Bypassing the Act

We now have HMG’s Digital Economy Act in the wild. Conceived (by and?) on behalf of the music and film industries, drafted in ignorance of many technical realities, and rushed through the legislative process without any effective parliamentary scrutiny.

So perhaps it’s not surprising that avoiding the Act’s provisions on copyright infringement turns out to be trivial. All that is required for consumers to immunise themselves from the Act is for them to declare themselves not to be “subscribers” as defined by the Act, but “communication providers” instead. Here’s one ISP explaining the situation. As a “communications provider”, you avoid being harassed by your ISP if rights holders suspect you of infringing their copyright, and the ISP gets off the hook in having to spy on you as well. Well blow me down with a feather.

What I find the most depressing thing about all this silliness is that the legislators involved in creating the Act probably don’t care about it anyway. Their work is now done: the bungs have changed hands, the lucrative “advisory positions” and board memberships have been negotiated, and the “donations” have been made. Yes, some MPs opposed the Bill, but the vast majority neither knew nor cared about it.

I hope the ballot box in two weeks time will knock them all into a smoking hole in the ground.