The Impact of Unlawful Filesharing

Last night, I watched a rather interesting edition of Panorama on BBC1.

Entitled “Are the Net Police Coming for You?” featured music artists and producers discussing their views on the Digital Economy Bill.

The programme looked at the fact that over seven million people are unlawfully file-sharing (according to a recent study by the British Phonographic Industry), and why this costs the UK music business £200 milliona year.

If the bill becomes law, it could mean that those caught persistantly filesharing unlawfully could have their Internet connection slowed down, or even removed completely.

The arguments in support of the bill are the ones we hear all the time – how it costs the music industry money etc. However there were some interesting arguments against it, which made me think that perhaps the government are being too harsh on the wrong people.

As one music producer said on Panorama last night, its “like confiscating people’s record players and then compaining that no one’s buying records”. It stops people from being able to buy the music in the first place!

You may have heard about the case involving YouTube being sued by the Italian government over a video involving a  student with Down’s Syndrome being abused by his classmates. Here, the punishment went to the platform providing the service which hosted the video.

Perhaps, rather than tracing those who download music illegally, the British government should be thinking about dealing with the source of the problem – the people that put the music on the Internet in the first place!

Any thoughts on this? Comment  using the form below or send an e-mail to

Fred Hart

Stock Controller and Radio Presenter/Producer

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