TalkTalk present pitfalls of Digital Economy Bill to government
The Digital Economy Bill cannot protect copyright, MPs and Peers were told today at a briefing from Internet provider TalkTalk, the largest residential broadband provider in the UK. The company presented the case that the Bill will just encourage people to develop new ways around restrictions that are put in place, and showed examples of some of the tools that are currently available to allow people to do this. These included:
- applications that scan Internet radio stations to download and catalogue tracks from selected artists
- services to conceals the users IP address to avoid detection
- websites that stream pay-to-view sporting events outside the UK
- tools to rip content from TV and music players such as iPlayer
These are just a small sample of ways that people can work around copyright protection and don't include the current commonly used methods of downloading from sharing websites or P2P networks which the Digital Economy Bill hopes to address.
TalkTalk also pointed out that the reason users resort to copyright theft isn't always financial. Many people are just irritated by digital rights management which restricts what they can do with media that they buy, such as restricting it to only play on one device.
"The measures in the Digital Economy Bill will hasten the migration away from P2P, ignite the development of new tools and popularise the notion that stealing content is socially acceptable, akin to breaking the speed limit by one or two miles per hour. The inevitable consequence of persisting with this legislation will be to increase the moral chasm between labels and fans and between government and citizens..
"Record labels and film studios need to find new ways of persuading fans to pay for their content. Those that can't find new ways of making money in the digital age won't survive. They will be replaced by new ventures which see the online environment as an opportunity rather than a problem."Charles Dunstone, (Chief Executive) TalkTalk
Whether those who make the laws will pay attention to what is being said will be seen in time. The Bill is currently in the House of Lords and has some way to go before it would see light of day as UK law. If you want to help persuade those who makes the decisions that this Bill needs changing, the Open Rights Group is running a campaign to encourage people to contact their MP to stand up against the Digital Economy Bill, and TalkTalk created an E-petition at number10.gov.uk which currently has around 32,000 signatures.