In an address to the CEPS Digital Forum Taskforce on Copyright in the EU Digital Single Market, European Union Commissioner for the single market, Michel Barnier, spelled out the role that copyright has to play in meeting the challenges and opportunities of the digital age. The Commission is looking for the optimum balance between the widest possible access, fair remuneration of creators, sufficient incentives to invest in creation and legal certainty for content distribution.
The Commissioner called for a more rational debate and a frank exchange of views. He said that copyright must be an enabler in support of creation and innovation, giving access to quality content across border and fostering investment in the European economy, freedom of information and cultural diversity. He specified four goals for a copyright framework to achieve: to facilitate access to cultural heritage, to make more content available to more citizens across borders, to provide the right incentives to creators and investors in creativity and to be enforceable. He recognised the role of collective management and made it “crystal clear” that he “did not share the view of those that think copyright protection should be weakened so others can develop new commercial services free of cost. This would simply amount to legislating for free-riding: shifting wealth from the content industries – many of which are based in Europe creating jobs and paying taxes here – to other industries”. “This cannot be right,” he said.
Solutions are in the hands of main actors in the market, according to the Commissioner, and would need the engagement all parties in the process in a spirit of partnership.
Click here for the full text of the speech.