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EU Copyright policy

np's picture
Submitted by np on Mon, 2012-04-16 12:07

EU Copyright policy is out-dated and in danger of stifling innovation.

There is a huge amount to debate and discuss in this area, some important questions (and thoughts) include:

How to balance the right of citizens, artists, publishers, and service providers?
The important question which underlies much of this is: what is the value of a piece of content? As the costs of production and distribution fall to zero in the digital age, the economics of content creation are changing dramatically. Many have argued that a clear and transparent market for digital rights could be a solution to determining prices.

One of the problems in the digital music space is that collecting societies (who collect royalties for artists and labels) are de facto monopolies. This is then aggravated by the fact that rights are split up by territory and each of the 27 countries in the EU has their own monopolies.

How can we make progress and avoid zero-sum situations and stalemates?
The upside of the digital age is that we can track and report accurately on all content consumption (rather than random sampling). This could form the basis of a digital copyright exchange, as proposed by Prof. Hargreaves in a recent government review here in the UK. If there was a clear and legal pan-European framework to license digital content, the number of new entreprises could blossom and this would be the biggest challenger to piracy. The difficulty is in convincing the rights owners to embrace the new technological developments, and building a framework which works across multiple territories.

Which are inspiring examples of successful business models for managing online content, and the most suitable regulations that you are aware of?
In the USA there is a collecting society called SoundExchange whose rates and rules have been decided by Congress. This provides a stable legal framework for companies like Pandora to grow on. The only downside is that the legislation / rules have a hard time keeping up with technological developments (eg mobile).

Here in the UK, Pearson (a publisher who owns FT, Penguin, etc) are keen to push for a digital rights exchange model, and I think that they exploring implementing one soon.

One final regulation / legal development that is very forward thinking is the Creative Commons framework pioneered by Larry Lessig.

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miguel.gonzalez-sancho-bodero's picture
Submitted by miguel.gonzalez... on Mon, 2012-04-16 22:05

Digital rights exchange; I note that Pearson is planning to go for that but, is there somebody doing it already? If yes, they could be invited to share their experience. To which extent such DRE can self-regulate or need third party (public or private) control?

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annalisa.deluca's picture
Submitted by annalisa.deluca on Tue, 2012-04-17 20:21

This is a lot of food for thought, Nico. Re:inspiring examples of successful business models for managing online content, a few names come to mind: Netflix, Hulu, There's many more but the point is: they all come from the US. The few European experiences struggle.

Do you think the US regulation framework is better than ours? Is that the key? Or does it have more to do with funding and consumer base (language being a relevant issue here)?

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Gianluigi Cuccureddu's picture
Submitted by Gianluigi Cuccureddu on Fri, 2012-04-20 10:43


Perhaps some level of creative destruction has to take place, to make way for the new landscape and challenges, instead of modifying and adjusting the old fundaments.

-> "The difficulty is in convincing the rights owners to embrace the new technological developments, and building a framework which works across multiple territories."

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eusebiofg's picture
Submitted by eusebiofg on Mon, 2012-04-23 11:57

IMHO to ensure rapid and effective skills development, and rapid sharing of knowledge, the copyright legislation should recognize the rights of those who create and release software freely redistributable (and therefore recognize the version 2 of the GPL), otherwise, Europe will remain bound to the pressures of the industry lobby.
Is useful to consider the geographical distribution of programmers who develop applications for Linux:
From this map you can see how the Europeans are working, but the companies that produce goods and services based on Linux are fundamentally Americans. This means that we are working for free to increase the U.S. GDP, and that for the subservience of our politicians to pressure from industry lobbies (or, if you prefer, for their incompetence).

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