Brussels, 13 November 2013
Licences for Europe: industry pledges solutions to make more content available in the Digital Single Market
The closing event of the Licences for Europe stakeholder dialogue, brokered by the European Commission, will take place today in Brussels. The dialogue was jointly led by Commissioners Michel Barnier (Internal Market and Services), Neelie Kroes (Digital Agenda) and Androulla Vassiliou (Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth).
At today’s final plenary meeting, Licences for Europe participants will make pledges to overcome problems European citizens may face in four areas: cross-border access and portability of services; user-generated content and micro-licensing; audiovisual heritage and text and data mining.
Solutions presented today will address issues that consumers, right-holders, service-providers, and end-users face on a daily basis. When implemented, these commitments could provide important added value as they could have a real impact on the availability and accessibility of cultural content online.
Pledges will include:
Commissioner Michel Barnier said: "Licences for Europe has proved that stakeholder dialogue can present concrete solutions to the challenges of the Digital Single Market. Initiatives presented today are a fast track to bring more online content to all Europeans. But our work is not over. We want to monitor the implementation of these pledges to ensure they are kept and truly make a difference in real life. And we will make sure that our future policies help share and reward creation in the single market”.
Vice-President Neelie Kroes said: "We need to be pragmatic to make progress in copyright matters, and we see that in today’s results. We are seeing a less polarised debate. If the industry can put these commitments into practice, we will see more incremental progress towards content licensing fit for the digital age. The debates will continue and we now need to look at the role updated legislation could play in delivering further progress."
Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said: We have achieved practical solutions which will provide greater certainty for rights-holders, a better deal for the public and more cultural diversity online. The pledge on digitisation of film heritage is great news for film fans in particular and I am glad to see that things are moving forward also on cross-border portability. Our aim is to ensure that European creators and industry develop new content and digital services so our cultural wealth reaches broader audiences and is preserved for future generations."
Licences for Europe initiatives are the result of ten months of work and exchanges which gathered together, through three plenary sessions and more than thirty working group meetings, stakeholders from the audiovisual, music, publishing and video game industries (authors, producers, publishers, performers, distributors, broadcasters, etc.), internet service providers, technology companies, cultural institutions, web users and consumers, and other interested parties that could contribute their expertise to this matter. It should be noted that some working groups didn't reach consensus amongst stakeholders, but provided useful insights into issues at stake.
Licences for Europe was launched by the Commission in February this year following its December 2012 Communication on "Content in the Digital Single Market"(see IP/12/1394). The objective was to deliver by the end of 2013 industry-led solutions to address practical barriers to the circulation of content in the digital age.
The stakeholder dialogue is one of the two parallel tracks of action the Commission undertook to carry out during its term of office to ensure that the EU’s copyright framework stays fit for purpose in the digital environment. In parallel the Commission is completing its on-going review of the EU copyright legal framework, with a view to a decision in 2014 on whether to table legislative reform proposals. The pledges outlined above and the discussions, including in the areas where no stakeholder consensus emerged, will feed into the review process. A public consultation will be launched in the near future in the context of the review. This will provide a further occasion for all voices to be heard in the debate, and help focus the discussion on the wider set of issues being addressed in the review process.
See also MEMO/13/986