back to article Software body slams's 'special treatment' of music biz

The Government's Digital Britain plan is a failure that gives favourable treatment to the music business and props up failed business models, a software trade body has said. The Federation Against Software Theft and Investors in Software (FAST IiS), which promotes the legitimate use of software, has launched a stinging attack …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FAST = Microsoft = DRM

    They want DRM, but if the Digital Britain gets their tax, then no DRM is needed, then they don't get control of the music industry.

    IMHO, 'Digtial Britain' should realize that this is an IP right, similar to trademarks. Corporation that sell Banana's hold their trademarks in tax havens, then charge high fees to their British subsidiary for the use of the IP right in Britain. In that manner they use IP rights to reduce their taxes in Britain.

    Britain can never become an IP *licensing* economy selling IP rights, because it will always be cheaper to sell those rights from tax havens.

    It can however become an IP *producing* country, if it doesn't piss off it's citizen with a draconian nanny state. But it would be foolish to tax it's citizens to support a Cayman Islands holding company and that Digital Britain report was silly, but so is the DRM idea from Microsoft.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    It's not that FAST, genius, it's FAST IiS, which is different...

    It's really quite gratifying to see an organisation raising this subject. For some reason nobody's really kicked up much fuss until now about how the government seems to be the music industry's lackey in this regard. If anything, this is a civil legal situation, and as such the government should have nothing to do with it, let alone waste time and money on enforcing these ridiculous plans.

    Unfortunately, I'm not holding out any hope that anyone in Parliament will even acknowledge the existence of these points for discussion, let alone this report...

  3. Dave Bell


    I'm not sure I trust FAST, but I think they've made a very good point.

    The music business has had a good century of profiting from industrial music reproduction, but the rise of user-copying, starting with tape, has never quite been something they've been able to cope with.

    Software publishers have been groping for solutions. I wish Windows was less buggy, but you do get updates--that long-term support is a solution, but it can't apply to music. Defining Digital Britain while apparently ignoring such a large part of the digital world is stupid.

    This looks like a fragmented solution, designed to provide employment to law-makers, as new layers of amendment are added. I can remember when, in the days of computer games recorded on audio cassettes, lawyers argued that they were music, and so copyrightable.

    We don't need that sort of loophole-plugging.

    (They didn't argue it had to be good music, for which the music business can be very thankful.)

  4. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    How to lose more than there is

    The 'losses' claimed by the music industry are larger than the UK population's disposable income. Although there are some freetards, illegal file sharing is used by honest people for a try before they buy. Take away the opportunity to try out unknown music, and the industry will lose sales. If the music industry wants to shoot themselves in the foot, then they are welcome as long as they do not bill me (even indirectly) for the privilege. On the other hand, they could deal a death blow to commercial copying and increase revenues by dropping their prices.

  5. Tom Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Not fair

    They want a tax and a quango too!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK Gov = no clue

    I have been part of many small independent record labels for the past 15 years. As a writer and record producer I also run my own.

    The UK Government and their schemes only seems to support the major record labels ie BPI buddies and dinosaurs...

    They need to wake up and realise that it's the smaller outfits and future artists that need support. The switch to digital formats and increased piracy has seen our income fall to about one tenth of where it was 5 years ago, making it almost impossible to make a living let alone a profit.

    Something as simple as scrapping VAT on digital downloads (including all software) would be a simpler way of helping labels (and software developers) but as usual everything is made over bureaucratic and most likely unworkable and next to useless.

  7. Dave Bell

    Selling IP

    I'm an occasional IP producer. My minute royalties (so far) go to the RNIB for talking books.

    All the DRM I've seen would be useless to me. Rather than pay for DRM, I might as well just hand that money to the RNIB and give my work away.

    There are a lotof small people out there, mostly producing more than I ever had. It's not quite the long tail, and the last think creativity needs is a corporate digital Britain.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Long John Silver

    I hope the porn intustry gets a good cut of this Internet piracy tax.

  9. adnim Silver badge


    "FAST IiS said that the Government should protect all digital industries equally, and not give special treatment to one."

    Bollox I say.

    The government should be protecting people. Not using taxpayer money to protect the profits of digital industries.

  10. The BigYin

    I'm not worried

    I am not a file-sharing criminal. I do use the odd torrent now and again (for a Linux distro or somesuch) and the only other sharing thing I use is the BBC iPlayer.

    Why? Most of the content on torrents is illegal and, whilst I am not holier-than-thou, I would rather support the artists and companies who make the stuff I like than steal from them. I also happen to like having the CD/DVD, cover art etc. I do not buy the "every file shared is a lost sale" argument, but

    As to software, I could care less. I am moving more and more to OpenSource/FreeSoftware and simply avoiding the entire issue. I normally salve my conscience by trying to help out in the relevant community, but I think I will simply have to start ponying up for some of what I use. If it's all take and no give, then it will die. But at least it is left to me to decide what/how to give and not through draconian compulsion.

    FAST, BPI, RIAA etc al can (in the words of that great philosopher, Bender) bite my shiny, metal ass.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So it goes

    More evidence that the British government (much like the American) appears to have been bought and sold. I guess we just have to suck it up, keep paying our taxes and watch X-Factor.

  12. g e

    Support the software biz?

    If anything the s/ware biz probably has a BETTER case for protection than the music bunch. At least the s/ware industry can be shown to be trying to keep up with the pace of innovation or even DRIVING it to various extents. Far better than a jaded and beleagured music biz that feels too 'entitled' to have to move with the times while it cries into its beer about the repercussions of not doing so.

  13. Ian

    @ AC no. 2

    Actually, there is some hope. Ironically, Labour's minister in charge of IP actually gets it, see here:

    David Lammy is his name. How ironic then that the one person in charge of intellectual property issues in the country is the one in parliament that gets it, whilst everyone else ignores him anyway.

    This suggests quite strongly and quite rightly that if someone actually works with IP issues from a neutral standpoint they come to realise the whole situation of protecting the IP of broken business models is doomed to fail. Other ministers that don't understand the issue though are much easier bought into stupid and unworkable ideas for the very fact they don't understand the issues.

    If only Labour would listen to, you know, the guy who they actually put in charge of the problem.

  14. Lionel Baden

    y not

    just agree that th pirates have won and were never anywhere near loosing

  15. Mark Donnison

    Time for change

    Unfortunately Governments are experts at getting elected, as are politicians’; however they are generally not experts at anything else. In their ignorance they allow themselves to be led around by nose by large organisations, whose primary concern is hanging onto an out of date business model so that they can continue to make huge profits. Nothing wrong with huge profits, provided we don’t have to be socially engineered in order for that to happen.

    It is time the music industry reinvented itself completely, not by bringing in draconian measures to try and keep things as they always have been, not by leaning on Governments to legislate us back to 1980 but by examining the market place as it is and working within that.

    The year is 2009; no amount of legislation can change that, wake up and smell the coffee. No business has a ‘right’ to make money, you have the right to try however. You try by creating a product people want and delivering it to them in a format and manner that is acceptable, within the confines of the marketplace. There are certain industries that think it should be otherwise. The music industry is one of these businesses.

    I didn’t help elect the Government to protect large companies that owe it to themselves to change with the times, I helped elect them to run the country. The sooner everyone recognises what they should be doing and gets on with it, the better off everyone will be.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm amused by anyone from FAST complaining about the creation of quangos, particularly in the area of copyright protection.

    failed business models – if you look at the computer games industry, where FAST started most of it’s activity back in the 80s, it appears that rather than embracing new models, what we’ve actually seen is largely a flight to the DRM protected console gaming system, or online gaming (aka locking the software up on a server) - although there is obviously still enough money around to sustain a small DRM-free computer games sector, it’s peanuts compared to the closed one.

    He’s also deliberately ignoring the fact that the music industry does offer things like site licensing (PRS) and other models other than the direct purchase one – it’s just that they’re focused more on the broadcast and public performance areas – but that is pretty much the same distinction as exists between domestic and business software purchasing.

    I do agree with the overall point though – the idea of a flat fee/digital tax for music looks appealing as a relatively small tax can drive as large an income as the existing industry, but this becomes less true as you extend it to cover video, books, software, etc – until we end up effectively nationalising the entire ‘software’ (in it’s widest sense) industry.

    (Then again I’m reasonably happy with what I get for my TV licence compared to what I’ve seen of TV and radio in other countries . . . )

    But at the end of the day, there needs to be some money going into the system, and wibbling about ‘failed business models’ and ‘new business models’ strikes me as a load of cant, unless you can actually propose concrete solutions - along with a clear picture of their consequences. It’s clear that the status quo is not working, but it’s also clear that the outcomes of new business models (ahem) will be different.

    For instance, we could create a situation that favours a large number of live cover bands, or one which is actually worse for original musicans/songwriters - i.e. if recording / authorship is purely a promotional cost, then whoever funds recording and marketing will have potentially more power than today’s record companies - the power of labels and publishing companies over authors, etc, comes from their control over capital.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FAST IiS = FAST = Microsoft

    No, it's the same FAST the Federation against software theft, which is a front for Microsoft mostly which wants DRM as the solution.

    It's about selling a software solution to piracy rather than a market solution, and certainly they don't want a tax, because that would not go through them.

  18. Andrew Duffin

    As expected

    There was me thnking FAST were going to say something useful, but no, it's the same old refrain, "we'd like some of that, please".

    The old business models are gone, people, get used to it.

    Let's pay, by all means, but let's pay the creators of the content, not the parasitic suits who've grown up thinking we owe them a living.

  19. Andrew Yeomans

    Include *all* the copyrighted content, if there's a tax

    If there really is a tax or other protection on copyrighted work, it would seem reasonable to apply this to all copyrighted works. Working out how to divvy up the spoils could be "interesting". Surely that 700 MB download of Ubuntu must be worth at least 175 times that 4 MB MP3?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    "If only Labour would listen to, you know, the guy who they actually put in charge of the problem."

    Exact same thing is occurring with the drug classification for Ecstasy. Set up a group of rational experts from all the relevant fields, but ignored by a non-expert running scared of bad tabloid headlines.

    Why employ someone to do a job and then ignore their recommendations. It's scam. Sort of reminds me of that programme, Rogue Traders. The expert sitting in a hidden room, aghast at the bo**ocks spewing from the dodgy dealer.

  21. Goat Jam
    Paris Hilton

    @Dave Bell

    "and the last think creativity needs"

    You know, I often come across people who inexplicably transpose "thing" for "think" in their sentences. It is incredibly annoying, especially as a father of two young children who tend to pick up on these things very easily, causing me to constantly correct them whenever they start doing it.

    It is not often however, that one comes across somebody who has actually taken their confusion between the words "thing" and "think" to the next level, and actually displays their ineptitude in written form.

    You sir, are one of those people. Bravo and well done!

    Paris, because I often like to thing about her thinks.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "free" music

    If they are going to make me pay up front for music through a broadband tax that goes to the music industry then I've already paid for the music so I can download as much as I want can't I? If not then I thiink what they Governement is proposing is essentially theft on a country wide scale. I wonder how many years they'd get in jail for stealing from everyone in the country on a habitual basis.

    Maybe they'll get probation and have to go to counselling instead.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019