YouTube Could Be Hit By European TV Rules by Pete Cashmore on the Mashable! blog reported this week:
YouTube and other video-sharing sites may have to be licensed like TV if a European Commission proposal isnâ€™t stopped. Even worse: video bloggers posting clips to their personal sites may have to seek a license to operate a â€œtelevision-like serviceâ€?. The Commission wants video posted on the web to conform to the same standards as television, but thankfully the UK government is opposing the move. (…)
Here discussions about this article on Slashdot and on Digg.
I’ll be following further developments of this story very closely… Is traditional media finally so scared that it uses its political influence and tries to reverse the democratisation of the media landscape? How willingly will our governments be and do as they are told? While it might have been nice if YouTube could have stayed “independent”, this kind of news is another reason why I am glad that Google – and not Rupert Murdock – bought YouTube.
Similar attempt by traditional media makers and its lobby groups can be observed in Germany (where I currently live): it now looks like that from January 1, 2007 onwards a special TV license fee for every PC (!) connected to the internet will be due – in addition to the fee you already pay if you own a TV. And if you don’t have a TV at all you will still have to pay this new TV/PC license fee to the GEZ (link to German Wikipedia entry). The business model of the GEZ is simple: they make you an “offer that you can not refuse“…
I only have (cable) TV because I am a big fan of BBC World, a high-quality news and information channel (and in my view the best TV channel that there is). But in order to be able to have BBC World I am forced to pay my monthly protection money-like fee to the GEZ. I was thinking of getting rid of my TV altogether and to get a paid subscription for a BBC online video service – this would still be cheaper than the GEZ fees, but if this new PC/TV fee will really be introduced in Germany then there is basically no legal way of not to pay for a TV program you might not only not care about, but that in fact works against your own interests if you happen to be an independent film maker, video artist – or a blogger, podcaster and video blogger – that the EU now wants to “regulate”.
It looks like 2007 will be an interesting year…