How lovely for Lord Mandelson to have a day trip out to the music industry PR establishment, The Brits School. Once again, he's taken the opportunity to try and normalise the idea that private companies should have the power to demand people are thrown off the internet:
“Downloading somebody’s work without paying for it – whether it be music, film or computer games – is not a victimless act. It poses a genuine threat to our creative industries and to the livelihoods of talented, hard-working people striving to get a foothold in them. It’s essential that the voice of young artists is also heard,” he said.
“In the end this problem will be solved not simply by new laws but by new approaches to doing business. We believe that temporary account suspension as a last resort, in the most serious cases, is worth considering to allow these new business models to develop.”
The mention of new approaches to doing business is welcome - because, when your business has changed beyond recognition and the market price of your basic product has fallen to almost zero, that's what you have to do. The banging the drum of the "temporary" suspension - and will we ever get to see a suggestion of what 'temporary' might mean? - suggests that the message hasn't really got through.
Do I need to run through again the arguments why downloading a file might actually be victimless act? (Mainly, because there's no direct correlation between an unpaid download and a lost sale.) Do I need to run through again why it's just possible that upholding a four-company cartel throttling the access to the marketplace might not be the best way to give artists a chance to be heard? Why filesharing can offset some of the skewing of the market in favour of the Big Four?
It's forgiveable that Lily Allen waffles and pops when talking about filesharing - as I've said before, however wrong she might be, she's at least engaged with the process. But Mandelson is supposed to understand this sort of thing, and he's making the policy - and yet he gives no indication he's thought about this any further than reading through a discussion paper, funded by the intellectual property industry, over a good lunch, also funded by the intellectual property industry.