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Billy Bragg Opposes UK Measures to Disconnect Illegal ISP File Sharers

Posted: 09th Dec, 2009 By: MarkJ
billy braggThe famous UK singer songwriter and board member of the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), Billy Bragg, has come out strongly against new proposals in the recent Digital Economy Bill, which threaten to disconnect illegal p2p music file sharers from their broadband ISPs.

Concerns over hefty ISP costs, the impact upon public and office networks (i.e. public Wi-Fi Hotspots being closed due to anonymous users abusing them for illegal downloads), unreliable source evidence, an ineffective appeals process and the criminalisation of a generation are just some of the wider fears.

The PC Pro magazine quotes Bragg:

"The industry’s going to cut off potential fans for listening to music and sharing it around, and that’s not going to help artists; we’re in danger of persecuting people for listening to records. We need copyright to move from being about permission to being about remuneration. I think the industry needs to understand that this is not about piracy, it’s about promotion.

We want the weight of law coming down on people who are selling our music illegally, not people who want to listen to a new song. People want a specific Pixies track that’s not on an album, you can’t even buy it – and it’s mad, this is mad to me – the only way to get it, is to download the entire Pixies back catalogue on Bit Torrent, get the track you want and throw the rest away. That’s the problem with streaming, it’s still an attempt to control distribution, and that model is dead."

Thankfully FREE streaming services like Spotify make it easy to find the track you want and thus the whole buying process more flexible, though many still balk at being asked to stump up 69p for a new track that only lasts for around 3 minutes. Some prices do go down, digital distribution is improving, but others stay high for far too long.

However the UK music industry at least seems to be doing pretty well and perhaps more attention should be given to developing new economic and distribution channels for movies, games and computer software in general. Not everybody wants to visit the cinema to view a new film release; most modern HD home solutions can now offer a better experience.

Meanwhile ISPs will be mandated to start sending out warning letters from April next year and if piracy has not reduced by 70% after 12 months of that then expect the controversial disconnections policy and other technical measures (speed reductions, blocked p2p sites etc.) to follow.
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