Tuesday, November 24, 2009

PS Digital Britain footnote

Time to leave this bone alone and do some proper work, but I can't resist noting the Digital Britain's team responses to criticisms, having been directed towards it by the Beeb. As it happens, despite the impression the BBC gives, these responses date from the summer so should hardly be regarded as the current BIS last word. But I can scarcely credit this:

3. You’re criminalising a generation of people
Getting Copying* copyrighted material without permission or payment is already unlawful (it is a civil offence). Recognising that fact and enforcing existing rights is not criminalisation.
What in hell is a civil offence? There are civil infringements and criminal offences. This is the whole point: they demand diferent processes, different standards of proof and lead to different acceptable sanctions. It is in the interests of the music industry to attempt to blur the line between civil and criminal in relation to copyright - domestic copying is purely a civil infringement whereas commercial distribution may also be criminal - but the distinction is one that one would hope civil servants at least would understand, particularly when it would have helped them resist the original accusation! As the Beeb might say, Dear oh dear oh dear!.

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