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:

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 –

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!