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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Panorama: Are the net police coming for you?

    Panorama: Are the net police coming for you?

    The record industry claims to be losing £200 million a year to people downloading music for free and the government is introducing the Digital Economy Bill in an attempt to combat this.
    Artists including Billy Bragg and Kate Nash, and X Factor judge Louis Walsh discuss the bill and the impact of unlawful file-sharing on their livelihoods and the music industry in general.
    On iPlayer for those who missed it.

    BBC - BBC One Programmes - Panorama, Are the Net Police Coming for You?

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    £200 million? Sounds like an industry failing to adapt to new technology/change in the market to me - I watched the program last night and found it to be a now-typical 'dumbed down' 30 minutes worth of Paranoia rather than 60 minutes worth of Panorama like when I was a kid (Cue Victor Meldrew moment).

    Having said that it was thought provoking in a few areas but did leave me & t'missus with more unanswered questions than when we started.

    Will the bill even get through before the next General Election.?

    Right - off to iron my Pirate Bay T shirt

    Graeme

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    tech_guy's Avatar
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    IMHO it was a load of dumbed-down, scaremongering twaddle, with a few valid points thrown in for good measure. Nothing new and a waste of time watching. What's your take on it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tech_guy View Post
    IMHO it was a load of dumbed-down, scaremongering twaddle, with a few valid points thrown in for good measure. Nothing new and a waste of time watching. What's your take on it?
    So, about Panorama's usual level then.

    Remember when they used to have journalism?

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Its sad that when the BBC really can do good investigative journalism (Newsnight, Horizon, lots of stuff on radio) they can also be reduced to Daily Mail levels of twaddle like this.

    I want a discount on my TV license equivalent to the 30mins of my life the BBC wasted.

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    Michael's Avatar
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    I did watch the program and the amazing thing is all the consultants/professionals said the Digital Economy Bill won't work (which I agree with).

    Bitorrent itself is not illegal and neither is file sharing, but torrents or sharing of copyrighted material is illegal.

    When the Government want to tackle the problem of drugs they tarket the dealers and automatically you break the chain. The same approach should be used to target the websites who contain lists of torrents. It makes sense and I am pretty sure ISPs would be in a more supportive position.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Press Release from The Pirate Pary UK saying what we're all thinking:

    Pirate Party UK - Panorama: Separating Fact from Fiction

    The Pirate Party UK has come out as highly critical of the BBC's recent Panorama programme for its disappointing coverage of the Digital Economy Bill.

    Although Panorama attempted to give a fair hearing to both sides of the controversy surrounding the bill, it was ultimately considered inadequate. In particular, the BBC was criticised for its failure to get informed commentary from organisations opposed to the bill, such as the Open Rights Group, Coadec and the Pirate Party, meaning that the arguments both for and against the Digital Economy Bill were incomplete, largely misrepresented and often factually inaccurate.

    Even the title of the episode was misleading. This bill does not create any "Net Police" but is a private law, allowing companies to take action without being held to standards anywhere near as high as the police. The punishments the bill proposes are to be made without a trial and the protections the British justice system offers. It applies to the Internet and copyright the same "survival of the richest" (or those with the best lawyers) mentality that surrounds the UK's libel system.

    The programme quickly demonstrated an element of laziness by directly quoting a figure from the BPI as to the losses they claim the industry feels due to online copyright infringement - a figure the presenter failed to challenge. At no time has any evidence been published to support any claims of 'loss'. Such claims are often derived from estimates extrapolated from assumptions made about guesses and are wildly divergent depending on who is making the claim, even if they purportedly represent the same loss.

    Similarly the presenter never challenged the often repeated misunderstanding that the record industry - a middleman group that profits from the creative efforts of others - is essential to the greater music industry. Music existed for millennia before the recording industry existed, and will continue to exist long after the current blight business have been reduced to an unpleasant stain on the history of art and music.

    Those interviewed seemed only too happy to blame piracy for all their troubles - never questioning whether the closure of small record shops, or the decline in signing of new artists might be at least partly due to other causes, such as the convenience of online shopping (as seen in many other industries) or the unwillingness of the large record companies to invest in anything new or innovative.

    The government representative (Stephen Timms, MP) compared Internet use to electricity (noting that one should use both for legal purposes only) but failed to take the comparison further; electricity is not cut off at the mere allegation of unlawful conduct, nor do we expect electricity companies to spy on our usage. Electricity is seen as a vital utility and now most British people think the Internet is as well.

    While the programme studied the effect that technical measures targeted at one IP address on a family (noting correctly that the IP address could not even identify an offending subscriber) it failed to consider what effect this might have on other communal Internet services such as those in libraries, universities or even the open wireless projects being run by many businesses and even cities.

    Finally, it was suggested that there is an overall decline in music sales, something that even the BPI's own facts disagree with and that this was the "last roll of the dice" for the music industry when, as it was earlier pointed out, it is the record industry, if anything, that is suffering as more and more musicians and other artists realise the potential of the greatest technological, social and cultural development of the last 50 years.

    These are only the greatest of the mistakes Pirate Party representatives noted. Without an appropriate balance, it was impossible for these errors to be exposed, and misstatements were not met by corrections from those of the opposing view or the presenter. Allowing each side to respond to each other is a vital component of true journalism and debate. The lack of opposing views in the Panorama programme meant that it came frighteningly close to becoming a propaganda piece for the content distribution industry.

    Pirate Party leader Andrew Robinson said

    The BBC have let the public down by failing to present both sides of the argument. The Digital Economy Bill threatens many core principles of law; the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, the right not to be subjected to collective punishments, and the right to free speech. I looked to Panorama to warn the public of the dangers of a law quite literally written by the BPI, instead I saw a programme that was more akin to a press release on the behalf of the handful of major record labels that are pushing the bill through parliament.

    The Pirate Party stands firm, however, in it's defence of freedoms and honesty, and will be happy to provide evidence and factual statistics to the BBC, should it desire to publish corrections, or any other media representative that wishes to report on the facts, rather than half-baked hyperbole and scaremongering.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Domino View Post
    So, about Panorama's usual level then.

    Remember when they used to have journalism?
    They have not done that for years now.
    They only touched on the real problem for around 30 seconds - the fact that record companies are not generally needed now - that's why they are pushing for this 'spying law' - because of the low costs involved / softwareware / burning of CDs / Making of MP3's / Websites is so cheap, and most technical savy teens are able to do so, they just cut the record companies out of the loop. They don't like this hence the fuss.
    One day they may actually learn that if they charge £3 for a album / film etc - people may not mind paying that. Paying over £10 and sometimes £20 for a DVD / BR of course people are going to pirate.
    They have shot themselves in the foot and are looking for someone else to blame.

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    Galway's Avatar
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    Id like to see them try.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Domino View Post
    Remember when they used to have journalism?
    The media, the BBC, or Panorama?

    Whichever way, no.

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    lets start bouncing around german servers now so we cant be tracked for talking about

    i download loads of content on the net which is open source (on my connection that is) via utorrent so i better not get done.

    But i have to say 80p a track is a rip off, its not like your even getting it on a disc. so they should reduce it to like 30p or 5 for £1 i might buy a few then. but until then i not wasting my money on buying music till i have downloaded to see if i like it or not.

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    dayzd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patty04 View Post
    But i have to say 80p a track is a rip off, its not like your even getting it on a disc. so they should reduce it to like 30p or 5 for £1 i might buy a few then. but until then i not wasting my money on buying music till i have downloaded to see if i like it or not.
    I agree with previous posts about genuine music/video media being expensive, but you have to remember the artists involved in this, as well.

    Charging £1 for 5 tracks is obviously a bargain for the consumer, but for the artist or band who created those tracks, it's not. Last time I knew any representative numbers (given that was a three or four years ago now), artists/bands didn't often receive more than about 10% of revenue generated from sales.

    Even if you loved it, as in, music was all you've ever wanted to create and devote your life to because nothing else gives you the same pleasure and feeling of sharing and achievement, would you do it for just 2p per song?

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    ZeroHour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abullett View Post
    Even if you loved it, as in, music was all you've ever wanted to create and devote your life to because nothing else gives you the same pleasure and feeling of sharing and achievement, would you do it for just 2p per song?
    But I think that artists should get more from downloads tbh. The argument about distro costs is out the window there and any savings thanks to online should ALL be put to the artists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroHour View Post
    But I think that artists should get more from downloads tbh. The argument about distro costs is out the window there and any savings thanks to online should ALL be put to the artists.
    Which is of course why the record companies are making such a fuss - they screwed up and now they are throwing their dummies out the pram because the massive slice were getting has alomst dried up.
    They have to blame someone apart from themselves. It's typical bad management - will we be bailing out the record companies when they go bust like we did the banks because I'm fed up having to pay for other arseholes cockups with my taxes....

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    Quote Originally Posted by patty04 View Post
    But i have to say 80p a track is a rip off, its not like your even getting it on a disc. so they should reduce it to like 30p or 5 for £1 i might buy a few then. but until then i not wasting my money on buying music till i have downloaded to see if i like it or not.
    I wonder if I should link this to the other thread where teachers are being criticised for wanting to pirate software? Looks like other people are just as bad at stealing music!

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