“You Are A Criminal By Default” Government Suggests

The UK government could legislate to crack down on illegal file-sharers, a senior official has told the BBC’s iPM programme.
Lord Triesman, the parliamentary Under Secretary for Innovation, Universities and Skills, said intellectual property theft would not be tolerated.
“If we can’t get voluntary arrangements we will legislate,” he said.
The comments could prove controversial with privacy advocates and internet service providers.
Lord Triesman called on internet service providers to take a “more activist role” in the problem of illegal file-sharing.

I heard Lord Triesman talk at the Virtual Worlds Forum earlier today – you can hear an MP3 of what he said here.

It would appear that the government has fully implemented some of the aspects of the Gowers report which involve educating and empowering the Trading Standards officers (just look at the recent TV Links takedown). Unfortunately they haven’t been so quick to look at some of the points that make IP more flexible, like the recommendations for format shifting or parody.

It’s something I’d liked to have asked him about but he seemed to disappear quite sharpish. I need to learn to run quicker if I want to get my journalism badge.  Chris must be a faster runner.

(And kudos to Sasha for mentioning after his talk that there are such things as Open Source Software and Creative Commons).

Going back to the idea that ISPs could be forced to deal with illegal content I’d ask why we should stop there? Shouldn’t we make the Post office liable for illegal pictures and documents sent through the mail system? How about making the telephone companies liable for offensive phone calls? Next we could make the roads agency liable for drunk drivers…

I love arguing like this, it’s cheap and easy like me.

This is without getting into the technical problems of determining infringing traffic over the internet without blocking legal traffic.

I have a horrible fear, after hearing Lord Triesman talk about P2P networks ‘often’ being used illegally, that the government will try to bring in a complete ban on all P2P software.

I also find it amusing that in the talk, he calls the default position for users of the internet to be ‘I want stuff for free’. You know – he’s insinuating that we are all criminals.

One for the fearsome Open Rights Group methinks.

[tags]copyright, ISP, Triesman, P2P, infringement, iPM, Gowers, VirtualWorldsForum, VWF, ORG, OpenRightsGroup [/tags]

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