[Wolves] Fwd: [SC.LUG] 3 Strike Petition

Political Penguin fish at politicalpenguin.org.uk
Wed Nov 25 22:27:02 UTC 2009

Peter Cannon wrote:
> Dave Morley wrote:
>> Pete,
>> I can tell you that the ORG guy gave a talk on this at lrl and as the
>> law currently stands any of the industries (film or music) can claim you
>> are illegally obtaining copies of their content.
>> The way it currently stands there is no process for "I'm only
>> downloading legal stuff" which means you get cut off regardless.
>> It's not good news.
> Oh OK then Dave fair enough :-)
Been reading through the threads today and thought I should introduce 
some information that people seem to want or clarify.

Here's the actual Bill as it stands going through the House Of Lords:


The three strikes description is perhaps a little misleading but it's 
not far off. The Bill contains provisions for rights holders to be able 
to pass on details of an alleged infringer to the ISP. It then mandates 
the ISP to write to that person explaining the law. There's no clear 
layout for what happens next or specific timescales but it allows the 
copyright holder to get a court summons for information on the alleged 
infringer which isn't much different to the way things are now. However 
the problem arises if the person accused (we will assume they are doing 
naughties in this case and not a victim of say someone hacking their WEP 
encryption) continues to download copyrighted material. The onus is then 
placed on the ISP to take some sort of enforcement action. This can be 
writing to them again which is the assumed approach and then leading on 
to technical measures such as capping, throttling or disconnection. The 
problem with the Bill is that is firstly that it's not that clear and 
secondly there's the hammer of OFCOM being held over the heads of ISPs 
with potentially significant fines if they don't do anything.

This isn't helped because of two relevant EU related matters. The first 
is the European Directive on Electronic Commerce Directive 2000/31/EC


In particular Article 12 through to 15 which places ISPs in the 
difficult position of potentially violating EU rules if they implement 
the provisions of the act which is why a couple have threatened to take 
it to court if the Bill is passed.

The second is that yesterday the European Parliament passed the Telecoms 
Reform Bill. It's yet to be seen how this will impact on the situation 
because it can be equally argued it allows (just about) for the UK 
legislation or that it would cancel it out. Had it been passed in the 
wording it had back in May it would obviously rule out the UK 
legislation as it enshrined internet access to the right to free speech 
under human right, however there was a lot of rangling at the Council 
level to get concessions from industry on various other issues and it's 
been watered down a bit.

On the other issue that was raised about right to copy your own stuff, 
transfer from CD to MP3 etc. It is illegal in the UK, we are, to the 
best of my knowledge the only EU country where it is and it's bloody 
pathetic. The bit of legislation you're after is the 1988 Copyright 
Designs and Patents Act:


In particular see section 17/2 which covers the copying to electronic 

I'd urge everyone to sign the petition on the Number 10 website but more 
importantly write to your MP, especially if they're Labour explaining 
the problems with this Bill and the technical impossibility of its 

One area a lot of people aren't concentrating on as the whole 'three 
strikes' issue is taking the limelight is another provision in the Bill 
which effectively gives the power to the Secretary of State (Currently 
Peter Mandelson) to amend copyright legislation as they choose without 
recourse to the House of Commons. This is undemocratic and dangerous.

Ultimately it's a futile piece of legislation that does not represent 
the technical or social reality of the issues it's claiming to address 
and fundamentally misses what is really needed; a wholesale reform of 
our copyright laws because they're no longer fit for purpose.

There's a lot of work going on to bring this crap down, I know I'm 
trying to do my bit and I'd hope others would too.


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