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UK Government Wants Google To Police Copyright

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the now-that's-creative-outsourcing dept.

Government 144

judgecorp writes "the UK's culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt will this week ask Google to stifle sites deemed to be pirates, pushing them down the listing and cutting off their advertising revenues. The UK government has already outlined plans to make ISPs police copyright breaches by users."

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You have to follow laws (2)

North Korea (2457866) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387406)

Google already removes illegal things like child porn. Copyright violating sites are just as illegal, so what's the problem? Like the article states, court order would be required for it. I think it would also only apply to google.co.uk.

Re:You have to follow laws (5, Insightful)

Extremus (1043274) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387544)

The arguments for decreasing freedom in order to protect human rights are MUCH more compelling than the arguments for slashing freedom in order to protect corporate interests.

Re:You have to follow laws (4, Informative)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387704)

Not when you're Jeremy Hunt. Jeremy Hunt makes Peter Mandelson look like an independent thinker with no influence from corporate interests.

This is the same guy who was going to go ahead and just let Murdoch take full control of BSkyB (the UK's largest broadcast) without question even though OFCOM, responsible for oversight of media in the UK recommended it be further looked into before any go ahead was considered.

Jeremy Hunt is the most corrupt politician in UK politics since Mandelson left the stage. It's not much of a suprise to see him getting involved in this sort of thing. He's one of those types who might as well just come out and admit that he'll do whatever the highest bidder pays him too, because everyone else already knows it to be true anyway.

Re:You have to follow laws (1)

boethius78 (1002975) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387960)

Or, to put it in rhyming slang, Jeremy Hunt is a right Jeremy?

Re:You have to follow laws (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388624)

Just ask the BBC [youtube.com] .

Re:You have to follow laws (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388012)

Since 1997 there have been three parties with a more than negligible proportion of votes: the Tories (who are even less interested in freedom of trade than Thatcher was), the New Tories (who are distinguished by paying lip service to some of the larger, more corrupt unions), and the Tory Lapdogs (who are distinguished by having something to say about civil liberties, as long as what they say is inconsequential).

The public is thus getting, by and large, exactly what it has asked for.

And complaints about government are from a small minority.

Right?

Re:You have to follow laws (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388508)

The public is thus getting, by and large, exactly what it has asked for.

I don't know about the last election, but only about 25% of the public voted for Labour over the previous decade and yet they got them anyway.

I don't remember the last time a British government got more than 50% of the votes of people who could be bothered to get up and go to the voting stations, let alone 50% of the available votes.

Re:You have to follow laws (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388908)

If all three major parties are essentially the same then it becomes that anyone who votes for any one of the major parties is voting for, well, any the major parties.

Similarly, in the US if you vote Democrat then you might as well be voting Republican, or vice versa.

The determining factor in whether democracy has been achieved (in the majoritarian sense) is whether 50% of the people have voted for one of the major parties.

They have. [ukpolitical.info]

People suck.

Re:You have to follow laws (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390472)

Similarly, in the US if you vote Democrat then you might as well be voting Republican, or vice versa.

Except if you vote Republican nowadays you get a bunch of screaming heebie-jeebies who place value on ignorance. Kinda like a cross between UKIP and the BNP.

Re:You have to follow laws (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387772)

Copyright violating sites are just as illegal, so what's the problem?

Criminal law vs civil law? Believe it or not you can't have your neighbor arrested for putting up a fence that encroaches on your property without your permission. Not every country in the world has criminalized copyright infringement.

Re:You have to follow laws (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387876)

Not every country in the world has criminalized copyright infringement.

No, but anybody who does any meaningful amount of trade with the US is having ACTA [wikipedia.org] crammed down their throat as a condition of continuing to do to so.

Sadly, any country which hasn't begun to criminalize it isn't being given a whole lot of options. The world is now so beholden to copyright, it isn't even funny any more.

It's a treaty they won't make public, which makes it all about what they want, and you and I can go get stuffed.

Re:You have to follow laws (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388010)

No, but anybody who does any meaningful amount of trade with the US is having ACTA [wikipedia.org] crammed down their throat as a condition of continuing to do to so.

This is true. Fortunately other countries are emerging (China) that are proving to be even better partners than the bankrupt US, and they don't attach so many strings to their trade agreements. I can't help but shake my head as the US truly is regulating itself into oblivion. Too bad, I used to like the US. Now I have to watch what I say because there is a small but real chance I can be placed on an arbitrary "no fly list" or even be bombed by a drone in violation of any national and international laws. The age of Big Brother really has begun. And we used to joke about the Soviets when I grew up in Fla in the 70's.

Re:You have to follow laws (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388256)

I can't help but shake my head as the US truly is regulating itself into oblivion.

It's not so much that they're passing regulations.

It's that they're entrenching into criminal law that it is the job of the government to police commercial interests. America has become completely beholden to companies, and the government is now more or less doing their bidding. They're also exporting this as a treaty.

You only have to look at the fact that ICE and DHS are doing raids of domain names on the basis that they might be infringing on copyright.

So, essentially, at the demand of the US ... the governments of the world now will use tax payer's money to look out for the interests of corporations.

That basically screws the rest of us over.

Re:You have to follow laws (3, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388490)

I feel exactly the same way. When I was a teenager I was pretty gung ho patriotic, and not just because I thought it was the 'thing to do' but because I had (insofar as I could at that age) studied history and been convinced that the USA had done more good than harm despite its faults.

The last decade has been deeply disturbing and embarrassing. Not since the Sedition Act has there been such unconstitutional nonsense as 'free speech zones', 'warrantless wiretapping', etc. and such heinous SCotUS rulings as Kelo v. New London. And in every legislative session the 'PATRIOT' Act as is rubber stamped, and somebody finds some new way of arbitrarily removing freedoms from persons by creating new secret 'lists' with no appeal and no oversight. It has the feel of the 'enemies' lists of dictators or Roman emperors.

Neither party has a contrary position. Until people wake up and free themselves from the duopoly (which will take a political crisis the nature of which I can't honestly imagine) we're due for more of the same.

All I know is I'm not part of the problem. Where there is any option I vote for a 3rd party candidate.

Re:You have to follow laws (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388830)

The last decade has been deeply disturbing and embarrassing. Not since the Sedition Act has there been such unconstitutional nonsense as 'free speech zones', 'warrantless wiretapping', etc. and such heinous SCotUS rulings as Kelo v. New London.

You forget Joseph McCarthy. He quite happily undermined the constitution and basic freedoms by hunting people down who weren't "ideologically pure"

There's always some bastard waiting in the wings who will happily cram his world view down every body else's collective throats in order to force people to do things "their way".

I think your Tea Party would do that, and everybody who is voting for constitutional amendments to make same sex marriage illegal is more or less doing the same thing.

Basically anybody is fighting to prevent other people from doing something, instead of fighting for their right to do something ... they'll usually pretty happily trample on what you think you should be allowed to do. Because, in their view, what you want to do is Inexcusably Wrong.

Of course, they'll make the argument that what they're doing is Defending Absolute Truth. These people are not to be trusted.

Re:You have to follow laws (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#37389392)

You forget Joseph McCarthy. He quite happily undermined the constitution and basic freedoms by hunting people down who weren't "ideologically pure"

Except treason is actually a crime and from what we've discovered since the USSR collapsed, McCarthy appears to have underestimated the number of Soviet agents in America.

He may have been a loon, but his biggest problem appears to have been that he wasn't paranoid enough.

Re:You have to follow laws (2)

Sique (173459) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390486)

His biggest problem appears to be completely wrong about the kind of people posing an actual threat to the U.S.

If you are start cutting down trees because you fear lightning might set your house on fire, your are still a loon.

Re:You have to follow laws (1)

North Korea (2457866) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388206)

Most countries have criminalized commercial copyright infringement, which the sites in question are doing as they profit from warez. It's true it's not often enforced in countries like China, but we're talking about UK here.

Re:You have to follow laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37388720)

Yeah, but then a lot of this is very grey - some of the sites that have fallen under scrutiny are just link sites that are doing nothing more illegal than the guy who runs into a bar and tells everyone there is a fight happening outside.

Re:You have to follow laws (5, Interesting)

scottbomb (1290580) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387856)

It's not Google's (or any other search engine's) responsibility to enforce all laws of all countries. They're a search engine, not cops. Let the police do their own dirty work.

WAT! (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#37389770)

Google already does this. There are country specific warning messages, which appear at the bottom of the page when search results were ommited.

So nice sentiment, but you're too late.

Re:You have to follow laws (2)

JMJimmy (2036122) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387940)

Yes, because everything that flows across these so called "illegal sites" is copyrighted material and is illegal in every use. I'm not kidding myself that there's also a lot of copyright infringement going on but there's perfectly legitimate courses of actions those companies can take to get restitution. Their problem is that it's expensive, time consuming, and hard to prove in court so they want freedoms curtailed instead. I don't know how many times I could have taken various companies/corporations to court and won over their actions but of course it's too expensive, time consuming, and hard to prove in court for me.

Re:You have to follow laws (1)

xelah (176252) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388772)

Their problem is that it's expensive, time consuming, and hard to prove in court so they want freedoms curtailed instead.

From the article:

According to reports, if a court deems a site to be unlawful the government wants search engines to push it down the rankings to stifle traffic and at the same time cut off advertising or payment revenues to make the site economically unviable.

But you are, of course, right that there's a large disparity between smaller companies and individuals and large ones that would be difficult to change without a lighter-weight procedure than the one 'reports' suggest, and that's where things get difficult.

In other news... (4, Funny)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387410)

Police wants UK Government To Google Copyright.

+1 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37387462)

+1

Re:In other news... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37387528)

Google Wants UK Government To Copyright Police?

Copyright Wants Police to UK Government.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37387702)

Copyright Government Wants UK to Police Google

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37387800)

Google UK to Copyright Government Police Wants.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37387978)

People Want Copyright to End.

Re:In other news... (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388544)

You fucked up the sequence!
Google Police Wants UK to Copyright Government

Re:In other news... (2)

excelsior_gr (969383) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388622)

In Soviet Russia, Copyright polices Google!

Oh, nevermind...

The free net (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37387422)

And thus it silently dies..

Re:The free net (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387468)

the public facing one does. There has always been and always will be a not so obvious 100% free internet. It just requires an education and IQ test to gain access.
Those that think a stylized E is the internet will not find it.

Re:The free net (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37387532)

Really? Who pays for the computers and routers and such? How about the electricity?

How does its content differ from the public internet?

How many people are on this secret Free internet?

Re:The free net (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387694)

Really? Who pays for the computers and routers and such? How about the electricity?

I suspect the people that own them, relevance?

How does its content differ from the public internet?

That's a secret. No one tells secrets to AC's. But the rest of us know. It's all a conspiracy to keep you in the dark.

How many people are on this secret Free internet?

Everyone but you.

Re:The free net (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387816)

Gee I guess you're too young to remember the network of bulletin board systems (BBS) that existed 10 years or more before the internet became popular. When people want to communicate, they communicate.

Re:The free net (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37387956)

Nope, I remember that.

Probably better than you remember it, because I remember that the people who paid for the hardware the BBSs ran on were be afforded as much freedom as anyone else, which included being free to prevent you from using their stuff to do things they didn't want you to do.

Also, do you feel that that scaled well? Why not roll back the clock further, and communicate via letters composed of cut up newsprint?

Re:The free net (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388242)

Also, do you feel that that scaled well?

Nope. But nowadays no one has to shell out a couple thousand bucks for multi-port modem cards and multiple phone lines. Everyone is connected to a very fast network backbone with a transport protocol built in. Technology has evolved. What is stopping you from joining my private network on port 23? Or we could do it encrypted on any other number of ports. And how much does it cost me to host that? Almost nothing. What's more I can host it from almost anywhere in the world within a couple hours and without leaving my home.

As for preventing people from doing stuff, it depends on the owner of the board. You are free to set up your own area with your own rules.

Re:The free net (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37387568)

I do hope you got the pun of my comment title..
The point is that the internet itself once used to be advocated as free, and nowadays true freedom is bullied into "not so obvious" places.

Let's just... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387434)

Let's just get rid of copyright and replace it with something sane.

Re:Let's just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37387574)

Copyright is sane. Its duration is the part that introduces the insanity.

Re:Let's just... (2)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387636)

No it really isn't. Copyright makes a fundamental error in thinking, and that is thinking that ideas are equivalent to property. The key difference is that ideas can be shared with no loss to the original. For example, if I have a car only one person can be driving it at a time. If I were to share the car with someone else, it would be a compromise, neither of us could use the car exactly how we wanted it all the time. On the other hand, ideas are nothing like that.

Re:Let's just... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387864)

Ideas are not equivalent to property, and ideas cannot be either copyrighted or patented. Only the specific implementation of an idea can. It's people like you that only add to the confusion, especially when you have to call them "your honor".

Re:Let's just... (1)

xelah (176252) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388178)

No it really isn't. Copyright makes a fundamental error in thinking, and that is thinking that ideas are equivalent to property.

No, it doesn't. Property is a legal concept. Copyright is a legal concept. Copyright laws can define something which behaves like property without any 'fundamental error in thinking'. The question isn't 'can I find a silly argument that claims a conceptual flaw in the concept of copyright' but 'does the existence of copyright law improve the welfare of individuals'. The non-rival nature of things subject to copyright (plus others, like streetlighting) is significant in how it must be analyzed, but doesn't come even close to properly examining whether copyright is a good thing or not.

Re:Let's just... (1)

poity (465672) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388894)

Currency can also be copied with no loss to the original -- when Kim Jong-il runs his printing presses, he doesn't physically take dollar bills away from the US Treasury, yet when counterfeits hit the market, be they physical- or information-based, they hurt the original creators by devaluing their product. Unauthorized replication therefore hurts the original creators by dis-empowering them in the market while empowering the counterfeiters. It is by this dependent, some may call parasitic, relationship that move IP protection proponents to call copyright infringement "stealing." While you and I may disagree with that final assessment (perhaps to different degrees), I think it's reasonable to look from that perspective and to understand that theirs is not an entirely baseless argument.

Now, we can have a debate on the ethics of artificially inflated prices for digital media, and of the disproportionate influence that publishers wield -- and on those issues I imagine you and I would be on the same side. However, this common "replication doesn't hurt anyone" argument is not convincing when examined under a critical light.

Re:Let's just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37387756)

It's not sane. It introduces a scarcity that doesn't exist. Just like patents.

Re:Let's just... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387850)

Not to mention criminalizing it with multi-year sentences and multi-million (and even trillion) dollar damage claims. That only encourages lawyers to advocate perpetuating the insanity since after all, they get the biggest cut.

Re:Let's just... (4, Insightful)

ratbag (65209) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387660)

Let's just get rid of copyright and replace it with something sane.

Maybe it's a sign of my age, but when someone comes out with a sentence like that, I feel I've got to ask "such as?"

Sure, you'll get plenty of "stick it to the man" positive moderation, but you haven't really made the world a better place, have you? Nor have I, so I'll shut up and crawl back to my coding.

Re:Let's just... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37387988)

Such as NOTHING
Let's face it, Copyright didn't exist in Mozart's days did it?
and his more famous than most of the crap that gets put out on the radio these days....
Go Figure.

Re:Let's just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37388366)

Such as NOTHING Let's face it, Copyright didn't exist in Mozart's days did it? and his more famous than most of the crap that gets put out on the radio these days.... Go Figure.

I see. The internet didn't exist in Mozart's age either. Let's get rid of that too.

Times change. Society must adapt to new technologies. Copyright is an attempt to react to change. It's an imperfect reaction and needs to be balanced. It is currently swayed too far towards the corporate interests.

Re:Let's just... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37388594)

Copyright isn't the answer, Copyright is an artificial limitation that seeks to create a scarcity vaccuum where one doesn't exist anymore, in an era of perfect copying, it needs to be abolished, it has no place in today's society full stop.

Re:Let's just... (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388932)

So what's the answer to ratbag's question, then? What system do you propose instead of copyright to encourage the creation and distribution of new works?

Re:Let's just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37389076)

The short term answer would be to legalize the non-commercial copyright infringement of copyright works.

Re:Let's just... (1)

ratbag (65209) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388400)

Such as NOTHING
Let's face it, Copyright didn't exist in Mozart's days did it?
and his more famous than most of the crap that gets put out on the radio these days....
Go Figure.

Fame didn't put bread on his table - the commissions of wealthy patrons did and occasional teaching gigs. And still it seems he died in a parlous financial position.

So there's one idea of how creative people could afford (struggle?) to survive in the absence of copyright, by attracting commissions. Shall we consider how tenable a position that would be for more "niche" artists than Mozart? Or whether the world would be a better or worse place if some of these recent artists couldn't find a way to earn a reliable living from creating?

Re:Let's just... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37388698)

Several options:

  * The patron system: a rich guy pays for some artists to make art. It worked for a few thousand years.
  * Artist pitches idea. Some people put money in escrow for it. If enough money shows up, artist gets to work. A couple of services are starting to facilitate this.
  * Compulsory licensing. Already in place for cover-bands. No good reason why it shouldn't apply to other forms of performance.
  * None of the above. Some people will create for the sake of creation. If there are enough of them, we don't need legal measures to encourage it.

Re:Let's just... (2)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 3 years ago | (#37389138)

when someone comes out with a sentence like that, I feel I've got to ask "such as?"

I'm not sure how rhetorical that was... but numerous alternatives to the current copyright scheme have been proposed. Obviously there is considerable debate and disagreement, but there are actually some (reasonably independent) studies which show that copyright terms of 7-12 years maximize social good (lower and the incentive isn't enough, higher and the returns are insufficient to justify protection, etc.). My point is that there are, certainly, alternatives. "No copyright" is also an alternative, though not necessarily the best one.

In my own opinion, I think the options are, going from best to worst:
1. Social contract copyright: the protection is commensurate to the social benefit offered by the copyright holder, and terms are reasonable. E.g. free & open-source material is protected for 15 years, partially open-source (can see all source material, which is eventually public domain, but derivative works are not allowed until then) is protected for 10 years, all-rights-reserved copyright is protected for only 5 years.
2. Commercial-only copyright: enforcement/lawsuits against companies and those who turn a profit from infringement are allowed; individual citizens are exempt.
3. Reasonable-term copyright: just like status quo but with shorter terms (7-10 years).
4. No copyright of any kind (alternative business models will arise, such as patronage and donation-based works).
5. Taxed copyright: to maintain a copyright, companies must pay taxes (a sort of 'intellectual property tax'). The tax rate can increase year by year. Thus companies will only keep paying as long as it is profitable, and works will naturally fall into the public domain at some point.
6. Subsidizing art/entertainment production through taxes.
7. Paying artists/entertainers through licensing fees and levies (on blank media, radio stations, venues that play music, etc.).
8. Status quo copyright (fairly long terms, considerable enforcement).
9. Zealous copyright (even longer terms, massive enforcement campaigns).
10. Infinite copyright.

My point is that alternatives exist, which are likely better for society overall (but not necessarily better for the select group of people profiting off of the status quo). Moreover it's entirely possible that "do nothing" is a better option than the current system. (Doesn't mean it's the best possible option, but far too often people don't even consider the possibility of simply having no low/rule/regulation in a given area.)

It is to laugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37387478)

Do they think Google is the only search engine?

Re:It is to laugh (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387668)

Yes. Shhhh.

Re:It is to laugh (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387696)

Well, this is Jeremy Cu... I mean Hunt [guardian.co.uk] we're talking about.

Who's in charge? (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387496)

I can imagine Google saying "Sorry, we don't police the wires. If you're unhappy with that, well, that's unfortunate, I'm sorry you feel that way. Oh look, there goes the .uk domain (click). Oops, didn't mean to press that. Have you considered using AltaVista?

Re:Who's in charge? (1)

North Korea (2457866) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387510)

Do you honestly think that Google would just abandon their second largest market area?

Re:Who's in charge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37387600)

Do you think they don't already police the wires? Oh, simple minds if you think they don't. I am sure the Internet will be changing soon.

Re:Who's in charge? (3, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387628)

In case you weren't paying attention to the way Google works, if their actions in China are taken as an example, Google could, if exasperated enough, just redirect all search traffic to servers located in a place with different laws. This is the internet. Location isn't all that important.

Re:Who's in charge? (1)

xelah (176252) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387936)

But why would they do that? Google itself relies on copyright, too. It's what stops a competitor just taking whatever they feel like of their software any way they can, for example. And, of course, without copyright there might be a little less for them to index and advertise. Obeying a court order requiring them not to buy advertising space from someone who brings traffic to those adverts by using someone else's work without permission or recompense isn't particularly unreasonable. Why would they be so utterly exasperated with it?

Re:Who's in charge? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37387712)

To make a point if things got really bad? Sure they would. More so now than ever.
They only partially bent to China not long ago, but they weren't wanting them to police as much, just censor some crap which is what Google already does right now to an extent, particularly with real nasty stuff like child abuse.

People seriously don't realize how useful Google is. People will inevitably go "yeah but Bing", Bing nothing, it has nothing on Google as a whole. (well, the maps were better, up until Street View came out and destroyed the competition as it is the Street View that is the most important, actually seeing what things are like)
Google control a stupid amount of the web today, be it advertising, search, or other stuff.
Countless millions depend on Google for their entire income and would suffer immensely if they suddenly just vanished.
Yeah, no doubt some would probably change after the nasty shock to other, similar services, but not quick enough without a large dent in business, as well as their health due to the stress involved with probably losing so much (worse if Gmail and Docs in particular, all those contacts and data gone)
Not to mention other sites where you signed up using Google credentials. Lets say now you want to change your e-mail. "Go to your Gmail and verify the change", OOP, no can do, Gmail no longer exists in the UK.
If they flipped the switch and blackholed the whole of the UK, just watch the chaos as half the damn population go ape-shit crazy at the government for overstepping their boundaries. Normal people AND businesses all around.
Note that this also includes ISPs.
The instant this happens, you bet your ass that alternative ISPs and ISPs external to the country would take advantage of this. The simpletons would think it is the ISPs who are blocking Google. Even after explanation.

I really wish they would, even though I depend on a few things from Google myself.
It'd give so many people a reason to kick the SHIT out of our terrible governments focus at the moment.

Re:Who's in charge? (2)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387796)

Abandon? Probably not, but at this point you have to ask yourself who needs whom more. As ElectricTurtle points out, there are ways Google can make compliance with any restriction easier for themselves at the expense of UK business that make money from local listings (whether that's relying on advertising, ecommerce or just having people find out about them via their name appearing on the first page of Google.co.uk). That's not going to go down too well with UK business leaders, which traditionally account for a lot of the Conservative party's supporters/financial backers. If Google want to play nasty the UK government is basically pretty toothless in what they can do (other than shut off access to Google completely, in which case multiply the aforementioned backlash by X).

Re:Who's in charge? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 3 years ago | (#37389048)

You are effectively arguing that Google is Too Big To Fail and has become above the law. If this is true, the correct response to such a situation in a civil society is to destroy it, swiftly and decisively. We are all familiar with the results of not doing so and kowtowing to big business for too long instead.

Of course, the situation isn't really that extreme, and therefore such extreme countermeasures are not required either. It is far more beneficial for both sides to co-operate in some reasonable way on these issues. Frankly, what is being discussed here is not unreasonable. I don't think we can sustain the current trend for so-called safe harbour arrangements, where a large organisation that is supporting people who break the law and is well aware of the fact that this goes on is allowed to continue to do so with impunity as long as they promise to stop when someone tells them they're being naughty. The same technology that permits this sort of law-breaking on a massive scale can also be used to mitigate it, and it isn't absurd to expect the service providers to help with that.

Re:Who's in charge? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387898)

Do you honestly think that Google would just abandon their second largest market area?

If the cost of doing business there exceeds the revenue generated, they will drop it like a hot potato. So the answer is: YES.

Re:Who's in charge? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388432)

I can imagine Google saying we can't or won't do that because it's our policy not to game the rankings

This just in... (5, Insightful)

ace37 (2302468) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387592)

Due to the extensive illegal use of their product, police have asked Remington to stop the Mexican drug trade.

Re:This just in... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387916)

Supermarkets have also been asked to stop selling food to criminals.

Another aspect of your comparison... (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388050)

It's already been long-established that most of the weapons that are being used by the cartels are actually real military weapons. Not "military-looking" like the AR-15 which is just another semiautomatic rifle that just "looks scary," but the sort of automatic weapons that the only efficient American channel for getting them is the US Government funneling them to Mexico where they "just so happen" to fall out of the Mexican government's hands only to reappear in some enterprising criminal's hands.

What is absolutely ridiculous about the "90% myth" with the Mexican cartels and American guns is that the best the ATF can figure out is that the most of the weapons being smuggled across the border are being sold illegally to ordinary Mexican citizens because buying and transporting weapons is nearly impossible in Mexico. The black market exists because ordinary Mexicans are getting sick to death of being caught in the crossfire between a corrupt-as-heck government that can't/won't protect them and the cartels.

Can anyone other than a white liberal living in an upper class part of town their entire life blame them?

This shows the ridiculousness of trying to go after vendors and service providers indirectly. Usually it's caused by the government not doing its job.

Re:Another aspect of your comparison... (1)

ImprovOmega (744717) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388592)

Not "military-looking" like the AR-15 which is just another semiautomatic rifle that just "looks scary,"

The AR-15 fires the exact same ammunition as the M-16 assault rifle. There are kits that can be bought on the internet to make it a full automatic weapon. And while the accuracy *may* be slightly less than the M-16, the bullets fired from an AR-15 are just as deadly as those from an M-16. And it will absolutely fire as fast as you can squeeze that trigger.

Re:Another aspect of your comparison... (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388780)

The AR-15 fires the exact same ammunition as the M-16 assault rifle. There are kits that can be bought on the internet to make it a full automatic weapon. And while the accuracy *may* be slightly less than the M-16, the bullets fired from an AR-15 are just as deadly as those from an M-16. And it will absolutely fire as fast as you can squeeze that trigger.

This is true for my shotgun as well. Except that my shotgun is NOT considered an "evil assault weapon" and is FAR more deadly than any AR-15.

Note that it's also true for my mini14. Which is also NOT considered an "evil assault weapon", though it is semi-automatic, convertible to full-auto if you buy an illegal kit and illegally modify the gun, and fires exactly the same cartridge as the M-16.

Note, for the record, that military rifles, in general, use rather weak cartridges, not the super-deadly ones you might expect. The M-16 fires a cartridge that would be considered a mediocre "varmint round", and totally unsuitable (not to mention illegal in most States) for hunting something man-sized (like a white-tail deer).

The AK-47, by the way, fires a cartridge that is ballistically similar to the .30-30 - suitable for a deer rifle at short range, totally unacceptable for that purpose once you get out into open country.

On the other hand, my .30-06 will go through your body armour. And yes, you can buy semi-auto .30-06 rifles.

Re:Another aspect of your comparison... (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390130)

The AR-15 fires the exact same ammunition as the M-16 assault rifle

Not true. The .223 round and 5.56 NATO, while very similar in appearance, aren't the same internally. Putting a .223 in an M16 will be fine, if liable to be slightly underperforming due to the Leade being different and maybe not cycling properly (often an issue with the M16 family, mainly due to people monkeying around with the gas tube length). Putting a 5.56 NATO round in a cheap AR-15, however, could result in Bad Things happening. At the very least, you'd have cycling issues, chambering issues, and greatly increased wear on the working parts. At worst, you'll have cracking of the bolt, chamber and/or barrel.
Yes, you can effectively convert an AR-15 into an M-16. By the time you've done it properly, you'll have a whole new rifle. It's a Ship of Theseus thing.

Re:Another aspect of your comparison... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 3 years ago | (#37389296)

It's already been long-established that most of the weapons that are being used by the cartels are actually real military weapons. Not "military-looking" like the AR-15 which is just another semiautomatic rifle that just "looks scary," but the sort of automatic weapons that the only efficient American channel for getting them is the US Government funneling them to Mexico where they "just so happen" to fall out of the Mexican government's hands only to reappear in some enterprising criminal's hands.

Actually, the ATF has been happily providing the Mexican cartels weapons for a while now. Haven't heard about Operation Gunrunner yet?

Re:This just in... (1)

xelah (176252) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388060)

If Remington knowingly supplied continuing shipments of razor blades to drug barons who then publicly used them to help them supply drugs, do you really thing there wouldn't be a judicial response? And in this case it's partly about Google buying advertising space from (and therefore being a source of funding to) websites which have been ruled to be unlawful by a court. They're not being asked to 'stop [others] copyright infringement', they're being asked not to collude in it and profit from it.

Re:This just in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37388664)

"If Remington knowingly supplied continuing shipments of razor blades" /me blinks eyes at misunderstanding.

Re:This just in... (1)

xelah (176252) | more than 3 years ago | (#37389280)

Oh /that/ Remington. That makes the OP make more sense. They're not widely known here. My reply still stands, though.

Re:This just in... (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388430)

Due to the extensive illegal use of their product, police have asked Remington to stop the Mexican drug trade.

I like your analogy and I don't support the UK government but if you have knowledge of a crime and do nothing you are an accessory. In this case I think the government will need to prove Google "knows" about a crime.

Re:This just in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37390572)

Not necessarily. One of the huge problems with crime in my city is that witnesses and victims won't talk, even in most homicides. I think you can be charged as an accessory if you knew before the crime was committed but it seems like it's quite sketchy in general.

On the other hand, the US courts have held gun manufacturers responsible for murders committed with their guns before. I respectfully disagree with that standpoint in general but the precedent is there.

God forbid they ever just stop and think "You know, maybe there's an underlying problem here. Why are a bunch of otherwise law-abiding citizens pirating music/movies when they don't steal in other situations?" But no, they're rather punish millions rather than investigate and solve something complicated.

They're already trying (1)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387724)

Newzbin2 is an example. The MPA is trying to get the Govt to expand the use of the super secret child porn filter to include "copyright violations" too.

How long do we have to wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37387758)

...until the old "typewriter generation" dies off in the UK, the US, Canada, New Zealand, etc. etc. and the ones who, when they were kid, traded cassette tapes in school get in power (as in: become the largest voting block)?

Right now these parties know that these "digital age" issues don't matter to the Typewriters so they can get away with it. Things will change eventually, after the wind changed direction wholeheartedly supported by these same parties, but it would be nice to speed things up a little.

It's not their job to police it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37387822)

Google's only job is to offer users a good experience in finding what they are looking for.

Probably inevitable, regardless of who's in power (2)

SlashBugs (1339813) | more than 3 years ago | (#37387846)

This huge push toward strong enforcement of copyright, patents and other IP seems completely inevitable; the government will never stop pushing for ever tighter national and international monitoring and enforcement.

The reason for this is that, as a nation, we really can't afford to stop. We have next to no natural resources that can profitably be sold, our labour is too expensive to compete as a manufacturing base and the days of sailing around exploiting our colonies are long behind us. The only two things we have left that we're good at are financial services (for which London was a powerful centre due to historical reasons as much as anything else), and developing new technologies that we can sell or license to others (e.g. the arms fair currently going on in SE London). A world in which IP rights are not strongly protected is one in which British companies have nothing to sell.

Now, I know that patent and copyright are very different things. However, as many of the big Western economies slide further from having economies that rely on selling physical objects into having economies that rely on selling or licensing information (patented designs, copyrighted films, etc), I can see them becoming strongly linked. For increasingly information-based economies, the fight to establish all forms of IP as sacrosanct is really the fight to still have a place in the world economy in a couple of decades' time.

Re:Probably inevitable, regardless of who's in pow (1)

alienzed (732782) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388216)

What is Inevitable is all these self-ish, money hoarding and progress inhibiting ways going the way of the horse and carriage. How can we find a balance with our planet and with each other if our primary form of trade involves striving to screw everyone else out of their money?

Revolt is also inevitable if you push too hard (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37388218)

One of the reasons UK (and the other colonial powers) couldn't exploit her colonies any more is because they tried to exploit too much, and the colonies finally said "enough is enough"

If the governments try to clamp down too hard on copyright, it may just backfire and they end up losing it all. People may stop caring about some far away copyright owner (read: not necessarily the content creator) like the colonists stopped respecting some far away government who "owns" the colony

Re:Probably inevitable, regardless of who's in pow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37388922)

This huge push toward strong enforcement of copyright, patents and other IP seems completely inevitable; the government will never stop pushing for ever tighter national and international monitoring and enforcement.

I completely agree. But its a natural reaction and counter push to what has become a society norm; freely taking what you don't own. Just as with any rampant crime, inevitably you wind up with a police state until the crime is brought back under control. Generally speaking, the people who cry the loudest for these types of moves (and the push yet to come) are the exact same people who are creating the entire need to push back. Basically, while wildly unpopular, you can almost exclusively blame the pirates.

Like it or not, pirates like terrorists, empower those who seek to reduce and/or eliminate freedoms. While many people see pirates are a "freedom movement", the sad fact is, pirates are almost the sole reason for continued loss of freedom and rights; just as terrorists have done for Americans post-9/11. Long story short, to support piracy is to support the loss of rights and freedoms. Ironically, pirates are the very thing they are fighting against. Pirates are their own worst enemy but continue to blame everyone else but themselves.

Re:Probably inevitable, regardless of who's in pow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37389190)

This is about controlling information and making money off of it more than anything else - But if they just dropped the controlling part the making money would make itself evident later on.

All of this legislation is pushed by people who have fallen behind the times, people who cannot adapt to today and get more and more desperate to keep their desired revenue stream going. Innovation is stifled because of this, as is the development of new industries that could actually 'fix' the problem of Western economies.

Re:Probably inevitable, regardless of who's in pow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37389306)

Any economy that seeks to profit soley from IP is completely doomed. Countries that make things completely have the upper hand, long term, as far as generating new IP is concerned.

Re:Probably inevitable, regardless of who's in pow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37389966)

And we can only blame ourselves for being asleep behind the wheel letting our economies that once produced exports shrivel up and become services and 'IP' based.

The West's 'Spring' is coming I hope.

Re:Probably inevitable, regardless of who's in pow (1)

endymon (1898808) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390156)

Interestingly enough, I liken the push for strong IP protection to be a new form of colonialism. Think of it this way, the countries that are pushing for strong IP laws want to have a lock down on culture, with these international agreements they can force all developing countries to buy culture from them because to create their own would be infringing (cause everything builds off what is already there). Meanwhile, raw materials "eg cheap shirts, cd players, toys etc" are sent from the developing countries to the big powers. In a similar way to colonialism where unprocessed goods were sold to the industrial powers and processed goods were sold back to the colonies.

And I thought my country was bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37387930)

I have to say, that the UK is by far the worst country in the West. Aside from North Korea, Burma, sub-saharan Africa and the islamic hell holes, I don't think there's a country I'd rather not live in.

Re:And I thought my country was bad (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388548)

Aside from North Korea, Burma, sub-saharan Africa and the islamic hell holes, I don't think there's a country I'd rather not live in.

Having fled the UK a few years ago, I entirely agree. Fortunately it's bankrupt with no sign of any way out so with any luck it will improve over the next decade or two.

Re:And I thought my country was bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37389674)

You forgot to add the USA to that list. And Australia is getting pretty screwed up lately with talk of great peoples firewalls etc, but they still have bbqs and Steve Irwin so I'll let them pass. Apart from that I completely agree with you.

Re:And I thought my country was bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37390102)

The US is nowhere near the UK's league.

Maybe Not (2)

glorybe (946151) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388030)

I believe that one becomes liable for damages and prosecutions if one edits traffic at all. The best defense is zero editing and zero viewing of what flows from your server. Think about it. Must the phone company be held for any traffic that violates a porn law or any other restrictions? Obviously the phone company has no control and hopefully no knowledge at all of my conversations. How is the net or web site any different? Even a commercial truck driver has no guilt if he has a huge box full of dope in the back of his truck unless it is proven that he knew it was in the truck. The reasoning behind some of these proposed laws is very much aimed at only some of us and not all of us. They may take your car if a passenger has dope in his pocket. But when was the last time a cruise ship, commercial jet, or large building was seized simply because one occupant was doing something illegal?

Bill 'em for it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37388082)

I'm willing to bet that the law they write will not include a clause that says the isp's hve to do this free of charge. I'd bill the gov't for all they were worth. If they are going to make me be their enforcers, then they will pay me to do it.

Gov says we'll keep the money, you do the work. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37388318)

So, now the government can't even be bothered to enforce the laws it feels are important and wants to foist law enforcement duties onto google.
Or, maybe this is an admission the government is such a bunch of dorks that they couldn't do the job anyway.

Re:Gov says we'll keep the money, you do the work. (1)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 3 years ago | (#37388412)

If it works, it is the Gov's genius. If it fails, it was the corporations. Plus it doesn't effect the budget.

Brilliant future ideas:
* Drug testing before being allowed to get drugs from pharmacies.
* For the US, gun sellers and/or buyers must do volunteer service as deputy border watchmen.
* Grocery stores must keep a running tab on who buys what, cross referenced to medical databases on health/weight for tax reasons.

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