Mick Jagger rocks EU e-commerce debate

Sir Mick Jagger joined consumer and IT industry experts earlier this week in Brussels to draw up a report on e-commerce trade barriers for the European Commission (EC).

The trained accountant and Rolling Stone frontman had been invited to an online commerce roundtable' by European Union (EU) competition commissioner Neelie Kroes to give his views on the copyright issues faced by the music industry in relation to CD sales and illegal downloads.

The EU announcement on the roundtable and report pointed to commission competition cases, including last year's iTunes case, where users in one country were buying music from comparatively cheaper sites in other countries.

It said: "[Such cases] have cast doubt on whether the opportunities provided by the internet are being fulfilled or are hindered by barriers created in the offline world without consideration of their online effects."

Kroes added: "The people of Europe were promised a union, a place without borders: but on the internet they have not yet got it. Progress has been made; sometimes impressive, but it is not enough. As Competition Commissioner, I want to know why. If this is because the competition rules are not clear enough, I will clarify them. If it is because the competition rules are not up to date, I will update them."

The report will deliver recommendations to eliminate frustrations when buying online, including consumer guarantees, as well as delivery and after-sales fulfilment and encourage the growth of cross-border trade.

The rock star joined eight fellow roundtable members, including Apple boss Steve Jobs, head of EMI Roger Faxon and Fiat chief executive John Elkann for the first in a series of debates.

The commission said the group's findings would be published in a short report before the end of this year. Then "interested parties" will be invited to submit their responses by mid-October of next year before any regulatory proposals are drawn up.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.