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Adapting the European policy to the digital environment would offer the
audiovisual industry access to an even broader audience and would give
the consumer greater access to cultural works. It is the opportunity to
redefine a simple and harmonised framework. It is a chance to achieve a
digital single market.
What creates obstacles to achieving this goal? Which interests should be
taken into account? What should the EU policy-maker do to offer a
satisfactory environment to both rightsholders and consumers?
EU policy must be user-friendly, innovation-friendly and creation-friendly.
The current framework somehow fails to take into account all those aspects
and to find the right balance between the interests at stake.
One of the essential aspects is access to culture. The current divided
market, particularly on the copyright aspects, creates barriers that prevent
EU citizens to access, use and enjoy cultural content such as the
audiovisual works. Nowadays, consumers consider the current copyright law
system as illegitimate, which explains the level of infringements. The
current system not only is not consumer-unfriendly but it also has an
economic downturn, it indeed stifles the development of new technology. Its
overly strict application of copyright, indefensible and ineffective
repressive enforcement measures are counterproductive.
There are numerous ways to improve the actual eco-environment without
putting aside any interests: harmonising the actual framework, minimising
the complexity and waste generated by intermediaries, micro-payments,
enabling the development of legal platforms to access, share and stream
audiovisual content, cross-border licensing, pan-European offers.
The achievement a digital single market should not be undermined by efforts
to create more restrictions over the use of content, such as limiting
exceptions and limitations to copyright. Equal access to culture should also
be recognised for people with disabilities and the copyright exception
should be made mandatory for that purpose.
The digital environment offers new perspectives, new possibilities and new
opportunities for the industries and for citizens and those opportunities
must be embraced by the EU. The right balance between economic and social
goals, the interests of creators and consumers can be found without putting
the interests of one above the others. More repressive enforcement will risk
making the legal framework even more illegitimate. What the EU needs is a
clear, simple and harmonised framework.
EC Green Paper on the Online Distribution of Audiovisual Works
EDRi’s answer to the consultation (11.2011)
(Contribution by Marie Humeau – EDRi)