The CBI has joined forces with business bodies in six other European countries to fight "onerous" new EU proposals to regulate audio-visual content delivered over the internet.
Seven organisations representing more than half a million businesses in the UK, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Hungary, Luxembourg and Switzerland have launched a joint paper objecting to new rules contained in the EU 'TV Without Frontiers' (TVWF) Directive.
They claim the EU is planning to extend existing regulations covering traditional broadcasters to all online audio-visual content, wherever and whenever it is downloaded or broadcast.
The pan-European submission argues that TVWF as drafted would shoehorn digital content providers into rules designed for traditional broadcasters, undermining high-value, high-tech economic growth when it should be stimulating it.
John Cridland, the CBI's deputy director-general, said: "As drafted, this onerous Directive will stifle economic growth, inhibit job creation and hamper the development of digital content and services across the EU.
"These new rules create unnecessary and unwanted red tape and duplicate wellregarded existing laws that already cover online service providers."
He added: "If they approve this, MEPs and EU ministers risk shooting themselves in the foot by undermining the goal of promoting an 'open and competitive digital economy' under the European Commission's i2010 programme.
"There is little in this Directive to help Europe's businesses compete in the fast-moving, highly competitive world of interactive digital services, broadcasting and advertising. Future European jobs are on the line."
Because they are webbased, these new forms of media do not transmit within the same borders or at the same allotted times as traditional TV channels. Many companies are developing exciting and innovative ways of reaching customers, such as using online TV shows or creating web-based interactive communities.
Mr Cridland said: "Business is finding innovative ways of communicating and engaging with customers.
"Soon, car companies will let you choose the colour, style and specification of a vehicle before you buy and take it for a test drive online.
"New mothers will be able to watch videos on product websites that offer childcare and safety demos. Video blogs, podcasts or clips downloaded to a mobile phone will also become more prevalent.
"We should not stifle the creativity that helps keep Europe's business one step ahead of the competition.
"The internet is subject to the full force of globalisation like no other industry or sector and Brussels must adopt a more flexible, innovative and pro-growth approach or companies will shift marketing spend to non- European countries.
"New forms of online media are still evolving and need time to develop.
"The EU should heed its own principles of better regulation and allow a self-regulatory approach to work before shackling an industry that needs to keep pace with rapid technological change.
"European businesses are at the cutting-edge of ensuring their customers are protected on the internet and selfregulatory systems have been proven to be responsive to change and effective in resolving problems."