Ars Technica - Glyn Moody - The European Commission is planning to send a "statement of objection"—the first step towards a formal antitrust investigation—to top Hollywood studios and European pay-TV companies over their licensing deals, according to a report on Bloomberg. The concern is a familiar one: that film studios are making deals with distribution companies that carve up the EU into smaller local markets, which prevents people in some European countries from viewing films and TV programmes as soon as they are released, and which goes against the idea of the Single Market. As Bloomberg notes, this is a continuation of a probe last year into how contracts with EU broadcasters, including UK-based Sky and its German and Italian units, limit the sale of films and TV programmes by geography. It ties in with the European Commission's antitrust competition inquiry into the e-commerce sector in the EU, which was launched in May, and includes digital content. Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said at the time: "we will not hesitate to take enforcement action under EU antitrust rules." The planned statement of objection also fits in with one of the main goals of the European Commission's new Digital Single Market strategy, released last month, which is to tackle territorial restrictions and geo-blocking. The accompanying analysis and evidence document notes: "in May 2011, about 35% of broadcasters offering long-form video content on their websites (e.g. through catch-up TV services) used geo-localisation to restrict access to certain types of content, especially US content, international sports and music events."
Computer Weekly - The European economy stands to suffer if the data protection laws preventing the continent-wide take-up of cloud services remain in place, it has been claimed. Speaking at the Datacloud Europe Event in Monaco on 3 June, Pearse O’Donoghue, the European Commission’s (EC) head of software, services and cloud computing, said the use of off-premise technologies can bring numerous economic and productivity benefits to both startups and enterprises. n the case of the former, cloud technologies can make it easier for new firms to get up and running without the need for upfront technology investments, which in turn paves the way for the creation of jobs in Europe and an overall increase in GDP. However, there are numerous legislative barriers standing in the way that the Commission is seeking to address with its ongoing Digital Single Market push. This is geared towards the creation of a single marketplace for digital services in the European Union (EU). “We need to ensure providers and users have access to the full European market, and the services are in competition with each other, which leads to greater innovation and lower cost,” said Donoghue.
Digital by Default - With the UK public sector set for further austerity measures, Socitm is predicting that it could provide an opportunity for the development of local authority intranets. According to its latest briefing ‘Better connected intranets’, senior management in the public sector may begin to use their council intranet for the first time with service and financial cuts, and be disappointed with the facilities available. Socitm is forecasting that this may incentivise local authorities to invest in their intranet systems; the briefing suggests that the systems can be brought up to speed quickly by sharing best practices amongst authorities.
The Register - The Document Foundation has released a version of Libre Office for Android. The new app allows users to read and edit documents. The Document Foundation bills the app as a “Viewer” with “experimental ... basic editing capabilities, like modifying words in existing paragraphs and changing font styles such as bold and italic.” Read More...
The Guardian - The UK government open up and highlight the power of more basic data sets to improve patient care in the NHS and save hundreds of millions of pounds a year, Nigel Shadbolt, chairman of the Open Data Institute (ODI) has urged. The UK government topped the first league table for open data (paywall)produced by the ODI last year but Shadbolt warns that ministers’ open data responsibilities have not yet been satisfied. Basic data on prescription administration is now published on a monthly basis but Shadbolt said medical practitioners must be educated about the power of this data to change prescribing habits across the country. Other data sets, such as trusts’ opening times, consultant lists and details of services, that are promised to make the NHS more accessible are not currently available in a form that is machine-readable. “These basic sets of information about the processes, the people and places in the health system are all fragmented and fractured and many of them are not available as registers that you can go to,” Shadbolt said.