Digital Britain

I’ve just downloaded the Digital Britain report… I’ll give my impressions as I read it (and as cabalamat on Twitter)

p.17 (item 43): “The unintended consequence is that a significant part of the paid-for advertising revenues that used to fund long- form content locally now funds different sorts of services and applications for consumers or are repatriated to the global Internet aggregators in the form of returns to the shareholders behind these transformational business models.” — this appears to be a dig at Google

p.17 item 45: “In relation to rights, the Government believes piracy of intellectual property for profit is theft and will be pursued as such through the criminal law.” — this is factually inaccurate. Commercial-scale unauthorised copying is illegal under the CDPA 1988; Theft is illegal under the Theft Act 1968. They are two different laws. One might as well say parting on a double yellow line is the same as murder, because both are illegal.

p.17 item 45: “The civil infringement of taking someone else’s intellectual property or passing it on to others through file-sharing without any compensating payment is, in plain English, wrong.” — the government might think so; the millions of people who do illegal filesharing disagree. There’s a saying: if one person breaks the law they’re probably a bad person; if millions of people break a law, it,s probably a bad law. If the government go through with this, they’ve on a collision course with the British people’s view of morality, and in the end the govmt will lose.

p.18: item 49: The govmt are talking about subsidizing “culturally British video games”. How bizarre.

p.19 item 55: some of the TV license might go to people other than the BBC. I bet the beeb are thrilled with that

p.105 here the real meat begins on combating “piracy”

p.110 anti piracy rhetoric: “The Government considers online piracy to be a serious offence. Unlawful downloading or uploading, whether via peer-to-peer sites or other means, is effectively a civil form of theft. This is not something that we can condone, or to which we can fail to respond. We are therefore setting out
in this report a clear path to addressing this problem which we believe needs to result in a reduction of the order of 70-80% in the incidence of unlawful file- sharing.”
— this is both factually inaccurate and doomed to failure.

p.111: “Ofcom will require ISPs to accept two specific conditions. These are the obligations set out in the Interim Digital Britain Report, namely to notify account holders when informed in an agreed format that their account appears to have been used to infringe copyright and an obligation to maintain and make available (on the basis of a court order) data to enable the minority of serious repeat infringers to be identified.”

Note that thethe govtm will issue further detailed proposal on this. Also on p.111:

“the Government will also provide for backstop powers for Ofcom to place additional conditions on ISPs aimed at reducing or preventing online copyright infringement by the application of various technical measures. In order to provide greater certainty for the development of commercial agreements, the Government proposes to specify in the legislation what these further measures might be; namely: Blocking (Site, IP, URL), Protocol blocking, Port blocking, Bandwidth capping (capping the speed of a subscriber’s Internet connection and/or capping the volume of data traffic which a subscriber can access); Bandwidth shaping (limiting the speed of a subscriber’s access to selected protocols/services and/or capping the volume of data to selected protocols/services); Content identification and filtering– or a combination of these measures.”

— this is an anticlimax. Again all the details will be worked out later. I wonder how they will get round the problems with lack of due process of law that shot down France’s HADOPI law.

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5 Responses to Digital Britain

  1. Paul Leman says:

    Strange that the industry “experts” tout 2Mbps as OK – we get 2Mbs at the extreme end of a BT line (about 256kbps with BT and about 2Mbps with O2) and can listen to audio on iPlayer until contention switches in. Why does nobody ever talk about contention ratios?

    • cabalamat says:

      Why does nobody ever talk about contention ratios?

      So the industry can say they’re delivering a service that’s a lot better than what people are actually getting!

  2. Paul Leman says:

    You’ve said that the government are on a collision course with the British people’s view of morality. We’ve seen that most MPs and Ministers have no morals by spending our money on fripperies and then saying it was within the rules. This anti-piracy rubbish will have been sponsored by the music and film industry paying those involved with this report a “retainer” – all within the rules of course.

  3. Pingback: First Class posts on Tuesday | Letters From A Tory

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