Lord Puttnam: Why Digital Economy Bill is right move

Speaking at a panel discussion on digital cinema, Puttnam outlines his thoughts on why the Digital Economy bill is crucial for the UK.

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Following the government's announcement of the Digital Economy bill last week, which described radical measures for dealing with persistent file sharers, Labour peer Lord Puttnam has laid out his full support for the controversial bill.

"I believe that many of the proposals set out in the Digital Economy bill and the government's plans for broadband more generally, set the right direction of travel," Puttnam said, speaking at a panel discussion in London yesterday on the future of digital cinema in the UK.

Puttnam claimed that with the move to digital projection, the UK film industry had a crucial role to play in creating a digital Britain.

"Cinema has the ability to be at the heart of any digital vision that the government sets out," he said.

Puttnam explained that digital cinema was necessary to respond to ever increasing consumer expectations of immediate access to content. However, he said that this raised challenges for anyone creating, distributing or exhibiting such content.

"There needs to be some pretty hard thinking about the best ways to maximise value of both rights and its real estate... whether it's in relation to making broadband more readily available, encouraging new high speed networks, or significantly reducing illegal peer to peer sharing."

Puttnam also made no secret of his own personal reasons for wanting the proposals to go through.

"As a rights holder I entirely recognise the importance of maintaining and even strengthening the economic entitlement which flows from the ownership of intellectual property rights," he said.

"I am the very happy beneficiary of constant annual flow of revenues from a number of films I produced... and what enables those revenues to flow is the notion that copyright is respected..." he said. "Otherwise over time in a world of high speed broadband connectivity revenues will be substantially diminished leading to an overall decline in the appetite for investment in new content."

Core to the Digital Economy Bill is the three strikes rule', which looks to cut off those who repeatedly defy warnings regarding illegal file sharing. However, the Open Rights Group has declared that the bill might well be illegal under European law.

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