Monday, June 15, 2009

Saying and Doing

The FT reports on a YouGov report, published today. (Registration may be needed for these links).
A majority of British adults would back stronger government intervention against online piracy if it helped protect media industry jobs, according to a survey released today.

The poll comes ahead of tomorrow's release of the Digital Britain white paper, which is expected to include legislation to force internet service providers to work with content owners to block file-sharing websites and aid the prosecution of persistent illegal downloaders.

In a survey of more than 2,000 people by YouGov for the Industry Trust for Intellectual Property Awareness, more than half supported preventing access to "unauthorised content" online.

These polls: over 50% are concerned about "media jobs"? I think we should see the questionnaire. 1. What is a file-sharing website? 2. How is the "blocking" going to be achieved? 3. What is a "persistent" downloader. 4. Was anyone asked about "new business models"? 5. What about educational initiatives?

And in another article - again jobs are the angle - the FT follows this news up with a piece by the executive chairman of Kudos Productions, Stephen Garrett.
In this parallel universe, consumer rights have acquired the status of a fascistic mantra. What the consumer wants, the consumer gets, even if he does not want to pay for it. Everyone has, to some extent, colluded in this fantasy, blocking out the advertisements while consuming – for “free” – newspapers, films, television shows and music on legitimate websites. Now, and this has happened very quickly, consumers assume they have a right to these things. Free, and forever. Unfortunately this fantasy is unsustainable. All of these cost money to produce; in the case of TV dramas such as Spooks that my company produces, a huge amount. At the point when these creative products enter cyberspace, they are only partly paid for. Producers are dependent on revenues from DVDs and international sales, which piracy hits.

Piracy happens on the internet. The greater the bandwidth, the easier piracy is. We in the creative industries have asked (nicely) that the internet service providers should help tackle piracy by responding in a graduated way to customers of theirs identified as offering or downloading pirated material. The sequence would be along the lines of a warning letter, a “squeezing” of bandwidth, a further cut in bandwidth and then the ultimate sanction: a limitation of service.

It is worth noting here how film and music have (silently) become the UK creative content industry. Where is publishing? Gaming? Software? Academic publishing?

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