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Innovation does not come from boardrooms, and the view of the panel was that  discriminatory practices permitted under the Telecoms Package put innovation at risk.


Report from Green Group/Pirate Party seminar: Telecoms Package, preparing for a third reading, European Parliament 7 September 2009


Dr Malte Behrmann, of the European Games Developers Federation, said that games developers have found new business models, which are now under threat of blocking by telecoms operators. "The real problem is the risk of

abuse. He criticised the mis-use of  filtering technology in order to prioritise content  and asked "what happens when they mis-use competition? He went on to say  "there is no such thing as being a little bit pregnant" implying that 'a little bit free' is also not an option. The core of the Internet has to stay free, he said. "Co-operation and discussions are interesting, but that is not really the point. These amendments are innovation-hostile".


In Dr Behrmann's view, we need to understand who has a real interest in the Telecoms Package and restrictions on Internet content. It is "the people who want to leverage their oligopolies from off-line to on-line" he said.


Caroline DeCock, speaking for the VON coalition which represents voice-over-IP services,  was clear that blocking or degradation of Internet services could be devastating for innovation. She called for a clarification of the regulation of network management in the Telecoms Package, saying the discriminatory practices should not be permitted and the rules should be clear and maintain open access, without gatekeepers. The use of devices should not be restricted. She highlighted that peer-to-peer services are used for purposes other than the downloading of copyrighted content, and cited the example of the European nuclear research community.


Jeremie Zimmermann, of La Quadrature du Net, stressed that French all three mobile operators block Skype and peer-to-peer. This demolishes the argument of Telecoms Package proponents that market competition will resolve the issue. It clearly will not resove anything if all operators co-operate on blockages.


Magnus Eriksson, speaking for the Julia group, a new group of Swedish academics and citizens interested in Internet issues, warned against the use of blacklists and whitelists to create a divided Internet, and spoke of the need to preserve the  open Internet as  a facilitator for innovation. "Innovation does not come from board rooms" he quipped.


There is a  radical solution for the Telecoms Package, as pointed out  by Caroline De Cock: remove all of the provisions relating to content.

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed. The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2009)Is the Telecoms Package innovation-hostile?, http://www.iptegrity.com 10 September 2009.  


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About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor, with expertise in online safety, technology and human rights. I am a published author, and post-doctoral scholar. I hold a PhD from the University of Westminster, and a DipM from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I cover the UK and EU. I'm a former tech journalist, and an experienced panelist and Chair. My media credits include the BBC, iNews, Times, Guardian and Politico.

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