Tag Archives: internet piracy

The Independent View: How to legislate for the digital economy

“What to do about copyright?” In many ways this is a tired, fraught, complex and frustrating debate. It involves lawyers, economists, policy makers, campaigners of varying stripes, international legislation and huge corporate interests. It has been raging for hundreds of years. Change can be painfully slow. That means every so often it is important to revisit your principles.

Organisations such as Open Rights Group believe in the astonishing potential of the internet to expand our creative, economic and democratic horizons. And we believe that this potential is partly dependent on a flexible system of copyright that facilitates the reuse of the …

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Music revenue figures show industry outperforming economy despite online piracy

The UK music industry’s revenues declined by less than 1% in the last year, a smaller drop than in previous years and a change that looks particular good given the economy overall was in sharp recession at the same time. These figures are likely to reinforce the views of critics of the Digital Economy Act who have attacked its approach to online piracy.

As The Register’s story says:

Reporting research that will further fuel the debate about the effect of copyright-infringing file sharing on the music industry, Ofcom said that a jump in single sales of 27 per cent and

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Illegal file-sharing: what does the public think?

The latest Ofcom survey of internet users in the UK shows that less than half believes downloading shared copies of copyright music and films should be illegal. 42% say it should be illegal, against 33% who believe it shouldn’t be illegal and 25% who don’t know.

I’m not aware of comparable figures for other laws, but 42% strikes me as  being a very low figure. It highlights another problem with the Government’s dalliance with taking tough (sounding) measures to enforce the law. Though Labour now is backing away from the idea that someone could be cut off from the internet …

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“We can’t turn back the tide of internet piracy, says TV boss”

Interesting news from The Herald:

Internet piracy is merely demand where appropriate supply does not exist, people will never go back to buying music legally, and protecting information online will only destroy businesses, according to a provocative essay set to appear on a Scottish Government-funded website tomorrow.

Written by Alice Taylor, commissioning editor for education at Channel 4, the essay flies in the face of Westminster’s Digital Britain report, which recommended that persistent file-sharers should have their internet access restricted or even barred.

Taylor argues that enforcing out-dated attitudes on how information is shared – ie, paying for it – is “a dying behemoth”.

She writes: “We must not let these dying behemoths take away someone’s internet access – and connection to the world – for some accusatory, unprovable ‘piracy’ claim, ever.”

These views chime with the instincts of Nick Clegg when I asked him about this at the party’s Bournemouth Conference.

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Does filesharing help or hinder musicians?

Leaving aside the extremely hard-line nature of Peter Mandelson’s proposals for a crackdown on illegal file sharing, there is a more fundamental question about what the impact of illegal file sharing really is on the music industry. To what extent does the distribution of songs this way take money away from sales and to what extent does it act as a free form of publicity, which triggers purchases and income from other streams such as concerts and merchandise?

Take this recent report from The Times:

Lily Allen condemned artists who have spoken out against the proposals.

Allen, in a lengthy posting on her blog, criticised “rich and successful artists” such as Ed O’Brien, of Radiohead, and Nick Mason, the Pink Floyd drummer, told The Times that file-sharing had some beneficial effects for artists.

The pair, part of the Featured Artists Coalition, which opposes plans by Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, to temporarily disconnect those who repeatedly flout the law, said that the government plans would criminalise young people.

O’Brien said: “My generation grew up with the point of view that you pay for your music. Every generation has a different method. File-sharing is like a sampler, like taping your mate’s music. You go, ‘I like that, I’ll go and buy the album’. Or, ‘You know what, I’ll go and see them live’.

“What’s going on is a huge paradigm shift.”

So as a follow up to the clip with Nick Clegg’s views on the matter, here is one musician’s musical riposte to Lily Allen:

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Nick Clegg on file sharing and illegal downloads

Peter Mandelson’s proposals to introduce harsh penalties for people suspected of making illegal file downloads have come in for much criticism, particularly for the low standard of proof that would be required and for deploying too much stick and not enough carrot in an attempt to change people’s behaviour. So it was the main topic I picked for the bloggers interview with Nick Clegg during party conference.

Here is Nick’s answer:

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Recent Comments

  • Martin Bennett
    Brandon Masih: Illicit imports of cigarettes may happen but I doubt they will matter much. There could be a few rebellious youngsters who try it out but smoki...
  • John Grout
    I think this is a very good articulation of why Daisy voted the way she did. Personally I'm still not convinced - if the public health grounds are sufficient...
  • Brandon Masih
    Thanks for that @Simon R but why do you think it will be workable - geographic nature of NZ probably plays a better role for lower prevalence for illicit tobacc...
  • Simon R
    In answer to @Brandon Masih, I think the rolling ban will be workable for at least the next 10 years or so. Beyond that maybe less so because as the cut-off ag...
  • Martin Gray
    I'm sure they'll all be feeling good about themselves tonight . We know best you plebs .......