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UK Consumers To Pay For Online Piracy

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the music-rolls-down-hill dept.

Businesses 300

Wowsers writes "An article in The Times states that UK consumers will be hit with an estimated £500m ($800m US) bill to tackle online piracy. The record and film industries have managed to convince the government to get consumers to pay for their perceived losses. Meanwhile they have refused to move with the times, and change their business models. Other businesses have adapted and been successful, but the film and record industries refuse to do so. Surely they should not add another stealth tax to all consumers."

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300 comments

This makes my day. (3, Interesting)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30579756)

Anytime I feel bad about the current state of affairs here in America a story shows up with EU, UK, Australia, or Canada doing something that would be worse. It makes me remember that we haven't hit those points yet so we always have somewhere else to look at whatever policy in practice before we have to deal with it

Re:This makes my day. (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30579856)

Actually, this is much worse than in Canada. Here, we pay a tax on recordable media [tapes/CD-Rs/DVD-Rs/etc (not HD's yet)], which is to pay for copying of copyright songs (and it only took them more than 5 years to actually pay out some of the money to actual artists). But it also eliminates the legal liability of being sued by the major labels for downloading music. It's a tradeoff, for which the major labels are fighting to change politically [so they can keep collecting the tax, but go back to being able to sue downloaders].

But in the UK, this new tax sounds like they are paying the labels [er, I mean the artists], but the labels still retain the right to sue [so basically everybody is paying into a fund to sue individuals].

Re:This makes my day. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30580010)

The tax is only on CD-Rs and audio cassette media, and personal media players (as somehow wanting to play your legally downloaded mp3s entitles the record companies to an additional tax, go figure). The tax does not apply in any way to DVDs.

Re:This makes my day. (1)

etenil (1645213) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580138)

Then the situation is at least the same in Europe (France and Switzerland, I believe UK too): we pay taxes on any removable support and hard drives to the record industry. IT professionals were more than unhappy about this decision at the time it was taken in France, but the government (probably sponsored by its many friends from Univers sale) didn't pay any heed to them.

Re:This makes my day. (1)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580174)

Same over here in Austria and Germany. Germany even has (or had?) a tax on printers, because you could "copy copyrighted material".

Re:This makes my day. (2, Funny)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580256)

But how do they check what you're copying, and therefore what artist/writer to send the money to? Well, if nobody knows, I guess they can just keep the money for themselves, right?

Re:This makes my day. (2, Interesting)

muuh-gnu (894733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580382)

They assume that artists selling the most are also being copied the most, so they get the greatest part. Or so they say, because the allocation weights are kept as business secrets, so nobody really knows how much artists really get. They simply get "something" and have to be fine with that.

Also (surprise, surprise) the private encashment companies keep a hefty processing fee for themselves.

As basically any other country, the Germans are simply too dumb and too comfortable to break out of the same media political party complex. The media supports the big parties politically, the big parties support the business models of the media. It sucks big time, but theres nothing you can do about it when the other 80 Million people dont care.

Re:This makes my day. (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580234)

Netherland too. There's a tax on audio cassettes and recordable CDs (which annoys people who want to use CDs to backup their own data), but not on MP3 players yet, I think. And downloading copyrighted stuff is explicitly legal (but uploading isn't, so no torrenting). Of course the industry wants to tax harddisks too, and they want downloading to become illegal. And they might get that second one, but it looks like they'll lose the CD tax if that happens.

Re:This makes my day. (1)

jeti (105266) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580366)

Lucky you. Over in Germany, we pay a similar tax on blank media. But it's only legal to copy content from sources that are not obviously illegal and are not copy restricted. As you can guess, the lawyers of the entertainment industry tend to consider all torrents to be obviously illegal.

Re:This makes my day. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30580400)

Actually, this is much worse than in Canada. Here, we pay a tax on recordable media [tapes/CD-Rs/DVD-Rs/etc (not HD's yet)], which is to pay for copying of copyright songs (and it only took them more than 5 years to actually pay out some of the money to actual artists). But it also eliminates the legal liability of being sued by the major labels for downloading music. It's a tradeoff, for which the major labels are fighting to change politically [so they can keep collecting the tax, but go back to being able to sue downloaders].

But in the UK, this new tax sounds like they are paying the labels [er, I mean the artists], but the labels still retain the right to sue [so basically everybody is paying into a fund to sue individuals].

Actually, this' much worse than in UK. Here (in Spain), we pay a tax on recordable media [tapes/CD-Rs/DVD-Rs/etc AND HD's], which is to pay for copying of copyright songs (and it will never be paid to actual artists, just it get lost in the labels, er. I mean the way). Our constitution let copy & transfer p2p music, videos and text (programs is illegal), but they keep trying sueing us for downloading music (when we pay tax on recordable media and in the recorders and in the Internet conection and in the original too).

Re:This makes my day. (3, Funny)

mhwombat (1616301) | more than 4 years ago | (#30579868)

Yes! For instance, our Australian policy of public health care gave the American public a chance to see how such things work overseas, fortunately meaning they had ample warning about the DEATH PANELS!

Sigh. Nevermind. You're right, I'm just bitter about Conroy. It's so embarrassing; we can't take him anywhere.

Re:This makes my day. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30579870)

You're fucking stupid. Every story that makes you feel good about America is a portent of what's to come.

Re:This makes my day. (5, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30579882)

"First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me."

Reveling in schadenfreude does no one any good. As an American, I'm truely saddened at what's happening in other nations. They can equally say the same about us too, and rightfully so. Such actions should be universally condemned.

Re:This makes my day. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30580434)

"First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me."

Reveling in schadenfreude does no one any good. As an American, I'm truely saddened at what's happening in other nations. They can equally say the same about us too, and rightfully so. Such actions should be universally condemned.

are you seriously trying to compare this to the holocaust? You are a cretin

RE:This makes my day. (2, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30579976)

Anytime I feel bad about the current state of affairs here in America a story shows up with EU, UK, Australia, or Canada doing something that would be worse.

But AQIS (Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service) still must operate inside Australian law, which gives me protection. So I cant be arrested at an Australian airport and held without charge unless I've violated a law, which means I've been charged. This may make you feel better but AQIS and the AFP are a long way off from being a TSA and declaring certain areas to be "rights free" zones.

At worse, Australia is talking about a filtering system that will be easily defeated by a VPN tunnel to Singapore (yes, its still only talking, nothing has actually been implemented yet), it's significantly more difficult to do an end run around a US airport.

Also if you read TFA, you'd also know that this bill hasn't passed yet.

Proposals to suspend the internet connections of those who repeatedly share music and films online will leave consumers with a bill for £500 million, ministers have admitted.

I know that you're a USian and I have a policy against attacking people who do not use English as their primary language but "proposal" does not mean "signed into law".

The US introduced far worse laws like warrant-less wiretapping or giving the TSA carte blanc, so when you are in a glass house its a very good idea not to throw stones.

Re:This makes my day. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30580092)

I know that you're a USian

Only eurotrash would use such a ridiculous term.

The Engilsh langage ought to be called the USian language, since the majority of its native speakers reside there.

Go fuck yourself.

Re:This makes my day. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30580406)

so when you are in a glass house its a very good idea not to throw stones.

This assumes that you like living in a glass house.

Re:This makes my day. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30580222)

unfortunately, america has lost its cowboy spirit. we won't come up with our own simple solution. we'll just copy this oppressive british solution. the tax on recordable media seems like good common sense to me. everyday, i think more and more about moving to canada.

Know your enemy (5, Informative)

Smegly (1607157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580314)

Anytime I feel bad about the current state of affairs here in America a story shows up with EU, UK, Australia, or Canada doing something that would be worse.

Dont' let that lull you into a false sense of security - The US is the main actor behind most of these laws being passed so you will probably find that it is just the boiling frog method of shafting these laws in. Know your enemy. "THEY" are the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) [iipa.com] , and they have the full political clout [ustr.gov] of the US government behind them - working to subvert democratic process in just about every country in the world [iipa.com] via stealth taxes/three strikes/no presumption of innocence for the sheeple. Countries sign on to this in exchange for "Free Trade" deals. Examples:

New Zealand Reintroduces 3 Strikes [slashdot.org] :
"IIPA testifies in support of the initiation of negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement [ustr.gov] (TPP FTA) with Singapore, Chile, New Zealand, Brunei Darussalam, Australia, Peru and Vietnam."... "Specific problems in some of the TPP countries are outlined in the Special 301 reports from 2009 for Chile [iipa.com] , Peru [iipa.com] , Brunei [iipa.com] , and Vietnam [iipa.com] ".
Where "specific problems" mean: No three strikes laws, no trade deal.

Spain's Proposed Internet Law Sparks Protest: [slashdot.org]
IIPA report card on Spain [iipa.com] . resulting [expatica.com] US political clout [latimes.com] result: local laws and taxes supporting mafiaa industry.

The sad part is that even though countries that want to be in on these trade "deals" are required to implement draconian anti-internet laws and filters [wikipedia.org] , obliged to extradite civil cases to the US for trial (software piracy in this case) [wikipedia.org] , the resulting "Free Trade" agreement rewards generaly do not benefit [wikipedia.org] the countries involved! Which begs the question, who does benefit... perhaps just the politicians who signed off on the deal?

The only way I can see to fight this kind of slide is to create a black list of any group/industry that lobbies any government in support these kinds of anti-democratic process trade deals. If any group supports trade deals that required destroying the internet, then the internet could become one humongous nightmare of bad press blog artices against your industry group. Seems only fair - shouldn't be able to have their cake and eat it too.

Re:This makes my day. (2, Interesting)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580328)

It seems UK residents have just payed for allot of content. I hope they download it.

Great! (4, Funny)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30579766)

Now when anybody in the UK contemplates pirating from the Big Ones, he'll know they are already reimbursed for it.

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30579778)

Yep... Kinda like the plans to have every broadband subscriber pay a "small" monthly fee and be allowed to download freely... Only this way, they get to pay the fee, and STILL not be allowed to download at will!

Re:Great! (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580050)

And the added tax makes the product more expensive and less attractive to buy. Vicious cycle maybe.

true (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30579776)

As much as im against RIAA, i must say that this is the right move to do. Piracy is theft, and matters of law enforcement are the governments job, not the private companies.

Re:true (1)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30579802)

Yes, but about their "percieved losses": "money we could have made" 'lost revenues'.

Re:true (-1, Flamebait)

SuperDre (982372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580168)

Well, that's easy to say if it ain't your income that is being stolen... Every illegal download is a loss, as normally the only way to legally watch that movie is by paying (or waiting for it to be shown on the telly, but also then the movie has been payed for).. So every illegal download can be counted as a missed sell.. Don't come with that crap like: oh but otherwise I wouldn't have bought it anyway.. You watched it, so you owe them money, even though you might have found it crap... But sadly that's a concept/reality that is not understood by some people (or they do know it, but act like they don't)..

Re: ding (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30580250)

ding ding ding!

were it not for illegal downloads, I wouldn't have come across, say, Russian popular music--or at least I wouldn't have been able to get my hands on it. artists like Kolibri () and Zemfira (Z) would've completely passed my radar.

now, it's another thing if ordering cds or buying mp3s from them helps them much...

Re:true (2, Interesting)

SCPRedMage (838040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580368)

Don't come with that crap like: oh but otherwise I wouldn't have bought it anyway.. You watched it, so you owe them money, even though you might have found it crap...

Sorry, but you don't get to withhold arguments from the rebuttal.

The true "loss" that the industry suffers from piracy is the total they would earn if piracy did not exist at all, minus what they earned in reality; this magical "you watched it you owe them" concept doesn't apply to actual losses. The simple fact of the matter is that not every download would have translated into a sale without piracy. Be it a poor college student who cannot afford to purchase the same quantity of movies they download, or someone who's already purchased a copy, and is downloading a copy for convenience, or even a person who, should piracy not be an option, would buy a USED copy (meaning no money from that purchase goes to the movie industry), not every one would buy a brand new copy.

But don't confuse this with a defense of piracy; I believe quite strongly that people should be compensated for their work. I just believe a little more strongly that the entertainment industry's conduct towards it's customer base has been morally reprehensible, ie using scare tactics against innocent people because they're convinced that their half-assed unlicensed investigations are accurate. Not to mention to absurdity of decrying piracy as "killing the industry" while reaping record profits, all the while begging the government for "fixes" that erode the public's rights and cost innocent people money. This isn't even mentioning the outright fraud committed within the industry itself (do a search for "Hollywood accounting" if you want to know why most of the top grossing movies in history have either "barely made a profit", or in some cases made a "loss").

I will spell it out clearly, just for those of you who haven't caught on yet: this isn't about them recouping their supposed losses. This is about them raping our rights and making more money, any way they can.

Re:true (1)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 4 years ago | (#30579828)

If this were an act of law enforcement and the money were a fine, I believe some sort of trial would be required.

What's actually happening is that the UK's government is forcing ISPs to warn people who they believe are breaking the law. Of course, ISPs are saying that this is expensive and that they plan to pass the costs along to consumers.

I think this is going to be a laughable clusterfuck.

Re:true (4, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30579934)

What's actually happening is that the UK's government is forcing ISPs to warn people who they believe are breaking the law. Of course, ISPs are saying that this is expensive and that they plan to pass the costs along to consumers.

I think this is going to be a laughable clusterfuck.

It's worse than that.

The UK's government is forcing the ISPs to spend money to augment the benefits of the media business.

So, essentially, business A is paying the government to force business B to raise his prices and spend the money in business A's benefit.

And it won't be a clusterfuck because it's currently impossible to prove whether the imagined benefits will in fact exist.

Re:true (1)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580058)

And it won't be a clusterfuck because it's currently impossible to prove whether the imagined benefits will in fact exist.

I was thinking that it would be one for that reason, as well as the gray legality, but upon further thought you may be right. The ISPs might not be able to actually do as ordered, but they'll spend money on creating a department of Bill X Compliance, pass that cost onto the consumers, and it won't be possible to prove that it isn't having any major effect. After all, the media companies can just claim that the piracy rate would have increased even more if it weren't for the ISP's efforts...

I'm not sure what the bill's chances are of being passed (the summary says "will", but it's a "would" if I understand the article correctly).

Re:false (1)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580208)

Re:false (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30580264)

Yes it is. You can spin it all you want, but it is. And the whole "piracy generates revenue so it's good" is pure bulshit. If it really did, artists are free to give their art for free, if they feel it would benefit them.

Also, if you are against copyright, you are against software licenses, which means you think that MS should be free to violate GPL.

piracy? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30579780)

So it won't be piracy anymore, they will just be taking delivery on the goods they paid for.

Re:piracy? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30579812)

I'm laughing here at how true this is.

Or we could label it as a bailout. Y'know. The more US of A feel to it.

Not quite.. (5, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30579792)

Meanwhile they have refused to move with the times, and change their business models.

On the contrary. They found that their old business model wasn't profitable enough so they switched to the far more lucrative business model of convincing the government to subsidize them. With the old model people could vote with their dollars (including piracy) but this new model removes all of those pesky market forces entirely.

Re:Not quite.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30579916)

Any resource with a price tag is subjected to the market force. Since law and govt policy is something that can be purchased, there is a market for that. I hate to say it but it seems that the recording "industry" is simply a winner of that market, for now.

And to reply to your sig, the "job" IS the needed product, just not one needed by you and me, whose need doesn't matter anyway.

Re:Not quite.. (5, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580278)

Society has no obligation to break windows so that the window maker has a job. The recording industry is by any reasonable standard, a failure without government intervention on their behalf. They no doubt employ thousands of people but they no longer feel the need to produce anything so their reason for being no longer exists. The resources squandered on providing jobs for doing worthless tasks are better allocated elsewhere.

Re:Not quite.. (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580046)

If the ACTA treaty passes, the whole world will pay. Isn't is a general rule of business to offload expenses that should be yours to the taxpayers?

The "governments" will loves this as all those deep packet inspections mandated in ACTA will reveal tons of info on everyone that they can have without silly things like warrants or probable cause.

Everyone is happy.

This is what happens when any group gets to be so rich and powerful that thay (**IA) no longer have customers to be sold, but consumers to be culled.

So, there.

Suckers (0, Troll)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30579806)

Meanwhile in Asia where I live (and where most of the piracy happens) I happily download as much as I want. Thanks for subsidizing me UK citizens!

This is only important to the UK government because the they don't have any industry left. Everything in the UK is service based so without patents, copyright, etc they'd be a pathetic nation of unemployed losers who are too snobby to take lower class jobs. oh wait!

I just wonder... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30579820)

How much of this money will the artist see? Wouldn't suprise me if it was zero. Still, the real losses are worth $0 too so it's just another industry bailout in an industry posting record profits.

Re:I just wonder... (2, Insightful)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 4 years ago | (#30579880)

How much of this money will the artist see? Wouldn't suprise me if it was zero.

Of course it will be zero. This is the mafiaa; what else would it be?

Re:I just wonder... (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30579972)

How much of this money will the artist see? Wouldn't suprise me if it was zero.

Of course they will see this money!

In the millions and millions of sales produced by the erradication of piracy. Obviously.

See, for each extra 25 pounds you pay to the ISP, a pirate is forced to spend 50 on music. Of those 50, the UK media company takes 20 and the artist's company, which currently resides in the United States will receive the other 30. Of those 30, the artist will see 1.25.

It's all so cristal clear I'm amazed they didn't create the law before the ISPs even existed. After all, you could've sung a song on the phone, stopping a pirate from buying it three of four times.

Doesnt this make Pirated stuff, now free to all? (2, Informative)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30579850)

If everyone is being taxed for the "perceived loss", shouldnt that then make piracy legal? Wouldnt the pirated material being downloaded have been paid for by the people... thus making piracy completely legal?

Re:Doesnt this make Pirated stuff, now free to all (4, Insightful)

SakuraDreams (1427009) | more than 4 years ago | (#30579992)

The music/movie industry want their cake and eat it too.

Re:Doesnt this make Pirated stuff, now free to all (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30580040)

Someone should have told them the cake is a lie.

Re:Doesnt this make Pirated stuff, now free to all (2, Funny)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580282)

So do a fair proportion of the 'consumers' of the movie and music industries - but we aren't allowed to talk about that side of it here on Slashdot...

Re:Doesnt this make Pirated stuff, now free to all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30580428)

This was a triumph.
We're making a note here: huge success!

It's hard to overstate our satisfaction.

Re:Doesnt this make Pirated stuff, now free to all (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580522)

What you're saying is that for example Sony make or made the CD/DVD writers and blank media, cassette tapes and decks, VHS tapes and decks, MiniDV camcorders/tapes, record players, amplifiers, cables etc. etc. then they moan when the very electronics they produced is used to copy the stuff their record and film production companies puts out.

Either Sony should be forced to be a electronics manufacturer or a film/music company, not both.

Fact remains, the politicians around the world are all corrupt.

Re:Doesnt this make Pirated stuff, now free to all (2, Interesting)

mhwombat (1616301) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580192)

If you read TFA they actually want to spend the money on trying to chase people who pirate. So it's not officially to "pay for the music", it's to pay for punitive measures - so the music industry won't make any money out of it unless this strategy is effective in increasing sales (which I seriously doubt).

So in the eyes of the recording industry and the government, no, they're not going to be any happier about piracy or consider it paid for. In the eyes of the public being "taxed for piracy", maybe - I would not be at all surprised if piracy increased as a result of this bill.

I'd be happier if they did tax directly to support free music downloads. This money is a sheer waste. If only we could have an evil recording industry, instead of a stupid one... surely enlightened self-interest couldn't be as bad as what we have now.

Obligatory Heinlein quote (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30579858)

"There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped or turned back, for their private benefit." - Heinlein

Re:Obligatory Heinlein quote (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30579974)

Heinlein was wrong. The ones who "come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped or turned back for their private benefit" don't do it by RIGHTS. They do it because the CAN.

And yes, they "shouldn't" even if they can, because it's not "right". But they have enough resources and it is they that decides what's right/wrong and what should/shouldn't be done.

Power always override rights and morals because in the end, actual changes are made by what has been done and what is being done, not what "should" be done.

Re:Obligatory Heinlein quote (1)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580106)

Soap, ballot, ammo. So are you guys in the UK on ammo yet? Pretty goddamn close here in the US (for me anyway).

Re:Obligatory Heinlein quote (2, Interesting)

dkf (304284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580238)

Soap, ballot, ammo. So are you guys in the UK on ammo yet? Pretty goddamn close here in the US (for me anyway).

I'm not very excited about this Bill precisely because we're coming up to a general election which the incumbents are unlikely to win. At that point this Bill will be dropped (because it's associated with the previous administration) and we'll be back to square one, and *everyone* knows it. Think instead about it being there to help secure a directorship at a media company or two for outgoing politicians for the duration of the next parliament...

Re:Obligatory Heinlein quote (1, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580320)

Sorry, but copyright law really isn't something I am prepared to go to an armed conflict and kill people over...

Re:Obligatory Heinlein quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30580472)

you probably should be, i guarantee there is not one person in the general population who would be in favor of it. so you have a government that doesn't listen to it's people and wants to tax them unfairly. i guess some people value liberty more than others. maybe you should wait to stand up for yourself when there is no one left to back you up.

I struggle to understand their basis for argument. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30579896)

So, let me see if I understand this. These industries claim loss of profit for something where the people acquiring the product would not have paid for it anyway? I think the answer is simple really. Clamp down on the operations that are making money from stolen I.P., and turn over cash and assets that was made illegally. That is where real and quantifiable "losses" are. Anything claimed to be a loss where no money was exchanged, and where no data is gathered statistically becomes merely speculative. And isn't it convenient how Pirates are confused with downloaders. Yes, there really is a difference. One is the opportunistic thief that intends to merely take a copy of a product for their own use, the other is the opportunistic thief that wishes not only to copy your product but also wishes to make money from it. Now decide for yourself which is the actual pirate? Of course, the industry lumps them all together, but only talks about the downloaders and sharers who really don't tend to profit in a fiscal sense from what they do.

If you want to stop the law breaker, make in unprofitable for them personally to engage in such activities. Punishing the masses via hidden taxes which are alleged to be aimed at recovering/combating perceived losses merely serves to alienate people the people who you wish to be sympathetic to your cause. But the reality is that it isn't about failing business models or reclaiming "lost" profit, but about creating a new business model where you can make a claim about anything you like, win support from government, and acquire NEW profit without investing in an actual product. This is about adding value to their existing products... getting something for nothing as it were. All that guff about it being unfair to those poor wealthy media barons is merely a smoke screen, which governments and the majority of the unwashed masses are being blinded by.

The music and film industries are becoming nothing more than clever pickpockets on a grand scale, and using governments to use taxpayer's money to do their thieving for them.

"Look at the pretty performance I put on for you while my government stooge sneaks into your pocket to remove your wallet!"

Re:I struggle to understand their basis for argume (5, Interesting)

MacWiz (665750) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580146)

One is the opportunistic thief that intends to merely take a copy of a product for their own use, the other is the opportunistic thief that wishes not only to copy your product but also wishes to make money from it.

The latter group sounds like it includes Sony, which has taken Idol outtakes and made albums that they don't feel obligated to pay the performer for their efforts. Sony also still owes the Bay City Rollers about $60 million from the 70s, which they haven't paid because Sony "lost" the original contract and isn't sure how to pay it out -- so they've kept it for 30 years. Then there is the list of 300,000 songs that all the majors put on compilation albums over the last couple of decades and never bothered to pay royalties on.

Now decide for yourself which is the actual pirate?

This would make me so reluctant to buy music (2, Interesting)

mhwombat (1616301) | more than 4 years ago | (#30579918)

Seriously, if I were in the UK, spending money on music at all would feel like being double-charged after this fiasco. I'd feel I'd already "paid" for it through taxes. The irony is that the money will be wasted on punitive measures, so the industry won't even profit from it - and if it causes music sales to drop, they will be even worse off.

I honestly suspect that normally music piracy encourages more music sales, not less. But now the industry has managed to shoot even that in the foot.

Re:This would make me so reluctant to buy music (2, Insightful)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580204)

An If I were you I'd stop buying music/movies all together wherever I am. This is a global crisis, an we should stick together regardless.
they may be first we're probably next.

Good example of piracy versus robbery (5, Insightful)

kinabrew (1053930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30579950)

With piracy, a company sells a copy and the buyer makes a copy for someone else(and whether that someone else would have bought a copy without piracy is debatable). If I buy a 99-cent song and give you a copy, that is "piracy".

With robbery, someone takes someone else's belongings. If someone takes your money without giving you anything and without your consent, that is "robbery".

This is robbery.

Re:Good example of piracy versus robbery (2, Insightful)

readthemall (1531267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580136)

And the original meaning of piracy is also taking someone else's belongings, just using ships in the sea. That is, robbery. People like Drake and Morgan did this, among many other.

What today *AA call "piracy" is just copying. They know they would look stupid if they want money for copying, and that's why they call it "piracy". Welcome our newspeak overlords ...

funny people (1)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30579978)

"We are confident that those costs will be a mere fraction of the stratospheric sums suggested by some ISPs, and negligibly small when set against their vast annual revenues."

This is from a recording industry spokesman.

Funny how they never talk about themselves in this way, even though it is vastly more true. Didn't they just have a record year, despite all the "we're all going to diiiieeee" whining?

They will NEVER adapt to the new world (4, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580006)

The content industries will NEVER accept the new world because they know that in the new world, they wont be the king of the hill anymore.
Right now in the old world, companies like Sony, Warner, Fox, Universal, Disney, EMI and Paramount are king of the hill.

With the new world order eliminating the huge production costs (you dont NEED a big studio full of gear to record a song anymore, you can do it in your garage with a PC, some software and some microphones to record with) and distribution costs (you can distribute your songs either for free or for pay online very easily without a middleman), you dont need the big dinosaurs anymore and they are doing everything they can to stop it from happening.

And unlike previous times when disruptive technologies were invented, those who stand to loose the most have the ear of government and are attempting to outlaw the disruptive technologies BEFORE they become mainstream.

They HAVE adapted to the new world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30580090)

As another poster put it, but worth repeating: the new business model is buying laws. Far more profitable. In the next step they'll be able to do away with the product altogether.

Re:They will NEVER adapt to the new world (1)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580212)

With the new world order eliminating the huge production costs (you dont NEED a big studio full of gear to record a song anymore, you can do it in your garage with a PC, some software and some microphones to record with)

I wander why they didn't try to kill those products .....

Re:They will NEVER adapt to the new world (1)

readthemall (1531267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580290)

With the new world order eliminating the huge production costs (you don't NEED a big studio full of gear to record a song anymore, you can do it in your garage with a PC, some software and some microphones to record with) and distribution costs (you can distribute your songs either for free or for pay online very easily without a middleman), you dont need the big dinosaurs anymore and they are doing everything they can to stop it from happening.

If it is about the music, you are right. When it comes to movies, it is not that simple. Good film cameras, films, lenses, and lightning are expensive, and cannot be substituted with handheld digital cameras.

Re:They will NEVER adapt to the new world (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580358)

If you want to shoot on film, sure, you have to pay big bucks but with the increase in the use of digital film-making and the growth in the capabilities of digital cameras (including digital SLRs with video record and digital video cameras), the cost for the kit you need to produce filmed content (even "HD" content) is comming down all the time.

Re:They will NEVER adapt to the new world (1)

readthemall (1531267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580512)

With digital cameras (and DSLRs shooting video) the cost is coming down, that's true. And when it comes in quality, it's like apples and oranges. Film is just better - it is a technology developed more than 100 years. Compared to film, digital is a toy. You think guys in Hollywood don't know their job and prefer film to digital just because they are lazy?

And I don't even want to start about the lightning - you need it no matter of what camera you use. For shooting friends on a picnic in bright shiny day you may get OK results with digital handycam. To shoot a dark scene so that it looks like "in the movies" you need serious lightning, for serious money.

Think of the opportunities! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30580018)

If laws like this are put to pass, think of the opportunities for various other business models!

"I published a shareware program which includes a payment of $10 after 30 days of use. This is not really enforced or even nagged on about. The software has had 200k downloads and 20 people have actually paid for it." => lost revenues $1999980 => get payment from government.

Or FLOSS-style: "Our team developed a popular webserver/database which we distribute for free, only getting revenue from support contracts. 50M downloads, yet only 2k acquire a $2000 yearly support contract." => lost revenues $99.996G => drive government to bankruptcy.

Or even: "I put up a stand to sell lemonade to passing people. I had $2 worth of soda, enough to serve 20 people, $0.5 each. Yet no-one bought anything (-10C weather might have had something to do with it). Instead they bought lemonade from the nearby megamart." => lost revenues $8 => get pocket money from the government.

This law also solves the classic underpants-gnome problem: 1) Bank on a failing business model, 2) ??? => Make the government pay for your failure, 3) Profit!

Seems like the bill hasn't passed Parliament yet (4, Informative)

Anonymous Froward (695647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580020)

Can somebody from the UK confirm? From TFA:

Mr Petter said that the Bill, which is being rushed through Parliament before the general election next year, had been poorly thought out.

And they're not giving music guys free money (yet). The proposal is about cutting off repeated offenders from the net.

TFA seems to imply that the cost of "identify offenders, notify them, and cut them off" procedure would amount to 500m GPB, though it is not very clear about the numbers and whatnot.

Re:Seems like the bill hasn't passed Parliament ye (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580184)

The only glimmer of hope is that they've drafted so many poorly thought out bills in the last few months, that they're now trying to rush through before May (when they'll be unceremoniously kicked out of office) that they won't have time to get them all through and so some of the really bad ones might not make it through.

Mind you, they seem pretty determined to get this Digital Economy (aka Make Mandleson Supreme Leader) Bill through, probably to ensure themselves of cushy jobs in the media industry once they're out of office.

ok... (1)

sixtuslab (1130675) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580024)

Just convinces me to get a dozen 100 TB HD's and dl the whole internet, all apps, albums and dvd rips that come out. I'll sell them to you when it all blows up =)

Re:ok... (1)

sixtuslab (1130675) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580036)

Also, producing an album or a movie nowadays is just as easy as it is to pirate them. The only thing that remains hard is to get a good idea, which seems lost to most.

Re:ok... (1)

manicb (1633645) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580342)

Depends on your production values. We've been trained to demand expensive special effects and audio mastering. It may be easier to change our demands.

Perceived enjoyment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30580156)

"Meanwhile they have refused to move with the times, and change their business models."

I agree their business models should revolve around the consumer getting free content. Just look at how well it worked for the Piratebay. We all would do well to emulate them by working for free like say those open source guys.

Re:Perceived enjoyment. (1)

I cant believe its n (1103137) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580508)

Perhaps after the restructuring of the IP world, creativity will again be needed in order to make money? "Me too - Album 54" wont really cut it in the new economy.

Have a look at this presentation [youtube.com] showing some examples on how Trent Reznor of the Nine Inch Nails managed to earn a couple of million US dollars selling music that was also available for free.

He EARNED his money by creating loyal fans and by giving them multiple reasons to want to pay for his music.

Re:Perceived enjoyment. (4, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580526)

Years ago it was rare for most people to regularly communicate with those in other countries, and if they did it was likely to be a very slow exchange involving letters written on paper... Movies would come out in one country and people in another wouldn't even realise until the same movie came out in their country 6 months later. And then there were format differences (NTSC, PAL etc) which made it more difficult to play foreign videos.
When i was younger, any media my parents bought me, they would make me copy and play the copy because as a child the chance of me damaging the original was pretty high.

Now, media is digital so the format difference becomes irrelevant, so they try to create an artificial difference (region coding)...
People regularly communicate worldwide, so when something comes out in one country people in another hear about it and get exposed to the marketing, only they have no legitimate way to obtain it... By the time it comes out in their country, it's already old news on the internet.

People want to copy the media they legitimately purchased onto multiple devices, portable players, media jukeboxes (large hard drives so lots of media is available immediately without the hassle of swapping disks), in-car players, backup copies...

People might want to play out of region movies/games, perhaps they bought some on holiday, perhaps some media isn't available in their country at all, although they will still be exposed to talk of it on the internet.

Nowadays, only "pirate" copies provide the fair use rights we were once able to exercise or would like to exercise using new technology.

Consider that the "pirates" are providing a superior product for a lower cost. In fact, if the pirates charged the same price their product would still be superior. Without artificial help from the government, the media companies business model simply couldn't exist.... Your tax dollars are paying to prop up a broken business model so that what little money you have left after tax can go to them too in exchange for a crippled product.

Summary is Wrong and Dumb (5, Informative)

Spasmodeus (940657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580172)

This bill is about requiring ISPs to shut off service to repeat copyright infringers, which the ISPs estimate will cost them (and by proxy, consumers) 500 million pounds.

It's not a "tax" and none of the money is going to subsidise the record and film industries, that's just complete crap from the summary writer, as is the crusty old "update your buisiness model, wah wah wah" copperlite.

The bill is also completely retarded, but you do no service to your cause by misrepresenting (and apparently, not even understanding) the enemy.

Re:Summary is Wrong and Dumb (1)

remmelt (837671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580270)

I don't know if you're just nitpicking, but try to see it this way.

- the recording industry lobbied for this bill
- the government passes the bill (not yet, but hypothetically)
- the bill forces raised cost for internet providers
- the cost will be passed on to customers

How is this different from a tax? And your use of scare quotes around tax makes it even more right: it definitely is a "tax".

The point is, if there would not be a recording industry or powerful lobby, this law would not have been proposed. The only reason that the recording industry is trying to get bills like this passed is because they're not making a profit like they're used to. They're not making that profit because they lost the easy (government supported!) monopoly on distribution. They lost it because the internet made it easy to copy material. The entire point of the story is that because the recording industries did not update their business model, they're not making the profit which they feel they're entitled to.

Sure, you and I know this. Slashdot knows this. Over here, it's like preaching to the choir, but you'll be amazed at how many people think that the RIAAs of this world are decent and right, while downloading the latest Britney from the Piratebay.

laws cost money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30580214)

If the entertainment industry can still bribe the government to obtain favorable laws, then maybe they're not that broke as they want people to believe.

Be careful when you play with matches... (1)

deblau (68023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580230)

Or you might get burned. It's not a far step from "the taxpayers are footing a massive bill" to "we should therefore nationalise the groups getting the money." The UK already has a television license, a music and movie license isn't beyond the pale.

Re:Be careful when you play with matches... (1)

Nevynxxx (932175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580484)

Bring it on. I could see the BBC radio folks taking the place of the big boys when they are mandated to as part of the license. ;P

it's reverse socialism! (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580248)

it is where the government pays the capitalists using taxes from the workers. Awesome!

Re:it's reverse socialism! (1)

hardkoresnerd (1709514) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580334)

"it is where the government pays the capitalists using taxes from the workers" Isn't this the very basis of Capitalism? Or at least the new form of Capitalism we are seeing? Just substitute "workers" for "proles". These Bel Air jack-a's can't handle loosing one cent of their bloated profits from illegal downloads - or god forbid - lowering the prices of music/movies. They might have to downgrade to a mansion in Beverly Hills. Imagine the horror!

As much as they want... (0, Redundant)

darthdavid (835069) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580254)

If they're already paying for it then the citizens of the UK should be able to pirate as much as they want. The record companies shouldn't be able to double dip like this...

Re:As much as they want... (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580394)

If you bother to read the article (I know you won't) then you may notice that what we're talking about is the cost of stopping filesharing, not subsiding it.

Did anyone RTFA? (1)

supersat (639745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580260)

This proposal, as described in the article, would enact DMCA-like takedown notices:

The Digital Economy Bill would force internet service providers (ISPs) to send warning letters to anyone caught swapping copyright material illegally, and to suspend or slow the connections of those who refused to stop.

The ISPs are claiming that this will cost them £25 per year per connection to enforce, and they want the content industries to pony up the money.

Now, I don't know about you, but £25 per year per connection seems like a lot. In the US, the process can be largely automated -- DMCA notices now often contain XML that ISPs can parse automatically and forward the notice without any human intervention.

And then there's this load of crap:

Ministers have not estimated the cost of the measures but say that the cost of the initial letter-writing campaign, estimated at an extra £1.40 per subscription, will lead to 40,000 households giving up their internet connections. Impact assessments published alongside the Bill predict that the measures will generate £1.7 billion in extra sales for the film and music industries over the next ten years, as well as £350 million for the Government in extra VAT.

I doubt a single household will give up Internet for this. The casual sharers will stop or migrate to hosted services. The hardcore sharers will likely find ways to make their actions harder to trace.

Re:Did anyone RTFA? (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580442)

£25 per year per connection seems like a lot. In the US, the process can be largely automated

Sure, and that automation comes free of any hardware/software/maintenance/running costs, yes? Apart from the fact that ISPs should not be made into another defective police force there is also the small matter that UK Courts are in my experience, well, crap (I'm being polite here). I can't explain why judges are so far removed from reality other than that there are maybe drugs involved, and a conman with a good story gets away with murder. No normal, decent family stands a chance. It's actually amazing how close the US and UK have become in certain matters..

Hasty Generalization at work (for you and me!) (1)

neurosine (549673) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580268)

Yes, because the general public should pay for the crimes of the public at large. It seems to me that people are going to copy information, and we're taking away a great deal from legitimate information sharing to satisfy the demands of some very moneyed interests. This isn't right, of course. It seems to be becoming the way of things though. It's also a great way of taking power away from people and giving it to wealthy organizations. They are sad because they lost money they pretended they could have made in some lab conditions. As long as the governments get a share...hey...that's better for everyone...yeah? No. But if we pretend hard enough and negotiate the terrain we can laugh nervously and talk about how this utter waste of resources has bought about a better tomorrow. If we don't they'll find out we may have downloaded a song or a show. That would really be tragic and potentially ruin our lives. Ironic.

Re:Hasty Generalization at work (for you and me!) (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580466)

Instead of downloading for free, people will go back to buying copies from market stalls and people in pubs...

Save the starving middleman? (1)

consonant (896763) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580330)

Thus spake a BPI spokesnoodle:

We are confident that those costs will be a mere fraction of the stratospheric sums suggested by some ISPs, and negligibly small when set against their vast annual revenues.

As opposed to file-sharing taking away 98% of the meagre pittance earned by the record industries annually? Riiight...

Corporate Communism (1)

osoroco (626676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580412)

If the record industries can do this, how long until an individual can convince the government that he should get paid for possible losses due to household robbery or carjacking? (yeah I know, never, they'll call him communist in .5 seconds) This is corporate communism

Music industry is destroying itself, and I am glad (1)

kegon (766647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30580536)

The music industry is morally bankrupt. Perhaps from the phoenix of a music apocalypse we can move on to something better: artists who are respected and supported, new talent nurtured and the people allowed to enjoy music without hassle.

I managed to buy my mp3 player before an "iPod tax" was introduced. Every single mp3 I have is ripped from my very own paid for CDs. I prefer CDs as they are better quality and have no compression artefacts; mp3 players are for music on the go. Why the hell should I pay a tax to compensate for something I haven't stolen ?

The fact is that 90% of the world's iPods are owned by 12-16 year olds with no disposable income to use to buy mp3s, but they can afford $150 of mp3 player and $400 smart phones. Something doesn't add up. Oh wait, perhaps it has something to with how the music industry has stifled talent, spent all the budget on manufactured boy/girl bands to up their profits, and now they're scared they've raided the cookie jar too many times and there is nothing left.

Let me put it this way: fscking Pop Idol and X Factor - no one is downloading mp3s of those "artists" to put on their iPod. Someone should tell the record companies straight: the days of mega sales are over, they were over 20 years ago. If you move to $0.99 an album and actually support your artists (real ones) then perhaps there is a chance of saving your industry.

While we're at it, someone should go over and explain it to Peter Mandelson and Lily Allen. Making ISPs cops and going after people who love music isn't going to help your cause.

I do not condone copying music, IMHO downloading something to preview it is not stealing, as long as you delete it or buy it within a reasonably short time frame; also mp3s (inferior quality and downloaded at users' expense) should not cost as much as a CD album (superior quality on a physical medium).

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