Friday, February 26, 2010

The Analogue Economy (Preservation) Bill

There is one piece of good news about the Digital Economy Bill being considered by the House of Lords. The Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties are to block clause 17, the constitutional outrage that would have allowed the government to rewrite copyright law through poorly-scrutinised statutory instruments whenever they chose.

Clauses 10–16 of the Bill remain a disaster. As Jerry Fishenden says:
"The Bill claims to be about protecting copyright and intellectual property in the digital age. But in reality it seems to be more about preserving the dying business model of middle-men publishers, be they the music, film or publishing industries. There is little recognition of the need to protect the interests of those who actually create and make a living from original content, of moving to new ways of encouraging and nurturing innovation. We need to expedite the natural disintermediation of these stale old business models, not to bankroll them through ill-designed legislation.

"One thing is for sure. The Digital Economy Bill is going to become a textbook case of flawed legislation and the extent to which policymaking is damagingly behind the reality of the world in which we live. My concern, however, in the meantime, is that it will do enormous damage to the economic and social fabric of the UK at the very time when we need to be taking advantage of the Internet, not trying to shut it down."

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