Letter to PR Week regarding the Digital Economy Act

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Wadds, Will McInnes and I were quoted in a piece in PR Week on April 15, discussing the Digital Economy Act. Adam Liversage of the BPI disagreed, particularly with myself and Wadds. This is a copy of the response to Adam’s letter that I sent to PR Week this morning:

Whilst I respect the rights of the BPI to defend its interests through its letter to PR Week I found Adam Liversage’s remarks in this weeks letters column patronising and offensive. I have taken my duty of care to my clients and agency to follow the developments in the Digital Economy Act.

Specifically, in Clause 8 it threatens to block websites that “is likely to be used for in connection with an activity that infringes copyright” so sites that are used in digital PR workflow like Yousendit could qualify. As could consumer-facing sites like YouTube. The constant uncertainty of whether a site could be blocked could scare brands away from doing UK-specific campaigns as part of a global push instead hoping for the serendipity of US campaign bleed through – why invest in campaign creative that the market may never see, whether or not the campaign content itself infringes copyright?

Secondly, this restricts innovation of UK start-ups in comparison to foreign competitors as they are banned from whole sections of the internet sector. Don’t take my word for it have a look at posts written by experts like Struan Robertson of lawyers Pinsent Masons and Mike Butcher of TechCrunch Europe. The technology sector counts as a significant revenue generator for the PR industry.

I can only assume based on his earlier assertions that Mr Liversage’s definition of the creative sector and the PR industry seems curiously blinkered.

Adam Liverage’s take.