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European consumer supergroup launches campaign

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The UK's National Consumer Council (NCC) has lent its voice to pan European calls for the music and film industries to stop treating consumers like pirates.

The pan European consumer organisation BEUC is launching a campaign, backed by MEP Zuzana Roithova, to see consumers' digital rights enshrined in law because it believes consumers' rights being ignored by many online music vendors.

It is particularly critical of licence conditions the music industry is imposing on consumers, and says that the range of content available online is very narrow, threatening cultural diversity.

The 'Declaration of Consumers’ Digital Rights', calls for the music industry to stop suing P2P downloaders and to give the market a chance to evolve new ways of distributing content online.

It also wants companies working on DRM solutions to be compelled to respect fair use rights. It argues that service providers should not be able to unilaterally change the terms and conditions controlling music a person has already purchased.

After conducting a pan-European survey survey on the subject, it concluded that a lack of interoperability between various music players and different music file formats means consumers are not able to pick and chose the best deal available to them.

The BEUC wants the following rights guaranteed for European consumers:

  • Right to choice, knowledge and cultural diversity
  • Right to the principle of 'technical neutrality' - defend and maintain consumer rights in the digital environment
  • Right to benefit from technological innovations without abusive restrictions
  • Right to interoperability of content and devices
  • Right to the protection of privacy
  • Right not to be criminalised

You can read more about the NCC's position on this and other issues here. ®

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