Archives for posts with tag: law

Those crazy French, eh? They do like to pass through the veil of normality and redecorate the house, don’t they?

Facetiousness aside, there is an interesting debate to consider here (with some of the views in opposition to the ban summarised here). While the automatic reaction is to look at how the ban on the burka and niqab affects the religious and human rights of the people targeted by the Bill, it’s not quite so clear-cut as it might seem. France is a country very much concerned, at least superficially, with maintaining a secular tone, particularly in regards to government. My setting a limitation on something often certainly described as religious in motive as the face veil, I could see how to someone not quite so atheistically-minded that it could be an attack on choice and religious freedom.

As I prepare to write the next few paragraphs, I suddenly find myself wishing that I had an Islamic best friend to point to as a defence, but life as a curmudgeonly hermit will always put paid to that.

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There are indeed criminal sanctions contained in the relevant UK legislation: the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. These are generally in respect of the wrongful distribution of copyright material, usually on some commercial basis. But the private end user copying a copyright work for personal use is not a criminal; he or she is not a thief; their wrongful act is not theft. As Tim O’Reilly has pointed out, the right term is copyright infringement. At this point, the vested interests – showing their legal illiteracy – will suggest that I am suggesting that it is somehow alright to infringe copyright.

I am not. An infringement of copyright is still wrong; more precisely it is a wrong, for copyright infringement is a tort and a wrong is what the word tort actually means.

There’s more in the link, which I would recommend checking out. It’s a more balanced perspective on the matter of piracy, intellectual rights and the misrepresentation of the law as a means to a profitable end.