Monday, December 28, 2009

Cost of stopping 'piracy' double the cost of piracy

If you take the most extreme measure of how much unlicensed file sharing "costs" the UK music industry - the one-download-is-one-lost-sale model - it's £200million a year, according to the BPI.

So how much will the music industry's favoured measures to stop unlicensed filesharing cost to implement? Erm, £500million, says the Government.

The difference being, of course, that this is a real half a billion pounds, that we'll have to find, in order to fund a bunch of repressive security measures that will, at best, save a few private corporations less than half of the cost of that security.

How does that make sense?

Obviously, some sort of figures have to be made up to justify the move:

Impact assessments published alongside the Bill predict that the measures will generate £1.7 billion in extra sales for the film and music industries over the next ten years, as well as £350 million for the Government in extra VAT.

So we're paying half a billion now in order to let a few international companies eventually make that back? Possibly?

More worryingly, the report says that just the very first stage of the plans - the stiff warning letter - is going to wipe the equivalent of a town the size of Leeds off the web:
Ministers have not estimated the cost of the measures but say that the cost of the initial letter-writing campaign, estimated at an extra £1.40 per subscription, will lead to 40,000 households giving up their internet connections.

That's people who've not done anything wrong at all, the people who struggle to make ends meet, losing their web connections because the management of Sony Music are afraid that someone might be listening to Alicia Keys without paying. If Labour really want us to believe - in an election year - they're the party of social justice, can this legislation really go ahead?