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IRIS 2012-1:1/6

European Parliament

Resolution on European Cinema in the Digital Era

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Manon Oostveen

Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

On 16 November 2011 the European Parliament adopted a resolution on European cinema in the digital era.

In the resolution, the European Parliament emphasises the continued popularity and the financial, growth and employment potential of European cinema. It underlines its growing importance for the economy and stresses its significance for the cultural development and identity of Europe.

However, it also notes that the market is highly fragmented and diversified. The transition to digital and the preponderance of US productions are mentioned as being a threat to European cinema in general and small cinemas in particular.

Additionally, the following issues are also considered to be a threat:

- the high costs of digitisation;

- the closure of small cinemas;

- piracy and illegal downloading;

- the problems relating to the circulation and distribution of films;

- a lack of suitable training for projectionists in handling new digital equipment.

To counteract these threats, the resolution proposes some specific measures. The main priority in this respect is given to avoiding the closure of small, independent and art-house cinemas and to public funding of the aforementioned cinemas. Other suggestions made include:

- the standardisation of systems based on ISO standards (to a certain extent);

- encouraging cinemas to make the digital transition as quickly as possible;

- increasing the funding and altering the procedures of the European Structural Funds.

The European Parliament invites the Commission and the member states to take a number of additional measures to support European cinema and small cinemas in particular.

Moreover, the Virtual Printing Fee commercial model is signaled as being only beneficial to digitisation in large cinema networks. Solutions for other cinemas are suggested. Reference is also made to the MEDIA-programme; its importance is stressed and initiatives, particularly regarding digitisation, are suggested and called for.

The resolution calls on member states to include film education in their national education programmes. It also encourages them to promote European productions and offer technology-neutral support for cinemas that show a high number of European films. The initiative now lies with the Commission and the member states.

European Parliament resolution of 16 November 2011 on European cinema in the digital era (2010/2306 (INI)) EN