NALP Exchange

Discussion of the Law

Discussion of the Law


What is the purpose of the law? Why do we need lawyers? Is there a better system available to society? Has the practice of law been corrupted by the greed motive? These are all vitally important questions that need to be discussed in a frank and open manner. The accessibility of an internet website makes it the perfect tool for hosting such a free ranging discussion on aspects of the law.

What is the Purpose of the Law?

“Sovereignty itself is, of course, not subject to law, for it is the author and source of law; but in our system, while sovereign powers are delegated to the agencies of government, sovereignty itself remains with the people, by whom and for whom all government exists and acts.”
[Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356; 6 S.Ct. 1064 (1886)]

The sovereign makes the law in order to protect his, her or their “life liberty and property”. The mechanism for upholding the body of rules known as the law is first the police force. Since part of the law is the right to a trial, lawyers and legal professionals become involved in the law process.

The notion of sovereignty varies from country to country. In England the monarch is the sovereign. In the USA, following the model handed down from the French Revolution ‘the people’ are the sovereign.

Under the American system ‘the people’ therefore have the right to change the law. And yet their elected representatives often seem reluctant to enact the changes that many of the people want. A classic example of this is the legalization of marijuana. The people of California clearly want this but their sovereignty is undermined by the overriding claim of sovereignty held by the federal government.

Why do we need lawyers?

Essentially lawyers are a product of the inaccuracy of language. As more words are used the more there is room for interpretation. Words are a way of modeling reality. The model is not reality. Thus, lawyers are needed to find suitable interpretations for the words of the law.

Secondly, the constitution upholds the right for a man to defend himself if accused by the law. The law is complicated and this right requires lawyers. In civil law the right for redress against a perceived wrong also requires the services of a lawyer.

Finally, as a result of the slippery nature of language, lawyers are needed to write agreements that cannot be easily broken.

Therefore, lawyers are experts in the details of the law as well as the language of the law. The details naturally include the important body of examples set out in precedence.

Is there a better system available to society?

Some countries use trial by jury; in others judges decide the verdict of guilty or not guilty. Either way lawyers are used to expound the opposing points of view of the plaintiff and the defendant. Should we scrap the system of lawyers and let people directly plead their case to a judge? As in the case of King Solomon, a wise man could see clearly to the heart of the matter and reach a just decision, mete out justice.

People are dismayed with the ‘tricks’ lawyers use such as pleading that technical proceedings were not followed correctly. It is commonly perceived that those with lots of money can retain the services of lawyers who are adept at throwing up smokescreens of words by which they can make ‘black’ become ‘white’.

There are clearly problems with the legal system. They might, however, reflect inequalities and problems in society rather than in the theory of the law.

Has the practice of law been corrupted by the greed motive?

The last point naturally leads on to the relationship in America between money and the law. People can become rich from using the law in the USA, more so than in any other country. Not only can some lawyers command high fees for their services but they can also take a commission for damages they recover.

The culture of ‘ambulance chasing’ is seen by many foreign observers as being endemic in the USA. This does seem to be an unfortunate side effect of the sovereign right to pursue a grievance through the legal system. Other countries have basically the same legal system as the USA with little litigation. One definitely has to question the motives of many plaintiffs. Greed undoubtedly is behind many court cases. However, sometimes it is the desire to clear ones name, or the desire to challenge the law itself. Again, we have to look not at the law but at the society that uses the law in cynical and greedy ways.

These are just notes to get the ball rolling. is about an exchange of opinions connected to the law. It is often quoted that the future is a foreign country; well the law is also a foreign country. This website intends to explore the law in its widest sense and in its most far reaching applications and influences in order to make the law less foreign to us.

Internet Licensing Laws – UK

The problem with many of our laws relating to licensing and copyrights, is that most of them were developed long before the introduction of the internet. Take for example the laws that govern the requirements of TV licences in the UK.    At the moment you can actually watch the lots of UK TV channels online without needing a TV license.  Now a few years ago that would have been unlikely to tempt many people from abandoning their TVs to computers.  But nowadays the line between TVs and computers is very blurred – we have internet enabled TV sets, super fast broadband and a myriad of devices able to store TV channels.

Suddenly the requirement of an expensive  TV license doesn’t seem so necessary.  Clearly there is confusion in the market and the BBC Trust is mooting changes to clarify the situation (and obviously force more to buy a license).   A BBC spokesman said –

Legislative change is likely to be required in order to reflect technology changes in the licence fee regulations,”

One of the biggest loopholes is the fact that if you don’t watch the shows live then you don’t need the license.  So presumably you could set your TV or media device to download or store the show and watch a few minutes later.  The license costs about £142 or about $250 so it’s a significant expense that can be avoided each year.

There are other confusions experienced across the planet.  Most media channels block access to their content outside their countries borders.  Hulu is only available in the US, M6 Replay only in France and the BBC technically in the United Kingdom.  Of course these restrictions are frequently bypassed online – there are loads of internet sites explaining how you can watch anything online.  This one for instance shows how to watch BBC Iplayer –   Are these methods illegal – well probably not with current legislation but of course there are lots of legislation pending in the US and across the world that might change this situation.

IN other countries the legislation is different of course, which is the huge problem for people attempting to regulate the internet.  Whether you need to access BBC Iplayer in the UK or ABC Iview, the problem is still the same – your IP address, wherever you are defines what you see.

There’s one thing for sure if you want to specialize in a fast developing and probably controversial area of law – the media might very well be for you.

Further Reading

Update Planned to Scottish Football Act

SCOTTISH Labour stated they’ll draw up a fresh anti sectarianism strategy after SMEs voted to repeal the law aimed at solving the problem. James Kelly MSP stated that the legislation wasn’t the answer, and he’d bring together charities, campaign groups, faith leaders, locals authorities, soccer clubs and police to develop a fresh strategy. His Bill to scrap the Offensive Behaviour in Football and Threatening Communications Law passed its first parliamentary hurdle in Holyrood a week ago after opposition parties combined to back it. The law was introduced in the last parliament by the then bulk SNP authorities. There are fears that repealing the action could impact on communities.

Kelly said Labour could assess SNP Government activity on handling the matter and examine the financing available for anti sectarian programs in order to perhaps calculate a figure for next year’s budget. The party will probably look at the uptake of recommendations made in 2015 from the Independent Advisory Group for Combating Sectarianism headed by Dr Duncan Morrow. It’ll also consider the function of clubs, fans teams and the police in tackling sectarianism and the new challenges posed by online bigotry. Kelly stated: There should be no doubt that Labour is dedicated scooting Scotland of sectarianism. Religious bigotry existed long prior to the Football Act and it’s an issue we’re still shamed by today.

This has been a huge problem in Scottish football for years and it’s sometimes difficult for those outside to understand. When you watch the Premiership on Match of the Day which you can see online, then it’s difficult to understand the sectarian conflicts that exist in Scottish football. They have existed for years though and although violence is thankfully rare it does happen outside the stadiums all too frequently.

Nonetheless, it isn’t restricted on the terraces of football stadiums and can’t be combated through broken legislation. Rather than unworkable legislation, we must change our focus to communities into attack the root causes of bigotry, such as through community groups and education, as recommended by experts at the Justice Commission. Kelly continues that he was deadly serious about utilizing his role as a member of the Scottish Parliament to handle this present day shame.

“This is why I’ll be developing an anti sectarianism strategy match for 2018, which I hope every party, including the SNP, will I am hoping that the whole Parliament will get behind”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: Ministers have been consistently clear that tackling the scourge of sectarianism takes a broad assortment of actions, such as education and wider community based projects backed by unprecedented Scottish Authorities investment of over 13 million pounds because 2012 alongside the work of the justice system in enforcing the law. This is an important initiative and it’s been compared with the work on increasing unit prices of alcohol in Scotland. This is another important area for the Scottish government to reduce the impact of alcohol abuse by pricing deterrents and making drugs like Selincro more available for individuals.

In latest days the Minister for Community Safety has also underlined the need for all parties to work together to build consensus on how we may mitigate the possible adverse impacts that repeal of the 2012 Act might have on communities that are vulnerable a threat that was increased by an assortment of organizations in evidence to Parliament. Ministers remain resolute in their determination to fight religious bigotry, alongside broader hate crimes like those between homophobia and racism, which is why they’ve commissioned a wider overview of the legislation in this region, to report later this year.”.

Guidance on Blogging and Social Networking

This is a short summary document which provides an introduction for organisations with a general awareness of the associated risks of blogging and social networking that may potentially affect the effectiveness of local services.

Terms used: Blogging is using a public website to write an on-line diary (known as a biog) sharing thoughts and opinions on various subjects. The word blog is derived from the phrase weB LOG. Examples of blogging websites include and Social networking is the use of interactive web based sites that mimic some of the interactions that occur between people in life. Examples include Facebook and Linkedin.

Why are Blogging and Social networking an Information Governance issue? The use of blogging and social networking websites by an NHS organisation’s employees can expose that organisation to information risks, even where these sites are not accessed directly from work. Whilst there is nothing new about the information risks, what has changed is the availability of high capacity broadband, the popularity of Web2.0 sites and the rapid growth of internet enabled devices such as mobile phones, blackberries etc.

This has resulted in significant awareness and uptake of these websites from home, from work and when mobile. What are the potential dangers to the organisation of using blogging and social networking? A range of potential threats exist that organisations should be aware of: Unauthorised disclosure of business information and potential confidentiality breach.  Additionally users can access unauthorised websites which may have little risk but can hugely effect productivity.  For example accessing sites like BBC iPlayer using the company VPN from Ireland like this may not have any risks but it can’t waste time and effect  the company network.  Blogging and social networking sites provide an easy means for information to leak from an organisation, either maliciously or otherwise.

Once loaded to a site, organisational information enters the public domain and may be processed and stored anywhere globally. In short, organisational control is lost and reputational damage can occur. Malicious attack associated with identity theft.   People often place a large amount of personal information on social networking sites, including details about their nationality, ethnic origin, religion, addresses, date of birth, telephone contact numbers and interests. This information may be of use to criminals who are seeking to steal identities or who may use the information for social engineering purposes.

Another important risk from allowing employees to use social media and public forms is from the possibility of defamatory postings by their employees. Take for example a public forum, most of these enforce a user to accept some terms and conditions before they are allowed to post. These can often be quite substantial and are intended to both protect the web/forum and enforce any rights such as copyright.   This is important in any site which allows people to express their views even large corporations like the BBC use them.  The problem is that any infringement by a company employee using company hardware and on their time could be considered as a liability against the company not the individual.

There are numerous risks online, and one of the problems is that many organisations have little experience in dealing with these issue. Most companies have probably only allowed large scale internet access for a decade or so and may still only be developing internal policies and procedures in order to mitigate these risks.

Development of UK Computer Crime Law

Obviously computer crime is a relatively modern phenomena, however it has taken some time for legislation to catch up with the real world.  In fact even today cyber criminals exploit weaknesses in such legislation by basing themselves in areas where there is little criminal law developed around computer crime.    In fact there has been more legislation regarding copyright issues in some countries, you can get fined for watching UK TV abroad like this or downloading software than actually cases of cyber crime.

Before 1990, the UK criminal law often struggled to deal with computer misuse. relying instead on other traditional‘ offences that were sometimes ill-equipped to deal with the nature of the technology itself. in particular the offences of criminal damage, abstracting electricity and forgery and counterfeiting were applied to deal with such cases.  In reality many were also applied to other issues although none were successful, activities like downloading from the BBC iPlayer abroad like this have never been a criminal offence. However, the two main loopholes then thought to require attention were: ~

– the failure of forgery legislation to deal with misuse of passwords
– that ‘data’ on disk was not ‘property’ or ‘tangible’ for the purposes of criminal damage legislation, so that if you trashed the contents of a hard disk you appeared not to be committing an offence.

For relevant legislation and some case law in this check out the reports on the case of R v Gold and Schifree/M1988] 1 AC 1963, including the Court of Appeal and House of Lords rulings.

It is clear that, by 1990, there were cracks appearing in the ability of the existing criminal law to deal with some manifestations of computer misuse, in articular those resulting from the intangible nature of the subject matter. The Report of the Law Commission of England and Wales (1989) recommended that three new offences of computer misuse be created.

The ensuing Computer Misuse Bill prompted much debate based around a number of key issues: the impact of computer misuse on industry and commerce; the inadequacy of the pre-existing criminal law; and the prevailing media reporting of the dangers posed by hackers at the time. it was envisaged that the new Bill would ease the difficulties associated with bringing a successful prosecution for computer misuse. it received royal assent on 29 June 1999 and became the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

In total the Computer Misuse Act 1990 created three main offences concerning unauthorised access to computer material. unauthorised access to computer material with intent to commit or facilitate further offences and unauthorised modification of computer material. The Police and Justice Act 2006 introduced three amendments to the 1990 Computer Misuse Act and came into force on i October 2008. The Computer Misuse Act 1990 now has four main sections:

Section 1 : unauthorised access to computer material
Section 2 1 unauthorised access with intent to commit or facilitate commission of further offences
Section 3 (as amended): unauthorised acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing, operation of computer, etc.
Section 3A: making, supplying or obtaining articles for use in offence under section i or 3.

Human Rights and the USA Immigration Laws

Alex Tizon was an award winning Pullitzer prize journalist, who wrote a damning story about the US immigration laws. The book recounts the life of Eudocia “Lola” Pulido, a Filipino immigrant who worked for more than half a century without pay for Tizon’s family. There is much detail in the book about him, specific circumstances which help explain why the old US immigration system actually encouraged the abuse of such people. By tying immigrant employees to a specific employer, the U.S.’s immigration system enables contemporary slavery.
He was simply given as a gift to the mother of Tizon by his grandfather, Pulido started working in the Philippines for the Tizons. He actually came through a visa tied into the employment of the Tizon.

His parents refused to allow her return and with no visa, she would had trouble obtaining employment elsewhere. Like lots of the immigrant employees that I reflect at the legal services non-profit I work for in LA, Pulido’s legal status in the U.S. Was inextricably tied to her employer.

This feature of U.S. Immigration law provides a tool to control their employees, whose lack of understanding of regulations and customs of the US render them vulnerable to companies that are exploitative. If employees threaten to seek help or complain, they’re told that leaving their employer might result in deportation. For many immigrant employees, who could have borrowed substantial amounts of money to visit America, leaving the U.S. Early might mean financial ruin at home. U.S. Immigration policy, simply put, leaves them no choice, but to endure their employers abuse. This power imbalance between immigrant employees and their companies figures prominently in the U.S.

Immigration system. Evidence indicates a link between specific and trafficking visa categories. All six classes make it hard, if not impossible, for employees to leave agency or the employer that sponsored their visa request. A separate study by the Urban Institute, a think tank, found whom over 70 percent of the 122 trafficking victims it analyzed arrived at the U.S. With legitimate visas, particularly with 3 of the visa classes flagged by Polaris. According into both studies, trafficking victims reported whom their companies threatened into report them into immigration authorities into discourage them from going or seeking help. Such studies also make clear whom domestic employees like Pulido aren’t the only targets of such practices.

Hotel housekeepers and construction employees on H-2B visas, nurses also teachers on H-1B visas, also others are susceptible as well. In case the U.S. Government wanted to end labor trafficking and contemporary slavery, a good start will be reforming the country’s immigration laws. Even though it’d likely be unpalatable to Americans who’re opponents of immigration, immigration law would need into be amended in order to alter an immigrant worker’s status at the U.S. It is essential that the person isn’t bound to a certain employer or agency, because that instantly puts them at certain risk.

There’s no doubt that immigration laws in the USA are extremely complex and many people have had their lives influenced greatly by them. If you’re involved in them, you should ideally ensure that you consult with a properly qualified lawyer. You can access and indeed make certain stages of the application online using various web sites. However it should be remembered that some of these are limited to US only residents so you may need a VPN to hide your real location. Check out the following article which explains how to use a VPN to access the BBC – Info on BBC Live VPN.

In addition to whom, immigration law ideally would ensure whom all immigrant employees not only select visa categories are eligible for obtain legal permanent residence. So long as immigrant employees are legally bound to their employers, they’ll remain susceptible to trafficking also abuse, also will remain reluctant to find help.

More Information:

James Brieres – Watching UK TV Channels Online

Polish Problems with the Venice Commission Unit

The recent comments of Prof. Kamil Zaradkiewicz about the Venice Commission were right on the mark. The Venice Commission was considered and created by Andrzej Rzeplinski under his direction to act as the final lifeline for the Constitutional Tribunal. This is supported by the place of the Venice Commission declared on section 14, however it has been updated and elucidated from the draft phase after some feedback from the relevant authorities. In its light, it appears that there is no denying the Constitutional Tribunal’s President could trust the help of the Venice Commission. Its couriers from Venice would regard the protests into the Constitutional Tribunal. The place of the Venice Commission concerning the Constitutional legislation repeats the errors of the opinion in addition, it lacks any kind of independence.

Based on the situation represented by Beata Szydlo’s authorities concerning the place of the Venice Commission, it might be reasoned which this body is trying into exert pressure on this Polish direction, so that it accepts all the unlawful actions of the Tribunal, those made previously and also those planned for the future, especially those about the way the chairman of the Constitutional Tribunal is selected. The Commission has accepted not requiring the belief which the Constitutional Tribunal is the last arbiter and final decisions from the system.

The second important factor of the state which has judicial power is exercised from Poland by courts and tribunals, but this Constitutional Tribunal isn’t alone in this role since there’s also the State Tribunal. Ignoring this State Tribunal with regards into constitutional issues violates this standards which the Venice Commission draws upon, that’s liberty of this judiciary and this division of powers in constitutional Issues between this Constitutional Court and this Court of State.

Access to the documentation is available on the specific legislative sites and on the European Unions main documentation repository. However you might find there’s problem accessing from outside the EU nations. This is determined by the physical location of your connecting IP address however this can be changed. If you use a VPN like many use to watch UK TV like this post, you can hide your real IP address and access the documentation.

The Venice Commission is totally ignoring that the Polish constitution doesn’t recognize this Constitutional Tribunal since a Total and sole body deciding on this constitutionality of all forms of action by public authorities. The Polish authorities has pointed out to this Venice Commission that, even in Issues concerning this powers of hierarchical control compatibility, this Constitutional Tribunal might not examine all legal acts. They have highlighted the fact that the Venice Commission when making such decisions will also completely ignores other bodies protecting this constitution. These powers were previously limited to the President of this Republic of Poland and the Polish State Tribunal. The Venice Commission isn’t justified in whatever way when it states which this Constitutional Tribunal has this power – and which exclusively – to evaluate the government in matters of law enforcement.

Additional Resources:

Information on buying UK and EU proxies –

EU Legislation : the Working Time Directive

There is an important law which has probably effected us all at some point.   It’s called the Working Time Directive and it limits the amount of time any employee can work in a single week.
As part of this legislation there are several specific sections which refer to certain types of job.  For example there are two directives on working time that can impact drivers who spend a lot of time at the wheel.  The first is the horizontal directive, which employed under the Working Time Regulations 2003 August 2003 in the uk on 1 affects everybody in the transportation sector. The provisions under this directive will impact non workers in the road transportation sector. Workers affect. The next directive, usually referred to as that the Road transportation directive 3820\/. The United Kingdom has implemented this from 23 March 2005, however when the country leaves the European Union there will possibly be some alterations. Under this amending directive employees are permitted to opt out from the 48 hour average working week. Mobile workers are eligible for health checks and annual leave.

Most of these are of course only applicable to traditional employers who work in the private or public sector.  All over Europe now there are many millions of people who work for themselves in a self employed capacity.     There are of course millions of people who work from home, perhaps working remotely through a VPN like this who should be covered by the legislation but in reality have little protection.

Working Time Directive

Guidance on the application of the working time regulations, as amended can be obtained from the number or can be found online at both European and Government legislation web sites, To health checks demand and the leave of the Horizontal Amendment Directive, The Road Transport Directive presents security for workers. March 2005 workers in the range will be covered by 23 March 2009, and self should be addressed by 23. Weekly Working time is limited to an average 48 hour week and a 60 hours. There’s no opt out for people wishing to work longer than an average 48 hour week, but break periods of availability don’t count as working time.

Periods of availability include accompanying a vehicle on a ferry crossing and waiting for a vehicle to be loaded \/ unloaded. Drivers need to be informed in advance about these periods, and their approximate length. For mobile employees driving in a team, it includes period spent sitting next to the driver whilst the vehicle is moving. Night employees are restricted to 10 hours work in each 24 hour period. There are some derogations which are effectively exemptions for individual Member States under that the Road Transport Directive. Under certain circumstances, derogations may be permitted in that the 10 hour daily limit for night work, and increase that the reference period for that the 48 hour average week may also be increased from 4 to six months. There’s no derogation in the 60 hour maximum week for any member nation.

Additional references:

BBC iPlayer Block Access to Online VPN Systems

The Various Internet Privacy Laws

While targeted advertising continues to be popular and has been for several years. The launch of the net has allowed people to be tracked so tightly that it’s been boiled down to a specific science, enabling internet entrepreneurs to serve up ads which more closely fit an individual’s interests and purchasing habits. Among the networks that were top websites on the web, Facebook, has announced demographics targeting. Also in addition to its Social Ad program, which can be driven by activities and habits of a Facebook user’s friends. This program has met a great deal of opposition, with adversaries making claims all kinds of privacy laws are breaking up.

When someone posts something online or updates their location, that information is transmitted to Facebook. This could be in the form of a bulletin telling that individual’s friends what the Facebook user has posting and rented ads when a customer rents a movie from Blockbuster Video.     They can even use posts to determine things like entertainment preferences for example if someone has been posting videos from watching UK TV channels online. Facebook allows organizations to buy advertisement space based on demographics, such as submitting ads on all college without giving a list of users aged men homepages. This kind of advertising has gone on for many years, but a lot of are outraged. Laws are applied to advertisements, as they should be. The law as it can be written does not permit advertisements to use anybody’s name, voice, face or likeness to be a symbol of product or a service.

This runs contrary to what a video rental company does each time someone rents a movie. Simply since the company does not receive a list of users, that the Facebook user’s identity is still compromised in a very public manner. Among that the scariest things about Facebook is that the announcement that might use info we gather about you from other sources. Not only does Facebook use the info it collects from its own website, however it goes out and looks for more.   There is some protection mainly common sense and you can use things like this online IP changer to hide your true location.  However remember in the terms and conditions there is a commitment to saying of that not only does it utilize the personal info you provide, but the info accumulated while socializing with the site.

Often times they stress that the point of a personal experience, and that Facebook is about sharing information. While you might opt out of getting and sharing specific info, there’s no big red Leave Me Alone button. Fundamentally, signing up for Facebook implies that you’re consenting to share info with everybody based on your privacy settings. It also claims of that you consent to having your personal data Stored and processed in the US, whatever that means.

EU Take Legal Action in Migrant Crisis

There are increasing signs of a rift across the EU about how to deal with the migrant crisis. The European Commission have resorted to a legal challenge against Hungary, Poland and the Czech republic for their failure in taking in asylum seekers. The issue is likely to escalate as there is no real consensus for dealing with this issue among the 28 nations.

The governments in Poland and Hungary are particularly steadfast in their refusal to follow the migrant agreement. The idea was to help the front line countries like Greece and Italy who are being flooded with asylum seekers.

Similarly the Czech Republic agreed only to take 12 people and then indicated they would take no more. The ex-communist countries seem to be the worst in keeping to these agreements and it’s likely that this will cause increasing ill will among the community.

The EU migration officer, Dimitris Avramopoulos has told a news conference that they have made repeated call to these countries to little response. These have been broadcast throughout Europe but you’ll need an EU based video proxy to access from outside these countries.

The commission has said the legal avenue was related to infringement procedures which is the method to punish countries who don’t meet their obligations.It’s not an easy option for the EU and is liely to lead to years of legal arguments before any penalties or fines can be imposed.

Some countries have been quick to criticise this approach which is likely to lead to increased political tensions and divisions within the community. The Polish government for instance is ready to defend it’s position in the courts. The EU is keen to keep unity among the remaining nations particularly due to the Brexit crisis.

However beyond the EU borders there are also issues with Russia and an problematic relationship with the USA. The problem is that the arguments have continued for nearly two years now with little change. EU leaders feel that legal action is the only way to break the stalemate. Most of the nations involved simply do not agree with the relocation system.

They are particularly concerned with the security issues that it raises, something that terrorist attacks in the UK and France have heightened. The reality is that these nations are benefiting greatly from the economic stability and investment of the European Union, so are likely to back down eventually.

One Little Pill to Help Drinkers

There is a tendency in the US for sticking to certain beliefs, that there’s a single way to solve a problem and that’s it. Such is the case with people who have problems with alcohol, the solution is nearly always quit, go cold turkey, AA meetings and never drink again.

However is that really the only way? There’s problems with this thinking, for a start it groups a whole spectrum of drinking problems together. From the successful professional who has a few too many drinks of an evening to the hopeless alcoholic who wakes up shaking and reaching for the bottle. Is there really only one solution for every scenario like these? Is AA the only route available.

There is a growing understanding that our treatment of alcohol problems is overly simplistic and there is another option to just promoting abstinence. It’s important because alcoholism is a growing problem and the AA approach simply doesn’t work for so many people. For those who do, spend years of their life hopping on and off the wagon.

Other strategies are beginning to be applied in areas of the US and Europe in particular. Different tactic like medical interventions, therapy and even a new range of drugs which can help alcohol disorders. There are a range of new drugs which are reporting exciting results, specifically naltrexone, Selincro and nalmefene. Still not widely known but clinical trial results that are in a different league to traditional measures.

It sounds a bit too good to be true, a little pill to solve your problems but there is really some logic behind it. These drugs tackle the compulsion to drink by removing the pleasure you receive from having another drink. When most people drink their brains produce certain chemicals that make them feel good. Unfortunately in some people this ‘good feeling’ cans oon turn into a dependency.

The drugs block these effects of opioids which make you feel better. In effect the ‘feel good’ part of drinking is subdued which is theory should slow down drinking and reduce the desire to continue. Without the pleasurable part why keep drinking is the logic and it seems to work. The drug has been used in various treatments however this seems to be crucial to it’s success. As as aid to abstinence it’s not been particularly positive, however in studies where patients are urged to use the pill alongside their drinking it’s been spectacularly successful.

John Evans

Kodi Ban to Start in the UK

There’s many legal implications which will directly result from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union many of these will definitely be in the area of internet and copyright law.  Take for example the discussions mentioned in our last post regarding the use of the increasingly popular Kodi media box.

Now Kodi is simply some software that allows you to stream video of any sort from a myriad of devices onto your TV screen.  It’s fairly standard stuff however what makes Kodi so popular is the hundreds of add-ons that expand the capability of the software.  These programs allow Kodi to stream all sorts of copyrighted material from Sky, BBC, BT and Netflix to name but a few.  What makes it even more popular is that you can bypass the technical configuration required and by a pre-installed media box with all that done for you.

You can see why for the cost of one months subscription someone would be tempted to buy a full set up box capable of streaming every Sky Channel from movies to Sports.  No subscriptions, no ongoing costs – just buy the box and stream for nothing. With many people’s Sky accounts costing about £20 a week it’s not surprising that they became so popular.

One of the main legal protections people have currently for using these Kodi installed media boxes is a ruling by the European courts that  merely streaming copyrighted content (as opposed to copying it) was not illegal.  So someone  simply watching something as per Kodi, using a free smart DNS Netflix solution or a VPN then is not actually illegal currently.  This has meant the copyright holders have pursued the sellers and distributors of these boxes rather than the individuals.

Of these perhaps the VPN is the safest option simply because you can firstly completely hide your location and the software functions without any specific configuration to download movies or films online. However the others you can easily argue are specifically designed to watch copyrighted material.

Many people have of course, been downloading movies and films online for decades however it is Kodi which has probably moved this into the mainstream.  Downloading torrents anonymously like this takes a fair amount of computing knowledge – whereas buying a pre-configured Kodi box is no harder than setting up a DVD player.  Which is why the UK’s Intellectual Property Office is taking such a keen interest, no doubt heavily pushed by the mainstream media companies of course.

It’s likely that using these devices will become illegal much more quickly as a result of Brexit as the IPO will have more direct powers and are not as constrained as the European courts.  Also much of the legislation is already in place but just needs slight adjustments to encompass the people who use Kodi boxes to stream copyrighted material.

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