Government Response to Digital Economy Act Petition
A while ago I signed a petition against the Digital Economy Act. I knew it wouldn’t have any effect whatsoever, I honestly can’t think of a single change that has ever been wrought ‘upwards’, so to speak, through the means of petitions but what the hell I signed it anyway. The government has just issued a wee response to the petition.
It is clear that online copyright infringement inflicts considerable damage on the UK’s creative economy including music, TV and film, games, sports and software. Industry estimates place this harm at £400m pa.
The Digital Economy Act includes a number of measures to tackle the problem and we expect these to be successful in significantly reducing online copyright infringement. However this is an area of rapid technological change and developing consumer behaviour. The Act therefore includes a reserve power to introduce further “technical” measures if the initial measures do not succeed. These technical measures would limit or restrict an infringers’ access to the internet. They do not include disconnection.
First off it is not clear, in the slightest, that file sharing is inflicting “considerable damage” on the entertainment industry. It is no more clear than it was when it was clear that printing sheet music would harm the music industry or that home taping would kill the music industry or that the advent of home videos would kill off the cinema business. Advances in technology simply mean that people use and share media in new ways. If companies can’t adapt to shifting markets then they should fail. Fucks sake, that’s capitalisms own twisted logic so why is the state intervening to prop up these companies that can’t adapt?
I also love this bit “a reserve power to introduce further “technical” measures if the initial measures do not succeed”. So if it doesn’t work then they can easily change the law to bring in harsher punishments and widen it’s remit. All without that messy having to get it through parliament business. Niiiiiiice.
The petition and response can be found here.