Archive for the ‘Archive’ Category

File-sharing myths.

June 11, 2009

Thank God for Charles Arthur, The Guardian’s technology editor. His regular column is always worth reading, but never more so than today when, in a piece that builds on Ben Goldacre’s column of last Friday, he puts paid to the much touted myth that file-sharing is music business’ biggest foe.  

 In his column, Goldacre had shown that some statistics as to what creative industries had lost to file-sharing bundled into a report written by was written by some academics you can hire in a unit at UCL called Ciber, the Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research (which “seeks to inform by countering idle speculation and uninformed opinion with the facts”) and commissioned by a government body called Sabip, the Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property, were very questionable indeed

On the billions lost it says: “Estimates as to the overall lost revenues if we include all creative industries whose products can be copied digitally, or counterfeited, reach £10bn (IP rights, 2004), conservatively, as our figure is from 2004, and a loss of 4,000 jobs.”

These “estimates” had, as Goldacre was to find, come from an unreliable, though, buy no means unsurprising source.

What is the origin of this conservative figure? I hunted down the full Ciber documents, found the references section, and followed the web link, which led to a 2004 press release from a private legal firm called Rouse who specialise in intellectual property law. This press release was not about the £10bn figure. It was, in fact, a one-page document, which simply welcomed the government setting up an intellectual property theft strategy. In a short section headed “background”, among five other points, it says: “Rights owners have estimated that last year alone counterfeiting and piracy cost the UK economy £10bn and 4,000 jobs.” An industry estimate, as an aside, in a press release. Genius.

In his article, Goldachre, shows how these, and many of the other calculations used to work out how much file-sharing is costing, just do not make sense.

Arthur, taking the argument a little further, questions the assumption that every download is really a lost sale.

…… I decided to start from the premise that downloads are not lost sales; that instead there’s only a limited amount of short-term spending cash available to people (which remains true, generally, despite credit bubbles). That instead of buying music, they choose to spend it on other things.

What other things might they spend it on? Here’s a thought: people who spend on recorded music (CDs, the occasional music DVD) are also very likely to spend on things such as games and DVD purchases or rentals. They are all discretionary purchases. So I dug up the figures from the UK music industry: the British record industry’s trade association (the BPI), and the UK games industry (via its trade body, Elspa) as well as the DVD industry (through the UK Film Council and the British Video Association). The results are over on the Guardian Data Store (, because they are the sort of numbers that should be available to everyone to chew over.


Is this fair treatment?

May 21, 2009

In an article published in today’s edition of The Guardian commentator and broadcaster Jenni Russell asks why a man with two children who had worked for more than 20 years, and in ­recent years earned about £30,000 a year, when he loses his job, is immediately reduced to £64.30 a week because his wife has a part-time job.

 The French, German, Finnish and Dutch systems treat payment of  unemployment benefits differently. For one thing, they are more generous, and, for another, they are linked to employment records and pay.

In France, anyone who has worked for at least four months in the previous two years gets between 40% and 75% of their pay. The minimum rate payable is around £150 a week, and the maximum almost £1,500. ……

Russell says that  it was under Thatcher in 1982 that the earnings-related benefit payments, which had been introduced in the sixties by Labour, were replaced by needs-related payments. The state, she writes,  now helps only those who have savings of less than £6,000, and neither partner is in work. The state does not feel that it has to give help to anyone with a standard of living to lose.

This policy can be dressed up as fairness – we won’t help anyone until they are on the edge of destitution. But it’s really a calculated attempt by governments over the past 25 years both to save money, and to make unemployment so unattractive that anyone will be driven to keep looking for work.

….. The safety net is set so low because the priority isn’t to reassure, but to ensure a swift return to work. Its discomfort is a key part of our much vaunted flexible labour market. And as far as the adviser is concerned, it has worked. The proof is that for much of the last decade British unemployment was lower – mostly about 5% – than the continent’s 8% or 9%.

And here I was thinking that were dealing with a government might have the courage to  take on recruitment agencies which treated jobseekers badly. Fat chance of that.

2007 Warwick Folk Festival

March 18, 2007

This arrived today from the Warwick Folk Festival

Sent by: Warwick Folk Festival
Forward to a friend
Festival Update March 2007
In this issue…
Seth Lakeman, Altan, Osibisa & June Tabor Headline Warwick 2007
Tickets On Sale Now!
The Guitar Convention: Watch This Space…
Warwick Folk Festival
Friday 27th – Sunday 29th July 2007
Relevant Links
Warwick Folk Festival Website
Artists 2007
Book Online Now!
Seth Lakeman, Altan, Osibisa & June Tabor Headline Warwick 2007
Seth Lakeman
Seth Lakeman

It’s always an exciting time when the line-up for Warwick Folk Festival is announced, and 2007 is no exception! As Festival Director Dick Dixon explains, “We have listened to our customers and stepped up a level with the artists booked for Warwick 2007. It is an impressive combination of talent, tradition, innovation and integrity: there is something for everyone to enjoy.”Described by The Guardian as “the first major star from the latest folk revival”, SETH LAKEMAN brings his unique brand of fodk music to Warwick on Friday 27th July. Seth’s live performances are unmissable, a reputation which has justified the critical acclaim heaped upon his recent albums Kitty Jay (Mercury Prize Nominee) and Freedom Fields (BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Best Album 2007). Seth’s success has been in turning the myths and legends of his native Dartmoor into something which is recognisably folk music but at the same time fresh, modern and exhilarating. BOOK ONLINE NOW!From humble beginnings in the sessions and festivals of mid-80s Ireland, ALTAN have risen to become one of the biggest names on the celtic music circuit. Led to the top by founders Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh and Frankie Kennedy, Altan have maintained their position at the pinnacle of the genre despite the tragic loss of Frankie to cancer in 1994. Their integrity and respect for the traditions of Ireland has created “captiving, resonant and beautiful music” (MOJO), which has ensured that Altan have received both critical and popular acclaim around the world. BOOK ONLINE NOW!JUNE TABOR returns to her home-town of Warwick to grace the Festival with vocal performances of integrity, innovation and clarity. Throughout her career she has constantly challenged and crossed musical boundaries to produce a series of classic albums, and is widely regarded as having “one of Britain’s most emotive voices” (MOJO). June’s festival appearances are rare, and we at Warwick are very lucky that she has chosen to perform for us. BOOK ONLINE NOW!Pioneers of World Music, OSIBISA will headline the Festival’s closing concert on Sunday 29th July. Formed in late-60s London by Ghanaian and Caribbean musicians, the band introduced many to the colour and vibrancy of African musical culture and earned deserved success with several hit singles. Osibisa have consistently resisted pressure to develop a more commercial sound, and have stayed true to their Afro-Caribbean roots. Recent re-releases of their recorded material have led to a critical re-appraisal of their significance to the World Music genre, and – as their name translates from Ghanaian – they continue to offer “criss-cross rhythms that explode with happiness”. BOOK ONLINE NOW!The headline acts are only part of the story at Warwick Folk Festival. There are many more exciting artists performing over the weekend, plus a full supporting cast of dancers and musicians appearing in the pubs, cafes and public spaces of Warwick. For more information, visit the Warwick Folk Festival website.

Tickets On Sale Now!

We are pleased to announce that all postal and telephone ticket sales for Warwick Folk Festival 2007 will be handled by The Bridgehouse Theatre.
This is a landmark development for the Festival, and recognises t`e close working relationship which the Festival and Warwick School have developed over many years of co-operation. Warwick Folk Festival will continue to process online ticket bookings through the Festival website –
BOOK ONLINE NOW! Contact details for postal/telephone bookings:
Bridge House Theatre Box Office,
Warwick School,
Myton Road, 
CV34 6PP

Tel. 01926 776 438
10.00 am – 5.30 pm (Mon-Fri)
10.00 am – 2.00 pm (Sat)

The Guitar Convention: Watch This Space…
Regular visitors to recent Warwick Folk Festivals will be aware that each year we programme a series of concerts, workshops and seminars based around a particular instrument, and for 2007 the chosen instrument is the guitar.
The guests and events are still being finalised at the time of this Update, but exciting announcements are imminent … WATCH THIS SPACE
 Warwick Folk Festival Ltd., 26 Spencer Avenue, Earlsdon, Coventry, UK, CV5 6NP
Registered in England: 4609472, VAT Registration:798 3616 70

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