Neelie Kroes: Openness doesn't mean anarchy

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B9 11113. Speech Neelie Kroes (EU Commissaris Digitale Agenda):  What does it mean to be open online? World Wide Web Conference 2012 Lyon, 19 April 2012.

“(…) Most creators I meet say they want their content to be as easily accessible as possible. Fair enough. We must give them that chance – while also acknowledging and allowing different models, so all creators can choose what works best for them. If we are too rigid or too constraining in our approach, we will put artificial limits on innovation and discovery. And that's not being open.

We're not there yet. Look at the complicating licensing systems for copyrighted material here in Europe. These guarantee that Europeans miss out on great content, they discourage business innovation, and they fail to serve the creative people in whose name they were established. Indeed, whether you're talking about audiovisual works or scientific information, current systems don't respond nearly well enough to online realities. And these are both areas we are looking at, including through updating EU copyright rules. And through new recommendations on access to publicly funded scientific research results and data.

(…) openness doesn't mean anarchy: laws and social norms, rights and responsibilities exist in cyberspace, just like in the real world. And indeed they help promote an open and safe environment where ideas prosper. (…) People are often concerned when there is any suggestion of "limiting" the Internet in any way. Because often people think of things like controlling access to online information as a form of censorship. Or throttling services to maintain a monopoly. Or ISPs ripping off consumers by not delivering the service they promised.

Well, these things concern me too. And I am committed to safeguarding net neutrality. Everyone should have the option of full access to a robust, best-efforts Internet. But, once again, openness here is a subtle term. For me it does not mean banning all targeted or limited offers: it means being transparent about them, and giving consumers a free and easy choice as to whether they want them; in the full confidence that full access is also easily available.

(…) For me, openness means giving every person a forum in which they can express themselves. Every creator a way to be rewarded and recognised for their work. The security that ensures liberty for all. And services that transparently provide the consumer with what they've asked for and pay for. Innovation can deliver all of these, giving choice and opportunity to all. Let's really be open, and allow that innovation to happen.

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