THE BIG ENTERTAINMENT COMPANIES in Britain certainly have their claws in the policymakers. Money talks the loudest, and governments are willing to listen without even asking what the people want.
The Digital Economy Bill has been rushed through with wealthy and powerful music and film industry bosses sliming their way to influence those in the corridors of power.
They have gotten rich for years ripping us off on CDs and DVDs, and they aren't going to accept any change in their profit margins.
Instead of working with the Internet industry to create solutions to the problem of downloading, they have instead decided that the best way to deal with it is to treat people like criminals.
In the end all we wanted was the Digital Economy Bill to be looked at with a bit of care and attention. Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg was very impressive at the election debates on TV last night, and he was a voice of reason when asked about the Bill recently.
He said, "We did our best to prevent the Digital Economy Bill [from] being rushed through at the last moment. It badly needed more debate and amendment, and we are extremely worried that it will now lead to completely innocent people having their Internet connections cut off."
"It was far too heavily weighted in favour of the big corporations and those who are worried about too much information becoming available. It badly needs to be repealed, and the issues revisited."
So the entertainment industry has already won a big victory in the UK, but new proposals by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) show just how far the entertainment industry wants to go if it isn't checked.
In a joint filing, they are in support of actions which many would consider an attack the freedom of the Internet and very close to creating an Internet Big Brother regime that many of us fear.
For example, they are in favour of technologies and methods that network administrators can use on consumers' computers to manage copyright infringement. In other words, spyware.
And don't think some companies aren't already spying on us. Sony BMG has already got in trouble for putting software on music CDs that tracked what customers were listening to as well as installing hidden files that left some users under attack.
It shows that in the chase for big bucks, big business has no qualms about intrusions on your privacy.
But it's more than that. The MPAA and RIAA also think that people should be discouraged from carrying downloaded music into to the US.
In practice it sounds stupid, but what could happen is that the electronic devices of travelers might be checked for copies of music or film files.
That's not as outlandish as it sounds - people with actual hard copies of CDs would be stopped, so what's the difference between that and someone carrying the same content in digital form?
The MPAA and RIAA also don't want Bittorrent sites like the Pirate Bay to escape their wrath.
They see a future where the US pressures other countries to put its own concerns about copyright over policies that may be improving innovation and competition.
The music and film industries do need to do something, but this really isn't the way. What are we, China? It's not the place of big industry's to dictate to us how and what we can do on the Internet - it belongs to everybody and it is just as much, or more, ours as it is theirs.
Debate, a dialogue, solutions, a compromise that most of us will be happy with is needed, but we do not want to be criminalised and we will react hard against that.
There's one thing we can do very soon to make the policymakers listen, and that is by voting in the General Election. µ
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