Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by Business Software Alliance

  This submission is made on behalf of the Business Software Alliance (BSA)[31] in response to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee Inquiry into "New Media and the Creative Industries".

  The Culture, Media and Sport Committee wishes to hold an Inquiry into "the challenges and opportunities for the creative industries arising from the development of new media platforms| the term `creative industries' includes music, visual broadcasts, sound broadcasts, film, graphic art, design, advertising, fashion and games software", expressing an interest in receiving evidence concerning the following issues:

    "The impact upon creative industries of recent and future developments in digital convergence and media technology."

  BSA members have been the driving force behind "digital convergence", creating software and hardware products that are designed to enhance and expand consumer choice concerning the use and enjoyment of digital content. The digitisation of creative content has been one of the key technological developments of the 21st century, enabling consumers to access creative content in a manner, and at a time and place, that is chosen by the consumer. This expansion of choice has benefited consumers as the expanded, multinational marketplace for creative content has developed.

  The opportunities for creative industry, and the potential for even greater expansion of consumer choice, will be a key feature of the development of digital distribution models. In this regard, the role of Government will be important in ensuring that the platform for such distribution is secure, reliable and unfettered by unnecessary regulation.

    "The effects upon the various creative industries of unauthorised reproduction and dissemination of creative content, particularly using new technology; and what steps can or should be taken—using new technology, statutory protection or other means—to protect creators;" and

    "The extent to which a regulatory environment should be applied to creative content accessed using non-traditional media platforms."

  BSA has recently commented on "the extent to which a regulatory environment should be applied to creative content accessed using non-traditional media platforms" in its response to the All Party Parliamentary Internet Group (APIG) "Inquiry into Direct (sic) Rights Management".[32] Certain of the comments made in connection with that Inquiry are repeated in this response.

  In both the online and offline world, the use of DRM technologies has provided much of the basis for the expansion of consumer choice in respect of the use of creatively produced content. As illustrated in a recent study,[33], UK consumers lead the way regarding the use of DRM-based online services:



Downloads (€ million)
Subscription (€ million)
Total (€ million)

  Source:  Informa Media, 2005.

  This expansion in choice would not have been possible without appropriate levels of legal protection being afforded to the DRM technologies that facilitate such delivery. It is therefore vital that the opportunities afforded by the expanded use of DRM technologies are not restricted by the harmful acts of those that would seek to bypass DRM technologies, to the disadvantage of content providers and consumers alike.

  DRM technologies should be embraced for the opportunities they offer, providing as they do the foundation for the vast array of content delivery systems that provide consumers with the variety of choice, in terms of content distribution, delivery and pricing that are now seen as the norm. These technologies must receive both the appropriate level of robust legal protection and, equally importantly, a matched commitment to legal protection, that will ensure that the opportunities afforded by DRM technologies are not lost. In this regard, BSA members have been suffering for many years from the problems associated with such "digital piracy", which now touches many more forms of creative industry (for example in the controversial field of "file sharing"). Although DRM systems have been developed and used by BSA members to assist them in their efforts to defeat this problem, regrettably, such technologies are routinely attacked and circumvented by professional, organised bodies to the detriment of all who have an interest in seeing creative industry thrive.

  The damage done to creative industry, and the threats posed to consumers and business alike through piracy, have been the focus of the efforts of the Alliance Against Counterfeiting and Piracy in the United Kingdom for several years. BSA does not wish to repeat, in this paper, the views it has expressed to the UK Government, both as a member of the Alliance and directly, with regard to the legislative and enforcement reforms that the UK Government should adopt—save to say that it remains BSA's belief that deficiencies in the legislative, procedural and enforcement frameworks in the United Kingdom contribute significantly to the levels of digital piracy suffered in the United Kingdom.

    "Where the balance should lie between the balance of creators and the expectations of consumers in the context of the BBC's creative archive and other developments."

  The BBC Creative Archive Licence was set up by the BBC (in conjunction with certain other parties) to make its archive content available for download under the terms of a single, shared use licence scheme. One of the features of the Creative Archive Licence scheme is to allow private individuals to download content from the BSA archive for what might be broadly termed "non commercial purposes".

  BSA observes that this innovation on the part of the BBC is partly in recognition of its unique status as a publicly funded broadcaster. In terms of the "balance" between the rights of creators and the expectations of consumers, BSA's comment in this regard is that the establishing of facilities such as the Creative Archive Licence should not, by omission or otherwise, generally create an expectation on the part of consumers that on-line content is available for use on similar terms.

February 2006

31   The Business Software Alliance is the foremost organization dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world. BSA is the voice of the world's commercial software industry and its hardware partners before governments and in the international marketplace. Its members represent the fastest growing industry in the world. BSA educates consumers on software management and copyright protection, cyber security, trade, e-commerce and other Internet-related issues. BSA members include Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Avid, Bentley Systems, Borland, Cadence, Cisco Systems, CNC Software/Mastercam, Dell, Entrust, HP, IBM, Intel, Internet Security Systems, McAfee, Microsoft, PTC, RSA Security, SAP, SolidWorks, Sybase, Symantec, Synopsys, The MathWorks, and UGS. See Back

32   See Back

33   BSA Overview of Online Music Sales, Copyright Levies and Related Matters in the European Union, October 2005. Back

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