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20,684 of us demand a proper debate on the Digital Economy Bill

April 6th, 2010 by

Together we raised over £20,000 to pay for adverts urging a real debate on the Digital Economy Bill.

Our ads are in today’s Guardian (Page 3), the Times (page 16) and hundreds of websites.

Here’s a preview of the ad:

…and here’s a picture of the ads in the papers:

Adverts for the Digital Economy Bill campaign

Adverts for the Digital Economy Bill campaign

Thanks again everyone!

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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  • Lawro_Is_Not_A_Plank

    I see as thieves people who illegally make available works to which other people own the intellectual rights. Such people should be dealt with as thieves. There's nothing proletarian about stunting the career of an artiste who can't make money out of their own creations because as soon as it's made available in any format it appears as a free, illegal download online.

    Has it not struck anyone but me how the entertainment business is increasingly being taken over by those from a class where they have parents or relatives financially supporting their art whilst other classes have to work, use their earnings to subsidise their attempts to produce work in their spare time only to have whatever they create promptly stolen by someone illegally sharing files who then has the gall to suggest they are striking a blow for the “common man” by file sharing when in fact, they are kicking the poor artiste when they are already down making it even easier for the wealthier, often artistically less adept a clear run at success.

    It's quite simple. How do new artistes make money from their work if it's stolen as soon as it appears?

    Is this why we are deluged with mass appeal rubbish? Struggling artistes can't afford to keep pace with digital rights management technologies so their material is easier to steal. New bands often lose money on gigs as it is and touring to promote an album that is going to be illegally shared is an option only available to those who are financially cushioned.

    The proletarian thing to do is to pay for other peoples' work and get rid of the file sharers. The people the file sharers hurt the most are poor, struggling artistes.

    Many well known artistes are far from rich.

  • Harry Singh

    Hi Lawro_Is_Not_A_Plank – I've met many artists, musicians etc who disagree with you there. Whilst protection of intellectual property is important and copyright theft is wrong, it is even worse to resort to censorship to stop a few files being shared.

    Younger musicians can make their own fame on myspace. This new generation doesn't need Simon Cowell to tell the public what to buy. Artists will make money *despite* file sharing.

    In 1994 the record companies actually made a LOSS for each single sold! That's because of the cost of pressing, distribution and retail. The singles were sold as “loss leaders” to promote albums.

    Now 16 years later the record companies make a healthy profit from singles sold online. There are no pressing or distribution costs and retail overheads are much much lower.

    No, this bill isn't about preventing theft. It is about control – it is a dying generation of moguls wanting to protect their obsolete business model. If you think this is about the artist then quite frankly you should read up more about this.

  • http://neuro.me.uk/ neuro

    Wow, Lawro, way to miss the point. The point is not to enable copyright infringement, it's to stop copyright infringement being used as a crutch to support some pretty unnecessary changes to the way this country deals with copyright, full stop. Demonising “file sharers” while giving them three goes to be caught copying something is just ridiculous, when there is ample legislation in place to deal with the main offenders. Also, saying “file sharers” is not exactly fair to those who use services and technologies like BitTorrent to transfer perfectly legitimate files, such as those released under public domain, Creative Commons, GNU General Public Licence, etc. Should they all be tarred with the same brush? If I copy a CC-licenced music file which happens to share a name with a wholly different track by a different, yet popular band which is not released under an open licence, I can be misdetected and treated as a criminal. If I transfer a 25 year old ZX Spectrum computer game which happens to match the name of a current Xbox 360 game, I can be misdetected and treated as a criminal. You see where I'm going?

    And “artiste”? Really?

  • Lawro_Is_Not_A_Plank

    I too know many artistes. The only one's I've heard say they don't mind file sharing are established ones being interviewed. You may not have heard someone saying there's no point hiring a studio to record something that will be stolen. I have.

    You are confusing “promoting” work with earning money from it. MySpace do not sell files.

  • winstonkmossaka9xzulug

    we must make a stance regarding certain media groups who are biased by their ownership.worryingly they have lobbied through financial terms and only serve to dominate/dictate for their goal.MR MURDOCH your time is up.MONOPOLIES should and will not be tolerated because i see manipulation everyday on our tv screens.openess and transparency is DEMOCRACY

  • Lawro_Is_Not_A_Plank

    But how would anyone transferring files to which they own the intellectual rights be prosecuted? Who is going to complain to an ISP about someone using BitTorrent to transfer their own files?

    I own the intellectual rights to files that are available right now for illegal download. What do you suggest I do to stop it?

    I could probably find a “no win, no fee” intellectual rights specialist lawyer to go after those responsible and take their house (aren't the penalties something like £200,000 for each offence?) but I don't really want to destroy peoples' lives. Having said that, I'm sick of covering the costs of producing material that gets stolen.

  • Lawro_Is_Not_A_Plank

    Neuro wrote “If I copy a CC-licenced music file which happens to share a name with a wholly different track by a different, yet popular band which is not released under an open licence, I can be misdetected and treated as a criminal. If I transfer a 25 year old ZX Spectrum computer game which happens to match the name of a current Xbox 360 game, I can be misdetected and treated as a criminal. You see where I'm going?”

    In which case, that would be your argument in court though I'm quite sure you are overstating the incidence of bands sharing names with other bands writing material also sharing the same titles. How many bands are there called “The Doobie Brothers” coincidentally writing songs called “What A Fool Believes”? Silly argument.

  • Lawro_Is_Not_A_Plank

    There is a “Right To Link” movement which, on balance I support though I also think whoever creates a piece has a right NOT to have links created to their work if they so wish.

    Murdoch wants people to pay for content on News International sites. I only visit News International sites when a service like news-now.co.uk alerts me to the fact there may be something of interest there for me.

    If Murdoch thinks I'm going to trawl his sites on the off chance there may be something there of interest to me, he's having a laugh. In my opinion, he should be paying news-now.co.uk a click through fee.

  • winstonkmossaka9xzulug

    i accept your argument because you have many relevant points.my main worry and argument and this goes for all media groups that they are allowed by ownwership to be politically embroilled by lobbying etc to manipulate their biased agenda.i thankyou for your openess.respect

  • Lawro_Is_Not_A_Plank

    Which is why we should all do our best to inform ourselves by debating and getting our information from various sources. If you're well informed, propaganda is pretty easy to spot. If you want to campaign against a government or an organisation, it helps if you live somewhere they can't get at you. If you get stuck in prison, no-one will hear your voice.

  • Phil

    It's not a silly argument at all. It simply points out how useless the technology is that they're using to catch copyright offenders. In the past a printer (yes a printer. A machine which prints things) has been accused of downloading music.

    http://torrentfreak.com/study-reveals-reckless-…

    So if a printer can be implicated in a crime, then imagine how many innocent people could be. Imagine a old person who shops online having their internet taken away from them because they had an open wi-fi connection. Or someone who works from home not ever having access to email or internet again because their 12 year old downloaded a Britney Spears song.

    Doesn't seem right to me. Especially when the facts are as shady as they are.

  • http://en-gb.facebook.com/ktetch Andrew Norton

    There's a strange thing here. See, all the INDEPENDENT data supports Harry. The only people supporting your claims, are those who substantially stand to profit (the media companies) using studies that don't give detailed methodologies, or source data (almost as if they have something to hide…) UK music sales have increased over the last 10 years (since Napster came out) by the industries own figures (I made a nice little graph back in December, here – http://ktetch.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/p2p-hurt… )

    I also worked, for a time, in the music industry, as a copyright enforcer (surprising?) around the time Napster came out. The Industry (aka the BPI&majors) dismissed it at the time as a flash in the pan (after all, MP3s and portable MP3 players had been out for about 5 years at that point) and saw no concerns. It didn't want to worry itself. Now it's a 'big threat', just as home taping killed music in the 80s?

    But wait, there's more. finland has GREAT connectivity (makes the UK look ancient infrastructure wise) and has a language that is fairly unique (the closest two relations are Hungarian and Mongolian) and so the Finnish music scene is fairly closed. IFPI(Finland) sales figures show they're selling about the same number of 'units' now, as in 1980. In fact it's been pretty much steady for the last 30 years, albeit with a small rise in the early 90s.

    You could discount them, I guess, except it's the industries that are claiming injury, that are saving the opposite in cold hard facts. But wait there's more (in the best tradition of the Lifestyle sell-a-vision channel of the early 90s on cable) A year or two back, the Canadian Government commissioned a study. You want to know what it found? Downloaders BUY *MORE*, not less.

    Evidence (you know, actual FACTS) counters your claims decisively. All you have to back your claims, are statements made by companies that stand to lose market control (and who are repeating claims that they've made for years, that have all turned out to be baseless – home taping, VCRs, the Photocopier, the phonograph, radio, Cable Tv etc) when even their own figures counter them.

    Please, if youhave any FACTS i'd love to hear them. If all you have are anecdotes and figures based on an estimated extrapolation of a guess (which is what the loss-figures are) don't bother. They're not worth the electrons you used to send them to your router. If you want to see how 'accurate' they are, check out this link, comparing two loss figures claiming to show the same thing, from two anti-piracy press releases – the domain name refers to the piracyisacrime campaign of 5 years ago – http://piracyisnotacrime.com/stats-vat.php

  • http://en-gb.facebook.com/ktetch Andrew Norton

    Where have you been? This happens. We've had at least 2 cases where the RIAA have gone after people that didn't share anything (the john doe suit, the harassment then the named suit, and finally dropped it), there are websites that have been threatened by the IFPI for distributing a band's tracks, even though he was specifically told by the band (Travis, who own the copyright) that it was ok to do so, And there are occasions when the Artist themselves can't put their track on their own myspace page, because a major label is claiming copyright (which is, incidentally, the only way that 'theft' or 'stealing' can happen with copyright)
    Ever read Which? What about the families in there, contacted by Davenport Lyons and ACS:law, claiming copyright infringement of titles that aren't even legal for sale in the UK (very hardcore porn) and demanding money.

    The point you're not getting, is that you're under the impression only rights holders actually make claims, and only do so when they have solid evidence. If only that were true in reality. Then there wouldn't have been things like the Oink raids, where you had chief inspectors making false statements to camera, cameras that were, for some reason, accompanying the raids (BBC news, not a cop reality show)

    Your personal reality sounds really nice, can I come live in there with you?

  • meusiclover

    This is a big deal, it should get the debate it deserves.

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    [...] Coalition Campaign published an advertisement urging MPs to vote for the Digital Economy Bill. An ad from the Open Rights Group (with which I am involved) and 38degrees also appeared, urging MPs to [...]

  • middlecat

    I used to work in the film industry as a cgi artist, I had to leave it as all the work done is contract based. Unfortunately bank managers don't like giving out mortgages to people on six month contracts. Many (other) talented cgi artists are leaving the film industry, it just doesn't support a lifestyle where you'll be able to progress. Unless you put the artists first you will get second rate film and music (if we're not already getting second rate film and music).

    I just spent the bank holiday weekend working on my own movie in my own time. In fact every night after work I spend hours working on my own movie, struggling to make it stand out and get some financing and distribution. I'm a child of immigrant parents from the 70's so as Lawro_Is_Not_A_Plank correctly stated I don't have anyone who is going to finance my filmmaking ambitions. People who dismiss piracy and think it's okay to steal other's works, well I suggest they try creating something original and see how hard it is to make it succesful only for some bleeeeppp to steal it off them.

    If you really care about the consumer then you really want to protect the artist first and yes no doubt some corporate suit somewhere is going to benefit as well. Pirates should be made to walk the plank.

  • http://norman-creaney.net Norman Creaney

    Probably fewer than 50 MPs at the reading of the Bill today. Either they don't understand or they don't care.
    http://tech-soc-stuff.blogspot.com/

  • http://twitter.com/newspapers_ News

    Gordon Brown will be holding a People's PMQs tomorrow: to ask your q on Twitter use the hashtag #askGB and ask him about the DEB

  • http://en-gb.facebook.com/ktetch Andrew Norton

    I apparantly can't reply to Phil below, but I will add this to what he says. I'm well aware of the study, and the practices. In fact, while the paper described two different methods, there was a third as well they didn't consider, an intermediate method. I could run up a basic 'monitoring' system for you, from scratch, in about 5 minutes using readily available software. Evidentially it will be pants, but it's good enough for NP orders, even if it would be laughed out of a civil trial (let alone a criminal one)

    The aim is not to enforce, it's to profit. It's not about art, or quality or culture, it's about “how much money can we make?” and so they act accordingly.

  • jimbo

    there are very few people who are averse to paying for music and/or movies. i, for one, do so when i hear an album or see a movie trailor that appears to be worth it. what is ridiculous is the fact that the various content industries dont want to do anything themselves to try to minimise so-called piracy. i dont understand why they will not listen to their own fans and make the content available for download from their own web sites at sensible prices, reasonable speed, excellent quality and drm free. after all media companies like Sony want people to buy dvd (now blueray) burners, blank disks and software to allow the burning of files on to the disks. after paying for this equipment plus the computer and the broadband connection, why on earth is it then being made illegal to use it? on top of which, the Government wants the whole country to be on super fast broadband as soon as possible (2012?) only to restrict its use. why would anyone want broadband above 2meg/sec if all it can be used for is to open emails and book holidays? fast broadband is for downloading big files. make them available and 'piracy' will greatly diminish naturally, keeping employment up. seems stupid to me to keep one industry in employment at the detriment of others.

  • orion7

    Granted, you make some valid points. However, this bill actually works badly for independent artists. Under the orphans section, it would be legal for a company, ie the BBC, to take a picture by a freelance photographer/artist and use without payment or recognition or restriction (and most importantly its for commercial use!). Yet if Joe Bloggs downloads dizzee rascals new track for personal use, he can have his internet taken away. So who is it benefiting? Its not just about music

  • poppajay

    You ask, “It's quite simple. How do new artistes make money from their work if it's stolen as soon as it appears?”

    I ask you, is it possible to 'copy' or 'steal' a live performance?
    Artists can still gig and tour. They can still be paid for TV and radio performances. They WILL still make money from single and album sales.
    What I can see happening is the creation of a new and 'fairer' business model whereby artists/actors will have to work a little harder for a little less and the industry will have to accept a lower revenues. I don't see this as a big deal, if anything I feel it's about bloody time. Why should artists make 10's of millions of pounds for recording music or acting in a movie? Why should the industry make even more? I also look forward to a world where the same thing happens to the sports industry.

    The grotesque earnings of musicians/actors and sports stars are quite simply not in accord with the wishes of the common man who has to work much harder for a hell of a lot less. Now if we just figure out a way to curb the earning potentials of bankers we would be a whole lot closer to a better and fairer future 'for all' and not just the few.

    I would suggest that the real theft is the extortionate profits the artists and the music industry have been making though the 'illegal' intellectual property rights.

  • jimbo

    there are very few people who are averse to paying for music and/or movies. i, for one, do so when i hear an album or see a movie trailor that appears to be worth it. what is ridiculous is the fact that the various content industries dont want to do anything themselves to try to minimise so-called piracy. i dont understand why they will not listen to their own fans and make the content available for download from their own web sites at sensible prices, reasonable speed, excellent quality and drm free. after all media companies like Sony want people to buy dvd (now blueray) burners, blank disks and software to allow the burning of files on to the disks. after paying for this equipment plus the computer and the broadband connection, why on earth is it then being made illegal to use it? on top of which, the Government wants the whole country to be on super fast broadband as soon as possible (2012?) only to restrict its use. why would anyone want broadband above 2meg/sec if all it can be used for is to open emails and book holidays? fast broadband is for downloading big files. make them available and 'piracy' will greatly diminish naturally, keeping employment up. seems stupid to me to keep one industry in employment at the detriment of others.

  • orion7

    Granted, you make some valid points. However, this bill actually works badly for independent artists. Under the orphans section, it would be legal for a company, ie the BBC, to take a picture by a freelance photographer/artist and use without payment or recognition or restriction (and most importantly its for commercial use!). Yet if Joe Bloggs downloads dizzee rascals new track for personal use, he can have his internet taken away. So who is it benefiting? Its not just about music

  • poppajay

    You ask, “It's quite simple. How do new artistes make money from their work if it's stolen as soon as it appears?”

    I ask you, is it possible to 'copy' or 'steal' a live performance?
    Artists can still gig and tour. They can still be paid for TV and radio performances. They WILL still make money from single and album sales.
    What I can see happening is the creation of a new and 'fairer' business model whereby artists/actors will have to work a little harder for a little less and the industry will have to accept a lower revenues. I don't see this as a big deal, if anything I feel it's about bloody time. Why should artists make 10's of millions of pounds for recording music or acting in a movie? Why should the industry make even more? I also look forward to a world where the same thing happens to the sports industry.

    The grotesque earnings of musicians/actors and sports stars are quite simply not in accord with the wishes of the common man who has to work much harder for a hell of a lot less. Now if we just figure out a way to curb the earning potentials of bankers we would be a whole lot closer to a better and fairer future 'for all' and not just the few.

    I would suggest that the real theft is the extortionate profits the artists and the music industry have been making though the 'illegal' intellectual property rights.

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