Feeds

British man sacked for having opinion

Shut up or shove off

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A British man has been sacked for speaking out against heavy-handed copyright actions in the US after appearing on Newsnight last week.

Alex Hanff was asked to appear on last Monday's Newsnight programme to talk about the recent Supreme Court decision against Grokster. Hanff, who is from Lancaster, was of interest to Newsnight because back in March he was sued for copyright infringement by Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal and Warner Brothers - as exclusively revealed on El Reg here.

Hanff worked as a trainer and consultant for Aldcliffe Computer Systems, also based in Lancaster. He was given permission to leave work 45 minutes early to meet the Newsnight camera crew. He returned to work on Tuesday.

Hanff told the Reg: "At first everything was fine then at lunchtime the technical director came in and fired me. He told me it was because of my opinions and there was no right of appeal." Although Hanff had only been working at Aldcliffe Computer Systems for a week he said the full-time position was a dream job: "I turned down a higher-paid post because this was a career position and a fantastic opportunity."

The sacking was even more of shock, said Hanff, because he had had nothing but praise while working at Aldcliffe and had been told that, at interview, he had "blown all the other candidates out of the water".

Hanff said: "Democratic society is based on the ability to have opinions and to express those opinions - that's how society grows."

He said that after the sacking he received a call offering to increase his severance pay from one week to three months. On legal advice he declined the offer.

Tribal Group, which owns Aldcliffe Computing, said in a statement: "Mr Hanff was employed on a probationary basis for one week in one of our software companies. The decision to terminate his employment was made in order to defend our legitimate business interests. Mr Hanff has declared that he is opposed to copyright and intellectual property laws. Since much of our business is based around the protection of our copyright and intellectual property, we consider our dismissal of Mr Hanff entirely justified and appropriate."

The largely untested Human Rights Act does guarantee the freedom to have an opinion and to express that opinion.

Back in March, Hanff received a letter from lawyers Jenner&Block, representing the Motion Picture Association of America. He has been advised to ignore the letter because the MPAA has no jurisdiction in Europe.®

Related stories

Hollywood calls BitTorrent Brits to US Court
Hollywood brow-beats second BitTorrent Brit
Hollywood threatens to sue UK BitTorrent man for millions

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.