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The Digital Economy Bill - UK
Hello all,

Big Record labels have been pushing our government to head-hunt illegal downloaders of music content (and other content backed by other entertainment areas) through internet service providers. If found to have repeatedly broke this law, the IP address will be limited and or banned for a period of time.

The Bill is in the House of Commons at the moments, getting its second reading. This means it has passed through similar processes at the House of Lords and soon will be kicked up and achieve its place in law.

Now, there are obvious issues with this law regarding rights, is it right to have your connection removed, because someone else broke the law using it? Is it even possible to monitor every transaction over the web, and then send letters all at the expense of ISPs?

Here is a transcription of an article in todays Metro:

Online piracy 'costs 39,000 jobs per year'

ILLEGAL downloading costs Britain 39,000 jobs a year - enough people to fill a Premier League football stadium, it was claimed yesterday.

Digital piracy of music, films and TV programmes also led to retail losses of 1.4billion in 2008, according to the International Chamber of Commerce. Those who potentially lost out on work included wholesalers and manufacturers as well as actors, camera operators, songwriters, playwrights, sound engineers and software technicians.

Yet internet 'pirates' last night criticised the figures as 'scare-mongering'.

Piracy cost almost 9billion in revenue across Europe in 2008 - enough to finance 185,000 jobs - according to the report by the ICC-backed Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy.

And up to 1.2million jobs and 215billion could be lost in Europe by 2015. it said. Trade unions urged the European Commission and MEPs to combat file-sharing of music and films online. Agnete Haaland, president of the International Actors Federation, said: 'Piracy is killing the industry. It is not the best word to use - it conjures images of adventure and Johnny Depp. We need to change our attitudes towards illegal downloading and recognise that it is theft.'

But Andrew Robinson of Pirate Party UK, which wants to legalise non-commercial file-sharing, criticised the report, saying: 'This is the type of thing that is used to bamboozle politicians.'

Earlier this week, the controversial Digital Economy Bill was passed by the House of Lords. Expected to be rushed through the Commons, it includes proposals to tackle illegal file-sharing including a plan to bar persistent pirates from the net.

Now, lets look at this logically. 39,000 jobs are lost, because people, instead of paying for music, download it for 'free'. Bullshit, jobs are not lost, they are simply relocated, anyone who has money will eventually spend it at some place or other, and those that do not have money would not legally be able to attain the content anyway - these particular consumers are only lost from the market through incidents brought about by failed economic planning, over-working, underp-paying and massive unemployment.

Now what about the jobs created by people requiring the internetz, there are service provider employees, cable layers, fitters and all the logistical workers involved in that. There are jobs for people who create computers, monitors and other technologies, so that people can become internet active.

OK, I may be overstretching with the balance there, but lets consider the average wage of a graduate leaver in the UK. It is some 22,000. You could happily charge 1 for the download of a single on iTunes or some such website, an actual 'hard' version (CD, record) would start at about 5 im guessing.

By downloads alone, you would only require 22,000 people to pay for that one song over the duration of a year, to earn a comfortable living for yourself. Now realistically that is a pathetic number if your music is any good. Videos of kids falling over get millions of 'hits' within a month. And the recent years flurry of online gambling shows, if there is but a moments joy out of something, peope are willing to spend nominal sums of 1-5 on anything, in their droves.

The problem I have with most of this is depreciation. If I go into a show, and buy a CD or DVD, never having saw the film or heard the music before and I do not like it, if actually I find it offensive and wish to return it, it has already depreciated by 90% of the purchase value. Yet in every other field of commerce it seems, if you are not happy with the product you have received, you can return it and get a full refund.

This ranting and raving from the entertainment industry is nothing new. They done the same with cassettes and radio, they done the same with CDs and PCs, and with TVs and video recorders. Each time claiming that the death of the industry was nigh, due to everyone switching to getting things for free.

The truth is, I have illegally downloaded content, and in the cases where said content has been good, I have purchased hard copies. Now, would I be willing to risk 20 - 30 on things I have not seen nor heard, no I would not. Simply stated if this Bill does come into effect, and they do figure out a way of enforcing it, I will no longer watch films, or listen to any music I do not already posses, and I do not think people would do much different to this. The consequences would be films do not get talked about, music is not requested and the whole industry goes stale.

Tell me what yous think.
Theory_Execution wrote (quoting article in today's Metro):Those who potentially lost out on work included wholesalers and manufacturers as well as actors, camera operators, songwriters, playwrights, sound engineers and software technicians.

As a pro musician, I notice that musicians aren't even mentioned. So much for music.
Edited by catman on 03/18/2010 22:18
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
Well thats the thing, we have a bunch of musicians defending piracy (at its current rates) because they believe it to be increasing their personal revenue overall, in that their fan bases grow, and more people look to attend their live concerts which - after the record companies have raped them of their intellectual property - is where they make most of their money.

Its about limiting technology that these big companies dont have their fingers in.
Edited by Theory_Execution on 03/19/2010 08:13
Maybe so, but if their fan bases can get their musical product free, their only revenue will be from live performances. All it takes is a competent lawyer to negotiate a contract with the record company so they aren't raped by it.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
So where are these competent lawyers when you are a poor musician starting out and planning on joining a record label with an existing community of lawyers?

Rhetorical of course.

The other thing that illegal downloads enable is further sales of back catalogues. Radios generally pump out the newest track 20 or so times a day, older songs are left to die.

I own CDs that I have only purchased because I stumbled upon one or two songs that had been shared without permission.
The problem isn't just that musicians get taken advantage of by record companies. The big problem is that record companies only really promote a few of their artists while the majority just never get a real push.

The result is that record companies end up heavily censoring the music that gets played on the air. If a musician isn't easily categorized then their records just gather dust and those musicians never find their audience.

What record companies are really worried about is that they are losing control over who gets air time. With distribution becoming easier for individual musicians to handle on their own and the exposure they can get through you tube, facebook etc record companies are facing a new level of competition.
That is one of the points against this Bill, and why these industries are so for pushing them through.

Parallels can be drawn between the internet as a multinational distribution medium and the technologies of the industrial revolution.

Steam power and its earlier water wheel reduced the need for hundereds of workers, and allowed the owners to produce their merchandise faster.

But whereas the groups fighting against the change back then, were workers who would face unemployment, the current group is a select few of high earning media moguls who do not wish to lose the grasp they have on modern culture - as you point out seeker, they desire to dictate the popular music/film/games.

Jobs will be lost, but we have a much greater spectrum of jobs available now than compared to those times, I suppose the sad part is that my government fucked up the ability for people to find those jobs.
A few updates on this.

One from Ireland - They have a similar bill, a three strikes and you are out, the important thing to note is it is based upon accusations, guilty until proven innocent - I am assuming you can prove yourself innocent here.


And here one from the UK.


Governments really make me sick.
That is going a bit too far, I'd say. The "guilty until proven innocent" aspect is wrong. Proving oneself innocent would be difficult if not impossible.

There must be some sort of middle ground. There should be protection for copyright holders, but not like this.
Its not protection for the people who create the media tho, ultimately it will only be big businesses that seek people out, and part of the 3 strikes is informing them where they can buy things legally - its free advertisement.
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