17 March 2009

EU Telecoms Promote "Legitimate" Content

Interesting initiative from the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO):

ETNO is launching a new online content web site today, to raise awareness of attractive online offers put on the market by its members throughout Europe to download music, films or watch TV. ETNO members believe that offering a wide choice of online services is the best way to promote a legitimate use of the Internet and fight against illicit file-sharing.

"The rapidly growing choice of legitimate online content services illustrates the increasing cooperation between e-communications providers and content owners in order to respond to consumer demand for price-worthy, secure and user-friendly services”, says Michael Bartholomew, ETNO Director.

The new ETNO web site gives a non-exhaustive overview of services available including IP TV, video on demand or music downloads, offered by ETNO members through different platforms and devices to meet user’s demands.

"User-demand for content is the basis of our actions. ETNO members develop and promote business models for content online offers, including music, films and TV. This list will of course need to be continuously updated,” says Patrik Hiselius, TeliaSonera, Chair of ETNO’s Content Working Group.

Increasing choice of legitimate content online and raising awareness among users are the best instruments to fight against illicit file sharing.

“Illicit file sharing represents a major burden for all stakeholders, including internet service providers. Education is key. Users should not be unreasonably criminalised or stigmatised. Through this new web site, ETNO members show their commitment to play their part and cooperate with rightsholders under the existing legal framework, in a scenario where choice and availability for the consumer, and rights and privacy for the citizen are all fully guaranteed”, added Bartholomew.

ETNO calls on policy makers and stakeholders to work together in order to ensure the wide availability of legitimate content offerings and to enable new creative market-driven business models to emerge.

This isn't perfect - I have problems with this "illicit file sharing", and the phrasing of "users should not be unreasonably criminalised or stigmatised", but what's interesting is that it shows an awareness of the broader issues, and of the fact that customers have rights as well as holders of intellectual monopolies. It suggests to me that the telecoms companies are beginning to understand that things are changing, and are beginning to change their own stance in response too.

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