Copyright: Commission urges industry to deliver innovative solutions for greater access to online content

The European Commission has today adopted a Communication which sets out parallel tracks of action to be undertaken during this Commission’s term of office to ensure that the EU’s copyright framework stays fit for purpose in the digital environment. It follows the Commission’s orientation debate on content in the digital economy held on 5 December 2012 on the initiative of Commission President José Manuel Barroso.
President Barroso said:

“Exploiting the full potential of the digital economy is vital to delivering growth in Europe. It is extremely important for us to work with industry in order to accelerate solutions which tap the potential of digital markets to develop new business models. A modern copyright framework can be win-win for all stakeholders, providing sustainable incentives for creativity, cultural diversity and innovation, and improving choice and access to legal offers for consumers.”

Issues to be addressed by the stakeholder dialogue:

Cross-border access and the portability of services

Distribution of content is often limited to one or just a few Member States, with rights holders or online platforms electing to impose cross-border sales restrictions. The Commission’s objective is to foster cross-border on-line access and “portability” of content across borders. This work should take stock of current industry initiatives and deliver practical solutions to promote multi-territory access.

User-generated content and licensing for small-scale users of protected material

On average, every minute, people upload 72 hours of video to YouTube, and over 150,000 photos to Facebook. Sometimes this user-generated content “re-uses” existing material (such as re-mixes, mashups and home-made videos with a soundtrack added) and so is often covered by some form of licensing by rights holders, in partnership with certain platforms, but this is not transparent to the end user. In parallel, small-scale users of content struggle to identify how to acquire licences. The Commission’s objective is to foster transparency and ensure that end-users have greater clarity on uses of protected material. This work should identify relevant forms of licensing and how to improve information for end-users’.

Audiovisual sector and cultural heritage institutions

It is difficult for online service providers to develop catalogues of European films for online availability, particularly those which are “out-of-distribution” (works whose rights holders are unwilling or unable to exploit them). The Commission’s objective is to facilitate the deposit and online accessibility of films in the EU. This work should deliver concrete solutions for both commercial and non-commercial uses.

Text and data mining

Text and data mining (TDM), an automated research technique for the purpose of scientific research, requires contractual agreements between users and rights holders to establish technical access to the relevant material. The Commission’s objective is to promote efficient TDM for scientific research purposes. This work should explore solutions such as standard licensing models as well as technology platforms to facilitate TDM access.

The stakeholder dialogue will be invited to present its results before the end of 2013.

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