Reding: EU policy for information society for the next years

By EDRi · October 7, 2009

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Deutsch: [Reding: EU-Strategie für die Informationsgeesllschaft in den nächsten Jahren |]

The EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media, Viviane Reding,
participated last week at a breakfast event organised by the European
Digital Media Association (EdiMA) and had a speech that highlighted the main
EU key policy areas for information society for the next commission.

Ms. Reading insisted that the President Barroso has announced his policy
commitment to define, under the next Commission, an ambitious European
Digital Agenda that is scheduled for adoption in March 2010, aimed at
tackling the main obstacles to a genuine digital single market with targeted
legislative measures.

She also pointed out the main five points where pro-active measures are
needed from the Commission:

1.The issue of mass scale digitisation of books and orphan works. Ms.
Reading expressed her frustrations in relation with the development of
Europeana, Europe’s digital library and pushed for “a modern set of European
rules that encourage the digitisation of books, including one or several
European Right Registries”

“If we don’t act quickly, soon U.S. citizens will not only benefit from the
largest digital content offer, they will also be able to access through a
simple click almost 10 million books, including orphan works which are
largely part of our European cultural heritage. As European citizens,
students, teachers and researchers will not being able to do the same, there
is an actual risk of establishing a new digital divide across the Atlantic”
stressed the Commissioner.

2. A harmonised single European market with clearer rules enabling users
to be free to buy and enjoy anywhere, anytime and on any platform the
content they paid for. On this topic the Commissioner suggested a reflection
paper over a set of possible policy and legislative options aimed at
facilitating multi-territorial or EU-wide licensing for digital content. She
rejected the “Copyright task force” aimed at policy coordination – as
suggested by EDIMA – and argued for a common objective of the key
directorates in the Commission “a modern, pro-competitive and
consumer-friendly single-market framework for digitising, accessing and
licensing digital content online across the 27 EU Member States.”

3. The European-wide adoption of the global web accessibility standard,
the new Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

4. Industry and consumers should work together for a European system of

5. Network neutrality. Ms Reding praised the European Parliament for
“strengthening” the provisions concerning net neutrality in the Telecom
package and suggested a broad debate in 2010 about this topic. The
Commissioner also confirmed that she was a strong advocate for Internet

“I have myself indicated that I would be prepared to act on this basis in
case of continued blocking of Voice over IP services by certain mobile
operators. The new Telecom package is in many instances a quite robust
answer to such new threats to net neutrality. However, I also know that
technology and regulation will evolve further in the years to come. And I
plan to be Europe’s first line of defence whenever it comes to real threats
to net neutrality.”

This seems contradictory with the current text of the Telecom
package, heavily criticized by civil society especially for not providing
enough safeguards for network neutrality. Moreover, the discussions between
the EP Conciliation Committee and the European Council seem to go in the
opposite direction: not to open up again the negotiations on the network
neutrality subjects.

Viviane Reding Member of the European Commission responsible for Information
Society and Media The Digital Single Market: a key to unlock the potential
of the knowledge based economy EDiMA’s White Paper on Policy Strategy for
the Development of New Media Services 2009-2014 – Launch Breakfast Event
Brussels (1.10.2009)

Opening the Package “too risky” for EU (28.09.2009)

Concerns About Article 20, 21 and Recital 26 of the Telecoms Package