In a rare sign of government siding with users instead of big media, the UK has indicated that it will not be policing ISPs and their users in what has been called a “three-strikes-and-your-out” policy:
There had been mounting speculation about government legislation on the issue as the music industry steps up its fight against the pirates. Other countries, such as France, have supported tough action on file-sharers, who the industry claims cost them dear. But Mr Lammy said legislation would be too complex. “We can’t have a system where we’re talking about arresting teenagers in their bedrooms,” he told The Times newspaper.
One hopes that other countries take notice and think long and hard before taking on “pirates” in an attempt to save a misguided and floundering music industry.
The UK is widely known to be one of the most surveilled countries in the world. According to The Daily Mail “There are already 4.2million cameras trained on the public.”
Now, The Daily Mail is reporting on new technology that promises to take terrifying new steps towards become a full police-state complete with Dream Police and Tendency Indicators:
“CCTV cameras which can ‘predict’ if a crime is about to take place are being introduced on Britain’s streets. The cameras can alert operators to suspicious behaviour, such as loitering and unusually slow walking. Anyone spotted could then have to explain their behaviour to a police officer.”
Someday people will wonder if it was worth trading in their privacy rights for a false sense of security but by then it will be far too late.
In the US, we’ve grown so accustom to product placement that some are wondering if it is even effective anymore. In the UK, however, they have some heavy rules about the separation between brand and content.
This has led to a censure of ITV for broadcasting episodes of “American Idol” featuring music videos that they claim overtly plug Ford cars.
Anyone who watched any of AI last year knows full-well that those music videos were so obviously Ford-sponsored that they could have been mistaken for ads themselves. I don’t think anyone thought they were trying to hide the fact.
Which makes statements like this so funny:
“In response, however, ITV said the music videos in question were included on their “editorial merits” in terms of entertainment value to audiences and were not the result of any relationship between the broadcaster and Ford.” (via TheStage)
Remember when blank CDs cost a few bucks a pop? Now, of course, their almost free. Combine that with the fact that more people are downloading music than ever before and it isn’t surprising to see CDs simply being given away by bands for promotional purposes.
Of course, there is still the issue of distribution. Distribution of hard goods is expensive. No way around that. Unless, of course, you piggyback on an existing platform.
That’s just what rising UK band McFly has done, partnering with a big paper in the UK to put a free copy of their album in every issue of the paper. Not only can the paper offer a free gift, but the band reaches thousands of potential new fans.
As TechDirt said:
“As we’ve noted in the past, this is a fantastic strategy for both newspapers and musicians. It helps both sides quite a bit, which is exactly what the band sees, noting that they just want to get more fans, and are hoping more will come see them on their latest tour.”
Over on BoingBoing there is word on the ever-increasing invasions of privacy being perpetrated on the now guilty-until-constantly-proven-innocent UK internet users:
“Virgin Media — the UK’s largest cable-modem provider — has decided that it will spy on its users to protect the record industry. It is sending out letters to thousands of customers warning them that infringement has been detected on their network connections (Virgin customers who leave their WiFi open — as I did, when I had their cable-modem service — will be collateral damage in this fight).”
As Cory points out, this is not something they are doing because the government says they have to – although their are elements lobbying the government to take this step – they’re doing it to appease large music labels.
Hey, wait, isn’t Virgin Media also a large music label…?
(Image by Getty Images via Daylife)
I loved this story in the Telegraph (via BB, again!) about the UK band The Get Out Clause that decided to take advantage of the huge number of CCTV cameras that blanket much of the country’s urban areas:
“They set up their equipment, drum kit and all, in eighty locations around Manchester – including on a bus – and proceeded to play to the cameras. Afterwards they wrote to the companies or organisations involved and asked for the footage under the Freedom of Information Act.”
While not all the companies complied they ended up with enough footage to make a compelling little video. The process itself is a great commentary on the proliferation of 24-hour surveillance.