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IRIS 2010-1:1/6

European Commission

Consultation on Creative Content Online

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Christina Angelopoulos

Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

On 22 October 2009, the European Commission launched a public consultation calling for input on ways to achieve a more vibrant market for the online distribution of goods and services protected by intellectual property rights. The launch of the consultation is accompanied by the publication of a reflection paper by Commissioners Reding and McCreevy of the Directorates-General for the Information Society and the Media and the Internal Market and Services entitled “Creative Content in a European Digital Single Market: Challenges for the Future”.

The reflection document opens by stating that “copyright is the basis for creativity”. It goes on to note the vitality of Europe’s cultural and creative sectors and the growing importance of the Internet and of digitisation technologies for the distribution of creative content. On this basis, the paper concludes that what it terms the “dematerialisation” of content presents a great opportunity for Europe. In order to fully realise this potential, legislative action aimed at achieving a modern, pro-competitive, and consumer-friendly legal framework for a genuine Single Market for Creative Content Online is necessary. In particular, three objectives are identified:

- the creation of a favourable environment in the digital world for creators and rightsholders, through ensuring appropriate remuneration for their creative works, as well as for a culturally diverse European market;

- the encouragement of the provision of attractive and legal offers for consumers to access a wide range of content through digital networks anywhere and at any time, with transparent pricing and terms of use;

- the promotion of a level playing field for new business models and innovative solutions for the distribution of creative content across the EU.

Three groups of stakeholders are identified for the consultation: rightsholders, consumers and commercial users. The deadline for submissions is 5 January 2010.

The first consultation in the area was launched in 2006 (see IRIS 2006-8:5) and led to the adoption of a Communication on Creative Content Online in the Single Market, which in turn launched a second consultation in 2008 (see IRIS 2008-2:5). In addition, the Commission also set up a stakeholder discussion group, the Content Online Platform. The Platform published its final report in May 2009 (see IRIS 2009-6:4).

The consultation and reflection paper form part of the ongoing discussion on the priorities of a European Digital Agenda, as called for by President José Manuel Barroso in his Policy Guidelines presented to the European Parliament in September 2009.

References
European Commission launches reflection on a Digital Single Market for Creative Content Online, Brussels, 22 October 2009, IP/09/1563 EN
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=12112