Knowledge Bank

news category created 18 May 2014 written by Dan Cox

BPI and MPA agree on “softly softly” approach to illegal downloading

(submitted by MPG vice-chairman, Mark Rose)

This article, published online by the BBC, describes how the British Phonographic Institute (BPI) and The Motion Picture Association (MPA) have agreed on a “softly softly” approach to the illegal downloading of digital music and video files; the so-called Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme (Vcap).

Author, Dave Lee says: “They would not say it publicly, as they do not want to be seen as rocking the boat, but it is the ISPs who will be happiest with this deal. Ecstatic, even. The contrast between what was originally put on the table – throttling internet speeds, or cutting people off altogether – and what is now coming to pass could not be more stark.”

Apart from wasting time for the protection of their members’ assets they are also kicking their own members’ rights holders in teeth by allocating this much funding to such a hands-off, nonsense approach. Better management was seen in the 1970’s re: Marc Bolan and Elton John, Gilbert O’Sullivan. If this is going to be a new benchmark in legal rights allocations, at least the money did exist and arrive somewhere eventually to rightsholders.

This latest BPI approach to provisions of the Digital Economy Act (DEA) simply makes a mockery of the endless hours which industry and legal people spent putting into the entire Digital Economy Act, many of whom have not been directly notified in any form ahead of any decisions being made here. The MPG did not receive any notification for all it’s previous efforts and contributions towards the implementation of the DEA.

Why don’t other customers try this insane approach with non-paying utility customers such as petrol, gas or electric users for 20 years of neglect?? I guess the reason is because …’it would not work and possibly collapse the infrastructure’.

We are amazed at how many so-called economists state that there is or can be no impact from piracy. It’s amazing what you will say if your being paid £100K per annum!

In 2007, Jupiter research (funded by BPI) producing research over 5 years 2007-2012 – this data still stands now (add inflation and VAT)….such is the history of the problem:

2007-2012 JupiterResearch (UK)

Music Industry Losses

This study was commissioned by the BPI to assess the degree of impact that online music piracy has had upon UK recorded music revenue. Jupiter built a model that captured current activity and forecasted future trends over a five year period.

In order to quantify current activity, Jupiter fielded a consumer survey to 1,000 UK respondents, asking a number of questions that assessed a wide range of topics including, but not limited to, digital music activity (free and paid), peer‐to‐peer activity, trends in music buying and music piracy, and reasons for changes in music consumption.

Jupiter applied both ‘top‐down’ and ‘bottom‐up’ approaches to build the loss model. For the former, Jupiter principally referred to absolute market sizes. For the latter, proprietary consumer survey data was utilised.

In order to quantify the impact that online music piracy has upon actual music spending, Jupiter further segmented the network and non‐network piracy audiences each by:

• Buyers: that would increase spend if they were not downloading music illegally
• Non‐Buyers: that would start buying music if they were not downloading music illegally

Crucially, Jupiter did not assume either that all non‐buyers would start buying if they were not downloading music illegally, or that buyers would spend the same as other music buyers if they were not downloading music illegally. In order to assess the expected level for both factors Jupiter applied a scorecard methodology.

This entailed applying a range of relevant factors to a scoring system, and applying the resultant score to a range of socio‐economic variables which included demographics, income level, life stage, working status, digital music activity, average spend by age and average spend by income.

The BPI funded report concluded that online music piracy cost the UK music industry £1.6bn between 2001 and 2012: in 2007, online music piracy resulted in £159.2m of foregone spend.

We doubt that letters are going to do anything at all – and we believe many more already know this to be true.

To quote Steve Kuncewicz, a lawyer specialising in online and internet law, the agreement had been “watered down beyond all recognition”. “I imagine the content owners are going to be very angry about it,” he added.

To quote the survival of new music – IFPI reports (2011 DMR): “Protecting the right of artists is not just about the big famous acts, it’s about the thousands of bands you have never heard of who are trying to make a living out of their recordings.”

Paul Weller: “Protecting the right of artists is not just about the big famous acts, it’s about the thousands of bands you have never heard of who are trying to make a living out of their recordings.”

Bryan Adams: “Every time you buy a subscription for the internet, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) is also cashing in on the option for people to download music for free. For young artists and songwriters just getting started, the prospect of paying your rent with this going on is extremely grim.”

Full DMR report here:

How the ‘VCAP’ system will work

Rights holders identify IP addresses of devices or locations they believe to be downloading files illegally. This is done through a variety of methods, including “listening in” to traffic on Bittorrent networks – a common practice.

A “Copyright Infringement Report”, known as a CIR, will be sent to the ISP involved. It will contain the IP address as well as the date and time the alleged infringement took place.

The ISP will then match that report to a customer account it knows was connected to the internet from that IP address at the time of the download
It will then send out an alert to that customer about the behaviour, either as an email or a physical letter.

Identifying users in this way is not an exact science. Sometimes, it will be unable to determine which customer account was being used at the time.
Furthermore, in the alerts, no individual person will be directly accused – as a single IP address could be used by several people at a time, or even, to use one example, by someone using a neighbour’s wifi without their knowledge.

Source: Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme (as agreed by BPI and MPA)

Other VCAP coverage last 24 hours

On another note, we would also have to agree with the regular and much more robust data from the IFPI. The IFPI also concluded the recent 2013 European Commissions so called ‘joint Research Centre’ report was utterly flawed to the point of ‘misinformation’.

The IFPI has also slammed the recent report from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre The international trade body called the study “flawed, misleading and disconnected from commercial reality.” and concluded that piracy has no effect on legal digital music purchases….really?

Scrutinising the JRC study, which uses Nielsen Netview data on the number of clicks to legal and illegal services that contain music, the IFPI said that “the findings seem disconnected from commercial reality, are based on a limited view of the market and are contradicted by a large volume of alternative third party research that confirms the negative impact of piracy on the legitimate music business.”

“There was a fundamental gap in the data though – no music transaction is being measured or analysed, all conclusions are based on approximations and estimates of music activity.”