TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Britain Weighs in on New Media Rights Debate

Britain Weighs in on New Media Rights Debate

Reuters News Wire (
Tue, 10 Jan 2006 21:18:54 -0600

Britain weighs in on new media rights debate

UK regulators moved on Tuesday to broker a compromise in the debate
over new media rights, in which television networks have been sparring
with producers over who will control downloaded TV shows.

Content providers in the United States are quickly moving to sell
shows online, beginning last year with Disney's deal to sell
"Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" on Apple's iTunes Music Store and
continuing last week with a new deal between CBS and Google.

Britain has been slow to follow, largely due to conflicts between TV
broadcasters and producers over whether, for example, "Lost" downloads
would be controlled by Channel 4, which airs the show in Britain, or
Disney, which produces it.

Under a proposal from UK media regulator Ofcom, broadcasters would
control distribution across all platforms for a set amount of time,
known as the "primary window." During a subsequent "holdback window,"
broadcasters would be able to restrict how producers exploit a show.

The regulator is asking for comments on its proposals by March 21.

In the absence of a way to legally buy TV downloads online, Britain is
the world's biggest market for illegal TV downloads, according to
research last year from Web tracking firm Envisional.

Britain's publicly-funded broadcaster, the BBC, is testing a free
download service for much of its TV and radio content.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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