30 April 2010

MEF Welcomes New Proposals from UK Regulator & Champions Regulatory Insight for Membership

MEF has announced industry briefings and the launch of a global regulatory database as PhonepayPlus (PpP), the independent UK regulator for premium rate services, issues its most important Code consultation yet.

One of the most significant proposals in the consultation is the distribution of regulatory responsibility along the value chain, including content businesses that market directly to consumers. To date, PpP has only been able to pursue the aggregator which typically does not promote or control the content sold to the consumer, rather than targeting companies directly responsible for causing consumer harm.

In order to ensure this new approach works in practice, there is a proposed mandatory registration scheme for all parties in the premium rate value chain. This registration scheme has clear advantages: PhonepayPlus will link its adjudications to businesses and their directors, so that companies can carry out due diligence on their partners and, as a result, rogue providers should find it very hard to operate in the UK premium rate industry.

Suhail Bhat, MEF’s Policy & Initiatives Director, commented: “We welcome the fresh approach taken by PhonepayPlus with a focus on future proofing and a recognition that the mobile industry is constantly evolving. However there remain unanswered questions such as the definition of a premium rate service. In a world where content and services can be accessed and purchased on multiple devices, convergence is an increasingly disruptive force on legal definitions. We will be seeking clarity on the criteria determining which services will fall under the remit of PpP and its Code.”

The consultation closes on 8 July and MEF is hosting two events to gain maximum industry input and feedback for the regulators. See below for further details and how to register.

Rimma Perelmuter, MEF Executive Director, added: “Codes of practice for the mobile media industry vary hugely from country to country. To assist our members navigate the complexities of global regulation and the numerous Codes that impact their business strategies and bottom line, MEF has launched a Regulatory Information Service Centre (RISC). RISC includes the latest on the UK situation and currently covers 24 other countries. This online archive will provide a one-stop solution for information on the regulations applicable at a local, regional and international level, including access to MEF guidance documents; links to third-party sources for further reading; as well as relevant regulatory contact details.”

For more details on RISC, please go to: http://www.m-e-f.org/policy_regulation/risc/

6th May 2010: Webinar on the proposed registration scheme
Simon Bates, Director of Standards and Communications at PpP, will explain the objectives, principles, governance and cost of the Registration Scheme

19th May 2010: Live workshop on the PpP Code consultation hosted by Denton Wilde Sapte
On hand to explain the proposals will be Bradley Brady, Director of Strategy & Stakeholder Relations at PpP, with Mark Collins, PhonepayPlus Policy Advisor.

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