Europeanministers this week called for more collaboration between the film business andinternet service providers to combat piracy and exploit the online market forcinema.

Meetingat the Cannes Film Festival, the ministers from most of the EU member statesissued a statement saying that there is "an urgent need for a meaningfuldialogue" to ensure that online distribution takes place legally. Audiovisualministers, invited to the festival by the European Commission's Viviane Redingand Cannes president Gilles Jacob, pledged to foster agreement between the twosectors.

"Promotinglegitimate services will ensure access providers additional revenues apart formtheir access service," ministers said. "Hence, agreements between rightsholders and access providers will be beneficial to both the film industry andaccess providers."

Ministersunderlined the growing importance of the online market for cinema, highlightingthe potential for niche films to secure an alternative means of distribution."The internet and online television offer immense opportunities for nichemarket. It also offers the possibility for filmmakers to reach new audiencesfor themselves."