The promise of file-sharing technology should not be lost inthe raging debate about piracy, according to a report from delivered by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation andDevelopment(OECD).
Instead governments need to considerlegislation that strikes a balance between the protection of suppliers and theability to exploit the technologies, the study suggests.
The report concentrated on the music business but the filesharing is rapidly becoming an issue for film - this summer the USSupreme court will consider MGM's case against file-sharing serviceGrokster, which has been used to share movies.
The OECD report and the legal case will be watched acrossthe world as pointers for the development of the global market.
"Today video and other files (i.e software) make up morethan 35% of total files offered over file-sharing networks," says the OECD.
"Indeed, the share of video and software files tradedincreased significantly between 2002 and 2003, while the share of audio filesdecreased from 62.5% to 48.6%."
Action is needed that reflects the realities of the market,says the OECD: "While, in principle, file-sharing software is a new andinnovative technology, piracy is an important impediment to legitimate onlinecontent services. the most important is to find equilibrium of available andinnovative uses of new technologies and the necessary protection of associatedintellectual property rights (i.e copyrights).
"If Internet-based piracy is effectively addressed, licensedfile-sharing and new forms of 'super-distribution' could be important growthfactors. The challenge therefore becomes to make file-sharing a business modelfor licensed delivery of copyrighted material."
For the full report, visit www.oecd.org