Content conflicts

John C. Tanner
Telecom Asia

Despite all the lessons learned on the digital content front ever since Napster reared its head over ten years ago, the transition of the traditional media industries from the old analog top-down-distribution world to the IP content world is still a rocky proposition.

And it's likely to stay that way for well into the second decade of the millennium, thanks largely to the perpetually complicated world of copyright and content licensing.

That's not to say that the content providers and operators aren't learning to work together and bridge the huge gaps in their business models. But there are still some contentious areas that we may well still be arguing about in ten years, from revenue sharing to DRM issues (the latter of which will complicate the move toward home networks sharing content across multiple appliances and screens). 

The issue that will give operators the most headaches will still be P2P file sharing, both legal and illegal. Broadband providers already know the pain of managing P2P traffic on the local access networks. The good news is that by 2020, upstream/downstream local loop links will be in far better shape to handle the load. 

The bad news is that, within the next ten years, telcos and ISPs may be held increasingly responsible for illegal file sharing as governments adopt laws requiring ISPs to proactively police their networks for illegal content and disconnect homes accused by copyright holders of illegal downloading - costly ideas which ISPs have actively opposed wherever such regulations have already been proposed.

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