Thursday, 11 November 2010

British Government won't *disconnect* filesharers without trial

According to the British government's official response to the 35000+ signature petition to "abolish the proposed law that will see alleged illegal filesharers disconnected from their broadband connections without a fair trial", the "technical measures" against filesharers specified in the law in question would include measures to "limit or restrict an infringers' access to the internet" but "do not include disconnection". Sadly it doesn't say anything about the "infringers" being treated as guilty without trial or recourse to appeal, so actually pretty much ignores the concerns of the petition.

More worrying than this, however, which at least answers the letter (if not the spirit) of the protest, is the statement at the beginning of the government's response that:
It is clear that online copyright infringement inflicts considerable damage on the UK’s creative economy including music, TV and film, games, sports and software. Industry estimates place this harm at £400m pa.
For a government source to be quoting an "industry estimate" for an important economic statement like this shows a dangerous lack of awareness of the possibility of bias or self-interest in such estimates. (Against what baseline of assumed profits are these losses calculated?) Nor is it entirely clear that damage to a particular portion of "creative industry", even if we were to take them at their word that this takes place, equates to an equivalent damage to the UK economy. I'd hope for more engaged economic analysis from a government source, personally.

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