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Europe Rejects Plan To Criminalize File-Sharing

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the thanks-for-sharing dept.

Government 291

Lineker points out a report that the European Parliament has rejected plans to criminalize file-sharing by private individuals. The amendment to remove the anti-piracy measures passed by a vote of 314-297. The decision is expected to influence how France, with its strict anti-piracy polices, approaches this issue when it assumes the EU presidency later this year. From InfoWorld: "France's so-called Oliviennes strategy to combat copyright abuse includes a 'three strikes and you are out' approach: Offenders lose the right to an Internet account after being caught sharing copyright-protected music over the Internet for a third time. The report is significant because it 'signifies resistance among MEPs to measures currently being implemented in France to disconnect suspected illicit filesharers,' the Open Rights Group said in a statement.

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RIGHT? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23031872)

The right to an internet account? So, France supplies every citizen with an account until they've had three strikes?

Re:RIGHT? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23031888)

No, there aren't many of what we would call rights in France. Freedom of Speech for example. They couldn't have a Led Zeppelin day on the radio for example, since a fixed percentage of the music must be in French.

Re:RIGHT? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23031934)

Why is parent so anti-French ? We are just different culture and different way of doing thing. France is very good in computers, leads in that industry. And in WWII we help to defeat Nazis, being a good ally to US as is always. Why so much people in US do not like us French people ?

Re:RIGHT? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23031956)

What did you do in WWII exactly? I seem to recall France was pretty much down for the count fairly early on, since you lacked the concept of invaders going AROUND your impenetrable defense.

Anyway, if it wasn't the French, it would be someone else. Maybe we should move on to the Danish. No one likes them, much, anyway.

Re:RIGHT? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23032006)

That's a hilarious comment on an American forum, since the US likes to pretend it singlehandedly won WWII, when in reality it was mostly the Russians who destroyed the German army, and the Brits who destroyed the Luftwaffe. The US army came in late and had to rush simply to get into Germany before Stalin took all of it for himself.

Re:RIGHT? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23032204)

Brits who destroyed the Luftwaffe.
That would be Commonwealth not just the brits. ;)

Re:RIGHT? (4, Funny)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23031980)

Why so much people in US do not like us French people ?
Because the wine, food, healthcare, social services, and kissing are so much better in France, Americans have to hate you so they can continue to feel good about themselves.

Re:RIGHT? (1, Interesting)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032076)

It's difficult to please a french person. For example if you try to use their language, and don't get the accent quite right, then take it as an insult! (Most nations take it as a compliment that you at least tried.)

Re:RIGHT? (3, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032372)

and don't get the accent quite right, then take it as an insult!

Has this actually happened to you?

Re:RIGHT? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23032510)

It's happened to me... however, I'm pretty sure it's just an EXCUSE to treat you like filth instead of a REASON. Generally, the Parisians who wish to treat you like crap will wait until an excuse presents itself. And you can tell which Parisians wish to treat you like crap, because they perceive themselves to have authority. The rest of the country seems to be fine but god help anyone not from Paris, who has to deal with a Police Officer or Security Guard in Paris...

French isn't in the top 10 so they are En colà (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032586)

Here is how it breaks down top languages [ignatius.edu]

Seems like Arabic will be the official language of France before too long.

Re:RIGHT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23032884)


You just have to let them know you aren't an American and many french people's attitudes improve immensely.

Thanks be to G.W.Bush and his freedom fries, amongst other things.

Re:RIGHT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23032130)

So? We created Chinese food. And pizza. Not to mention the missionary position. You're welcome.

Re:RIGHT? (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032198)

Yea but they have the French position

(you don't want to know...hint: it involves cheese and a baguette)

Re:RIGHT? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23032350)

To be honest? The French POPULOUS is great. It's the French GOVERNMENT (Or anybody in Paris with authority, really, be it perceived or genuine) that sucks. Most of the people of Paris I met were fantastic. It's the people who viewed themselves as 'in charge' that were complete assholes.

And I mean that, unerringly, that was the case. It wasn't the case in Britain, nor in the Bahamas, nor Canada nor Mexico, nor America. But when I visited Paris? Every time I had to interact with a policeman or security guard or whatnot, they treated me like filth for simply existing.

Is that enough reason?

Re:RIGHT? (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032028)

Hey, dont take it so personally, most Americans probably think that the Statue Of Liberty was made by Ford Motor Company...

Not to mention your (as a country) help in 1812, and WW1... if it wasnt for you, the odds are good they'd still be under British rule (who they should hate more than anyone)

Although I have nothing against the french (as in 'France')... if you could come and ship the damn Quebecers back to your country, we'll build you a new Eiffel Tower or something... promise...lol

Re:RIGHT? (1)

Phil_At_NHS (1008933) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032192)

Honest Answer? A perception, right or wrong, that the French are extremely arrogant and self important. Something that is probably echoed as a perception of Americans.

Re:RIGHT? (1, Troll)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032406)

I've always been baffled by that myself. What drives me even more nuts is the constant jokes about Canada, and I'm an American. It's always some dumbshit redneck who's never been outside the country who calls Canada "America's hat" without considering that the Canadian dollar is worth more than ours and that he's got less teeth then they have provinces.

I've been to quite a few Canadian cities on hockey trips and I'm seriously considering moving there.

Re:RIGHT? (3, Insightful)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032038)

No, there aren't many of what we would call rights in France. Freedom of Speech for example. They couldn't have a Led Zeppelin day on the radio for example, since a fixed percentage of the music must be in French.
So freedom and constitutional rights in the United States have eroded to the point where Freedom is now defined as the ability to play Led Zeppelin all day?

How the hell do Content Laws have anything to do with Freedom of speech?

We have Canadian content laws in Canada as well.

CanCon laws in no way impeed my freedom to say what I want, when I want. I can say that Stephen Harper is a fucking douche, whos anti-media policies would be right at home in North Korea. I have the freedom to walk right up to his house, knock on his door and say it to his face (if he answers his own door...)

Re:RIGHT? (1)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032086)

Can you have signs in English anywhere in Quebec ? (Business, private, whatever) An honest question - I am just wondering if it is an urban legend that you can't.

Re:RIGHT? (4, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032140)

You're American, aren't you? I'm Australia. Yes, I ride to work on a kangaroo.

And yes, I've been asked that seriously by an American I once met while travelling.

Re:RIGHT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23032614)

A hhangaroo?

Re:RIGHT? (1)

BootNinja (743040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032904)

It's cool Australia, I live in Texas and when I went to Disneyland on a band trip 10 years ago, I was constantly asked by floridians about my horse.

So I just ran with it and told elaborate stories about mucking out the school stables, my great aunt ethel who lost a finger feeding her horse, and how my dad got run over by a steer.

Re:RIGHT? (3, Informative)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032234)

Not an urban legend.

Quebec has the most draconian laws of any communist country.

Sure you have freedom of speech, but it must be in French.

Take our most famous "English-rights' lawsuit taht a Canadian company took to the Quebec government.

Eaton's. (A very large upscale'ish Sears) Was forced to change their signs in Quebec from: "Eaton's" to "Eatons'"

All because the former was an 'English' sign.

Re:RIGHT? (1)

the brown guy (1235418) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032562)

All signs must be primarily in French i believe, but thats not Canada, that's Quebec and nobody gives a fuck about them anyways.

Re:RIGHT? (1)

Zelrak (1213628) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032632)

You can have english signs, they just have to have bigger and more prominent french writing. So there can be some english, but the french has to predominate.

Re:RIGHT? (1)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032132)

Apparently you don't have freedom of speech in Canada. Listen to your "human rights investigator" (PDF http://volokh.com/files/warmantranscript.pdf [volokh.com] PDF p43):

MS KULASZKA: Mr. Steacy, you were talking before about context and how important it is when you do your investigation. What value do you give freedom of speech when you investigate one of these complaints?


MR. STEACY: Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value.


MS KULASZKA: Okay. That was a clear answer.


MR. STEACY: It's not my job to give value to an American concept.




Now, I'm sure that's not the view of most Canadians but idea that someone from your "human rights" commissions has such abject disregard for the universal value of free speech - a value that is by far not uniquely American. How did this person get to be in that position?

So freedom and constitutional rights in the United States have eroded to the point where Freedom is now defined as the ability to play Led Zeppelin all day?
While I'm generally not happy about the state of American Constituional Law (and I'm also not alarmist about it either, most of the institutions seem sound enough to survive a few bad terms), I would say that the right to play whatever music (obscenity notwithstanding) you want on your radio station constitutes a part of a fundamental right. It's not defined that way, it's just that the way it's defined necessarily includes that right (mathematically, that right is necessarily a subset of the broader right).

As far as the French policy goes, I cannot imagine any Court in the United States upholding a restraint on the ability of a citizen to freely contract with an ISP for internet access. The only way this could possibly happen is if it is proven (note: the "making available" theory no longer holds water) that the person in question distributed files in violation of someone else's rights, the DA/USA could make not touching the internet a part of a plea deal. In that case, it's voluntary and so there is no question of legality.

Re:RIGHT? (2, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032244)

well, technically we don't have "freedom of speech". freedom of speech is not mentioned anywhere in the charter of rights and freedoms.

Freedom of expression (2, Informative)

bug1 (96678) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032720)

well, technically we don't have "freedom of speech". freedom of speech is not mentioned anywhere in the charter of rights and freedoms.

According to the UN Declaration of Human Rights, you do.

From the preamble
"Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,"

And from article 19.
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html [un.org]

Re:Freedom of expression (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23033012)

unless i missed something, that declaration is non-binding.

while we don't have the freedom of speech idea, we have the broader/more accurate concept of freedom of expression, rather than reinterpreting "speech" to mean a bunch of things other than spoken word.

Re:RIGHT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23032726)

And what we do have is this:

b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

Re:RIGHT? (1)

lelitsch (31136) | more than 6 years ago | (#23033010)

That's not even a decent troll. How is freedom of speech not part of "freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication"? Section 2b of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Re:RIGHT? (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23033034)

i wasn't even trying to troll. i emphasized "technically" for a reason. there is no "freedom of speech" in the charter. the word "speech" isn't even in it. freedom of expression is technically different (it explicitly includes all forms of communication) from freedom of speech (includes only spoken word), though they're effectively the same with "speech" being reinterpreted.

Re:RIGHT? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23033054)

well, technically we don't have "freedom of speech". freedom of speech is not mentioned anywhere in the charter of rights and freedoms.
More significantly, the Charter specifically gives Parliament (and, to a lesser degree, provincial authorities) the power to pass laws that violate the Charter if they feel that it's important enough to do so (the "notwithstanding" clauses).

Worse, the Charter is a law, passed by Parliament, as opposed to part of the Constitution (as in the US Bill of Rights). As such, it can be amended by Parliament at its whim, as opposed to having to go through the difficult Constitutional amendment process.

Most countries are this way; rather than limiting the power of government to infringe your rights (as in the US), they define in law what your rights are. Many people, American and otherwise, fail to grasp this difference.

For example, the US Second Amendment does not give Americans the right to own a gun; rather, it forbids the government from infringing upon the right of Americans to own a gun. Similarly, the US First Amendment does not give Americans freedom of speech or religion; rather, it forbids the government from passing any law that interferes with freedom of speech or religion.

The Canadian Charter, on the other hand, grants rights (e.g., section 2 "fundamental freedoms" including freedom of speech), but then says in section 33 "that Parliament or the legislature of a province may expressly declare" that a law they pass overrides section 2.

Similar situations are to be found in the UK, Australia, and other countries with parliaments (elected dictatorships). The citizens of these countries like to delude themselves that they are "more democratic" than the US, and that they are "more educated" than most Americans.

Zimbabwe is an excellent example of how parliaments are not "more democratic"; an important part of a real democracy are checks and balances to prevent the people from voting in a dictatorship (and to allow the minority a veto over something that stomps on their rights). Similarly, the image of "ignorant American" typically comes from some rich airhead American kid on a foreign vacation; not at all representative of Americans, but since it fits the prejudice they go with it.

Re:RIGHT? (1)

Arivia (783328) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032858)

Even though I don't really agree with them, they're technically and legally in the right. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms (what governs this sort of stuff across Canada) is separated into two sections: responsibilities, and rights. You don't get your rights until you live up to your responsibilities, and you definitely don't get them if you're infringing on someone else's rights. Basically, legally, in Canada, other peoples' human rights trump your right to expression (not to speech; we don't have a right to free speech). So, he's doing his job the right way, as crazy as it may seem.

Re:RIGHT? (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032978)

And also, you wouldn't see restrictions on the ability to play songs by one french band all day restricted.

Re:RIGHT? (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 6 years ago | (#23033092)

No, there aren't many of what we would call rights in France. Freedom of Speech for example. They couldn't have a Led Zeppelin day on the radio for example, since a fixed percentage of the music must be in French.

Sacrebleu! Your right not to play any French music on publicly owned radio frequencies is sacred. Let them try to pry that from your cold dead hands.....

Or you could just play a few French covers of Stairway to Heaven to make up the quota.

Re:RIGHT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23031898)

By virtue of government oversight of telco's, yes.

thats right (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23031882)

anal sex won't do anything but make your dick stink

First posts lately... (0, Offtopic)

junner518 (1235322) | more than 6 years ago | (#23031908)

Why have first posts royally SUCKED lately?
you are definitely not shocking anyone with your language, and you destroy this site, whose main content lies in INTELLIGENT comments.

Not to be offtopic, I like this development in Europe. They seem to get it, unlike our RIAA infested governments in the US.

Underground (4, Informative)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 6 years ago | (#23031916)

Criminalizing file sharing will just drive it underground like the good old days. Whens the last time any of you sent files over IRC?

Plus, it would be almost impossible to enforce a ban. There are already ways to increase anonymity and it's hard to block that kind of traffic.

Re:Underground (2, Informative)

Aetuneo (1130295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032096)

I'm not sure what your point is, but I download files from IRC bots all the time. It's the only way to get some subtitled anime, and it's almost always faster.

Re:Underground (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23032224)

If you didn't get his point you're probably retarded. It was that most normal people don't download subtitled anime and have therefore not needed to use IRC for a while. If you are still using IRC bots to download anything popular then you are, in fact, retarded.

Re:Underground (1)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032644)

I'm not sure what your point is, but I download files from IRC bots all the time. It's the only way to get some subtitled anime, and it's almost always faster.
You're the kind of guy who still uses a rotary phone. Still works don't it?

Re:Underground (2, Informative)

darthdavid (835069) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032692)

Actually rotary phones don't work anymore in a lot of circumstances. You need a touchtone phone to use any kind of voicemail system.

Re:Underground (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032230)

Can we sign you up for a speaking tour in D.C. ? Huh? please? Someone needs to spend some time... well, a whole LOT of fucking time in D.C. writing this in soap on legislators car windows and stuff.

While you are up there, can you stop in and see the gang of nine in the courthouse, perhaps explain these intartubewebtrucks to them?

Re:Underground (1)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032634)

Yes

Re:Underground (1)

Baki (72515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23033032)

It will also drive it out of the internet, but it won't go away. In times of terabyte harddrives, people will swap such disks, similar to the good old days when this was done with floppies.

The spread will be slower, but broader. People won't be able to share and fetch a single file very fast, but instead they will wait longer and then share simply all music that has ever been produced in one go.

Will the police and state forbid people to walk around with a harddrive in the future?

I have to ask (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 6 years ago | (#23031958)

Regardless of what France does, When I see that the EU generally doesn't just cave in anytime a corporation wants to use their government to further its own interests, my first thought is: Did someone steal the balls of every American politician and ship them overseas or something? It would explain quite a bit...

Re:I have to ask (3, Insightful)

sticks_us (150624) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032030)

Did someone steal the balls of every American politician and ship them overseas or something?

Not quite. I believe the balls were probably sold to a large international corp. through a complicated but effective purchase (or maybe a rent-to-own) program.

That's not to say the EU gets off the hook, the fact this thing even came to a vote (narrowly losing 314-297) means its only a matter of time until it, or a more convoluted version of it, passes.

Re:I have to ask (4, Funny)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032226)

It's an international ball market, get used to it

Re:I have to ask (2, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032332)

Balls? Who needs balls when you're in a corporation's pocket? "ideals" and "ethics" are for poor people.

Re:I have to ask (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23032526)

Regardless of what France does, When I see that the EU generally doesn't just cave in anytime a corporation wants to use their government to further its own interests
If eight votes went the other way, the outcome would have been completely different. Clearly there is no 'united' thought about this plan in Europe.

Re:I have to ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23032648)

If eight votes went the other way, the outcome would have been completely different.

322-289.. what difference would that make?

Re:I have to ask (5, Informative)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23033006)

Let's not develop the false impression that everything is great in the EU. We (I live in the EU), too, have bad laws, and a patent office that has granted software patents. Here, too, there are fear of the terrorists, discrimination against muslims and foreigners (even from other EU countries), security theater, governments that block investigations of possible mishaps, unreliable voting machines, religious fanaticism, the works.

Not that life is downright terrible in the EU, but we need to keep our eyes open, promote what is good, and correct what is wrong. Sure, I guess it's fun to laugh at Americans who can't spell their own language right, think Holland is the capital of Amsterdam, and are being spied on by their own government, but then, I know there are plenty of people in my country who can't spell their own language right, have absolutely no idea where Minnesota is, and are spied on by their government even more.

Outlawing file sharing is like... (4, Informative)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032002)

Outlawing file sharing is like outlawing jaywalking. You can do it, but it certainly won't stop people from doing it. It may be enforced at first, but since people don't think it's shaking the very foundations of the Universe, they think nothing of doing it, everybody but a little bunch of anal jerks ends up doing it, and it's not enforced anymore.

Re:Outlawing file sharing is like... (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032340)

Outlawing file sharing is like outlawing jaywalking.
I agree but for different reasons. Both are a case of government ruling over people instead of representing them. People *want* to jaywalk.. they want to get from one side of the road to the other by the shortest possible route and they're willing to dodge traffic to do it. Who the hell are you to say they cant? The majority? No, we all jaywalk. So where is this authority coming from? No-where! And that's why jaywalking laws are bullshit and shouldn't even exist, let alone be enforced. Same goes for file sharing. I think we've all made it abundantly clear that we want to share files and most of us, the majority of us, don't give care about any laws we may be breaking whilst doing it.

Re:Outlawing file sharing is like... (1)

darthdavid (835069) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032722)

Also, Drugs. We all like them. Fuck the DEA.

P.S. It's always 4:20 somewhere...

Re:Outlawing file sharing is like... (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032744)

The purpose of these kind of rules is to give the authorities "probable cause" to knock your door down. To make everybody a "criminal". And to generate revenue and increase conscripted labor through the prison system.

Re:Outlawing file sharing is like... (3, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032778)

Yes, it is all a gigantic conspiracy! It couldn't possibly be that someone's son or daughter was killed whilst jaywalking and made it their life quest to have a law passed "for our own protection". Motorcycle helmets and seatbelts are other examples of Freemason infiltration of our government.. it's the all seeing eye man!!

Re:Outlawing file sharing is like... (2, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032928)

"It's so convenient to have a system where everyone is a criminal"

Godwin'd

Thanks [slashdot.org]

Re:Outlawing file sharing is like... (3, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#23033016)

Who the hell are you to say they cant? The majority? No, we all jaywalk. So where is this authority coming from? No-where!
How about all the people who actually want to drive instead of playing "dodge the stupid jaywalker." You want to jaywalk, sure thing as long as certain conditions are met. These would include such things as drivers having total immunity, criminal and civil, if they hit someone crossing in a non-designated place. Likewise the jaywalker (or his estate) would be required to pay any and all costs that result including cost to the driver who hit them (such as lost time) and estimated costs to society from the resulting traffic jam.

Re:Outlawing file sharing is like... (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23033028)

How about all the people who actually want to drive instead of playing "dodge the stupid jaywalker."
They want to jaywalk too.. just ask em.

Re:Outlawing file sharing is like... (1)

Baki (72515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23033052)

The state could lock up everybody doing it, or at least ruin them financially (which will in the long term also result in locking them up). But with 1% of US population already behind bars, who is going to pay for locking all file sharers up, and who pays for the economical damage of financially ruining a large amount of people?

What about corporate pirates ? (5, Insightful)

bug1 (96678) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032012)

So if a corporation gets caught violating copyright three times, does corporation get banned from the internet, or is it yet another case where corporations get a free ride ?

Who was it that said that "a corporation has a body but no soul" ?

Who said? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23032182)

You just did, obviously.

But, I believe Lord Thurlow also said: "It has no body to kick and no soul to damn."

Re:What about corporate pirates ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23032516)

A corporation is larger than life, its golden! It cant do wrong, Hope you accept that.

The problem with not criminalizing it.... (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032016)

Let's say somebody who isn't a big name copyrights a particular work and starts to sell it, and let's say that a big publishing firm sees as a potential threat. What the bigger publishing firm could do is snatch the work and start distributing it (at no cost) online themselves, using their own fatter distribution pipe for the purpose, and effectively locking the smaller publisher out of benefiting from their own work.

This sort of scenario has implications on GNU software also... if file sharing of copyrighted material without permission wasn't criminal, somebody could take some GNU software and make changes and release those changes under whatever terms they wanted via filesharing, since copyright infringement wouldn't apply to them in that case.

I am perpetually amazed at how supposedly intelligent people cannot see that sharing copyrighted files without permission of the author not being copyright infringement is a contradiction in terms.

Re:The problem with not criminalizing it.... (3, Interesting)

alexhard (778254) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032106)

Hi, you seem to not have noticed the words "private individuals". Yes, they could release the software via filesharing, but then it would still be free (as in beer, not as in freedom obviously, but it doesn't make any difference..nobody from it except the end user who gets something for nothing). If, on the other hand, you start a business and sell that modified GNU software, which actually is a big deal, it stops being a private matter and you should (and will) be prosecuted for it.

Re:The problem with not criminalizing it.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032174)

Sure it would be free, but permitting it could effectively lock out a copyright holder from being able to benefit from distribution of the work. And I certainly wasn't suggesting a company's trying to sell modified GNU software, I was suggesting that they simply change it and releasing those changes under a closed-source license, perhaps for the sole benefit of raising the visibility of their own company, so that they profit indirectly because they may have other software that _is_ commercial. This can be particularly problematic when the original copyright holder doesn't have as fat a distribution pipe as the second company.

Re:The problem with not criminalizing it.... (5, Insightful)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032152)

What the bigger publishing firm could do is snatch the work and start distributing it (at no cost) online themselves [...]
if file sharing of copyrighted material without permission wasn't criminal, somebody could take some GNU software and make changes and release those changes under whatever terms they wanted via filesharing
You seem to have misunderstood the difference between criminal and civil law. "Criminalizing" something means making it a crime, the sort of thing that the police can arrest you for without anyone having to sue you first.

Copyright infringement is still a civil tort, and even though you won't be hauled off in handcuffs for trading songs, you can still be sued for it.

The fact that the EU decided not to criminalize file sharing doesn't mean they legalized it.

And by the way, since you brought up the GPL... those of us who are opposed to copyright in general (I don't believe infringement should be a crime or a civil tort) tend to believe that the main effect of the GPL is to give back the rights that copyright law takes away. If anyone could distribute any software without anyone else's permission, would it really matter if some of them didn't include the source code? RMS says yes, but I say no.

Re:The problem with not criminalizing it.... (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032208)

In what way is a civil penalty insufficient to stop the scenario you describe? It's worked well enough in the past, hasn't it? (Well, if anything, it gets overzealous.)

Re:The problem with not criminalizing it.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032428)

The biggest problem I find with civil penalty is that it can often be inadequate to act as a genuine deterrent.

Re:The problem with not criminalizing it.... (3, Interesting)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032620)

Multi-thousand dollar fines for sharing a handful of songs are "inadequate"? You must be joking.

Increasing the penalties won't help, because the risk of incurring that penalty is still exceedingly small. The average file sharer is more likely to die in an accidental fall than to be caught infringing.

Re:The problem with not criminalizing it.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032672)

Multi-thousand dollar fines for sharing a handful of songs are "inadequate"?
Evidently, since people still do it.

But I was considering the cases where the infringer has _more_ money than the person being damaged.

Re:The problem with not criminalizing it.... (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032772)

Evidently, since people still do it.
People still commit every crime. If your definition of an "adequate" penalty is one that's completely effective as a deterrent, then there is no such thing.

Re:The problem with not criminalizing it.... (4, Insightful)

Hemogoblin (982564) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032260)

There are many things that aren't "criminal", but are still illegal. For example, you can be punished if you break a contract, or if you perform a tort. That's what copyright infringement should fall under: tort law. Not some stupid criminal law with mandatory sentencing and fines.

Re:The problem with not criminalizing it.... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032502)

There are many things that aren't "criminal", but are still illegal.
Not according to the legal definition of "illegal".. I think you might be after "unlawful".

Re:The problem with not criminalizing it.... (1)

Hemogoblin (982564) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032674)

Perhaps. I'm not a lawyer :) Oh, and incase someone points it out, I am aware that France does not use the Common Law system. I'm only using those terms because that's what I'm familiar with, considering I'm from Canada.

Re:The problem with not criminalizing it.... (2, Insightful)

orlanz (882574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032368)

First, "file sharing of copyrighted material without permission" is illegal in most contexts, the proper term is copyright infringement. You "infringe" on the copyright owned by an entity. Don't let the term fool you, it is extremely bad to commit. Per the punishment, it is far worse than stealing; thou per the law, it isn't.

Which brings us to the point. I am not sure how it is in the EU, but in the US, "crime" is a very strong word. It is where murder, rape, fraud, and theft sit and ponder all day. It is so strong, that the government comes to punish you by taking you to court on behalf of the people, and dealing out a hefty punishment in terms of community service, fines, jail time, and death!

Copyright infringement currently falls under Civil law, where the entity being damaged goes after the one who is doing the damage. Now, in civil law, you need to show quantifiable (read: must be in dollars) damage to punish the infringer. You don't need such things for a crime. Also, the punishment isn't (read: shouldn't) going to be community service, fines, jail time, or death.

WHY? Well, in a crime, you tried to damage society and need to pay society or are removed from society. In a civil matter, you pay the guy you damaged all the... damages, court costs, and bit on top for being a bad boy.

In a way thou, maybe copyright infringement should be a crime. As, in a crime, the court needs to prove "without a reasonable doubt" that someone committed it. In a civil matter, I think there just needs to be a high probability. Plus, all the revenue/damages are awarded to society instead of the copyright holder or some pointless middleman who says he represents a bunch of them.

IANAL blah blah blah.

Re:The problem with not criminalizing it.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032460)

You seem to presume that in the case of copyright infringement, only the person whose copyright was infringed was damaged. This is *NOT* the case.

Unchecked copyright infringement, even if only against one company, weakens the value of copyright, as a whole... since future publishers see that copyright may be inadequate to protect their work from being copied.

It is because of this "global" damage, that copyright infringement should be handled by criminal law, and not merely left as a civil matter.

Re:The problem with not criminalizing it.... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23032546)

Well, I say that it's a good thing that the value of copyright is weakened. Should escaped slaves be punished harshly to avoid weakening the value of "human property" (HP!) rights? Sure, if you like the existence of HP rights? But HP rights are disgusting and immoral, much like IP rights.

Yes, I DO think copyright monopoly law is akin to slavery - it steals a little freedom from lots of people instead of all the freedom from one person. If you don't want stuff copied, don't fucking release it in the first place, that's fine by me.

Re:The problem with not criminalizing it.... (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032558)

Unchecked copyright infringement, even if only against one company, weakens the value of copyright, as a whole... since future publishers see that copyright may be inadequate to protect their work from being copied.
The smart publishers already saw that the minute they first learned what copyright is. The idea that a law could actually be effective at restricting the flow of information from one individual who wants to share it to another who wants to receive it is absurd on its face.

Copyright is inadequate to prevent any works from being copied, and the sooner we realize that as a society and shift to a model that doesn't need to prevent copying, the better off we'll be.

Re:The problem with not criminalizing it.... (2, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032638)

Sure.... if you can come up with some way of giving people an incentive to produce new works and receive due recognition for them without somebody else of possibly higher profile coming along and getting all the credit. Currently, that's what copyright does right now.

Re:The problem with not criminalizing it.... (0, Troll)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032764)

Sure.... if you can come up with some way of giving people an incentive to produce new works and receive due recognition for them without somebody else of possibly higher profile coming along and getting all the credit. Currently, that's what copyright does right now.
Easy:

1. The incentive to produce new works is the same as the incentive to cut hair, write code, design bridges, or manage companies: getting paid for doing it. As long as there is demand for new works to be produced, there will be people willing to pay for their production. Selling copies is an indirect way to fund that production, but without copyright, it could still be funded directly.

2. Taking credit for someone else's work is fraud. If you say "I wrote this book" when in fact you didn't, that's a lie, and if you say it in a commercial context, it may already be illegal. If not, it could be made illegal on its own without involving copyright.

Re:The problem with not criminalizing it.... (2, Insightful)

burgundysizzle (1192593) | more than 6 years ago | (#23033002)

If you want to move copyright infringement to covered under criminal law it should be removed from being a civil matter at the same time (so you can't be had twice) and any fines collected go to the government not the copyright owner. No statutory damages to the copyright owner, just a criminal prosecution. I bet you no-one or very few people get prosecuted though if that ever happens.

Re:The problem with not criminalizing it.... (1)

burgundysizzle (1192593) | more than 6 years ago | (#23033004)

... or at least not anyone not involved in commercial level copyright infringement/piracy.

They should make it leagal ... (0, Redundant)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032066)

to share any and all files, provided its sent over ham radio, or manually via morse code.

You should learn to spell legal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23032448)

You shouldn't be against something ... until you can spell it. Don't worry about what they should do. You should learn to spell "legal".

PIRATE BAY rulez ! Pirate Bay RULEZ ! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23032318)



It's the way of the people ! It is at it should be ! and the way it will be !

too close for comfort (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032380)

Although it's nice to see this, it was just a tad closer than I would like to see.

Kinda makes you wonder if ANY of our Western governments have the interests of their people in mind, in the least.

Re:too close for comfort (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23032420)

Why do you insist on using a different font? Fucker

EU's Speedy Legislation (1)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032484)

Has anyone else noticed that the EU legislates technology issues very fast and they make appropriate decisions for their people? I wonder why the US is having so much trouble properly legislating IT?

Re:EU's Speedy Legislation (1)

middlemen (765373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032542)

That is because politicians in the USA are busy paying 1000$ an hour for girls who sing on Myspace and busy bankrolling their careers -- the real "American dream" !

Re:EU's Speedy Legislation (1)

the brown guy (1235418) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032592)

The US governments "checks and balances" tend to sacrifice legislative efficiency and speed for more limits on what one branch can accomplish while prolonging the process artificially so there are no hasty decisions. Poli sci 101 wasn't totally useless..

Re:EU's Speedy Legislation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23032898)

That's a grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side thing, I expect. Here in the EU, their track record of making appropriate decisions is spotty at best. Sure, the software patents thing was blocked (but really only partially, since the EPO considers itself literally a law unto itself), and now this (though 314 vs. 297 sounds pretty near 50/50 to me, not a some definitive block!).

But examples of the EU royally fucking up are everywhere too, even in our geek field - Data Retention? I pee RED?

Dumb idea in the first place (5, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032694)

Define "Internet account." As in, your name is on the bill from some ISP somewhere? Are these people aware that you don't actually have to have an "account" to use the Internet?

Re:Dumb idea in the first place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23032958)

No. Fortunately.

In related news ... (3, Funny)

kylehase (982334) | more than 6 years ago | (#23032792)

European ISPs encounter rolling service disruptions due to unusually high traffic.

Title misleading?? (2, Funny)

AmigaHeretic (991368) | more than 6 years ago | (#23033096)

Title: Europe Rejects Plan To Criminalize File-Sharing

Really?? They were going to ciminalize file sharing?? That would have been SOOO sweet. You see at work they are alway sending me these crappy PowerPoint files about production goals. Oh man if only I could have turned them in for file sharing!!

I'm guessing they were talking more about "stealing songs", but I mean aren't there already laws against copyright infringment? Why would you need a second law for the exact same thing?
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