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Internet Debuts as G8 Summit Topic

Leaders will also be discussing the Middle East during the event at the beachside town of Deauville, France. Markus Schreiber

High-level Internet gurus convened in Paris on Tuesday for the two-day "eG8" forum to prepare for the G8 summit that will take place in Deauville on May 26 and 27.

This year's summit will be the first time that Internet development issues are included on the agenda, presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich said at a news briefing on Tuesday.

The protection of personal information and intellectual property rights online are expected to be the focus of the world leaders' talks at the G8 meeting.

"We must work together to develop new approaches to intellectual property rights on the Internet so that the interests and rights of the content providers and users are balanced," Dvorkovich said.

Dvorkovich said the Russian delegation supports lowering prices on Internet content so that more people can benefit from the web. The delegation's position for the G8 summit was developed following Dmitry Medvedev's consultations with Internet experts in April.

"It is necessary to stimulate the types of business models and rules of using Internet content that fully correspond to the legislation on intellectual property and, at the same time, make the opportunities of using content less costly to the users," Dvorkovich said.

G8 talks will also touch on the use of the Internet for child trafficking and criminal activity.

There are still differences among the G8 leaders on Internet issues, but Dvorkovich said he is confident that the sides can come to an agreement before the complete declaration is released Friday.

Internet business leaders at the eG8 conference are expected to send a delegation to the G8 leaders when the meeting opens later this week to report on their discussions.

Google, eBay, Wikipedia and Facebook executives were among the speakers at the eG8 conference on Tuesday. Russia's Yury Milner, chief executive of Digital Sky Technologies, is scheduled to speak at a plenary session on Wednesday.

The G8 summit will also include an informal discussion on the European Union's debt, the U.S. budget deficit and the Japanese disaster's effect on energy prices, Dvorkovich said. These topics will be discussed in more detail at the G20 summit in November.

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