Friday, September 25, 2009

Self-selecting subset of musicians propose pointless fudge, congratulate selves

It's important to remember that - even although members of the FAC, Lily Allen and Sandie Shaw turned up and had a lovely vote last night, to talk of this as somehow representing the views of musicians is confusing "a few acts on major labels" with "musicians", and so should be read as another subset of interested parties rather than a representative approach.

But what did they decide last night?

After a three-hour meeting in London, the Featured Artists Coalition, which emerged as a breakaway lobby group in the summer, backed the government's proposed introduction of "technical measures" to combat the rising tide of copyright theft. If they ignore two warning letters, persistent illegal filesharers should have their broadband connections throttled "to a level which would render filesharing of media files impractical while leaving basic email and web access", according to a statement after the meeting.

Well, that's just a pointless, meaningless fudge, isn't it? Either you throttle the connection to the point where it has an effect - which will mean it'll stop anything worthwhile happening online, which is the same as removing web connection altogether - or you'll just leave those accused by the music industry able to use the web in a meaningful way, which makes it an empty threat.

There doesn't seem to be any point in this suggestion. Either you believe that the right to participate in society and access to communications is a basic human right, or you don't. It's like proposing a punishment for drunk-drivers which would see them still able to drive, but with a speed limiter that stops them going above ten miles an hour.

Meanwhile, UK Music have sent a letter to Lord Mandelson which, once again, proves they don't actually understand the technology in which they profess to be expert:
"We support government proposals which would see internet service providers (ISPs) send notifications and apply technical measures to impede and discourage the use of unlicensed peer-to-peer networks and to encourage the use of legitimate services.

"We agree that a clear distinction should be made between how technical measures are applied to the casual infringer, compared to how they are applied to the persistent infringer, with temporary suspension of broadband accounts being applicable only as a last resort."

"The use of unlicensed peer-to-peer networks"? Do UK Music not really understand the difference between the peer-to-peer network (which may or may not be licensed) and the sharing of files without copyright owner's permission? Do they really not understand the problem they're trying to "solve"? Are they suggesting that the networks themselves need to be licensed, rather than the files?

It's insulting to call Sharkey and his chums Luddites. At least Ned Ludd understood the technology he was attacking.


Unknown said...

I find it hard to believe that there's a significant amount of people illegally sharing Sandie Shaw albums.

Unknown said...

Still they are advocating that on a accusation not a proven conviction, a private company may restrict an entire connection to another privately bought service as a result of an alleged civil infringement.

And that the result will affect any and all persons using that connection, regardless of who committed the alleged infringement.

It's as idiotic and offensive as it is impractical.

This will stop access not only to unlicensed media, but also stop them using Skype, web radio and Spotify, iPlayer, iTunes and the rest, YouTube etc etc. Is a kid who is denied access to all that going to say "I've learned my lesson, now where's my credit card I need a 7digital account pronto!". Or are they going to say "Fuck 'em!" and buy less than they ever did?

Will Virgin still take my £25 a month for 10meg even if they're now only giving me 512kb on the BPIs say so?

All it would take is a single ISP to say that they would refuse to hand over names without a court order and refuse to throttle without a trial.

Syd Egan said...

Apropros of nothing... in Spain they basically *do* the thing with the drunk drivers. You have your car license confiscated, but you can still drive a tiny thing that is basically a cross between a Smart Car and a moped, and goes about 20mph.

Anonymous said...

Ah, so they didn't tackle the difficult question of why Lily Allen isn't in court for illegally sharing music? Why isn't her connection being throttled? Why isn't she paying a million pounds (or whatever absurd numbers they are throwing at people) for allowing people to access copyrighted material without the permission of the owner? Why not? If they want these changes to be made to the law then they should surely be willing to accept the full force of current legislation. I'm disappointed, though not particularly surprised, to see FAC quickly change their tune and support absurdity.

Anonymous said...

"Will Virgin still take my £25 a month for 10meg even if they're now only giving me 512kb on the BPIs say so?"

Part of the original french law was the duty to pay the ISP even after being disconnected.

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