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Movie and record labels are overjoyed at the support they're receiving from the British government

Late in October DailyTech reported on the new three strikes piracy legislation proposed in the United Kingdom by Britain's majority Labour Party.  Under the legislation those caught pirating would receive two warnings, then would be cut off from the internet.  The real headache, though, is how to police the traffic and enforce the provisions on ISPs and consumers.

Despite mass objections from telecoms, citizens, electronics experts, law enforcement officials, and members of the minority conservative and socialist parties, Labour Party officials have blazed ahead with a framework to allow the legislation to be enforced.

According to Labour Party leaders, the government is planning on handing the expense of the Digital Economy Bill down to taxpayers.  That expense is estimated to be approximately £500M (approximately $800M USD).  On average, that works out to more than £25 more a year ($40 USD/year) per internet connection.

And that's considering that the government is counting on the bill reducing piracy enough to increase media revenues by £1.7B ($2.72B USD), leading to £350M ($560M USD) extra in VAT tax revenue.  If that increase isn't realized, British taxpayers could find themselves on the hook for over $1B USD in enforcement expenses.

The initial letter writing campaign is predicted to cut off 40,000 citizens from the internet and cost £1.40 ($2.20 USD) per subscription.  The government appears to have purposefully neglects to include possible economic losses based on citizens being taken offline in its estimates.

Charles Dunstone, chief executive of Carphone Warehouse, whose subsidiary TalkTalk is the biggest consumer provider of broadband in UK, is flabbergasted at how the punitive bill is gaining so much traction.  He states, "Broadband consumers shouldn’t have to bail out the music industry. If they really think it’s worth spending vast sums of money on these measures then they should be footing the bill; not the consumer."

Still the media industry is cheering the British government's decision to obey their commands, despite the taxpayer expenses and objections.  Writes the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, an industry trade group, "The overall benefits to the country far outweigh the costs."

They argue that movies like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Star Trek have been pirated millions of times, amounting to millions in lost revenues.

And it certainly helps their argument that in the UK, like in the U.S., the media industry spends enormous sums on legal representation and government lobbying efforts.  As the growing conflict in Britain is proving, if there's one lobbyist power in the UK and U.S. that's perhaps greater than telecommunication firms, it's the media industry trade groups.

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RE: Here's an idea...
By Manabu on 12/30/2009 7:42:21 PM , Rating: 2
There are many more hidden problems. I will link an concise article from 1992, but that is still very actual, that already takes care of many important points, like what is the purpose of copyright, dimishing returns and trade-offs made.

Please read it before my post, because I will not repeat this all over.

1. Is current revenue the optimum amount of money to promote culture? Recording labbels will say that piracy affects those results, and that those numbers are incomplete, not accounting for all the money currently made. Others will say that there are too many hollywood movies and pop-hits being made every year because the copyright monopoly, and thus we should pay less. Also, this does not account for all new bussiness models that can be created and destroied in the future.

2. An tax only in internet access will make it too costly. That is against digital inclusion, that some countries are even making an human right. And should an dial-up user pay the same as an mobile internet user and an university? Also, the opt-out system is an problem. First, because it will need this same costly system reported in this news for those who opt-out. Blocking P2P traffic does not equal to blocking media (youtube, http, etc) and does equate to block sharing linux distros by P2P, for example. Also, even those who does not download copyright content (is/will it be possible?) are directly and indirectly beneffited by this law. Copies between friends w/o using the internet also should be alowed, for example.

3. The existing royalities distributing agencies are, to say the least, problematic. Unreasonable contracts to sign-in in the system, part of the money is used for political lobbying, etc. Also, the retail system is not the most efficient way to promote culture. "We can promote music more effectively by making any one musician's share of the tax revenues taper off as copies increase". Also, one download is not the same as one purchase, because a download is perceived as having almost no cost, while you think twice before spending your money to buy something. It will be very easy to trick the system with crappy things that look like good things. That is why the use metric and voting system are also considered.

4. & 5. Statistic collection by sampling really seems like the most viable way. But can the statistic tracking system be tricked/hacked? he difference is that now those statistics is money. I'm not sure of non-obvious privacy problems... I don't researched much in this statistic colection thingy.

6. What to do about remixes? AMVs, parodies, etc? Their creators should not receive any remuneration, only the authors of the works they are using? They don't need this? I don't know. Sometimes artists pay for it's music be played, sometimes they receive money for it. How ACS will treat this? Finally, I don't know if it will work well for all revenue sharing contracts. Also, recoring labels are the devil incarnate for many people (for me not so much) and people want them to die.

7. Forbiding the copy of software will imply in the need of all that costly system in the news and/or stricter DRM. But allowing it as you say will bring many problems to the distribution system. What about free sofware, it should not be incentived? And what about games? And books? And television programs? And photography? And news? Etc, etc....

The problems are many....

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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