes he hands you a package and says "You have been served". They can't sue you if they can't find you.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032530)

Summons are sent by registered mail and you have to sign for them and you have 5 days to respond in writting (Court of Queens Bench) if you don't respond they automatically rule against you.

I believe that it is "decided in your absence", and there have been a handful of cases where a judge has decided that the case is so shaky that even in these circumstances they decide in favour of the defendant.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032852)

Where I come from these kinds of unsolicited bulk mails are reported to the police in rows, as they say.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032996)

Instead of a simple "Fuck you", one could find inspiration in The Pirate Bay legal responses [thepiratebay.org] ...

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032186)

But will anything really happen or will this just be another excuse for yet more surveillance of home computer usage?

The track record of the House of Lords hasn't been so good over the long run has it?

I would bet that if Lucas gains any traction great pressure will be brought to shut him up one way or another.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (1)

PiAndWhippedCream (1566727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032408)

Exactly, it's a trap. First they lull us in with suggestions of sanity in copyright law, then they will turn the tables and say we will now monitor all data passing through your network so you can ``prove your innocence.'' Right.

Read up a bit more on the system (5, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032416)

Lords like Lucas are very difficult to pressure or to get them to shut up. As a whole, the lords are a bit of a nuisance because they tend to get in everybodies way. If you are on the left, they go against a ban on fox hunting and if you are on the right they keep insisting on this bloody liberty thing. That is where they get this bad rep from, because politicians don't like to be questioned. As citizens, we shouldn't take politicians word for it that the lords are all bad.

Re:Read up a bit more on the system (4, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032688)

And it's why the government have been trying to get rid of unelected members of the House of Lords for most of the past 10 years; something that I suspect the next government will continue to do.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (0, Troll)

red_pill1987 (1661527) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032532)

i'm not sure what presure can be brought. lord lucas has no consitusence, and no campgain. he need not have any party loyalty since he dose not relie on the party. in short: his diffcult to make shut up. doubley so if his a cross bench peer.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (3, Insightful)

Kijori (897770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032672)

But will anything really happen or will this just be another excuse for yet more surveillance of home computer usage?

The track record of the House of Lords hasn't been so good over the long run has it?

I would bet that if Lucas gains any traction great pressure will be brought to shut him up one way or another.

Unfortunately it's heading in the other direction. The statement was made in the context of a debate on the Digital Economy Bill [digitalwrong.org] , which is designed to make it easier to punish "copyright violators" (although, as numerous Lords have pointed out, they're actually just people accused of copyright violation), by making it easier to get information from ISPs and allowing copyright holders to have a user's internet connection shut off if they refuse to stop downloading (i.e. if the record company still has "evidence" after they have written to the user and threatened them). All in all, an absolutely disastrous bill.

*Shameless plug* If you agree and want to try to get answers from Mandelson, sign the DigitalWrong letter [digitalwrong.org] . This is going to be printed up on huge bits of card with all the messages people have left and presented to Lord Mandelson, since he doesn't bother replying to individual letters.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032734)

It doesnt actually matter what the Lords or anyone else thinks.

We saw this with ID cards in 2006 - Labour have a majority, so they can ram any bill through thanks to the Parliament Rule (if it goes between the Commons and the Lords a set number of times - I think its 5 - then the bill is automatically approved).

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032956)

Except that bampot Pa Broon is in no position to wield a large majority, AND there's a general election in May, so there's only actually around 30 days of parliamentary business left to try and force this through, with a majority so thin that he's had to give major concessions (with our money) to minority parties to get his bills through in the past.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (3, Insightful)

Eivind (15695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032986)

No, you actually couldn't, not if the claim isn't obviously frivolous.

"You owe me money, pay up, or I'll be forced to take the matter to court", is even, in principle, entirely reasonable in some situations.

The problem is that the punishments are so out of line with the severity of the transgression, that people cannot afford to let the courts sort it out, even in cases where they're quite possibly innocent.

If I say the above, and demand $700 from you for NOT taking it to court, and you know that being taken to court means potentially a year-long battle and hundreds of thousands if you loose, can you afford to take that gamble, even if you think you're most-probably going to come out innocent ?

Or do you buckle ?

That's the point where it becomes blackmail.

If the punishment for uploading copyrighted material was limited to something sane, this problem would go away.

Say if you downloaded 300 songs from piratebay, and have a share-ratio of 2, and they calculated this means 600 people illegally got a song from you, at $0.99 a song, that's a loss of $600 -- so they convict you guilty and demand you pay $1000.

That's not what happens though, you potentially end up paying orders of magnitude more. And that's wrong.

Re:Finally, someone gets it. (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 4 years ago | (#31033034)

Its not magical, you idiot. When you sue someone, they by definition have the right to defend themselves, generally a a matter of public record. When you extort someone, they do not get a chance to defend themselves (unless whatever you are trying to extort them with is a lie, in which case if you follow through, they will sue you for slander/defamation of character depending on method and likely make it a matter of public record that you have committed a crime). There is a huge difference.

To which Lord Vader of the RIAA replied, (5, Funny)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032042)

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Re:To which Lord Vader of the RIAA replied, (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032088)

I felt a great disturbance in The Force...

As if millions of /. readers cried out "DUH!!" and were suddenly silenced...

Re:To which Lord Vader of the RIAA replied, (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032226)

Vader? I think you mean Mandelson.

Re:To which Lord Vader of the RIAA replied, (2, Interesting)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032878)

Vader? I think you mean Mandelson.

Are they not the same person?

New labour: Government by the Mandleson, for the Mandelson

Re:To which Lord Vader of the RIAA replied, (5, Funny)

Soldats (1282896) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032268)

Oh good so I'm not the only one who thought George Lucas when I read that headline.
.
.
.
right?
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
guys?

Re:To which Lord Vader of the RIAA replied, (1)

Rakarra (112805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032592)

I'm sure right now George Lucas's mind is blown.
Tomorrow, he'll be trying to figure out what he can do to become a Lord.

Re:To which Lord Vader of the RIAA replied, (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032746)

Did you mean Jeff Vader?

sane copyright laws? (1, Insightful)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032056)

"Hopefully, at the very least, the fact that parliament has realised this fact will mean that copyright laws will get a little more sane"

mod summary +1 funny

Re:sane copyright laws? (1)

gaelfx (1111115) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032286)

Gonna have to agree there. There is no universe in which I could ever participate in which copyright.laws=="sane" returns true.

Re:sane copyright laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032828)

Did you mean
laws.Copyright.Sanity == SanityType.Sane ? =P *sigh* I'm bored...

Re:sane copyright laws? (3, Funny)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032974)

If you follow my sig, it would be something like this:

RANDOMIZE TIMER
copyrightsanity% = INT(RND * 255) + 1
IF copyrightsanity% = 0 THEN copyrightissane = 1: ELSE wereallfucked$ = "very yes"

Always another way (3, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032070)

Flood you local MP and legal watch dogs with "due diligence" claims.
Make the ambulance chasing legal teams feel the heat of well written complaints to all MP's in the area.
Write to the local press. get on radio, tv, youtube, name the lawyers.
Protest outside their offices and public events demanding legal reform.
Make a web page with the legal teams letters to attract many others.
Make it out rank their own site in google searches.
If they sue you, go to court.

Re:Always another way (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032752)

You forgot the last two parts.

...
Declare bankruptcy, get laughed out of court by well funded and backed solicitors / media companies, and live without any possibility of credit, mortgage, or a management position for the rest of your life.

Re:Always another way (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032814)

"If they sue you, go to court."

Problem with that one is anyone that has said they're willing to go to court over it has had the case dropped, and there's no recourse, or way to force them to put their money where their mouth is. They just rely on the people who are scared to death at the idea of the court costs and so just settle regardless of innocence or guilty because as Lucas says, the music industry's "evidence" is being treated as proof of guilt when it's anything but.

Grrr....mind trick (4, Funny)

whovian (107062) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032080)

This wasn't the Lucas I was looking for.

Lets hope that this is the start... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032098)

Finally a politician who acts like they have a pair, working in government to actually bring the issues faced by the Great British public to light.
The British people need more men like Lord Lucas representing them in politics. Hats off to him. Lets just hope his voice has not fallen on deaf ears...

Re:Lets hope that this is the start... (2, Interesting)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032154)

He's a lord, not an MP.

I wonder if people here will now realise why a lot of us in the UK value the fact that there is a second, non-elected House that can act as a brake on the excesses of the elected one?

Re:Lets hope that this is the start... (2, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032218)

Anyone in the US should realize that, its the same job the Supreme Court is supposed to fill (and sometime even does). The problem is it can go the other way- an unelected group can put the breaks on needed legislation and good change. For a US example, see the Dred Scott decision. The trick is finding a way to assign people to that group that honestly have the best for the nation and the people in mind- not an easy task. Any system you build will eventually fail it.

Re:Lets hope that this is the start... (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032270)

here's a clue why the US systems fails - it's filled with god damn lawyers!

Re:Lets hope that this is the start... (0)

boaworm (180781) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032650)

The supreme court is hand-picked by politicians in power and appointed for life, aren't they? Smells a bit like "i scratch your back and you'll scratch mine".

Re:Lets hope that this is the start... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032958)

1. Promise to scratch some back.
2. Get appointed for life
3. Say "fuck you, I'm appointed for life, I have no reason to scratch your back!"
4. Profit!

Re:Lets hope that this is the start... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032548)

If they do then you are lucky but you won't be lucky all the time. Consider the behaviour [wikipedia.org] of Old Rednose [wikipedia.org] . All things considered I would prefer to do without arbitrary powers being granted to individuals and fall back on real democracy.

Re:Lets hope that this is the start... (4, Informative)

tomtomtom (580791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032178)

Finally a politician who acts like they have a pair, working in government to actually bring the issues faced by the Great British public to light.

Lord Lucas [blogspot.com] is a Conservative hereditary peer, and a "backbencher" at that - so he is not working in government at all at present and neither is he likely to be even after the election. In many respects this is a shame, because he's one of the few people who have been pointing out some of the other heinous flaws in the Digital Economy Bill (i.e. the parts apart from the copyright regime - the powers it gives the government to take over the UK Domain Name Registry for one).

Actually on the whole the politicians who act most independently tend to be the remaining hereditary peers because they owe their position and therefore "allegiance" to rather fewer people than almost anyone else in government (they are technically elected to sit in the house from amongst all hereditary peers by the existing members of the House of Lords but the pool of candidates is small and once elected they are there until death or, more likely, further reform of the House of Lords occurs).

Hear, hear, M'lud! (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032100)

n/t

Outbreak of common sense! (2, Insightful)

cbope (130292) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032110)

What an amazing outbreak of common sense! It's about time at least some of the politicians start to acknowledge that the underhanded, shady, illegal and extremely prejudiced methods used by the media companies are a huge problem. If only the politicians in the US would get this, but somehow I doubt they will. They are too deep in the pockets of the media companies at this point to ever recover.

Re:Outbreak of common sense! (4, Interesting)

JoshDD (1713044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032142)

He might just be blackmailing the record companies in his own way. (Pay me and I'll shut up.)

He has been saying this for longer (4, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032446)

http://www.zeropaid.com/news/87352/uks-lord-lucas-compares-p2p-to-sharing-a-newspaper/

If he is who I think he is, he is also a real lord, not a made one. Means he is rich, or at least of that kind of well to do family that scoffs at the typical goverment bribes as being WAAAAAAY to low.

Re:He has been saying this for longer (4, Informative)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032846)

The Digital Economy bill has been in the lords of the last few weeks for debate. It's been grossly under-reported even on IT news sites, but to anyone that's been keeping an eye, Lucas has been quite the hero. He's been one of the the main people consistently questioning the logic of the bill's three strikes provision and so forth.

He's a smart guy, he seems to understand how the bill's plans run completely counter to hundreds of years worth of citizens hard earned legal and fundamental rights.

Re:He has been saying this for longer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31033030)

Real Lords are rich? You watch too much tv. Some are, some aren't. Many have their wealth tied to protected estates that swallow money. There's a reason it's possible to buy a title.

Now, who wants to bet his words will be twisted? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032128)

by the lawmakers, and in turn, will require all home networking equipment to have logging and backdoors for the UK police and the music industry hit squads to monitor your activities within your own home?

That's how I see this unfolding, someone will take into consideration what he said, and pass an archaic law like that, oh and at the cost of the citizenry too. Not complying will also result in being shipped to a prison camp.

After all, our holy masters of the music industry must be satisfied.

It is spreading.... (2, Funny)

Asadullah Ahmad (1608869) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032148)

The sanity is finally spreading, which started from Australia. A few more of similar statements from Government officials, or even some cases appearing in media where customers were blackmailed like this, and users might not be bullied any more just because they use Internet.

Re:It is spreading.... (2, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032928)

Unfortunately he's more likely to be the King Canute in this instance, the solitary voice trying to hold back the tide of government jumping on big media's bandwagon. The best we can hope for is that it reaches the ears of enough of the populace that it becomes a differentiating factor between the two big parties at election time, at least then we'll have a choice. Unfortunately the populace are largely too busy watching I'm a Celebrity Fat Pet on Ice to bother about the erosion of their rights. Bread and circuses indeed.

HA ha ha... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032182)

I pissed in your corn flakes.

Good things about Royalty...!? (2)

viraltus (1102365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032190)

Well, since Lord and people like that are not chosen they can speak up without fear of being demoted or losing their royalty status, the average politician would fill its pockets and look somewhere else.

Re:Good things about Royalty...!? (2, Informative)

arethuza (737069) | more than 4 years ago | (#31033126)

I don't think there is such a status as "Royal" in the UK system - either you are a Commoner, a Peer or the Sovereign.

Lord Lucas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032194)

Okay, I liked Star Wars too, but come on guys :p

slammed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032236)

"the law recognises no positive obligation on any person to protect the copyright of another." - Justice Cowdrey, Federal Court of Australia, 4 Feb 2010.

Re:slammed. (1)

JoshDD (1713044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032296)

Well they (the upside down people) always did have it backwards from the way the real world works.

Such optimism (1)

mustafap (452510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032342)

>Hopefully, at the very least, the fact that parliament has realised this fact will mean that copyright laws will get a little more sane."

Sadly, history indicates it wont work like that. Instead, companies will strive to lock down personal computers so we end up with limited operational rights. It will probably become illegal to own an ogg player.

DON'T PAY THE FINE IF YOU DIDN'T DO THE CRIME !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032348)

Don't do it !!

Lord British (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032350)

I don't know why, but for a moment, I believed Richard Garriot's first name to be Lucas (probably because of Lucas Arts).
This confused teh siht out of me for a moment, but made perfect sense on the other hand.
Besides, why is this captcha here always so "to the point" about what I write and sums that up in one word ("matcher").

Re:Lord British (1)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032554)

Slashcode is what will lead to Skynet, once all the bugs are fixed, wich luckally for us, will take a long, LONG time

NO ! (2, Insightful)

aepervius (535155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032412)

Hopefully, at the very least, the fact that parliament has realised this fact will mean that copyright laws will get a little more sane."

No it will mean even residential user will be forcwed to log everything in their system, and if they do not they will be found breaking the "private logging law" (soon to come). Seeing the power trip the UK is on, you have to be +5 insane or +5 funny to think otherwise.

Re:NO ! (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032670)

No it will mean even residential user will be forcwed to log everything in their system, and if they do not they will be found breaking the "private logging law" (soon to come). Seeing the power trip the UK is on, you have to be +5 insane or +5 funny to think otherwise.

My fear is you may be correct. I can easily see a future where cable modems and firewalls are forced to ship with extensive logging which cannot be tampered with by the end user (probably logging to a syslog server at the ISP).

I just hope Labour don't win the upcoming election. Not that I think the Tories are much better right now, but with any luck they'll find they have bigger things to worry about.

Lord Lucas (0, Offtopic)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032440)

Didn't he disappear at the same time as a nanny was mysteriously murdered?

Re:Lord Lucas (2, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032642)

Thats not the lord you are looking for.

Re:Lord Lucas (3, Informative)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032652)

That was Lord Lucan, not Lord Lucas

Let the lawmakers have their fun (3, Insightful)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032448)

Seems the way to beat this copyright cabal is to keep on sharing, keep on using the Internet. Playing their game, trying to outlobby them, looks like a losing proposition. They can lobby for all the laws they like, but they can't rescind the facts of nature, which is that copying is inherent in the universe. This Copyright Inquisition will fizzle out eventually, the likes of Jack Valenti will go down in infamy next to Torquemada, and centuries from now this hatred, fear, and attempted suppression of copying and extreme punishment of alleged copiers will seem as counterproductive, senseless, and inexplicable as the torture of random people does now. Though I would like to see it happen rather sooner than the length of the typical copyright term.

The lawmakers for their part may choose how they want to look. Do they want to look corrupt, clueless, and irrelevant by taking the money and enacting the industry's idiotic proposals that make about as much sense as enacting a law that pi must equal 3.0? Or look good and far-seeing by not taking the money, and serving the people? Nice that this Lord Lucas is apparently opting for high road. I wish him luck.

Re:Let the lawmakers have their fun (2, Insightful)

Kijori (897770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032718)

Seems the way to beat this copyright cabal is to keep on sharing

Unfortunately this is the sort of quotation that plays right into their hands.

It's been a very easy ride for the copyright holders so far - opposition to their plans has come either from ISPs (who are motivated by saving money) or file-sharing advocates; this means it's been very easy for them to dismiss the opposition as greedy, self-interested pirates. The point I'm trying to get across is that it's possible to support copyright and copyright enforcement without supporting these ridiculous measures and without giving complete power to record companies.

Copyright itself is not a bad thing. Nor is copyright enforcement - disregarding the exacting definitions that are popular on Slashdot, file sharing is, in one important way, very like stealing - you get something you want without having to pay for it. What is wrong is the idea that people should be punished based only on the accusations of the copyright holders. The fact that it is nearly impossible to get anywhere through the courts isn't representative of file-sharers being cunning and impossible to find, it's representative of the fact that it is difficult to establish, on balance of probabilities, that they have actually infringed on your copyright. Changing the law to allow those people to be punished doesn't get round the fundamental unfairness of punishing people you can't prove have done anything wrong.

Wrong assumption (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032460)

"Hopefully, at the very least, the fact that parliament has realised this fact will mean that copyright laws will get a little more sane"

This is of course based on the assumption that political processes are rational. Which they are clearly not.

Mandelson (2, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032630)

Well, at least this makes up for Lord Mandelson.

Re:Mandelson (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032890)

Nothing makes up for Mandelson.

Re:Mandelson (2, Insightful)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032984)

No he doesn't. Madelson seems to have a greater influence on the government than Gordon Brown, whereas Lucas has almost none.

Its prob more like (0, Offtopic)

dredwerker (757816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032636)

Lord Lucan:) Dyslexia rules KO Richard John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan (born 18 December 1934[1]), known as Lord Bingham before 1964, sometimes colloquially called "Lucky" Lucan, disappeared in the early hours of 8 November 1974, following the murder of Sandra Rivett, his children's nanny, the previous evening. There has been no verified sighting of him since then. On 19 June 1975, an inquest jury named Lucan as the murderer of Sandra Rivett, the last time that an inquest was allowed to name the person they suspected of committing such a crime.[2] He was presumed deceased in chambers on 11 December 1992[3] and declared legally dead in October 1999.[4

mistaken analysis (4, Insightful)

Doviende (13523) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032702)

The poster here is making a big mistake about government. He is assuming that politicians are dumb and uninformed, and have made these bad decisions through ignorance. This assumption leads to the idea that "if only they knew", then they'd choose to make good, smart decisions that benefit the rest of us. If this were the case, all we'd need to do is educate them and things would get better.

In fact, what we have is a group of wealthy smart businessmen whose financial interests conflict with ours. They have made a series of decisions that benefit themselves and their wealthy friends (who will scratch their backs later when they retire from politics and need a cushy position on someone's corporate board). They are not stupid, and quite often not so misinformed as we would like to think.

Typically what is happening in one of these situations where some certain politician has one of these "epiphanies" is that he just wants to change his position on something because he has decided that it will benefit him. He makes out like he's been misinformed and has discovered the light. By implying that the opposing side is an unjust position, he's making a persuasive argument for people to support his position.

Re:mistaken analysis (2, Interesting)

Marcika (1003625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032854)

Typically what is happening in one of these situations where some certain politician has one of these "epiphanies" is that he just wants to change his position on something because he has decided that it will benefit him. He makes out like he's been misinformed and has discovered the light. By implying that the opposing side is an unjust position, he's making a persuasive argument for people to support his position.

You know what's the mistake with your argument? Ralph Lucas is not an electioneering politician and does not need to be. He is a hereditary peer for life.

Wrong. Sorry, but just wrong. (0)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 4 years ago | (#31033056)

You know what's the mistake with your argument? Ralph Lucas is not an electioneering politician and does not need to be. He is a hereditary peer for life.

Peers like dirty cash [timesonline.co.uk] as well as any psychopath in power.

If a politician speaks, it's because s/he's telling a lie. There are no True Idealists in power because they all die in small airplane crashes and/or are not admitted into the power circles because they refuse to diddle child sex slaves at parties. I'm not joking even a little bit. Nobody in power circles will trust or work with you unless you share dirty secrets on each other. I've had friends whose parents were high level political figures and the inside scoop is enough to make you want to vomit and/or kill somebody. -Or most likely, get killed. These people are evil. Period.

-FL

Thank goodness for parliamentary privilege (1)

dugeen (1224138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31032826)

..and good to see a lord making himself useful.

Hopefully? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31032904)

"Hopefully, at the very least, the fact that parliament has realised this fact will mean that copyright laws will get a little more sane."

Sadly, it's probably just a public notice to the recording industry that political figure rates have gone up with inflation. Until we SEE sane laws made, it's pointless to get your hopes up.

that's not what I want (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 4 years ago | (#31033004)

Hopefully, at the very least, the fact that parliament has realised this fact will mean that copyright laws will get a little more sane.

I don't want to see more laws, I want to see some prosecutions! Common-law blackmail is still illegal, and still carries life imprisonment & an unlimited fine, and doesn't require the thing threatened to be illegal.

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