Ofcom's DEA plans "already out of date"
By Stewart Mitchell
Posted on 26 Jun 2012 at 12:05
The Digital Economy Act will be out of date before it even comes into effect, according to digital rights campaigners.
Ofcom today unveiled the latest plans for implementing the Act aimed at online piracy, but with the first warning letters not sent to illegal downloaders for another two years, the Open Rights Group said the legislation was pointless.
“It’s already out of date and it will only become more so,” said Jim Killock, chief executive of the ORG. “This was set up because the rights holders said they needed a new means of enforcing copyright to protect their revenues, but what we see now is they are already getting the revenues.”
Killock was referring to legal downloads and streaming services which have grown significantly since officials started discussing new copyright controls more than five years ago.
“They can do it on their own, which begs the question of why we’re wasting the time and money,” he said. “The DEA was always going to be poor and be beaten by changes in technology, and it’s already out of date. Things like BitTorrent are declining – so where will it be in two years’ time?”
The Digital Economy Act remains fundamentally flawed not least because subscribers who have not infringed copyright themselves are held accountable for infringement by others
In its Initial Obligations Code, Ofcom laid out how it expects ISPs to inform their customers if they are suspected of downloading copyright material illegally, how the £20 appeals process will work, and what penalties might follow after three letters have been sent.
The legislation still includes its most contentious proposal: cutting off connections to people that continue to offend even after warnings.
“Beyond the code, the Digital Economy Act outlined a process for further measures which the Secretary of State might consider to help reduce online copyright infringement,” Ofcom said. “These would require ISPs to take steps (such as internet bandwidth reduction, blocking internet access or temporarily suspending accounts) against relevant subscribers in certain circumstances.”
The act has been criticised as heavy handed over fears that innocent ISP subscribers could be caught up in the system.
“The Digital Economy Act remains fundamentally flawed not least because subscribers who have not infringed copyright themselves are held accountable for infringement by others,” a spokesperson for TalkTalk said in a statement. “We will review the proposed code and assess what approach we need to take to protect the interests of our and other ISPs’ customers.”
However, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) claimed the Act is critical to slowing the illegal distribution of music, TV and films online.
“We must ensure our creative industries can protect their investment - they have the right to charge people to access their content if they wish, whether in the physical world or on the internet,” said Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey, claiming that the Act was about educating people about copyright.
In one major change to the initial proposals, the government said it would repeal two sections of the Act, sections 17 and 18, which relate to blocking websites accused of file-sharing at the earliest opportunity.
use VPN: check. Move to ISP with less than 400,000 customers: check.
Is there anything else I need to do to protect my Internet connection from Ed Vaizey and his friends in the "creative" industries?
By revsorg on 26 Jun 2012
So how much is this going to cost us while doing only the minimal to stop piracy?
Also how are they going to catch pirates? Is it the same old flawed p2p/IP method?
Personally, I think that rather than wasting time and (our) money on things like this they would be better off adapting to the new market and trying to convert as many pirates as possible, I have a long list of example of how they could fix the current flaws in the system.
By tech3475 on 26 Jun 2012
Will They Never Learn?
The same old problem over and over. Let's try again:-
Dear Creative Industry,
Your distribution channel has changed. It is no longer realistic to charge normal shop prices for a product that is now distributed digitally. Remedy that and piracy will all but disappear. Time to stop being dinosaurs.
By jontym123 on 27 Jun 2012
I am sure I read somewhere that research had been done showing illegal downloads actually caused higher legal downloads/purchases.
jontym123 is right about pricing.
If customers feel cheated on price they will seek a cheaper/free option.
I remember when vinyl was superceded by cds (a cheap and allegedly indestructible media). We were charged more for less.
Having downloads that cost the same (in most cases) as cd versions, is not real world, common sense economics.
By Michael on 27 Jun 2012
reading about this on the BBC website yesterday I cancelled my Lovefilm, Netflix and Spotify accounts. I'd already given up buying DVDs and CDs because of the despicable behaviour of the RIAA, MPAA and BPI. Until they abandon the DEA I am not going to pay a single penny to the "creative" industries.
By revsorg on 27 Jun 2012
2nd Bite of the Cherry....
If newspapers can priodically give away FOR FREE CDs and DVDs it strongly suggests that the costs of production are quite low.
Pricing digitally distributed content on the same basis as having to cover the costs of physical distribution and high street shop rents, rates and staff costs aint the way to go.
By jontym123 on 27 Jun 2012
When will they wake up to the real world!
We 'consumers' are quite prepared to spend our money on music and films, we're just not prepared to be ripped off! Sell music at full CD quality for the same price or lower than supermarkets and provide us with ways of previewing the content prior to purchase and if we like what we hear we won't need to resort to forms of piracy. Piracy is not in our interest, the artist needs an income to produce future albums and anyone that really wants the music will happily pay for it. The industry seem to assume that every pirated album is a lost sale which is complete nonsense, people have been copying tapes, CD's and such for years and I doubt many would have purchased all or any of those copies. The movie industry needs to realise that not everyone is able or wishes to visit a cinema, release new movies on blu-ray the same day they're released at the cinema and honest people will be able to buy them rather than having to wait ages for retail releases. Stop trying to fight online piracy and put the money and effort in to improving the industries content, marketing and availability. History shows their efforts are wasted, introducing DRM just cripples legitimate legal owners and pirates simply find ways round it, killing services such as free Napster just lead to the introduction of replacements like pirate bay and each time money is wasted fighting this sector another way of piracy is introduced. Killing access to piratebay just gave it free advertising and this new act of monitoring IP's through ISP's will just force illegal pirates to find alternative means of access, such as anonymous proxies, encrypted VPN tunnels or Tor. Pushing people towards encrypted services such as Tor is probably the worst outcome, the industry will lose almost all visibility of illegal downloads and surely knowing the size of your enemy and what they're doing is much more beneficial than them hiding in the shadows!
By Samo42 on 28 Jun 2012
The counter argument
I read a good article with Venetian Snares this week (can't find it now, sorry)
He points out the music (and, I would argue, film) "industry" has saturated the market with a total dearth of creativity ever since people's attention became saturated to the point at which there is no appetite for pouring one's time and effort into enjoying unfamiliar (i.e. original) music.
Meanwhile, the music "industry" quite clearly scours the underground for "the next big thing", and then churns out identikit watered down versions of it for the masses, accelerating our lack of will for attentive longevity.
Speaking broadly, the current generation of post-digital teenagers will have to basically invent new things out of absolutely nowhere in their 20s, because their influences are not coherent enough to produce anything coherent. This exacerbates the problem further.
In short, tape trading isn't killing creativity. The music industry is killing it. And the government is supporting them. Creativity almost never pays. Polishing a turd usually does.
By baldmosher on 28 Jun 2012
Metallica vs Napster
"We are suing Napster"
"What the heck is Napster"
"You can download our music for free"
"Wow, I'll have to check it out."
By baldmosher on 28 Jun 2012
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