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Following the broadband money

Online copyright laws are premature, say telcos, ISPs

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European communications providers and internet service providers (ISPs) yesterday condemned European Commission moves to protect online content, saying they were were “premature”.

In a joint statement, Cable Europe, ECTA, ETNO, EuroISPA and GSMA, welcomed the search for search for a “holistic” solution, but regretted that the Commission seemed  “pre-disposed to revise the IPR Enforcement Directive 2004/48 (IPRED) at this premature stage”.

Too little had passed from the directive’s transpostion into national law, it said. “Consequently, there is insufficient evidence at this stage to suggest a real necessity for a revision.”

Premature changes risked stifling innovation and the development of new models by which creative people could build new businesses and jobs, they said.

The signatories worried that the commission planned to force ISPs to police their internet traffic for illegal downloads, and that this could make them liable for charges of illegally infringing their customers’  privacy, and the entire process was outside judicial oversight. .

The statement highlights background to an opinion expressed by the commission’s Digital Agenda head, Neelie Kroes, at the E>G8 conference in Paris this morning. Kroes said the present copyright regime was unfit for purpose in the digital economy and needed to be updated.

Several (US) speakers from the E>G8 floor praised the recent Hargreaves review, the UK’s effort to update copyright for the digital economy. It was “less moralistic” than yesterday’s heated debate on the subject, said one.

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