Are the creative industries losing the PR battle on legislative reform?

Thursday 10th May 2012
Pavilion Theatre, Brighton Dome

In January this year, the US media industry and internet community went head-to-head over SOPA and PIPA.  As always, America did it bigger with many high-profile sites taking themselves off-line.  The PR machine went into overdrive and two US legislative acts became international news.  While the PR campaign worked and the acts were amended and then ultimately shelved, the events did highlight a worldwide IP protection issue.

Closer to home in the EU we’ve seen a series of demonstrations mainly spearheaded by Europe’s youth against the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), including one outside UK Music’s offices.  Several EU states have delayed ratification of the treaty due to the strength of public opinion, mainly directed at provision in the treaty aimed at limiting online piracy.

The headlines and imagery spoke volumes and while on the blogger-sphere the language was more furious, most news articles were balanced and well thought out.  However, very few people read articles on anti-piracy legislative reform, because to be blunt, it is a little boring and to most of the public quite remote.

However, public opinion counts, when trying to change consumer behaviour.  But, is the PR machine damaging any chance of meaningful dialogue between the two sides?

Moderator: Helienne Lindvall, professional songwriter & musician and journalist

  • Andrew Orlowski, Journalist, columnist and Executive Editor of The Register
  • Peter Bradwell, Campaigner, Open Rights
  • Andy Saunders, Velocity PR

Helienne Lindvall, professional songwriter & musician and journalist
Helienne is an award winning professional songwriter, musician, and music and media writer for the Guardian. Born and raised in Sweden, she lived and worked as a musician in New York before relocating to London and signing with BMG Publishing Scandinavia. In her weekly blog for the Guardian Behind the Music, she deals with the issues facing musicians today, and the rapidly changing music industry.


Andrew Orlowski, Journalist, columnist and Executive Editor of The Register
Andrew Orlowski is Executive Editor of The Register, the most popular technology news site in the Britain and one of the most popular in the world. For seven years he reported based in Silicon Valley. He is Assistant Producer of the BBC TV series by Adam Curtis, All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace, which examined technology myths, utopianism and bubbles


Andy Saunders, Founder, Velocity PR
Andy Saunders has worked at a senior level within the UK music industry for 25 years.  Beginning his career at Acid House pioneers Pacific Records Andy moved on to heavy metal giants Roadrunner Records before joining the legendary Creation Records as Director of Communications.
In 2000 he founded Velocity Communications, a consultancy that specialises primarily in corporate communications strategy and implementation for a wide range of clients across the music industry, legal field and technology sector.


Peter Bradwell, Campaigner, Open Rights
Peter joined ORG in January 2011 to campaign for copyright reform. Before this he worked at the think tank Demos for four years, where he focused primarily on technology policy and the relationship between technology and society. He is the author of a number of Demos publications including Private Lives: A People’s Inquiry into Personal Information, Edgeless University, and Video Republic. He co-founded the music project Hometaping in 2009, and has an MA with Distinction in Critical Theory and Politics from the University of Nottingham