Filesharing laws to hit websites and newsgroups too
Mandelson to 'future-proof' P2P restrictions
The government is planning to award itself powers to change copyright law almost at will, in expectation that new anti-peer-to-peer laws will drive infringement to other services such as Rapidshare and newsgroups.
The measure, which is the most severe contained in the Digital Economy Bill published today, will be interpreted as a major victory for rights holder organisations. It will grant the Business Secretary Lord Mandelson and his successors undprecedented control over civil enforcement of copyright.
The government said it will make the change "so that it, in future, new communications technologies allow creative content to be unlawfully copied in new ways, remedies can be developed and implemented more quickly and flexibly than might otherwise be possible, so that emerging threats can be addressed in a targeted way".
"We recognise there are other kinds of illegal downloading going on and will will need to tackle those as well," said Stephen Timms, the minister responsible for the Bill.
It lays the ground for successors to the enforcement regime proposed to reduce illegal peer-to-peer, also contained in the Bill.
Timms said the powers could not be used to create or modify any criminal offences. Any changes a business secretary might seek to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act using them would be subject to public consultation and debate in both Houses of Parliament, he added.
However, the powers will be exercised by statutory instrument rather than by primary legislation, meaning MPs and Lords could not block the government.
As previously announced, ministers will also use statutory instruments to impose "technical measures" - such as bandwidth restrictions, download limits and account suspensions - on ISP customers who persistently infringe copyright via peer-to-peer, which is currently the most common method.
Timms said account suspension would be a last resort, adding: "It may well prove to be the case that if we do use technical measures it may not be that one."
Earlier suggestions by Mandelson that the regime could be in force by summer 2012 were abandoned, with government spokespeople unable to commit to a timetable today.
The regime will work as follows; once the Digital Economy Bill is on the statute books - Timms noted it has cross-party support - ISPs will be obliged by law to notify their customers in writing when it is alleged they have been infringing copyright via peer-to-peer. The letter will be targeted based on lists of IP addresses harvested from BitTorrent swarms by rights holder organisations such as the BPI.
ISPs will also be required to keep records of how many letters are sent to each customer and share that information with the rights holders. If the BPI wants to identify a particular persistent filesharer, it would then apply for a court order and potentially sue in civil court.
Meanwhile Ofcom will be obliged to measure what effect the letters are having on the overall level of filesharing. It could do this via a Deep Packet Inspection-based traffic sampling system - as we revealed yesterday it has held talks with at least one vendor - or, an official suggested, judging it from the data provided by rights holders.
If after an unspecified period, determined by the business secretary, the overall level of infringement is not reduced by 70 per cent, a statutory instrument will be used to impose technical measures. Officials said the details of the technical measures will be tailored to each ISP, depending on the technology available and the nature of peer-to-peer infringement on their network.
Customers who want to challenge an allegation of illegal filesharing will be able to appeal to an Ofcom body in the first instance. If they are unsatisfied they will be able to take their case to a first tier tribunal.
Ofcom will also be responsible for working out the total cost of the process on a per-letter basis. ISPs will then charge rights holders a capped sum for each letter they send, which will effectively divide the costs between the two industries. The details of the split are under discussion, officials said.
ISPs have lobbied hard against the regime, but today Timms claimed the government now enjoys their support. "The importance of what we are doing is pretty widely recognised," he said, adding that BT and Virgin Media backed the regime. ®
Wonderful, so now they now have yet another way to spy on and punish millions of people...
If that isn't bad enough we also have this ... "the powers will be exercised by statutory instrument rather than by primary legislation, meaning MPs and Lords could not block the government."
In other words, this "statutory instrument" bypasses Democracy because our elected representatives in Parliament cannot even then vote on the legislation. Which therefore proves we don't have a Democracy, we have an outright Dictatorship.
A control freak Orwellian Police State Dictatorship intent on spying on us all regardless of the fact the vast majority of the population don't want all this spying, therefore the corrupt politicians give us yet another demonstration the politicians work against us, instead of working for us. They don't represent our views, they represent their own views and their rich friends views (in this case, in the media industries). All this spying to just prop up their failing business model?!?. What the hell is the UK becoming.
This "statutory instrument" is getting truly shocking. Its via this statutory instrument that they were also able to give literally Police State powers to the local councils to force entry into our homes (and freeze our bank accounts) whenever the councils choose and without the police even being told or even present. The police were shocked by that law change, especially as they were not even told, but then no one was told, because it was quietly brought in via "statutory instrument". Its a Dictatorship's blank cheque.
Be warned world, stay away from the UK and watch out, because the UK is now unquestionably an outright Dictatorship.
Worst still (if that is even possible!) this isn't going to end after the next election, because which ever gang of control freaks gets into power, they will continue the same control freaks attitude. The only time they listen to us is when they want to tell us what we want to hear, then after that, its very evident they are ignoring the vast majority of the population. (The one I fear getting in is the BNP, because they would spend about a month doing what they say they intend to do and then the rest of the time exploiting their position of power to turn the UK into an utter nightmare only Hitler would be proud of).
This new online spying move is also highlighting the ever growing problem that the control freaks in power are going to keep abusing whatever new spying technology that gets created so they can keep using it against us all. They say they work for us, yet their actions keep showing they don't work for us, they work against us. So ultimately all their two faced lying words are meaningless, its their power grabbing actions which are showing their true intentions against us all and thats getting ever more scary.
Its sickening not just for us, but also for the sacrifices and hardship of all our generations of our ancestors who must now be spinning in their graves, because its becoming ever more clear we have all lost their fight for democracy, freedom, liberty and privacy ... all wiped out in about 8 years of politicians gaming the legal system since 2001. When the planes hit the buildings I now see they destroyed far more than just buildings. The bullying terrorists have handed a blank cheque to the bullying control freaks in power and they are arrogantly using their blank cheque to be utterly ruthless to us all.
The question now is what do we all do about it? We are slowly watching them destroying our democracy, freedom, liberty and privacy in UK piece by piece, to the point now, where we hardly have anything remaining.
“Alas, that these evil days should be mine.“ :(
MPAA/RIAA at work
How many international criminal organisation does it take to screw a goverment? only 2: MPAA and RIAA.
Everytime a goverment show with pride that he as been bough out by the MPAA/RIAA, is one more reason to realise the the MPAA/RIAA must be stopped at all cost.
The technology will just evolve
The more you tighten your grip Mr Mandelson, the more filesharers will slip through your fingers.
The end result is that fileshareres will just create new ways to defeat anything that they put in place pushing it deeper underground where they can't monitor it. The technology will evolve and then they will be screwed and left with a heap of expensive and useless monitoring equipment.
@James Ashton - Ban encryption? Riiiighht. And how exactly would they tell the difference between legitimate and non-legitimate encrypted data? You can't tell if the encrypted data is VoIP, https, ssh, P2P, nntp, VPN, etc. The port numbers mean nothing as you could run on any port you want.