Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ericsson: File-sharing is a symptom of a problem, rather than a problem in itself

Considerarti recently published a study on piracy in the Netherlands. With expert advice coming from Warner, Universal, Buma/Stemra and other contnet parties, the outcome is predictable.

Fortunately, we have the Ericsson Business Review. In the latest edition (#2 2011), Rene Summer very eloquently explains what is wrong with the content industry:
ISPs are being forced to act as digital security agents on behalf of economic rights holders by listening in, screening, surveying and filtering the exchange of information between consumers. Such strict enforcement further damages the prospects of legal digital alternatives by introducing the principle of innovation by permission. It also carries unwelcome echoes of the old Eastern-bloc surveillance societies that modern Europe has decisively rejected.

File-sharing is a symptom of a problem, rather than a problem in itself. This problem is the inadequate availability of legal, timely, competitively priced and wide-ranging choices of affordable digital-content offerings. Consumers also expect to be able to make decisions freely regarding when and how to consume the content of their choice. By clinging to outdated business methods such as windowing and territoriality, economic-rights holders are in fact creating the consumer behavior against which they so violently protest.

How can we, as good Europeans, accept this state of affairs? The success of our European project is founded upon freedom of movement – for persons, goods, services and capital. Why should digital content be an exception? How can policymakers continue to endorse the vested interests of economicrights holders at the expense of the promises of the single market and our fundamental freedoms?

Ericsson is calling for full consumer access to legal, timely, competitively priced and wide-ranging compelling content offerings, and a free choice of when, where and how this legal digital content can be consumed. We call for an end to regulatory barriers and deliberate non-availability through windowing and territoriality. We call – a full 60 years after the Treaty of Paris – for a digital single market that not only meets the requirements of today’s and future European consumers, but also the requirements of European history.

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