Lord Mandelson announces three-strike plan to reduce piracy

Lord Mandelson has clarified plans regarding the "three-strike policy" today, created in an effort to reduce piracy, according to the BBC. Whilst the plans were initially opposed by many, Lord Mandelson also mentioned some benefits the new plans will provide, such as relaxed copyright laws in regards to sharing.

Lord Mandelson was speaking at the government's digital creative industries conference where he talked about the plans. He emphasised that cutting off users would be a last resort, and, addressing the fears of some, stated that users would be able to appeal any decisions to cut off their Internet access, if for instance, the disconnected user believed someone else was using their Internet connection.

"If we reach the point of suspension for an individual, they will be informed in advance, having previously received two notifications – and will have the opportunity to appeal," Mandelson said.

Although the finer details would have to be discussed at European level, Lord Mandelson also discussed the possibility of relaxing copyrighting laws "at home and between friends," meaning that users could legally copy their music from their CD to their iPod, or potentially share their music with family or friends without fear of breaking the law.

The discussion may have eased many consumer concerns about being disconnected, and the relaxed copyright laws at home is likely to be a welcome move, assuming that it goes ahead after being discussed at European level. The cost of the process would be shared between right holders and ISPs, Lord Mandelson added later.

Thanks to Neowin.net member thealexweb for the news tip.

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"Lord Mandelson also discussed the possibility of relaxing copyrighting laws "at home and between friends,""

I would think that whose who want to already do -- I mean how are you going to catch someone who copies a CD or DVD for their sister or brother? If you can't prosecute something, making it legal has zero practical effect.

"...users would be able to appeal any decisions to cut off their Internet access..."
"The cost of the process would be shared between right holders and ISPs..."

Appeal before or after cutoff? If after, if the people who want you cut off have to pay for your appeal, delaying/limiting that process would be in their best interests.

I really cant see all of this going ahead, ISP wont stand for cutting people off and whoever stands upto the goverment will soon get a lot of subscribers. Also as talk talk proved you can hack into most unsecured wifi networks and the improvements in mobile broadband will make it even harder to track and prosecute people.

tiagosilva29 said,
Who's Lord Mandelson?

A would-be politician, thrice ejected from the uk government for corruption. The only way he could get back in a fourth time was to be given a honorary peer title. Hence the surreptitious meeting with the rothchilds and david geffen (billionaire music and movie mogul) in corfu, and his subsequent heightened interest in the digital britain report. This guy is corruption exemplified.

For all the cries of foul, could anyone actually give a much better solution that satisfy all parties? I highly doubt it.

You assume there is a problem that needs solving. Copyrights and patents are the bane of human creativity and culture. The copyright cartels claim that file-sharing needs to be tackled; nothing more than the desperate rantings of a dying incumbent.

If anything needs reducing in Blighty, it's the aristocracy.
I refuse to address anyone as lord (or your highness for that matter.)

This is utter rubbish. Look at the issue dispassionately - not morally - and from a purely technical perspective.

Copyright is an issue covered by the World Trade Organisation and I'm afraid Lord Mandelbum has no control over it much as he'd like to think he does.

How would he deal with a British citizen who use a torrent tracker running on a server in Guatemala to retrieve portions of files from computers in 112 different countries? He can't. He obviously doesn't have a clue about the technology or its legal implications. Moreove, under copyright law it is NOT illegal to download copyrighted material, only to upload it. Uploading is legally considered to be a legal transaction or sale where the uploader is exchanging the material for 'goodwill'.

How would he handle a British citizen who placed a music file for share by a torrent with a tracker on a server in Guatemala? The tracker would link to portions of the files stored on computers in many different countries. All the bit-torrent client software companies have to do is add a filter to exclude IP addresses in the UK or EU. No content would be transferred from a UK/EU sender to a UK/EU receiver. No UK/EU laws broken and not in Mandelbum's jurisdiction.

This is not a realistic solution to what is a real problem. Back to the drawing board m'Lord.

Surly a mass 'Download' on one day and one hour would show them that people are still going to do this and they need to get with the times, make your product worth paying for!

So the BPI are going to continue monitoring... torrents... kazaa... limewire... etc reporting back huge lists of IP addresses.

They don't seem to be doing a good job of prosecuting people at the moment anyway.

lunamonkey said,
So the BPI are going to continue monitoring... torrents... kazaa... limewire... etc reporting back huge lists of IP addresses.

They don't seem to be doing a good job of prosecuting people at the moment anyway.

lol you got that right! All talk, no action.

The Pirate Party UK has a blog post on this issue. Here's a snippit:

Labour's plan is that the music industry will monitor what people are downloading, and on their say-so (not in any court of law), internet subscribers will receive two warning letters and then have their internet access cut off. The music industry will not have to prove that the subscribers have being doing anything wrong; instead Mandelson's plan is that they will act as judge, jury and executioner. And it's not just the subscriber who will be cut off, their whole household will be too; this collective punishment, if done in wartime, would be a war crime under the Geneva Convention.

It should not be the user that should be cut of the internet but the site that refuses to abide by copyright rules. In other words, sites that do not want to abide by the law should be cut of from access by the entire nation. Problem Solved.

...meaning that users could legally copy their music from their CD to their iPod...

I find it awful they see the need to change a law/regulation/whatever to allow th above...

If they went after anyone who had every downloaded something illegal 3 times the government would dissolve over night, if you've done anything in the past your fine and its only if you download music Mandy'll come round and punch you in the face.

Yeah, I'm usually against this stuff, and I'm not comfortable with it now, but I like their proposals to relax copyright laws for sharing between friends and family.

I drive 20ks over the speed limit all the time, never caught once.

I doubt a mere ISP could keep track every time someone does anything illegally. Probably, chances are if you get caught 3 times, you really deserved to have your connection cut.

So do they expect the number of people getting caught and punished in the UK to increase?

The only message I'm getting from this ruling is that you get a slap on the wrist for breaking copyright laws.

How do they intend on catching people before or after this rule comes in, as there's only been a handful of prosecutions in the UK. And I don't think any have ended in a conviction unless they are mass bootlegging down markets. (But then that's not really anything to do with sharing online)

The ISP will notify the allegedly offending person, and after two notifications the user's Internet will be cut off.

The "offending user's" will be identified by right holders, presumably, who then contact the ISP with their IP address.

Obviously, with no Internet, the user cannot re-offend (through their broadband at home anyway. The duration of the cut off was not specified).

I think you are correct - to my understanding no individual in the UK has ever been successfully prosecuted for personal downloading. However I may be wrong.

Sellers and those originating the material through recording etc. have been prosecuted though.

I guess this is an attempt at trying to come up with a realistic and workable solution is stopping personal downloading, which is a reasonable idea in itself - but there's so many issues with this scheme. I fail to see how they can cut you off on suspicion - Isn't the law or the land clear that you are innocent until proven guilty, and there has to be reasonable grounds to act upon someone who is only a suspect (such as a suspected murderer can be detained if it is deemed unsafe to let them go).

mmck, they are not trying to prosecute people for downloading, simply disconnecting those who's IP addresses are recorded next to some copyrighted material.

You are right about it being a suspicion though, as IP addresses have been proven to be unreliable as a source of evidence, and it is for this reason that users will be given the chance to appeal warnings or decisions to disconnect, so that cases where things aren't so simple can be resolved.

Thats the point though - IP addresses AREN'T a reliable method of evidence. So ANYONE could point the finger 3 times and bam! You'd be banned! (In theory)

Sazz181 said,
The ISP will notify the allegedly offending person, and after two notifications the user's Internet will be cut off.

The "offending user's" will be identified by right holders, presumably, who then contact the ISP with their IP address.

Obviously, with no Internet, the user cannot re-offend (through their broadband at home anyway. The duration of the cut off was not specified).

ISP = not police don't have authority to judge who can and cannot have internet. ISP can't turn off your power or water cause you use too much of that so they shouldn't be able to do it for internet which is now being seen as a legal right to access it no matter the content.

Thats the point though - IP addresses AREN'T a reliable method of evidence. So ANYONE could point the finger 3 times and bam! You'd be banned! (In theory)

You're right. They are about as vague as giving the street/road name of an offender then telling authority's to catch them.

Digix said,
ISP = not police don't have authority to judge who can and cannot have internet. ISP can't turn off your power or water cause you use too much of that so they shouldn't be able to do it for internet which is now being seen as a legal right to access it no matter the content.

ehh...not really. They aren't cutting it off because your using too much of it, it's because you are using it illegally. For your water analogy to work the person would have to be using the water to drown kittens or something. Your isp doesn't have any authority over your water or power anyway.

So, you rather have your personal activity on the web exposed to the police and government as opposed to ISPs?

Thing is, this copyright issue will eventually be solved and chances are, if is not the ISP that is going to determine, it is a watchdog group with governmental backing or the police/law enforcement. And breach of contracts meant you could be turned off. If you don't pay your bills, your power can go off.

nokiaxion said,
What a fail on Neowin's part.

Ah its my usual luck, get mentioned on the front page but somethings bound to go wrong

Edit: thanks Sazz181 :-)

Mandelson is one of the most sleezy, dishonest, corrupt politicians I have ever heard of and given how most politicians behave, that's a hell of a achievement.

Being a Lord might once have had a notion of respectability but not for the past 30 or 40 years. It now mean you're a complete ****!

I'm actually not commenting because of this file-sharing busienss but purely because I can't stand this man.