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FXhomers: do you like your Internets?

Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 12:36pm

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Simon K Jones

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First off: Please note this is me posting, ie Simon Jones, as an individual. This post does not necessarily represent the views of FXhome Limited or its other staff.

This is quite important, if you're in the UK and like having some general civil rights and freedoms. The government is currently trying to bring in new laws that, on the surface, are designed to combat piracy and dodgy filesharing.

Practically, the laws are vague enough to grant the government the power to do pretty much whatever they want to your Internet connection. If just one person in your house is accused of piracy (a proper trial is not necessary: guilt is to be assumed), your entire house can be cut off.

This is, as they say, the thin end of the wedge. Once this comes in, it'll open the door for them to control whatever they want and accuse you of anything without due process.

Anyway, Cory Doctorow has written about it far better than I could: http://www.boingboing.net/2009/11/20/britains-new-interne.html

If you feel like I do, please go here: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/dontdisconnectus/

More information here, including how to contact your MP: http://www.openrightsgroup.org/

Last edited Thu, 15th Apr 2010, 6:37pm; edited 2 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 2:21pm

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Fxhome Dude

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Tarn,
I like and don't like the idea. #1 a cut-back on piracy would be great. If u have nothing to hide u should have nothing to fear. But then again it is an invasion of privacy none the less. Despite a great idea in theroy, it's one of those things that just won't work. I totally agree that it is the tip of the iceburg. Best of luck for those dudes in the UK (come back across the pond man).
Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 2:26pm

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Simon K Jones

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Wes the fxhome dude wrote:

#1 a cut-back on piracy would be great.
Agreed. Obviously, I work for a software developer, so piracy is a big issue. However, there are clever ways to handle it and silly ways, and this is a silly way. smile

Plus there's still actually a lot of confused debate as to the actual impact of piracy on sales.

If u have nothing to hide u should have nothing to fear.
Unfortunately that isn't actually true. Why? Because the definition of "having nothing to hide" isn't defined by you. It's defined by the government, and the government changes and won't always agree with what you think is acceptable.

With responsible governments, sure, you can hope that the "If u have nothing to hide u should have nothing to fear" saying holds true. The problem is that you can't guarantee 100% responsible governments 100% of the time.
Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 2:34pm

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Fxhome Dude

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Tarn wrote:

If u have nothing to hide u should have nothing to fear.
Unfortunately that isn't actually true. Why? Because the definition of "having nothing to hide" isn't defined by you. It's defined by the government, and the government changes and won't always agree with what you think is acceptable.

With responsible governments, sure, you can hope that the "If u have nothing to hide u should have nothing to fear" saying holds true. The problem is that you can't guarantee 100% responsible governments 100% of the time.
Exactly. Bu=y nothing to fear i meant, you pay your taxes, don't pirate software, have job, etc. The thing is the goverment (especially in the UK) may have a different opinion of right and wrong. Interesting.... (I live in the US)
Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 2:38pm

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Simon K Jones

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The US and the UK are fairly similar on these topics, Wes. You only have to look at Guantanamo Bay to see how the US and UK governments is perfectly happy to bend supposedly unbendable rules depending on its current motivations.

It also looks like the UK government has been complicit in imprisoning and torturing its own citizens, without trial - with many of those people since released without charge.

As a US president once said, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance: that includes keeping a close eye on your government. Don't assume that just because you consider yourself a 'good guy' that the government will necessarily agree. wink
Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 2:41pm

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Fxhome Dude

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Tarn wrote:

The US and the UK are fairly similar on these topics, Wes. You only have to look at Guantanamo Bay to see how the US and UK governments is perfectly happy to bend supposedly unbendable rules depending on its current motivations.

It also looks like the UK government has been complicit in imprisoning and torturing its own citizens, without trial - with many of those people since released without charge.

As a US president once said, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance: that includes keeping a close eye on your government. Don't assume that just because you consider yourself a 'good guy' that the government will necessarily agree. wink
Not at all. I have nothing against the UK or it's government, and don't know enough to criticize either. I am not calling my self a 'good guy' either. Simply using what I know to shape my opinion, (that will come in handy in history class)
Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 3:02pm

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Koradin

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I've just signed the petition, the whole idea of assuming guilt with out checking anything first is very wrong.

I can think of numerous situations where people could be assumed to guilty when they're not. In my street there are about 4 wireless connections that anyone can use, it is so simple to connect to them and use their bandwidth for file sharing. Also many ISP's use random IP addresses for each session or ones that change about once a month, it would be very annoying to be assigned a random IP and then have your connection cut because the last person was a file sharer.

Koradin
Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 3:08pm

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Fxhome Dude

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Koradin wrote:

I've just signed the petition, the whole idea of assuming guilt with out checking anything first is very wrong.
Koradin
Can't agree more...
Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 3:11pm

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Simon K Jones

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Yeah, not to mention the bizarre precedent of punishing an entire household for a single individual. If a single member of a family has their driving license suspended, for example, the police don't ban the ENTIRE FAMILY from driving.

I don't honestly think this is about stopping filesharing and piracy. It's simply a convenient way to get control mechanisms in place on the Internet - it's the one thing that governments can't easily control, as was seen in the Iran protests recently, and with various Twitter/Facebook-sourced outcries recently.

Governments are getting a glimpse at a potential world in which they don't have complete control over the general public's knowledge, and I imagine it's scaring the crap outta them.

Even the concept of "history is written by the victors" is potentially under threat from new communications offered by the Internet, which I imagine is making Blair and Bush a little worried.

It's still a long way off, of course, but that's why the UK government is trying to act now, before people realise what it's really all about.
Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 3:27pm

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malone

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Tarn wrote:

It's simply a convenient way to get control mechanisms in place on the Internet - it's the one thing that governments can't easily control
Our government already effectively control the IWF which does the web censoring for 99% of UK ISPs. They can also easily check up on what you're doing. And don't even think about trying to encrypt anything.
Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 3:29pm

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Simon K Jones

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OK, maybe I should have said it's something the government wants to control more easily. smile
Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 3:39pm

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b4uask30male

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I think what will happen is another form of "copy" will be invented that bypasses the "normal" bit torrent or file sharing sites.

Two examples:

Spotify, if you buy realmusic you can copy the music while listening without big brother knowing.

Streaming: there are already sites that stream movies, you can even watch them on the ps3, these I guess can be tracked but as we know pirate people are smart enough to move the streaming address around each week.

These are just some of the ways to avoid big brother and there will be more the more piraters are squeezed.

So to sum up, the government won't stop pirating ever, sadly until the price of items becomes as cheap as chips someone will try to copy to save a few pounds.

I remember in the old days, software had an instuction manual (real paper not online) and to start or load software you would see on screen:
Page 104, paragraph 4, line 2.
And you would have to look through the book to find that word and type in, that was a good way to secure software!
Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 3:44pm

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Simon K Jones

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Most forms of copy protection and anti-piracy systems (which don't completely restrict the legit users as well) will be broken or worked around pretty fast.

What these content companies should be doing is showing people why their paid-for service is worth using, rather than maniacally pursuing the pirates at all costs. They need to try new things, like Spotify and iTunes.

That's what we try to do here, too, in our own small way. We try to offer really good quality after-sales support to our customers, as well as the presets etc, to give them something you can't get by simply pirating software.
Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 3:47pm

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Fxhome Dude

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Tarn wrote:

That's what we try to do here, too, in our own small way. We try to offer really good quality after-sales support to our customers, as well as the presets etc, to give them something you can't get by simply pirating software.
Simply genius... + nobody come here for support either...
Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 5:16pm

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pdrg

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If anyone here is concerned about issues like this, please consider joining the Open Rights Group as linked by Simon. ORG was born out of the ashes of NTK, for those of you who remember their techie web history, and is the only media and lobbying group standing up to question the viewpoints of the heavily-funded lobbying interests.

We provide a single point of contact for newspapers and media outlets to get a counter-position and hopefully help prevent our digital and online rights from being further eroded. It is 100% started, managed and financed by its members, so your support would really count. A fiver a month for a full membership, or less for students, etc.
Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 6:21pm

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Simon K Jones

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I signed up today.

Having Neil Gaiman, Cory Doctorow and Tom Watson on board was almost enough to convince me, but once I found out that pdrg was involved as well..... wink
Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 6:41pm

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pdrg

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^^ arf! Cheers for classing me alongside Cory Doctorow et. al., I remember seeing Cory back at the NTK NotCon'04, he was a very credible speaker back then, and was supporting the EFF. Simon, I'm very pleased you've signed up, it shows a certain amount of class biggrin
Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 9:40pm

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TheOutlawAmbulance

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I understand this is effective in the UK but is the US also passing this law?
Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 10:45pm

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Aculag

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Storm Grenade wrote:

I understand this is effective in the UK but is the US also passing this law?
No. The US and the UK have different governments and different laws. There are lawmakers in the US, however, who have similar agendas, but it'll be a while before anything happens. Same with the UK. This law isn't being "passed", so much as it's being "shopped around".

No need to delete all your pirated software and movies and games just yet, Storm Grenade. wink
Posted: Tue, 24th Nov 2009, 10:57pm

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TheOutlawAmbulance

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Aculag wrote:

No need to delete all your pirated software and movies and games just yet, Storm Grenade. wink
Shheewww! I was getting worried! wink Just kidding. Not even sure how to pirate a game or movie but if someone wanted to...teach...me..... eek
Posted: Wed, 25th Nov 2009, 1:01am

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Atom

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Tarn wrote:

What these content companies should be doing is showing people why their paid-for service is worth using, rather than maniacally pursuing the pirates at all costs. They need to try new things, like Spotify and iTunes.
Hrrrmmmm, not entirely sure I agree on that point, and it's a very curious debate we often have in my Digtal Media on the Internet course this semester- I'd say while new things need to be tried and obviously privacy and rights shouldn't be breached- we can't really get upset over someone looking out for their product and making sure it isn't getting stolen.

It may be somewhat maniacal, but it's the same premise as a j-walking ticket. Yeah, it sucks and doesn't happen that often to that many people, so when you get it you're inclined to be angry, but at all of it you really were knowingly breaking the law from the get-go in j-walking, and there's no way around that.
Posted: Wed, 25th Nov 2009, 4:11am

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Pooky

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As of right now, the reason companies and organizations (best example being the RIAA) go around destroying people's lives with multi-thousand dollar lawsuits and stupid lobbied censorship laws is that this is simply the most profitable course of action in the short term (more so than trying to find new ways to make money). The fact is that the ship is sinking, and current revenue models will not hold up to piracy which has proved itself unstoppable. Change will be inevitable at some point, so they're just trying to make as much money as they can while they can. It's a short-term thing, because they know they won't stay head of their industry forever.

Although that applies more to the music industry than the software and filmmaking one, because that industry's business model is totally doomed whereas software and movies still hold a chance.
Posted: Wed, 25th Nov 2009, 9:35am

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Simon K Jones

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Aculag wrote:

Storm Grenade wrote:

I understand this is effective in the UK but is the US also passing this law?
No. The US and the UK have different governments and different laws. There are lawmakers in the US, however, who have similar agendas, but it'll be a while before anything happens. Same with the UK. This law isn't being "passed", so much as it's being "shopped around".
Unfortunately, here in the UK it's on the fast track, hence all the campaigning now to try to get the word out about it. They're trying to slip it in under the pretence of it being the 'Digital Economy Bill', and are relying on the "well, if you don't do anything bad you've got nothing to fear" attitude stopping people from noticing the nasty precedent it's setting.

Atom wrote:

Hrrrmmmm, not entirely sure I agree on that point, and it's a very curious debate we often have in my Digtal Media on the Internet course this semester- I'd say while new things need to be tried and obviously privacy and rights shouldn't be breached- we can't really get upset over someone looking out for their product and making sure it isn't getting stolen.
The problem is that it can't really be seen in the traditional sense of 'stolen'. To steal something means that someone takes something from you that you can't get back. This doesn't really apply to digital media, whereby nothing's actually been taken - it's just been copied. You still have your copies.

That's not to say it isn't annoying or that it should be ignored, just that I don't think it can be analysed or punished or policed in the same way as 'physical' stealing.

It's also worth noting that the attitude of publishers/distributors/corporations towards filesharing is often quite different to the attitude of the individual bands/musicians/writers/etc. The former ONLY want to make money, while the latter want to make money but ALSO want to get their work seen/listened to/read/etc.

Basically, it's complicated. biggrin The main point in this case is that the new bill here in the UK won't really address any of it in a sensible way.
Posted: Wed, 25th Nov 2009, 11:56am

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pdrg

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Is piracy a problem? Yes, of course it is. Has it always been? Totally. The problem is those who gnash and wail the loudest have had an easy ride and don't want to let go of control of the gravy train, so as opposed to encouraging innovation in a fair market, they're trying to corrupt the market and get laws passed to protect their historic interests by massive lobbying, but the laws are out of all proportion or relevence.

For instance, Apple have proved with iTunes that people are very willing to spend money on music if you make it easy to buy. Other people copy MP3's, but they'd have taped LP's in my day, so they're not a factor in the decline. Cinemas were nearly extinct before Hollywood re-invented itself with the concept of the summer blockbuster - adapt and survive. Our supposed capitalist ideal relies on an honest marketplace, without protectionism. Thatcher claimed "you can't buck the market", after all.

So these laws are being snuck through, and as with everything else, they'll be misinterpreted and used to the advantage of a few powerful groups. Some countries have a *TAX* levied on blank CD and DVD sales paid over to the music and film publishing bodies - that's even sicker, the government being used as the stooge for powerfu lobbies. So we have to stand up. Please, everyone, stand up before it's too late.
Posted: Wed, 25th Nov 2009, 12:50pm

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rogolo

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^^^ I think I see PM PDRG in the making smile I'd be down with that...I agree with literally every point you made.

As Atom pointed out, we've had these discussions in my own institution of higher learning, and I have come to embrace the ideas behind sharing, as nothing can be more "free market" than making your creations completely accessible and open, and allowing the market to dictate one's success/popularity. In that system, notably, there are no record labels to feed off the artists' hard earned money, which, in turn, would spur more creativity and artist growth, and shift the music business to a music culture. This TED talk by Larry Lessig actually fits in rather nicely with this debate if you are so inclined.

As far as the Digital Economy Bill goes, that sounds eerily akin to an Internet version of our PATRIOT Act. Both seriously obstruct civil liberties (extreme punishment without a trial), masquerade under the guise of harmlessness ("If you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide"), and show how bloated and controlling government is. One bit of hope stateside is the FCC proposing net neutrality rules and open access mandates, so hopefully they will have success and continue to gather steam.
Posted: Wed, 25th Nov 2009, 12:55pm

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Simon K Jones

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I believe Denmark has passed a law making Internet access a human right. That's definitely the way to go.

Rogolo - I really like the free market, sharing mentality. The only problem is that, at some point, you still need marketing. In a sea of shared media, how do you ever find something you like? Then again, as long as the marketing firms were separate to the actual distribution, it might work.

And, I suppose, people still find stuff on YouTube without corporate marketing - it's a new kind of marketing through blogs and viral awareness.

I tend to increasingly regard Cory Doctorow as the poster child for these new concepts. He releases all his work for free under Creative Commons, meaning anyone can download his novels and read it for free, and they can even remix it however they like as long as they don't make money off it. But, at the same time, he's a successful writer that makes a living from his writing. The big media corps would have you believe that wasn't possible.
Posted: Wed, 25th Nov 2009, 1:52pm

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rogolo

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Tarn wrote:

The only problem is that, at some point, you still need marketing. In a sea of shared media, how do you ever find something you like? Then again, as long as the marketing firms were separate to the actual distribution, it might work.

And, I suppose, people still find stuff on YouTube without corporate marketing - it's a new kind of marketing through blogs and viral awareness.
Yes, an unmanageable mass of artists jockeying for position is definitely the natural progression of a pure free market system. However, as you pointed out, sites like Youtube use the community almost like crowdscourcing, to let users pick what they like and promote in passive (views) and active (favorite/rate/subscribe) ways simultaneously. Two music sites that employ lots of community interaction in a sea of independent artists are AmieStreet.com and Garageband.com. As far as I know, each has been modestly successful in selling/gaining exposure for indy artists, which proves it can be done, even without a consumer base as massive as iTunes.

Going even further, Myspace music, which is heavy on two-way interaction (from band to the fans and vice versa), has been great for many artists. While I don't have a Myspace or spend any measurable amount of time on the site, I have heard many popular artists who got their big break because of Myspace and social networking. As Lessig explains in the opening minutes of the aforementioned TED talk, the state of music used to be "read-write", but became "read-only" after serious monetization factored into the process with the advent of recording devices. Now, almost a century later, computers have shifted this power away from the big corporations and towards anyone with access to a $300 computer, mic, and Audacity. As we move back closer to a "read-write" culture, I see the bloated recording industry as an aged dinosaur, which will eventually become less relevant, similar to buying physical music. It will always exist in some measure (as a means of marketing and distribution can never be gone all together), but it's role will be scaled back as everyone begins to realize that they don't need to be enabled by a big corporation to produce their own music.

Tarn wrote:

I tend to increasingly regard Cory Doctorow as the poster child for these new concepts. He releases all his work for free under Creative Commons, meaning anyone can download his novels and read it for free, and they can even remix it however they like as long as they don't make money off it. But, at the same time, he's a successful writer that makes a living from his writing. The big media corps would have you believe that wasn't possible.
Not sure if you know Lawrence Lessig (I just found about him a bit ago), but you may want to check him out...it sounds like they have a lot in common. Lessig is big into remixes, Creative Commons, and how the internet is impacting culture. Link. Some good reads in there.
Posted: Fri, 27th Nov 2009, 2:31pm

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Mellifluous

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Great to see some informed opinions and some ones way more informed than mine. I'll give the Open Rights Group a look and see about joining it.

A big gripe about this legislation I have is it doesn't represent people the government are supposed to represent; it represents a small minority of big businesses who are hellbent on milking every last drop of money out of people. Of course it's tied up with the economy, but would Modern Warfare 2's publishers be cheeky enough to argue that piracy had a huge negative impact on their sales? And how good for the economy is it going to be if many people are cut off from a major vehicle for purchasing things?!

Shutting down internet in a household where some may need it as an educative tool is also not the answer. Yes, piracy is an issue. It's almost a cultural norm for many people below a certain age to have pirated something. But how bad of an effect does this really have? Sharing music, software, games and movies isn't something that magically appeared this decade. There ARE groups of people who don't pay for stuff, ever, but that's a social problem too. I'm sure most people who pirate/have ever pirated who've gone on to have income have repaid it by becoming customers. But in a climate where people have to watch their pennies, I think sales of many media might drop if people find they cannot "try before they buy".
Posted: Fri, 27th Nov 2009, 2:58pm

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pdrg

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Mellifluous wrote:

There ARE groups of people who don't pay for stuff, ever, but that's a social problem too.
Exactly - this should be a CIVIL issue (courts can issue fines and reparations), not a CRIMINAL one (courts can impose prison sentences, police are involved) - the fact that it's been absorbed into CRIMINAL law means the police and courts are acting as unpaid collectors for private enterprise.

This is just the latest erosion...
Posted: Sat, 28th Nov 2009, 11:35pm

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TheOutlawAmbulance

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G4 just aired something on this on attack of the show:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVMzj0n_mJ8

PS: Congrats Tarn!!! on being a NANOWRIMO Winner!
Posted: Fri, 4th Dec 2009, 3:43pm

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Crazy Director

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I enjoy using the internet and find it a useful resource.
Cutting down piracy - good but why don't educate it more. (I mean the anti-piracy films ok but some could do better. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up863eQKGUI&feature=player_embedded this was made in the 90s).

Also I was at my school Amnesty International meeting and we were watching a film about human rights being edited.

One of the european rights was that to privacy.
Another one was freedom of speech.
We have the right ot a free trial.
So we should be trusted.

We elected them for them to represent us.
Why can't we get a reward for that?

If Big Brother's watching HAIL OCEANIA.

George Orwell, I'm sorry even his privacy was lost, Eric Arthur Blair you couldn't be more true
Posted: Wed, 3rd Feb 2010, 10:51am

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Aculag

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This is only tangentially related to the topic of discussion here, but this article is bad news, especially for Aussies: South Australia bans internet anonymity

Let's hope this doesn't become a trend, people, because hoooooly sh*t.
Posted: Wed, 3rd Feb 2010, 11:14am

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Simon K Jones

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Ouch, that's pretty nasty. No doubt people will trot out the usual "if you've got nothing to hide..." crap, completely missing the point.

1990s: Internet stays under the radar, and is essentially a wide open new frontier.

2000s: Companies and governments struggle to catch up, often not taking it seriously until it's too late.

2010s: Governments finally recognise the Internet's importance and threat, and start to legislate in order to keep their pre-digital dominance over information and citizens. Companies start to establish limiting platforms that give them more control (iPad etc).

2020s: Free Internet usage now limited to techie, small scale operating systems via underground network of ISPs. Most consumers don't even remember the early, open days of the Internet.

2030s: Hitler is resurrected.
Posted: Wed, 3rd Feb 2010, 5:15pm

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Atom

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This is all chronicled fairly well in our movie Exodus. biggrin
Posted: Wed, 3rd Mar 2010, 12:24pm

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Simon K Jones

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To paraphrase a Michael Bay film, this sh!t just got real.

Both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are positing an amendment to the bill that takes it into even scarier territory, enabling mass censorship of websites based on unsubstatiated claims of copyright infringement.

This could mean that sites like YouTube and Wordpress would be banned from the UK Internet.

Some more information from Cory Doctorow here.

Information on how to take a stand here. Please, please make a fuss.

Internet access will be the lifeblood of countries in the 21st century, socially, politically and economically. Don't let politicians strangle at birth the UK's chances of competing on a global stage - and that's without even getting into the dire implications for the concepts freedom and innocent-until-proven-guilty.
Posted: Thu, 4th Mar 2010, 1:19am

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Aculag

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Good lord, no... This is seriously the kind of thing that ought to incite revolution. I'm rooting for you, UK citizens. Don't let them do this to you... sad
Posted: Thu, 4th Mar 2010, 2:23am

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Thrawn

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Wow, that's crazy guys. I obviously don't live in the UK, but this is pretty scary. I haven't even heard about this, though that may just be because of my location. It's hardly something that I'd even expect to be taken seriously, but it's a strange strange world I suppose.
Posted: Thu, 4th Mar 2010, 4:57pm

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Simon K Jones

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Guess what? It got worse today.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/mar/04/web-lockers-digital-economy-liberal-democrats-wrong

They're trying to ban web lockers - services like YouSendIt and, presumably Dropbox (which I use everyday for creative, legal purposes).

Aculag - agreed. Unfortunately the vast majority of people in this country are entirely apathetic, and far too complacent in their everyday lives.
Posted: Fri, 5th Mar 2010, 12:27am

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Aculag

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How do they seriously expect this to work? Do they not realize that piracy existed long before those services? Not only that, but far more people use them for legitimate reasons... Even the quote in the article says:
Around 35% of all online copyright infringement takes place on peer-to-peer sites and services.
So... what about the rest of it? Ban web lockers = "solve" 35% of the problem = spend time trying to thwart the other 65% while the 35% from web lockers find a new way to infringe on copyright. Meantime, people who use them for business, or just for personal, convenient storage, are screwed.

The fact that Google Docs is mentioned is pretty hilarious as well. I've only just started using it for writing papers and printing them at school. I can't imagine too many people using that service maliciously. They ought to ban electricity while they're at it. That stuff's dangerous.
Posted: Fri, 5th Mar 2010, 12:36am

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Pooky

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Man, I hope we get through this "Incredibly-dimwitted-old-people-that-don't-know-how-the-internet-works-but-try-to-regulate-it" onslaught with our basic internet rights still intact, so that us younger folks for whom the internet is actually important can keep it like it is. At least, I hope that's what would happen.
Posted: Fri, 5th Mar 2010, 12:53am

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ben3308

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I use GoogleDocs for all my schoolwork and Dropbox for all 'work' work - clients, etc who don't want PSD's emailed - I can't imagine not being able to use those.

Damn, man, the UK must suuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. biggrin
Posted: Fri, 5th Mar 2010, 3:19am

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Aculag

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ben3308 wrote:

Damn, man, the UK must suuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. biggrin
Not compared to what the US is going to be like in 25 years or so, if things keep going the way they are...
Posted: Fri, 5th Mar 2010, 9:07am

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Simon K Jones

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The UK and US have a tendency to like copying each other with things like this, so you can probably consider this a preview of what's to come for you guys. If the Digital Economy Bill goes through here, expect something similar soon after. If it doesn't...then we've got a chance.

I wrote a little bit about the web locker issue here:

http://tarnimus.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/in-defence-of-dropbox-and-web-lockers/

As ben says, I use Dropbox constantly for my writing work. Schwar uses it constantly for a lot of his FXhome image and design work.

unsure
Posted: Fri, 5th Mar 2010, 4:16pm

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Aculag

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I think Pooky is probably right though; the people in charge of this stuff don't fully understand the importance of the Internet, because they grew up without it. Perhaps the future isn't so bleak, as long as some of those oldies die off and make room for the new generation of lawmakers. Perhaps.
Posted: Fri, 5th Mar 2010, 4:32pm

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Simon K Jones

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Yeah, it does feel like the last gasp of the old brigade - it's old corporations (who want to maintain business power) taking advantage of old politicians (who don't understand digital).

It's emerged that one of the politicians that introduced these new amendments takes an annual £70k salary from a lawyer's firm that specialises in IP and copyright litigation. I'm sure it's just a coincidence, though!

The one silver lining with this week's developments is that they might have finally gone too far. As long as it was a censorship issue, or a piracy issue, it was only going to be protested by informed people and technophiles.

Now that it's knocking on the door of YouTube, it's going to attract more attention from the mainstream. Who are going to be pissed off at not being able to watch comedy videos of cats creeping up on people. And that could prove to be the Bill's downfall.

Hopefully.
Posted: Tue, 16th Mar 2010, 8:53am

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Simon K Jones

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Apologies for the double-post, but I thought it was time for an update:

The Bill has passed through the House of Lords and is now heading into the House of Commons, where it's going to be rushed through before the end of Parliament, preventing it from being debated properly.

A leaked email from the UK music industry actually revealed that industry figures don't think the Bill would pass if it was looked at properly, which is why it's important that MPs don't do their jobs properly. Source here: http://www.boingboing.net/2010/03/12/leaked-uk-record-ind.html

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrat party in the UK passed an emergency motion at their conference last weekend declaring that they are pro internet neutrality and freedoms and against blocking: http://www.libdems.org.uk/policy_motions_detail.aspx?title=Emergency_Motion%3a_Freedom%2c_Creativity_and_the_Internet_-_carried&pPK=e22de4e4-eebf-41b6-b671-11669fe9c81d

This is a huge thing, but coming way too late - especially as it was LibDem Lords that introduced the blocking amendment to the Bill in the first place. Still, the 3rd biggest party take this kind of stance is important.

If you're in the UK, the hour is most certainly getting late, but there's still time to write to your MP and ask him to speak out against the Bill. You can find information on how to do this here: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/speakout/extremeinternetl
Posted: Tue, 16th Mar 2010, 12:26pm

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Rockfilmers

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You know, I can understand anti-piracy laws. Piracy is basically stealing. But the government has absolutely no right in blocking websites to help corporations like that. I believe that if the corporations can not figure a new way to stay in business and to make money themselves, they should be allowed to fail. This would allow new business to examine the problem and fix it themselves. It's the basic capitalist system, almost a survival of the fittest, the government has no place to interfere. I know most of you guys probably won't agree with me on this, but the government, no mater whos; UK, USA, DPRK: ruins everything they touch. What makes this any different. We may not have this digital law (yet), but we do that unconstitutional 'PATRIOT' Act which is even worse. If the UK and USA copy each other, expect it soon.
Posted: Tue, 16th Mar 2010, 12:50pm

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Simon K Jones

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I always find it fascinating how the supposed big capitalist corporations are the least capitalist in their attitude. As you say, if a business can't adapt to a changing marketplace, it should be allowed to fail. That's specifically what encourages businesses to improve and adapt and diversify - otherwise why bother, if you're going to be always protected by easily manipulated governments?

The piracy=stealing thing isn't quite that clear cut. Stealing is specifically when you take an item away from somebody - ie, if I steal your car, you no longer have your car. I'm directly denying you that item.

With digital items it's quite different - if you download a digital copy of something, you're not denying it to anybody. The creator still has the original, can still develop and distribute it and sell it as he wants.

Now, I'm not saying that taking digital copies whenever you want is ethical. I work in the software business and in my spare time am a writer and filmmaker, so of course I appreciate the importance of copyright and protecting your investments. But to regard digital piracy as a direct analog of stealing is to over-simplify the situation, I think.

The problem is that copyright was designed primarily for the manufacturing industry. It's a good system for physically manufactured products. A lot of it doesn't work in the digital realm, though, and could do with some rethinking.

Bills like this should look at new opportunities and how to embrace the new Internet economy, rather than trying to artificially maintain the 20th century business models through legislation.
Posted: Tue, 16th Mar 2010, 3:33pm

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Rockfilmers

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I always find it fascinating how the supposed big capitalist corporations are the least capitalist in their attitude. As you say, if a business can't adapt to a changing marketplace, it should be allowed to fail. That's specifically what encourages businesses to improve and adapt and diversify - otherwise why bother, if you're going to be always protected by easily manipulated governments?
THANK YOU TARN!!! True capitalism is companies providing people with something they need or want. When they are no longer to do so, they fall and other companies take their place. The government should not get involved! These government bailouts that we are seeing over here across the pond is nothing but hypocritical. If a company can not adapt to new markets, where will innovation come from? When government+corporations+ignorance=corruption! Now those things (besides the ignorance) are all separated where they can not touch each other, they are fine on their own.
Posted: Tue, 16th Mar 2010, 3:46pm

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Simon K Jones

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Yeah, it's frustrating, particularly when the artificial sustaining of an old industry (the traditional music industry in this case) can actually damage or destroy the growth of a new industry (online music and online trade/opportunities in general).

I should also point out that I don't think the capitalist concept applies to individual people. If a person can't support themselves, or afford medical aid etc, then they should be helped by their fellow human beings.
Posted: Tue, 16th Mar 2010, 4:55pm

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Rockfilmers

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I should also point out that I don't think the capitalist concept applies to individual people. If a person can't support themselves, or afford medical aid etc, then they should be helped by their fellow human beings.
I agree too Tarn. They should be helped by people under their free will. I would love to see more charities step up and take the place of government welfare. I think if that where to happen, we would see a lot less political corruption in that area.
Posted: Tue, 16th Mar 2010, 8:38pm

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Fxhome Dude

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If a warden catches a fishman cheating does he declare the pond of limits? No. He bans the fisherman not the pond. That's relly how I feel about the whole thing. A good intention with an unsuccessful translation.
Posted: Wed, 17th Mar 2010, 10:36am

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Simon K Jones

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Rating: +1

I wrote a letter to my MP about this. You can read my letter here:

http://tarnimus.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/a-letter-to-charles-clarke-regarding-the-digital-economy-bill/

If you're in the UK and don't like the DEB, please write as well.
Posted: Wed, 17th Mar 2010, 11:35am

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That letter was badass for lack of a better word. If I was a UK-resident I'd join the stand at once. I wish you all the best of luck. Remember guys: apathy is least admirable of all stances. It's one of the biggest reasons people in power can get away with so much bulls-. Take a leaf out of Tarn's book. Nobody seems to understand the impact of letters anymore.

As this might affect non-UK people, is there anything we ought to do to show our support?
Posted: Wed, 17th Mar 2010, 12:10pm

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Simon K Jones

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Cory Doctorow just did an update:

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/03/16/brits-ask-your-mp-to.html

Apparently if 10,000 people write to their MPs it will result in the Bill failing.

Yesterday alone 1000 people wrote.

There's still hope!

Edit: Not much hope, though:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/mar/16/digital-economy-bill-piracy-scrutiny

The two main political parties are collaborating to get the Bill through. The actual details of the censorship/blocking part of the law will be decided on the last day of parliament and rushed through without any debate or scrutiny. Opposers won't even be able to discuss it, because it will literally be announced the same day it is made law.

If that's how important laws are made in this country, it might be time to leave. unsure
Posted: Wed, 17th Mar 2010, 2:31pm

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Rockfilmers

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Both parties over here are always finding loop holes to get their bills to pass. It sounds like its the same over there. I'm guessing you mean the two main parties as conservative and labour? I'm surprised they would be working together. That means there is more then what meets the eye in this bill.
Posted: Wed, 17th Mar 2010, 6:50pm

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Mellifluous

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Unfortunately these tactics are the very type I expect. I'm sure both parties have strong ties to certain groups, and they may be being blackmailed too to some extent (e.g. "if you don't enforce certain legislation, we'll withdraw party support and/or our companies from your country")

Good letter Tarn, let us know when you have a response!

I've expressed my views earlier - in a way it would be interesting to see this legislation go through, as I do believe a year or so down the line these companies and the government will be chomping at the bit to reverse it.

But no, I'd rather not see this country turn into another China thank you.
Posted: Fri, 19th Mar 2010, 4:01pm

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pdrg

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>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3jkUhG68wY <<

http://www.dontdisconnect.us/the-proposals/
Posted: Sat, 20th Mar 2010, 9:24pm

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Bryce007

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I've considered many, many times how much better the world would be if the cut off the age of politicians was set at 35.

Then we wouldn't have to deal with all these outdated douchebags trying to impinge their antique sensibilities on THIS generations needs.
Posted: Sat, 20th Mar 2010, 10:19pm

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Pooky

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Hasn't basically every USA president ever been over 35 years old? smile
Posted: Sun, 21st Mar 2010, 12:00am

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Staff Only

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35?!

Obama is a 50 year old Harvard educated lawyer, and we all remember the republicans saying how he was to young and inexperienced.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/obama/687937,obamayoung120807.article


Young's comments were prompted by a member of the audience who inquired about his opinion on Obama's candidacy.

''I want Barack Obama to be president,'' Young said, pausing for effect, ''in 2016.''
''It's not a matter of being inexperienced. It's a matter of being young,'' Young said.


*Facepalm*

(And yes, the guy was actually called "Young" xD)
Posted: Sun, 21st Mar 2010, 12:06am

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Bryce007

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Barack Obama isn't someone I respect. A conman is a conman at any age.

The whole point IS, old guys quite obviously don't know what they're doing when it comes to the Millennial Generation. They've managed to royally screw up what they'll be handing us not too long from now.
Posted: Sun, 21st Mar 2010, 12:27am

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Pooky

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Would age really solve it, though? The real problem is special interests and lobbying; it's a well-known fact that nearly every politician accepts gigantic sums of money from various corporations, and you'd have to be incredibly naive to think that doesn't affect their policies.

In other words, the politicians can't be the problem, because they don't have the power. They're just a vessel. Giant cartels like the RIAA and MPAA and their international equivalents putting gigantic pressures on their hired politicians to ignore personal liberties and rush a tyrannical bill into law with no democratic oversight is what's causing this, not old age.
Posted: Sun, 21st Mar 2010, 12:38am

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Bryce007

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It would solve one huge problem: The disconnect between them and our current generation. Also, Generally speaking, their terrible decisions won't personally effect them for nearly as long as it will us. Whereas, someone younger would both have grown up with modern views, and have to deal with the consequences of their actions just like we will.

Obviously Special interest groups will always be a problem, much like they have been since governing bodies have exists.
Posted: Mon, 22nd Mar 2010, 9:07am

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Simon K Jones

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Bizarrely, British PM Gordon Brown is right now giving a speech on how important fast broadband is to the country, and how every person in Britain should have it as soon as possible, and that fast broadband is as important to society as electricity.

...which doesn't seem to entirely make sense alongside the Digital Economy Bill.

I think there are 2 main problems here:

1. Politicians being bought or heavily influenced by large corporations. I fully expect the main supporters of the DEB to get jobs in the media industry when they finish as politicians.

2. Politicians not understanding the issues, often due to being from a pre-Internet generation - the age issue, as Bryce mentioned.

There's also a possible third explanation:

3. Some politicians are just a bit stupid.

Those are the only 3 explanations, really, as nobody with sense would be pro-DEB in its current state.
Posted: Tue, 23rd Mar 2010, 12:36pm

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Simon K Jones

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Apologies for the double post.

British FXhomers, your country needs you. This is the last chance to keep a free Internet for UK citizens. You have until THIS THURSDAY. It's up to you now:

http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/speakout/HarrietHarman
Posted: Wed, 7th Apr 2010, 7:36am

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rogolo

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Hmm...after some early promising signs from the FCC, this happens. A bit worrisome, I'd say.

And, while writing this post, just saw this. Wow. A shame, as well as a dangerous precedent.
Posted: Wed, 7th Apr 2010, 8:31am

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Simon K Jones

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Yep, check out the amazing turnout in parliament for the debate yesterday:

http://twitpic.com/1dog33

Good to see MPs taking the matter seriously.

There's still some hope that the bill is so unenforceable that even if it does pass (which it looks like it almost certainly will) it won't actually have any real effect, and will be rapidly repealed/fixed.

That's the optimistic view, though. In reality it could quite easily set a precedent for all kinds of human rights abuses.

More to the point, it shows that the UK government doesn't like 'innocent until proven guilty' and would rather it be the other way around. Much easier to keep people imprisoned for as long as they like, that way.
Posted: Thu, 8th Apr 2010, 7:34am

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Simon K Jones

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It's over, we lost:

http://tarnimus.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/dissent-required/
Posted: Thu, 8th Apr 2010, 7:49am

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Serpent

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I am so sorry to hear that. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out from here. Hopefully this bill gets heavily amended or something after they realize how stupid it is.

Selfish question: will this affect me at all? My website is hosted in the UK over at http://hostony.com and I'm sure I have a lot of copyrighted stuff hosted on it. Mostly worried about stuff that gets me heavy traffic, like my Apple Motion lightsaber tutorial and stuff.
Posted: Thu, 8th Apr 2010, 7:51am

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Pooky

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And there you have it: occidental governments aren't Democracies. They're Plutocracies. Democracy is just a facade to keep the people happy.

We definitely gotta reference this in Project MUTE smile
Posted: Thu, 8th Apr 2010, 8:30am

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Simon K Jones

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Serpent wrote:

Selfish question: will this affect me at all? My website is hosted in the UK over at http://hostony.com and I'm sure I have a lot of copyrighted stuff hosted on it. Mostly worried about stuff that gets me heavy traffic, like my Apple Motion lightsaber tutorial and stuff.
Practically speaking, probably not. Also, even if you were targeted it wouldn't actually affect your website directly. What's weird about DEB is that it won't target the websites containing the supposed copyright infringing material; instead it simply orders ISPs to block access to it.

So if you were targeted, the result would be that nobody in the UK would be able to see your website. People elsewhere would be fine.

Basically, the same as when a Chinese citizen tries to view a restricted website.

Of course, this could theoretically mean that if the FXhome.com website was identified as having copyright infringing material (perhaps due to the fanfilm elements in the cinema, or due to discussions by members on the forums about fanfilms they're making etc), it could actually result in all of us here at FXhome HQ being unable to access our own website, while you guys in the States would be fine.

It's also worth noting that the accuser wouldn't actually have to prove anything - it's up to the accused to prove their innocence, in a complete turnaround of UK law.
Posted: Thu, 8th Apr 2010, 9:14pm

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IPresents

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is this law set up now ? or will it be in like a month or 2 ?
Posted: Thu, 8th Apr 2010, 10:46pm

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Pooky

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Yeah, that sounded like a not-very-sublt hint that we should get rid of the MUTE thread when this goes into effect smile So when's that?
Posted: Fri, 9th Apr 2010, 8:51am

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Simon K Jones

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Practically speaking, the bill is likely to be unenforceable, although it might take a couple of example cases to find out for sure. So don't worry too much. smile

In the FXhome case, if they did try to go after a successful, legitimate UK software company, one which has survived and expanded during the recession...well, let's just say it'd cause a bit of a fuss.

Same goes for if they try to shut down library wifi, or internet cafe wifi.

In other words, the fight ain't over.
Posted: Fri, 9th Apr 2010, 9:06am

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B3N

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The fight will never be over razz

Everything was fine before, yeah we had a few hackers going around and pirated software will always continue, but they're only doing this because the government keep leaving silly breifcases with their passwords and details around for the public to find.

Hopefully the public shall win this battle!
Posted: Thu, 15th Apr 2010, 6:38pm

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Simon K Jones

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As B3N says, the fight's never over.

Americans, the Big Media companies are coming for you. They want total control over your computer and your property and your travel:

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/04/15/big-contents-dystopi.html

Make a fuss.
Posted: Thu, 15th Apr 2010, 6:46pm

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Serpent

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OK, clearly everything about that is totally wrong. But border searches of media players?

How would they be able to tell if it's pirated or not?


Also, searching without a warrant is unconstitutional, this will NEVER pass.
Posted: Thu, 15th Apr 2010, 6:55pm

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Fxhome Dude

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Serpent wrote:


Also, searching without a warrant is unconstitutional, this will NEVER pass.
My thoughts echo serpents. Even if its a legit possibility (which I deeply doubt) there's no way that ppl (or anyone for that matter) are going accept it as "constitutional" (as we say in the states).
Posted: Fri, 16th Apr 2010, 7:47pm

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IPresents

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WHEN DOES THIS COME INTO PLACE????
Posted: Fri, 16th Apr 2010, 8:19pm

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Pooky

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God damn it, this can't take hold in the US, or Canada will follow suit. So man up, USA! wink
Posted: Fri, 16th Apr 2010, 11:19pm

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IPresents

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Doesn't this mean, internet cafes would have to stop because people could come in and illeagle download stuff ?

also, how could they do this, sooo many people download.. ?
Posted: Tue, 4th May 2010, 2:44pm

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Simon K Jones

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It's the general election in the UK this Thursday, people. If you're a UK citizen and are old enough to vote, please do. This is especially important if the Digital Economy Bill/Act has pissed you off.

Personally, I will be voting LibDem. I would encourage you to do so as well, for these reasons among others, but the choice is yours. The important thing is that you vote.

If you're old enough but can't be bothered to vote, please reconsider. Why?

Because Tarn says so.
Posted: Wed, 12th May 2010, 6:23am

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Simon K Jones

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This is unconnected to the Digital Economy Act, but is a worrying sign of the times:

http://simonkjones.com/2010/05/11/paul-chambers-twitter-and-justice/

In short: a guy was arrested, charged and convicted of a criminal offense after posting a silly, obviously jokey message to twitter.
Posted: Wed, 12th May 2010, 11:56am

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Bolbi

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OHHHHHHH LOOOORDDDDDD.....

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ytech_gadg/20100510/tc_ytech_gadg/ytech_gadg_tc1973_1

Well Obama just said we can't have our video games, or anything to do with entertainment. Poop. sad
Posted: Wed, 12th May 2010, 3:57pm

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Arktic

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Tarn wrote:

In short: a guy was arrested, charged and convicted of a criminal offense after posting a silly, obviously jokey message to twitter.
It's his own bloody fault - maybe the reaction was a *bit* over the top, possibly, perhaps a little.., but at the end of the day, if he didn't post it, none of it would have happened. A nanoseconds worth of common sense would have prevented all that.

And to shift the blame to other people who were, really, only doing their job... well, that's daft. I know you'll shout me down about this, but the fact of the matter is that if he didn't make such a stupid joke, he wouldn't be in trouble. For me, that's the end of the story - and the moral is that people should be more thoughtful about what they write IN PUBLIC the internet. If I wandered down Oxford Street and announced to all and sundry that I was planning a terrorist attack - I'd expect to get arrested, and charged with something (if only wasting police time). The internet, especially sites like Twitter, are by nature, public arenas - and I think he was downright stupid to post something like that.
Posted: Wed, 12th May 2010, 4:08pm

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Simon K Jones

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Surely context plays some part?

If the guy was standing in the airport and shouted that, that's one thing.

Twittering it in a context that is quite clearly daft, surrounded by other tweets and details, it's another matter.

How many terrorists do you know tweet their plan a week in advance?

Even the airport security staff didn't consider it a problem. If they had the brains to see it wasn't a problem, and it didn't interfere with the running of the airport in any way...and in fact didn't cause any problems or confusion at all...how can a criminal record and £1000 be the appropriate response?

There's no denying it was a stupid thing to tweet. But the reaction was completely disproportionate - not a 'bit over the top'. By all means go and have a word with him, point out it was a silly thing to do. But to arrest and charge? Madness!

The judge has even said that intent didn't matter. Since when did intent not matter in court?

If you haven't, have a read of these articles, they explain it far better than me:

http://whythatsdelightful.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/prague-1965/

http://charlesrussell.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/tweet-in-haste-repent-at-leisure/

I'm pretty surprised that you don't see a problem with this.
Posted: Wed, 12th May 2010, 5:40pm

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Aculag

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It is pretty scary, though, that we have to watch our mouths to such an extent these days, that we can't even make a joke about something that 98% of the population would never do, without fear of being arrested. It's all about fear, and this is what they are supposedly fighting against to make us feel safer. If we are going to take every mention of violence, even non-serious, jokey violence seriously, and act upon it, in the name of thwarting terrorists, we're going to end up catching a lot of regular, innocent people, and bad things are still going to happen.

Look at the "bombing attempt" in NYC recently. That was something that was barely even a threat, since it was a dud, and you get people saying "Oh my god we're so lucky to be alive." If they had no idea that this "bomb" was ever there, they would have no reason to have been afraid of it, and they wouldn't feel lucky to have survived an almost-bombing. And now those people are going to be constantly on the lookout for suspicious behavior, so when they see another car with smoke coming out of it, they will call the police and report a bombing attempt, when it turns out it's just some guys smoking a blunt, who will get arrested for scaring naive people, and for marijuana possession. (Unless they're in California; represent!)

We are so on the lookout for wrongdoing that we aren't allowed to carry certain liquids onto planes. Got a bottle of water? You can drink it before you check in, and fill it back up once you've been thoroughly dehumanized by security, because otherwise you will attempt to blow up a plane with liquids, like that one time someone did that. Our scanners at airports can now see through clothes, revealing the contour of your body and whether you're carrying guns, or nuclear missiles, or a heart rate monitor, or have a small penis. Dangerous times; you never know who might have a small penis. If we're going to arrest people just for joking about blowing up an airport, which, sure, is a tacky thing to say, but it's in no way an actual threat, nor is it offensive to a degree that makes it a crime, then people are just going to be afraid to say things like that, and that fear will escalate so that we won't be able to say things like "I am going to KILL tonight at the canasta semi-finals," because people will take that as a legitimate threat of murder.

The criminal record and fine are enough on their own, but his career is ruined, his family and friends will probably not just laugh it off... The guy's life was essentially ruined by making a stupid joke, and the fact that they went through all this trouble, purely based on fear, tells us that "the terrorists" have done their job extremely well, and continue to do so. We are afraid, we are terrorized, we are petrified. But we are afraid of the idea of bad things happening. When bad things actually happen, we are drawn to them. They're all over the news and we eat it up. "Subway bombing in London? That's terrible, I'd better watch the news stories, and read up about that, and talk to my friends about how it could have been Osama, and then watch my back because the same thing could happen here at any time! Terrorists are all around us!"

So yes, context plays a big role here, but news media is more and more entwined with internet phenomena like twitter and facebook. I read an article probably several times a week that quotes a twitter page and makes a story about it. Albeit, a short, and entirely pointless story, but what passes for news these days is remarkable. CNN.com has iReport, where random people anywhere can film things and send it into the website to be viewed by anyone as news. During an earthquake near the southern California border recently, CNN's top story was one such iReporter's footage of the earthquake moving the water in their pool. Riveting, hand held cell phone footage accompanied by cries of "Cool" and "How's that happening" and "This feels weird." Not really an example of fear in media, but it goes with my point of internet integration into otherwise legitimate media establishments.

Because we are so connected to the internet at all times these days, and thanks to our professional media making use of it more and more often, things like this are going to become commonplace. Fake joke threats will be made on facebook or twitter, and will be seen by thousands, or millions of people right away and construed as legitimate. This leads to people being more afraid to say things that may offend, which leads to more subdued posting, which may sound like a good thing, but it's really just the population giving into fear.

One last example before I go is the controversy over the 200th and 201st episodes of South Park, which featured every celebrity the show had ever slandered taking their revenge by suing the town. Their ultimate weapon? The prophet Muhammad, who is, according to the characters on the show, immune to being made fun of. They will transfer this power to themselves, and be free of ridicule! South Park already had an episode dealing with the controversy over the Danish cartoons, in which Muhammad was featured behind a censored bar briefly. Running with this, in the episodes, Muhammad was featured wearing a bear costume. This sparked an outrage among a small extremist "group" in New York, I believe, who "warned" Matt Stone and Trey Parker that they would end up like Theo Van Gogh, who was murdered in response to the Danish cartoons.

So the next week, they reveal that it wasn't actually Muhammad in the costume, and the rest of the episode is about them taking the REAL Muhammad to safety. In the first episode, the word "Muhammad" was not bleeped. In episode 201, however, every instance of his name was bleeped, and he appeared only behind a censored bar, and didn't say anything, or do anything. The episode wasn't defamatory toward Muhammad or Muslims at all, but it featured a scene of Jesus looking at internet porn while calling Buddha (who is snorting cocaine) a fag, and Moses making a semen joke. The entire ending of the show was bleeped by the network, purely in response to the "threat" that was made the week prior. They had such fear that some harm would befall someone involved, that they heavily censored the episodes, and they are now banned, along with a previous episode featuring Muhammad. This is the first time in South Park's history that the network has stepped in and actively censored the show, and it does so with gross hypocrisy. Especially considering that Comedy Central have a cartoon in the works, all about Jesus wanting to be a normal guy in New York, avoiding his slacker dad. Classy, Comedy Central.

We're afraid of text messages, bottled water, shoes, smoke in cars, cartoons, and so on, and so on, and so on... Without having to actually do anything at all, terrorists do their jobs very well. We are afraid of the very idea of terrorism, and that's why things like this happen. It's a real shame, but until people realize that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, we're stuck like this. I hope it happens soon, because it's getting out of hand quickly.

Apologies for the very long post/semi-rant, hopefully it's at least lucid.
Posted: Wed, 12th May 2010, 7:00pm

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Serpent

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I agree with every point you made. However I had NO idea that episode was actually sensored. I haven't done much reading on the episode, but I legitimately thought the episode was taking the concept of censorship into consideration for the purposes of satire, and for the plot of celebrity's desire to become a God-like censored concept. If you watch it with that mindset, the censorship is really funny actually.

However now that I know it was legitimate censorship, I'm a little miffed and would love to hear Stan's speech at the end at the very least. Is it out there anywhere?
Posted: Wed, 12th May 2010, 7:05pm

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Atom

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Aculag wrote:

Look at the "bombing attempt" in NYC recently. That was something that was barely even a threat, since it was a dud, and you get people saying "Oh my god we're so lucky to be alive." If they had no idea that this "bomb" was ever there, they would have no reason to have been afraid of it, and they wouldn't feel lucky to have survived an almost-bombing.
I pretty heavily disagree with this, since more than anything that "bombing attempt" showed that not only was there someone out there that wanted to do a great deal of terroristic harm, but that said person actually tried to with malicious and violent intent.

Whether that came to fruition or not is another story, but the very car being in Times Square, and supposedly 'rigged to blow' even with all the problems, is a marker of people to the terroristic, malevolent minds that exist out there in the world and are willing to put their thoughts into action.

Now, do those people exist no matter what? Probably. And, as you said, they do only make up that very very small minority of the world inevitably- but there's something validly frightening about seeing someone try and put such menace into action with car bomb attempts like this.

And in that regard, it is lucky that nothing happened and people standing around it are still alive. Yes, no doubt this sort of stuff and failure happens all the time under the public radar, and like Men In Black says 'the only way we keep calm during an alien attack is because we do not know about'. But when something comes into the public sphere, and the fragility of our life is checked by showing just how precariously our lives are perched even with duds-

Then yes, it's perfectly fine to feel some sort of emotion I'd say. It is, perhaps, irrational to take extreme precautions because of this- but a healthy, temporary fear seems perfectly acceptable to me. Necessary, even.

While the South Park issue completely sucks, even it has some validation and a healthy exercise of caution towards one extremist group. You yourself mention the extremes of defamatory material Jesus, Buddha, and Moses are subjected to- and yet despite known polarizing group that worship each and will obviously be offended- the free speech to satire the three is still there. That's hardly living in fear, and I think that's a testament to the fact that we don't as narrowly live in as paranoid a world as you may think.

Now, yeah, it's really unfortunate groups and factions exist out there still that are not modernized, that don't have a comment of free speech or opinion, and are violent in the face of opposition or ridicule. But I think that's increasingly being diluted, not raised. Hell, 50 years ago Christians would've never stood for such a show like CC is trying to make. They'd be violent about it in some small extremes. But these days, as media is evolving and spreading more, I think it's positively helping cases of fear go down; not the other way around.

Look at this jailed guy- we're talking about him right now! In his defense, strongly, ya know? That's a testament to communication and media today.

Last edited Wed, 12th May 2010, 7:18pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Wed, 12th May 2010, 7:11pm

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spydurhank

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If you have 2 hours... even if you don't have 2 hours... make the time and watch this. There are things happening that we have to stand up against. Pay attention and make up your own mind. It really blows what happened to you guys in the UK.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VebOTc-7shU
Posted: Wed, 12th May 2010, 7:12pm

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Sollthar

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Heh. I agree that the reaction is rather a bit too much probably.

However, I also think that joking about think like that is just something you should have the brains not to do. Strangers will read it who don't know you and won't be able to judge if you're joking or not so taking the threat very, very serious is the appropriate reaction I'd hope for. People should learn to think harder before the speak or write and understand that there's things that are just not appropriate. Like threatening to blow up an airport before it's closed, even if it wasn't serious.

So yes, I think the reaction might appear a bit much and just the fine might have done it. But completely ignoring it is definately the wrong thing to do in my opinion. Ignoring things is never a good response to anything of that matter as far as I'm concerned.
Posted: Wed, 12th May 2010, 7:19pm

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Atom

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Sollthar wrote:

Ignoring things is never a good response to anything of that matter as far as I'm concerned.
Bingo.
Posted: Wed, 12th May 2010, 7:45pm

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Aculag

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Atom wrote:

but there's something validly frightening about seeing someone try and put such menace into action with car bomb attempts like this.
And this is exactly my point. If it hadn't been made such a big deal of on the news, no one would have any reason to be afraid of it. You're not frightened of the bomb itself, you're frightened of the fact that someone out there has the menace to do it. The media spread this story around like wildfire, and it scared a lot of people. That's why it's called a "bomb scare". But no damage was actually done, no one was hurt, and the guy who did it was arrested. And I'm not saying that we should ignore things like this, or just pretend they don't happen, I'm just saying that there isn't any real reason to be afraid of them.

But people will still be afraid that something like that is going to happen again, and this kind of thing is what breeds the paranoid society that I'm talking about.

While the South Park issue completely sucks, even it has some validation and a healthy exercise of caution towards one extremist group. You yourself mention the extremes of defamatory material Jesus, Buddha, and Moses are subjected to- and yet despite known polarizing group that worship each and will obviously be offended- the free speech to satire the three is still there. That's hardly living in fear, and I think that's a testament to the fact that we don't as narrowly live in as paranoid a world as you may think.
You're missing the point of the South Park reference. Only the Muhammad bits were censored, purely because of the negative reaction his appearance caused, and the threats they received. It was censored entirely based on living in fear. Clearly the creators have no qualms about being threatened, and are going to do and say what they want on the show, but Comedy Central itself did the censoring as an act of cowardice, and that episode was pulled from the website, netflix, itunes, etc, probably never to be seen again. I point out the stuff about Jesus, etc. to show the hypocrisy of that action. Because while yes, people will be offended by that, the only religious icon they censored is the one that would have offended people who threatened violence, and he's the only one who wasn't doing anything offensive. Fear breeds censorship breeds paranoia.

The world we live in is highly paranoid, like it or not. Not all the time, mind you, and not everywhere, but just wait in an airport security line, and you will be exposed to five or ten examples of what I mean.
Posted: Thu, 13th May 2010, 8:08am

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Simon K Jones

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I think everyone agrees that the tweet this guy sent was extremely stupid and mis-judged. That's not in question.

And as Sollthar says, you do need to address it - by all means have the police pop round and have a word with the guy. But given that a) there was no malicious intent and b) absolutely nothing happened as a result of the tweet (ie, no disruption, no panic, no nothing), it's bizarre that it led to a criminal conviction.

When sending a silly message on Twitter, which has no negative effects on anybody or anything, is considered a criminal offense, something has gone seriously wrong with the justice system.


I'm entirely with Aculag - the fear of terrorism is far greater than the actual risk of terrorism. The fearful society created by governments and the media essentially means one thing: the terrorists are winning. People are terrified.

There's increasing debate here in the UK that some of the best ways to combat terrorism, particularly local extremism, is to make it seem boring. Not so much ignore it, just don't give it the attention that it craves. Terrorism only really works if it gets air time on the news and in the papers.

We had terrorism in the UK for years with the IRA, but it was treated by the government and in the media in a very stoic, calm manner. People went about their lives without any problems and civil liberties remained intact. It's only in the Bush-Blair era that terrorists have actually started to win, by successfully terrorising citizens.