European Broadcasters Call For Easier Copyright Clearance For Online Content 17/03/2010 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)European Union copyright law needs to be amended so that the clearance of copyrights is simplified for online content, the European Broadcasting Union said today. The group presented the results of an analysis it conducted today at the European Parliament in Brussels. The EBU white paper entitled, “Modern Copyright For Digital Media: Legal Analysis and EBU Proposals” [pdf] states that although EBU fully supports the protection of copyright and related rights, the current EU legal framework on rights clearance “needs to be modernised” so that it is more efficient and the offering to European media will be improved. The proposals in the EBU analysis focus on the audiovisual media sector and do not suggest a complete harmonisation of the EU copyright rules, nor do they “fundamentally challenge exclusivity or the current practices of licensing of premium content such as films and sport.” The EBU has members from 56 countries in and around Europe and promotes public service media in Europe and around the world. The EBU report was authored by Stephen Edwards, partner at international law firm Reed Smith; Pascal Kamina, associate professor at the University of Poitiers, France; and Karl-Nikolaus Peifer, director of the Institute for Media Law and Communications Law at the University of Cologne. Among the proposals, EBU aims to “facilitate EU-wide online licensing through the concept of audiovisual media communication to the public,” as well as “clearance of retransmission rights for any platform,” according to the principle of technological neutrality, where a policy should not favour a particular technology. EBU also advises avoidance of “separate rights for the same activity.” That refers to rights being granted by contract or by law to communicate content to the public, which it said should also cover incidental reproductions necessary in the exercise of the licence, and the “general adoption of the ‘extended collective licensing’ model” to clear rights for audio and audiovisual media services. Proposals also include: the “simplification of music licensing for audiovisual media services providers,” “the use of collective licences for unlocking broadcasters’ archives,” and the “supervision of collecting societies.” The Geneva-based EBU organised the presentation as the EU is planning new legislation on collecting societies, according to an informed source, as confirmed in a video message today by Michel Barnier of the European Commission Internal Market and Services directorate general, according to the source. During today’s interactive panel discussions on the expansion of collecting societies and collective licensing proposals, Marielle Gallo, Member of the European Parliament and coordinator of the copyright working group said that supervision and control should be exerted on collecting societies at the national level or through an EU directive. For Margot Fröhlinger, director of the European Commission Internal Market directorate general, if there is an expansion of collective licensing, it is indispensable to have rules at the EU level and to ensure transparency. Report author Edwards said that in the online music industry, there is a problem as the global music repertoire is becoming fragmented, with a large number of collecting societies making it difficult for a broadcaster to offer a diversified repertoire. “Nordic Model”: Working for 50 Years, Europe Interested A spokesperson from the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) said that extended collective licensing has been in use in Denmark since the 1960s with satisfactory results. Under this model, DR has an agreement with an umbrella organisation of collecting societies who represent a substantial number of rights owners. This agreement is also applied for authors who are not represented by a collecting society; they are given the same remuneration, he said. Under this agreement, DR will be able to give access to all archives and broadcasts, containing fiction, drama and news to Danish citizens, after digitalisation. It’s a win-win situation,” he said, with a new stream of revenue for authors, and access to “all this content” for the public. The authors can opt out if they prefer their production not to be broadcasted, the spokesperson said. The agreement is only permitted for non-commercial use of the archives, he said. European Parliament Member Luigi Berlinguer, vice-chair of the Legal Committee, said that this Nordic model is an example. “If it can work there, it can work in Europe,” he said. European Commission Consultation on Online Content In October, the European Commission launched a public consultation on online content to work on possible European responses to the challenges of right holders, consumers and commercial users. It aimed at examining obstacles to digital distribution of cultural products and services, and illegal downloading. A number of comments, including the EBU paper, were submitted to the European Commission during the consultation, which closed on 5 January. EBU submission is here [pdf]. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."European Broadcasters Call For Easier Copyright Clearance For Online Content" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.