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Nobody can be unaware of the lengths the US movie and music industries are going to in order to bring Kim Dotcom and his business parters to "justice".
Kim et al, they say, was complicit and aided the widespread unlawful copying of copyrighted material which was distributed and reproduced without the permission of the copyright owners.
Sounds like a significant crime, doesn't it?
You would expect that anyone who took copies of someone's own creative work and then used those copies to create revenues and profits for themselves to be roundly hung, drawn and quartered.
However, as we know - governments are never averse to creating exemptions from all manner of laws for themselves and their friends. This is exactly what appears to be mooted in the UK.
The Register is carrying this story and, if you read only one tech story today, this has to be the one.
I'm finding it rather hard to believe what is being proposed here.
However, the worrying thing is that our own legislators are often very keen to just cut and paste laws from other countries -- when it suits them.
"Come on guys, we only have a day left to nut out this legislation and we've got four boxes of donuts and a lake of coffee to drink -- how about we simply adopt this UK law, looks okay and means we'll be able to get in for the first round of service at Bellamy's."
Okay -- so I'm being a little silly -- but not perhaps as ridiculous as you might think.
And the UK move is not without precedent.
Both Canada and Germany have "bodies" that are authorised by government to collect royalties on behalf of certain groups of artists and performers and who have no legal requirement to ensure that this money is actually paid to those whose work they're charging for.
It seems that simply appointing a body to manage casual royalties is an "easy-out" for governments and an option that an increasing number of them are jumping at.
The problem is that by the time "the body" has removed its overheads and costs, there is often so little money remaining that the actual owners of the copyrighted material see a paltry return -- if any.
This hijacking of other people's copyrighted material is exactly what Dotcom is being accused of - yet we have governments around the world engaging in exactly the same kind of actions themselves -- or at least endorsing this kind of piracy by way of legislation.
Surely, if governments are going to hand out the power to profit from other people's protected works with impunity, the case against Dotcom must be significantly weakened -- at least from a moral and ethical perspective even if not a legal one.
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