[AfrICANN-discuss] Sarkozy woos Web giants, urges state role

Anne-Rachel Inné annerachel at gmail.com
Tue May 24 15:12:18 SAST 2011

woos Web giants, urges state role
[image: Photo]
6:56am EDT

By Georgina Prodhan<http://blogs.reuters.com/search/journalist.php?edition=us&n=georgina.prodhan&>and
Leila Abboud

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged Internet leaders
gathered in Paris on Tuesday to work with governments and share fairly the
benefits of a revolution he compared to the discoveries of Columbus, Galileo
and Newton.

Opening a forum at which Google's Eric Schmidt and Facebook's Mark
Zuckerberg will be among the speakers, Sarkozy heaped praise on an industry
that has democratized information and helped enable the revolutions of the
Arab Spring.

Sarkozy, widely mistrusted in the online world for measures such as a law
that calls for copyright pirates to be cut off from the Internet, struck a
more conciliatory tone than in the past, although he said governments must
still set ground rules.

"We don't want to make mistakes in regulating this powerful yet fragile
ecosystem," he said in response to a question from an audience member. "We
have to act with pragmatism. It is better to do nothing than to do harm."

He reminded the industry of its responsibilities in the fields of copyright
and privacy, drawing a parallel between the intellectual property on which
many Web companies are built and the copyright that artists seek to protect.

"These algorithms that constitute your power ... this technology that is
changing the world, are your property and nobody can contest that," he said.
"Writers, directors or actors can have the same rights."


The forum, whose conclusions will be presented to G8 leaders in the French
seaside resort of Deauville later this week, pits passionate advocates of
two opposing views of the Internet against each other.

One, espoused by Silicon Valley companies such as Google and Twitter as well
as many academics, favors a hands-off approach to allow innovation and
freedom of information.

The other, embraced by many established media companies, privacy advocates
and governments, favors more regulation to tame potential excesses and
online abuse.

The debate has been thrown into the spotlight in Britain this week as
Twitter users in their thousands made a mockery of injunctions obtained by
the rich and famous to hush up scandals, by publishing names and details.

The affair has highlighted the near impossibility of imposing national law
on the Internet as well as cultural differences between Europe and the
United States.

News Corp, whose Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch is among the speakers at the
forum, has led a movement to stem the flood of free information online by
charging readers and viewers for content on the Web.

John Perry Barlow, a founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation,
which campaigns for internet civil rights, said: "It's about the revenge of
the mass media.

"We've been trying to civilize cyberspace for 22 years," he told Reuters
when asked why he was attending the forum. "It's a good idea to be present
when movement is afoot to take away some of the values that you cherish."

Hubert Burda, chief executive and owner of a German magazine and newspaper
empire, told Reuters the forum was a welcome first step by a European

"It's the first combination between European politics and the World Wide
Web," he said. "Many European governments have been backward in
understanding the digital revolution."

(Editing by David

Anne-Rachel Inne
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: https://lists.afrinic.net/pipermail/africann/attachments/20110524/40df5534/attachment.htm

More information about the AfrICANN mailing list