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Brussels, 13 November 2013
Licences for Europe stakeholder dialogue – Frequently Asked Questions
Licences for Europe is a stakeholder dialogue in the area of digital content launched by the European Commission in February this year following its December 2012 Communication on "Content in the Digital Single Market" (see IP/12/1394).
Its objective is to foster practical industry-led initiatives to bring more copyright-protected content online in the Digital Single Market. Work focussed on four areas where rapid progress is needed and possible:
(i) cross-border access and portability of services,
(ii) user-generated content and micro-licensing
(iii) audiovisual cultural heritage and
(iv) text and data mining.
The stakeholders participating in the dialogue met during three plenary sessions and more than thirty working group meetings over a period of ten months. The results of the dialogue were presented at today's final plenary meeting.
Participants included representatives from interested parties such as consumer and digital rights organisations, IT and technology companies, internet service providers, film heritage institutions, broadcasters, public libraries, authors, producers, performers, and other copyright rightholders in the audiovisual, music, publishing and video game industries.
Lists of participants in the four working groups are available on the Licences for Europe website:
The Commission presented a problem-analysis of current licensing issues, and to emphasise the need for a less polarised debate, brokered the stakeholder dialogue. This included acting as a facilitator, organising the meetings and chairing the four working groups and the plenary sessions. Responsibility for and ownership of the solutions presented today remain with the different stakeholders who participated in the dialogue.
The most tangible results of Licences for Europe are a range of industry initiatives, stakeholder commitments and roadmaps for further action in all four areas covered by the dialogue which were presented at the final plenary meeting (see Annex).
While all the initiatives are the result of (or are directly linked to) work in the four working groups, their nature and the range of stakeholders subscribing to them is different for each. Presentation of these commitments does not imply that all parties in Licences for Europe have agreed to all commitments.
By way of illustration, some results consist of agreements between copyright rightholders and users (for example audiovisual industry and film heritage institutions agreeing on common principles for the digitisation of catalogued European films). Others are contributions made by different industry representatives (such as the audiovisual industry statement on cross-border portability); as well as concrete industry offers such as micro-licensing mechanisms for music on websites and a model clause backed by a web-based mining hub for text and data mining.
Discussions in each Licences for Europe working group have revealed that new services and licensing solutions are being rolled out at an ever-increasing pace to bring more online content to European consumers and users. For example working group discussions have shown that cross-border portability is already and increasingly a reality for some music and e-books, newspaper/magazine services, and that industry is accelerating the development of “one-click” licensing solutions for small-scale uses and users.
Two groups – User generated content and Text and data mining – did not reach consensus among stakeholders on either the problems to be addressed or the results. However the discussions provided useful insights into the issues at stake and some understanding of the positions of different stakeholders. At the same time, concrete pledges, expected to make a difference in online users' life, were presented in these areas too.
All relevant material (agendas, conclusions, presentations of the four working groups and the plenary meetings) has been published and is available online on the Commission Licences for Europe website. Supporting documents on each of the initiatives presented at the final plenary are also published online on the same website.
The Licences for Europe dialogue itself finished with the final plenary meeting. However, the Commission intends to monitor the commitments made by stakeholders in the context of the dialogue. Industry has been invited to report on the state of implementation of the solutions identified in Licences for Europe. The Commission will follow up more specifically on some of those initiatives, such as the agreement to carry out ad hoc dialogue on broadcasting archives where further work will have to be carried out as a result of Licences for Europe. In all cases, the Commission will continue to provide information on the state of implementation of the different initiatives (for example, the Commission intends to regularly publish online a list of online services offering cross-border portability).
As announced in the 18 December 2012 Communication on “content in the digital single market” (IP/12/1394), Licences for Europe was one of the two parallel tracks of action the Commission undertook to take until the end of this term of office to ensure that EU’s copyright framework stays fit for purpose in the digital environment.
Therefore, in parallel to Licences for Europe, the Commission is carrying out a review of the EU Copyright legal framework with a view to a decision whether to table legislative reform proposals in spring 2014. As indicated in the Commission work programme for 2014 the Commission is working on an Impact Assessment and in this context will shortly launch a public consultation on the on-going review. The knowledge obtained during the Licences for Europe dialogue constitutes valuable input.
Licences for Europe
Ten pledges to bring more content online
The Commission will monitor the implementation of the "Licences for Europe" pledges so that they bring real value added in practical terms. The Commission expects the partners involved to implement these pledges fully and without delay.
In parallel, the Commission will complete, by spring 2014, its on-going review of the EU Copyright framework with a view to a decision 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.
1. Cross-border portability of subscription services: joint statement by the audio-visual industry.
Today, subscribers to audio-visual services online, e.g. consumers watching movies via an Internet service provider or web-store, are often denied access to services legally bought in their own EU country when they cross national borders.
2. Improved availability of e-books across borders and across devices: a Roadmap by the e-book sector.
Despite progress consumers are often still not able to transfer their e-book content from one device to another due to different e-book formats and other restrictions. Nor can they easily find online offers in particular from smaller market players.
3. Easier licensing for music: commitments by the music sector.
Use (and re-use) of music on major platforms is largely covered by blanket licence agreements between producers, publishers, authors’ collecting societies and those platforms. Small businesses or individuals who want a licence for e.g. the use of background music on their website may have difficulties to acquire the necessary licences.
[Initiatives by International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers (GESAC)]
4. Easier access to print and images: a toolkit by the print industry.
Today, users do not always know what they can or cannot do with a text or picture, and if and how they can get a licence.
[Signatories: European Publishers Council (EPC), European Visual Artists (EVA), European Writers' Council (EWC), Federation of European Photographers (FEP), International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM)]
5. Enabling the identification of your work and rights online: an industry roadmap.
Web self-publishers, such as creators posting their new songs or videos online, are protected by copyright. Yet, often they cannot (easily) obtain identifiers for their works, or licences for re-using existing content, preventing them from monetising their works or stopping infringements of their rights, if they wish.
[The Web Content Declaration (WCD) has developed out of the Linked Content Coalition (LCC) - an industry alliance aiming to facilitate licensing through the enhanced exchange of rights information (information about the right owner and the licence conditions)]
6. More active reader involvement in the online press: a declaration on improving the user experience.
In the digital environment, an increasing number of newspapers and magazines are encouraging dynamic interaction between users and press publishers.
[Signatories: European Magazine Media Association (EMMA), European Newspaper Publishers' Association (ENPA), European Publishers Council (EPC)]
7. More heritage films online: an agreement on principles and procedures.
Film heritage institutions struggle to fund the digitisation of European heritage films, and to clear authorisations with rightholders. European cinematographic heritage that would otherwise be accessible to citizens is left on the shelf.
[Signatories: Association des Cinémathèques Européennes (ACE), Federation of European Film Directors (FERA), International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF), Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA)]
8. Freeing up TV footage archives through digitisation: discussions between public broadcasters and rightholders.
Public service broadcasters have archives comprising millions of hours of TV footage. Clearing the rights with the myriad of rightholders today makes the use of such material expensive and time-consuming.
[Signatories: European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA) not excluding dialogue with other relevant parties.]
9. Improving identification and discoverability of audio-visual content online: a declaration by the audio-visual industry.
Some European audio-visual producers have been slow to adopt interoperable identifiers for their productions. This, and a lack of interoperability between the standards available in the marketplace (ISAN and EIDR), has made rights management, including licensing and remuneration, difficult. This puts a brake on the availability of content online.
[Signatories: Société civile pour l'Administration des Droits des Artistes et Musiciens Interprètes (Adami), British Film Institute (BFI), European Coordination of Independent producers (CEPI), European Association of Regional Film Funds (CineRegio), Entertainment Identifier Registry (EIDR), Eurocinema, European Organisation of Movie and Television Producers’ Collecting Societies (EuroCopya), European Film Promotion (EFP), Federation of European Film Directors (FERA), International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF), Institut National de l'Audiovisuel (INA), ISAN International Agency (ISAN-IA), Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA)]
10. Easier text and data mining of subscription-based material for non-commercial researchers: a commitment by scientific publishers.
Researchers are increasingly keen to engage in text and data mining, i.e. the automated 'scanning' of text or datasets in search of e.g. new significant correlations or recurrences. Even when researchers have a subscription to scientific and other publications, it is not clear that they will be able to mine them in the absence of a specific authorisation from publishers. In addition, researchers sometimes face technical problems to mine text or data.
[Signatories: By 11/11/2013, the following publishers had signed up to this commitment: American Chemical Society, British Medical Journal Publishing Group Ltd, Brill Publishers, Elsevier BV, Georg Thieme Verlag KG, Hogrefe Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Institute of Physics / IOP Publishing Ltd, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, New England Journal of Medicine (Massachusetts Medical Society), Oxford University Press, Springer Science + Business Media Deutschland GmbH, Taylor and Francis Ltd, Wolters Kluwer Health (Medical Research) Ltd]