Monday, November 23, 2009

Stop! Thief! He copied my album!

There's a balanced and considered editorial on the Digital Economy Bill in today's Guardian.

It is, however, set alongside a piece by Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League and a member of the "Creative Coalition" which trots out the sort of muddle-headed screeches we've been hearing from record manufacturers for ten years:

There are threats as well as opportunities, not least the challenges presented by online copyright infringement, more commonly known as piracy. I prefer to call it by its real name – digital theft.

Digital theft? Or is it merely the market forcing prices down to near zero?

Scudamore trills away, apparently not noticing that his entire argument is 'never mind that the marketplace has totally changed, let's just do it the way we always have':
The reality is that unauthorised peer-to-peer filesharing, among other forms of illegal streaming, presents a very real threat. These burgeoning industries are based on a high-investment model, driving consumer demand – or in the Premier League's case, fan demand – by providing what the public want: a quality product.

The old model was based on high investment models. There's no reason why the new model has to be - the beauty of the internet is that you can find small audiences and create new ways to make them work.

Or you can just cling to the old ways of doing things, and end up with a pudgy, boring, declining business like the Premier League, where the money has got so out of line it's ceased to be a competition and become a dull carousel of the same handful of teams.

If we're looking to the Premier League for tips on how to make our nation creative, we might wonder how much home-grown talent their brilliant system has managed to generate. At least the music industry has managed a couple of worldwide successes since 1966.


1 comment:

Olive said...

I think the scariest part of the digital economy bill is the way that it provides for Peter Mandelson to change copyright law on a whim by statutory instrument, rather than having to do all that tedious debating and voting.
surely not even the bill's most ardent supporters* can think that's a good thing?


*except mandelson himself, obviously.

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