Tobold's Blog
Monday, July 07, 2008
European ninja vs. pirates

In a new twist on the eternal ninja vs. pirates fight, some European MPs are trying to ninja sneak a new law hidden in a big telecoms act into European law. The law would ban you forever from the internet if you get caught pirating three times. There are some obvious flaws in the law, which are more likely to hurt the innocent than the real pirates: For example you could lose internet access if you failed to secure your WiFi and somebody else warchalked you, and used your connection for illegal downloads. And of course it is highly dubious that there doesn't appear to be enough legal basis to even fine most of the pirates, but now the ISP could somehow find enough proof to turn off their internet access forever.

I'm all for copyright holders having legal rights, if necessary even to fine proven pirates. But turning off the internet for piracy is like turning off somebody's electricity because he used a stolen TV. Way disproportionate!
Also, seems that RIAA/MPAA are using bad methods to identify piates...

Just look at this study:

So, someone could get caught for having a recycled IP used by someone else in the previous minutes or just sharing a file that has a filename similar to something else...

Just as an example.. time ago I got a video removed from the usual youtube....
The video was a "test" and was a 1 minute long registration from a TV channel that was trasmitting a test screen (the usual coloured vertical lines). How stupid....

So in this.... Tobold, I agree with you.
Cory Doctorow has a modest proposal about this: If the copyright enforcers can cut off 'net access after 3 infractions, then they will get cut off after 3 false accusations of piracy.
Unfortunately, the big underlying issue here is that governments and thier lobbying interests don't like Internet the way it is. It's too much of a global and open public forum for their tastes. So we're going to see them moving to restrict and control Internet access under various guises. Some, like China, are more obvious in going about this than others, but all major governments are complicit. I'm afraid that unless there's strong public backlash, the Internet we know will gradually disappear.
Agreed, I have just written to my MeP... albeit too late perhaps.
The above post is a pretty good summary. The elites are using piracy to hide their real intentions - a complete restructuring of the Internet, which will shift control back into the hands of a chosen few and out of the hands of the public.

This is fascism, pure and simple; the collaboration of corporate and political interest at the expense of the public.
I am not sure there is some conspiracy of governments and the major entertainment companies, but certainly the governments will use laws like this as an excuse to control more of the net.

As mr. gamer said, the UN has lobbied to "take over" the internet on numerous occasions. Nominally it's because too many U.S. companies "run" the net, but the countries who lobby the hardest are the ones with no tradition of free speech and instead a tradition of fear of the people.

I think the truth is the internet is just too free and it upsets people in power. Even the U.S. government has little power over what happens, though many of the companies involved are based there.

Just like the U.S. used to have a law known as the "fairness doctrine" which did nothing except stifle free speech, and every once in awhile the party out of favor lobbies to bring this law back and thankfully fails.
The RIAA has already dropped several law suits when it was revealed the defendant's wireless router was unsecured. The reason being they could only track the downloaded/pirated music to a specific router, and when it was discovered that that router was an unsecured wireless router, without the actual music on the defendant's PC they had no case. In the U.S. you're innocent until proven guilty, so the onus is not on the defendant to prove they didn't download the alleged files, it's up to the prosecution to prove that they did. The fact that your unsecured router was used in an alleged crime is not sufficient proof of your guilt. It sounds like European laws are more restrictive.
It'd be one thing if you were actually "caught" infringing 3 times and then faced some kind of discipline.

The structure of the proposed litigation is much closer to a takedown or eBay's VERO program: you get three takedown letters, you're done. It doesn't particularly matter whether you are actually proven to be doing anything bad.

It effectively lets large copyright holders single out and kill connections at their whim.

It's terrifying. Which, of course, is exactly the impression they're trying to create.
This is laughable and almost completely unenforcable since the real hackers are so adept at covering their tracks. It's like passinga gun law to register guns -- honest citizen will do it, but criminals? I don't think so! lol
This reminds me of an anecdote on a country who enforce death penalty for pickpockets (don't know if it's true). During the first public execution, hundreds of wallets were stolen!

It will be the same here, the more they try to control, the worse it will be.
It occurs to me that this doesn't even need to get to the courts. The ISPs could take it upon themselves to monitor and enforce this law, and leave it up to the "pirates" to challenge it when their connection gets cut off. This could be based on the "5% using 95%" theory of bandwidth consumption. As 95% of an ISPs customers are using just 5% of the bandwidth, then the 5% using 95% must be doing something illegal, right? Right! Let's cut them off and if they don't complain, that proves they were pirates! If they do complain and they can prove they weren't doing something illegal (yeah right! Normal people don't use that much bandwidth!), we'll hook them back up.
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