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Objections to EU internet TV proposal

CBI heads opposition to plans

Organisations representing the interests of businesses in seven European countries issued a statement yesterday objecting to proposed EU (European Union) regulations on internet TV.

The organisations join a group of companies including Yahoo, Vodafone, NTL and Cisco that similarly opposed the regulations earlier this year.

The European business groups, including the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) and the Federation of German Industries, say the proposed EU regulations, released as a draft late last year, would encourage European businesses to look outside of Europe for the development of cutting-edge internet services.

They say that the EU proposal duplicates existing laws and creates additional regulations that would stifle the ability for European companies to create innovative online services such as internet TV, video blogs and video designed for downloading to mobile phones. Small and medium-size businesses would have the hardest time complying with the regulations, they said.

The EU would do better to foster a self-regulatory approach for the industry, which has worked historically, before resorting to implementing onerous new regulations, the groups said.

Other signatories to the objection include Dansk Industri, the Confederation of Hungarian Employers and Industrialists, Economiesuisse, the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers and Luxembourg's FEDIL.

Their complaints are very similar to those made by internet and telecoms companies earlier this year. Those firms pointed out that regulators, accustomed to monitoring a handful of broadcasters, would struggle to find and track the wide variety of online publishers, including bloggers, who offer video and other online interactive services.

The EU released the draft proposal, which is scheduled to become law in 2010 and is known as the TV Without Frontiers Directive, in December. The companies and organisations that have objected to the proposal hope to make changes before it takes effect.

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