UK Business Secretary: Blocking Sites Under DEA Is 'Unworkable'; Time To Add More Exceptions To Copyright

from the about-time dept

Well, well. When the Hargreaves Report came out in the UK, we wondered if it would follow the same path as the similar Gowers Report, in which the government thanked everyone involved, but failed to follow through. That might not be happening in this case. UK Business Secretary Vince Cable is apparently moving forward in trying to back many of the recommendations in the Hargreaves Report. As we noted, the report is quite tame. It doesn’t go nearly as far as many of us would have liked, but it is surprising in that it supports greater exceptions under copyright law.

In fact, part of Cable’s statement is that blocking websites under the Digital Economy Act is “unworkable.” Such sense from politicians? That’s a surprise. He’s also going to move to finally make it official that folks in the UK can rip their own CDs without breaking the law.

Of course, as I predicted when the Hargreaves Report first came out… the usual suspects are freaking out about all of this.

Lavinia Carey, director-general of the British Video Association, said such a change would be ?extremely damaging?.

?It?s for the rights owner to decide how to offer the [digital] copy,? she said. ?People will find it much harder to forecast revenues to investors who are looking at funding new projects.?

This strikes me as disingenuous. Saying that it’s “up to the rightsholder” is an interpretation of the law that assumes the rightsholder has full control. Yet, the law does not say that. And furthermore, the entire point of this discussion is to figure out who it’s really up to, so just declaring that it’s entirely up to the rightsholder, when that’s the point of the discussion, seems misleading. And the clear argument here is that the law should be clear that consumers have rights to make their own personal copies of media they have legally obtained. Claiming that this will hurt investment in the industry is pure nonsense. It’s FUD from an industry that still refuses to adapt to what the technology allows.

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Comments on “UK Business Secretary: Blocking Sites Under DEA Is 'Unworkable'; Time To Add More Exceptions To Copyright”

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chris says:

Re: Re:

Of course, she has an incentive to frame it that way, and it’s had a brainwashing effect for people on the sidelines.

To counter, you could use phrases like “copyright privileges” and “sharing”. Now that I think about it those sound too neutral. What about “community asset seizure and monetization privileges”?

Anonymous Coward says:

“Claiming that this will hurt investment in the industry is pure nonsense. It’s FUD from an industry that still refuses to adapt to what the technology allows.”

How can they? They owe their entire putrid existence to the fact that the technology wasn’t very advance.
How can they adapt to a future where they aren’t needed? Who will give them money for blow and yachts then?

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Also this:

An interesting quote from PaidContent’s coverage of this (by “interesting” I mean “stupidly depressing”:

Cable is also expected to announce a ?scoping review? into the viability of a setting up a digital copyright exchange, one of the key proposals of the Hargreaves report published in May ? in effect kicking the idea into the long grass.

The rights exchange, which would effectively be a one-stop shop to make lawful use of copyrighted material easier, received ?serious pushback? from media companies, according to one industry source. Film and music companies and broadcasters are understood to have raised a number of issues about the proposed exchange, including fears that it may contravene various European regulations by forcing all rights holders to participate. One industry source said that if it was a full ?stock exchange? trading platform it may not be generate as much revenue as selling rights directly.

These so-called “representatives” of rights holders are so concerned that they won’t each make the maximum amount they can charge that they’re completely unwilling to set up a simplified system that should (in theory) make them more money in the long run.

Considering digital piracy is very much directly related to each company’s insistence on setting up its own proprietary format/delivery system, a one-stop “clearing house” would probably save them a lot of time, money and legal hassle down the road. But as it is, they can’t see the digital forest for the dying money trees they planted back in the day (pre-digital).

Ed C. says:

Re: Also this:

Funny, because of the current way copyright is handled, they’re used to doing so few deals that they have to charge so much to justify their own personal “incomes”. They somehow can’t figure out that if they clear up this mess, they could easily cut their licensing fees to a 1/10 of the price and still score more than 10x the licensing deals by making it easier to sell their “product” and by having to pay out less for the needed licenses from others. OTOH, if it became that easy, artist, authors and other real creators would realize that they don’t need them to make those rare backroom licensing deals anymore.

Alien Bard says:

Re: Also this:

“Film and music companies and broadcasters are understood to have raised a number of issues about the proposed exchange, including fears that it may contravene various European regulations by forcing all rights holders to participate.”

Kind of ironic that this is exactly what the mafiaa currently do to the artists.

Alien Bard says:

Re: The true rights-holders

Personally I’ve always felt copyrights should simply not be transferable. The original creator(s) should be the only true rights holders. They can contract out production, manufacturing, and promotional rights but only for a limited time frame (say five to seven years maximum contract life). It should simply not be an option for a copyright to be bought and sold. Just my thoughts.

Nicedoggy says:

I don’t think those things will happen, this is probably just for show like the public consultation, what those people agreed behind closed doors is to sell everybody out to the MAFIAA.

So I only will believe if it actually happens anybody saying anything at this point is just probably posturing and not something real, there are no signs that people really want to do something in that direction.

mike allen (profile) says:

Re: Re:

What you are forgetting is that the DEA is law it was forced through just before the last election. The act is UNWORKABLE in various parts some back peddling has already occurred.
Ofcom has already said any ISP under 400 thousand is exempt. The UN has said that internet is a human right.
and now Vince cable says that blocking web sites is unworkable. Perhaps he should have said that before the court last week blocked (or have tried too) newzbin2.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:

I didn’t forgot that, did you read those links?
They show exactly that the backpeddling happened, they already decided in what direction they want to go.
That is, more insane legislation, not only to combat sharing but to acquire more powers.

So what Ofcom did, what the U.N. said and what Vince said means exactly squat, those words are not sincere and they don’t align with the reality behind the curtain where people already decided to go the other way and sell the people out.

Mr. Vince probably is the guy who tries to be the best friend of someone while shagging the guys wife behind his back.

And they will continue through this path a) Because there is something called institutional inertia that can drag on for decades b) the crooks from the MAFIAA are highly organized and flush with cash and deliver the laws they want already drafted and there is no organized opposition from the public c) this is not about copyrights alone, it is about control and have many others special interests involved.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:


Just released documents show that Mandelson had made his mind up before that, following meetings several weeks earlier with head of Universal Music, Lucian Grainge.

If that doesn?t sound so bad, keep in mind that at this point Mandelson?s department was conducting a public consultation on this very topic, with 2 months still to go.


So really, what do you think Mr. Vince is doing here?
a) He from the bottom of his heart believe that he will succeed and do something sensible for the public or
b) Knows this will never get passed and it is just trying to score some political points for some reason?

Mr. Vince is just posturing until he can prove that he can really do something about it and no one will convince me otherwise because I just don’t trust those people anymore.

Words mean nothing coming from such people.

PaulT (profile) says:

According to strict interpretation of UK copyright law, IIRC, it was illegal to retain a copy of a recorded TV programme for more than 3 months. At some point, law enforcement just realised it would be impossible to police this and even trying to do so would have massive unintended consequences. So, people were allowed to keep recorded movies for years if they wanted, and this somehow didn’t affect the burgeoning VHS industry.

Meanwhile, the whole “video nasties” scandal was in full flow, with the ultimate banning of up to 78 titles, and many more heavily censored. Chainsaws, nunchucks, shurikens and the like were censored on sight, mutilating even classic movies like Enter The Dragon. No matter, even in the 80s it was relatively trivial to get pirated copies (albeit often 4th+ generation copies), and the nasties list was a “want” list for most horror fans. Even in the VHS era, when physical copies had to be imported through customs, it was impossible to effectively ban pirated movies. Strangely, the industry somehow learned to change and adapt with this too.

A shame such lessons have to learned over and over.

hmm (profile) says:

change the law

I think we should all give up and just push for stupidly UBER copyright law.

Customer goes into a store. Buys a CD. Staff member warns the customer that the CD has a GPS tracking device on it that cannot be switched off and that the RIAA will track the CD everywhere it goes.
Once the CD is opened, the built-in videocamera begins to record the customers every move when they use the CD, to ensure its not sold to the 2nd hand market.
Warning sticker on the back of the CD says the CD is only designed to be used with authorized RIAA-CD players and has been coated with an explosive substance that will destroy unauthorized players that spin at an incorrect speed.

Customer inserts CD. Rootkit software promptly installs itself and begins to phone home telling the record companies what software the customer is using to play the CD, what their favorite porn sites are (so future music can take into account the customers scat fetish) and what their bank account details are (so future payments are easier!)

PC webcam switches on, realizes there are bacteria and virues floating in the air around the customer whilst they listen to the CD and that this counts as a public performance. Appropriate monies are removed automatically from the customers bank account to cover the performance fees.

PC microphone picks up that the customer is singing along to the music SLIGHTLY AHEAD of playback and this means the customer has downloaded an pirated copy of the song into their organice storage module (brain). Lawsuits are automatically filed for the lost sale.

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