Is the UK record industry arrogant or stupid?

In my latest Guardian column, "Is the music industry trying to write the digital economy bill?", I look at the last two weeks' events in the life of the UK Digital Economy Bill, a piece of legislation tailor-made for the record industry at the expense of the public interest, freedom and due process. The question I can't answer is, does the record industry put on these vastly over-reaching shows of power because they don't care about backlash, or are they just so arrogant that they don't imagine that there will be a backlash?

[T]he next day, Bridget Fox, a LibDem prospective parliamentary candidate who had spoken out against her party's new pro-censorship stance, introduced an emergency motion to the LibDems' spring conference. This motion called for the LibDems to follow a policy that puts internet freedom front and centre, categorically rejecting web censorship and disconnection of infringers and their families, and embracing net neutrality and all the other freedoms that you'd expect from the "party of liberty". In other words, the LibDems had declared themselves to be not biddable by the entertainment industry, and indirectly but firmly rebuked the Lords who'd done the BPI's dirty work for them.

By all accounts, the "debate" following Fox's proposal was a one-sided affair. No one came forward to oppose it. Instead, for half an hour, speaker after speaker stood up to declare the importance of a free and open net. When the vote came, it was near-unanimous (I hear that there was one vote against the proposal). If the BPI had hoped to have an ally for the years to come in the LibDems, they blew it by asking for too much - and getting it. Their greed in exploiting their influence over the LibDem Lords galvanised the LibDem rank and file into enshrining a rejection of the BPI's agenda into the party's official policy.

Is the music industry trying to write the digital economy bill?