In 2010 the UK introduced the Digital Economy Act, legislation designed in part to crack down on the unlawful sharing of copyrighted material, but three years on and the implementation of the law is still more than a couple of years away.
Not surprisingly the music and movie industries remain keen to see action taken against errant subscribers and unlicensed sites that they blame for millions in lost sales every year. But while DEA implementation is still some time away, the government has been listening.
Behind the scenes negotiations are taking place on a voluntary “three strikes” style scheme and operating right now is a new City of London Police unit focused on making life difficult for unauthorized torrent and other file-sharing sites.
Then yesterday there was more news that strongly suggests that the government intends to take a tougher line on copyright infringement. Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he had appointed Mike Weatherley MP as his advisor on intellectual property.
Weatherley, who says he will focus on enforcement issues relating to the creative industries, is no stranger to the entertainment world. The chartered accountant was the former finance director of record producer Pete Waterman’s empire. He later became Vice President (Europe) for the Motion Picture Licensing Company.
The 56-year-old founder of Parliament’s Rock the House competition, is also a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Intellectual Property Group which was launched back in 2003 to raise awareness and rally against copyright and related infringement.
Given his background and support for the new Intellectual Property Crime Unit, there can be little doubt that Weatherley’s appointment signals a hardening of attitudes by the government against piracy and in support of the entertainment industries.
“I am honored to be been appointed as the Prime Minister’s adviser on Intellectual Property. The creative industries are incredibly important to Britain’s economy so it is only right that the Government focuses on enforcement issues,” Weatherley said in a statement.
“I look forward to working with the Prime Minster and my ministerial colleagues on addressing the challenges that face the film and music industries.”
While Weatherley’s new role is an unpaid position, he will no doubt work hard to ensure that his colleagues in Big Music aren’t remunerated in the same fashion.