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UK Government Wants Google To Police Copyright

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  • Google already removes illegal things like child porn. Copyright violating sites are just as illegal, so what's the problem? Like the article states, court order would be required for it. I think it would also only apply to google.co.uk.
    • by Extremus (1043274) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @11:15AM (#37387544)

      The arguments for decreasing freedom in order to protect human rights are MUCH more compelling than the arguments for slashing freedom in order to protect corporate interests.

      • by Xest (935314) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @11:28AM (#37387704)

        Not when you're Jeremy Hunt. Jeremy Hunt makes Peter Mandelson look like an independent thinker with no influence from corporate interests.

        This is the same guy who was going to go ahead and just let Murdoch take full control of BSkyB (the UK's largest broadcast) without question even though OFCOM, responsible for oversight of media in the UK recommended it be further looked into before any go ahead was considered.

        Jeremy Hunt is the most corrupt politician in UK politics since Mandelson left the stage. It's not much of a suprise to see him getting involved in this sort of thing. He's one of those types who might as well just come out and admit that he'll do whatever the highest bidder pays him too, because everyone else already knows it to be true anyway.

        • Or, to put it in rhyming slang, Jeremy Hunt is a right Jeremy?
        • Since 1997 there have been three parties with a more than negligible proportion of votes: the Tories (who are even less interested in freedom of trade than Thatcher was), the New Tories (who are distinguished by paying lip service to some of the larger, more corrupt unions), and the Tory Lapdogs (who are distinguished by having something to say about civil liberties, as long as what they say is inconsequential).

          The public is thus getting, by and large, exactly what it has asked for.

          And complaints about gove

          • by 0123456 (636235)

            The public is thus getting, by and large, exactly what it has asked for.

            I don't know about the last election, but only about 25% of the public voted for Labour over the previous decade and yet they got them anyway.

            I don't remember the last time a British government got more than 50% of the votes of people who could be bothered to get up and go to the voting stations, let alone 50% of the available votes.

            • If all three major parties are essentially the same then it becomes that anyone who votes for any one of the major parties is voting for, well, any the major parties.

              Similarly, in the US if you vote Democrat then you might as well be voting Republican, or vice versa.

              The determining factor in whether democracy has been achieved (in the majoritarian sense) is whether 50% of the people have voted for one of the major parties.

              They have. [ukpolitical.info]

              People suck.

              • Similarly, in the US if you vote Democrat then you might as well be voting Republican, or vice versa.

                Except if you vote Republican nowadays you get a bunch of screaming heebie-jeebies who place value on ignorance. Kinda like a cross between UKIP and the BNP.

    • by Dunbal (464142) *

      Copyright violating sites are just as illegal, so what's the problem?

      Criminal law vs civil law? Believe it or not you can't have your neighbor arrested for putting up a fence that encroaches on your property without your permission. Not every country in the world has criminalized copyright infringement.

      • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @11:40AM (#37387876) Homepage

        Not every country in the world has criminalized copyright infringement.

        No, but anybody who does any meaningful amount of trade with the US is having ACTA [wikipedia.org] crammed down their throat as a condition of continuing to do to so.

        Sadly, any country which hasn't begun to criminalize it isn't being given a whole lot of options. The world is now so beholden to copyright, it isn't even funny any more.

        It's a treaty they won't make public, which makes it all about what they want, and you and I can go get stuffed.

        • by Dunbal (464142) *

          No, but anybody who does any meaningful amount of trade with the US is having ACTA [wikipedia.org] crammed down their throat as a condition of continuing to do to so.

          This is true. Fortunately other countries are emerging (China) that are proving to be even better partners than the bankrupt US, and they don't attach so many strings to their trade agreements. I can't help but shake my head as the US truly is regulating itself into oblivion. Too bad, I used to like the US. Now I have to watch what I say because there is a small but real chance I can be placed on an arbitrary "no fly list" or even be bombed by a drone in violation of any national and international laws. Th

          • by gstoddart (321705)

            I can't help but shake my head as the US truly is regulating itself into oblivion.

            It's not so much that they're passing regulations.

            It's that they're entrenching into criminal law that it is the job of the government to police commercial interests. America has become completely beholden to companies, and the government is now more or less doing their bidding. They're also exporting this as a treaty.

            You only have to look at the fact that ICE and DHS are doing raids of domain names on the basis that they mi

          • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @12:19PM (#37388490)
            I feel exactly the same way. When I was a teenager I was pretty gung ho patriotic, and not just because I thought it was the 'thing to do' but because I had (insofar as I could at that age) studied history and been convinced that the USA had done more good than harm despite its faults.

            The last decade has been deeply disturbing and embarrassing. Not since the Sedition Act has there been such unconstitutional nonsense as 'free speech zones', 'warrantless wiretapping', etc. and such heinous SCotUS rulings as Kelo v. New London. And in every legislative session the 'PATRIOT' Act as is rubber stamped, and somebody finds some new way of arbitrarily removing freedoms from persons by creating new secret 'lists' with no appeal and no oversight. It has the feel of the 'enemies' lists of dictators or Roman emperors.

            Neither party has a contrary position. Until people wake up and free themselves from the duopoly (which will take a political crisis the nature of which I can't honestly imagine) we're due for more of the same.

            All I know is I'm not part of the problem. Where there is any option I vote for a 3rd party candidate.
            • by gstoddart (321705)

              The last decade has been deeply disturbing and embarrassing. Not since the Sedition Act has there been such unconstitutional nonsense as 'free speech zones', 'warrantless wiretapping', etc. and such heinous SCotUS rulings as Kelo v. New London.

              You forget Joseph McCarthy. He quite happily undermined the constitution and basic freedoms by hunting people down who weren't "ideologically pure"

              There's always some bastard waiting in the wings who will happily cram his world view down every body else's collective

              • by 0123456 (636235)

                You forget Joseph McCarthy. He quite happily undermined the constitution and basic freedoms by hunting people down who weren't "ideologically pure"

                Except treason is actually a crime and from what we've discovered since the USSR collapsed, McCarthy appears to have underestimated the number of Soviet agents in America.

                He may have been a loon, but his biggest problem appears to have been that he wasn't paranoid enough.

                • by Sique (173459)

                  His biggest problem appears to be completely wrong about the kind of people posing an actual threat to the U.S.

                  If you are start cutting down trees because you fear lightning might set your house on fire, your are still a loon.

      • Most countries have criminalized commercial copyright infringement, which the sites in question are doing as they profit from warez. It's true it's not often enforced in countries like China, but we're talking about UK here.
    • by scottbomb (1290580) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @11:38AM (#37387856) Journal

      It's not Google's (or any other search engine's) responsibility to enforce all laws of all countries. They're a search engine, not cops. Let the police do their own dirty work.

      • Google already does this. There are country specific warning messages, which appear at the bottom of the page when search results were ommited.

        So nice sentiment, but you're too late.

    • by JMJimmy (2036122)

      Yes, because everything that flows across these so called "illegal sites" is copyrighted material and is illegal in every use. I'm not kidding myself that there's also a lot of copyright infringement going on but there's perfectly legitimate courses of actions those companies can take to get restitution. Their problem is that it's expensive, time consuming, and hard to prove in court so they want freedoms curtailed instead. I don't know how many times I could have taken various companies/corporations to

      • by xelah (176252)

        Their problem is that it's expensive, time consuming, and hard to prove in court so they want freedoms curtailed instead.

        From the article:

        According to reports, if a court deems a site to be unlawful the government wants search engines to push it down the rankings to stifle traffic and at the same time cut off advertising or payment revenues to make the site economically unviable.

        But you are, of course, right that there's a large disparity between smaller companies and individuals and large ones that would be difficult to change without a lighter-weight procedure than the one 'reports' suggest, and that's where things get diff

    • What, what?
      You think that child porn is equivalent to downloading a Hollywood movie for free?

      • Downloading a Hollywood movie for free is like constantly stealing all of the money and food from the creators of said movie and then watching them suffer and die. File sharers are murderers who kill artists from the comfort of their own homes.

    • by russotto (537200)

      Google already removes illegal things like child porn. Copyright violating sites are just as illegal, so what's the problem?

      And this sort of reasoning is why the slippery slope was officially stricken from the list of fallacies by the American Rhetorical Association.

  • by Alex Belits (437) * on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @11:04AM (#37387410) Homepage

    Police wants UK Government To Google Copyright.

  • Let's just get rid of copyright and replace it with something sane.
    • Re:Let's just... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ratbag (65209) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @11:24AM (#37387660)

      Let's just get rid of copyright and replace it with something sane.

      Maybe it's a sign of my age, but when someone comes out with a sentence like that, I feel I've got to ask "such as?"

      Sure, you'll get plenty of "stick it to the man" positive moderation, but you haven't really made the world a better place, have you? Nor have I, so I'll shut up and crawl back to my coding.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Such as NOTHING
        Let's face it, Copyright didn't exist in Mozart's days did it?
        and his more famous than most of the crap that gets put out on the radio these days....
        Go Figure.

        • by ratbag (65209)

          Such as NOTHING
          Let's face it, Copyright didn't exist in Mozart's days did it?
          and his more famous than most of the crap that gets put out on the radio these days....
          Go Figure.

          Fame didn't put bread on his table - the commissions of wealthy patrons did and occasional teaching gigs. And still it seems he died in a parlous financial position.

          So there's one idea of how creative people could afford (struggle?) to survive in the absence of copyright, by attracting commissions. Shall we consider how tenable a position that would be for more "niche" artists than Mozart? Or whether the world would be a better or worse place if some of these recent artists couldn't find a way to earn a rel

        • Let's face it, Copyright didn't exist in Mozart's days did it?

          First British copyright law: 1709
          The British Statute of Anne 1709, full title "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned".

          Mozart: 27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Several options:

        * The patron system: a rich guy pays for some artists to make art. It worked for a few thousand years.
        * Artist pitches idea. Some people put money in escrow for it. If enough money shows up, artist gets to work. A couple of services are starting to facilitate this.
        * Compulsory licensing. Already in place for cover-bands. No good reason why it shouldn't apply to other forms of performance.
        * None of the above. Some people will create for the sake of creat

      • when someone comes out with a sentence like that, I feel I've got to ask "such as?"

        I'm not sure how rhetorical that was... but numerous alternatives to the current copyright scheme have been proposed. Obviously there is considerable debate and disagreement, but there are actually some (reasonably independent) studies which show that copyright terms of 7-12 years maximize social good (lower and the incentive isn't enough, higher and the returns are insufficient to justify protection, etc.). My point is that there are, certainly, alternatives. "No copyright" is also an alternative, though n

        • by ratbag (65209)

          An excellent list, Justin. I think I've always favoured "reasonable-term". Certainly my heart sank when our esteemed legislators here in the UK were persuaded to extend some copyright to 70 years.
          .

  • I can imagine Google saying "Sorry, we don't police the wires. If you're unhappy with that, well, that's unfortunate, I'm sorry you feel that way. Oh look, there goes the .uk domain (click). Oops, didn't mean to press that. Have you considered using AltaVista?
    • Do you honestly think that Google would just abandon their second largest market area?
      • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @11:21AM (#37387628)
        In case you weren't paying attention to the way Google works, if their actions in China are taken as an example, Google could, if exasperated enough, just redirect all search traffic to servers located in a place with different laws. This is the internet. Location isn't all that important.
        • by xelah (176252)
          But why would they do that? Google itself relies on copyright, too. It's what stops a competitor just taking whatever they feel like of their software any way they can, for example. And, of course, without copyright there might be a little less for them to index and advertise. Obeying a court order requiring them not to buy advertising space from someone who brings traffic to those adverts by using someone else's work without permission or recompense isn't particularly unreasonable. Why would they be so utt
      • by Anonymous Coward

        To make a point if things got really bad? Sure they would. More so now than ever.
        They only partially bent to China not long ago, but they weren't wanting them to police as much, just censor some crap which is what Google already does right now to an extent, particularly with real nasty stuff like child abuse.

        People seriously don't realize how useful Google is. People will inevitably go "yeah but Bing", Bing nothing, it has nothing on Google as a whole. (well, the maps were better, up until Street View c

      • by delinear (991444)
        Abandon? Probably not, but at this point you have to ask yourself who needs whom more. As ElectricTurtle points out, there are ways Google can make compliance with any restriction easier for themselves at the expense of UK business that make money from local listings (whether that's relying on advertising, ecommerce or just having people find out about them via their name appearing on the first page of Google.co.uk). That's not going to go down too well with UK business leaders, which traditionally account
        • You are effectively arguing that Google is Too Big To Fail and has become above the law. If this is true, the correct response to such a situation in a civil society is to destroy it, swiftly and decisively. We are all familiar with the results of not doing so and kowtowing to big business for too long instead.

          Of course, the situation isn't really that extreme, and therefore such extreme countermeasures are not required either. It is far more beneficial for both sides to co-operate in some reasonable way on

      • by Dunbal (464142) *

        Do you honestly think that Google would just abandon their second largest market area?

        If the cost of doing business there exceeds the revenue generated, they will drop it like a hot potato. So the answer is: YES.

    • I can imagine Google saying we can't or won't do that because it's our policy not to game the rankings

  • This just in... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ace37 (2302468) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @11:19AM (#37387592) Homepage

    Due to the extensive illegal use of their product, police have asked Remington to stop the Mexican drug trade.

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      Supermarkets have also been asked to stop selling food to criminals.
    • It's already been long-established that most of the weapons that are being used by the cartels are actually real military weapons. Not "military-looking" like the AR-15 which is just another semiautomatic rifle that just "looks scary," but the sort of automatic weapons that the only efficient American channel for getting them is the US Government funneling them to Mexico where they "just so happen" to fall out of the Mexican government's hands only to reappear in some enterprising criminal's hands.

      What is a

      • Not "military-looking" like the AR-15 which is just another semiautomatic rifle that just "looks scary,"

        The AR-15 fires the exact same ammunition as the M-16 assault rifle. There are kits that can be bought on the internet to make it a full automatic weapon. And while the accuracy *may* be slightly less than the M-16, the bullets fired from an AR-15 are just as deadly as those from an M-16. And it will absolutely fire as fast as you can squeeze that trigger.

        • The AR-15 fires the exact same ammunition as the M-16 assault rifle. There are kits that can be bought on the internet to make it a full automatic weapon. And while the accuracy *may* be slightly less than the M-16, the bullets fired from an AR-15 are just as deadly as those from an M-16. And it will absolutely fire as fast as you can squeeze that trigger.

          This is true for my shotgun as well. Except that my shotgun is NOT considered an "evil assault weapon" and is FAR more deadly than any AR-15.

          Note th

          • by sjames (1099)

            However, firing .30-06 in 3 or 10 round bursts all day will be a bit hard on the infantry compared to the lighter rounds.

            In a war, casualties requiring evac and precluding or long delaying a return to duty are a much bigger drain on enemy resources than a quick kill.

            • However, firing .30-06 in 3 or 10 round bursts all day will be a bit hard on the infantry compared to the lighter rounds.

              Three words: Browning Automatic Rifle.

              • by sjames (1099)

                The Browning was not an individual combat weapon. One or two were issued per squad and they were used in teams. The M1 was the individual combet weapon.

                • The Browning was not an individual combat weapon. One or two were issued per squad and they were used in teams. The M1 was the individual combet weapon.

                  The BAR was fired by one man. From the shoulder or hip, if needed. The other half of the team just carried ammo, since the BAR was a heavy mother.

                  Note that Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker both used the BAR. You may remember them as Bonnie and Clyde (yes, a girl can do full-auto with a BAR).

                  Note also that the M1, which does NOT meet the definition of "ass

                  • by sjames (1099)

                    Right, and the need for a second man to support that one man with the gun is why it is not an individual weapon like an M1.

                    Bonnie and Clyde were not likely to be firing the guns all day in combat, just in brief running firefights. I never said a woman couldn't fire one, just that all day every day would be too much for anyone regardless of gender.

                    You'll note I said bursts, not single shots, which is a lot less likely to beat you up and doesn't burn through ammo (that has to be carried) as fast.

                    The AR15 is s

        • by EdZ (755139)

          The AR-15 fires the exact same ammunition as the M-16 assault rifle

          Not true. The .223 round and 5.56 NATO, while very similar in appearance, aren't the same internally. Putting a .223 in an M16 will be fine, if liable to be slightly underperforming due to the Leade being different and maybe not cycling properly (often an issue with the M16 family, mainly due to people monkeying around with the gas tube length). Putting a 5.56 NATO round in a cheap AR-15, however, could result in Bad Things happening. At the very least, you'd have cycling issues, chambering issues, and grea

        • by sjames (1099)

          The significant part is not the designation of the weapon or the usefulness of the AR-15, it's that the cartels are using the actual military issue M16, meaning their weapons are not going to be cut off by stricter controls on civilian guns, but only by the governments of the U.S. and Mexico getting their acts together.

          In other words, the actual significance of the make of the guns is that it tells us what channels they moved through.

      • by Jaysyn (203771)

        It's already been long-established that most of the weapons that are being used by the cartels are actually real military weapons. Not "military-looking" like the AR-15 which is just another semiautomatic rifle that just "looks scary," but the sort of automatic weapons that the only efficient American channel for getting them is the US Government funneling them to Mexico where they "just so happen" to fall out of the Mexican government's hands only to reappear in some enterprising criminal's hands.

        Actually, the ATF has been happily providing the Mexican cartels weapons for a while now. Haven't heard about Operation Gunrunner yet?

    • by xelah (176252)
      If Remington knowingly supplied continuing shipments of razor blades to drug barons who then publicly used them to help them supply drugs, do you really thing there wouldn't be a judicial response? And in this case it's partly about Google buying advertising space from (and therefore being a source of funding to) websites which have been ruled to be unlawful by a court. They're not being asked to 'stop [others] copyright infringement', they're being asked not to collude in it and profit from it.
      • by sjames (1099)

        Sure, but Google, like Remington just makes the service available to all comers with no human review. Much like Remington blades are not kept behind the counter where you have to convince the pharmacist that you will only use them for their intended purpose before he will sell them to you. You just take them off the shelf and go to the checkout (which might be self serve).

        Remington has no duty to check IDs or to help protect the once lucrative utility blade industry from people splitting a razor blade in ha

    • Due to the extensive illegal use of their product, police have asked Remington to stop the Mexican drug trade.

      I like your analogy and I don't support the UK government but if you have knowledge of a crime and do nothing you are an accessory. In this case I think the government will need to prove Google "knows" about a crime.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      For some reason the UK government seems to make this mistake over and over again. Doesn't matter which party happens to be in. For example a lot of kids were stabbing each other with knives, so they had a crack down on shops selling knives to people under 18. Presumably they thought that none of the parents had any need to prepare food and keep knives in the house, or that anyone would think of buying a screwdriver instead.

  • Newzbin2 is an example. The MPA is trying to get the Govt to expand the use of the super secret child porn filter to include "copyright violations" too.

  • by SlashBugs (1339813) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @11:38AM (#37387846)
    This huge push toward strong enforcement of copyright, patents and other IP seems completely inevitable; the government will never stop pushing for ever tighter national and international monitoring and enforcement.

    The reason for this is that, as a nation, we really can't afford to stop. We have next to no natural resources that can profitably be sold, our labour is too expensive to compete as a manufacturing base and the days of sailing around exploiting our colonies are long behind us. The only two things we have left that we're good at are financial services (for which London was a powerful centre due to historical reasons as much as anything else), and developing new technologies that we can sell or license to others (e.g. the arms fair currently going on in SE London). A world in which IP rights are not strongly protected is one in which British companies have nothing to sell.

    Now, I know that patent and copyright are very different things. However, as many of the big Western economies slide further from having economies that rely on selling physical objects into having economies that rely on selling or licensing information (patented designs, copyrighted films, etc), I can see them becoming strongly linked. For increasingly information-based economies, the fight to establish all forms of IP as sacrosanct is really the fight to still have a place in the world economy in a couple of decades' time.
    • by alienzed (732782)
      What is Inevitable is all these self-ish, money hoarding and progress inhibiting ways going the way of the horse and carriage. How can we find a balance with our planet and with each other if our primary form of trade involves striving to screw everyone else out of their money?
    • One of the reasons UK (and the other colonial powers) couldn't exploit her colonies any more is because they tried to exploit too much, and the colonies finally said "enough is enough"

      If the governments try to clamp down too hard on copyright, it may just backfire and they end up losing it all. People may stop caring about some far away copyright owner (read: not necessarily the content creator) like the colonists stopped respecting some far away government who "owns" the colony

    • by endymon (1898808)
      Interestingly enough, I liken the push for strong IP protection to be a new form of colonialism. Think of it this way, the countries that are pushing for strong IP laws want to have a lock down on culture, with these international agreements they can force all developing countries to buy culture from them because to create their own would be infringing (cause everything builds off what is already there). Meanwhile, raw materials "eg cheap shirts, cd players, toys etc" are sent from the developing countries
    • [needs citation]

      Are you really that disconnected from your world that you cannot see the resources? You are standing on them. You can do lots of agriculture if you do not poison the soil and deplete it with monocultures. But in the UK, I have a feeling you already know. in the US, complete countries of cotton are considered normal. Being an island, you are literally blown away with energy. And that will increase. It already does.

      And yes, you don't want to pay for labour. It is the same here in the Netherlan

  • I believe that one becomes liable for damages and prosecutions if one edits traffic at all. The best defense is zero editing and zero viewing of what flows from your server. Think about it. Must the phone company be held for any traffic that violates a porn law or any other restrictions? Obviously the phone company has no control and hopefully no knowledge at all of my conversations. How is the net or web site any different? Even a commercial truck driver has no guilt if he has a huge box full of
  • So, now the government can't even be bothered to enforce the laws it feels are important and wants to foist law enforcement duties onto google.
    Or, maybe this is an admission the government is such a bunch of dorks that they couldn't do the job anyway.

    • If it works, it is the Gov's genius. If it fails, it was the corporations. Plus it doesn't effect the budget.

      Brilliant future ideas:
      * Drug testing before being allowed to get drugs from pharmacies.
      * For the US, gun sellers and/or buyers must do volunteer service as deputy border watchmen.
      * Grocery stores must keep a running tab on who buys what, cross referenced to medical databases on health/weight for tax reasons.

  • ...I mean c'mon! The title has 'Google', 'copyright' and 'police' right in it!

    Oh wait...I suppose people are off making fun of hillbillies [slashdot.org], arguing about the merits of climate change research [slashdot.org] or mooning over Windows 8 [slashdot.org].

    Never mind.

  • The beginning of the end.

  • Here's another one to add to my list of clueless cretins in my wonderful gov't.

    His name goes on the list with David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Theresa May and others who simply don't have the first faintest idea on how the Internet works and how the 15yr old kids in school are experts at breaching any firewall (they get out of the firewall jail their senior schools impose - they'll do the same for any British firewall).

  • That's kind of funny, I've seen Warcraft malware sites on Google paid advertising right up the top.

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