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Providing broadband customers with more attractive legal content could help reduce the amount that is downloaded without permission.

That is according to Viviane Reding, Telecoms Commissioner for the EU, who claimed this week that an impasse has been reached in the arguments over digital piracy.

Speaking at this year's Ludwig Erhard Lecture in Brussels, she cited Eurostat figures indicating that 60 per cent of 16-to-24-year-olds have illegally downloaded audiovisual content from the internet and that 28 per cent would be unwilling to pay.

"While many right holders insist that every unauthorised download from the internet is a violation of intellectual property rights and therefore illegal or even criminal, others stress that access to the internet is a crucial fundamental right," Ms Reding explained.

"Let me be clear on this: Both sides are right," she noted, adding that piracy is becoming "more and more sexy" while these camps fail to make headway in finding a common ground.

At the beginning of this month, Ms Reding announced new EU legislation on roaming mobile broadband charges for laptop users which have seen wholesale prices capped at €1 (85p) per MB.

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