Thursday, October 6, 2005 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

And the Oscar Goes to...

Believe it or not, cell phone movie makers now have their own Academy Awards, at least in Europe, that is. The BBC reports that Europe's first film festival for mobile phone movies will open this week in Paris.

While mobile video is just starting to catch on here in the U.S., it is all the rage over in Asia and Europe since citizens have been quicker to jump on the wireless bandwagon there. As a result, cell phone "art" has been quicker to develop and is now even the subject of contests and awards.

I find this particularly interesting in light of Europe's ongoing efforts to expand media regulation. You will recall that Patrick Ross released a short paper last week about efforts underway in the European Union to grapple with media convergence and the challenges it poses for traditional media regulation. In "Regulation Without Frontiers: Europe Shows U.S. Policymakers How Not to Embrace Convergence," Patrick notes that European regulators are foolishly looking to impose outmoded, broadcast-era regulatory mandates of the fast-paced, borderless new world of online media.

So what do the EU regulators plan to do about all these mobile media movies and videos that are now winning awards?!? How are they going to regulate all this stuff? If, for example, someone creates an award-winning but very controversial film and makes it widely available via mobile devices, how are regulators going to bottle that up? Are they going to fine that person directly (assuming they can find them)? Or are they going to force mobile media network providers to police their networks and censor on behalf of government? Are they going to require all this stuff to be rated or filtered? Regardless of the enforcement path they choose, I just don't see how it could work.

Of course, we can expect this same debate to come to America very soon. We're already seeing early proposals to extend broadcast regulations to cable and satellite, so it wouldn't be surprising to see regulators target mobile media next.

posted by Adam Thierer @ 10:50 AM | Free Speech , Mass Media