'British Cinema's Golden Age Is Now': So Where's The 'Serious Problem' Of Copyright Infringement?

from the inconvenient-facts dept

Last week we learned the UK government has precisely no evidence to support its plans for stricter copyright enforcement, which include disconnection upon repeated accusation. Instead, the best it could come up with was:

The creative industries are an important part of the UKs economy, and they regularly report copyright infringement as a serious problem.

They certainly do, and their periodic cries of woe are dutifully and uncritically echoed by the mainstream press. The problem is that the industry-funded studies that are supposed to back up these claims are, almost without exception, lacking in credibility. As the UK government's own team of experts put it in their "independent review of how the Intellectual Property framework supports growth and innovation":

we have not found either a figure for the prevalence and impact of piracy worldwide or for the UK in which we can place our confidence.

For such a "serious problem", the harm caused by copyright infringement is proving remarkably hard to demonstrate. For example, a couple of years ago, Techdirt reported on the fact that the UK music industry is actually growing, not shrinking; and now the Guardian's film editor has surveyed the UK film industry, and concluded "British cinema's golden age is now":

History will decide whether we really are living through a golden age, but in terms of ferment, excitement and dazzling variety, there has been nothing like it in Britain for decades.

The article concentrates on the health of the artistic side of film production, not of the bottom lines. But the capital-intensive nature of cinema means that you can't have one without the other, or at least, not for very long: if films fail to pay their way, investment will soon dry up.

As the Guardian piece makes clear, investment isn't a problem, which suggests that payback isn't either. That's hard to square with an industry on its last legs, ravaged by piracy.

In the absence of credible evidence to the contrary, and against a background of broad growth in the creative industries, the simplest explanation for this situation is that copyright infringement isn't a "serious problem" in the UK - which means there is no justification whatsoever for rolling out measures that will weaken civil liberties yet further.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and on Google+

Filed Under: copyright, culture, golden age, movies, uk


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2011 @ 8:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "It wasn't "seized due to prior restraint". It was seized due to allegations of infringing."

    And therein lies the flaw in your logic, AC 155.

    You know this whole pseudo-intellectual, pompous bullshit is really tiresome. You are a dope, a poseur and a fraud.

    They were seized upon accusation, not upon conviction. Yet our legal system is supposed to be based upon the principle of "innocent before proven guilty." It appears, however, that you do not care for that approach.

    Do you actually read and understand English? I said, " It was seized due to allegations of infringing." And you counter with this shit? Do you not own a dictionary or a thesaurus?

    Given how integrated the internet has become into our lives in this time, and how much more so it is likely to become in the future, it is not unreasonable that access to it should be deemed a human right.

    Deemed? By who? So far, I haven't heard any competent governing body declare internet access to be a human right. At lest not one with any particular gravitas.

    Many people, myself included, require it for our work, and many systems that once worked solely offline now function largely online.

    Fine. Then respect the rules of the road.

    GPS systems require online access, and most smartphones come preconfigured with such access.

    The GPS in my car needs the internet?

    Those are just a few examples. Technology has changed, quite radically, how we live our lives, and companies must change with it in order to survive. If they do not, like the entertainment industries, they will fall into obscurity and irrelevance and be bypassed by those who do adapt. Those who are inaccurately termed "pirates" are merely underserved customers.

    Underserved customers who don't want to pay.

    Address their concerns, connect with them, and you may succeed. Do not do this, and in all likelihood you will fail.

    We'll see.

    Keith, I do not disagree with you, but there is always the possibility that some glimmer of understanding may get through to them, even if they will not admit it here. It is admittedly unlikely, but not impossible. Trolls are also somewhat fascinating in their single-mindedness. Their irrational and illogical behavior is remarkably consistent in its application.

    Again with the "look at me I'm pretending to be a Star Trek character". I know Halloween is right around the corner, and hope that you're warming up for the occasion and you're not really such a pathetic loser in real life.

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