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WinMX World :: Forum  |  Discussion  |  WinMx World News  |  Big Music’s BPI: ‘worst sort of corporate lobbying’

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Offline DaBees-Knees

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Big Music’s BPI: ‘worst sort of corporate lobbying’
« on: April 06, 2010, 08:39:58 am »

The British parliamentary process has been turned into a mockery by Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony Music, with Disney, News Corp, Time Warner, Viacom, NBC Universal and Sony Pictures in the wings.

The members of the Big 4 organised music cartel have succeeded in having an integral part of their scheme to gain control of who distributes ‘product’ online, and by what means, officially adopted as an element of Britain’s digital economy plan.

They managed this through a submission prepared by their BPI (British Phonographic Industry).

It boggles the mind that this could happen, but happen it did and fronting it, and using the ever gullible, ever willing UK media as his foil, such an event is perfectly kosher and above-board, claims BPI director of public affairs Richard Mollett (right).

Canadian DPI expert Christpopher Parsons sat on the  deep packet inspection panel at the recent COUNTER: Counterfeit and Piracy Research Conference in Manchester and, “Arguably the most heated session I attended was the last session of the conference, the three strikes panel”, Parsons writes in his Technology, Thoughts, and Trinkets blog, going on >>>

It drew together academics, an ISP representative, copyright holder advocates, authors, and a member of the Pirate Party. There was an almost all out assault on the controversial sections of the UK’s Digital Economy Bill, with Richard Mollett of BPI (yes, that Richard Mollett) becoming the punching bag of the panel and audience.

Mollett is the director of policy for BPI and was clearly used to working in hostile rooms, but the vitriol was between members of the panel was particularly thick.

Vanessa Mortiaux, Senior Legal Counsel for Orange, made very explicit that Orange was entirely against any requirement that ISPs monitor for copyright enforcement.

To the detriment of the panel, however, there was almost exclusive focus on the Digital Economy Bill, to the point where the broader issue of three-strikes was largely implicit, rather than explicit.

Mollett “maintained that the digital economy bill (DEB) had had enough debate — an almost unprecedented level in his terms — and that using parliament to run the DEB through would have resulted in less debate than going through the house of lords”, Parsons, a doctoral student at the University of Victoria on Vancouver Island, BC, told me when he was back in Canada.

He “maintained the record industry was ‘doing a good job’ in getting ready for their entrance into a digital economy”, said Parsons, stating:

“He firmly asserted that an education system that is similar to that in American universities now (ie, labels contact ISP/university, and the ISP/university passes on the information to the student with the possibility of disconnection/other punishment after a number of times being caught) would somehow be more effective in the UK than in American institutions.

“He unsurprisingly asserts that while the new business models are interesting, they’re not about to replace the traditional system the labels are involved in.”

Britain’s Open Rights Group claimed Mollet [sic] “reportedly told the Counter 2010 conference in Manchester the Lords had “scrutinised the Bill enough, and that there was no further need for debate”, says, quoting ORG leader Jim Killock as describing Mollett’s view “as the worst sort of corporate lobbying”, continuing, “Yet again, the BPI calls to remove democratic safeguards and says there is no need for democratic debate. Richard Mollet, a candidate for parliament, wants MPs to throw away their democratic rights and duties”.According to the BPI, “Richard Mollet categorically did not say ‘there was no further need for debate’ at the Counter 2010 conference, as ORG have incorrectly claimed”, says the post. But, “What he actually said was that the Bill has received detailed scrutiny in the Lords, which has resulted in significant amendments being made to it.”

In his Guardian column, at the conference, Mollett, himself a prospective parliamentary candidate for Labour in the next election, “passed some remarks on the sufficiency of the debate thus far” says Cory Doctorow.

According to sources at the conference, Mollet [sic] said something like “The Lords had scrutinised the digital economy bill enough, and there is no further need for debate”, says Doctorow, adding >>>

I published this paraphrase on Wednesday afternoon. I pointed out that a leaked memo penned by Mollet identified parliamentary debate as potentially fatal to the bill (the same memo showed that the BPI had actually written one of the amendments introduced in the Lords). A few hours later, I got a vehement denial by email from Adam Liversage, director of communications for the BPI: “Richard Mollet categorically did not say ‘there is no further need for debate’ at the Counter 2010 conference … What he actually said was that the bill has received detailed scrutiny in the Lords, which has resulted in significant amendments being made to it. When asked about the prospects for the bill in the Commons, he said that this was a matter for the government’s business managers.”

I canvassed several Counter 2010 attendees, but no one could remember Mollet saying anything like this. But no one had a recording.

Fair enough.

So I emailed Mr Liversage the next morning and asked whether Mr Mollet, or the BPI, believed that the digital economy bill had received sufficient scrutiny by the peoples’ elected representatives, or whether the bill should go to a full debate. I got a terse note back referring me to the earlier statement, which didn’t answer my question.

So I asked again. And again. And again. I left messages on Mr Liversage’s mobile and landline phones. Sent more email. Silence.

Let me take you through that again: the BPI really wants you to know that its representative didn’t say that there was no need for debate on the digital economy bill. But they won’t say whether there’s a need for debate on the bill.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this particular dirty trick from the record industry. In July 2005, I ran a story about the RIAA (the BPI’s US counterpart) sending legal notices to YouTube over videos of kids singing pop songs. A few hours later, I had an email from RIAA director of communications Jenni Engebretsen, telling me that the legal notices were forgeries. Interested, I asked her some natural followups: have there been other forgeries? And, most importantly, does this mean that the RIAA doesn’t believe that YouTube should take down the videos?

She promised to get right back to me. For the year that followed, I sent Engebretsen a stream of emails and left voicemails on her phones, asking about the promised followup. Eventually I reached her again – by calling from a different number – and she gave me a terse “no comment”.

“Like Mr Mollet, Engebretsen moved from the record industry to politics, going to work for the Democratic National Committee in 2007″, says Doctorow, adding:

“So yes, this is an old wheeze: challenge a statement attributed to you, but refuse to clarify your actual position.”

Further revelations of the goings on behind the scenes.  8)

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