Friday, 9 July 2010

BT TalkTalk and the Digital Economy Bill

I'll start off by stating my position on the Digital Economy Bill, or at lest part of it pertaining to music copyright. I'm have a pretty moderate stance on piracy, I don't do it, I don't think people should do it, but I understand that people who can't afford music will do it, and that it doesn't have an entirely negative effect on the music industry.
Sure it's changed the recording industry (although thats not the only reason the recording industry has changed), but there are a lot of bands that couldn't have made it to where they are today without the immediacy of the Internet, and the publicity that can generate from a band who's music is being heard everywhere. I'm also a strong believer that the record industry fucked up, and thats why their profits are plummeting. They have lost all of the trust that they once had, and lots of music fans don't want to give their money to the kind of businesses that sue children for millions of pounds for downloading a song for free from the Internet.
Do I wish that piracy was a non- issue again? Sure! There would be an awful lot more money changing hands in the music industry, maybe I'd get more of it, but you cant put that genie back in the bottle, file-sharing is the norm, and any successful music business understands that.
The real problem I have with the digital economy bill is that it puts the power to judge people guilty of file-sharing in the hands of the content holders. There should never be a point where anyone but the courts and the police should be the people in charge of judging when someone is in breach of the law, thats lunacy. They're not trained, they're free of bias and they hold no authority.
So when I heard yesterday that BT and TalkTalk broadband want a judicial review of the DEC, that gives them more power in warning persistent file-sharers and eventually cutting them off, it made me mad. It made me mad because they are in no better stead to judge whether someone is innocent or guilty than the copyright holders themselves. Cutting off file-sharers would benefit them greatly, because without people using bandwidth heavy services like file-sharing, they need not update their struggling systems so fast.
What we need, is a system where the content holders contact the authorities, who investigate the matter and if it is deemed that the person accused is in fact guilty, then they get punished in whatever way is deemed fit (not disconnection, maybe suspension, bandwidth caps and fines though) AND that they are given a means to appeal this judgment (such as, my wifi was open).
So I say that if BT and TalkTalk want more power to cut people off, rather than suggesting that the courts take care of it, I will not use either of them ever again. We'll have to see what comes of it.

1 comment:

  1. Since the passing of the Digital Economy Act 2010, the assent of which evoked a (not entirely) resounding cry of joy from the music industry, its swift passage into law appears to have caused some turbulence amongst ISPs, and all for valid reasons.

    More on this available: