Perhaps it’s not so bad

Paul Carr in his column on TechCrunch, wrote an interesting and balanced article on the DE Bill. He argues that, the law is not that bad but that

  • businesses should not be disconnected, only fined and only if it can be proved they have colluded,
  • site filtering should be replaced by borrowing from the US DMCA by implementing take down notices and rights holders and their agents should be fined for vexatious behaviour
  • there isn’t a rush, speedy law is usually bad, this can wait ’till after the election but most importantly ’till after a proper debate

He has attracted a number of comments, some of them lucid and pertinent and some just stupid.

I have commented a couple of times, you can make your mind up which category mine are in, but I said,

I agree with those who thank you for your research and congratulate you on your balance. I also agree with you that if you accept copyright is a legitimate defence of time invested in production then the law may not be so bad, but if copyright and its enforcement create all these problems and costs identified by your more lucid correspondents, then I agree with Tom Watson, its time for new copyright law, not better enforcement of the one we have.

BTW it true there is no fair use in UK law? Will the provisions of the DE Bill as they currently stand open wifi providers to jeopardy? What’ll happen to BT Fon and commercial wifi offerings from the like of T-Mobile? Are we really going to threaten Universities with disconnection?

The fair use question is important in the light of Paul’s proposals to implement take down notices. In the US, one has a “fair use” defence; it would seem not here. In reply to a comment on criminal punishment , I said,

Its not a crime, its a civil infringement, the DE Bill seeks to make it a crime so the police will chase copyright infringers.

Copyright creates monopoly, monpolists restrict supply, increase prices and earn super profits. Super profits are the theft not copying digital content. Musicians are free to sell their time like the rest of us. For some there’s a good living to be made playing music, they need to get back to earning wages like the rest of us.

There’s no such thing as intellectual property merely people with time to sell and good ideas.

Its a bad law, and shouldn’t be passed.

and I also added to a thread on the industrial policy dimensions.

I think I stand by that. If copyright and its enforcement create all these problems and costs…, then I agree with Tom Watson, its time for new copyright law, not better enforcement of the one we have. It’s a bad law, and shouldn’t be passed.

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