*We're all making television now…
Iain Dale is worried that his new internet TV station, 18 Doughty Street is about to be regulated out of existence by the EU. Similarly, YouTube could have to make sure its videos comply with EU legislation as would anyone hoping to put videos online. The British government are against it, saying it would harm future online businesses hoping to put videos online, but few other European countries oppose it.
So what’s going on?
Well the EU is updating its Television Without Frontiers Directive which ensures that standards in television are the same across Europe. The European Commission wants to extend the definition of ‘television’ to include:
- Broadband, Digital TV and 3G Networks
- Video on demand
- Peer-to-Peer video sharing
- Internet TV
A wide definition would mean that almost any video delivered publicly on the internet would be “on demand” and therefore subject to EU legislation. But it’s important to note that the EU isn’t necessarily including a definition that wide.
But is there a need for any regulation in this area?
Well, not necessarily. The rules need tidying up because they were written in 1989 with only minor revisions in 1997, just when Digital TV was starting up. And there’s an argument that there should be some rules which protect people from videos on the internet of questionable content.
But should these rules be set by the EU?
The internet has never been regulated thoroughly by governments and it seems pretty dangerous to start doing that. The EU’s argument is that a dangerous video which is banned in Britain can easily be uploaded in Slovakia and then viewed by anyone in the EU regardless.
But it can just as easily be hosted in the Bahamas! The EU’s regulation in this area is utterly pointless as there are so many ways to avoid it that it’ll be redundant in about five minutes flat.
Iain’s gone quite over-the-top in proposing we quit the EU (this seems to be being used as an excuse for doing so). Instead he should be listening to what Jose Manuel Barroso said last night: try and change things from the outside rather than lecture from the outside. Only as a full and committed member of the EU will we stop these daft pieces of legislation from being created.