The Closing of the Net  "original and valuable"  Times Higher Education

UK musicians, composers and producers "vehemently oppose" the UK proposals to use network filtering and "technial measures" for copyright enforcement. The costs of implementing such measures are way out of proportion to the supposed benefits. Above all, they say, do not punish their fans.

 

A coalition of UK performing artists, composers and music producers, including well-known names such as Annie Lennox,  Radiohead, Robbie Williams, and Tom Jones, have voiced their opposition to the UK government's plans to enforce copyright on the Internet using "technical measures".  Of particular interest for the European Commission, they highlight a number of economic reasons why they oppose it.

 

The coalition comprises the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) and the Music Producers Guild (MPG). Their views were made clear in an joint statement  published last week: 

 

..."we have serious reservations about

the content and scope of the proposed legislation outlined in the consultation on P2P file-sharing. Processes of monitoring, notification and sanction are not conducive to achieving a vibrant, functional, fair and competitive market for music. As a result we believe that the specific questions asked by the consultation are not only unanswerable but indicate a mindset so far removed from that of the general public and music consumer that it seems an extraordinarily negative document.

 

The very fuzzy estimates for the annual benefits of such legislation (£200 million per year) make clear that such  estimates are based firmly upon the premise that a P2P downloaded track equals a lost sale. This "substitutional"  argument is, in reality, no more than "lobbyists' speak": it has little support from logic and no economist would seek to weave such a number into a metric aimed at quantifying a ‘value gap' for the industries challenged by P2P."

 

The coalition  says there  are multiple causes for the loss of CD sales. File-sharers contribute indirectly to music industry revenues,  via concert tickets and merchandise, and to a certain extent file-sharing contributes to promoting and building the image of the artist. They want individual fans to be differentiated from commercial infringers.

 

They also state that the estimated costs of implementing the government's proposals - £65-85 million in the first year - are a "gross underestimate" and vastly disproportionate to the intended result. They believe the government's measures will do more harm than good to the music industry.

 

The joint statement on P2P legislation  is available here.

 

Another comment from the 1709 copyright blog is here,  making  the point that the recording industry needs artists more than they need it.

 

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed. The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2009) Don't punish our fans, say UK musicians  , http://www.iptegrity.com  16 September  2009. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten, European expert on Internet policy and Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science. She is an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee on Cross-border flow of Internet traffic and Internet freedom (MSI-INT). She was shortlisted for The Guardian Open Internet Poll 2012. Iptegrity  offers expert insights into Internet policy. Iptegrity has a core readership in the Brussels policy community, and has been cited in the media. Please acknowledge Iptegrity when you cite or link.  For more, see IP politics with integrity

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