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Entry 802, on 2008-06-25 at 19:57:57 (Rating 3, Computers)
I saw in the news today that France is about to introduce new laws to reduce piracy on the Internet. A warning email will be sent first followed by a registered letter threatening one year disconnection form the 'net. I didn't see anywhere how the authorities would know how anyone was downloading anything illegal so I suspect it will involve the somewhat imprecise approach already used elsewhere and aimed at peer to peer users in general.
French president Nicolas Sarkozy said he thought there was no reason that the Internet should be lawless. Well yes, I think most people would agree with that, but shouldn't we concentrate on solving real problems like criminal hackers taking over computers for profit, spammers wasting everyone else's bandwidth and time, and phishers who steal from others using personal information such as credit card details?
Aren't these issues more important than terrorising a few kids downloading a music track or movie? To politicians they aren't, because piracy is perceived to affect big business. Whether it really does or not is very debatable, of course, but reality has never been a significant factor in these people's actions. If the recording industry made music and movies available at reasonable prices for download, and free of DRM, I really think they would achieve a lot more than treating everyone like a criminal and trying to lock the whole process down with technical and legal mechanisms which are likely to be ineffective.
I don't think I have ever seen a more universal rejection of anything amongst the Internet community than the reaction against organisations like the RIAA and the DRM schemes imposed by the recording industry. These people aren't pirates frustrated because they can't get stuff for free any more. They are reasonable people who just want a fair deal but find they can't do what they should be legally allowed to. The real pirates have continued as usual because they can bypass the mechanisms which are supposed to stop them anyway.
I hope that excessive regulation on the Internet is countered effectively because I'm just totally sick of the preponderance of laws we are expected to obey on real life. The last thing we need is overbearing rules and regulations on the Internet as well.
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