House of Lords Passes Piracy Bill

After that burst of culture we are going to get political as the House of Lords has passed the highly controversial Digital Economy Bill which could disconnect people from the internet and block web pages following mere accusations of piracy.

The bill has been essentially written and strong armed into parliament by the music industry and the entertainemnt industry at large. Their claim is that internet piracy is costing them billions of pounds each year in lost revenue and so want those that do pirate neutered so they will in future have to pay to get their entertainment fix.

This is a problem for so many reasons, one being that proving exactly who has been downloading what is not as easy at it might seem as many internet connections are shared and wireless networks left without password protection. Allowing courts to block websites is also a step in the direction of internet censorship for which China received a lot of criticism during the Olympics two years ago.

The big problem is of course that this is a bill written by the recording industry in order to make their flagging business model remain viable. They want to be able to make money the same way they always have in an ever changing world where bands are increasingly finding live performances and merchandising are bringing much more profit than simple studio albums. The main fallacy in their complaint about piracy is the assumption that every downloaded file is a lost sale when so many people download to test a film or song before deciding to buy. Alternatively someone might spend all their spare cash on CDs and DVDs and still supplement this illegally, you can’t say that if someone can’t get something for free illegally they will happily pay £7.99 to get it in store.

Of course there are always ways to operate online without a trace which is what it is expected pirates will do if the bill is passed by the House of Commons. In fact the UK intelligence community is apparently against the bill for this very reason as it will make it harder to spy on people if internet users are forced to cover their tracks.

The Digital Economy Bill is expected to be rushed through the House of Commons before the general election with minimal debate so start kicking up a fuss now!