UK Considers Forcing ISPs To Block File Sharing

from the as-if-that-will-work dept

Following the recent UK shutdowns of OiNK and tv-links, 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.
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Filed Under: business models, copyright, file sharing, p2p, uk


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  1. identicon
    Paul, 25 Oct 2007 @ 5:47am

    Let him know about the other side of the coin

    The Music Industry funds lobby groups to feed FUD to the minister and like a good little public servant seeing an opportunity to raise his profile - off he goes.

    The issue is the fact that the 'Music Industry' is a dinosaur that is not capable of modifying its business model to accommodate the changes in technology and public demand.

    The vast majority of criminals are the general public reacting to the unreasonable constraints created by the Music Industry as it struggles to make its outdated business model continue to generate revenue. Admittedly there are a minority of offenders who deserve prosecution for abusing the law to make money. The minority do it so that they can use the music in a manner suited to todays technology. Price is also an issue as the majority are of the opinion that high volume low cost is the answer that is easily achievable by todays technology. The Music Industry is adamantly sticking to the opposite, hence the conflict.

    Unfortunately the people that suffer will be the public who do not have lobby groups to represent their opinion. This imbalance causes the minister to incorrectly assess the issue.

    I have sent my opinion to him. Just one voice from the masses against the lobby groups but it may help. If you feel strongly enough to add your weight to our side of the argument the minister can br contacted via

    info@dius.gsi.gov.uk. (That's the best I could find)

    The more he gets, the more chance he may see things from our point of view and see through the FUD.

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