UK Confused About Piracy
According to BoingBoing, “Leaked UK government plan to create “Pirate Finder General” with power to appoint militias, create laws:”
What that means is that an unelected official would have the power to do anything without Parliamentary oversight or debate, provided it was done in the name of protecting copyright. Mandelson elaborates on this, giving three reasons for his proposal:
1. The Secretary of State would get the power to create new remedies for online infringements (for example, he could create jail terms for file-sharing, or create a “three-strikes” plan that costs entire families their internet access if any member stands accused of infringement)
2. The Secretary of State would get the power to create procedures to “confer rights” for the purposes of protecting rightsholders from online infringement. (for example, record labels and movie studios can be given investigative and enforcement powers that allow them to compel ISPs, libraries, companies and schools to turn over personal information about Internet users, and to order those companies to disconnect users, remove websites, block URLs, etc)
However, the Pirate Finder General will have no authority to find or engage actual pirates. Once again, all rise for a rousing two minutes on clear language [link to http://www.k-1.com/Orwell/index.cgi/work/essays/language.html no longer works].
[Update: There is now a petition against the proposed law at petitions.number10.gov.uk [link no longer works].]