Stephen Fry is a very well known British actor, comedian and writer. He's also known as a real tech geek sorta guy -- who doesn't mind getting his hands dirty with new technologies to learn about them. He apparently gave a speech (made up on short notice) about copyright and the future of music
, where he complained that politicians, such as those who created the Digital Britain
report were clearly reflecting the views of various industries
and not of the people. Fry made it clear that he doesn't endorse the idea of widespread file sharing -- and he warned against misinterpreting his speech that way -- but still admitted that he's been known to fire up BitTorrent himself to get the latest episodes of 24
. And he admits that he feels a bit guilty about it, but the reason is that he can't really get that content elsewhere. The fault is with the industry, and yet the gov't is trying to protect that industry, rather than recognize that the real problem is the industry not giving people what it wants. Having the gov't come up with a plan to try to stomp out file sharing misses the point. The problem isn't the file sharing -- it's the industry not responding to the market.
This is an important point, actually. Thanks to some of the press coverage, and the way the industry often tries to frame this debate, you get this picture of evil kids destroying an industry by downloading tons and tons of content. And, there are some folks out there who do download a ton of stuff. But the real issue isn't with that group of folks, who would never have bought any content in the first place. It's with the everyday folks, like Stephen Fry, who would just like to access the content in the most convenient way possible -- and the industry is failing him. The answer isn't to go after some kids and fine them millions or throw them in jail. It's to respond to the market.