Piracy Bill – Has Ed Vaizey actually considered this issue at all?

The Telegraph is reporting today on how the Digital Economy Act will be met in order to tackle online piracy or copyright infrigement.  You can read the Telegraphs article here. People may remember that its proposed that alleged infringers of copyright are sent a number of warning letters before sanctions and eventually a ban is put on their connection.

Ed Vaizey the minster responsible for these plans had much to say in an interview on this matter, so lets start with:

Protecting our valuable creative industries, which have already suffered significant losses as a result of people sharing digital content without paying for it, is at the heart of these measures


I come from a view of anti-infringement, I always have.  Over the two years of this blogazine Ive always supported a stance of anti-infringement and have engaged in many heated debates with people who don’t agree.  I have not/do not support in any way the infringement of copyright.

So as someone with this stance, I would now simply ask – Avatar a flop was it?

I could be wrong but despite a plethora of screeners, r5’s et al being released, Avatar made a rather large sum of money and if that was not enough, its due for a re-release with extra’s very shortly…for a second sitting if you will.

Ive often said when countering a “pro-piracy”  view that you cannot judge what copyright you should infringe just on the basis of how much money the product has made, but conversely, this loss of revenue does not seem evident in any of the products I have seen touted as a huge success, yet at the same time having trackers stuffed to the gill’s with torrents of them.

Harry Potter suffered significant losses too?  I pick these two titles in particular because I don’t think it can be argued that out of all the infringing material being shared these two would rate rather highly in popularity.  I could also cite many other examples.  I won’t.

The Digital Economy Act serves to reduce online copyright infringement through a fair and robust process and at the same time provides breathing space to develop better business models for consumers who buy music, films and books online.

So this is then going to be instead of ACS:Law and similar firms conducting alleged speculative invoicing is it?  I wouldn’t think so, as far as I can tell, this is as well as.  So ontop of the possibility of a ACS:Law letter popping through your door fishing for evidence, you are also going to have a warning letter on behalf of the DEA telling you not to do it too?  A double whammy of an allegation if you will.

I wonder if Mr Vaizey agrees that the file sharing ethos is a good one, since by saying “provide breathing space to develop better business models” suggests that the ones that are in place (in Mr Vaizey’s opinion) are not good.  And what of this “breathing space”? How long do these people need? p2p tech is not exactly bleeding edge, its been around for a considerable amount of time.   Badly thought out Mr Vaizey, they’ve had plenty of breathing space and I don’t see how this will help at all.

Consumers should not be picking up the tab for the enforcement of copyright laws that will benefit the music industry to the tune of millions of pounds.

Now maybe here Mr Vaizey is making a joke that I don’t get.  If the ISP is to pick up the tab for 25% of the costs for this “enforcement” where does he think the money will come from if not passed onto the customer?  Whilst that may be fair for the repeated copyright infringer, how is that fair on me or anyone else who thinks that the material “infringed upon” is not even worth a download for “free” and on the rare occasion when they are interested in a title, actually goes out and buys it?  – I think far from help enforce an anti-piracy message, many people will just say “stuff it, Im footing the bill, I may as well jump in too”.  Just like in my view, the person who came up with the idea of knock off Nigel, when you get people who really don’t know the subject trying to solve it, you only end up looking silly when it backfires.  (For those that don’t know, Knock off Nigel was an ad campaign against piracy, that turned into a cult classic and even gave piracy a little kudos)

But Mr Vaizey is apparently not finished:

The previous government admitted any extra cost on internet service providers may push up the cost of broadband, making it unaffordable for thousands of vulnerable consumers who need internet access to get vital services and cheaper deals.

And this won’t Mr Vaizey? Come on.  Whether overtly or covertly, this cost will be pushed onto the consumer, it’s not rocket science.

Of course Mr Vaizey probably wouldn’t want to speculate on the inevitable flood of appeals where, as we have seen in the past, people are wrongly accused of infringing copyright and the alleged “free” appeals process.  Another question that needs to be asked, if you are a small company and the copyright holder of material are you going to be expected to foot this bill in the same way as say Warner Brothers should you see your product be uploaded onto a tracker or similar?  It may be an insignificant cost for Warner Brothers to foot some of the bill for this latest scheme, what of the small company with a small turnover?  Are copyright owners to be means tested to find out how much of this 75% they pay?


The idea of the government getting involved in an issue (which to be fair) I believe knows little about, stinks of a repeat of the HIPs scheme and we all saw how that ended in tears.

Unfortunately whilst Mr Vaizey is believing his letter campaign for file sharing accusations is going to solve the problem, has he considered that people may simply switch to Usenet and/or XDCC as a means of obtaining their material….of course he hasn’t, I don’t think he will understand any technology that hasn’t been mentioned to him by companies with million pound turnovers.

Remove the sharing element of obtaining copyrighted material and you keep Mr Vaizey and ACS:Law letters from your letterbox.  Of course the vagueness of this whole scheme and its unanswered questions could encompass Usenet, but surely if the sharing element is removed from the downloader, Mr Vaizey and his campaign is rather a waste of time?

And thats not even including the infringers that know how to hide their identity.

A costly exercise which will serve no purpose.  Copyright infringement needs to be discussed with level heads and people who actually know the subject inside out, not blanket vague ideas and an elasterplast.

Whilst Mr Vaizey plays anti-infringer, people like you and me who don’t infringe copyright foot the bill.  After looking at the takings made by Avatar and similar, maybe the answer is:   Make decent material and people will buy, try to get away with any old rubbish and you can forget making a profit.

And maybe Mr Vaizey should be reminded of a pre-election comment of Nick Clegg in regards to the Digital Economy Act, reported by Techradar:



classic example of what’s wrong with Westminster

Source: http://www.techradar.com/news/internet/david-cameron-to-kill-the-digital-economy-act–688918#ixzz0zXEmjTKd

Whatever Mr Glegg thinks the Digital Economy Act is, you have until 2011 before its implemented.

I’ll leave you to consider, if , like me your anti-piracy stance has lost its sympathy for copyright holders.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.


5 thoughts on “Piracy Bill – Has Ed Vaizey actually considered this issue at all?

Add yours

  1. No matter, if somehow they manage to effectively block online sharing, I’ll do as in the past times of Sinclair/Amiga: I will go to my buddies houses and we’ll trade stuff face to face. In the anonymity of our homes… 😉

    1. Agreed and I’ve mentioned that possibility before. Also the days of jiffy bag trading could start up again…revive the UK postal service!….arguably its more effective (in terms of amount of data) to send files on dvd in the post, imagine how many gigabytes of data could be exchanged in the time it takes for a first class parcel to arrive!

      Kind regards

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