back to article Arrr: Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold

The Ministry of Fun says it isn't going to put the Digital Economy Act's anti-piracy measures into use – and will instead leave it to the creative industry's newer, kinder and gentler awareness campaign, Creative Content UK, to school digital pirates. Creative Content UK (CCUK) works by emailing copyright-infringing …

  1. lotus49

    It has been a source of considerable pleasure to me to see the collective inertia that has prevented any real action against copyright infringers. I wish the rights holders continuing success in ordering back the tides.

  2. SundogUK

    Idiot. If you stop paying people for doing creative work, people will stop doing creative work.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Idiot

    "If you stop paying people for doing creative work, people will stop doing creative work"

    There speaks a true Marxist.

    The only thing is, Marx, when he wrote Kapital, commented that the royalties wouldn't even pay him for the cigars he smoked while writing it. And there is a whole industry that exists to take money off people for publishing their books.

    If you stop paying people for creative work, they will still do it for amusement or perceived status and make money in other ways (live performance, exhibitions). The highest standards may not be reached but the amount of dross will probably be unchanged.It would be a different world, but not necessarily a worse one.

  4. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    That assumes that creative types think only about their financial recompense when doing their work.

    However you are right, creative people need to be rewarded compensate with their talent(although I realise that means a lot of TV and music personalities are grossly over payed). The question is however whether that recompense should be based on a 19th century business model which increasingly is anachronistic in the modern age.

    A photographer admitted to me once that there is little money to be made selling photos nowadays because the cost of technology and distribution has lowered the bar so much that virtually anyone can take pictures and sell them. Therefore he makes most of his money doing courses on how to improve photographers techniques. He still makes a good living using his creative talents, just not by selling his work. Instead they become his advertising.

  5. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

    Maybe his photos weren't very good?

    I expect working photographers, who are still eking out a living, might have something to say about that.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think you're the idiot here

    Given tat there's supposedly wide spread copying going on and given that people are still "creating" it's hard to see any merit to your argument.

    I think most people are fed up with being ripped off by the large media companies and their artificially created market.

    Personally I won't copy anything which has just come out at the cinema but I feel it's fair to copy stuff which has been on TV. I find it hard to see the moral difference between me videoing a film and me downloading it. I just wish the government would start to act on behalf of the majority of the people it represents rather than cuddling up to Hollywood.

  7. DanDanDan
    Headmaster

    "people need to be rewarded compensate with their talent"

    I believe you might have meant "commensurate with their talent", i.e. in proportion to.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "If you stop paying people for doing creative work, people will stop doing creative work."

    So more money might end up in medical research instead of going to the kardashians? Excellent, lets do it.

  9. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    Maybe his photos weren't very good?

    Judge for youself

  10. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    Ta.

    I appear to have a specific form of dyslexia where I only spot online mistakes after it is to late to change them.

  11. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    Maybe his photos weren't very good?

    By "his", I assume you meant Marx?

    Which obviously reminds me of the classic Tommy Cooper joke...

    “I was cleaning up the attic last week, with the wife--filthy, dirty, covered with cobwebs (but she's good with the kids). And I found this old violin. This old violin and this painting--oil painting. I took them to an expert and he said to me "what you've got there--you've got a Stradivarius, and a Rembrandt."

    Unfortunately, Stradivarius was a terrible painter and Rembrandt made rotten violins “.

  12. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  13. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Alternatively they looked at the success (or otherwise) of other's attempts (e.g. the French) and decided its not cost-effective.

    While availability of legal sources for some things is much improved (e.g. no DRM on audio after Apple's ITunes more or less forced the major player's hands), there are still problems in video actually getting what you want, when you want it, and in a format that won't piss you around in an attempt to play it.

    Some will always pirate, some may stop if they are threatened, but the results of, for example, Spotify on music piracy where it is available has been enormous and that is a lesson to be learned. Shame it has not benefited the artists as much :(

  14. SundogUK

    If every musician in the world had to rely on Spotify for their income, no one would be making music anymore.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You repeat the same nonsense

    Most musicians in the world have to pay to perform - they have to book halls even though nobody will actually pay to hear them. Organisations like Suzuki take lots of money off proud parents. I don't know who you are, but you seem remarkably ignorant of human nature. (Spike Milligan in his memoirs frequently recorded his incredulity that people would pay for his band to perform in WW2; people were paying them to do something they would have done for free because they enjoyed it so much.)

  16. EddieD

    Re: You repeat the same nonsense

    Robin Ince once commented that it cost him about 10,000 to appear at the Edinburgh Fringe (just setting up outside my office as I type) - and that figure has been confirmed by other performers.

    However, they then say that the exposure and publicity is worth it, as they will get better fees on the corporate circuit (one regular on Mock the Week said he got about 20,000 for one corporate gig).

    The folk that appear in the free fringe (highly recommended by me, btw) though, seem to make a profit by passing a glass around, but not the publicity, and not the corporate gigs.

    I'm sure there's a lesson there, but I can't quite find it.

  17. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    "If every musician in the world had to rely on Spotify for their income, no one would be making music anymore."

    I strongly doubt that. Artists have a different mindset to most of the people reading/posting here. Money and hourly pay rates are not the highest of priorities for everyone and especially not the arty crafty types.

    I've seen a number of posts here over the years by people deingrating activities which are "cheaper" (for the poster) to buy in rather than do themselves because they earn more per hour at work than it would cost to pay for the item/service/repair. They can't get their heads around the idea that when you are not actually at work, your time is not chargable by the hour. You are free to do whatever interests or amuses you. Many artists, of whatever bent, think like that about their "work".

  18. DanDanDan

    Re: You repeat the same nonsense

    "I'm sure there's a lesson there, but I can't quite find it."

    You have to speculate to accumulate.

  19. moiety

    The various rights industries have spent the last century at least screwing absolutely everyone and -now that the tables have turned somewhat- have discovered that they don't like being on the receiving end.

    Now copyright infringement *is* a problem and quite possibly some new law to cover the advances in technology might be worth doing. But not while the copyright laws are so bleeding ridiculous. Fair enough let creators have a chance to make a few quid; but 70 years past the creator's death? Fucking stupid. So there is going to be considerable resistance if things stay as they are.

    All rights holders need to do is make their products available everywhere, to everyone, at a reasonable price and much of their infringement problems will go away.

  20. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

    [no payment was supplied]’

    @moiety

    "All rights holders need to do is make their products available everywhere, to everyone, at a reasonable price and much of their infringement problems will go away."

    Well everyone wants cheaper beer.

    That's what everyone was saying ten years ago. Now everything pretty much *is* available for free or at very low cost; even Sky has unbundled itself, and flogs it off piece by piece via Now TV.

    Some people spend a fortune, most people don't mind paying ... but some people absolutely don't like paying at all. The average pay out by Spotify is shockingly low. This is now affecting production. Only rich kids can afford to do art now.

  21. veti Silver badge
    Pirate

    Re: [no payment was supplied]’

    "Everything" most emphatically is not available "for free or at very low cost".

    It may be to you. But if I want to watch a vintage Dr Who adventure, it'll cost me at least $17 - even if I'm lucky enough that it's one of the tiny handful that's actually available at all. A single short season of a modern show, such as Sherlock, will set me back $30. And there's no legal way of getting single episodes from either one, so if I just want to watch the one episode, I'm SOL.

    Or, of course, I can abuse my internet connection.

    As it happens, I don't do that. Never have. I just go without these cultural treats. And that works for me now, because I'm at an age where I just don't really give a damn' any more. But a few more years, my kids will be facing this same choice, and I'm pretty sure they won't feel the same way about it.

  22. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Re: [no payment was supplied]’

    @veti:

    "A single short season of a modern show, such as Sherlock, will set me back $30."

    "even if I'm lucky enough that it's one of the tiny handful that's actually available at all"

    The first two Sherlock seasons are on Netflix, to watch as many times as you like. Season 3 streamed a month ago.

    "I just go without these cultural treats. "

    Because you didn't want to pay $4.99?

    That is pretty fucking tragic.

  23. SundogUK

    And I'm guessing you get to decide what a 'reasonable price' is?

  24. SundogUK

    Re: [no payment was supplied]’

    Have you any idea how much it costs to clean up and convert to digital 'a vintage Dr Who adventure'? Do you expect them to do it for free?

  25. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    "All rights holders need to do is make their products available everywhere, to everyone,"

    I assume this means in whatever format the customer desires as well.

    Rights holders have made a mess out of re-releasing their material in new formats as they emerge. Programs that were released on celluloid (Get off my lawn, kid!) had to jump through more contractual hoops when VHS tape came out. And then Laserdiscs, DVDs, BluRay, streaming, etc., etc.

    Get artists to authorize a fee for each copy produced/sold on whatever media and let the market select the means to distribute them (plastic, raw bits, whatever).

    Netflix is having trouble moving people from postal delivery/return of DVDs to streaming because so much older (good) material is not and may never be released for streaming (ignoring the crap state of broadband in the USA as a factor for the moment).

  26. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Re: [no payment was supplied]’

    "Have you any idea how much it costs to clean up and convert to digital 'a vintage Dr Who adventure'? Do you expect them to do it for free?"

    The baseline is some pirate smuggling a camcorder into a theater or setting it in front of a television set. People are willing to download and buy that stuff for a small enough price. Everything else is an issue of more money for a higher quality product.

    At any rate, every rerun of vintage Dr Who on television these days is essentially a digital conversion. So its just a matter of the studio plugging a hard drive into the broadcast stream and then sending that off to the DVD pressing facility (or server farm).

  27. Tom 38 Silver badge

    Re: [no payment was supplied]’

    Sherlock is a wonderful example to choose. We've all paid for Sherlock. We paid for it to be produced, edited and broadcast. If I had set things up correctly, I could have recorded a pristine broadcast copy on to my hard disk to watch whenever I want.

    I can feel fine about that, as I've paid for it. The people producing the content have got from me what they were expecting to get from me.

    If I hadn't recorded it, you are saying the only reasonable thing for me to do is to pay Netflix for it. If I get a copy from a friend, or download it from iplayer and keep it for more than 21 days, then I'm now an tragic overcoat wearing freetard who is destroying the fabric of light entertainment?

    Now, you can say I don't have a *license* to record and keep this content indefinitely, and you are probably right - I don't really care what the law actually says about this, if you broadcast TV to me, I feel morally permitted to record it to watch whenever I choose, or to acquire a copy through any other means to watch whenever I choose.

  28. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Re: [no payment was supplied]’

    @ Tom 38

    "We've all paid for Sherlock".

    He's in the USA, and so he hasn't "paid for Sherlock". I'm pointing out he can watch them all, for a few cents per episode - and he says that's too much to pay. Do try and keep up.

  29. Turtle

    @moiety

    "Fair enough let creators have a chance to make a few quid; but 70 years past the creator's death? Fucking stupid. So there is going to be considerable resistance if things stay as they are."

    This bullshit again. People are pirating movies being made now, music being made now, books being written now, photographs being taken now. The idea that people wouldn't pirate the latest hit movie or record if only it were to enter the public domain in 50 years (or even 50 weeks) instead of 70 years past the creators' deaths is just stupid - people won't wait a fucking day if they don't have to, and Google and the other beneficiaries of content theft make sure that they don't have to wait at all.

    "All rights holders need to do is make their products available everywhere, to everyone, at a reasonable price and much of their infringement problems will go away."

    When everything is available for free, anything that isn't free is "overpriced".

  30. Purple-Stater

    Re: [no payment was supplied]’

    Sherlock has aired in the USA on PBS, which is largely taxpayer-funded, so it's completely fair to say that he's "paid for Sherlock".

  31. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Re: [no payment was supplied]’

    And as another poster pointed out, "the abysmal state of broadband" in the USA. I have a number of frinds in both rural and metro areas of the USA who simply have no option to get fast enough BB for reliable streaming of video so you can't generalise in that way.

    Does Netflix do downloads? Maybe then it would work even if "on demand" means downloading a 1 hour show in 2 hours.

  32. Tom 38 Silver badge

    Re: [no payment was supplied]’

    He's in the USA, and so he hasn't "paid for Sherlock". I'm pointing out he can watch them all, for a few cents per episode - and he says that's too much to pay. Do try and keep up.

    Well done for ignoring the argument. He may be in the US; I'm not, and me downloading Sherlock to watch is just as criminal as him downloading it - it is an example to demonstrate the idiocy of the law.

    If you take away freedoms we've enjoyed because technology has enhanced the utility of those freedoms, don't be surprised when we do not respect those laws.

  33. moiety

    Re: [no payment was supplied]’

    @Andrew Orlowski - everything is most definitely not available for low cost. Take your Netflix example...the US catalogue is much more comprehensive than the UK one for example and when people are getting carved out by artificial scarcity they will simply find other sources. Not to mention that in order to access a certain catalogue you usually have to subscribe to a service; cough up personal details; and if the media you want isn't there then you have to subscribe to a different service etc.etc. And cash often isn't the only 'price' you will pay for these services...you also have to factor in who your information will be sold to and how much of your subsequent life you will have to waste watching adverts and deleting spam etc.

    As regards pricing, we're still being charged 'physical copy' prices for digital media and that just isn't right.

    @Turtle - I was using the current copyright laws as an example of why giving rights owners more law is a bad idea. The copyright laws are unbelievably one-sided and -as things stand- work very much to the detriment of society as a whole. Revising copyright terms to something within the realms of sanity wouldn't stop piracy, no, but while they are in place in the current form people will resist further laws on the subject. I also don't think that you are 100% correct when you state that people won't wait a single day. I could live with waiting -say- five years for most of the current offerings; but then I'm old and don't give many fucks.

    The various rights holders have spent the last 20 years since the internet became popular essentially training us to become pirates. They've been treating their customers like The Adversary and now seem surprised that that's what we've become.

    Piracy is hard to compete with, this is true, and at the current state I'm not even sure that pricing is a major factor. It's certainly not the only one...I don't have to cough up any personal info for a pirated film; there's no DRM; there's no adverts; and it'll work for the rest of my life.

    People will pay a reasonable amount for legitimate media; but that media has to be available and relatively easy to get hold of.

  34. cynic56

    Re: [no payment was supplied]’

    "The first two Sherlock seasons are on Netflix, to watch as many times as you like. Season 3 streamed a month ago."

    Is this Netflix that you speak of some kind of Interwebby thing? If so, I'd love to use it. Our brainless and corrupt government have failed so comprehensively in creating our network infrastructure that It would take me all day to download half an episode through the 'wet piece of string' that passes for Broadband in my area - and that really is "f*ck*ng tragic"

    (On the plus side, I'm never going to be a top-notch dowloading freetard either)

  35. NoneSuch

    After passing DRIP in three days, MP's are skipping Parliament bathroom breaks. They're afraid they'll go to the loo and come back living in a Kratocracy.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    bunch of tw@ts

    Would this kind of thing earn me a letter : http://torrent.fedoraproject.org/torrents/Fedora-20-x86_64-DVD.torrent ? Bring it on, I have a special filing cabinet, its plastic lined, and the draw is always open.

  37. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

    Re: bunch of tw@ts

    "Would this kind of thing earn me a letter"

    No, I don't think that sort of file is on the BPI et al radar.

    C.

  38. Andrew Norton

    Re: bunch of tw@ts

    possibly.

    NONE of these so-called 'evidence' systems have ever had a single independent quality or accuracy analysis. And we all know from experience just how accurate these bots are at actually finding (and complaining) about what their claiming.

    So yes, it's quite possible.

  39. Goat Jam

    Re: bunch of tw@ts

    I just got a love letter from my provider for an infringement described as "1983 - Eliminator / ZZ Top - Eliminator.flac"

    Note the invalid forward slash in the alleged file name.

    Also there was a url in the "complaint" to a helpful website at "secure.digitalrightscorp.com" where I could enter my credit card details to "settle the infringement". Nice little earner that.

  40. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Re: bunch of tw@ts

    I see still you're still active in the Pirate Party, Andrew.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/05/26/european_voters_make_pirate_party_walk_the_plank/

    (Yar!)

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: 1983 - Eliminator / ZZTop

    What should be illegal is charging people to listen to that. They ought to pay people :-P

  42. Andrew Norton

    Re: bunch of tw@ts

    Indeed Andrew, it goes in cycles though, as you well know.

    Of course, there could be another possibility. In 2009 I was running Pirate Parties International for the 9 months leading up to the election, This time around we'd had a completely useless German (he's a LOTUS NOTES EVANGELIST for Zarquons sake!) who was kicked out a month before to be replaced by a Belgian and a Hungarian. Not enough time to overcome the damage, and they weren't me anyway.

    The other, more prosaic explanation had something to do with the major Swedish Media refusing to cover the party AT ALL, leaving them off predictions, and polls (but including some parties who have been around longer, and won no seats, and still didn't this time) So a significant percentage of the Swedish Population thought they weren't running before they got to the polls (and if you don't select a pirate party ballot you don't cast a vote for them).

    Personally, this year, I have been more focused on getting the US party (and it's composite state parties) running. It's the long game...

  43. beast666

    Arrrh Jim lad, splice the main-braces and scupper the wenches!

    Full steam ahead!

    Or something...

  44. tony2heads
    Pirate

    @beast666

    Some pirates back then were (and are now) wenches.

    http://www.bonney-readkrewe.com/legend.html

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: @beast666 - completely off topic

    Indeed. Ships of the line had women among their crews; among other things they operated the powder magazine during battle, a dangerous job.

    While on blockade duty, St. Vincent complained to the fleet that they were using too much water because the women were using it to wash clothes on board. Nelson told him that if he tried to stop the women from doing the washing, there would be mutinies. It was one of those things; Navy personnel knew about the realities of life on board but they were tacitly ignored unless they became a serious disciplinary problem.

  46. Robert E A Harvey

    translation

    "The police can't even handle real physical crimes with broken shed doors and fingerprints and stuff. There is no point passing laws like this, the woodentops won't understand them. It worked quite well (for us) when we offloaded card crime onto the banks to deal with, so let's sweep this stinking turd under someone else's carpet and not waste public money on prosecuting crimes no-one thinks are crimes"

  47. Sirius Lee

    My guess is that an idiot parliament realized it passed, at the behest of large foreign content providers, a law that could probably criminalize every young person in the country and very possibly anyone with a computer connected to the internet. That's not popular electorally. But why is it that young people break the law in this way? Maybe because the product costs too much? Because the content industry is trying to charge for the same product if, for example, you access through different channels?

    What surprises me is how strident Andrew sounds when he paints the picture of the offense of breaking copyright law. Is there a history here?

  48. arrbee

    So if there is no protection then any corporate can just grab whatever new stuff they think looks promising, repackage it & sell it as their own, drowning out any attempt by the actual creator to even associate themselves with it and hence gain any benefit from their creation at all ( where "sell" would be to benefit the bottom line, i.e. not necessarily directly for cash ).

    Or, even better, have your creation used as part of some propaganda to promote killing handicapped kids - who could complain about that when they know that it means that they're not trampling on the peoples' god-given given right to not pay for stuff ?

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @arrbee

    Ah no, here we're considering large corporates grabbing anything that looks promising from young musicians, often with a contract that actually leaves them in net debt, and then profiting from it.

    What you are describing would be real IP theft - stealing the actual work of the content creator and profiting from the theft. If someone downloads a free copy of track X by musician Y, because it is track X of musician Y, then Y probably hasn't lost any income. But he or she is still credited as the author, and someone thought it was worth the bother.

    In short, plagiarism should be criminal. It is stealing someone's work and reputation. But once you make content available electronically, it can be reproduced at almost zero cost - and unless you can be sure that people who would actually have bought it are going for the free copies, it's just marketing collateral.

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