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[Fsfe-uk] APIG inital report

From: Alex Hudson
Subject: [Fsfe-uk] APIG inital report
Date: Thu, 02 Feb 2006 16:16:00 +0000

This will be a little short - I know others who went took good notes, as
I did, and we weren't told we were under Chatham House or anything, so
I'm assuming the lengthier stuff is fine to publish.

What happened today was that they took oral evidence - some statements,
but mostly answers to questions they wanted to ask (most of which, I got
the impression, were not preplanned). Some attendees will provide
further feedback, and they will then write their report to be published
sometime in March. Currently, I have no idea how this fits into the
grand scheme of things vis-a-vis Gowers.

I was under the impression that all the written evidence was going to be
published, but that might co-incide with the report. Also, today was a
private inquiry, but they did record the session and I believe official
transcripts will be posted. 

Now, there was a brief introduction to the law as it stands by the first
group (SCL), and a few questions asked about DRM law in general. Usual
stuff, like "Is there such thing as 'fair use'? No." etc. Not hugely
interesting, not terribly pro- or anti-DRM.

How other people presented their views on DRM was quite interesting.
British Library - seemed to pose it as a necessary evil; blandly pro-DRM
except when it gets in their way ("I'm alright, Jack"). Also obvious
were the responses of FFII/ORG,  "Share the vision" (org. for people
with sight impairment, almost entirely anti), PACT (cinema and
television, quite pro), Audible (DRMed spoken word company, hysterically
pro), Publisher's association (somewhat pro). 

Some surprises, though. BPI pushed a reasonably "let producers DRM what
they like" line, but some of their compatriots from independent music
were rather progressive - muted discontent from the BPI when AIM
mentioned they'd like to see narrower copyright rules for music :).
Another music group pointed out DRM gave them no economic benefit, and
they didn't think it was right to treat people this way. All these
groups were at the same table, giving evidence together - overall, quite

NCC - I expected the consumers people to be a bit like the librarians,
"we don't like it, but could put up with it if a few things were fixed"
- absolutely not; vehemently against DRM. The best they said about it
was that they weren't completely convinced it was unworkable.

Quote of the day belongs to a delegate I won't name who didn't grasp the
question about removing DRM after copyright expires; he understood the
question, just didn't understand why that might be desirable...

The politicians sitting were remarkably well-informed, btw - I actually
have some high expectations of this report.

In hindsight, the AFFS submission would have been completely different.
I still don't think we would have been called, but I think I've learned
some lessons which I'll share in more detail later - also, out of all
the anti-people, I felt we were the weakest presentation tbh -
thankfully, the pro-people all seemed to be pretty awful and whoever
kidnapped the music industry people and replaced them with hippies
really saved our bacon.



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