Feeds

Whitehall grants freetards safe haven until 2015

Come to the UK, and fill yer boots!

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Just as the Bahamas and Panama provide a safe haven for tax evasion, the UK will provide a safe haven for copyright pirates … until at least 2015.

The Ministry of Fun has confirmed that notification provisions - written warnings for downloading stuff illegally, in other words - in the 2010 Digital Economy Act will not be enacted for two years, pushing it out beyond the next General Election.

The relief from garden sheds will be heard around the country. But why the delays? The Department for Culture Media and Sport told us:

"That’s how long we think it will take to implement the mass notification system in the DEA. We’re currently making technical changes to the cost-sharing statutory instrument. These changes will not impact on the overall effect of the legislation."

The Digital Economy Act [here] was passed by a majority of 142 with support from both the Labour and Conservative front benches. It followed on from the failure of ISPs and copyright industries to make any progress with a voluntary alternative to legislation, which they'd agreed to do in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2008.

The act obliges ISPs to notify infringers of their infringements, and charges regulator Ofcom to monitor the situation and report annually. It also empowered the Ministry of Fun to order “technical measures” against serial scofflaws at some future date, and a new body to adjudicate subscriber appeals.

The precise nature of the technical measures would be be agreed by a Parliamentary vote, and no measures could implemented before a year of notifications had elapsed, with their effect being measured throughout.

The “graduated response” scheme was devised as an alternative to earlier, ham-fisted attempts at deterring infringement, involving random civil lawsuits against individual subscribers, typically based on the contents of a shared folder. It made no distinction between occasional and hardcore infringers.

Under the graduated scheme envisaged in the DEA, only serial scofflaws and/or copyright martyrs would face any sanctions. Creative industries later agreed to fund the cost of the letters scheme on a 75:25 basis, and to contribute 100 per cent of the cost of the appeals body. [pdf, 2011].

But the UK's Permanent Bureaucracy - Whitehall departments including BIS, DCMS, the Treasury and Ofcom - never liked the Act and have shown great ingenuity in finding ways of delaying its implementation. In one example, the Treasury and Ofcom decided the costs order may represent a "cross subsidy between actors" and therefore be illegal under EU rules.

This didn't seem to hamper the French, who set up their Hadopi system for punishing downloaders in 18 months.

Ofcom's own published research reveals the number of infringers ensnared in the DEA would be small. So most people wouldn't notice. Just 1.6 per cent of UK internet users over the age of 12 are the top 10 per cent of copyright infringers, responsible for 79 per cent of infringement. Just 3.2 per cent of the internet-connected population does 88 per cent of infringement.

Ofcom also confirms the minority are wealthy, middle class (ABC1) and under 34 years old. Quite why the Whitehall bureaucrat should rush to the defence of a banker in his Docklands penthouse who is downloading torrents 24x7 remains a mystery. Thanks to Whitehall, he's now a member of what is possibly the most pampered group in Britain. Then again, you can also thank Whitehall for wind turbines and an energy infrastructure that's unlikely to be able to keep the lights on for much longer.

When you consider Whitehall's creative derailment of the DEA, alongside the recent “Instagram Act” - which permits the commercial use of other people's stuff without their knowledge or permission, on a scale never seen before in the world - the message is inescapble.

"Come to the UK, and nick stuff."

Yarr, me hearties! ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Judge says there's no such thing as a 'Patent Troll'
Apple banned from calling litigant a 'Bounty hunter', 'corporate shell' or 'Troll'
UK gov rushes through emergency law on data retention
Cameron: 'The consequences of not acting are grave'
ISPs haul GCHQ into COURT over dragnet interwebs snooping
'Exploitation of network infrastructure is unlawful,' says co-claimant
NSA dragnet mostly slurped innocents' traffic
Latest Snowden leak suggests indiscriminate retention
Trick-cyclists defend Facebook emoto-furtling experiment
'All REAL men ignore consent and privacy'
Report: UK.gov wants to legislate on comms data BEFORE next election
Ministerial alarm sets in over EU court's data retention ruling
Amazon sues former employee who took Google cloud job
Alleges breach of non-compete clause in contract
Russian law will force citizens' personal data to be stored locally
Won't someone think of the software-as-a-service startups?
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem
Only the Power of One delivers leading infrastructure convergence, availability and scalability with federation, and agility through data center automation.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.