Archive for November 2009
ACS:Law, a law firm that specialises in protecting the intellectual rights of copyright holders has said it intends to send out 15,000 letters to people suspected of illegally downloading and sharing films and games. According to the BBC these letters include an opportunity to settle out of court for a few hundred pounds rather than be taken to court and risk paying thousands of pounds. As is rightly considered in the report, this sounds a lot less like enforcing the rights of intellectual rights holders and very much like a money-making exercise.
As I have said before, how will or do they know people are illegally sharing files? There is a suggestion in the report that information is gathered using special software that identifies illegal file sharing. I doubt anything like this exists. I suggest the software (if it exists) does one or more of several things. It identifies file sharing software (not in itself illegal). It identifies large file uploads or downloads. Neither is this illegal. It identifies encrypted uploads or downloads. Again, encryption is not, in itself illegal.
The software has not yet been tested in court. I doubt it will ever be. People who have been accused have either paid up and/or consulted a solicitor. None, it appears who have refused to pay have been taken to court, suggesting there is no real evidence.
Should I receive such a communication from ACS:Law or anybody else (and I predict there will be many) who jumps on the bandwagon my responses will be several.
Since I have a laptop and desktop PC, my son plays X-box games online and has a desktop in his room and my daughter has a laptop, my bandwidth usage will be quite high, I assume. So if the suggestion is my high bandwidth usage arouses suspicion of illegal downloads, they will get short shrift from me. If they claim they have acquired my address from my ISP I will want to know on what grounds they obtained a court order to get this information and investigate the possibility of a contravention of the Data Protection act. Because by requesting a court order, they must surely have investigated my internet usage to provide evidence to justify such a request.
I will make it quite clear to them that I cannot pay several hundred pounds to avoid court action, so take me to court where, if they win they will have even less chance of getting the several thousand pounds they are chasing.
And finally, if they do wish to proceed with a legal challenge and I win, in the face of all their ‘evidence’, the grounds on which I win will open the door for others to appeal their convictions (if they ever get any) and will provide a legal challenge for all other such prosecutions.
They ought also to remember this is Britain, not the US and cases are taken on merit, not money.
According to a BBC report new teachers cannot find secure jobs. Welcome to the real world. Ordinary workers haven’t had job security for three decades. This is a result of the new world economy where profit supersedes people.
However, I must ask what the problem is? If the current advertisements on T.V. are to be believed, a teacher can expect a starting salary of £30,000 a year. Not bad, in my book. I wish somebody would offer me that sort of money for working my butt off in a manual job. So O.K., the issue seems to be they can’t get these jobs. But the report goes on to say that 95% of newly trained teachers find temporary or supply work. Assuming temporary means short term contracts and assuming that as in real-world jobs this means showing ability, commitment and reliability results in an offer of a permanent position the onus is on them to show they are worthy of such consideration. As for supply teachers, I see advertised supply positions paying £100 a day and more. I would be happy to seek work as a supply plastics moulding technician at £100 a day.
What do they want? Jam on it?
Former Bank of Scotland chairman Sir George Mathewson has said the government’s move to remove bonuses for bankers that take unnecessary risks is a dangerous one. He claims that it may be an interference with the rule of law. His premise for this is that it is a dangerous move to interfere with contracts negotiated by willing parties.
Well, Sir George, when those contracts and bonuses cost innocent taxpayers and savers money, when it threatens the banking system as a whole while the perpetrators walk off rich(er) men, there should be control and I don’t think it goes far enough. They should take back bonuses already paid and put a limit on bonuses either as a percentage of salary or a fixed limit (my preference).
Angela Knight, chief executive of the British Bankers’ Association, said the UK had already taken steps to address bonuses and that any legislation had to take into account its impact on the UK as a global financial centre.
Sorry, Ms Knight and Sir George. You’re just making excuses to keep your grubby hands on the cash.
And we don’t hear you when ordinary workers are told wage rises must be kept below inflation. But then, that suits, doesn’t it? Hold down pay rises and the money can be shared out amongst yourselves in big bonuses that bypass below inflation rises.
You’ll never go hungry or be out of work unless by choice. You’ll never worry about which bill to pay this week. You’ll never go 16+ years with only two holidays and one weekend away, both only affordable because of the generosity of friends.
No, I’m afraid there are no tears shed here.
Very little. Neither are funny and both thrive on horse-s***.
Russell Brand is about as funny as toothache. Like most so-called celebrities, he needs a gimmick to maintain his limited popularity and to maintain his public profile. When his stupid hairstyle was no longer enough, he created controversy by abusing a fellow performer (one who at least is able to create comedy and cause me to laugh) Andrew Sachs.
Now that the furore over that episode has died down he has said at a signing of his latest DVD that though he apologised for the incident, he found the subsequent scandal funny. More than I can say for you, Mr Brand.
This only confirms my belief that he is neither funny nor truly apologetic. If you look at the true greats of comedy, the like of Tommy Cooper who needed only to walk on stage to raise hysterics from the audience, or Frankie Howerd, Morecombe and Wise or Dave Allen it is not difficult to see that the modern trend in comedy to raise a laugh at the expense of undeserving innocent parties is the gimmick of second rate so-called comedians, a ploy to keep themselves in the public eye and to hide their lack of skill with controversy.
I may sound biased, and perhaps I am. (And perhaps with good reason.) But I have tried to watch Mr Brand. I just couldn’t see the humour in his ranting. He tried too hard to be ‘in your face’ but without the finesse of greats like Bill Hicks who too was controversial, but raged against the establishment and its representatives and as far as I am aware never abused a fellow performer, always had a point to make and didn’t use abuse for its own sake or to divert attention from a lack of talent.
Unfortunately, today’s audience encourages such behaviour. The paymasters know it improves viewing figures and instead of the likes of Russell Brand becoming a non-entity in entertainment as would have happened in the past, the controversy keeps them in demand.
Thank heaven for the off switch.
Sandwell council fined a woman £75 (a fixed penalty charge) for feeding the ducks at a duck pond. Apparently, she and her 17 month old son were not in the designated feeding area. What a lot of rot! Another little Goebbels given a uniform and obeying his Hitler-like council masters.
Now, I might- the operative word being might– understand had the fine been for littering- throwing the bread on the ground or into the pond. Even so, it would be ridiculous. But to say it isn’t in the designated feeding area, I ask what is the difference? The bread is going to be eaten by the ducks or swans or geese, they aren’t aware of these ‘designated areas’. Or are we to see Donald [Duck] in court for eating outside his designated feeding area? It just beggars belief. I certainly would have refused to pay and contested the fine in a court of law.
Well, Ms. Kelly and son, see you on the [DNA] database, you threat to society, you.
Lord (ha!) Mandelson has been named |politician of the year by Spectator magazine’s annual awards. I fail to see why. He is unelected, does not sit in the House of Commons and as a politician sucks. I’ve seen better policies on the back of a beer mat.
Come to think of it, wasn’t he sacked or had to resign or something? Seems to me one need not be good at ones job. Just be controversial. Like Jedwood.
(now awaiting my bonus, thankyou.)
A sixteen year old boy, who cannot be named was given a community service order for molesting a seven year old boy. Eight days later he abducted and raped another five year old boy.
I could go on and on about the stupidity of the law, the ivory towers of judges, deterrents, justice and revenge, etc. etc. But I dare say I will only be repeating what others are already saying, what you are already thinking. So I’ll just say this is what happens when discipline is removed from schools, a country goes soft on crime and criminals are rewarded instead of punished.