Sometimes it seems to me that in Germany some political and social decisions take longer than in the rest of the world. This was my impression when I listened to the panel discussion at the GVU Branchenforum in Berlin last week.
Since the successful days of Napster, file sharing of copyright-protected material — particularly in peer-to-peer (P2P) networks — has been a serious threat to the established business models of the content industry. There have been numerous discussions about the real impact. Scientific papers show the whole range from negative to positive effects, or no effects at all. In my opinion, there are effects, indeed. Some of them are positive as file sharing can expose new music groups and authors to an audience. And some effects are negative as existing copyrights are definitely infringed to a huge extent in the net.
Last week I chaired a workshop on Internet piracy at the Broadband World Forum Europe in Brussels. Its title was “Pirates of the Net – Challenges and Solutions for Digital Content Distribution”. Our goal was to bring together representatives of the involved parties, who rarely meet in the real world: content providers, Internet service providers (ISPs), legislators, technologists and facilitators of gray market content distribution.
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