Mandybill petition puts hacks in a spin
Fantasies of flip-flop on filesharers
A rash of reports fantasise today that the government has "dumped" or "abandoned" plans to boot the most persistent illegal filesharers off the internet.
The source of the reports is a sentence in a lengthy response to a petition on the Downing Street website, which reads: "We will not terminate the accounts of infringers - it is very hard to see how this could be deemed proportionate except in the most extreme – and therefore probably criminal – cases."
A famous victory then for civil liberties groups and TalkTalk boss Charles Dunstone? Er, no.
The Digital Economy Bill - known to friends and opponents as the Mandybill - does not propose that persistent copyright infringement via peer-to-peer could result in internet accounts being terminated.
Rather, it suggests temporary suspension of internet access following warnings. There's never been a suggestion that the ISP would be forced to terminate accounts and lose business. Indeed, it's entirely possible that those who are suspended will continue to be charged.
As things stand, the provisions of the Mandybill mandating suspensions and other technical restrictions will be activated once Ofcom has measured the impact of warnings alone on the overall level of illegal filesharing, after an unspecified period to be determined by the business secretary. If it hasn't dropped by 70 per cent the regime will be introduced.
It remains to be decided how long the suspensions will last. UK Music has previously suggested 72 hours on the third warning and up to two months after a fifth warning.
The Open Rights Group and TalkTalk, who have jointly campaigned against the measure, have both issued press releases today to point this out the Downing Street petition response makes no difference to the substance of the Bill. They correctly point out that by denying it will do something it never planned to do, the government has spun the press into believing whatever it wants to believe.
As you were, then. ®
Not a lame duck, a snake in the grass
It makes ISPs liable for claimed infringement by its customers so it is not a lame duck.
The ISP does not need to know what you surfed for, they don't care, all they care about is they have to terminate your connection or *they* will have to defend against *your* alleged copyright infringement.
How can *they* possibly have the evidence or time or money to defend claims against *you*???
So they will cut your connection, and it will be written into their terms of service that they will cut your connection on allegations alone.
No filtering required, no logging required, nothing special, just a nasty law by a nasty man to skirt around a persons rights.
Not a victory
Mandys bill was to introduced secondary civil liability for ISPs.
It is in this phrase:
"imposes obligations on internet service providers to reduce online copyright infringement, and allows the Secretary of State to amend copyright legislation to the same end"
i.e. make ISPs civil liable for copyright infringement by their customers, they in turn require a term of service in ISPs contracts with customers, that bars accused offenders from the ISP.
To say *WE* (the government) bans people is misleading, since it was the ISPs. To say it would require a criminal penalty is misleading, since it only requires a term of contract in ISPs terms of service.
To say Mandy has been banned from making criminal offences in this bill (the claim in Wikipedia) is also to mislead, since the game is to create a liability by contract between the ISP and customer, to remove their access right on accusation.
3 strikes and your out, remains there in that bill.
Really, Mandy should not be allowed to amend copyright without Parliament.
Will last five minutes?
I'm sure the having-access-removed-but-still-being-charged part of the bill will last a long time before being struck down by the courts as absolutely ridiculous.