Feeds

UK's digital policy seized by fanatical bureaucrats, say MPs

'Hey... That's OUR job!'

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Stealing isn't theft

Eric Joyce MP [Lab, Narnia] said the Hargreaves review was a welcome attempt to modernise ancient laws, and emphasised that the internet should not be regulated. Steps to enforce IP rights were tantamount to censorship. "It's easy to label people as pirates – but it's just a fact that the internet is a fantastic copying machine, and if you want to criminalise it, you're on a hiding to nothing. It's a highly debatable that downloading is theft."

Brennan responded that it was hardly a victimless crime, and that just because it is hard to do something doesn't mean we shouldn't try. Google should show "corporate social responsibility" and direct people to licensed sites. While the debate progressed, one MP Googling for Empire State of Mind found the first five search results went to unlicensed sites. Google has filtered search results in other countries, but doesn't want to in the UK.

Joyce sits on the Advisory Board of the Open Rights Group. Voters sympathetic to the view that piracy isn't killing music might wish for a more convincing representative in Parliament. Joyce has claimed more expenses than any other MP, used taxpayer money to buy oil paintings "because they looked nice", and was the first to break the £1m expenses barrier. Maybe freetards get the MPs they deserve?

One of the most thoughtful contributions came from Mark Field [Con, Cities of London and Westminster], and it's worth quoting at length.

The West relies increasingly on intangibles, such as IP, as China produces more physical goods. We have to look after those rights, he said.

"Within 20 years, IP rights will be due for a philosophical shakeup," he predicted. China will begin to argue that traditional IP structures are no more than the West using its might to maintain economic dominance. "We should look out for China putting a more forceful argument during increasingly fraught WTO meetings in the years ahead," he predicted. "Our bargaining hand may prove to be much weaker," he added, as a result of China holding so much equity in Western businesses.

"Look out for the terms by which Chinese investments are made in our companies. Requests for technology transfer will be written into more and more contracts."

It's an interesting argument, and one made at El Reg before. While intellectual property debates tend to focus on the evils of the music business, or Google, the bigger picture is that IP is about all we do well now. The UK in particular exports more per capita than anyone else in the world. If we lose our ability to enforce UK IP globally, there will be no wealth to spread around.

The government responds

Responding for the government, BIS minister Mark Prisk [Con, Hertford and Stortford] argued the need to review IP – but conspicuously failed to defend the IPO.

He stressed how important IP is to the economy, highlighting that we now invest 30 per cent more in intangibles than we do on physical assets. He cited James Dyson and his vacuum cleaner as an example of how important IP is to growth, in quite unexpected ways.

Expect something on web-blocking quite soon, Prisk hinted.

As for the IPO, the absence of any defence at all – from the Minister in charge – was ominous. But then Quilty and Alty are lifelong civil servants who have broken a couple of the Mandarin's golden rules. Firstly, remain invisible at all times. And if you're visible, Never, Ever Allow Yourself To Become The Story. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.