Digital piracy has in recent years become a widespread challenge and a debate on piracy prevention has been present all around the world. There have been a lot of suggestions for measures that are meant to provide more effective enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) infringements, such as for example graduate response and blocking of web-pages. Telenor conversely believes that the emergence of legal alternatives is the way forward to combat illegal file sharing.
“Telenor believes that some of the suggested measures by some right holders, would decrease the openness and innovation of Internet, restrict internet usage and would deprive end user privacy rights. Furthermore Telenor believes that blocking of Internet pages or cutting off users will not ensure a decrease in digital piracy but will rather lead to changes in the way people access illegal content. Telenor mean that the best way of fighting illegal usage of digital content is to ensure that users are able to access legal content offers under fair terms and conditions. This means that far-reaching and often disproportional measures suggested by some right-holders will not be needed”, said Michaela Angonius, Telenor advisor for European Regulatory Affairs.
Our views on IPR enforcement in the European debate
In a hearing organised by the European Commission on June 7 concerning enforcement of IPR, it was stated that legal offers cannot compete with free availability.Â In response to this Telenor co-organised an event in the European Parliament, together with Dutch Member of European Parliament Marietje Schaake, on June 30, under the heading “is it possible to compete with free” . During the event Telenor shared its opinion about intellectual property rights with policy makers and other stakeholders in the European Union.
The moderator for the event, Georgi Ganev, CMO of Telenor Sweden, commenced by stating that Telenor has experienced customer demand for legal digital content. However for a long time the customers were unable to access it since it did not exist or were offered under conditions that were not beneficial for the users. As a result Telenor took a proactive role and started to cooperate closely with new companies with innovative business ideas for making available legal digital content to customers, such as for example the music service WiMP.
“Due to easy accessible good legal offers being available in the Scandinavian market we can now see a decline in illegal file sharing. In a very recent Telenor Norway/ TNS Gallup study, the numbers show a decrease in illegal file sharing in Norway from 29 per cent in 2006 to 13 per cent in 2011. At the same time enforcement laws did not change in Norway. Therefore Telenor means that it is possible to compete with free digital content,” Ganev commented.
Telenor – an enabler of digital content
As stated Telenor has taken a proactive role to further develop the market for attractive legal content. Telenor has at an early stage taken the role as a digital enabler for providing this content to its customers by closely cooperating with and assisting new innovative content service providers. The cooperation between Telenor and different content providers have in several cases commenced when the content providers have been in an early start-up phase. Telenor has been of assistance both when it comes to distribution, payment solutions, marketing and strategies.
Barriers recognised and solutions
“Telenor means that there exists a number of barriers for digital content service providers establishing their business in Europe. This makes it difficult to provide attractive and easy accessible legal offers both on national level in EU/EEA and on a pan-European scale. The challenges are related to very different copyright clearance systems, within the EU/EEA, lack of governance and transparency within the community of collecting societies, and shortcomings concerning ownership of rights” said Michaela Angonius, Telenor advisor for European Regulatory Affairs.