Filesharing: revised consultation

I’m disappointed with today’s announcement on the revisions to the filesharing consultation as it will lead to accusations that the government has been captured by the big lobby operations of powerful rightsholders.

I’m on holiday though. My boy has just told me that we are going to build a giant sandcastle (with a moat!). So, I just urge you to let me know your views in the comments section to my earlier post on filesharing. I’ll make sure Lord Mandelson and Stephen Timms see them on my return from the seaside.

17 comments ↓

#1 Paul on 08.25.09 at 1:46 pm

” it will lead to accusations that the government has been captured by the big lobby operations of powerful rightsholders.”

That would be very unfair. Everyone knows government has been captured by the big lobby operations of telcos and Google, who need “content” to draw people to their networks, but who don’t want to pay creators for it.

In the New Economy 2.0, creators are expected to work for nothing.

#2 Cayce Pollard on 08.25.09 at 2:59 pm

It’s not a question of accusations of producer capture, it IS producer capture. Since all survey evidence shows that filesharers spend more money on music than non-filesharers, and since more was spent on music in the UK last year than EVER BEFORE, you can absolutely guarantee that this ignorant and evidence-free sop to Lord Mandelson’s lobbyists will inevitably result in less money going to musicians.

The idea that this assault on rights is to benefit “creators” is laughable. It is to defend big businesses that hold copyright, and that is all.

#3 martyn on 08.25.09 at 3:07 pm

That’s not fair Paul, most telco’s networks would run a damn sight better if people weren’t leeching 24/7. We’re just not prepared to let the a consortium of media companies dictate policy simply because they got caught snoozing while the digital revolution gained pace.

No one wants the creators to go without, quite the opposite; lots of artists are turning their back on traditional media companies who have historically taken them for every penny they can get.

Music/Film companies need to change tact, this isn’t going to go away – they need to admit they can no longer control what we watch/listen to and adapt effectively (like some have).

Back to the King Canute analogy.

#4 Ben on 08.25.09 at 6:18 pm

Is anyone truly surprised by this? We have an unelected peer, whom we have been proven to be corrupt on numerous occasions, effectively running the country and making legislation. No wonder the bilderberg and rothschild elites view this country as a haven, for they can easily position their cronies (mandelson) into power.

This country has become a democracy for big business, not the people.

#5 RobT on 08.25.09 at 7:56 pm

Well Tom, you pointed me in the direction of the Daily Mash a while back. This article, written last week, http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/business/mandelson-pledges-to-support-geffen-yacht-dream-200908181990/ may not be entirely accurate but it certainly supports the accusations of Labour looking for some much needed election funds.

Still, its an opportunity for another really big database of people who can be tracked. And I’m sure Sir David… sorry, David Geffen will be delighted.

#6 RobT on 08.25.09 at 8:33 pm

And another thing! I thought home-taping had killed off music in the eighties.

#7 Mandelson should lay off on 08.25.09 at 11:00 pm

This is an evil policy that will effect millions of people.
Mandelson is making a big mistake.
He is taking sides with Media’s Billionaires.Why ?.. The record / movie industry is not the same as years ago..

Yet the big Record labels…
still try to sell albums based on 1 “single” song,
still spend millions on promoting 1 song ,
still expect to sell cd’s.

The movie industry is just as bad….
How many times have you seen a trailer for a movie …Thought .. Wow ..that looks good .. then seen the movie and it was terrible ?

The movie industy wants you to spend ££ on dvd’s and in the cinema. They don’t care if technology has moved on.

The media Billionaires are liars. FACT.

eg.. Piracy funds terrorism , orginised crime and anyone who shares media is stealing from artists.

oh…
Biggest “”illegaly”” shared movie 2008 = Batman.
Biggest box-office profit EVER = Batman 2008

The biggest LIE is that One download equals one lost sale.
That is just stupid. I would never buy a madona cd but I might download one of her songs to listen to. (just like radio)

The big media companies DONT support new artists.
All they care about is making money. Not great media.

Mandelson… Lay off.. or feel the wrath of the majority of the UK.

*schools & students rely on shared software.. Criminalise them to the detrement of the UK’s standing in the world.

#8 Albert on 08.26.09 at 3:10 am

Hi Tom, I’m a software engineer working in the Telecom sector and feel that Lord Mandelson’s and Mr Timms’ proposals are both unworkable and disproportional.

Assuming its technologically possible for ISPs to filter all Internet traffic at a deep enough level to make some meaningful judgement; assuming it is economically feasible to do so; and ignoring the privacy issues that arise from that, there are still several more concerns that need to be addressed:

There is a question over whether we can simply accept the word of the entertainment industry or ISP providing the ‘evidence’ in the form of an alledged ‘infringing IP address’, date and copyrighted work. The ‘evidence’ is weak in that it identifies a broadband account, it does not even reliably identify a computer, it most certainly does not identify the perpetrator of the aledged copyright infringement.

It is clear that businesses including those in the telecommunications sector, let alone those in or employed by the entertainment sector are behind the technological curve when it comes to the creativity employed by current-day hackers. We can reasonably expect a continued rise in cases where computer equipment is ‘hijacked’ remotely and used as a proxy for copyright infringement.

As security becomes an increasing concern, we would naturally expect to see the protocols exchanged between computers increasingly incorporate encryption; this will make it extremely difficult if not imposible to discern legal and illegal filesharing from other online business transactions and virtual private networks.

Finally, even if it can be proved that a member of a household engaged in copyright infringement, how can it be justified to deny Internet access which is fast becoming an important household utility?

The trend is clearly to provide more government and local council services online. If broadband access is denied families will be disadvantaged, prevented from seeking out the best deals online for car/home insurance, financial products, electricity and gas, filing tax returns, applying for a road tax disc, etc. etc.

If slower broadband speeds are imposed on a family you run the risk of imparing the productivity of adults who work from their home office. Similarly, Internet telephony services would likely be adversely affected, as would access to legitamate streaming video services such as YouTube and BBC iPlayer.

The trend in broadband applications is an increasing requirement on bandwidth (Internet Speed), any policy seeking to limit a household’s bandwidth would run the risk of lagging the technological curve and have an unpredictable impact a year or two down the road.

Quite frankly I’m annoyed that the government doesn’t focus it’s time on more deserving issues instead of pandering to the whim of the entertainment industry which has for years continued to delude itself into thinking that each copyright infrigement is equal to a lost sale.

Perhaps the youths of today treat music as a disposable commodity because arguably so much of the industry’s output today lacks any true creativity/quality? I don’t suppose that occured to Mr Geffen.

#9 Breakfast briefing: Critics respond to file sharing crackdown @ Technology News on 08.26.09 at 7:15 am

[...] like it, government faces like Tom Watson MP is saying it gives the appearance that Downing St has “been captured by the big lobby operations of powerful rightsholders”. And even Peter Mandelson’s own side aren’t necessarily with him – the BBC’s Rory [...]

#10 Chris Anderson on 08.26.09 at 8:44 am

Click on my name to see my blog on this topic. Please feel free to leave comments, I don’t claim to be right!

#11 Jacob on 08.26.09 at 10:06 am

Is there any surprise that big media have been able to buy themselves a further restrictive copyright regime from this government? They have been doing it for years (although not quite as overtly as the Mandy/Geffen saga).

It is truly scary where we are heading. The copyright industry already have private police forces in FACT and BPIAPU that have unrivalled access to state databases on UK citizens, are able to buy search warrants, have police arrest people for downloading (as they recently did) and are able to continue to unlawfully retain people’s property even after the High Court rules against them.

Now we have a situation where the same big US media companies that are directors of FACT (Sony, Universal, News Corp, Disney) are buying the right to disconnect UK citizens internet connections without following a proper legal process. It is absurd that this can be alllowed to happen in a democratic country. Legal process is there to protect the citizens and it is telling that Big Media wish to bypass this vital process.

Of course this will not be the first time that these companies manipulate the law to bypass legal process. Currently the private police force FACT has a policy of intrusive investigations of people, collecting evidence to support their view and then bypasses the Crown Prosecution Service so they can run the private criminal prosecution themselves. In copyright cases the state has ceded control of the investigation and prosecution to a representative of US conglomerates.

And if anyone thought the Tories would be any better just look at the connections between certain front bench figures and the copyright industries favourite law firms such as SJ Berwin. They have all their bets covered.

#12 Tamasin on 08.26.09 at 10:17 am

“It will lead to accusations that the government has been captured by the big lobby operations of powerful rightsholders”. Don’t you think we have a right to know exactly who has been lobbying Mandelson, what they’ve been saying / promising, how much money they’ve devoted to winning the government over. Tom, would you support a complusory register of lobbyists now?

#13 Shaun Hollingworth on 08.26.09 at 11:04 am

Mr Watson,

I am completely baffled by this, and would like to know, how someone who is completely unelected can return from a holiday after meeting up with some media mogul, and then issue an edict to the nation that the rules have got to be made tighter, and legislation introduced much sooner than was planned.

Who is this fellow ? Where is the democracy here ?

We, the voters elect people, who we can then kick out of power if they do things we do not like, when they are our local MPs. How can anyone kick Mr “Lord” Mandelson out ?

Believe me, there is a good deal of public opposition to this policy. As others have said, what is needed is reasonable cost online alternatives to media piracy, but if the industries won’t adapt to provide them, then the government should not be supporting greedy luddite corporate entities who want to act like Canute. There are already CIVIL remedies already available to such entities if they wish to use them.

Having someone such as Lord Mandelson who isn’t even elected to power, issuing such edicts to people is completely unacceptable, and indeed quite monstrous and manifestly undemocratic.

I do not believe NL want to win the next election. Certainly this isn’t going to help them, and I am looking forward to the whole repressive NL machine being taught a long overdue lesson by the people with the real power, the electorate!

#14 Shaun Hollingworth on 08.26.09 at 1:28 pm

Further:
Content providers perhaps do have falling revenues.
They blame P2P etc., for this. But has no one considered the fact that much of this is due to the fact that people are spending their lazy spare time doing far less DVD watching, far less listening to music CDs, and more online activities such as playing free games on Faceboot (as my wife does) , debating on the internet as both my son and I do ? My daughter watches a lot of (presumably legally submitted) material on YouTube.

The television sets in our house are often not turned on for days on end. When we went on holiday this year we didn’t have any ‘net access. So what did we do instead late evenings ? We watched some DVDs and the telly!

P2P may have some effect, but it ISN’T anything like the effect they would have our MPs believe. People are simply doing other things.

MPs would have to ban the internet altogether for the Media companies to regain their lost revenues and that really wouldn’t be on Mr. Watson!

#15 harrybear on 08.26.09 at 6:27 pm

Tom
Have I understood Mandelson’s proposal correctly? A minister (him or successor) would be able to order the infliction of a criminal penalty on a citizen without any criminal trial and without having to prove beyond reasonable doubt that an offence was committed? If so, does Mandelson understand anything about our legal system? I would never give such power to any minister, even if I liked him, trusted him and had voted for him.

#16 corrie track on 08.26.09 at 6:40 pm

Yes, the internet is destroying the movie industry … like MTV destroyed the music industry.

It was the case that one had to judge by the cover of a movie or an album whether it was any good. That meant lots of rubbish movies and tunes that no one liked very much, but couldn’t return. Now we only buy the movies and albums we actually like.

Case in point, look at Wolverine, out in bitorrent before it was in the cinema, but it still broke all the records on its first week after release. Because people LIKED it, and went to see it again at the cinema after downloading it, then went on to buy the DVD.

So Hollywood loose money on rubbish films, and they complain that they can’t trick anyone into seeing garbage anymore, they shouldn’t be getting our money for that rubbish anyway.

This law will not change anything, except maybe generate 7 million new British customers for VPN services based abroad and send even more money out of the UK. – as well as persecute countless British citizens because their kids suffer the misfortune of liking Metalica.

#17 Weekly email 2009-08(Aug)-27 « Culture Politick on 09.05.09 at 3:21 pm

[...] Tom Watson, former digital minister, is maintaining his opposition to the proposals HERE. [...]

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