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“We can’t turn back the tide of internet piracy, says TV boss”

19 October 2009 , , , ,

Interesting news from The Herald:

Internet piracy is merely demand where appropriate supply does not exist, people will never go back to buying music legally, and protecting information online will only destroy businesses, according to a provocative essay set to appear on a Scottish Government-funded website tomorrow.

Written by Alice Taylor, commissioning editor for education at Channel 4, the essay flies in the face of Westminster’s Digital Britain report, which recommended that persistent file-sharers should have their internet access restricted or even barred.

Taylor argues that enforcing out-dated attitudes on how information is shared – ie, paying for it – is “a dying behemoth”.

She writes: “We must not let these dying behemoths take away someone’s internet access – and connection to the world – for some accusatory, unprovable ‘piracy’ claim, ever.”

These views chime with the instincts of Nick Clegg when I asked him about this at the party’s Bournemouth Conference. He was hostile to the Government’s preferred route of disconnecting people from the internet and instead talked about the need to find alternative ways of allowing artists and authors to earn a living. This view has also been backed by some in the music industry.

One route is the provision of blanket licenses, similar to those used in radio where the rights to broadcast each individual song do not have to be negotiated individually, with the result that more songs are played, more money is paid in fee – and the musicians get more profile which generates income through other routes such as merchandise sales too.

On this point The Herald adds:

Alison Butchart, from the Intellectual Assets Centre in Glasgow, said the ideal way forward, balancing a youthful generation’s reluctance to pay for anything online with the commercial needs of the artist, would be to follow the Spotify and YouTube models, where artists get a share of the site’s advertising revenue when their song or video gets played for free.

You can read the full report here.

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