Sunday, 13 December 2009

now there's a thing

I reproduce what is below, including the personal contact details, because they were posted on a public forum, without comment other than to say that I am aware of Dominic Jackson as a former constituent in Reading East, where as far as I can ascertain he still lives, and I wonder aloud what inspired him to visit an MP for another constituency, whether he visited his own MP on these matters, and especially what Mr Salter was playing at using taxpayer funded facilities to write letters to and on behalf of people he is not paid to represent. The Wiki Mr Jackson links to even has a button for people to check who their MP is if they are unsure. The whole matter relates to the Digital Economy Bill, which those interested can investigate further if they are so minded.

If Mr Jackson has moved to Reading West in the meantime I apologise to him.

Adopted by Dominic Jackson (, tel 07791 608873). Visited surgery on 11th December 2009, had 10 minute chat re: DEB. Gave Salter a briefing document with a list of concerns about the Bill. Salter admitted that he is a technophobe/luddite and declared this document very useful and thanked me for providing it. Was asked directly if a member of a campaigning organisation and readily admitted I was an ORG member. Salter's opening remark was that if he created an artistic work, why shouldn't he be entitled to profit from it. I replied that I was not saying he could not, only that for artistic works such as music and movies that can be represented as digital data, it's difficult to control that distribution when copying is so easy. Also pointed out that digital technology makes it ever-cheaper to record music. I noted that artists now make more money from playing live than selling records - for example, in the mid-1960s, concerts were a means of promoting records and thus selling more of them. Now, the recorded music an artist produces might be considered a way of promoting his concerts, where he makes more money (and can sell merchandise like T-shirts to fans and earn money from this). I pointed out that I have my favourite artists, who I make a point of buying CDs from, but others I don't care so much about I might just download but without ever having had the intention of buying it - so they haven't lost a sale. I pointed out that my briefing document listed plausible reasons other than "piracy" for the drop in CD sales and I also asked Salter to discuss with some teenagers what CDs mean to them. Young people today often place no value on CDs - music is something to be accessed "here and now" without having a collection of silver discs around. My briefing document expanded upon this by saying CDs are effectively an obsolete product as far as a large market segment is concerned. I also pointed out that [ DVD sales have risen], and only declined in 2009 because Blu-Ray sales took off. [ Cinema attendances are at a 40-year high level]. I used these to try to get him to question the core assertion that there *is* a problem with revenue for the entertainment industry being affected by file sharing and therefore that legislation was needed. I think this point needs re-addressing with him. I noted in my briefing document (which he flick-read, saying that he would pass it to more technically aware members of his constituency office - but he was interested in my section on the "background to the Bill").

Pointed out that the movie industry tried to sue the video recorder out of existence in the USA in the early 1980s (which Salter found quite amusing) - used this to demonstrate that a new business of selling films on videotape to end consumers emerged. Noted that the entertainment industry always opposes new technology.

Salter noted that my attitude seemed a little socio-anarchic, as in "I can share files and therefore I will" - I should have addressed this point more strongly but I did reply that it's more a case of "anyone can share files and trying to stop it is futile (when copying technology is so advanced)". I need to address with him more strongly that, as my briefing document explained, trying to base a business on controlling media distribution is likely to fail and that newer models are required. Salter is to write to Stephen Timms on my behalf and followup through his constituency office. I shall followup his reply when received.

-- Dominic Jackson 11-12-2009 19:09


Anonymous said...

The point is that he is not only not paid to represent Mr Jackson, he is someone Mr Salter is not the representative of.

In a country whose constitution is based upon a system of representative democracy, where an elected representative of the people from within an area represents those people and makes laws and, now, takes action on their behalf.

I can understand members of the public shopping around until they find someone willing to take up their concern. But that a representative of the people should hold their position in such contempt, and the trust they are given by the people they represent, is shocking.

But then again it is Mr Salter and no doubt taking up anything for anyone is such a boost for his ego that the constitution and the basis of British government mean nothing to him. Another example of why being the MP is all about the greater glory of Salter and nothing to do with seeking to do the job for genuine reasons.

jane said...

Salter once produced a hilarious "code of conduct" that basically said he would take up Reading East cases and those from other constituencies if he felt there was personal and electoral advantage in it for him. Occurs to me though that this post shows that there is no confidentiality in an MP's surgery, so MPs should be careful what they say and do there - oh but it's OK, this is only a Horrid Anti-Democratic Blog Thingy, not Proper Media like the Reading Evening Post!

Anonymous said...

Mr Salter cannot concoct a 'code of conduct' involving him doing Reading East casework, or that from anywhere else. He is not elected to represent Reading East residents. If they dislike what he does they cannot boot him out. This is totally undemocratic. No wonder he dislikes teh internetz if it brings this farrago of nonsense to light