It's an archetypal movie scene. The attackers (the barbarians, the Evil Empire, the Sith etc) are on the verge of breaking into the fortress and the defenders desperately place some flimsy obstacles in their way.

It generally doesn't work: it's not too long before the defenders have to think of another plan as the invaders break through.

I've been reminded of this scenario twice in recent weeks - the first when Rupert Murdoch decided to introduce paywalls for News Corp's editorial content and the second earlier this week when the Government forced a ragtag of compliant MPs to vote through the Digital Economy Bill into law.

There's been plenty written about this Bill beforehand, by me and by plenty other observers. It goes without saying that it's a bad law, ill-thought out, badly drafted and voted on in a shoddy manner - bill proposed by the unelected, debated by the ignorant and voted on by the absent, in one memorable phrase. The level of understanding on the subject was brought into sharp focus when it was revealed that Stephen Timms, the minister responsible for Digital Britain, didn't even know what IP address meant and thought it referred to intellectual property.

And while some of the lobbying behind the scenes is clouded in secrecy, what we do know, thanks to a leaked memo,  is that amendments to the Act were drafted by record industry body, the BPI.

But the Digital Economy Act (as we must now refer to it) and the Murdoch move to protect his intellectual property, do have one thing in common: a desperate attempt to return to a perceived golden age.

These aren't the only moves to prop up an outdated business model. Oracle's legal action against Rimini Street can also be seen as an attempt to protect business practice. As indeed can the whole open source movement - which is why there has been so much lobbying to make sure open source software is left on the margins.

One thing that several commentators have alluded to is that this is going to the first true Internet election -that's probably true. Of course, every election since 1997 has an element of Internet activity involved but this year's goes a lot further than other - since 2005, we've seen the rise of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and a whole panoply of social media sites. The world looks very different from the way it did.just five years ago and that's something that the Government and the News Corp executives have yet to understand.

While the provisions of the Digital Economy Act are badly planned in themselves, what made the whole process even more unpalatable was the way that the thousands of voting citizens saw a mockery of the democratic process in action. Through computer screens, through mobile, through Tiwtter, through mash-ups, we saw the whole charade enacted: from the half-empty House of Common to MPs being whipped in to vote for a measure that they didn't understand.

But despite the attempts, we can't go back in time. Governments, vendors and industry bodies are going to have to accept that we can't look to restrain markets artificially through legislation, through lobbying or through the law courts. Yes, they can impede progress but they're the barrels thrown down the stairs at pursuers, or the flimsy barricades on the doors.They slow the invaders/besiegers down but ultimately can't stop them. What generally happens is some deus ex machina enters and saves the day but that just isn't going to happen.

It would be great if the forthcoming election would see us having a debate about how IT is going to be used, at the moment, there's plenty of guff about "Digital Britain" but not one party has really examined how technology can be used to make our lives better, industry more efficient and debate more informed. And one things for sure, turning the clock back is not going to improve matters.



Follow Maxwell on Twitter on @maxcooter