Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Further musing on copyright reform (2)

Following on from the first bit, I'm now into the detail of the report.
Already warning bells are ringing...
1) Still no recognition of the amateur / bedroom creator.
2) there appears to be a lot of anecdotal evidence here and very little factual research to back it up. For example: "We have heard from ITV, for example, that the adoption of the ISAN system has contributed
to increased revenue collection. Although it is impossible to be absolutely certain that the growth of collection revenues was the result of ISAN alone"
3) I have concerns about whether (in the absence of proper evidence) the differences between causation and correlation are being properly understood.
Carrying on...

The Images and metadata bit is interesting, a fair number of reasonable suggestions on unique identifiers and registries but then, when it gets to the critical bit about what to do about stripping out meta-data, it's back to a voluntary code of practice.
Sorry, but doing this deliberately is already illegal* so if, as suggested, the industry is in the habit of wide-scale meta-data stripping, what the fuck difference do they think signing up to a voluntary agreement is going to do?
It makes me wonder if the report writers have had the Treasury breathing down their necks the entire time saying "remember, there's no budget for this."
In my day job I'm what's euphemistically known as a "change professional" and I will tell you one thing for free; if you don't put budget and backbone behind something you won't change shit.
Carrying on

Finally in section 67 we begin to see the scale of creation at the moment. PPL reports that members are registrering new recordings at the rate of 10200 per week. That's half a million new recordings a year from the UK alone. But this is just the formal stuff that people register. I wonder what percentage of bedroom / amateur recordings are not registered?
To be fair, PPL appear to be doing some good stuff on databases, but I do worry a bit about the possible naivety expressed in the idea that where the UK leads other countries will follow and exactly how this will translate into good news "for the economy as a whole". As Dr Ben Goldacre would say, "the plural of anecdote is not data." 

Section 73 acknowledges the existence of content outside of the traditional industry channels. This appears to be covered in a single paragraph with a suggestion that the LCC project looks at it. Buck passed, no budget required.

Section 75, second mention of end-users. That might be you or me.

That's the data section done. The surprising thing about this is that they didn't expect this to be a problem when they started out. Who were they talking to? People have been discussing exactly this problem for years.
Oh well, it's also me done for the night. In the next thrilling installment we look at The Copyright Hub.
Join us then...

* Criminal as well as civil charges can be brought.

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