Report on EPP-ED Hearing, Creative Content Online, European Parliament, 12 June 2008
Three minutes and you're out! Michael Bartholomew, director of ETNO - the European Telecommunications Network Operators group - walked out of the European Parliament hearing on online content when he was cut off from speaking after just three minutes. Mr Bartholmew was one of only two speakers from the telecoms industry, in a seminar entitled 'the search for consensus' - compared with four speakers from the content industry who had 10 minutes each.
He did get across the point that his members are investing three hundred billion Euros in new network infrastructure, capable of carrying mass-scale, broadcast-quality television which the content industries want to do. He asked whether it was really fair that the telcos and ISPs should foot the bill for the enforcement measures which the content industries want. And, directing comments straight to the heart of the cultural lobby, he stated that the market needs to meet requirements for cultural diversity, as well as the consumer's right to privacy, and the right NOT to be criminalised for a civil misdemeanor.
The overall tenor of the hearing was skewed against the ISPs - and was it me, or did I understand correctly the suggestion that if the content industries go down with piracy, they will drag the ISPs down with them?