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IRIS 2012-10:1/4

European Parliament

Online Distribution of Audiovisual Works in the European Union

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Rutger de Beer

Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

On 11 September 2012 the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the online distribution of audiovisual works in the European Union.

On 6 March 2012, rapporteur Jean-Marie Cavada of the Committee on Culture and Education drafted a first report on the online distribution of audiovisual works in the European Union. This own-initiative procedure became the endeavour of a cross-committee co-operation between the Committee on Culture and Education, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the Committee of Legal Affairs.

The European Parliament’s non-binding resolution states that there is currently a need for a transparent, flexible and harmonized approach at European level in order to advance towards the digital single market and emphasises that any proposed measure should seek to reduce the administrative burdens and transaction costs associated with the licensing of content. The resolution indicates as main topics of concern the online access to legal content, collective rights management, geographical controls, cooperation between rightsholders, online distribution platforms and internet service providers, net neutrality, unauthorised use, remuneration, licensing, interoperability, protection and promotion of audiovisual works and education.

Concerning accessibility and collective rights management, the European Parliament stresses that collective rights management is an essential tool for broadcasters and calls on the European Commission to present a legislative initiative for the collective management of copyright (see the proposal made by the European Commission in IRIS 2012-9/6). In this regard it stresses the need to operate a clear distinction between licensing practices for different types of content, in particular between audiovisual/cinematographic and musical works. Subsequently, it invites member states to ensure that collective rights management is based on effective, functional and interoperable systems. Finally it points out the need to create legal certainty as to which legal system applies for the clearance of rights in cross-border distribution.

Concerning unauthorised content, the European Parliament calls on the European Commission to afford Internet users legal certainty for the use of streamed services. Subsequently, it calls on member states to promote respect for authors’ and neighbouring rights and to combat the provision of unauthorised content.

Concerning licensing, the European Parliament encourages Member States to promote effective and transparent licensing and recommends efficient licensing schemes for the online use of audiovisual material (such as on demand content).

Concerning remuneration, the European Parliament calls on member states to ban buyout contracts, which contradict the principle of fair and proportional remuneration. It also calls on the Commission to urgently present a study on disparities among the different national remuneration mechanisms, in order to establish best practices.

Lastly, the European Parliament stresses that it is vital for MEDIA to continue to exist as a specific programme focusing only on the audiovisual sector.

It should be noted that the European Commission also issued a Green Paper on the online distribution of audiovisual works in the European Union on 13 July 2011 (See IRIS 2011-8/8).

References
European Parliament resolution of 11 September 2012 on the online distribution of audiovisual works in the European Union EN
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=16147