Pundit, actor and performer Stephen Fry says the entertainment industry is too aggressive – despite lending his name to Digital Britain earlier this year
Digital pundit and renaissance man Stephen Fry has delivered an impassioned critique of the over-zealous enforcement of copyright by the music and movie industry – and in the process admitted using BitTorrent.
Fry said the entertainment industry, ” my business… is doing the wrong thing”, in aggressively pursuing file-sharers, and keeping the price of official content too high. Only someone who was wilfully blind would believe that someone who downloads a TV episode was as bad as someone who steals a handbag, he said.
The actor and writer also admitted to using BitTorrent, to download an episode of House, the series starring his old comedy partner Hugh Laurie – albeit one he had already paid a subscription to view.
Ironically, Fry was also a speaker at the April launch of the UK Government’s Digital Britain initiative. In the event, the proposed legislation for Digital Britain includes controversial measures that would require Ofcom to preside over limitations to the bandwidth of persistent file-sharers – a move which could conflict with the Government’s stance that broadband is a human right.
Fry was speaking as a warm-up act for fans at an iTunes Festival at the Roundhouse, in London. As BBC blogger Rory Cellan-Jones reports: “Someone in the audience pointed out that the tickets for the event told us that we were not allowed to use recording devices – an instruction ignored by just about everyone, with the encouragement of the man on stage.”
After leaving the stage, Fry seems to have realised he may have started something: “Hope I’m not misunderstood,” he tweeted. “Such a pity if I get misrepresented as a ‘help yourself and be a pirate’ advocate …”
Stephen Fry also recently spoke out for the upgrading of Bletchley Park home of Britain’s wartime codebreakers, to a full museum,