UK “three strikes” law abomination

What the fuck? I leave the country for three weeks and while I’m gone we turn into the bloody Soviet Union? BoingBoing: Britain’s new Internet law — as bad as everyone’s been saying, and worse. Much, much worse. In short, Lord Mandelson has proposed a law under which if you are accused of copyright infringement three times, you get cut off from the internet. Not convicted of it. Not even tried for it. Just accused. Peter Mandelson, I think you might have infringed copyright. Peter Mandelson, I think you might have infringed copyright. Peter Mandelson, I think you might have infringed copyright. That should make it more difficult for him to send people emails. Charlie Stross has more: “Want to write a casual game for the iPhone and sell it for 99 pence? Good luck with that — first you’ll have to cough up £50,000 to get it certified as child-friendly by the BBFC.” Gary Fleming writes: “Think about that for a second: the accuser gets to blame anyone they like and with no evidence of copyright infringement, have a punishment inflicted upon them.” Geeklawyer says: “The con­se­quences can be severe. In Fin­land Inter­net access is now a civic right. For many the Inter­net is as impor­tant a house­hold ser­vice as elec­tric­ity or san­i­ta­tion: Geeklawyer often strongly con­sid­ers what the broad­band is like when decid­ing where to live. If a family’s kids down­load MP3s the whole house­hold will be blocked from Inter­net access. Col­lec­tive pun­ish­ment. All of this is based on no proven harm, at least none apart from the Music and film Indus­tries telling us that the sky is falling down. To call this a dis­pro­por­tion­ate and draconian response is almost under­stat­ing it.” Now, I spend half my life on the internet, so I might be seen as biased here. But it’s increasingly a vital tool for the modern world. Cutting off someone’s net access for misuse of it is broadly like cutting off someone’s hands because they used them to commit a crime. The very punishment is grotesquely unfair. Add to that the points about how a filesharer’s daughter now can’t use the internet to help with her homework, and then crown that with the fucking cherry-on-top that all it takes is accusations of misuse, not proof, and suddenly we’re the USSR. This is not a promising development. I half wonder whether this is deliberately the most draconian and invasive Internet usage law outside Communist China just so that they can bring in a law which will look minimal by comparison but is still a ghastly violation of whatever rights we have left. Do it online when you deal with government, says Unless someone else in your house has sent three mp3s to their friends, in which case you are shit out of luck in Mandelson’s New World Order of the laws being run by media corporations like some horrible Neuromancerish nightmare. Go and sign the Number 10 petition to say you don’t want this. There are 7000 signatures already; the government has known form with ignoring petitions that they don’t want to hear, but with an election coming up they can’t ignore everything. Send a message to Lord Mandelson himself via the Open Rights Group. Contact your MP and tell them what an abomination you think this is. Go do these things now.

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