December 02, 2005 | Suw Charman Anderson

APIG DRM Inquiry: The role of the UK Parliament

Point 8: What should the role of the UK Parliament be in influencing the global agenda for DRM issues? Have your say in the comments.

Comments (6)

  1. Suw Charman:
    Dec 19, 2005 at 12:18 PM

    Whilst you can continue discussing this post, any comments posted after this one will not be included in the ORG public consultation paper.

  2. Kevin Marks:
    Dec 21, 2005 at 12:46 PM

    The UK Parliament set the precedent for Copyright law in the Statute of Queen Anne that defended authors from rapacious publishers, and which has served as the basis for global copyright law ever since. Re-reading it for this essay, I was struck by how well it balanced authors', readers' and publishers' rights:

    Whereas printers, booksellers, and other persons have of late frequently taken the liberty of printing, reprinting, and publishing, or causing to be printed, reprinted, and published, books and other writings, without the consent of the authors or proprietors of such books and writings, to their very great detriment, and too often to the ruin of them and their families: for preventing therefore such practices for the future, and for the encouragement of learned men to compose and write useful books;

    We also recall Macauley's judicious balancing in 1841:
    It is good that authors should be remunerated; and the least exceptionable way of remunerating them is by a monopoly. Yet monopoly is an evil. For the sake of the good we must submit to the evil; but the evil ought not to last a day longer than is necessary for the purpose of securing the good.

    The independence of both MPs and Peers from the extremes of special interest lobbying that bedevil the US Congress and House give an opportunity for the principles of free expression, of jurisprudence, and of underlying scientific facts to hold sway over the fear-mongering fictions of professional fantasists.

  3. Simon Gibbs:
    Dec 03, 2005 at 06:38 PM

    The role of the state is the same as usual - to protect our civil liberties and property rights. It should do this with a sense of proportion and without criminalising otherwise law abiding people by making circumvention and the discussion of circumvention illegal.

    Parliament should protect the rights of property owners from any DRM measure that removes control of a device from it's owners hands without informed consent.

    Parliament should protect the privacy of content users. Players should not dial home without asking nicely and any watermarking techniques should not end up broadcasting people's names from loud speakers. Printers shouldn't embed their serial numbers into documents even if they are printing bank notes.

    Parliament should preserve the right to free-speech by preserving the right to excerpt material and produce critical works.

    DRM should do DRM and not be used as an excuse for user profiling or anything else for that matter. Consumers must not be lied to about what's going on inside their devices even when they can still control them.

    Code must not become law - the judiciary should be left in charge of determining lawfullness.

  4. kenkil:
    Dec 05, 2005 at 01:02 PM

    The role of Parliament should remain the promotion of the public good. To the extent that the public good is threatened by the "global agenda for DRM issues" ( can we please have a copy of this?) Parliament should resist than agenda.

    Parliament should bear in mind that no company has a right to exist, soley because it has been successful in the past. Parliament should avoid passing legeslation which imports historical situations (e.g. great technical difficulty in distributing ideas) into the future.

    Where international agreements (WIPO, EU) appear to require Parliament to act in a way not conjusive to the public good, they should at least ensure that they to not "Gold Plate" the requirements. (Like they usually do with EU directives).

  5. David Brake:
    Dec 10, 2005 at 11:08 AM

    It's a view I share but you may not get much support for it here. There are a lot of anti-DRM absolutists who would rather we campaigned against DRM altogether rather than trying to ensure it is well-regulated. Personally I think the problems that DRM-free formats have made for copyright holders' legitimate rights mean that they can make persuasive arguments that some form of DRM is necessary. I think our task should be to make sure it is the right form.

  6. Sean Bamforth:
    Dec 10, 2005 at 01:36 AM

    The role of Parliment should be to ensure that copyright is abided to. Woaaah. You say. We're against DRM. This is the Open Rights Group. Hear me out. Any DRM system which enforces copyright should automatically time out at the same time as the copyright. If companies want the government to enforce the use of DRM, the the use of that DRM should be fair and reflect current intellectual property legislation. Any DRM system protected under law should also protect the laws of users at the end of the copyright term. Therefore, when my copy of iTunes purchased War Of The Worlds is no longer under copyright, I should then be allowed to copy to my hearts content. To this end, I think that parliment should be looking at enforcing and managing a unified DRM system. They look after the licences. They decide when the licences expire, All DRM enabled equipment must use this common system. There are huge advantages to this...
    - Works don't get lost when the companies providing that work go bust.
    - All DRM enabled devices can play all DRM music.
    - Companies keep intellectual rights for the term of the copyright
    - licence infrastructure provided by the taxpayer
    - Small publishers have the same access to technology as the larger players.
    - No chance of extra-restrictive DRM from congomerates bent on world domination.
    - The BBC could do this, and it would give it an extra role for the 21st century.
    - In 100 years time, we don't lose a huge swathe of our culture.

    Whaddaya think?