Tuesday, October 17, 2006

18 Doughty Street freedom under threat?

Last night, as I left 18 Doughty Street, there was a general conversation going on about how the Internet station was exempt from regulation. I'm not sure who said it (it may have been RecessMonkey), but I recall hearing the words "give it time".

Lo and behold in this monring's Times is an article about precisely such a topic. It seems there's draft EU directive called Television Without Frontiers which intends to regulate and require licensing for what the EU Media Commissionar calls “television-like service”. Apparently this include YouTube and personal websites.

Now I'm not exactly sure how that will work for YouTube sites given their hosting arrangements are not, as I understand it, based in the EU. As such just because a poster may be based in the EU it does not, by necessity, mean that the video was posted from that location. All seems rather unenforceable to me. The good news for YouTube users - maybe - is that the British government is against that aspect of the directive and is supposedly lobbying to get others to agree with it on a compromise.

Unfortunately, the compromise does not bode well for 18 Doughty Street though. Basically, the Government is proposing to redefine what constitutes "television". The approach, is going to be that if it looks like television and sounds like television then it is television. YouTube would not fall within this wide definition it seems because of it's "clip" nature.

Personally, I instantly repulse at any form of Internet regulation period. There's nothing more annoying than non-technologists trying to control what is, by it's very nature, a largely uncontrollable beast. The Net has established a virtualised world that is unique of national sovereignty and boundaries. Interference in that should be opposed at all cost.


Serf said...

I noted the same threat on TRTES.

Question: If 18 Doughty Street, and similar are redefined as TV, do we need a licence to watch them?

Teri said...

All very big brother. Can't have too much freedom can we?

Flavious said...

Unfortunately this is what happens in every quarter in the monstrosity that is the E.U. legislative body. Gnomes who don't even know what a subject is they are legislating for let alone what the best way to proceed with it is.

The result is of course the wonderful lobbyists which our colonial friends over the pond exported across to us. I have no doubt whatsoever that the E.U. will be of course happy to embrace any type of legislation which gives them more power and removes control from the masses. Frankly I'm not surprised, disgusted yes..but not in the least bit surprised. Amazing what you can do with a free trading agreement given a few years dontcha think?

JT said...

Flavious, and Dizzy, the books by Lindsay Jenkins such as Britain Held Hostage and Booker and North on The Great Deception make clear the origins of the EU project. Amongst the people who developed and promoted the ideas and the basic structures were a large number of Communists, Fabians and other socialists. The aim was to destroy what they believed to be the inherently milataristic nation states of Europe and replace national political power with a single European political structure from which all other power would flow. The continent of Europe was to be enclosed behind a protectionist tariff wall. Aspects such as a single European army, currency, etc. were there from the beginning. Do not image that it was ever about a simple "trading arrangement" or that the philosophical and political underpinnings of the project harbour anything but bad either for this country or Europe more broadly. There is nothing inherently liberal, democratic or free about it.

Ellee said...

Could we not launch a blog protest?

ChuckL said...

Basically, the Government is proposing to redefine what constitutes "television".

No, it isn't. The Government is, perhaps for a change, on your side in this issue. It's the EU Commission that is proposing this -- and the British government is opposed.

dizzy said...

Actually you're wrong Chuckl, the Government is opposed to the EU's redefinition which wil include sites liek YouTube, it is, however, proposing another redefinition itself. I think you need to read the above posting again and avoid contextual extrapolation.

Geoff said...

reading the proposed directive at http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/lvb/l24101.htm I don't see any of above. The directive's aims seem ok to me"he Directive establishes the principle that Member States shall ensure freedom of reception and shall not restrict retransmission on their territory of television programmes from other Member States. They may, however, suspend retransmission of television programmes that infringe the provisions of the Directive on the protection of minors"

jimh said...

Sorry, Geoff but it is quite clear that the Directive is being interpreted as an opportunity to extend regulation to all moving images on the internet. This is being defined as video games , mobile phone streaming, Youtube, MySpace etc.
At present the UK can count only on Slovakian support to stop this Directive