Another Rant About the Digital Economy Act

We had a bit of a rant about the Digital Economy Act back in March last year when the UK government were proposing to block websites and cut off internet users. As fans of various art forms we obviously believe in supporting artists and have the DVD collection to prove it, but don’t necessarily see all forms of piracy as objectively wrong. It’s a bit of a grey area in which you can’t assume that every file downloaded is a theft. One thing we certainly don’t agree with is anyone having the power to block websites (barring the obvious foul sites of course).

It was a relief to read this week that the government seemed to be taking a more modern look at piracy and copyright. The government is going to drop any attempts to block copyright infringing websites and there was even talk of allowing people to legally make digital copies of their CDs and DVDs for use in other devices.

What an enlightened government, which has finally realised how the modern consumer operates and that it doesn’t make sense to turn the majority of Britons into criminals. We won’t have any websites blocked and freedom of speech will truly reign as it should in a modern civilized society. I mean, we don’t want to become the next China do we?

The celebration didn’t last long as it turns out the only reason this part of the Digital Economy Act is being dropped is because the Motion Picture Association have gone ahead and gotten a judge to force BT to block a website without any need for the Act. That’s right, no need for legislation as all a company needs is enough money and they can get websites blocked by ISPs.

Funnily enough UK Music, a body representing musicians and record labels in the UK, think this is a bad move too, but for different reasons. UK Music would prefer it if websites were blocked by government without them having to pay the legal fees first.

Regardless of whether you consider piracy to be a real crime or not, surely the fact that a private organisation can effect what we can see online is criminal? BT’s CleanFeed was designed to stop the circulation of child porn, not to stop people sharing copies of Avatar.

Anything that pisses off James Cameron has got to be a good thing, right?