Ok, so the BBC ran a story a week or so ago about the fact that the Government was dropping the whole website blocking thing. Couple of thoughts.
1. I like this quote from Fergal Sharkey – I also like the name:
Who wants to tell the 80% of music businesses that employ fewer than five people, and the thousands of artists who self-finance the production of their own albums, that to enjoy the protection of the law, all they need now is to have millions of pounds and spend years in court to protect their work.
2. I also like the fact that the law in the UK forbids people from changing media formats. So if I buy a CD, but change the format to .mp3 so that I can listen to it on my iPod, I’m breaking the law. We like to have a good ol’ laugh at the ridiculous American state laws forbidding people from facing north on a Thursday while wearing a hat and riding a pig, but have our own which would forbid me from having 90% of my own, legally-bought music on my mp3 player.
3. Simon Levine, head of the intellectual property and technology group at DLA Piper, is a little bit silly. He said:
if you have a situation where 90% of your population is doing something, then it’s not really a very good law
In this case, we clearly do have a bit of a silly law, but the fact that 90% of the population is breaking a particular law doesn’t make it silly. If 90% of the UK population decided that we should all burgle on another, it wouldn’t stop that from being wrong.
4. What I probably like best are the unnecessary examples of Newport State of Mind and Doctor Who. The former was a ripoff of Jay-Z/Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind, and was removed from YouTube for copyright violation. The latter, in its current form, is written by two guys who wrote Doctor Who fan fiction when they were younger – which of course was illegal.
So back to the actual point of the article. The Government is unable to prevent a website from illegally sharing films, why? If 90% of the UK population is breaking the law, surely they are too?
Maybe capitalism just doesn’t work.