28 November 2005

A Letter to my MP

I cannot begin to explain how strongly I am opposed to the news of the music industry pressuring the EU for modifications to data privacy laws to be enacted so that it can go after music "pirates". I have written the following letter to my MP today, and urge anyone else with strong views to write to their own MP.

Dear Martin
I have written to you before on a number of issues, and wanted to write to you again in response to the news I have read concerning the CMBA group's lobbying of MP's to ensure recently enacted laws supposedly for fighting terrorism are extended to help it eek out music pirates. An article on this can be seen at
However, this has been written up in many other publications.

I buy my CD's (and a few pieces of music online at legitimate sites). I oppose music piracy however it is done. Yet, I am vehemently opposed to this move, and trust that you will do your utmost to oppose such creeping 1984ism.

Apart from the fact that the music labels themselves cannot be relied on as honest corporate citizens (example: please witness Sony BMG's recent techniques which installed a serious security flaw onto honest peoples' personal computers - link available if you are not aware of this), the idea that our personal liberties which we value so highly can be given up to any corporation is outrageous. To piggyback it on legislation brought in ostensibly to fight terrorism is to undermine that entirely. Those of us who support such (anti-terrorism) legislation are made to look fools when our key defence of the loss of freedom is that the laws are only being changed for the most extreme reasons.

The labels are keen to make out that piracy and terrorism are somehow linked. And indeed in the CD pressing plants of Asia, there may very well be some financial links. But what the CDMA and it's sponsors are about has NOTHING to do with this at all.

The major music labels operate an effective cartel that under-delivers to the consumer given recent technology advances. They already seem to receive protection within the EU despite the single market laws (where is the single market in online music for instance?). Governments do not need to hand them down additional powers when the consumer would in fact benefit massively from a more open market in copyright material distribution. There are plenty of companies who would be willing to help out in this if they were not prevented from doing so by this heavy-handed cartel/oligopoly.

But irrespective of personal views on music labels, we must be vigilant that in the fight against terrorism we do not let things in through the back door that permanently undermine the freedoms we have taken so long to win. This is a prime and clear example of that. If we allowed the labels wishes - even with a good reason - then who else would we allow?

Please let me know what position you will be taking on such legislation.

Kind regards

I will be returning to the issue of DRM in this blog over the next few weeks with what I hope will be a series of in-depth articles. In the meantime, please make sure - if you're an EU citizen - that you voice your concern as loudly as you can with these attempts to hijack our freedoms.

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