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Copyright is even more right in digital age: US media mogul.

SEOUL: US media mogul Sumner Redstone said Tuesday that "enormous emerging markets" for entertainment content are opening up across Asia and elsewhere but copyright protection poses a growing challenge.

At a keynote speech to the Seoul Ditigal Forum, the chairman of Viacom and CBS Corporation called for better protection of copyright -- noting that film piracy alone costs the US economy more than 20 billion dollars every year.

"Copyright is even more right in the digital age," Redstone said.

"It s harder and harder to make money in the media business," he said, citing sites that enable the illegal downloading of fulllength songs and movies, DVD piracy and the unauthorized distribution of copyright content on services "such as YouTube."

"When you can instantly and easily download a high-quality feature-length film for free -- with no repercussions -- the incentive to purchase it quickly evaporates," he said.

The average US studio film costs 66 million dollars to produce and another 35 million dollars to advertise and market, Redstone said.

"So you can imagine just how devastating it is to learn that your new blockbuster release has hit the streets before it opens." Governments in China and India are starting to take an active interest in reinforcing copyrights, "if only to protect their own home grown content," Redstone said.

"Korea will, no doubt, follow suit given the quantity and quality of local content that is at risk," he added. "I can tell you right now: free is neither reasonable nor acceptable for the artist... or the media company invested in bringing that artist s work to light," he said.

He urged government authorities and "aggregators" including Internet Service Providers, device manufacturers, hosting companies and site operators to join efforts to fight piracy.

"We do ask that companies that become aware of piracy using their facilities, do something about it," Redstone said.

"We also ask that regulators foster an environment that respects copyrights and provides a penalty for the theft of artistic work." Viacom last year filed a lawsuit against Google s video sharing website YouTube, demanding one billion dollars in damages over alleged piracy.

Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2008

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Date:Sep 2, 2008
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