Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Dinner with Mandelson (reminder)

The press and especially on-line news media are full of speculation about why Peter Mandelson's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) have become so anti-file sharing all of a sudden. The government commissioned Digital Britain report, published as recently as June, gave Ofcom until 2012 to consider what technical measures to catch pirates were necessary.
Suddenly, according to a statement from BIS, that timeframe is now considered "too long to wait".

What has changed? Well Stephen Timms, minister for Digital Britain, said: "We've been listening carefully to responses to the consultation this far, and it's become clear there are widespread concerns that the plans as they stand could delay action, impacting unfairly upon rights holders." So BIS proposes that ISPs are obliged to take action against repeat copyright infringers and suggests that the cost of tracking down persistent pirates be shared 50:50 between ISPs and copyright holders. I wonder if any particular responses carried particular weight with BIS and its head Peter Mandelson? Entirely coincidentally I blogged a week ago that:
"It is interesting how effective having dinner with Peter Mandelson can be. To Oleg Deripaska and his favourable EU aluminium tariffs we can add David Geffen whose dinner with Peter Mandelson at the Rothschild’s holiday villa on Corfu was entirely coincidentally followed by Lord Mandelson ordering officials to draw up draconian regulations on internet piracy. Peter "Mandelson is understood to have demanded that internet service providers be given new powers to cut off the accounts of British web users who persistently download music and films for nothing.". Also coincidentally we may be able to add Peter Mandelson meeting Colonel Gaddafi’s son at the same Corfu villa and then Ali al-Megrahi's release becoming considered.

All entirely coincidental I am sure as Peter Mandelson has always upheld the highest levels of probity in public life. It was, of course, purely bad luck that led Peter Mandelson to have to resign twice from the Cabinet."

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