University in my day used to be about studying hard and having a little fun in the process. Who are you sharing a flat with?

It’s being reported that if you are a student studying a computing related degree at Manchester University and are get an application in before the 30th of March, you can apply for a position as effectively a revenue protection officer for Warner Brothers whilst studying. Good idea? Well, in my opinion, yes. From what I’ve seen far of the many people involved with the tackling of the issue, they are totally unsuitable for the task. I would feel far more comfortable with the idea of cases being initiated by someone who is tech savvy rather than a firm who has outsourced the plethora of tasks to 3rd parties.

So what will the job entail? It seems from the job description that Torrent Freak reports, that it will involve signing up to private trackers and searching for Warner Brothers material.

Oink member case dropped

Mathew Whyatt meanwhile (the nineteen year old who was charged a while ago with distribution offences), has seen his case dropped at court, undoubtedly giving further evidence to those with a pro-piracy view who believe that in some cases there is a dis-proportionate response to an issue which is seemingly trying to criminalize a large cross section of the community.

Thats one view and on the other we have the owners of IP desperately trying to protect their revenue.  I think this is an issue on both sides and as I said before, until a resolution is agreed then we will continued to see perceived heavy handed tactics by the entertainment industry and blatant disregard/delight at the spreading of that material by file sharers.

This is also why for me the DEB is unworkable.  Regardless of your views on piracy, there have been people wrongly accused.

Mathew Whyatt had this to say in regards to the CPS dropping his case:

I’m delighted the CPS has finally decided to end this misguided and disproportionate prosecution.

and the Mirror (amongst others) has reported this.

So how does this look for ACS: Law (and others) who have served notice on alleged file sharers?   Well, whilst those notices are in the remit of a civil court (and not a criminal case as was Mathew’s) comments by those representing Mr Whyatt:

Matthew Wyatt was the victim of a cynical attempt by the record industry to legitimise its heavy-handed tactics and dubious methods by using police resources and the public purse…

will surely not give confidence to any company considering employing a law firm to act as revenue collectors on their behalf.  One only has to look bad at the press that Atari received for engaging in the same tactics and wonder if it was the bad PR surrounding these letters or the allegation that the company they were using also represented the porn industry?  That allegation is made herehere, as well as hundreds of other sources on the net.

For me two questions arise out of this:

a/ Who exactly are the clients of these firms (In respect of ACS:Law et al)? Ive seen a list of titles of pornography which have hadletters sent out and quite frankly it makes for rather distasteful reading.

b/ and what of these adult titles? If the material has not received a BBFC classification then surely the material is not legal in the UK.  How can a civil case for effectively damages be heard in a UK court when the material is not permitted to be sold or displayed anyway?  Last time I checked the BBFC had to classify any title released in the UK, looking at some of the names on that list, I would suggest any such classification would not be forthcoming.

Dodgy titles and civil cases? - No sex please, we're British (Btw very good UK comedy)

I’ll let you decide what you make of the Oink case.  Should it have ever been a criminal matter? Keeping in mind that I only know what I have read online, I’d suggest there was maybe more to the arrest than merely sharing of data.  I would suggest there would be some financial offences in respect of the money that Oink allegedly made which formed some of the charges.  Maybe there was an allegation of theft in respect of any pre-release titles? I don’t mean the data but more a “master” CD or similar from the company concerned.  Who knows? We we do know though is Mathew has had he case dropped and is not guilty of any offence.

And finally we move (yet again) onto comments surrounding the DEB.  This is due for its second reading shortly.  There are many who think it a bad idea and whilst I think in principle it’s a step in the right direction, it has not been properly considered or thought out in the state its currently in.

As for ACS: Law, Im going to ask them if they would kindly consider answering a few questions for a future article and maybe clear up a few points.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the Openbytes statement, here.