#DEBIll: The Conspiracy Of Copyright


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The Digital Economy Act was rushed through parliament back in April ahead of the election with 10% of the normal debating time that a bill of that size should get. Why? So Lord Mandelson, our unelected then Business Secretary, could appease his friends in the recording industry by introducing draconian laws that could see internet connections cuts and websites blocked without trial, possibly signalling the end of free wi-fi. Learn more in this presentation from LBi, Europe's number one marketing and technology agency.

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#DEBIll: The Conspiracy Of Copyright

  1. 1. # DEBill: The Corporate Conspiracy of Copyright Richard Astley
  2. 2. <ul><li>Agenda </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Copyright law is for distributors </li></ul><ul><li>Corporatism & The “Music” Industry </li></ul><ul><li>The Digital Britain Report </li></ul><ul><li>Clause 17 and the great rush through Parliament </li></ul><ul><li>Protests & Idiocy </li></ul><ul><li>What happens next? </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>On April 12 th the Digital Economy Act 2010 was passed in law by parliament and will go into effect on June 12 th . </li></ul><ul><li>Over 35,000 people signed a petition organised by Talk Talk against a bill that protesters say appeases big business against the rights of individuals. </li></ul><ul><li>Yet of the UK’s 649 MPs, only 236 bothered to vote. </li></ul><ul><li>There were 189 Aye votes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>185 Labour </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4  Conservative </li></ul></ul><ul><li>And 47 Noe votes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>23 Labour rebels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>16 Liberal Democrat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5  Conservative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3 others </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The bill only received 10% of the debating time that any other bill of this size would get. </li></ul><ul><li>How did this happen and why is this so important to YOU? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Copyright law is for content distributors But copyright law is NOT for content creators #DEBill is meant to “protect creative industries”
  5. 5. <ul><li>Copyright </li></ul>Following the invention of the printing press 100 years earlier, the first copyright enforcements started in England with the creation of the London Company of Stationers in 1557. No book could be published without their approval, handing control of what was read to the Crown which was worried about too many publications and freedom of expression. By 1710, Stationers reasoned that writers would need a publisher's cooperation to make their work available and that content could be transferred to other parties by contract, like any other form of property. This lead to The Statute of Anne, passed that year, the first official copyright law. Physical books were not only the medium in which the content was consumed, they were also the medium in which it was transported to the consumer. The internet means that the medium over which content is distributed can be unrelated to the medium in which it is ultimately consumed.
  6. 6. The corporatisation of the “music” industry
  7. 8. <ul><li>Recording Industry & Corporatism </li></ul><ul><li>Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877 and by 1950 records had supplanted sheet music as the largest player in the music business and people began speaking of the “recording industry&quot; instead of the “music industry&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Record companies formed to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Coordinate music production, manufacture, distribution, marketing & promotion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enforce copyright protection of sound recordings and, later, music videos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop of new artists (A&R) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>By 1990 corporatism dominated the industry with the &quot;Big 6“: EMI, CBS, BMG, PolyGram, Warner Bros and Universal. </li></ul><ul><li>CBS became Sony Music in 1991. PolyGram merged into Universal Music Group (formerly MCA) in 1998. Sony merged with BMG in 2004. </li></ul><ul><li>Now a “Big 4” accounted for 72% of music sales worldwide (IFPI, 2005). </li></ul>
  8. 9. <ul><li>Broadband Penetration </li></ul>By Q4 2004, 50% of the UK Internet users had broadband access. By Q1 2009, this had reached 95%.
  9. 11. <ul><li>Recording Industry & Downloading </li></ul>In 2001, Napster is shut down following litigation by Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and thousands of file sharers are sued. iTunes launches in 2003 taking legal downloads mainstream and by 2009 downloading represents 25% of recorded music revenue (IFPI) and are factored the UK Singles Chart in April 2005. However, as The Economist reported, &quot;paid digital downloads grew rapidly, but did not begin to make up for the loss of revenue from CDs.&quot; Worldwide revenues for recorded music dropped 25% from $38.6 billion in 1999 to $27.5 billion in 2008 (IFPI) Artists found that the internet had enabled them to record, sell and promote music without the need for labels and recorded music became a PR tool to sell concert tickets.
  10. 12. Who will stand up for old media corporations against the internet? Your friends and mine, HM Government of course!
  11. 13. The Digital Britain Report
  12. 14. <ul><li>Digital Britain </li></ul><ul><li>Digital Britain project was launched by the government in October 08 as an attempt to secure the UK a place at the front of digital and telecommunications innovation. </li></ul><ul><li>The final report was released on 16 June 2009, recommendations included: </li></ul><ul><li>Universal access to broadband by 2012 </li></ul><ul><li>Fund to invest in next generation broadband </li></ul><ul><li>Digital radio upgrade by 2015 </li></ul><ul><li>Liberalisation of 3G spectrum </li></ul><ul><li>Consultation on how to fund local, national and regional news </li></ul><ul><li>A new &quot;more robust system&quot; for the classification of video games </li></ul><ul><li>So far so good, but in August 2009, responsibility for the project was moved to Stephen Timms MP, formerly minster responsible for e-commerce. </li></ul><ul><li>He reports to Lord Mandelson who was … : </li></ul><ul><li>First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, President of the Board of Trade and Lord President of the Council. </li></ul>
  13. 15. “ Until the past week Mandelson had shown little personal interest in the Digital Britain agenda. Suddenly Peter returned from holiday and effectively issued this edict that the regulation needs to be tougher.” Whitehall Source The Times , August 16 2009
  14. 16. <ul><li>Clause 17 and the great rush through Parliament </li></ul>In November 2009 Mandelson added Clause 17 to the Digital Economy Bill regarding copyright infringement by statutory instrument. The clause proposed a &quot;three strikes&quot; rule which would mean that persistent copyright breaches would be lead to disconnection from the internet without trial within a month and that copyright holders could block websites that show their content without their permission Under normal circumstances a bill of this size would probably have a one-day second reading debate and then 60 to 80 hours in committee where it would be scrutinised clause by clause. But the digital economy bill received one day for its second reading and was rushed through parliament before the General Election and only 236 MPs voted.
  15. 17. This lead to protest …
  16. 18. <ul><li>Digital companies don’t like #DEBill because: </li></ul><ul><li>Disconnection laws could reduce the quantity and quality of UGC produced for social networks. </li></ul><ul><li>#DEBill attempts to keep the balance of power with old media corporations that have outmoded business models. </li></ul><ul><li>Mass disconnection and reduced engagement threatens not just large digital-only brands but thousands of digital-only small businesses </li></ul>
  17. 19. “ [DEBill] would discourage innovation, impose unnecessary costs, [and potentially unsettle] the careful balance of responsibilities for enabling market change … This clause is so wide that it could put at risk legitimate consumer use of current technology as well as future developments ... The industry as a whole had hoped that the outcome of Digital Britain would be a clear, workable set of principles by which the industry could operate. On the contrary, clause 17 creates uncertainty for consumers and businesses and puts at risk the UK's leading position in a digital Europe. We urge you to remove clause 17 from the bill.&quot; Letter to Parliament from Google, Yahoo!, Facebook and eBay December 2009
  18. 20. <ul><li>Public Institutions don’t like #DEBill because: </li></ul><ul><li>In the modern economy internet use is a necessary right for all academics and students </li></ul><ul><li>Internet access in a library is public service, especially for those unable to afford their own connection but who need the web </li></ul><ul><li>Access is given to a broad range of users in these institutions whose use of the web cannot be tracked so if connection is cut it could be one persons action affecting thousands of users </li></ul>
  19. 21. &quot;Because public institutions often provide internet access to hundreds or thousands of individual users, the complexity of our position in relation to copyright infringements must be taken into consideration. If this is not done, a public institution such as a library, school or university's internet connection as a whole could be jeopardised, resulting in loss of internet access to large sections of the public, particularly the 15 million citizens without an internet connection at home.&quot; Letter to Parliament from British Library, University of London, Imperial War Museum February 2010
  20. 22. <ul><li>Human Rights Groups don’t like #DEBill because: </li></ul><ul><li>Disconnection from the web can fundamentally affect quality of life in the modern economy </li></ul><ul><li>Blocking website that infringe copyright has potentially huge consequences for freedom of speech </li></ul><ul><li>Internet connections can be hijacked leading to unfair prosecution </li></ul><ul><li>The bill was rushed through parliament before the General Election, stifling debate </li></ul>
  21. 23. “ The digital economy bill is a highly controversial bill. Many of us believe that it threatens to severely infringe fundamental human rights, by allowing the disconnection of internet accounts for alleged copyright infringement, and also by new 'website blocking' laws that could result in new ways to suppress free speech and legitimate activity. There are also dangers to business, through restrictions on provision on open wi-fi networks, that could damage our economy. But our worry today is that none of this will be properly debated by parliament. Democracy and accountability will be sidestepped if this bill is rushed through and amended without debate during the so-called 'wash-up' process. The thousands of people we know to be contacting their MPs with concerns will find their faith in politicians even further undermined.” Letter to Parliament from Billy Bragg, Caroline Lucas MEP, TalkTalk, Open Rights & others March 2010
  22. 25. So what happens next?
  23. 26. <ul><li>The future is uncertain </li></ul>Specific measures to curb illegal filesharing will take at least six months, whilst regulator Ofcom consults with interested parties and gets clearance from the EU. If illegal downloads do not fall in 12 months (by at least 70%) Ofcom will be asked to consider whether technical measures - which could include limiting the speed or capacity of an individual's service or temporarily suspending their service - are needed. These measures would likely be brought in in 2012. During the General Election campaign, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg (who didn’t bother to vote on #DEBill) pledged to repeal the bill if voted to office. The new coalition government means that this position is now unclear but the Conservatives (and Labour) have always officially supported the bill.
  24. 27. www.openrights.org
  25. 28. Thank you … Now go and sign the petition & tell your friends.