Digital Britain is 'barmy' says Lord Putnam

Steal This Film director slams Lord Carter's interim report on Digital Britain
Steal This Film director slams Lord Carter's interim report on Digital Britain

Following last week's interim report on Digital Britain from Lord Carter, a number of new media industry leaders have expressed serious reservations with the government's plans.

Lord David Puttnam reiterates ELSPA's recent concerns about the report's objective to give all British citizens access to 2mbps broadband by 2012.

"The report has its priorities straight but I worry greatly about its scale and ambition regarding the level of bandwidth we need," notes Lord Puttnam.

"I've been talking to people in Singapore about needing gigabytes by 2015. Either the authorities here are barmy and don't realise what the British creative industries here need, or we are.

"There's a massive gap of where the balance of credibility lies. Are we a 21st Century nation or are we equipping ourselves for the 20th Century?"

BPI and LoveFilm critics

Lord Carter's 22-point action plan for the UK's digital future has also come under fire from new media entrepreneurs and industry leaders alike.

Mark Cullen, CEO of digital media company etv, told New Media Age: "The last thing we need is more regulation. I'm not really sure a government-inspected rights agency is how to stop piracy. Perhaps we have to learn to live with a level of piracy in the same way we did when everyone copied music onto tape."

Chris Bird, director of film strategy at LoveFilm, said, "It's one thing to say let's address piracy on the web but you have to offer an alternative. The best way to combat piracy is to supply a legal way to access content."

Richard Mollet, director of public affairs at the British Phonographic Institute (BPI), said, "It's a welcome step but doesn't go far enough. It falls short of reaching the Government's own commitment. If you want to reduce piracy by 70 to 80 per cent you need to do more than send a few letters.

"The consultation document stated there should be codes of practice but the Government has backed away from that. It has recognised the value of the creative industry so it should have bitten the bullet and said we need ISPs to do more."

Steal this film

Jamie King, director of Steal This Film sums up the report well, noting that it, "needs to look towards the future, not prop up the past."

King adds that the government "needs to start thinking about models and the potential of file sharing, which doesn't include surveillance.

"This won't happen by taking the views of old pro-copyright lobbyists above the consumer. The report seems to have lost faith in its own rhetoric. It should realise the importance of file sharing and look at models beyond intellectual properties."

Adam Hartley