Copyright and the single market: Brussels wants reform
by Claire La Combe
- DG Connect has made the digital single market its priority and the territoriality of copyrights its pet hate
Since January, the copyright reform has been ubiquitous at the European Commission and the European Parliament. Backed up by MEP Julia Reda, DG Connect has made the digital single market its priority, while the concept of the territoriality of copyrights has become its pet hate.
Wherever they go, Commissioners Andrus Ansip and Günther Oettinger announce their wish to tackle the problem of territoriality. They believe that the 28 legal frameworks for copyrights pose an obstacle to the competitiveness of the European market. What they are advocating is the single licence: a sole negotiation with an author for a possible distribution of his or her work across the entirety of Europe.
In her draft report on the copyright reform, Julia Reda advocates the pan-European accessibility of services, on behalf of “consumer rights”, and in particular invites European citizens to take action against geo-blocking. The Commission and the Parliament recommend a balanced system that blends (paid) copyrights with citizens’ rights (unrestricted access).
However, for the film industry, what is at stake is economic in nature. The fragmentation of the film market is the basis of the model for creation. Pre-purchases, co-productions and the selling on of rights to national distributors constitute the very foundation of film funding. This model of negotiations is explained first and foremost by the particular cultural and linguistic characteristics of the market. With digitisation, while consumption patterns change, cultural attributes will remain. From the author to the exhibitor, the issue is ensuring that films continue to find as broad an audience as possible.
Rather than a standardised, “global” model, what film-industry professionals want is the necessary flexibility in the market through a number of models, including the multi-territorial one. The politicians in Brussels are promising a reform plan for a harmonised single market by May.
(Translated from French)