We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

ISP fights back

STL today.com reports that Charter Communications Inc., third largest cable provider in the United States, filed a suit on Friday seeking to block the recording industry from obtaining the identities of Charter customers who allegedly shared copyrighted music over the Internet. Charter filed papers in U.S. District Court in St. Louis in a bid to quash subpoenas that the Recording Industry Association of America issued seeking the identities of about 150 Charter customers.

“We are the only major cable company that has not as yet provided the RIAA a single datum of information,” said Tom Hearity, vice president and associate general counsel for Charter.

Via Slashdot

Lords on vitamins

The Telegraph has an update about the vote in the House of Lords on the European Union curbs on the sale of vitamins and mineral food supplements.

Peers voted by a majority of 53 last night to call upon ministers to revoke regulations due to implement the EU’s Food Supplements Directive in August 2005. But Health Minister Lord Warner said the vote would make no difference.

The UK is obliged to implement the directive. Failure to transpose its requirements properly would be a serious breach of our obligations under the EC Treaty and would result in infraction proceedings against the UK and in the likelihood of our facing heavy fines. Ultimately, implementation would be forced upon us.

A nasty taste

An opinion piece in today’s Telegraph alerts the readers:

A dangerous and disagreeable piece of legislation comes before the House of Lords today. In order to implement the EU’s directive on higher-dose vitamin supplements, the Government proposes to ban nearly 300 products currently on sale in our health stores.

The proscription of these vitamins is the first in a series of EU regulations dealing with alternative remedies. A second directive, covering herbal medicines, is already clanking its way through the machinery of state. There are proposals to regulate homoeopathy, and even to require a standard European qualification for herbalists (who, in England and Wales, have operated under a statute dating from Tudor times).

These restrictions are driven by something called “the precautionary principle”. The concept, emanating from Brussels and very popular with the EU types “holds that nothing should be legal until it can be shown to be safe”. In other words, it reverses the burden of proof.

The issue is not one of science, but of freedom. Here is a horrible demonstration of how the EU system can work, elevating corporate interests over individuals, and tossing aside all considerations of liberty and fairness in pursuit of harmonisation.

Voting against the legislation is, alas, only a gesture, since EU rules come into force automatically in Britain, but it is a gesture that should be made none the less.