Tuesday 16 March 2010

THE NET POLICE

Last night's Panorama (available on Iplayer) looked at a new law going through Parliament that will give police the powers to confiscate computer equipment from anyone caught illegally downloading films and music. Whilst the film and music, as well as the book industries must be protected this will be another home goal for those concerned about illegal downloading. And this law will be yet another intrusive law introduced by the most undemocratic government the UK has ever known - dear God this Labour bunch must go come the election! Surely they can't hang on - the UK landscape has changed beyond recognition since they swept into power, on the tails of that superb media manipulator Tony Blair. But I'm straying from the point now and the Archive doesn't do politics. I am strongly resisting the urge to mention Jacqui Smith's husband and her claiming of porn movies on government expenses - hey at least he's not a Banker!

The illegal downloading bill misses the point entirely - the music industry deserved the belting they took. They were overcharging for their product, with very little of the revenue going to the artist. Ten years ago The Beatles' White Album on CD was £28 and this for an album that came out in 1968 and had already generated millions. And now in the world of downloading it can be bought for £9.99 or less. So the rise of illegal downloading has been good for the consumer. And real music lovers buy as many CD's as ever, I know I do. The most absurd thing about the Panorama show was that Louis Walsh was bemoaning the fact that new bands can't get signed because of illegal downloading, when the X-Factor is much more responsible for the inane state of music at the moment.

It's the same with books and the eBook revolution - many publishers are running scared, throwing up blocks to a standard system being developed, when they should be embracing the new technology and making their product more enticing in these exciting times. With digital the possibilities are endless and whilst real books should never vanish, the future is, like it or not, digital.


What worries me about this bill is that behind it, at the root, it's not about protecting musicians but the big corporations, and it is also another step towards the government controlling the internet. Oh and how they would love to do that. Gordon Brown and the rest of his surveillance happy government would love to dominate net use. They must be creaming in their pants over such a prospect. Which, of course, is something Jacqui Smith's husband knows all about. Whoops, gone and mentioned it! Mind you, I suppose, the fact that the British tax-payer paid for Mr Smith's penchant for tossing one off the wrist gives me the right to do so.

If you are in a region where you can get the BBC Iplayer then watch last night's Panorama and see what's coming...

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

The creative artists seldom get protected. The corporations get protected.

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