Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Is the EU About to Regulate 18DoughtyStreet Out of Existence?

Dizzy reports that the EU is intent on regulating internet TV. He cites an article on The Times this morning (HERE). This could spell big trouble for internet TV stations like 18DoughtyStreet. Shaun Woodward, the Broadcasting Minister says he will fight it, but he seems to be concentrating on preserving things like MySpace or YouTube. Whatever system the EU comes up with no doubt it will involve some sort of prohibitive licence fee which will have the effect of stopping new entrants from entering the market. Here's an excerpt from the Times article...

THE Government is seeking to prevent an EU directive that could extend broadcasting regulations to the internet, hitting popular video-sharing websites such as YouTube. The European Commission proposal would require websites and mobile phone services that feature video images to conform to standards laid down in Brussels... “The real risk is we drive out the next MySpace because of the cost of complying with unnecessary regulations,” Mr Woodward said. “These businesses can easily operate outside the EU.” Ofcom, the media regulator, is also opposing the proposed directive, which it believes could discourage new multimedia business in Europe... The House of Lords European Union Committee began an inquiry yesterday into the directive, which could also introduce paid-for product placement on UK television for the first time. Lord Woolmer, the committee chairman, said: “The proposals bring within the regulatory framework areas of the media previously untouched by broadcasting legislation. “Britain is at the cutting edge of new media and alternative broadcasters in Europe, and we are keen to ensure that the proposals will not damage this growing industry in seeking to incorporate them into EU regulation.”

Do read the whole article. This illustrates just what is wrong with the European Union. It is seeking to regulate where it doesn't need to. It wants to introduce rules where there is no need for any. No doubt what will emerge from this some sort of wishy washy compromise. God, it makes you sick. It's things like this which make me wonder whether, after all, we wouldn't be Better Off Out. [/rant]

It looks like I am going to have to dust down my lobbying skills...

UPDATE: Man in a Shed points me to THIS article in The Economist.

49 comments:

Chris said...

Can you have your studio in Bloomsbury but your virtual "transmitter" (server or whatever...) outside the EU?

Better off out? Who can doubt it?!

Rigger Mortice said...

we would be.

Man in a shed said...

This was in the Economist last friday here (no restrictions I think on this article). If you want to lobby I would see if the anti-software patent groups can't help with suggestions.

Iain - does this mean you don't subscribe to The Economist ( the mouth piece of the continuing SDP ), I'm shocked.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. The EU machine is adept finding petty tasks to justify its existence and keep its bureaucrats in work.

However, don't expect much support for your cause from the mainstream media. I reckon the BBC, Sky-Times-Sun etc don't well the competition from your online venture so they'll happily see you regulated out of business!

In the meantime, anyone fed up with the EU parliament going back and forth between Brussels and Strasbourg can sign a petition to end the travelling circus here.

PJ said...

Of course we'd be better off outside the EU:

- no more CAP or regional aid billions
- no more unsuitable regulations
- no more pointless summits and meetings
- no more common external tariff limiting our trade with the world's growing economies
- no more foreigners telling us what to do

It isn't that we couldn't mess things up outside the EU, as we did in the early 1970's, it's more that we could succeed far better if we put in place decent policies.

At present, it isn't quite respectable to call for British withdrawal, just as a couple of years ago it wasn't respectable to question more-or-less uncontrolled immigration. What we need is an organisation like Migrationwatch which will shift the debate on.

Iain Dale said...

Man in a shed - funnily enough I took out a sub to The Economist a couple of months ago - but I find I usually get around to reading it about a week late... that will teach me.

Andrew Woodman said...

Let's just get out of this shambolic organisation. First headlights and now this. Like the BBC, it's been taken over my socialists trying to micro manage our lives. Next it will be blogs have to have balanced opinion on them.

Mr Eugenides said...

I'm sure you can raise the money to pay any license fee; just pop a couple of pro-EU programmes into the week's scheduling and you'll collect a nice fat subsidy from some EU propaganda scheme or other.

The Druid said...

Another flat earth proposal from the EU like their stupid email tax proposal. Its high time we left this nonsense to fester without us.

A "prohibitive licence fee" would no doubt be a breach of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In theory it would also be contrary to EU law, but given that the ECJ is a political not legal court I wouldn't fancy your chances there.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the good news that they'll take forever to get everyone to agree...?

Hopefully you'll be left alone for a while.

The premise of 18DS is EXCELLENT. Big congratulations.

don jameson said...

The BBC has moved its tanks into the internet, and now wants to regulate away the opposition there, too.

Screwing up the individual's right to blog and post videos etc could finally be a tipping point against the EU. But the Tories' instinct to line up with the Moral Majority (economic freedom, social repression) will tie them in knots I expect.

Serf said...

Maybe even Lib Derm bloggers will start to find reason to hate the EU. Hurray

Anonymous said...

Careful you don't end up "banging on about Europe," Iain... ;-)

Anonymous said...

Alas Mr Dale, you are correct. The TV "without frontiers" as it currently stands would regulate the online content/advertising of all linear/non-linear audio-visual content. Add to this the fact that many are trying to use this piss-poor directive to massively limit advertising and product placement and we might well get to a point in the not too distant future where most of the TV we watch is produced outside of the UK and the EU.

The votes in the main Committee for this are on 13th November and the Tory voter on the Committee is Christopher Beazley MEP.

Neil Craig said...

The internet may be the greatest adjunct to individual freedom since printing.

While it is true that “The real risk is we drive out the next MySpace because of the cost of complying with unnecessary regulations,” Mr Woodward said. “These businesses can easily operate outside the EU.” so that any licencing system will fail the principle that government, let alone superstates, should not regulate free speech should be absolutley defended

I would move your server to somewhere outside the EU. Will the BBC, who were so critical of Murdoch for accepting some censorship in China say much about this.

I always accepted that the EU was economically damaging but this is damaging to freedom as well.

UK Daily Pundit said...

It's not a rant Iain. It's the only way to preserve our liberty.

Simon Richards said...

Iain, I'm delighted to see that your direct experience of the EU in action has now led you to abandon your ludicrous "Don't talk about the EU" position.

javelin said...

For all intent and purpose it's Chinese repression of freedom of speech in the EU.

The key to stopping it is to get a group of high profile celebs to stamp on Tony and Gordon very quickly.

Jonathan Sheppard said...

WE had pirate radio station - don't tell me we will have to have pirate TV stations. Where are my sea sickness pills??

Lee Rotherham said...

Iain and fellow Doughtiers, for what it's worth, you have my fullest support as a mayoral candidate on this one.

Don't spend it all at once :)

I hope CCHQ policy makers take note of this lesson - there's no room for isolationism is politics.

Next stop - some crisis involving immigration services, followed by a paltry tax cut by Gordon Brown, a stocks collapse in a fisheries zone, and the reemergence of the EU Constitution before the next MEP elections.

newmania said...

simon richards- and isn`t that always the way . I have persuaded out MEP to do a defence for my blog which ( ho ho ) we will then rip to shreds.
I don`t think anyone in the UK feels we need the EU to rule us but there is the worry that we will lose out on trade if we leave . The real arguement is this second one and having heard Christopher Bookers demolition of the EU case here it seems to me a very moderate opinion that we would be better off out. The key is to sit in the middle moderate ground and refuse to give it up by appearing obsessive , What a shame that UKIP consistently fail to maintain the discipline required.

To make serious headway moderates must come to feel they can be included in the constituency of opinion. I think progress is being made .

Anonymous said...

Can we Campaign for a referendum on leaving the EU? every one shouts about it,but the politicians ignore the siren voices.Lets do it before they shut us down.

raincoaster said...

Uh, not to point out the obvious, but neither YouTube nor MySpace are hosted in the EU. Nor is there any particular reason your servers should be located there. As long as the servers are offshore you're legal.

I've been down this road several times. There is a lot of stuff out there that's illegal in Canada but because it's hosted in the US, with different privacy regulations, it's untouchable.

Lagwolf said...

I can't see any anyone should be truly surprised that the EU is going to try to regulate online video content as well. They like to meddle is anything they possibly can do so. I cannot see anyone having any of their content hosted in the EU at this point. It is just not worth the risk.

The only people who will probably be happy about this is those that own web-hosting services outside the EU. They are in for a bit of windfall.

AnyonebutBlair said...

As raincoster says, production of EU based internet programming will just move outside the EU, so you can quite simply host your servers in India. There's some pretty cheap deals out there at the moment!
Better off out? Absolutely! If our government cocks it up with stupid regulation then we can throw them out. Please let me know who we throw out for enacting stupid EU legislation? Aren't we meant to live in a democracy?

Anonymous said...

This presentation says all we need to here about the EU.

http://www.bolt.com/mkpdavies/video/Why_Britain_HAS_to_leave_/2441342

Speak Out, Better Off Out!

Andy D said...

Could you not move to the Isle of Man? Thats not part of the EU I believe.

It's getting more and more tempting...

Average guy on the street said...

This is probably the biggest reason why I am so against the EU. We will be better off out.

Schoolboy Error said...

As someone who believes the BBC is actually biased and not just suffering from a leftward leaning mindset This type of thing fills me with dread.Funny that the upgrading of exchanges was so 'incompetently' handled by the government.Now at last that most people can achieve a basically acceptable connection speed,this comes along.At least 2010 should get us to the next election.

istanbultory said...

But this certainly isn't a new story. The draft EU proposal on regulating Internet TV and other new media services came out in December 2005 and it is planned to take effect in 2010.Any individual maintaining from home a video blog that includes advertising would be subject to the new rule.

By way of suggestion, you could certainly position your virtual "transmitter" (server or whatever...) in Istanbul. Turkey's chances of entering the EU seem to be evapourating at light speed. No danger of EU regulatory pressure here.

Vienna Woods said...

man in a shed wrote,

"Iain - does this mean you don't subscribe to The Economist"

I used to subscribe to that 'history' journal (it's a collection of reports about what happened in business 6 months ago). I have received pleading letters from the pillocks every month since I cancelled my subscription 5 years ago offering lower and lower subscription rates if only I would rejoin. It always contains the same quote from Bill Gates telling me it's the only magazine he ever reads - which puts me off right away! These offers are always enclosed in a red envelope which is handy as I can dump them straight in the trash without even opening them!

Anonymous said...

Better off out!

Terrific slogan for the Tories. Not whilst Maude has anything to do with it.

Casual Observer said...

EU spelt PRC.

jane said...

this stuff about regulating the internet has always been b*****ks, it can't be done, there have been various nauseating populist "campaigns" to "clean up the internet" (not that that is what this is about) - and how can anyone criticise China for trying to block access when our government seems to think it can do the same?

Anonymous said...

Don Jameson - hilarious that you think the EU is doing this because of the BBC. The EU Comission is fulfilling it's usual role here of agent of big business, and in this case that will be Sky, Berlusconi, etc. The big international media groups hate YouTube and the like, even more so now that it belongs to new corporation Google and not one of the big existing media groups. When you lose the good honest competition - go to the regulators and use your money to get the policies you want!

All rather goes back to Tony Benn's point that the EU is an unelected body - at least if this was happening in the British parliament there would be the illusion you could write your MP about it. The toadying EU parliament will do nothing.

Anonymous said...

"This illustrates just what is wrong with the European Union. It is seeking to regulate where it doesn't need to."

This isn't the fault of the EU, it is the fault of the member states.

Success in getting laws through depends on who pays for it and who benefits. As long as the answer to the first is not the national governments, and as long as the answer to the last is; then the measure will more likely be passed.

Ergo - the EU passes lots of regulation - because it is all they can get put through.

So don't blame the EU, blame the government.

Media Stoat said...

Don't worry about it, it's not going to happen. It's far too complicated an issue for the EU to regulate.

Anonymous said...

And there was Barosso last night saying that the EU was about FREEDOM.

Anonymous said...

The EU is a governement looking for s country.

You will be assimilated. Your uniqueness will be reduced to our blandness. Please fill in this 3192 page form in triplicate to recieve your subsidy.

This is about job creation - a huge department will be reuired to administer this. A big office. International conferences with the info management chaps from the other super powers (US, China etc). Top table stuff.

Noel Slevin said...

Though I do have great disdain for the European Union, I don't think it's in our interests to leave...yet - but I do believe the time will come.

Anonymous said...

"we're better off out" and "I can't stand the EU", "it's a Fascist Superstate in the making".

Well,only 453(sorry 452)voted for yours truly, as I bravely stood for UKIP in Finchley & Golders Green last year.

Better luck next time!

Not an MP

Anonymous said...

The EU are a bunch of self-serving corrupt bureacrats doing back-door deals with a select group of big business to run Europe according to the wishes of Berlusconi and some Russian gangsters.

That said, what is the alternative? The China model perhaps of slave labour, profiteering psueodo-socialist dictators, demolition of churches and shooting of Buddhist nuns in the back for trying to flee the country? This actually does seem to be the model our own CBI and Directors would prefer, judging from the recent statements of messrs Digby Jones and Ruth Lee, and therefore presumably will be the basis of a New Tory Britain.

Or perhaps the US with it's bloated waddling obese, it's rampant gun and drugs culture, it's appalling anti-culture and degenerated national life. Oh dear. How about we move to New Zealand?

Anonymous said...

"move to New Zealand" - instead, why don't you stay and fight.

Don't suffer from LMF do you?

C4' said...

PJ is right, the sooner we declare our independence from the Evilpean Empire, the better!

Anonymous said...

"It looks like I am going to have to dust down my lobbying skills..."

Well if the choice isbetween them and the electioneering skills. . .

uk-events said...

Who won the bloody war anyway?!

Ok, enough "Little Englander" or "Le Roast Beef" from me.

Seriously.. I love Europe and being free to travel anywhere any time.

But I hate this bloated corrupt organisation at the heart of it.

I want MY right to vote on this subject - let the politicians sell us the benefits of the EU because I see none.

verity said...

Actually, uk-events, I think a huge mass of people who are against the massive EUSSR are people with second, or first,homes on the Continent. We like the European country we're in, although perhaps not some of the others, as the Continent has developed over 2,000 years (older than Peter Mandelson, Neil Kinnock and Gladys Kinnock combined - and then throw in Chris Patten for extra grease).

Napoleonic law stinks. Trust me. It's vile, dictatorial, interfering and dangerous to your health. I hate it, hate it, hate it. The more Britain sinks into the law of a dictator our glorious Duke of Wellington defeated, the more defeat becomes a victory for France, and if you've never lived under it, Napoleonic Code is undemocratic.

Big time. Major. Seriously. We do not want to get mixed up with this lot, as the Duke of Wellington was well aware. He won our battle for us.

But Emily Blair and Peter Mandelson are intent on giving our civilisation away anyway. Perhaps because neither of them has the tiniest tether to the history of our islands.

Richard said...

You only have to look at EU Commissioner Reding's background to understand who she wants to protect by introducing legislation about internet TV. Not you and me, but the big European broadcast meeja companies.

Geoff said...

Have any of you stopped to read the directive in question? or do you slavishly follow Murdochs rantings? There are links to the directive here http://www.geoffjones.com/2006/10/you-tube-powering-ahead.html