back to article Epic Fail: How the photographers won, while digital rights failed

How did the music business end up with a triumph with the new Digital Economy Act? How did photographers, whose resources were one laptop and some old fashioned persuasion, carry an unlikely and famous victory? How did the digital rights campaigners fail so badly? Back in January, a senior music business figure explained to me …


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  1. Annihilator

    Good summary

    But could easily have been summed up as "freetards kicked and screamed like small children having a tantrum, whereas the photographers had an intelligent debate"

    I do so love it when angry idiots form a mob and generally miss the point altogether or get bogged down in the protest instead of the cause.

    1. PirateSlayer
      Thumb Up


      Good summary of the summary, and an interesting Summary by Andrew. I suspect this could be applied to a range of political issues quite nicely.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Yet again, you refer to copyright infringement as "stealing" and "piracy".

        Yet again, you display your total ignorance of the law.

        Until you learn the difference between copyright law and theft law (and, indeed, maritime law), I shall continue to ignore your ill-informed rants.

        No doubt you'll respond by accusing me of being a thief, but such inaccurate and untrue ad hominem attacks will not alter the fact that you don't have the first idea of what you are talking about.

        This is why copyright infringers will continue doing what they are doing - they know that those who would stop them don't have the first clue about it.

        1. PirateSlayer

          @Annonymous Coward

          I'm not a lawyer...I just say what I see. I couldn't give a rats arse about legalese surrounding what software/music/film pirates get up to. Ask a sample of 100 old people on the streets of Britain and I think you'll find that they call it stealing too...mainly because that's what it is, no matter how you dress it up no matter how many moronic arguments you claim counter this fact. The courts appear to agree with me (check the sentences for people arguing points of law or waffling on about big corporations and big business running the show...judges give them short shrift [thank god]).

          Your argument appears to be that BECAUSE I call you theives, YOU will continue to 'infringe copyright'. Any excuse, eh? I think you need to read up on cause and effect. What came first? People intent to rip off content creators for all their worth, or the people calling them thieves. I wonder.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Ignorance is bliss...

      ... and thanks to the slippery slope debate, you guys in the UK lost your:

      - Right to privacy

      - Privacy to correspondence (DPI)

      - Freedom of Assembly (you are being watched)

      - Freedom of Expression (it may be filtered now)

      - Discrimination ("you are born in the wrong country and therefore are not allowed watch this content")

      Congratulations to the people of the UK for completely missing the point. Then again maybe you also gave up your right to freedom of conscience. But hey, the worst enemy to freedom is a happy slave, right?!

      Welcome to Oceania, you helped build it. I hope your children can forgive you some day.

      1. PirateSlayer

        @Anonymous Coward

        Another A/C!

        No...that would be the pirate's fault.

        You have missed the point, and seem to want to tie all of the UK's current ills and problems to one issue: your right to steal the work of others!

        Piracy has nothing to do with privacy. It has nothing to do with freedom of expression. It has nothing to do with freedom of assembly. It has nothing to do with discrimination. It has everything to do with...piracy! So you can slap each other on the back and understand that when YOU push, the government WILL push back.

        Your claims are like me saying "Well, congratulations to all of you sheep who allowed that new new law outlawing potatoes...your children will thank you for the fact that there are no more apples, no more oranges and no right to eat a yoghurt in public". Completely seperate issues. Completely seperate arguments. The left really needs to sort itself out and campaign on issues, not throw every piece of dogma their hippy lecuterers throw at them at people no matter what the issue.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          thank you, you fell for it

          Yes the law says it's about piracy, but to make the law effective you unknowingly gave up these basic human rights.

          You can't execute this new law without trampling over fundamental rights. And that's the whole point. The reason that we are having this discussion is because the ORG did not get this message across at all.

          Creators should be rewarded for what they create. But this does not mean that we should create a 1984 society in order to do so. There should be a balance between copyright and privacy issues involved when dealing with the Internet.

        2. MinionZero


          @PirateSlayer: "You have missed the point, and seem to want to tie all of the UK's current ills and problems to one issue"

          Oh PirateSlayer, the depth of irony of your narrow minded thinking is amazing. It is you PirateSlayer, with your jaw dropping frankly myopic world view, who is making the exact narrow minded mistake you accuse others of doing.

          For example, PirateSlayer: "Piracy has nothing to do with privacy."

          The state's approach to stop piracy requires ever increasing *state spying* on everyone to *police* what they do online! ... So that spying is a direct violation of privacy. Make no mistake of the seriousness of this state action. History has shown time after time revolutions have been fought to fight back state interference into peoples lives. Yet now we are sliding into more detailed state interference into our lives than at any point in history!

          Ironically the businesses pushing so hard for state spying are being very narrow minded in their thinking but its what they have aways been like. They are continuing to try to prop up their failing business plan by inflicting ever more control on people, because that is what they have always done. Their business plan is itself ultimately based on and has always been based on the concept of controlling the distribution of media. Originally these companies grew powerful from controlling the distribution of physical media.

          Plus before you say it, I'm not a supporter of piracy. Far from it, because for decades my work has been pirated, like so many in my industry, yet I know whatever we try to do to limit it, ultimately its simply a case of learning to partly suffer it, as part of the job, (frankly learn to get over it), because nothing we do will stop piracy. But far worse, I actually fear the prospect of any society growing so powerful that it can even think it can try to stop piracy, because to bring down that increasing level of state control on everyone, will also cause far greater harm than any good it attempts to achieve.

          Put simply no media is of such importance to society as a whole, that policing its distribution so tightly should inflict such a increasingly blatantly Fascist level (and attitude) of control over society. We simply cannot inflict that kind of control because make absolutely no mistake, once you give that much power to the people in power, they will utterly abuse their new power to remorselessly control peoples lives and they will do it with no empathy at all for the greater good of society. They are only interested in their own goals and its just like the old say, "give them an inch and they take a mile". Give them more power and they will utterly abuse that power and still be wanting more power. Why the hell do you think so many state controlled societies have ended up so distorted throughout history! and as a result, so bad for the majority of people suffering that increasing level of state control.

          Try reading 1984 before you claim it has "nothing to do with privacy". Or better yet try reading political history from around the world. Or better yet PirateSlayer, wake up!, its not just about piracy!

          1. PirateSlayer
            Big Brother


            I would repeat your name ad nausium, but I'll just refer to it in the title.

            I have read 1984...I draw no parallels with the Mandybill. It's a bit like invoking Hitler but more middle class.

            The world existed before the can exist like that again (and does for MILLIONS of people). If you don't like what your ilk have done to the internet, start scrawling on the walls of your padded cell, or maybe learn morse code and fart each other messages. Adapt to the police interfering with your every communication...after're smarter than them aren't you?

            Try understanding what living in a 'Fascist' regime is like before likening the current situation in the UK to it...I think you'll find you still have quite a few freedoms remaining.

            Big Brother, because I am well aware of that piece of fiction.

  2. Mike Curtis

    the opposition was too strong

    The photographers were not fighting anyone except an over zealous police force; it was simply a matter of rights. The ORG were facing a group of large, rich businesses, headed by rich powerful people who knew how to use the lobby system, the old boy network, and who were/are in a position to make large contributions to political parties. It was no contest.

    However this is only a first skirmish in a major war. It is only going to get interesting when the first attempt is made to cut someone's internet connection. ISPs and other interested parties have enough money and influence to force some form of court case or judicial review and then all the other laws and, common laws and principles that have been steamrollered by this act will resurface.

    For example I and my wife are both self-employed IT Consultants. Our business would collapse without an internet connection and should that happen through no misdeed of ours then "Distraint of Trade" legislation would apply.

    1. blackworx

      Re: the opposition was too strong

      "The photographers were not fighting anyone except an over zealous police force"

      I think you're confusing two separate issues there. You might want to read up on what Stop43 was all about.

      (Also, given the choice I'd rather take on the whole BPI than one over-zealous policeman, never mind an entire force!)

    2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: the opposition was too strong

      "The ORG were facing a group of large, rich businesses, headed by rich powerful people who knew how to use the lobby system, the old boy network, and who were/are in a position to make large contributions to political parties. It was no contest."

      The conspiracy theory again. Maybe they're all Masons, too?

      The photographers foes were more powerful than the music industry - and they won.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Planet Orlowski

        "The conspiracy theory again. Maybe they're all Masons, too?"

        You think corporates don't meet up and discuss how to get more money? Seriously? Try lunching somewhere other than your local dustbin.

        "The photographers foes were more powerful than the music industry"

        You keep saying this. Don't make it so. Seeing as you're a bit blinkered, old horse, here's the realpolitik for you: the police(*) do what they're told. By the government. Which takes its cue from the moneymen. Clued in yet? You seem to think the hired guns have more power then the ranch owners. Risibly naive, even for you.

        (*) Obviously this ignores the rank and file scum at the bottom. Like the rank and file of every organisation, they have no vested interest and consequently don't really care too much about the politics or indeed anything at all.

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)


          I wish I could understand what you're getting at. What do the police have to do with it? Where are the horses? Are you always this good at getting your message across?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            As Perseus to your Medusa ...

            "What do the police have to do with it?"

            I've no idea, old fruit, I don't actually read your rubbish. I just idly followed the tags given to the article. You tell me what the police have got to do with it. Having skimmed the outpourings of your gaper, it would seem I can cut the police out of my argument, and it still holds. HM Gov still dances the moneymens's jig. You still appear to be missing a few tricks, old chum, and I still believe most of your alleged connections are very, very imaginary.

            "Are you always this good at getting your message across?"

            Open up your climate rants to the science tards, old bean, and we'll find out.

        2. Paul RND*1000

          @John Dee

          John, if you're representative of the sort of arguments and general attitude presented by ORG activists, it's no bloody wonder they took a kicking.

          I would say a well deserved kicking, but by taking the extreme line they did and getting stuffed, they've made things worse for everyone except the music business.

          Yeah, job well done there.

          By contrast Stop43 seems to have been a textbook example of how to engage in the political discussion in a way which can carry influence and gain results.

    3. breakfast Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Odd example

      >> For example I and my wife are both self-employed IT Consultants. Our business would collapse without an internet connection and should that happen through no misdeed of ours then "Distraint of Trade" legislation would apply.

      I guess that if it happened through no misdeed of your own that would probably be something your ISP would be in a position to compensate you for, not really to do with this legislation is it?

      If it happened because you were sharing copyrighted material then I guess that in the eyes of the law that is a misdeed and much like speeding or smoking dope, a lot of people might not feel that it's so terrible, but it is (now) the law. I'm not really clear on how this issue should be- as a content creator I rather like the idea of being able to benefit from my work, but I don't know that cutting people off for it is correct- but I do think that if you chose to ignore repeated warnings from your ISP until you got yourself cut off in this situation, you would be hard pressed to blame anyone but yourselves.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


        "as a content creator I rather like the idea of being able to benefit from my work,"

        You may like the idea but I suspect this bill will not make the chance of you collecting a penny on you efforts *any* easier.

        However should you hand over the rights to your work to a nice friendly corporation you may get something. If they choose to give it to you. Eventually.

        Whenever very large corporations bleat on about how they're just trying to protect those *poor* struggling creative types I smell a large steaming mound of self serving BS.

        However that does not make the ORG right. Just a little less wrong.

  3. ShaggyDoggy

    Denmark syndrome

    It doesn't matter that the bill passed.

    If it had failed the govt would just have re-introduced it a year later very slightly changed.

    Until it got through. Like the Danish EU referendum, gets voted out, so try again later.

    So we were going to get this regardless. Ever since Mandleson had his 'meeting' with Geffen.

    "Money doesn't talk, it swears" - Dylan

  4. SuperTim

    tax free lifestyle for freetards!!!!!!

    If you have your internet taken from you by HM Gov, then how do you fill in a long and complex tax form online (now that HMRC insist that online forms will be the way forward)?

    Can one argue that by the government removing the method of notifying them of the tax you owe, they can no longer insist that you pay it?

    Sure you CAN go to an internet cafe, but A, they will be shut down too and B, what kind of security can they offer? Anyone could be noseying at your screen and paperwork,

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Answer to your first question

      On paper. The paper system still exists, and will continue to do so for those exceptions (like not having an Internet feed) that will continue to exist in the future.

      Just because Internet filing is the preferred route does not mean that it will be the only one.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Neatly done

    Nicely summarized. We (the photographers) were genuinely frightened - the 700-odd photos on my website were swiftly watermarked top-to-bottom in my initial panic. It's a bittersweet victory, though. It's not as though I/we are unconcerned with the other legislation, which looks hurried and opportunistic (because it obviously is).

  6. Dave Bell
    Thumb Down

    A bit mixed

    OK, so "Professor" in the UK maybe means more than it should. There are chairs at UK universities funded by corporate interests, and skill at fund raising seems to count for more than ability, these days, but that's a bit of a snide comment about Professor Edwards. Digging out something that sounds embarrassing is a standard political trick when you can't respond to the message.

    And when you've pointed out so many of the weaknesses in one campaign, compared to the one which did succeed, the specific point you make does seem less than relevant. What did Lilian Edwards say that was, somehow, wrong in this situation? All that's easy to find about her running of Science Fiction Conventions (I checked Wikipedia) is from over 20 years ago, and includes a Worldcon (in 1987, with over 4000 people in Brighton).

    It doesn't look as shabby as your comment makes your journalism look.

    1. Marvin the Martian


      While academically UK "professor" tends to stand for full professor instead of associate or assistant professor, it is not a legally protected term (while PhD or Dr for example is). So anyone can call themselves professor...

      [Example from Holland: the populist politician Pim Fortuyn had taught at a uni once on a blue monday (as lector I think), and has later referred to himself as professor.]

  7. The Original Ash
    Thumb Down

    I wrote to my MP

    I wrote to Lorely Burt, my local Lib Dem MP, regarding the portions of the DEB which were effectively only for propping up the artificial scarcity model of the major record labels. She sent back a letter detailing the important points of the proposed Act which made it worthwhile, but ultimately agreed with my points and said that she would follow the party line and vote against it.

    She didn't even turn up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So vote against her

      Now is your chance to show your disdain for the lot of them. Vote for the opposite to the incumbent or spoil your ballot paper ("none of the above" - tick). PR would be better and voting on specific laws might be even better (depends on how they are written obviously).

      My local Labour MP has a huge majority and the both the cons and libdems are roughly equal, so I'm rather stuck. I'll need to check my MP's voting record on this .. I know he has voted for a majority of the various ID card bills, so big strike against him for me. I'd love to vote Monster Raving Loony for their sensible policy of compulsory serving of asparagus but they are not silly enough to stand here.

      TODAY IS THE LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER TO VOTE ! (even if you spoil your ballot you should vote)

      1. The Original Ash

        I'm doing one better than spoiling the ballot

        I'm sending both of the letters to the local press, and emailing copies to the folks at the Lib Dem website.

        My MP lied to me, and she did it in writing.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        AC@17:30. Spoiling a UK ballot

        Spoiled UK ballots are not counted at *all*.

        There is *no* "None of the above" option on a UK ballot paper.

        If there wre it *might* give a more honest picture of the electorates view.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          re: AC@17:30. Spoiling a UK ballot

          Erm, yes there are - in the final tally, the number of spoiled ballots are given.

  8. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    There is a more mundane explanation

    For the BPI's triumph - they've got money, they can rent yachts and villas in the Mediterranean and can and do invite certain politicians to visit them there. This whole thing really stinks.

  9. Paul 25

    Spot on about Jim Killock

    Too often ORG's arguments sounded like the kind of thing you'd hear in student politics.

    Shame really. The UK really needs a decent organisation to do what ORG is supposed to be doing.

    They need to look and behave a little more Liberty, or other similarly principled but generally sensible campaign groups, and a little less like a campus political campaign about boycotting Nestle.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Spot on about Jim Killock

      I agree.

      Electronic voting, data protection are too important to be left to serial bunglers.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Expectedly biased summation of events

    I fall into both camps here - a photographer who agrees with ORG.

    There are two dubious assumptions this article makes:

    1 - the AC "source" quoted is speaking correctly and fully represents the views of the proponents of the bill.

    2 - that Stop43 and ORG had, from the outset, an equal chance of success.

    I think assumption 2 is the most flawed.

    The whole sorry affair was never about getting public opinion to sway one way or the other, I doubt any people even understand what Stop43 was all about. If it was, it wouldnt have been hidden until the washup and the Prince of Darkness himself wouldnt have come up with the idea during a bit of cozying up time with his future overlords.

    Yes, the BPI did wipe the floor with ORG, but what was the actuall opposition that Stop43 fought off? The BPI certainly werent going to fight the Orphan Works clause as, to an extent, it worked against them.

    Overall this bill has left everyone a loser. You can rant about it being the freetards fault all you want but at the end of the day, no one else had a better idea of how to do it.

    Once more the rich have shown who runs the country.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Expectedly biased summation of events

      " what was the actuall opposition that Stop43 fought off?"

      Have a read of the website: Murdoch, the BBC, large publishers, etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Size of opposition

        Is it a case that Stop43 fought them off better than ORG did the BPI or that they actually cared a lot less than is implied here?

        An oddity of clause 43 was that the orphan rights seems to have undermined a lot of the rest of the bill.

        It strikes me as a fail to scream that the Open Rights Group failed and imply it had an equal chance of success as the Stop43 campaign. Is there not a healthy amount of confirmation bias here - you disagreed with the goals of ORG, so by them failing to overturn the bill it has to be their fault rather than anything else.

        The reality is that the shafting was delivered externally and no amount of blaming ORG is going to change that.

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Size of opposition

          If you want to succeed, you look at what you did critically and learn from mistakes.

          If you want to fail, keep the same crew that failed, keep the the strategy, and repeat the tactics.

          You'll keep failing. But some people are comfortable with that.

          1. Mark 65

            Re:Re: Size of opposition

            "If you want to succeed, you look at what you did critically and learn from mistakes.

            If you want to fail, keep the same crew that failed, keep the the strategy, and repeat the tactics.

            You'll keep failing. But some people are comfortable with that."

            As a freetard try competing with a billionaire and his bloody great yacht moored somewhere in the Med offering various luxuries to those onboard. The fact is Captain "Unelected and Several Times Removed" had his grubby little paws all over this one and there was only ever going to be one outcome. You can write all you want trying to convince yourself that the outcome was ever going to be any different but the rest of us already know that the little shitbag was never going to accept defeat on this.

            1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

              Re: Re:Re: Size of opposition

              Epic fail:

              "As a freetard try competing with a billionaire and his bloody great yacht moored somewhere in the Med offering various luxuries to those onboard..."

              It's a really pathetic line of argument. You're resorting to conspiracy theories when you should be fixing your arguments. Now mull on this:

              ORG made legislators more sympathetic to the BPI position. I didn't hear this complaint from legislators about ISPA, Which? or other consumer groups which were allied to ORG.

              So there is something about the style or substance (or both) of ORG specifically that made something bad, much worse.

          2. Anonymous Coward


            "If you want to fail, keep the same crew that failed, keep the the strategy, and repeat the tactics."

            I cant argue with that and I think anyone suggesting this is valid needs to rething (*)

            The difficulty is working out where the actual fail was. Broad assumptions based on ideologies, on every side of the divide wont acheive this. There was little public involvement in this bill so its hard to see how ORG turned people off the idea.

            It may simply be something that is unwinnable. If thats the case, they can do anything which makes them happy....

            (*) Despite this common sense we fall into this trap every day. We complain drug use is up, so we try more of the same to reduce it; we complain crime rates are going up, so we try the same tactics we used a year ago to reduce them. Etc.

            The BPI is complaining illegal file sharing is on the increase so it tries more of the same to reduce it....

            1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

              Re: Sizes

              ORG made legislators more sympathetic to the BPI position. I didn't hear this complaint from legislators about ISPA, Which? or other consumer groups which were allied to ORG.

              So there is something about the style or substance (or both) of ORG specifically that made something bad, worse.

              1. Anonymous Coward

                Re:Re: Sizes

                "So there is something about the style or substance (or both) of ORG specifically that made something bad, worse."

                Quite possibly but only if we can be sure that the initial premise is true.

                What legislators claimed that Which?, ISPA et al., had made them sympathetic to the cause? Did any? If not then rather than being the succesful model they were equal useless but just not mentioned as a cause of failure.

                What reason do we have to believe that, in the absence of ORG, they would have leaned towards Which? / ISPA rather than said "well ISPA made me more sympathetic" etc.

                If ORG hadnt existed, would the legislation have passed or not? If it would have anyway, then I dont see how ORG made it worse.

                Is the argument that ORG prevented a few clauses being fought over, if so well I can see that but in the big picture its not as important. Even the tories seem to think that sometimes letting a bad law go unscathed and then challenged is better than watering it down until it stays bad but is untouchable.

                I dont have a major axe to grind and dont support ORG or its activites more than anyone else. I think, however, there is a risk with making knee jerk reactions as to what worked and what didnt - especially if these pander to a preconceived position.

                1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

                  Re: Re:Re: Sizes

                  "If ORG hadnt existed, would the legislation have passed or not?"

                  Nobody played the Trump Card. No.2. If a group had started making that case two years ago, then no, I don't think the Tories would have backed it. The Tories would prefer a pro-business anti-regulation position on most issues. They were pushed into a Law and Order one instead.

                  "I dont see how ORG made it worse."

                  see above.

                  1. Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Re: Re: Sizes

                    "If a group had started making that case two years ago, then no, I don't think the Tories would have backed it. The Tories would prefer a pro-business anti-regulation position on most issues. They were pushed into a Law and Order one instead."

                    Ok, this is the crux of the disagreement and one we will never know the answer to - unless on 7 May the incoming Conservative Government repeal the act and replace it with something more "pro business and anti regulation."

                    My suspicion (and that is all it is) is that whatever colour was in 10 Downing St, the interested parties would have been able to provide enough political drive for the bill to pass. That it had to wait until wash up is interesting.

                    If, as the case seems to be, Tory MPs only supported it because ORG annoyed them even though they were against it in principle, well they dont deserve to be MPs....

                    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Sizes

                      anonymouse > unless on 7 May the incoming Conservative Government repeal the act

                      Why would they do that?

                      > "If Tory MPs only supported it because ORG annoyed them"

                      You seem to accept a little bit more reality with every post. What you're having trouble with is the idea that patient, rational argument can go along way to eventualy political success.

                      Some nerds lack empathy and are happy doing student gesture politics forever though. (And not just nerds)

  11. Matt Nida


    I think its a bit disingenuous to claim that the grotty bits of the bill survived because of ORG's failure to put up a decent opposition. As has been pointed out above, the main opposition to the photographers was an overzealous police force, whereas ORG had pitted themselves against the combined might of a trade organisation well-versed in the art of lobbying, plus Peter Mandelson himself, who wields such an influence over his party that it fell to only a few rebels to vote against the bill. Also, I don't really get any sense that the ISPs were relying on ORG to win this one on their behalf.

    ORG did run a fairly lacklustre campaign that had its fair share of forehead-slapping moments, but I don't think you can accurately claim that they are responsible for the bill passing as is. Obviously Andrew's disdain for ORG and its overall agenda is well publicised, and I'm with him on a number of points, but I think he's overstating their role in this ballsup.

    1. Steve Ringham

      Only one out...again....

      And as has also been pointed out before - in response - is that the "over-zealous police force" didn't give a hoot about S43. The only orphans they're bothered about are ones allegedly being sex-trafficked in the back of lorries.

      Try S44 (Prevention of Terrorism Act 2000)- that's the one they and rent-a-job security guards use(d) to bother ordinary photographers.

    2. PirateSlayer


      ...was against the biggest multimedia publishers in the world and every cheapscate penny pinching newspaper in this land.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Re: Hmm

      The police had no opposition to Clause 43 of the UK Digital Economy Bill which was about orphaned works. Why would the police care about a photograph with lost copyright owner information? This is not to be in anyway confused with Section 44 of the Terrorist Act. Do a google on "Orphan works" and "clause 43" or look at to udnerstand what it is.

      As mentioned numerous times above, the opposition to Clause 43 was far far bigger than the BPI, including the BBC and various huge players in modern media so the size of the opposition and their wallets is not really an argument as to why they won.

      Your other point was valid though about lack lustre. All shouting because they could not because they should.

      1. Matt Nida


        Thanks guys, corrections noted and comparisons duly withdrawn!

        I stand by my view that the passing of this act is not ORG's *fault* though, something Andrew seems to feel it is.

  12. Tom Chiverton 1 Silver badge

    Uh huh

    Uh huh. Did you let the ORG know of any of your bright ideas while it would have made a difference, or are they all acquired only in retrospect ?

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Uh huh

      Like the NHS, The Register is free at point of service.

      If people don't want to read it, that's totally up to them.

  13. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    Good summary.

    And some very good points about the *purpose* of the ORG.

    I've also never heard a sensible, cogent argument in favour of the ORG's stance. Why would content creators vote to kill off their one source of income? (Sure, musicians don't get 100% from the sale price. So what? That didn't stop The Beatles raking it in. And it's WAY better than getting 0%, which is what the ORG and Pirate Party seem to be advocating.)

    The only people who benefit in the Land of Freetardia are the parasites and leeches who sincerely believe they're entitled to the fruits of other people's labours for free.

    Food is a right.

    Water is a right.

    Clean air to breathe is a right.

    Not getting stabbed to death is a right.

    A free Blu-Ray rip of "Avatar" in MKV format is NOT a right.

    Entertainment is a *luxury*, not a "right".

    If you can't find your precious movie or audio track in a format you want it in, tough. You won't drop dead without it.

    Yes, the BPI, RIAA, etc. do need to raise their game, but businesses are inherently conservative: you'll *always* get a transitional phase as the old guard gradually give way to the new. 60-year-old CEOs aren't going to "get" P2P file-sharing, but their successors will.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Good strawman

      "A free Blu-Ray rip of "Avatar" in MKV format is NOT a right."

      Awfully specific, there.

      "Entertainment is a *luxury*, not a "right"."

      Having at least one publicly funded radio channel as an advertising medium for your products for several decades is a *luxury*, not a "right". The real "freetards" are the ones who think the public sector, government, the legislature and the judiciary are just one big collection agency - one thick chequebook courtesy of "Pater" - for their businesses.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      re 'Good summary'

      "A free Blu-Ray rip of "Avatar" in MKV format is NOT a right."

      The point though, is that if you are desirous of success in business you ask people what they want & go all out to provide it to them, rather than dictate what you will permit them. What, exactly, is the problem with providing people with Avatar in MKV format, if there's a demand? Or is the industry just being awkward?

      "If you can't find your precious movie or audio track in a format you want it in, tough. You won't drop dead without it."

      You won't, of course - but could you tell me one single product of the entertainment industry that one will drop dead without? Let me help - nothing. Not one single thing the entertainment industry has, or will, produce is necessary for the continuance of life. The entertainment industry, by its very nature, produces stuff which is 'unnecessary'. Its the very fact that entertainment is a 'luxury' that will ultimately lead to the industry losing this one. I could easily go a year without buying any new music, watching any new TV, or watching any new movies - I'm stocked up, & so are most of us (& there's plenty of second hand stuff out there if I'm desperate for novelty). And if enough of us were to decide to take that route, for just 12 short months, the industry would be crawling to us begging to know exactly what we want, in what format, when we want it & exactly how many free downloads we'd like....

      And you know what - an increasing number of people are beginning to realise just that.

  14. Colin Guthrie

    What about the degrees of opposition to the opposition?

    What you fail to point out properly is that the opposition to the opposition of clause 43 was several orders of magnitude less.

    It's like saying that there was an eating contest where Bill had to eat a dozen cheeseburgers while Ben had to eat a dozen aeroplanes and then saying that Bill had won because of his better organisation and planning.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: What about the degrees of opposition to the opposition?

      No, it was even more powerful than the music business.

      1. blackworx

        Re: What about the degrees of opposition to the opposition?

        @ Andrew: Could it have been that those who formed the backing to c43, regardless of their power, were not in the end out in real force lobbying to make sure it got through?

        The concept of a powerful conspiracy against Stop43 is no less ridiculous than the concept of one against the ORG & chums.

        I think the argument of relative strengths of opposition is slightly disingenuous anyway; moreso when it comes from the freetard angle. In the end, the day was the freetards' to lose, and they did. Anyway, it's only a matter of time before Big Media is shown to have completely failed to provide any carrot to go with its shiny new taxpayer-provided stick. And the world will still be turning, and seven billion people will still be working, sleeping, eating, breathing, drinking, shitting, pissing and making music.

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: What about the degrees of opposition to the opposition?


          I believe Ofcom is obliged to throw away the sticks if it isn't impressed with the reciprocal carrots. If Ofcom judges that the music business has failed to come up with attractive new services (the carrots), it must refuse them the sticks. Parliament can also do this.

          So there will be opportunities to deploy the Trump Card (Point No.2 in my article) - but I think the activists are still getting their rocks off on the Ooman Rights arguments.

  15. Tony S

    A good summary but...

    ... the Bill was passed because an instruction was issued (a whip) that had 150 Labour MPs sat around the houses of parliament waiting for a divison call on that bill. The opposition had none (even though I have a letter from a Lib Dem MP that said they would strongly oppose it).

    I'm not sure that any of those MPs that followed the whip even listened to any of the arguments, they just voted the way that they were told.

    I think that it is more a case that the photographers just got lucky, rather than by the strength or quality of their arguments.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    the fact that the bill was passed

    does not make it a good piece of legislation, as we'll soon find out when somebody tries to actually use it, when I fully expect it to fall flat on its face

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Conspiracy theory

    Could it be possible that the music industry are playing a long-game tactic of making it virtually impossible to make money from music if you go solo, despite there no longer being any technical reason why you can't compose, produce and release your own material all from your bedroom.

    With so many freetards and leeches like out there, the only way an artist has any hope of making a modest living is to sign up to a neo-label who have enough financial and legal clout to fight for the money. And just like the good old days, the artist gets 7.5%, or nothing if they don't sign.

    It's an old tactic for when times change and you lose your closed industry. You simply make the new industry toxic and turn your business model into one offering people a safe passage through it.

    1. Joe Cooper


      At what point did it become illegal to put out your own material on your own terms?

      P2P isn't even the only way to do this. You can do it with Youtube and even web hosting for $5 a month. If you can't afford that, you can't afford internet anyway.

      Things like CC and GPL _require_ copyright law and creator's rights to (for example) prevent someone like Microsoft from taking your code, dropping it into their products and selling it without paying you, participating or sharing source. (As they've happily done with BSD licensed code.)

      1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Huh?

        No one thinks it's illegal to put out material on your own terms. Even shout-at-the-bins lunatics don't think that.

        It's actually your rights under copyright that allow you to sue Microsoft for putting your code into Windows, not the CC or GPL.

        1. Juillen 1

          The problem of course being:

          Copyright infringement/takedown notices. It's been observed for ages that under the US DMCA, you put a 'copyright claim' on a site, sometimes having the ISP take down a valid site, and have the content owner then have to spend time and effort validating they are the actual owners. When they do, there's no comeback apart from maybe obtaining a mumbled maybe apology. In the meantime, your distribution channel has gone bang for the time in between.

          It's not things being illegal that's the problem, it's people using the legislation to deny channels that allow you to distribute your own material.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    How I want to distribute my music AKA why P2P is bad for my chosen business model

    I want my audience to experience my music in the specific ways that I have chosen.

    a) My audience can either pay money to see me live or pay a fee to own a license to repeatedly hear my music in the specific way that I have chosen to let you listen to it. I will let this license be transferable.

    b) Although some people may broadcast the recording of my music so that multiple people can hear it at once, I would like to keep the number of people who experience my music this way down to a minimum. Or I want to be paid more money.

    c) I do not want people to 'share' my music. You want to share my music with your friends who are not in the same room as you at the same time, cough up some cash.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Two different sides of the law?

    Surely both battles were to preserve intellectual property and both won and preserved it?

    I fail to see the point in arguing whatever case you like for piracy, its still piracy regardless of whether you dress it up as "sticking one to The Man" or just "I do it cos I want free stuff".

    Given that both arguments were the same, how were you ever going to persuade MP's, who basically are a little too out of touch to even pay attention, any other way? They will just see it as right and wrong and to be fair, they got it right.... to a degree.

    All the crap about "i was disconnected but i wasn't guilty" is the same as any law - there will always be miscarriages of justice and thats what appeals are for...

    People just need to get a grip.

  20. copsewood

    both sides lost

    I'd have thought what the ORG campaign is for is obvious:

    a. greater freedom of expression in a world where expression requires an element of reuse and little that is new is created without reference to what went before, and

    b. greater privacy of communications in a world where such rights have higher legal status than copyrights. The content industry doesn't have the right to steam open our snail mail. So why should we put up with this in connection with our network connections ?

    What the content industry loses here is the ability to obtain a sales commission from a much larger IT and communications pie they are helping to grow, where a significant motivation to purchase a bigger pipe is the content that can flow over it, as with a substantial proportion of the products of the electronics industry, the output of which is designed to copy information from one format to another.

    Yes of course it is time for the 2 sides to negotiate a deal and this malformed legislative dogs dinner will not help. However, Andrew needs to consider further the extent to which creators rights are negotiable, given that if content copyright content is not for sale or can't infect other valuable work into a more accessible state, this is worth no more than vanity to those who own it. Profitable sales commissions probably could be negotiated by the ISP/electronics industry side in exchange for content made freely redistributable which helps sell the network and devices which transform the content, but freedom of expression and privacy have to be non negotiable for those who care about such rights.

    The industry that sells the ability to copy information from one place to another or to transform content from one format to another probably exceeds the content industry by a significant multiple. Talk about the tail trying to wag the dog - it would appear a content industry lacking any imagination and claiming to sell nothing else is lobbying for its short term interests at the expense of its longer term good at a time when politicians seeking re-election are unlikely to want to start arguments with media owners who purchase ink by the barrel.

  21. Nigel Wright

    The outcome was pre-ordained the minute Mandelson was onboard the yacht

    Big business and money talks.

    The ORG and its proponents never stood a chance. MPs failed to show, mp3 backtracked on promises and the bill was forced through at the last gasp of paliament. The outcome was obvious.

    Ignoring the arguments over copyright, which I agree with, the one overriding concern I have is how this bill negates the usual processes of law and targets people on the basis of highly dubious evidence. The pirates will simply go back to swapping physical media instead and nothing will change.

  22. john 212

    Opinion first, facts later.

    so it has nothing to do with the rampant mis information that surrounds this debate then. Nothing to do with things like using the term "illegal downloading" which even the Register took a while to get their head round (still makes me laugh). this David and Goliath story of the photographers is touching, but really it's just a case of people of limited capacity, such as the Pirate Slayer, voicing opinion as fact compared to the other issue which was better understood from the start.

    Would it be surprising that half the MP's who voted have no idea how P2P works? let alone understand the jargon involved. They hate P2P but they loovvve Opensource, like the Iphone!

    Good thing the Pirate Slayer doesn’t know Saddam uploaded his WMD's to the Pirate bay while illegally downloading a free leech album on his open source Iphone. Then we would be in awe of his factual comprehension of the topic.

  23. Steven Jones

    Ethical difference

    If you boil the principles down, then it's clearly much easier to make an ethical and supportable case to protect photographers rights than to allow the downloading of copyright material with impunity. The bill's "orphan works" provision would have allowed powerful media organisations to make use of any work not obviously copyrighted, at minimal cost, by stating that they couldn't find the copyright owner. The standards for defining what measures needed to be taken to

    Newspaper's do deliberately breach copyright. The Mail on Sunday cut-and-pasted a photograph of mine from a musician's website which was clearly marked copyright on every page. I don't take photographs for a living, so it's not a financial hit for me. However, others do rely on this. That's quite apart from the point (more important to me) that I'd rather like some control over where material I produce is used.

    In contrast, making an ethical case for effectively allowing downloading and uploading of copyrighted material, with little chance of penalty, is much trickier to make. The current mechanism means punitive charges for the few who do get caught, without any real impact on the mass of traffic. The costs and difficulty of enforcement are such that it is inevitable. If it costs thousands of pounds to put a case through court, then the penalties are going to be huge.

    Now this does not mean that I'm in favour of the broadband service cut-offs with minimal levels of evidence required. This is an extremely difficult problem, but I simply don't accept the notion that everybody just has the effective right to download whatever they like regardless of the producer's rights. Nobody has yet come up with a mechanism for respecting the rights of the creators of this stuff in the modern world.

    In essence, the winners here were those who want to enforce intellectual property rights. That's true in both cases.

  24. Petrea Mitchell

    Overton window

    The "Overton window" sounds like a misunderstanding of the decoy effect, which works like this: You have option A to one side, and option B to the other, then add option C which is out on the fringe beyond B. By its existence, C makes B look more attractive.

    But B (which in this case would be legal P2P or some other happy medium where work can be shared and creators get paid with equal ease) has to be established as an option first; you can't jump straight to C and then expect B to materialize.

  25. frymaster

    Disagree with point 2

    Yes, it's not the government's job to nanny private businesses. But neither is it private businesses' job to rearrange their business model because of people ripping them off. So I don't think that argument holds water.

    Of course, a better one would be that it's in the businesses' best interests to live in the real world, maximise their profit by exploiting different payment modeals and stop antagonising their customers, but I don't see that's something you can _INSIST_ they do, whereas the government upholding the law kinda is.

    1. Mark 65

      Oh well

      "Yes, it's not the government's job to nanny private businesses."

      It's supposedly the job of Government to represent the will of the people and work for and on behalf of them although that seems to have gotten lost somewhere down the line and Western democracy isn't really any more representative these days than, say, Chinese rule. You just get to vote.

  26. Jimbo Gunn


    My open letter to Andrew Orlowski

    I've [almost] stopped reading The Register. It's always been quirky and rarely afraid to bite, but their continued assault on the Open Rights Group over their failure to stop the Digital Economy Bill has gone way too far.

    Andrew Orlowski, editor at large and ORG critic-in-chief's latest rant offers all the answers to why the Open Rights Group failed to stop web censorship or disconnection powers whilst photographers succeeded in stopping clause 43 (orphaned works provisions) of the bill.

    But Andrew failed to spot one prevalent issue. Conservative key voters. The Tories always knew they had limited capital to exert influence during the parliamentary wash-up. They chose their battle(s). Well one single battle really - and it wasn't clause 43. They wanted rid of the £6/year landline tax (from the finance bill) in order to appease a large and relatively untapped section of the electorate - pensioner power.

    Many old people rely on the landline as their one method of communication, yet were unlikely to ever reap the benefits from faster net connections. The tax had to go to turn the purple-rinse vote blue.

    Sources tell me the Conservatives were largely happy that the Digital Economy Act as it stood at third reading since it had no real bite until disconnection and censorship provisions are enacted, at the earliest 9 months from now (12 for disconnection). Possibly there was no use wasting their wash-up influence on two provisions of the bill that still had hoops to clear before they became law?

    Orphaned works provisions stood a league apart from even controversial anti file-sharing measures. Problems with clause 43 were raised from all sides, and importantly very few vested interests were lobbying for this provision of the bill - especially after the concept was blown apart when someone finally spotted that that orphaned works measures apply not only to semi-ancient untraceable archive works but all contemporary works published [illegally - without credit, or accidentally - without credit] online.

    So there you have it. What I believe is the dull, dull, boring reason why clause 43 failed but web censorship and disconnection remained. The Tories thought the grey vote was important but malcontent internet rabble-rousers were not. Nothing much at all to do with ORG tactics, yawn, belch.

    And the Tories didn't see back then any real opposition from the Lib Dems so how could it harm them politically to align themselves with Labour on censorship and disconnection?

    Sure, everyone made mistakes. Both sides in this created their own monsters. Orlowski's conclusion from an earlier piece is probably right - the only winners here are the Pirate Party, and possibly the Lib Dems, who opposed the Digital Economy Bill and are now calling for the repealing of the act.

    But beating on the Open Rights Group is pointless.

    Geek vendettas will only serve one purpose - stop people reading The Register.

    1. ChrisTMarsden

      Tories supported photographers not pirates

      Lets be specific - the ONLY chance for ORG to influence the debate would have been a sensible amendment in Committee in the Lords - where the LibDem peers shoved through something rather different that led to their own party disowning them on that policy.

      Once it got to the Commons, why would the Tory front bench bother to annoy the copyright industry (Murdoch before an Election). Kids aren't supposed to vote.

      And it will be interesting to see whether Twitterati will go out and vote LibDem or prefer to sit on the sidelines sulking.

      Now get on your bikes and vote for the party that has promised to repeal Clause 17-18!

      1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Tories supported photographers not pirates

        Chris Marsden > "Once it got to the Commons, why would the Tory front bench bother to annoy the copyright industry (Murdoch before an Election)"

        Well, you weren't following this, because that's exactly what they did.

        Chris, as an "academic expert" you really ought to pay closer attention. If you didn't know that the Tories had helped kill c43, then you must be getting your information from some dubious (but no doubt, politically-correct) sources. Twitter perhaps? ;-)

        1. ChrisTMarsden

          Post appears - hurrah!

          Thanks for approving my post several hours after I posted, at the same time as attacking it - but by then I'd gone out to play. Next time we can have a real-time chat?

          I don't think there's much doubt that a good Clause 17 reform in the Lords would have stuck, as the Tories would have probably played ball if it made any sense - but that's not to say the Clause 43 folks didn't do a much better lobbying job. Frankly, I'm with Austin Mitchell on this one, a plague on everybody's houses.

          1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

            Wishing the plague

            :: I'm with Austin Mitchell on this one, a plague on everybody's houses.

            It is tempting to succumb to fatalism, but it might be more constructive to think about how both industries could profit from the technology, create new markets, and make money.

            I appreciate this outside your area of expertise.

    2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Everyone to blame but ORG

      Perhaps an "Open Letter to Andrew Orlowski" should have actually have included me as a recipient. You forgot to do that, so it's really "An Open Letter About Andrew Orlowski Addressed To Nobody In Particular" ;-)

      Your point about grey Tories doesn't make much sense:

      > The Tories always knew they had limited capital to exert influence during the parliamentary wash-up.

      The Tories actually had the Government by the balls, this is the nature of wash-up. They could have thrown out any parts of the bill. There would be no Digital Economy Act worth speaking.

      Either you can learn the lessons, or keep losing - it's really up to the activists on what the goals are. Some obviously like losing, it's good for business.

      Trebles all round.

      It seems to me your determination absolve the most prominent activists of ANY BLAME you're really struggling. I'm not sure why you want to do that, maybe they're friends.

  27. Tom 7


    "Of course, a better one would be that it's in the businesses' best interests to live in the real world,"

    But they do - they know full well that an internet owned by its users and a music industry controlled by those that create the music leads to their rapid destruction. Their only business model is to buy protection law from an ignorant (corrupt?) government.

    For every illegal download there are 20 lost sales to the musician due to the music industries 'value added' costs.

  28. Colin Barfoot

    It's a cold universe

    Here's one I prepared while swimming this morning, having mused a bit about your closing line. Its not quite right, but it would be unlike me to finish something.

    When we face death we realize that all of our personal effects will most likely be offered to the market, some of which will receive nothing in exchange. Does this mean that they're worthless? When we say something has *only* sentimental value it's because the markets don't put a price on it, and yet our personal value is the true value. It's an individual choice. Capitalism values nothing, but its advocates believe it can price anything, even ideas. When we are forced by circumstances to sell something that we cherish we never stop believing that it was undersold. Economics says we have a utility function that determines how flexible we are on prices, but flexibility doesn't imply we think something is worth what we got for it. When someone says "I would give my life to save yours." they really mean it, but that doesn't mean they're willing to trade it for a nice house. Capitalism devalues humanity.

    The reason for capitalism's success, I believe, other than it advocates a work ethic that tallies with some religious beliefs, is that it has a strong definition of fairness. When the freetards exploit this system to its logical conclusion, its advocates start changing the rules. Now, is that fair?

    When, in fifty years or so, the machines become better at doing certain things than us, and words like "creative" and "talent" become the guffaws of "ether", these issues will have to be dealt with.

    If anybody reading this thinks it advocates a particular solution: wrong. So, anyone under thirty, or who thinks communism is the ultimate swear-word, or who has difficulty differentiating between mental and physical, please use the energy from NOT replying to this by thinking about it instead.

  29. SleepyJohn

    The Real Epic Fail

    I think this is more about exploitation than rights as such. As Steven Jones points out, both parties who were trying to protect their rights won. However, it seems to me that while the photographers were seeking to stop commercial exploitation, the media industry was seeking to continue it. The evidence for financial losses due to free downloading of media is flimsy at best; at worst, a veritable farrago of lies and fabrications. And the potential long-term benefits of encouraging youngsters to develop a taste for particular artists and styles is completely ignored, due to either stupidity or short-term greed.

    To think this same music business used to give DJs illegal payments to play their copyright material on radio for millions of youngsters to hear, precisely to encourage them to buy the artists' other music. Even gormless street-corner drug peddlers understand this principle. The abject inability of the media industry to develop the incredible opportunities afforded them by the internet is the real Epic Fail.

    Whatever the wet dreams of Mandelson and his media pals, there can be little doubt that soon access to the internet WILL be regarded as a fundamental right, just as walking down the street and looking in shop windows is now. When everything from films to food to tax returns to medical advice is delivered via the internet then disconnection (or temporary suspension, if you prefer that spelling) clearly will be a breach of 21st Century human rights.

    Instead of throwing their money at corrupt politicians in a frenzied attempt to stop the future encroaching, the media moguls would be wiser to pay it to someone with the brains to devise a proper solution to their dilemma, one that does not involve turning potential customers into criminals who will despise them forever.

    Only monopolists can get rich by treating their customers like dirt, and the internet has now removed the monopoly of delivery from the media barons. They may win a few vindictive battles with computerless grannies and penniless teenagers, but they will never win the 'guerilla war' they wage against downloaders, however many politicians they purchase. Why? Because they have failed quite spectacularly to implement the most basic golden rule of such a conflict - which is to 'win the hearts and minds of the people'. They won't be the first major power to rue such arrogant stupidity.

  30. The First Dave


    Blaming the ORG for not offering a sensible middle ground is rather unfair, considering that the current legislation on copyright is rather more draconian than they can support - I simply don't see where there was any compromise available. Quite the reverse, by compromising now, they simply allow the same thing to be brought up again and again - if they always settle on a half-way house, then eventually the law ends up where Big Media wanted it all along. The only way to sort this out is to get some 'friendly' politicians who are able to push legislation the other way.

  31. Spotfist

    Sad, sad times.

    It's a sad day for media as a whole, stealing is bad and yes piracy is a form of stealing but when I hear stroies about the gaming industries attempts to move more towards an online form of game sales, even to a point where these games companies are talking about streaming games over the internet in the near future... I think to myself, why has the games industry gone from zero profit to that of a multibillion pound industry while all the music industry has done is move from tape to cd?!?!?!

    Even the move from tape to CD was driven by another market i.e that of computing!

    What annoys me even more is when, the musicians backing the music industries are clearly clueless and dont realise that the music industry is stealing alot more from them than what the average teenager is doing in his bedroom. I download movies and music too, I do so becasue the music I listen I am just unable to buy on CD, I don't download music I can buy in shops and more so grab music from radio shows etc. In no ways will I start to buy music now, instead I will just start listening to the music I can get for free from unsigned bands etc. The movies I download I always purchase, unless the movie is garbage! Now that I can't download I shall just be missing loads of movies I wasn't aware existed. I downloaded a copy of the new Sherlock Holmes, I enjoyed it and will defo by buying the DVD or even the Blue-Ray when it comes out, had I not downloaded it I would have assumed that it was awefull based on my pre-consptions I extrapolated by watching the trailer.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Sad, sad times.

      "the music industry is stealing alot more from them than what the average teenager is doing in his bedroom."

      That old chestnut.


      "Two wrongs make a right"

      1. Stephen Jones


        The teenager downloading music (which is not illegal) is only perceived as wrong because of what the music industry has stolen from our culture. The music industry has served it's purpose and is now obsolete, it is scrabbling for life and doesn't care who it has to stand on to do it.

        The reason this bill passed is that it was not even wrong. It is founded on such a nonsensical argument that it would take several hours to explain it. No MP would bother wading into anything that complex.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          @Stephen Jones

          I begin to understand your argument now. Musicians don't deserve to be paid for their music therefore taking it without paying for it should be allowed.

          It really simplifies the whole thing. No one should be able to make a living off of just doing music it should be something they do in their free time for the benefit of others.

          Now I that I am enlightened I should leave.

  32. Spotfist

    Re: Re: Sad, sad times.

    My point is not to condone the "Two wrongs make a right" but to rather ask why this position has been created.

    Why when the games industry are trying to promote internet sales of there games and move away from physical media is the record industry doing the exact opposite? Especially when in my above example we know that in most cases said teenager probably can't offord the music he/she downloads and wouldn't buy the music anyways...

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Missing the point?

    The issue, for me at least, was not about liability for infringing copyright.

    The disaster that has been forced on us is the unprecedent use of extra judicial powers to temporarily or permanently cut someone's ability to communicate, simply because an unproven allegation of copyright infringement is made.

    Impose financial damages on copyright infringer by all means, even criminal offences for commercial abuse, but cutting personal communications services is simply deeply wrong.

    And would be utterly ineffective.

  34. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Black Helicopters

    There, fixed it for you

    "How did the music business end up with a triumph with the new Digital Economy Act?"

    Because the ORG didn't bring the mandybot to Corfu for "discussions", that's why

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easy, the photographers were simply right....

    The reason the photographers ultimately won was because they were fighting on a platform of concern for their own copyright which actually sounds vaguely sincere (as someone who takes photos for fun, I certainly wrote to my MP with my concerns and signed the petition)..

    The other lot? The right to pirate stuff, rip of businesses and create a true Freetard Nation? Well that was always going to be a hard sell wasn't it? Sad really because the wording of the law takes powers away from the courts* and gives them to the Home Secretary or a body (i.e. a Quango) he appoints. This IMHO is symptomatic of a broader breakdown of the rule of law within the legislature.

    * Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say the new laws fail to give powers to the courts who are best placed to decide innocence or guilt.....

  36. Watashi


    Reasons why the BPI won:

    1) The music industry is worth billions of pounds...

    2) Err, that's it.

    If you want to understand the motivation behind any New Labour decision regarding human rights vs big business, you just have to follow the money. It's as simple as that.

  37. Steven Jones

    @Stephen Jones

    Somebody who shares my name, but not any knowledge of the law. Briefly, any unauthorised downloading of copyrighted material is illegal in the UK in that it is a breach of copyright. It doesn't matter if it is teenages or octagenerians that are doing it. What is isn't generally (at least in the UK) is a criminal offense except in special circumstances (such as an intention to sell copies yourself).

    Of course there are grey areas - technically speaking, in the UK at least, creating new, unauthorised copies of copyright material is also a breach. For the purist that would mean even the unauthorised ripping a copy of a legitimately owned CD to an MP3 player would count. In practice, it is highly unlikely that civil law will be applied in that way for personal use. As far as I'm aware the sole exception to this was explicitly made for home video recorders for the purpose of time shifting (but not permanent retention).

    Note the law in other countries (such as the US) is rather different in this respect, but in both the UK & US unauthorised downloading of copyright material is a breach of copyright and hence illegal/

    1. john 212


      When you say “illegal downloading” and “copyright infringement” are you talking about the breaching the licensing agreement or actual Laws? With this knowledge of the law you are referring to, which specific laws are being broken?

      It would seem your being a bit loose with your wording. Are talking about the acts deemed illegal by the licensing agreement here?

      Illegal in the same way as lending your friend a DVD or CD?

      Illegal as buying games and music from charity shops since the person who originally owned them had no right to transfer the license?

      What exactly are you saying is illegal?

  38. Anonymous Coward

    P2P Argument Is BS

    The argument that the "Music Industry deserves their fate because they don't do P2P" is first-rate BS.

    P2P only makes sense if your content is either free or if you are helping other content pirates.

    Want a piece of music ? Go to and download that song for about a dollar. P2P is not exaclty as reliable as a well-defined download site.

    People do P2P because they like to steal stuff. Sometimes they download free things like Linux via P2P, but I bet that 90% of P2P traffic is stolen content that users don't want to pay for. Before that they used the other criminal way, Napster.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    @Stephen Jones

    Imagine you work for BAE Systems and they develop a new airplane at great cost. Now comes along China Aircraft Inc. and sells a knockoff of that plane at 1/5th the cost of the BAE original.

    You would certainly cry wolf about these nasty Chinese copying this great design and threatening your job.

    Now what is the difference in stealing music from stealing an aircraft design ? There are indeed lots of jobs at stake in the music industry and they took a severe pounding by P2P filesharing. Sometimes revenue came down to 10% of the pre-P2P times.

    I do think it is legitimate for this industry to complain about people using their property without paying. If you don't like this, buy a guitar and do freetard music. You are free to share recordings of that for FREEEEEEEEEEE !

    1. davem

      yes, but

      I support the artists, & don't download - legally or illegally. I would make only three points here.

      One, the plan to cut off whole households if one member of that household infringes is simply wrong. Collective punishment is what the Nazis did. It,s also impossible to know whether you have the guilty household, or whether their connection has been hi-jacked/computer infected. Punishing the innocent 'cos its just too damn much trouble to find the guilty is also what the Nazis did

      Two, the DEB is not going to cause these 'lost' millions to suddenly appear in people's wallets, so that they can hand over the dosh to the industry - people have a certain amount of money for entertainment, & all these measures will do (at best) is lead them to distribute those resources differently - more 'legal' downloads will equal fewer DVD's/CD's/ trips to the movies/gigs, etc

      Three, the stuff churned out by the industry is way overpriced. This Act (or 'The BPI's Wishlist' as we should call it) is designed to allow the industry to keep on overcharging for their goods.

      Finally, a general comment: could we please have less 'sanctifying' of the music industry? I'm a bit tired of all the 'Why Music Matters', 'We're only doing our best to nurture the artists' crap. The music industry is not run by self sacrificing philanthropists whose only concern is to protect, & enhance our cultural heritage; it is run by a bunch of hard nosed bastards for whom the top, middle & bottom line is the profit motive, & who will subvert the law, buy politicians & stomp all over anyone (innocent or 'guilty') who comes between them & the money. I'm reminded of that wonderful line in Cerebus the Aardvark, when Cerebus was asked how much money he wanted in order to be happy, & he replied 'All of it'.

  40. Francis Davey 1

    Bit of a low blow?

    Andrew, its a bit unfair to imply that my only expertise is in housing law. Its a feature of being a barrister that you often don't get to chose your area of practice early on. So I ended up spending most of my time reading, drafting and arguing about leases? So what?

    Rather more recently I've been doing a lot of internet law, with you know, actual clients (such as ISPs) who pay me to advise them about just this kind of thing and who are worried about some of the implications of the Act. So I am not an interested amateur, this is what I do.

    Rather more misleading is the suggestion that I "led" ORG's legal case on the Bill as it went through Parliament. Far from it. The Bill contained some truly dreadful nonsense which I blogged about on two occasions. On both those occasions the elements I complained about were removed from the Bill. I don't take credit for that, but I can hardly be blamed for not having an effect.

    But as for the way the campaign went? I was happy to comment on any legal queries that came my way (from ORG but also from many others) but I doubt I had any real influence over the strategy either ORG, the music industry or anyone else for that matter deployed in fighting over the Bill. More's the pit.

    Campaigning is exhausting and I'm happy there are other people to do it for me.

    The Act is still pretty dreadful, just from a pure lawyerly point of view. You do not get well drafted legislation by rushing through things on the wash up. I suspect it will waste a lot of people's time and money and absorb a lot of energy and effort. We shall see.

    Next time: why not get in touch with me before writing about me? My door is always open - well my electronic door is always open - and I am always happy to discuss law with anyone really interested in it. Just having a dig at someone's professional competence without really checking your facts is plain mean.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Bit of a low blow?

      I'm glad you finally found the comments section Francis.

      You were certainly the most prominent legal opinion associated with ORG, and you were given a full story to yourself in The Register (via Out-Law). I'm also glad you've been able to profit from the Act professionally.

      :: I suspect it will waste a lot of people's time and money and absorb a lot of energy and effort.

      Funnily enough, so do I. But these measures have been discussed since 2006 and were promised by Triesman over two years ago. There has been plenty of time to lobby against it, building the kind of coalitions I describe.

      :: Next time: why not get in touch with me before writing about me?

      You answer this question a bit earlier:

      :: I doubt I had any real influence over the strategy either ORG, the music industry or anyone else for that matter deployed in fighting over the Bill.


      1. Francis Davey 1

        Ah, a partial retraction....

        Well I'm flattered to have the word "prominent" associated with my legal opinion. Alas I have yet to profit from the Act. I fear that I might - depending on how things turn out - but that is not a good thing. Creating more employment for lawyers is generally a negative mark against any policy. So far all work has been entirely free, hence the heartfelt remark about wasting energy an effort.

        You may be right about the need to build coalitions earlier - that's probably something more in your area of knowledge than mine. I've been concerned about the possibility of provisions like these for some time, but there I don't think there's anything more that I can do about it other than say so.

        I'm glad you now admit my lack of influence over ORG strategy 8-).

        For what its worth I think the orphan works provisions did need a lot more discussion. In principle its probably a good idea to find a way to unlock works that are doing no-one any good, but the right way to do that hasn't been sufficiently widely debated in the UK and there are several models that could be used. For that reason I think that those provisions were easier to campaign against - there wasn't the animus in their favour and they'd been discussed rather less fully. I'm not sorry they were dropped from the Bill.

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