Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Creative Coalition Campaign urges all MPs to support the Second Reading of the Digital Economy Bill

The Creative Coalition Campaign, of which the Writers' Guild is a member, has today placed an advert in The Guardian urging all MPs to support the Digital Economy Bill's Second Reading in the House of Commons.
Dear Member of Parliament,

Today marks a critical day for the UK's creative industries, as the House of Commons will debate the Digital Economy Bill. If passed, the Bill will provide urgently needed support for our creative talent and the businesses which have made the UK one of the leading creative economies in the world.

The digital age and high-speed broadband have brought a host of exciting new services, but what is holding us back is having to compete with illegal file-sharing conducted on a vast scale. The Digital Economy Bill is a sensible approach to tackling online piracy, focusing on education of consumers through notifications
which must include advice to the internet account holder together with information on legal services. Only if technical measures are found to be necessary and are subsequently introduced would they be applied to the accounts of those who repeatedly ignore notifications warning them to stop illegally file-sharing. Of course, as part of this process alleged infringers will have access to a fair, fast and effective appeals process. Surely, this is a much better outcome for consumers and creatives than the current sanction of court actions against individuals for damages?

The UK's creative businesses now contribute economic output of at least £60 billion per annum and account for 1.8 million jobs in the UK; however, according to a report launched this month by TERA Consultants, more than 250,000 jobs could be directly at risk if immediate action is not taken against the huge growth in online
piracy. We must not let this opportunity pass.

Opponents of the Bill have tried to block its progress through a campaign that distorted the truth about the Digital Economy Bill. In reality, however, the Bill is a sensible and much needed response to what has become an unacceptable situation for those whose livelihoods depend on the success of the creative industries.

We need to act now before even more jobs come under threat, which is why we urge you to vote to support the UK's creative industries by voting yes to the Digital Economy Bill.

Yours Faithfully,
Members of the Creative Coalition Campaign


  1. Damn. The Guild supported that ad?

    Disappointed of Clapham. :(


    Without protection aganist piracy, we writers might as well shut up shop and use our computers as doorstops. I'm tired of seeing my work pirated on-line endlessly and poorly.

    The DEB is offering a civilised, restrained way of educating and notifying offenders who are threatening our very livelihoods. It's a far cry from taking 12 year olds to court for piracy and fining them $200,000 with a spell on Devil's Island. Protection of our on-line copyright has to start somewhere and here's a great place. More important than that, it has to start... now!

  3. Any adequate response to this would take an inordinate amount of space in these comments. However, there are many parts of the Chair's statement I believe should be addressed and, to this end, I have written an open letter requesting a clarification on the Guild's standpoint.

    Those interested can read it here: http://vocabulating.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/an-open-letter-to-the-writers-guild-of-great-britain/

  4. I make money from my creative endeavours, and believe that protection against piracy is, on the whole, A Good Thing.

    However, this legislation has been pushed through without proper parliamentary scrutiny.

    And it's bad law.

    (A couple of links to background information on why the Bill as it currently stands is bad news, for those who don't want to just trust my word for it.)

    Daily Telegraph
    The Guardian
    The Independent
    Daily Mirror

    The bill received two hours of debate in the House of Commons. This is not an acceptable amount of time to debate such a wide-ranging set of laws, as even though some of the proposed laws are good for creators, many are bad for everyone.

    I don't believe that this is an acceptable trade.

    The Guild should absolutely support laws which protect the rights of creators. Unfortunately, the letter published above urges our MPs to push through a law without proper parliamentary scrutiny.

    And that, more than anything else, is what I have a problem with.

  5. The case for the Guild's support of this bill has been made today on this blog by the General Secretary, Bernie Corbett: http://writersguild.blogspot.com/2010/04/in-defence-of-digital-economy-bill.html

  6. Anonymous5:31 pm

    The guild supports a law that was rushed through on the back of illegal, distasteful secret lobbying. So, when similar illegal, distasteful secret lobbying is used against writers, et al, the guild must - using the simple syllogistic reasoning favoured by such lobbyists (and all controlling, authoritarian bodies for that matter) ie. laws help prevent crime so, therefore, more laws would help prevent more crime - support that, instead of demanding the reasonable, democratic functioning that would be the favoured route of the many, inspite of these few. Oh dear, it doesn't bode well when democracy can go to hell.


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