City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

De-regulate and Go Global, Google Chief Tells TV Fest

By edg - Posted on 27 August 2011

Jeremy Paxman used his MacTaggart Lecture, the opening speech at the Edinburgh Television Festival, to deplore the falling quality of British television news and programming; News Corp's James Murdoch bête noire was the "state-sponsored journalism" of the BBC; and last year, the Beeb's Chief Controller Mark Thompson used the prestigious speech to the great and good of the television industry to defend the licence fee.

This year it was Google chief Eric Schmidt's time to weigh in on matters televisual, in what was the first MacTaggart speech in its 35 year history by the head of a technology company.

His "bogieman"? The regulators who are in danger of holding back the industry's innovators.

Schmidt praised the BBC for what it has done with the i-player, but suggested that the regulators should have allowed it to be rolled out across more channels, instead of restricting audience access (e.g beyond UK borders) because "it would be too successful" (watch clip).

Towards the end of a speech in which he hit back at critics who said that Google deliberately flouted copyright protection and privacy, he recommended "more flexibility" in UK copyright law and more "sensible" data protection laws that allowed people to "opt in" to have their personal information shared across borders.

"Listen to your entrepreneurs not your lawyers if you want innovation to thrive," he said (watch clip)

Schmidt also criticised legislation designed to maintain quality regional news content as too much red tape.

"Imagine if Facebook had to endure the kind of legislation that you endure in television. There would have to be Facebooks for each region." (watch clip).

Schmidt started by saying that thanks to strong initiatives at Scottish universities there was going to be "quite a software renaissance" in "greater Edinburgh" (Go to start of speech)