'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. icon
    Jay (profile), 19 Oct 2011 @ 12:28am

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

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

    It's called marketing. I'm sure that you've come to realize through all this that people pay for various ways to access content. The Newzbin case shows that people pay for more convenience, more selection and fewer restrictions. Then there's the fact that fair use does more for the economy than copyright. But I guess data showing that piracy is the industry's fault is also lost on you, judging by how you continuously go right back to the same talking points.

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

    So no context for these issues? They're merely dismissed because...?

    "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."

    Not entirely sure on numbers, but most smartphones have GPS capabilities. While not all GPS have internet capabilities, some actually have the capability to surf the web. So it would depend on exactly your type model, but chances are, you already have one. Just need an app.

    "I can't imagine why you'd defend such a preposterous, self-important douchebag. Unless he's in your LARP league or something."

    He's more than capable of defending himself. You, however, always go through the same routine. Present "piracy is killing industries" argument, ad hom attacks, rebuttal, slink into shadows when proven wrong or move on to next thread to repeat the pattern. And seriously, the insults aren't even that good. As I said, it's just funny to watch you not back up your argument.

    "Don't worry about my position, because reading the political winds, I'd say your position is far more tenuous."

    Nah, While PIPA is passed, and you get that added bonus, I'm secure that it won't cause a massive influx of money to the ones that paid you to propagate your position. I'm pretty sure that people will figure out ways around the legal system, because that's already occurring. Meanwhile, people like Chris Dodd or Mitch Glazier don't realize that the younger artists are doing without them. They're making their own distribution channels, keeping the copyrights, and the trade industries are losing money to newer innovations. Kind of sad when you think about it, but hey, not my battle. Mine is all about making sure I don't buy one thing from them and give my money to those that make it worth my time.

    Now if you'll excuse me, Valve is having another sale.

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