UK legislation combats music piracy

A new bill has just been passed in the UK that makes it a legal requirement for internet service providers to compromise the internet connection of illegal file downloaders.  This will involve warning them before reducing their bandwidth or terminating their connection.

I’m not sure where I stand on the whole piracy matter.  It’s great that people who wouldnt be able to get hold of the music (due to location or money) can now do so.  Also, many of the illegal downloads would not translate into sales as people download things they would not pay for.  But on the flip side, if you went in a store and started stuffing your pockets with CDs you wouldnt be looked on favourably.  Why should downloads be any different?  Surveys have shown that teenagers are willing to pay virtually nothing for music and this is no doubt because it is so easy to get it for free.  If it was easy to get away with stealing clothes from a shop I’m sure people would begin to expect to get them for free too.  It’s not that they are worthless, it’s purely the ease that they can be obtained for free that devalues them.  And good music is anything but worthless.

I’m not a fan of prohibiting people, but until we can all act responsibly maybe it is the only way.  I had my period of illegal downloading.  I justified it by deciding I was spending so much buying vinyl that I was contributing more than most to the music industry.  When I stopped buying vinyl I started paying for all my downloads (except tracks I cant find in the online stores).  The benefits of this are that you know all the mp3s are decent quality, and you have a much neater collection as you only buy tracks you really want, rather than filling your hard disk with mediocre music just because it’s free.

Maybe the option is to put more of the burden on the filesharing sites like sendspace and zippyshare.  Maybe they could be made liable for what is uploaded, or their customers are fined a small amount every time they upload something flagged as copyrighted.  If I was fined $20 every time I uploaded something copyrighted I’d soon stop it.  Of course if these services disappeared it would be a pain for when we want to legitimately transfer files and projects to other DJs, producers and friends, but I would honestly give up that privilege and find a way around it if it meant music would be valued once again.   I love the digital age we live in, but I do miss the days when people were more than happy to pay $9.99 for an import vinyl.

Here’s the article…

WIRED: Digital Britain – new laws targetting internet piracy


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