EU: European Commission wants to modernise copyright



The European Commission is looking at a way to update copyright for the digital age. The digital economy, it said today in a press release, is expected to grow seven times faster than the overall GDP in Europe. But it’s clear that it also presents challenges for content creators like authors, artists and creative industries.

The goal of the Commission, it says, is to create a “modern copyright framework” that guarantees that rights holders get recognized and paid for their efforts, while allowing new business models to emerge. Of course, one of the goals is also to combat piracy.

The Commission sees six copyright issues that need action ‘immediately’:

  • cross border portability
  • user-generated content
  • data and text mining
  • private copy levies
  • access to audiovisual works
  • cultural heritage

When we asked Neelie Kroes what exactly was meant by ‘cross border portability’, she made it clear that the Commission wants to make sure that online content sellers won’t erase your book or video when you go on a holiday to another country where that specific book isn’t available (if you know any examples of this happening: let us know):

I asked the question because portability could (theoretically) also mean that the licenses for content become portable. And licenses are a big mess in Europe at this time: you basically need to get a license for works in every country of the EU, individually.

There are a few steps in the right direction already, like music licensing house ‘Armonia’ , which holds the rights to 5,5 million works. Google was the first one to sign a deal with Armonia, as we wrote before.

The Commission seems to realise that the licensing is a problem too: in the medium term, it will look at ‘mitigating the effects of territoriality in the internal market’. So maybe, finally, decent, European VOD services might become competitive and commercially interesting.

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Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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