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Vaizey's vision: International rules will curb piracy

Ed Vaizey speaks out
Ed Vaizey speaks out

Despite the ongoing debate raging over web freedom, the UK's culture minister Ed Vaizey has expressed his belief that international laws are inevitable.

When asked how the war against file sharing is going at Intellect's Consumer Electronics Conference, he said, "It will be interesting to have this conversation in ten years' time – I think we'll see more uniform rules across national boundaries and a shift in business models; the big thing will be a more universal structure to deal with piracy.

"The music industry has a bit further to go, I suspect. I think people [the music and film industries] are doing their best to change but I don't know if they fully understand the fundamental change that needs to happen yet."


He responded to the news broken by the Guardian this weekend that the USA is seeking to extradite website owners under suspicion of infringing US copyrights even if the content, owner and servers are all based outside the US, saying that the country has been 'very tough'.

"We constantly hear news of voluntary agreements with the USA – and that will be a real gamechanger and I'm in favour of that. And the more legitimate sites there are online, that will allow users to get easier legal access to those files, which will help," he said.

The vision of an international collaboration to tackle piracy goes some way against the hopes of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Google execs, who have all spoken of support for an unregulated web in order to foster innovation and creative freedoms.

However, his viewpoint echoes that of Thomas Hammarberg, head of human rights at the Council of Europe, who believes that the UN should take the lead on policing the global internet.