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Businesses, universities, and libraries will not be exempt from bill's talons

All around the world, many people enjoy free, open Wi-Fi at internet cafe and other widely used public destinations.  In Britain, that sight may vanish, though, if a broad piracy bill passes Britain's legislative body.  

The new Digital Economy Bill, a piece of copyright crackdown legislation, would hold owners of open Wi-Fi connections in Britain liable for any form of copyright infringement conducted on their networks.  There would be zero exceptions for individuals, businesses, public locations, libraries, universities, or small businesses.

That could essentially kill the popular open Wi-Fi movement by making it too dangerous to businesses and universities to offer open services to their customers.  Lilian Edwards, professor of internet law at Sheffield University states, "[The bill could] outlaw open Wi-Fi for small businesses.  This is going to be a very unfortunate measure for small businesses, particularly in a recession, many of whom are using open free Wi-Fi very effectively as a way to get the punters in."

The solution might seem simple; just close the connection, right?  If only it were that easy.  According to the bill, those with 
closed connections have to maintain logs of every customer they give access to -- or hire someone to remote monitor users for them.  Describes Professor Edwards, "Even if they password protect, they then have two options — to pay someone like The Cloud to manage it for them, or take responsibility themselves for becoming an ISP effectively, and keep records for everyone they assign connections to, which is an impossible burden for a small café."

Lord Young, a bureaucrat working with Britain's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) defends the bill.  He claims business exemptions would lead to individuals creating "fake" organizations to dodge copyright infringement charges.  In a published document (.DOC) he writes, "This would send entirely the wrong signal and could lead to 'fake' organisations being set up, claiming an exemption and becoming a hub for copyright infringement."

He argues that universities also deserve no exceptions because a handful already have systems to log users and it would be unfair to "force" them to adopt an open system, common at many other universities. In other words, he argues that the needs of the few, in this case, outweigh the needs of the many.  He writes, "It does not seem sensible to force those universities who already have a system providing very effective action against copyright infringement to abandon it and replace it with an alternative."

The bill is rather vague about whether large networks like universities would be reclassified as internet service providers (ISPs).  If they get reclassified, that could add some big expenses for them, as they will be forced to hoard data on their users.

That data would be used to implement the bill's most costly and controversial provision -- a three strikes policy for infringement.  Users downloading apparently infringed content would get two warnings and then have their connections severed.

The bill is currently under debate in Britain's House of Lords, which is preparing a version to be proposed as legislation.  Opinion polls have shown the British public to be opposed to the bill.  The bill is also opposed by ISPs and law enforcement, university, and civil rights groups.  The bill does enjoy healthy support from Britain's film and music industry -- about it's only major proponent.  Fortunately for them, they have deep ties to some British politicians and have spent a great deal of money lobbying to give their opinions a larger voice than those of the public.

The legislation may cost British citizens $1B USD, according to recent estimates.  However, the media industry thinks it will earn an additional £1.7B ($2.72B USD), and the government hopes that raised earnings will lead to more taxes.

Unfortunately, that may come at the expense of small businesses, freely available internet, and its citizens' right to privacy.  Some in Britain's government feel that's a small price to pay though to fight the evils of piracy.

Despite the problematic bill, British citizens shouldn't feel entirely bad.  In recent discussions about the international piracy pact ACTA, Britain was one of the most vocal supporters of making the pact's provisions known to the public.  The U.S. and Denmark were in the minority who had "major concerns" about the bill being made public.  In the end, the objections of the UK-led majority would overruled by the U.S. and Denmark-led minority and the terms of the bill were kept secret (though they were eventually leaked).

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Media industry...
By PlasmaBomb on 3/1/2010 9:29:24 AM , Rating: 5
However, the media industry thinks it will earn an additional £1.7B ($2.72B USD)

Sounds like they are picking numbers from thin air again...

RE: Media industry...
By JasonMick on 3/1/2010 9:45:42 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds like they are picking numbers from thin air again...

It's mentioned in (our) backlink and here's another source:

That estimated loss is over 10 years and is a figure often tossed around by Britain's Performing Rights Society (PRS) (similar to the RIAA in the U.S.).

Whether its accurate or not is certainly questionable.

RE: Media industry...
By MrPoletski on 3/1/2010 9:52:49 AM , Rating: 5
...So for for the sake of 170 grand a year they are killing all open air wifi and kicking a lot of normal users off the internet and forcing use to use their shitty DRM where they can (which will eventually expire and make your media useless, happened before, will happen again).

I mean Jesus Christ, I'm sure the British public would sooner DONATE the stingy cunts DOUBLE that much money a year if they'd JUST FUCK OFF.

RE: Media industry...
By JediJeb on 3/1/2010 10:09:05 AM , Rating: 3
Check again it would be 170 million. But otherwise I still agree with your idea.

RE: Media industry...
By NubWobble on 3/1/2010 10:22:01 AM , Rating: 3
You mean the British public would gladly pay that much to watch these corrupt politicians publically hung, drawn and quartered.

RE: Media industry...
By odessit740 on 3/1/2010 4:42:09 PM , Rating: 2
Hanged, not hung.

RE: Media industry...
By messyunkempt on 3/1/2010 6:01:18 PM , Rating: 1
He was right to begin with. And I wholly concur.

RE: Media industry...
By odessit740 on 3/1/2010 7:10:50 PM , Rating: 2
No he wasn't, he's talking about future, not past. Therefore hanged, just as your link shows, and I am right. Thank you.

RE: Media industry...
By Yawgm0th on 3/1/2010 8:23:20 PM , Rating: 2
According to the link, being hung, drawn, and quartered does not involved being hanged but rather hung (not until death). It has nothing to due with temporal tense, but rather diction.

Of course the link is wrong as being hanged, drawn, and quartered does involve being hanged.

Regular usage indicates both are acceptable in the "drawn and quartered" context.

I think everyone in this thread has failed, myself included.

RE: Media industry...
By NullSubroutine on 3/1/2010 11:15:25 PM , Rating: 5
35% of DT comments reflect disputed grammar, spelling, and typos.

Why someone even cares enough to take the time out of their day to try to educate others in the above mentioned area, is, well...a little beyond me.

I imagine one day someone is going to receive a text that says "its nukclur war! were all gonna die!" and the response is going to be "Learn grammar and spelling please, because it's 'It's nuclear war! We're all going to die!'...dumb ass."

RE: Media industry...
By themaster08 on 3/2/2010 1:55:53 AM , Rating: 2
I imagine one day someone is going to receive a text that says "its nukclur war! were all gonna die!" and the response is going to be "Learn grammar and spelling please, because it's 'It's nuclear war! We're all going to die!'...dumb ass."

I'm sure they would consider that as last moments well spent....

RE: Media industry...
By Hiawa23 on 3/2/2010 9:20:15 AM , Rating: 2
Hanged, not hung.

LOL, spelling police..

don't care how posters spell..

RE: Media industry...
By hughlle on 3/1/2010 11:17:10 AM , Rating: 2
british and agreeing. although i also agree on the point that the public would probably hand over that moneyb for them to bugger off.

alla this new fear of a hung parliament at the election, well they can be guaranteed niether the conservatives or labour will be getting my vote....

RE: Media industry...
By Frallan on 3/2/2010 3:16:12 AM , Rating: 4
So the scociety must pay 1Bn for the record companies to earn 1.72Bn. That sonds like a good deal to me for the Record companies - my suggestion is to have them foot the bill. That way they will still earn 0.72Bn and if they refuse we know that the 1.72 is boogus.

My $0.02

RE: Media industry...
By Jalek on 3/2/2010 4:30:58 AM , Rating: 3
That's who should be paying anyway.
If you're selling a product that's easily duplicated, protecting it should be a cost of doing business.

Protecting the marketability of your products shouldn't be a public burden. What other industry has that sort of protectionism?

RE: Media industry...
By MozeeToby on 3/1/2010 1:42:18 PM , Rating: 4
Haha, this is actually funny, there's so many assumptions in there that it isn't even worth discussing. Most importantly, it assumes that closing down open wifi will have any effect at all on piracy.

What they refuse to accept is that you can download a torrent manager for free that utilizes TOR, making you completely untraceable via IP while at the same time denying any opportunity for deep packet inspection at the ISP level, I'd go so far as to say "run everything through TOR" but there are of course downsides.

If you insist on these ludicrous attempts to shut down piracy you'll eventually end up in a situation where you're advocated either A) Investigation of anyone using over a certain amount of bandwidth or B) Outlawing encryption nationwide. At that point, I would hope that even the congress-critters (or parliament-critters as the case may be) would cry foul.

By JediJeb on 3/1/2010 10:24:55 AM , Rating: 2
If the British citizens will ever get riled up enough to make the sacrafice and just do a whole one year boycott of all movies and music, maybe the government would get the message. I would imagine a years worth of lost sales would be much more than what they claim to be losing through piracy.

I do not condone piracy, but I am very much against punishing the entire public for the crimes of a few. British citizens really do not need to wait until this law passes, they need to start right now. A complete and utter boycott of all music and movie purchases, listening to it on radio ect. Only listen or watch what you already have purchased, nothing more. When the music and movie industry can no longer afford to funnel money into the politicians pockets, then they will have no more influence. It sounds like a repeat of why the US broke away from England so many years ago, taxation without representation. The people are saying no, the government is saying yes regardless. This could be a bloodless revolution without a single shot fired, if only the citizens will act.

By GotDiesel on 3/1/2010 10:40:09 AM , Rating: 4
The problem is that the British have no balls anymore.. this is obvious from all the crap they put up with from idiot politicians .. come on u guys.. put the "Great" back into "Great Britain" !

By themaster08 on 3/2/2010 2:13:56 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is that the British have no balls anymore

Being on the virge of a hung parliament, I'd say the British have no sense either.

By xpax on 3/1/2010 4:08:39 PM , Rating: 2
I used to be like you. But now, I condone piracy. I support it and encourage it.

The reason is simple -- if big media and governments are going to support extreme measures like this (and others like 3 strikes policies) then I feel we, the people should take an equally extreme opposing view. Then, perhaps we can all meet somewhere in the middle.

If we propose rationality and their response is this, the common ground is going to grossly skewed in their favor.

I also argue with the idiotic notion that copyright encourages creativity in the arts. In fact, I believe it does the complete opposite. The argument goes that if artists aren't compensated for their works, they will stop creating them.

This is nonsense, and actually counter-intuitive. If there isn't big money in music, then only those who actually love the artform will continue to produce. Those who are in it solely for the money (think "bling bling" type 'artists') will stop doing it and the quality of music will increase.

By Jalek on 3/2/2010 4:50:40 AM , Rating: 2
They talked about this when the RIAA was suing Americans.

Any boycott effects were simply blamed on piracy, making their arguments even stronger and garnering even more legislation to let them work above the law.

I've not purchased a retail CD from a RIAA label since 2000.
I was a member of two of their "clubs" at the time, so it's cost them a bit not sending me a CD a month to misplace and have to pay for. I have been buying individual digital downloads more recently, but those are few.

Get real
By amanojaku on 3/1/2010 9:35:30 AM , Rating: 4
Despite the problematic bill, British citizens shouldn't feel entirely bad. In recent discussions about the international piracy pact ACTA, Britain was one of the most vocal supporters of making the pact's provisions known to the public.
Telling people you're screwing them doesn't change the fact that you're screwing them.

More importantly, this reminds me of how the US said people with unsecured wireless were liable for acts committed by other people. This forced wireless AP makers to "secure" devices before shipping them because the average Joe and Jane weren't, and still aren't, capable of locking down an AP correctly. This will be ineffective against piracy while putting innocent, non-technical individuals at risk.

But what do you expect from a bunch of less-than innocent, non-technical politicians?

RE: Get real
By bodar on 3/1/2010 8:41:15 PM , Rating: 2
Plus, now people will need to upgrade their wireless APs to use WPA2 if they haven't already. People who use older devices that "still work" but use WEP will be easy targets for neighbors and wardrivers. Not to mention that even WPA2 can be cracked by someone who's determined enough. Will everyone be forced to configure MAC filtering and keep access logs of all the MAC addresses that are given an IP on their network? Does John Q Public know how to log into his router, let alone set this up?

The outcry over false positives will be great. Good game, UK.

RE: Get real
By Jalek on 3/2/2010 4:57:30 AM , Rating: 2
There's a service using cloud processing, I think it was like 39 USD to try several million passwords in 20 minutes to crack most WPA passwords. They'll have to go to the enterprise version to have any chance.

Part of the proposals I keep seeing include permanent logs which are the responsibility of the server administrators to keep, so I would assume that personal wireless users would be expected to enable logging and deal with the storage requirements they want. They can want a lot since they're not paying for any of it.

If only...
By MrPoletski on 3/1/2010 9:44:50 AM , Rating: 5
Our governemnt would put as much energy into protecting our citizens rights as much they do special interest groups profits.

Fuck the RIAA, They can all go out of business and eat shit out the gutter for the rest of their life for all I care. Fuckheads.

Copyright law...
By nafhan on 3/1/2010 10:17:03 AM , Rating: 2
Copyright law - more than anything else - makes it clear how little respect western nations' governments have for their citizens.
Also, I find it ironic that this bill is called the "Digital Economy Bill" and it's being defended by someone from the department of "Department for Business, Innovation and Skills" when it's clearly not a positive thing for the digital economy, business, or innovation. Maybe I misunderstood, and that group is responsible for stifiling small, innovative businesses?

RE: Copyright law...
By Oregonian2 on 3/1/2010 1:56:38 PM , Rating: 2
Copyright law existence depends upon who is fighting for or against it. Biggie's win.

It seems that copyrights for books are being essentially eliminated in the USA, for instance. There was a nice article in the Oregonian newspaper Sunday about how a local famous author (Ursula K. Le Guin) is trying to fight Google's scanning initiative (that's in process of getting government approval).

By Lazarus Dark on 3/1/2010 8:37:14 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I just watched it yesterday for the first time.
I wanted to kill myself afterwards. Most. Depressing. Movie. Ever.

So I'm wondering... Are they actually using that book as like a playbook. Cause I swear they are trying to get there.

I don't understand how despite all the warnings from authors and other media... they just keep moving in that direction?

RE: 1984
By heliomphalodon on 3/3/2010 12:19:48 PM , Rating: 2
They are trying to get there because they believe that in the image of "a boot coming down on a human face, forever" the boot will be theirs and the face will be ours.

By Hakuryu on 3/1/2010 11:17:38 AM , Rating: 3
Opinion polls have shown the British public to be opposed to the bill. The bill is also opposed by ISPs and law enforcement, university, and civil rights groups. The bill does enjoy healthy support from Britain's film and music industry -- about it's only major proponent.

Are they basing their policies on Monty Python now? This kind of sounds like a skit where everything is silly and backward. Why listen to the people, including law enforcement?

why do you still buy movies
By gorehound on 3/1/2010 5:13:10 PM , Rating: 1
Boycott all these asshole companies like I do.You do not have to go out and run to buy a newly streetd hollywood film.wait a few weeks and buy it used and then hollywood will lose that sale.
stop supporting these assholes.they would love to own all the content possible and they will take away your rights to own it.
stop feeding these pigs please and boycott them all.
Imagine if millions joined in they would lose so much money

By blowfish on 3/1/2010 7:42:08 PM , Rating: 2
Hollywood, RIAA, MPAA = Shylocks, with a Shylock mindset, giving lots of Shylock money to Shylock politicians. Shylocks have no principles, apart from making money.

By MrPoletski on 3/1/2010 9:50:01 AM , Rating: 2
It MIGHT save you a bit of money.

But how much more money is it going to cost the rest of us in blood, sweat, tears and dire frustration?

By Navvie0 on 3/1/2010 11:40:37 AM , Rating: 2
This bill came about after Lord Peter Mandelson's recent holiday where he was wined and dined by David Geffen.

No one voted for him but our glorious leader GB has made Mandelson is a very powerful man in today's government. The same incompetent PM who made Alan Sugar a Lord and appointed him "Enterprise Tsar" - to help inspire businesses in the recession.
(Psst. Nobody voted for Sugar either).

His comments to the BBC when asked about what smaller businesses can do to survive the recession are classic.

These unelected asshats are the number one reason I won't be voting Labour in the coming election.

By CubicleDilbert on 3/1/2010 1:23:30 PM , Rating: 2
... now they are doing it on their own.
Cameras everwhere on public places, recording every phone call. Monitoring citizens everwhere.
Time for revolution.
Maybe the British should call the Germans for help, since Germans have strict privacy rules these days.

My head is spinning!

You should know
By armulyman on 3/1/2010 1:55:20 PM , Rating: 2
We will revolt.

By Oregonian2 on 3/1/2010 2:04:05 PM , Rating: 2
Don't know about the UK, but I know that some of the large hospitals here provide a free access wifi network in and around the hospital.

That access is a lifeline for patients in the hospital (with laptops) to keep from going stir crazy in their hospital rooms, as well as for those family members waiting on them, or waiting on 9-hour surgeries going on, etc.

Such a law, at least here, would require going back to old magazines -- not a good solution.

P.S. - As it is, here in metro Portland Oregon there are a LOT of free wifi areas, and not just corporate based ones, there's a non-profit group that puts them up in "major" gathering areas.

Living in Britain...
By eddieroolz on 3/1/2010 3:01:42 PM , Rating: 2
...just got a whole lot worse.

What a big fail.
By akse on 3/2/2010 6:29:12 AM , Rating: 2

By heliomphalodon on 3/2/2010 6:48:03 PM , Rating: 2
After all, I run an open access point with the SSID being "Plausible Deniability" just so that I can feel safe seeding the torrents...

house of lords
By CvP on 3/3/2010 2:22:42 AM , Rating: 2
The bill is currently under debate in Britain's House of Lords

If this bill gets passed, they should also pass another bill which will rename "Britain's House of Lords" to "Britain's House of Stupids."

Thank you.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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