Monday, January 26, 2009

Government buries three strikes

The music industry's dream of people being banished from the internet if they're caught downloading music without the correct licences is fading fast. David Lammy, Intellectual Property Minister, has told The Times it ain't gonna happen:

Mr Lammy, who has begun a big consultation entitled Developing a Copyright Agenda for the 21st Century, said that there was a big difference between organised counterfeiting gangs and “younger people not quite buying into the system”. He said: “We can't have a system where we're talking about arresting teenagers in their bedrooms. People can rent a room in an hotel and leave with a bar of soap - there's a big difference between leaving with a bar of soap and leaving with the television.”

He said he hoped the memorandum of understanding would mean that the Government did not have to apply “the heavy hand of legislation”.

Music industry figures said they were disappointed by Mr Lammy's comments. One senior figure said: “The relative cost of stealing a bar of soap from an hotel might be small, but if it came to seven million people nicking the soap each year, which is what we have in the music industry, I'm sure that hotel chain would do something about it.”

Actually, the soap metaphor doesn't work - the cost of that small basket of toiletries is factored in to the cost of the room. And once you've opened the bar of soap, it's not like you can leave it to be used by the next person along. I think Lammy and the unnamed senior figure are thinking of towels, aren't they?

Interesting that the "senior figure" isn't confident enough to put his name to his thoughts.