States' exclusion of new media from free trade opposed

SYDNEY– The Australian Film Commission has fired another salvo at the U.S. over the free-trade wrangle, releasing a study on Tuesday which aims to disprove U.S. claims that new media platforms are difficult to regulate.

The U.S. wants to exclude new media from the U.S.-Australia free trade agreement — a position fiercely opposed by the AFC and all major Oz film industry guilds.

“Our international survey has established that out of the 18 new content delivery technologies studied, only three — third generation (3G) phones, digital film distribution and peer-to-peer networks — are unregulated,” said AFC chief exec Kim Dalton. “Governments around the world are taking very seriously the need to deliver local content to local audiences on these new forms of media.”

The AFC argues that decisions about future regulation should be part of a broad communications strategy rather than settled in trade negotiations.

It found seven of the new content technologies are regulated for local content in at least one country outside of Australia and a similar number is being examined by regulatory authorities in Europe, North America and Asia.

While digital film exhibition isn’t subject to regulation, the AFC said it expects this sector will be regulated eventually.

Digital subscription TV and advertising are already regulated Down Under.

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