Episode 112 – 25th November 2011

This week we take a journey across time and space as we look forward to the Mars Science Lab mission, and talk about a new play that takes a look back into recent history through the medium of former Labour MP Chris Mullin’s diaries. We also speak to Marcus Chown about his new book and are scared by news of what the SOPA act could mean for the internet.


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Mars Science Lab (1:40) by Kash Farooq (ft Claire Cousins)
SOPA (9:42) by James Firth (ft Cathy Gellis)
Darknet (19:07) by Salim Fadhley (ft Hose Manuel)
Curing Cancer (26:54) by Matt Kaiser
The BBC & Open Access (33:34) by Pete Hague
Tweeting the Universe (38:32) by Liz Lutgendorff (ft Marcus Chown)
A Walk On Part (47:11) by James O’Malley & Liz Lutgendorff (ft Steve Marmion, John Hodgkinson, Michael Crick, Diane Abbott and Don Foster)
Solipsism (54:57) by Sean Ellis
The sketch at the end is by David Lovesy & Brian Two
Thanks to Hayley Stevens and Dave for supplying the dogs (!)

Follow-Up Links:

9 thoughts on “Episode 112 – 25th November 2011

  1. James Firth does have a vested interest in scaremongering here, just as the Police have a vested interest in exaggerating crime figures.

    The harm done to small filmmakers and independent musicians by digital piracy is immense, and we don’t have the deep pockets that large record companies or Hollywood studios have to pay for their lawyers. While there are certainly better ways of enforcing creator’s digital rights than SOPA – SOPA and worse is what we’ll get in the absence of smarter piracy measures.

    casual infringement perhaps he could suggest some?

  2. Where is the evidence that piracy has done this ‘immense’ harm? Define ‘harm’ as well – are you simply talking about the loss of revenue you believe you are entitled to?

  3. I have no vested interests in scaremongering and I don’t agree with your premise that piracy is damaging the creative industry. I have spent 2 years researching this one issue, so over to you to show me the evidence behind your “scaremongering” on the damage to creative industries.

    The creative industry is damaging itself and the internet by fundamentally misunderstanding the market and refusing at adapt to new low-profit, high volume markets which would otherwise be exciting times for all creators.

    As advertisers continue to invest in digital, a whole new opportunity to fund creative content will open.

    Additionally, the 99c model – selling whole e-novels and albums for 99c – makes far more sense than persevering with a high-cost model based solely on false scarcity. Piracy is making the market honest, and if western studios don’t wise up, developing countries will adapt models that work with the new reality and wipe the floor, leaving our locked-in obsolete model reliant on back catalogues dead in the water.

    Read some science on piracy in emerging economies:
    http://piracy.ssrc.org/the-report/

    And my thoughts on 99c model:
    http://www.slightlyrightofcentre.com/2011/11/million-eu-album-downloads-for-adele.html

    And my solution to copyright:
    http://www.slightlyrightofcentre.com/2011/11/fixing-copyright-solution.html

    Then come back and make a cogent argument without accusing people of having vested interests.

    James Firth

    CEO, Open Digital Policy Organisation
    http://www.opendigital.org

  4. Steve wrote:

    > James Firth does have a vested interest in scaremongering here

    Perhaps we should turn to independent sources, such as the RIAA and MPAA? Here are some other sources expressing the same concerns as James:

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/10/sopa-hollywood-finally-gets-chance-break-internet

    http://radar.oreilly.com/2011/11/sopa-protectip.html

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/11/congress-weighs-fighting-internet-piracy-like-the-war-on-drugs/248690/

    http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/6134/135/

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111122/04254316872/definitive-post-why-sopa-protect-ip-are-bad-bad-ideas.shtml?

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-57329001-281/how-sopa-would-affect-you-faq/?part=rss&subj=latest-news&tag=title

    > The harm done to small filmmakers and independent musicians by digital piracy is immense,

    [citation required]

    > perhaps he could suggest some?

    Perhaps you could, as you claim to be the party harmed. And while you’re at it, how about measures that preserve your rights *without* trampling over those of the rest of us (i.e. the vast majority) of Internet users.

  5. Following up on my piece, I got a reply from the BBC

    The person responding seemed rather frustrated, because they had previously been criticised for not providing links to papers in science stories, had adopted a policy to always do so, and were now being criticised for the way they did it.

    He responded pretty much as I expected; he felt that only writing science stories about papers that were available freely would ‘impoverish’ BBC science reporting. I can’t say I agree with that; there is no shortage of interesting peer reviewed science, with free e prints, that is not mentioned in the media.

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