Sunday, March 21, 2010

Digital Economy Bill

If you haven't wised up about the Digital Economy Bill going through the UK parliament, you should do so quickly.

Whatever you think about the ethics of file sharing, this music & film industry inspired legislation represents an attempt to bring in some dangerous powers. It proposes disconnecting people from the internet for alleged file sharing, without even a trial where people can contest what they are accused of. In cutting off broadband access to the many people who may use one connection, it also amounts to a form of collective punishment. It also proposes blocking offending websites, a power that would no doubt be used to censor the internet. Finally open wi-fi would be threatened, since whoever was providing it could be held accountable for the actions of those using it.

As for the ludicrous attempts to suggest that downloading is killing music, let's just remember that people have been making music, and indeed making a living from making music, for thousands of years. The period in which a significant but small proportion of musicians have made the bulk of their living from the sale of recordings has lasted only about 50 years. Maybe that is changing, but the capacity to make, perform and disseminate music is arguably stronger than ever. Music isn't going away, even if the record industry in its current form seems to be.

Anyway there's lots of material about the Bill at the Open Rights Group site. They have called a Stop Disconnection demonstration at Parlimament on Wednesday, 24 March at 17:30. For a good rant, see Penny Red's A State-sponsored book burning parade:

'This is a vile, vituperative piece of legislation, driven by corporate lobbyists and blithely ignoring public interest. It's a Faustian pact between a dying government and antique, anti-innovatory music and publishing industries who are as terrified now as manufacturers of illuminated manuscripts were in 1455 when they got their hands on the Gutenberg Bible and saw the page turning on a world of easily-exchanged ideas that they could not monetise or control'.

1 comment:

Katie Sutton said...

If you would be interested in joing the Open Rights Group in presenting a heartfelt gesture of thanks to the people who brought you the tragi-comedy that is the Digital Economy Bill, we would love to have your help.

We think we're being made fools of with the Digital Economy Bill; we think someone is making a mockery of our democracy - but now we're turning the joke around.

We're having a top secret April Fools flashmob in Central London on Thursday April 1st; as in our protest outside Westminster earlier this week, we'll have flyers and placards: we just need people to help us out.

If you can't make it, please pass on the message to anyone you know who might be able to!