18 Apr 2009

Lateral Applications of the Law (part one)

Prosecution and regulation of technological advances are becoming woefullly inconsistant.

[T]he men were found guilty of providing a conduit for others to break the law, rather than breaching copyright themselves

In no other areas do we prosecute someone for providing a conduit. The most obvious correlation is with cars, a metaphor raised by a lawyer in the pirate bay case, with an interesting example of persecution as governments desperately attempt to keep control.

The idea that providing a server, or a hosting service for a website is ilegal even though you have no control over the content of the site is comparable for suing car manufacturers for making cars that can break the law. But noone is suing the car munufacturers, yet the government is insisting on further penalising motorists.

The power of the lateral application of the aw is previlant here. Will we see the judgement becoming more widely interpreted to prosecute the manufacturers of knives because someone is stabbed? Or the shops that stock the knives and provide the conduit to the public?

It's a frightening vague interpretation of law and should be reined in immediately.

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