EU proposes better digital content - combat sexy piracy

Speaking at the Ludwig Erhard Lecture 2009 at the Lisbon Council in Brussels yesterday, Viviane Reding, the EU Telecoms Commissioner, warned that "Internet piracy appears to become more and more sexy". Reding proposes to help fix this by freeing up EU regulation and developing a consumer-friendly legal framework for accessing digital content in Europe's single market.

Viviane Reding said:

"While many right holders insist that every unauthorised download from the internet is a violation of intellectual property rights and therefore illegal or even criminal, others stress that access to the internet is a crucial fundamental right. Let me be clear on this: Both sides are right. The drama is that after long and often fruitless battles, both camps have now dug themselves in their positions, without any signs of opening from either side.

In the meantime, internet piracy appears to become more and more "sexy", in particular for the digital natives already, the young generation of intense internet users between 16 and 24. This generation should become the foundation of our digital economy, of new innovation and new growth opportunities.

However, Eurostat figures show that 60% of them have downloaded audiovisual content from the internet in the past months without paying. And 28% state that they would not be willing to pay.

These figures reveal the serious deficiencies of the present system. It is necessary to penalise those who are breaking the law. But are there really enough attractive and consumer-friendly legal offers on the market?"

The suggested changes would allow rights holders to save money by not having to spend as much cash on administration of rights, thus allowing them to invest in "attractive services" (whatever they are). It would also mean that consumers could access online content regardless of which member state it was uploaded to and hopefully via a standard price.

No responsibility can be taken for the content of external Internet sites.

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