Following the recent UK shutdowns of OiNK
, Lord Triesman, the parliamentary Under Secretary for Innovation, Universities and Skills, is now threatening to regulate ISPs if they don't stop file sharing
. Unfortunately, Lord Triesman seems a bit confused both about technology and economics here -- which is disappointing, as his thoughts on regulations would impact both negatively. He seems to think that this would involve an easy technology fix saying that "it is quite possible to know where it is happening and who it is happening with." Then he follows that up with: "we will be able to match data banks of that music to music going out and being exchanged on the net." That sounds good, but unfortunately, he's been misinformed. While it is true that many people do reveal who they are, those who are serious about this stuff know how to remain mostly hidden. Triesman says that they're not concerned with 14-year-olds sharing files, but only the professionals who are making "multiple copies for profit." The problem is that those are exactly the people who won't be caught by these methods.
Next up, Triesman trots out the old and tired myth about how piracy will cause the music industry to disappear: "We have some simple choices to make. If creative artists can't earn a living as a result of the work they produce, then we will kill off creative artists and that would be a tragedy." Yes, it's true that if
they can't earn a living from what they do, we will lose new creative content (I'm assuming he didn't really mean that it would kill the artists literally), but the big implicit assumption there is that piracy means they can't earn a living from the work they produce. As we've seen over and over again that's not true
. If you understand the economics
, you can use free file sharing to your advantage to make a bigger name for yourself and make more money from other sources. To imply that file sharing kills off creative content is clearly incorrect -- and it's about time that myth died off.