Yahoo looks to alter EU e-music rules
Yahoo would offer music downloads across Europe, if only the intellectual property regulatory regime was sufficient.
That's according to Martina King, managing director, country operations, Yahoo Europe, who was attending an informal summit of EU ministers of communications in Dundalk, Ireland on Thursday. That meeting included a CEO Roundtable, where the heads of many of Europe's biggest ICT companies communicated their concerns about broadband rollout in the EU to the ministers.
"I have to say I was very impressed," King told ElectricNews.Net. "The ministers were very knowledgeable and seemed genuinely concerned about broadband. It was a surprise, because I came here not expecting much. I just wanted to make sure that my concerns were heard."
Chief among her worries is the lack of co-ordination in Europe on intellectual property rights policy. This non-uniformity makes it difficult to ink deals with music providers, King said. "As it is now, we have to negotiate [music download rights] in every country, and the terms are different in each. It is not like the US, which is a single market."
King's concerns were also voiced in a report released in Dundalk from more than a dozen high tech firms, including Alcatel, OD2, Telecom Italia, AP, AOL Europe and Cisco. That report, prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers, was submitted to the ministers at the event and it called for stronger and more unified policies thoughout the 25 state bloc on issues like spam, broadband rollout and uptake, and implementation of e-government services. It also said that EU governments need to put in place a common regulatory framework for "digital services" that "does not hinder the development of new business models and services in the broadband market."
Another priority in the report -- one that is close to King's heart -- was a call for the EU communications ministers to develop a balanced and unified approach to protecting intellectual property rights. The group of companies behind the report said that they support the recent and highly controversial Directive on Intellectual Property Enforcement, "because it aims to harmonise minimum IPR enforcement rules throughout the enlarged EU."
But, the PwC-prepared report also noted that not everyone is on board. "Whereas service providers wish to be able to use digital content on reasonable terms, on a pan-European basis, content owners are opposed to government intervention in the process of commercial negotiation...There is therefore a real need to develop a consensus between content owners and service providers," said the report presented to the EU ministers.
In other comments, King said Yahoo would be "very interested" in launching a co-branded broadband product in Ireland, similar to the BT Yahoo broadband product on offer in the UK. She could not confirm whether Yahoo was in talks with any Irish telcos to launch such a product.