'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 UK’s 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 @ 10:03pm

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

    Awww look, he's losing his temper. It's kinda cute.

    Swing and a miss. Strike three. Next batter up.

    "So far, I haven't heard any competent governing body declare internet access to be a human right. At lest[sic] not one with any particular gravitas."

    Of course now, I'm sure the loophole is that they have no actual power of the US, correct?

    Oh please. The feckless social engineers of the UN. And it's not even anything more than some drivel from a "Special Rapporteur" like these:

    Adequate Housing - Raquel Rolnik (2008– )
    Contemporary Forms of Slavery Gulnara Shahinian (2007– )
    Cultural Rights Farida Shaheed (2009-)
    Education - Kishore Singh (2008– )
    Effects of Economic Reform Policies and Foreign Debt on Human Rights - Cephas Lumina (2008– )
    Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary executions - Christof Heyns (2008– )
    Right to Food - Olivier De Schutter (2008– )
    Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association - Maina Kiai (2011– )
    Freedom of Opinion and Expression - Frank William La Rue (2008– )
    Freedom of Religion or Belief - Heiner Bielefeldt (2010– )
    Human Rights Defenders - Margaret Sekaggya (2008– )
    Independence of Judges and Lawyers - Gabriela Carina Knaul de Albuquerque e Silva (2008– )
    Minority Issues - Gay McDougall (2008– )
    Physical and Mental Health - Anand Grover (2007– )
    Protecting Human Rights while Countering Terrorism - Martin Scheinin (2005– )
    Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance - Githu Muigai (2008– )
    Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography - Najat M’jid Maala (2008– )
    Torture - Juan E. M้ndez (2008– )
    Trafficking in Persons - Joy Ngozi Ezeilo (2008– )
    Violence against Women - Rashida Manjoo (2009– )
    Human Rights and Access to Safe Drinking water and Sanitation - Catarina de Albuquerque (2008- )
    Human Rights and International Solidarity - Rudi Muhammad Rizki (2005– )
    Human Rights and the Illicit Movement of Toxic Waste - Calin Georgescu (2008– )
    Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises - John Ruggie (2005– )
    Human Rights of Indigenous People - James Anaya (2008– )
    Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons - Chaloka Beyani (2010– )
    Human Rights of Migrants - Fran็ois Cr้peau (2011– )

    "So I guess when they put up a report about how the drug policy has failed globally, you won't acknowledge that either. *sigh*"

    I've told you I feel drugs should be legal and taxed to support public health programs in general and addiction recovery in particular. Drugs are for losers but unfortunately there seem to be a lot of them around.

    "The GPS in my car needs the internet?"

    Ever heard of Google Maps?

    That is an answer? The question was whether the GPS in my car required the internet to function. I'm pretty sure it only needs satellite reception.

    "Underserved customers who don't want to pay."

    So why not focus on the ones that do?

    I'm sure nothing would make you happier than to take the spotlight off of freeloaders.

    "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."

    Wow, you can't go two seconds without trying to be insulting. If your position really isn't that secure, sit down, relax, take a deep breath. Then think about ways to make it better. Say... figuring out that there is more evidence by the day proving you're wrong? But attacking others is really just weakening your position. Just sayin.

    I can't imagine why you'd defend such a preposterous, self-important douchebag. Unless he's in your LARP league or something. He poses as some sort of self-styled intellectual with a Mr. Spock-like affectation that is laughable and creepy at the same time. Perhaps this attracts you. I find it creepy.

    Don't worry about my position, because reading the political winds, I'd say your position (bent over grasping ankles) is far more tenuous. Just sayin.

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