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I read the Digital Bill and didn’t afraid of anything

April 14, 2010

Threepwood is thucked! The only way to be a pirate these days is by downloading a fuck-ton of sweet delicious porn, music and movies. I mean, you still get real pirates but they are usually kidnapping people rather than looking for treasure and sailing the seas (Yarrrrr~). Which sucks really because eye patches are kinda hot. Anyway, the Digital Economy Bill, lovingly simplified by the BBC, has got everyone’s knickers in a twist. Will it work? I have no bloody clue. Protesters say “no”. Government says “maybe”. Businesses says “yes”. Internet says “Wha?”

I’ve been avoiding reading it for a while. Now it has had the royal stamp of approval I suppose I should glance over the news rules and regulations. First of all, I’m a dirty pirate. Well, I’m not really. Well, yes I am. No I am not! What really classifies as a pirate anyway? I download the occasional mp3 and grab a movie seldom via bit torrent. I avoid pirating games, which is strange. I’m quite happy to download an MP3 or a movie but am pretty funny about downloading games.

Today I spent £2.97 on mp3s from iTunes and I got 3 songs from it. I feel kind of ripped off. I remember having to save up £13 or more for an album back in the day. Now I’m regretting spending under £3 on single tracks. You see, it’s this digital business. I don’t feel like I own anything, like it’s just another file on my PC. One of many thousands that take up my hard drive. How do businesses of today cope with a rather stingy and internet savvy public? If I’m honestly, I don’t feel like I am really getting a bargain. The CEOs earn enough already! Plus downloading a pirated MP3 is just as quick as downloading it legally.

I will admit, iTunes does offer a wonderful service. The downloads are very quick and you’re guaranteed great quality. Remember the days when a 3MB MP3 used to take 30 minutes to download? Oh I do! iTunes offers a rubbish range of music however. I’m into all sorts of weird and wonderful music, much of which isn’t available for purchase in my region. I look online to import a hard copy of said album/movie and end up being stung with ridiculous import taxes. For example, when I ordered the Asian version of Lost Odyssey (nicer box) it ended up costing me an additional £25 just to collect it from the post office. I’ve ordered countless Japanese/Korean CDs & DVDs only to be stung with the same stupid tax. So I can’t afford to import it into the UK and I can’t purchase it legally via online retail outlets, what is my only option? Yup, you guessed it. Torrent baby!

Of course, it is all to do with licences and such but it still stings. On addition, the UK is usually forking out more for identical content. It’s tough to think I’m making a worth while digital purchase. Steam is doing a great job, offering constant sales on great games throughout the year. I spend quite a lot over the winter holidays grabbing super cheap games by the dozen.

I’m not one to avoid paying for products, I’ve paid happily for games, memberships, magazines, music and movies. I think this is finally the kick in the arse I’ve needed to stop downloading music and movies. It’s just difficult when it is actually easier to obtain the entertainment products I want through piracy than through legitimate purchases. More needs to be done to offer cheap, legal alternatives for those who are internet savvy. They also need the freedom to do what they wish with that digital product and not suffer. They need to protect those who are innocent and educate those who are not. What the government needs to learn is that this will only create an underground market. Pirates are not stupid and they will find a work around.

The one thing I am worried about is being blocked. While some have said it breeches human rights to refuse access to the internet, I fear for those who’s livelihood relies on the internet. Say someone steals your wi-fi and downloads music or an employee uses the work internet to grab their dirty download.

Will it work? Will it cause more damage than good? Who will be effected the most? What will happen? Once those letters start rolling out, no-one knows. All I know is that it is going to be a long and difficult process for the consumer and the government.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. angryjedi permalink
    April 14, 2010 10:17 pm

    One of the biggest fears that people have about the Bill is that it will open the floodgates for hordes of American copyright lawyers to come in and start making accusations willy-nilly. The original draft of the Bill had it so that three ACCUSATIONS – not convictions – would get you disconnected. I’m not sure if that clause is still in there, but that’s the thing that’s had people worried.

    You’re right about the difficulty of acquiring some stuff, though. Soundtracks are my vice. Like you, I don’t pirate games – I don’t do movies either – but I do download a lot of soundtracks. I’d pay for them if I could, but stuff like the Bayonetta soundtrack is NEVER going to see the light of day over here.

    Incidentally, have you tried Amazon’s MP3 store? It syncs with iTunes nicely, is much cheaper (20p a track for some things) and has a different (not necessarily better, but different) selection to iTunes.

    • April 14, 2010 10:20 pm

      Thanks for the heads up with Amazon. I’m told play.com offer a nice selection too!

      It’s just the majority of my downloading is for content that won’t ever see British shores. Case and point Bayonetta! 😀

  2. Pheonix permalink
    April 14, 2010 10:18 pm

    YAH HARRRR ME HARRTIES! TIZ A PIRATES LIFE FOR MEEEEEEEE!

  3. April 14, 2010 10:20 pm

    You were ripped off on iTunes – I recently bought a number of Norah Jones CDs after by chance hearing a track on local radio, liking it, checking it out on Spotify and then getting a physical copy for half the price it’d cost me on the Apple service.

    When you consider what you get for free with Spotify, any pay for music service is a rip off. Hell, even subscribing to the no-ads service works out at 12 iTunes downloads – which one is better value for money given in reality you don’t really own anything via either avenue?

    The Digital bill has lots and lots of nasty hidden away clauses that was passed through the wash-up process without proper debate – you should be afraid, very afraid.

  4. April 14, 2010 10:40 pm

    Thank god I’m in Ireland and this doesn’t affect me. 😀

    I’m a dirty pirate and rarely buy music (if I do, it’s always hard copies, and usually of albums I’ve downloaded before and actually enjoy), but if I was in Britain I’d be shitting my pants. What do they classify as music? How do they know you downloaded it, how do they know where you got it, how can they prove it was you that did it?

    Internet cafés are going to be forced shut willy-nilly because of this, nobody can prove who downloaded what in there and at what time, let alone the ISPs, so how can they enforce such a ruling there?

    There was a similar issue between the FCC and Comcast in America over something similar regarding how its customers can use the internet, and there’s a myriad of shitstorms thrown up about that over there too, with lots of customers threatening to leave if the proposed plans aren’t reversed.

    I really can’t see this law being heavily enforced though, the sheer volume of people and computers in Britain would make it just impossible to police everything.

  5. Digital Fodder permalink
    April 14, 2010 10:57 pm

    The Digital Bill is a joke, not only because its has massive gaping holes but the government who brought it in have no lcue as to what half of it means! (see the letter that an official says an IP address is an “Intellectual Property address”). I’m all for a Digital Ecconimy bill but when the govement put half arsed effort into it then rushing it through almost seeming on purpose.
    Broadband across the uk _will_ increase in price, perhaps not from those larger providers that can eat up the extra cost of implementing the technology to track copyright infringing activities, this possibly leading to lost customers for the small competitive providers and going out of business. Leading to a loss of competition (See the USA’s ISP market!).
    My last point, although there are MANY more i can make on the bill is the definition of an “Internet Service Provider” according to law is anyone that provides a service on the internet (google, youtube, dailymotion all provide copyrighted content without permission.), this is a can of worms if i ever saw it.

    I like the fact the ISP’s (talk talk, Be internet) are all fighting back though. All in all this bill will just hamper the UK’s future on the internet.

    • April 14, 2010 11:01 pm

      Interesting. I’m not the most political person, so I am overlooking a lot of small print. I am worried about what will happen to the innocent user as the pirates will always find a way.

      • Digital Fodder permalink
        April 15, 2010 12:44 am

        Pirates will always find a way(like you say, driving people underground), the problem isn’t with the pirating its the music corps not keeping up with the times and adapting with new business strategies/models, offering us users what we want. They’ve had their way of charging us £15.99 an album, now just they’re unable to accept that perhaps they’re charging to much and users are fed up with this, we want selection at our finger tips.

        Oink, the infamous music pirating torrent site… they had it right with the selection and quality, now users want cheap legal music. iTunes has come the closest, but apple is taking a hefty cut as with all the other intermediaries… we need a first party solution. The music industry will find a way, when they accept they cant make as much money as the days of the physical media.

        An interesting note is the “loss” numbers they come up with are a farse, I read somewhere that a press release from a music corp stated the estimated loss due to pirating, to which then a student used in a research paper only for the original music corp to use the number in a paper to the government and stated it was a researched fact! The 1.2 billion the BBC quotes is pure estimate.

  6. Andreas permalink
    April 14, 2010 11:24 pm

    I’m more worried about the implications as to free wi-fi areas – are Starbucks going to give me free internet if they risk being disconnected?

    Also, the reliance on IP addresses is so entirely flawed.

  7. April 15, 2010 3:19 pm

    The problem with legislation like this “Digital Bill” is that it is ultimately turning its back on innovation and embracing a dying standard. The protection of IP rights does not and cannot make sense in the digital age where to “copy” is not to “own” but rather to “share”. What many governments forget is that they continue to subsidise an existing method of free content distribution: Libraries. Provided you don’t hand your book back in late, libraries are perhaps a perfect analogy to digital piracy. You download a movie, watch it, and then forget about it. Maybe even delete it. Either way, you never bought it, therefore you never “owned it”. Only if you kept watching that film would you take an interest in going out to buy it.

    Piracy is the only thing left to close the increasing gap between the elite and the impoverished. Taking it away is akin to lynching the modern day Robin Hood. That bill should burn.

  8. April 16, 2010 1:14 pm

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