“Taking something for nothing is wrong” – No, not expenses, data.

Mr Mandelson is going to solve online piracy.  I wonder if his schemes will simply drive users into the hands of the DVD sellers, people who FACT claim are involved in human trafficking, drugs and benefit fraud.
Mr Mandelson is going to solve online piracy. I wonder if his schemes will simply drive users into the hands of the DVD sellers, people who FACT claim are involved in human trafficking, drugs and benefit fraud.

Lord Mandelson: “Taking something for nothing is wrong”

What would happen if Goblin was put in charge of Lloyds TSB? Simple the bank would collapse in about a week.  Why?  Because I have no clue on the complexities of banking.

Lord Mandelson has written an article about a current “hot potato”, piracy.  You can see his entire Times article here: http://tinyurl.com/ls8b25

So lets examine some of his comments:

It was said this week by a former colleague of mine (anonymously, of course) that I do not “get the internet”.

Mr Mandleson, alot of other people are saying it too (maybe you could also explain how you know it was a former colleague when it was anonymous?).  You may not “get the internet” but maybe you should get a friend to do a Google for you.  I would hope he is simply choosing not to acknoledge that there are many people who happen to think that his idea’s on tackling piracy are not the way to solve the problem?  Only Mr Mandelson knows the answer to this and since he’ll probably be far too busy with meetings about meetings and reports in regards to this subject, its doubtful he would even read this.

I have been around long enough to know that piracy is wrong. That is why my department decided to consider strengthening proposals to tackle illegal file sharing and downloading.

Well I can’t disagree with the first part although maybe it should simply be changed to “ive been around too long” (in respect of politics)  (IMO) and not long enough around computing to have an idea on piracy?  As I have said in previous posts as far as UK law is concerned I am not aware of an “illegal” act being committed simply by the act of downloading (in respect of say mainstream movies) its the SHARING part of the act which will make the offence complete.  So in my opinion downloading copyrighted material in itself has no offence (please, correct me if I’m wrong 🙂 , Ive asked often enough) at best I would say the act would be “unlawful” and the only recourse would be that the company concerned could take the down-loader to a civil court to recover the costs of that one download.

If I am correct in my interpretation of the Copyright Theft act then Mr Mandelson is either unaware of that or simply choosing to fudge over it with a generalization (IMO).

I would ask Mr Mandleson how his department has strengthened, since there is a massive  increase in popularity of the BT protocol and other P2P technologies  (one could say to the detriment of the tradition “pirate DVD seller”)  This in my opinion is a shame for Mr Mandelson since its hard to attribute human trafficking/drugs/benefit crime to the teenager who downloads files in their bedroom.

The thinking behind this is clear and has nothing to do with dinners in Corfu

The fact that he has to say this to me says he is aware of what people are thinking and certainly after hearing the expenses allegations of others, I am still very dubious.   I think Mr Mandelson is going to have to work very hard if he is to convince people otherwise.

First, taking something for nothing, without permission, and with no compensation for the person who created and owns it, is wrong.

And I would agree, however in the case of data as I say above, its in my opinion its only when sharing comes into play that there is provision in law to deal with it.

If technical solutions can discourage piracy, then as a Government we are obliged to consider them.

Like DRM Mr Mandelson? In theory its a necessary evil in my opinion.  Look at how its been received by the public you are supposed to serve.  If you are to act on behalf of “the people” then surely this is not the way to go.

Now we come to what in my opinion is the real reason.  Forget allegations of your local market seller and his/her pirate DVD’s being involved in other criminality, the answer why there are attempts to demonize the pirate goods is simple.  In my opinion its money, nothing more, nothing less.

Second, our creative businesses drive much of our economy.

and I wonder if those businesses are responsible for “putting on the pressure”?  Allegedly FACT is funded by the comercial sector (and has the ear of the government)  obviously if you have money you have an ear to the government.

These businesses will get no favours from government, but we should create a regulatory environment where they can operate without having to deal with illegal competition.

Ok.  He says that.  Whilst Mr Ballmer (CEO of Microsoft, Mr Mandelson) has a more flippant view (IMO) this was documented here recently:

That’s a competitor that’s tough to beat, they’ve got a good price and a heck of a product, but we’re working on it.

I don’t want to get into posting all of Mr Mandelsons dross:

Let me emphasise that nothing has been predetermined. And I understand why internet service providers (ISPs), consumer groups and digital rights activists are disappointed that we have decided to consider a range of tougher and faster measures. But let me try, if I can, to reassure them.

Nothing has been predetermined, thats not unusual, jumping on a issue and have meetings about meetings, funding reports like the “Digital Britain report” which seemed contained nothing that the average PC user didn’t already know or had heard about.  All this at the expense of the tax payer.  Maybe remove the expenses benefit and the endless reports and they wouldnt have to worry about pleasing the commercial sector as they would have saved themselves money.

Tougher and faster measures? Mr Mandelson, do you understand anything about how people could get around this? this three strikes policy is going to be difficult to impliment and costly if you get it wrong.  Mr Mandelson, what are you going to do about the “open WIFI” points the government was apparently going to be championing?  How embarassing, piracy facilitated by the governments own initiative….or have these ideas now been dropped?

I have read their blogs and can live with the abuse (I’ve had worse).

Very, very clever.  Play the victim.  How about a referendum on this issue?  Mr Mandelson, you should remember you are paid to represent the interests of the people.  This is not (IMO) representing anyone but the money makers (who by the way even in light of piracy do very well thank you very much)

Ultimately the answer to combating digital piracy lies in the hands of those who own content….

About the only thing in his article I can agree with.  This should NEVER be a criminal matter in my opinion, sharing or not.   I am wondering if I will receive a warning for sharing Fedora 11 on Linuxtracker.  I do hope so.  I would hope everyone accused wrongly takes the matter further.


Its frightening that the people who are held responsible with these issues they appear to have little experience with them.  Openbytes has and always will be anti-piracy however the answer to the problem comes from copyright holders looking at new ways to make money from their material.  We saw attempts by PHORM to get onto our systems and to be fair this type of system could be considered in the future to provide the end-user with free material and the owner with revenue from advertising.

Maybe Mr Mandelson and his type of idea’s are responsible for the increase in popularity of FOSS and the GPL?  Certainly there’s no human trafficking involved in the latest version of Wolvix being shared.   I wonder what would happen if people boycotted the film industry in the UK because of dis-satisfaction with the direction and criminalization the government was taking as its response to file sharing?  Would that not be a nightmare for Mr Mandelson?

Virgin Media seem to champion the anti-piracy cause, which is great, although it does beg the question why they offer such high speed data rates.  What on earth do they think their users will do with it?

Another scenario for you:  If FACT are correct and those that sell pirate material are involved in human trafficking and other crimes, isn’t Mr Madelson’s idea’s going to encourage the file sharer back to these “criminals” since the file sharer won’t want to run the risk of loosing their broadband.

How about Mr Mandelson considers this idea: Instead of spending resources and time searching/investigating and warning users about alleged file sharing (with the possibility of mistakes and subsequent legal actions) why not simply ask the ISP’s to block the known torrent sites?  That would be a start and I believe a significant amount of file-sharing would be reduced since the average user does not (IMO) understand the technology enough to be able to get around that barrier.

I believe the Digital Britain report wants online file sharing reduced by 70% within a year.  I very much doubt meetings, articles and reports (along with Mr Mandelson) will even come close to reaching that.

As always your opinions are welcomed.  In the meantime I am going to increase my sharing of Linux distros and hope that someone tries to accuse me of sharing files illegally…..lets see how much of my unlimited monthly broadband I can use.  Maybe time is up for the proprietary model?  Maybe you should now be looking towards FOSS and the GPL? You certainly don’t have to worry about sharing issues then.

One other request, can everyone who wants to counter Mr Mandelson do so WITHOUT vulgarity.  Without insults towards him Mr Mandelson can hardly claim to be the victim and have the moral high ground.  The person with the moral high ground will be the person who can come up with a sensible solution that is of benefit to everyone.  I don’t believe that person to be Mr Mandelson.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

CNET have written a very good article on Mr Mandelson (and the source of this picture) click the image for link!
CNET have written a very good article on Mr Mandelson (and the source of this picture) click the image for link!


7 thoughts on ““Taking something for nothing is wrong” – No, not expenses, data.

Add yours

  1. I have mixed opinions on these matters.

    When you say: “Like DRM Mr Mandelson? In theory its a necessary evil in my opinion.” Now DRM, I would say seldom works, so therefore its not “necessary.” Yes, some forms of DRM have worked up to a point, but eventually, if there is enough interest, someone will crack it. Take DVD encryption , pc game DRM, music, and operating system DRM, for examples of why it does not work for very long. But as you know, I am a big proponent of Windows WGA, which is a form of DRM in itself, but only because its helps users to move away from those products to something else which will be an improvement for the user and don’t contain massive amounts of DRM.

    When Lord Mandelson says: “Taking something for nothing is wrong”
    I would have to agree, but with qualifications. Most people see digital downloads as “nothing.” It does not have matter, weight, and cannot be readily seen. Some would also argue with the names piracy or stealing, and they correctly do so, at least here the legal term would be copyright infringement, I believe. The best position that I have heard is I would not have bought this “whatever” anyway, since I cannot afford it. That is a rationalization which is still most likely true, but cannot apply to everyone that uses it, and is not a legal defense.

    Once the digital age of downloading and sharing started, I suggest that society has forever been changed, only that change has not gone to its logical conclusion yet. It is the logical conclusion discussion that is the most interesting to me. What I see at present is media industries that are saying they are losing huge sums of money, but the facts and figures do not always bear them out. In fact, they seem to be doing quite a good business. The media companies are not to be trusted as they too are about the bottom line, and getting as much as they can out of the populace, some using means that seem to be close to racketeering at best.

    My take on the logical conclusion of digital downloading is that nobody will buy the product in time, at least those at the bottom of the income levels. It’s time to look into the crystal ball. What this means, is that most likely the quality of big production movies might eventually decline and the record/cd companies might go out of business. TV networks will not die, as they depend on commercials. Anyway, its not the end of the world, what did people do before there was TV and Radio? We have computers now, the world has changed, and is currently in flux, and as much as the corporations would sue the down loaders, they are the future, and its doubtful, they can be stopped. Neither do I have the answers, but I do know that governments that only do the bidding of the powerful rich corporations, at the expense of the people, at some point lose the love of its people. The Romans had Bread and Circuses, and the Theater as their forms of entertainment. In fact the Romans were know as the civilization that laughed itself to death, as when Roman Carthage was overrun by the Vandals, most Romans were at the Theater. Certainly the future could be more live entertainment for Music and Theater, that form of commercial entertainment will not die. But media companies, I think their days are numbered, no matter how anyone feels about them.

  2. Hi Chips!

    In regards to DRM, it was used because people cannot obey the copyright laws in place. Now rightly or wrongly the laws exist and whilst I have my opinions on the copyright theft issue, fact is its still a law.

    Ive always had the opinion we cannot cherry pick which laws we want to follow and which ones we dont…So rightly or wrongly, until people act within that law or the law is changed DRM is a necessary evil. That does not mean I agree with it or condone it, but just like speed camera’s its required because without it some people cannot obey that law.

    Very interesting post though Chips…I wish I had more time to respond to the rest.

  3. @openbytes:
    Actually I dislike as most people do DRM. And as such avoid products that contain it like the plaque. I do not see DRM as a necessary evil. But I do see your point that that the media companies believe it is so, at least that is what I think you meant. My point is not to condone copyright infringement on a user level at all, but to try to explain the reasons for it (even if they are rationalizations), and why it is changing forever the future. Also, on that same line why what the media companies are doing with DRM is very similar to what MS is and may do in the future with its products, as in suing its users. This type of trafficking of digital media is only going greatly increase IMO, and as such the way the Media corporations, Microsoft, and the Governments are trying to slow it down with laws, lawsuits is not working or going too. The media corporations and Microsoft are doing DRM in order to delay the decay in their profits, and that is all they can do delay the decline. I debated this point one time, that there is a difference in the word free when talking about GNU. There are the freedoms and then there are the free as in beer. So many people only understand the free gratis or free as in beer argument. To those people, the free as in beer folks,they too are changing the future with digital downloads, weather we agree with the way they do or not, thats beside the point. Free as in beer, is also going kill MS and the media companies, as well as the 4 freedoms will help with MS.

    And I would agree that DRM has made some of the media companies a lot of money, at least until DVD CSS was broken. But I would say music DRM has by and large been somewhat of a failure in comparison.

    Openbytes says: “Very interesting post though Chips…I wish I had more time to respond to the rest.”
    You will, later on. I really like to get your take on the “logical conclusion” forecast.

  4. Free gratis or free as in beer is not the same thing as copyright infringement downloading files that should not be. But I have argued with some, that these files, while “free as in beer” to some users, who are doing this, is wrong, but they cannot see the difference or even the difference between these illegal downloads, which they view as free, and GNU/Linux and the “freedoms” that it represents. I think you know one person that I had this discussion with in IRC. But I think that person is not alone, and most of the public, thinks the same way as he, which is different than the way we think.

    If you follow their line of “free” files type of thinking, you start to understand why XP will most never go away (and therefore IE6), beyond the point that its most likely the best that MS can do.

  5. Some great points Chips, since Ive just returned you are the second person who I’ve responded to.

    XP and IE ever go away? mmm I think they will. Whilst I do believe XP to be a reasonably solid system, I think that as soon as Microsoft drops away support completely we will see the package deteriorate, it has to. People will eventually be forced to buy new machines and whilst its all well and good with Linux being able to get excellent performance out of older hardware, there comes a point where that hardware breaks and needs to be replaced.

    In regards to piracy and Microsoft products I believe that is what is keeping them alive, looking at Microsoft’s own stats on piracy of their products, it would seem there are many people who are not willing to pay money for them and if they are tempted to “upgrade” their XP system, seem to have no problems doing it via piracy.

    Going back to the hardware eventually breaking, this is where (IMO) Vista and 7 will step in. Many machines will be installed OEM and how many people (other than seasoned Linux users, distro hoppers and devs) will have the nerve to buy an OS’less PC? Not many in the grand scheme of things (IMO)

    This is where in the UK we may get another anti-trust issues, but that is something which hasn’t happened and Microsoft certainly have the money to wait patiently until the hardware from the “upgrade refusers” breaks.

    What does Microsoft have to worry about? Well quite a bit really (IMO). If users are using Linux to prevent upgrading their hardware, its not unreasonable to suggest that during their use of Linux they become used to it and refuse to go back to Windows. This will be where the OS’less PC looks attractive. Microsoft (IMO) are stuck between trying to improve on Vista and trying to cater for a community who don’t want to upgrade yet.

    If Microsoft were so sure people were not interested in keeping their old hardware, I don’t think 7 would have been developed for the slightly older PC in mind.

    It may turn out that the recession was the final nail in the coffin for the Windows platform.

  6. Lord Mandelson: “Taking something for nothing is wrong”
    What like someone else’s job? Ha ha, good old Mandy always full of crap.

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