Newsletter #70 - Update April 2010
NEWSLETTER FOLLOW-UP: BILL STICKLERS WILL BE PROSECUTED
With our newsletter editorial on the Digital Economy Bill stimulating further comments and debate we thought we should share some of the responses with our readers, in advance of the bill’s second Commons reading on April 6.
The views and opinions expressed in our newsletter are those of the author/s and are not necessarily condoned or shared by us. MusicTank continues to remain a neutral industry body.
With the permission of the senders please see below the responses generated from our newsletter. And at the bottom please find instructions on how to send in your own feedback should you wish.
To read the newsletter editorial again in full please visit: http://www.musictank.co.uk/newsletters/mar-10/view
Thanks being such active readers!
BILL STICKLERS WILL BE PROSECUTED: AUTHORS’ NOTE
Unsurprisingly, the Bill has tended to polarise opinion.
We believe that copyright needs to be enforceable online, but are keen to avoid any backlash from a general public perceiving a bill of its importance being passed without adequate debate.
Comments received have challenged our assumption that the recordings business might be able to influence due Parliamentary process as to how the Bill is dealt with, clarified that Mandelson’s amend to Clause 18 wasn’t a surprise but planned, suggested a breathtaking level of misinformation put out by those against this bill and underlined that this isn’t just a recordings business but a creative industries bill.
Editorial writers John Power and Sam Shemtob
I was surprised to read the MusicTank editorial by Sam Shemtob and John Power yesterday – urging the UK music industry to play nicely with the crocodile. The crocodile, in this case, being the anti-copyright ideologues. Surely a more sophisticated political analysis is needed.
After more than decade of watching the self-styled “Copyfighters”, much of it from the vantage point of Silicon Valley itself – I can confirm that if you extend a hand of conciliation, they’ll gladly take an arm or a leg. Talk of “balance” here is merely a smokescreen. Liberal Democrat and Conservative peers have recently experienced this at first hand: they thought their ORG-friendly Amendments would be perceived as consumer friendly. They were vilified for being in the pocket of big business.
The campaigners “consumer” branding here is also a sleight of hand. The goal of these activists is not to temper legislation by making it consumer friendly, it is to ensure the gradual destruction of copyright online. The strategy is to resist any regulation intruding upon the last, untamed frontier of the technology utopian. This is a dogmatic movement, where any compromise with rights holders risks expulsion from the tribe. That’s why the answer is always going to be ‘No’.
The arguments made against the Digital Economy Bill by the Open Rights Group – apparently accepted without question by MusicTank – are fundamentally cowardly and dishonest. The ORG knew last year, as did everyone else familiar with the negotiations, that the ‘ultimate’ sanction of disconnection would not be one of Ofcom’s technical countermeasures. Yet they decided to pretend it would be – this was too useful as to the group as a donation-raising tactic. Similarly, and it’s disappointing to see Sam and John echo this, amendments limited the liability of public Wi-Fi providers. I could go on.
But most dishonest of all is the claim that the measures haven’t been debated, and that a simple debate is all that is being asked. This is prompted by the sudden discovery by ORG campaigners of the Parliamentary mechanics, which means that a Commons debate would kill the entire Bill. Mission accomplished?
If we’re honest, there’s no great enthusiasm in the UK music industry for the Digital Economy Bill. I haven’t met anyone under the illusion that it brings immediate comfort to creators or music businesses. But nor is there much great antipathy to it, either. I attended ORG’s national demonstration, and in a city of 8 million, in one of the most sophisticated broadband markets in the world, it could barely muster 100 protesters. A decade ago, techies mustered more support to include Jedi religion in the 2001 census, than have registered discontent with the Bill.
The answer to this stalemate is not more laws, which pit the music industry into a permanent struggle against the real growth sector of Britain: its bureaucrats. Perpetual legal combat merely gives the anti-copyright lobby the oxygen a justification to stay alive. They need to feel persecuted more than the music business needs them. The answer, surely, is innovation in commerce. As Napoleon said of the English, we’re a nation of shopkeepers. We just seem to have forgotten how to run a shop.
(c) Andrew Orlowski, Editor-at-large The Register
I just wanted to say how nice it was to read the editorial in the newsletter yesterday. Whatever side you fall on the debate, it makes a nice change for someone in the position to have their voice heard, shout it loud and proud. A lot of people want the DEB to be debated fully, and it’s clear that a large proportion of the public are unsure about its content, it’s crass for the industry to stamp down on people saying that, and a relief when a voice is heard.
Gareth, Editor, This Festival Feeling
As ever we are always pleased to receive your emails, prompt topical industry debates and invite contributions for future publication. We have several means in which to support your right to reply:
- Our discussion board – Allowing you and other readers to continue discussions prompted from our editorial and the music industry.
- Right to Reply page – Posting your email feedback.
To continue the debate on the Digital Economy Bill, please visit our discussion board: http://www.musictank.co.uk/discussion/newsletter-april-2010-digital-economy-bill
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Here at MusicTank we value all your feedback and endeavour to respond to all our emails personally. Due to the bank holiday weekend there may be some delay but we will respond to you as soon as possible.
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The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily condoned or shared by MusicTank. MusicTank is a non-profit organisation owned and operated by University of Westminster. University of Westminster is a charity and a company limited by guarantee. Reg Number: 977818, England. Registered Office: 309 Regent Street, London, W1. MusicTank is based at University of Westminster, Watford Road, Harrow, Middlesex HA1 3TP