For years now we have heard the loud voices of those representing the movie, music and TV industries as they call for tougher and tougher legislation in order to force people to consume media, their way. These entities really believe that the file-sharing genie can be somehow squeezed back into the bottle by the use of overwhelming force. The battle lines have been drawn but make no mistake, these tactics will not win this war – the Internet and empowerment of the individual has put an end to all that.
Considering the aggressiveness shown by some elements of the aforementioned groups – who would have infringers permanently kicked off the Internet if they could have their way – it is very rare indeed for influential people traditionally placed in the pro-copyright camp to make statements that are in harmony with their supposed opposition. Tomorrow, therefore, should prove a very interesting day.
After moving on from her position as Vice President of Digital Content for BBC Worldwide, Alice Taylor became Commissioning Editor for Education at the UK’s Channel 4. She is also the significant other of copyfighter, journalist, sci-fi writer and Boing Boing editor, Cory Doctorow.
Taylor will publish an essay tomorrow, commissioned by Perspectives, a government-funded website created to engage with Scotland’s creative industries. If the taster published today is anything to go by, it should prove explosive.
The Digital Britain report along with proposals for disconnecting Internet users for copyright infringements is quite the hot topic at the moment, but Taylor isn’t having any of it, and is scathing of those pushing for such action.
“We must not let these dying behemoths take away someone’s internet access – and connection to the world – for some accusatory, unprovable ‘piracy’ claim, ever,” she will write, probably accompanied by the unified rapturous applause of the entire online community.
Taylor will also take on Feargal Sharkey’s UK Music, calling them “copyright maximalists” and criticizing them for asking consumers to “respect copyright.”
In a further display of downright common sense, Taylor notes that piracy is “simply demand where supply does not exist,” and that the use of “pointless protection mechanisms” simply “restricts a person’s ability, as a creator, to be discovered.”
It’s been said a million times before, but the entertainment industries simply must find a way to compete with free. Services like Spotify are a step in the right direction, but their over-protective structures have the turning circle of a supertanker and unfortunately for them, something needs to be done right now. That “something” is not new legislation either.
With pragmatic individuals like Alice Taylor speaking up for common sense and telling it how it is without all the usual corporate waffle, hopefully we can get there sooner rather than later.