An important announcement for Kendra members in Europe, or selling into Europe. The Commission will make recommendations by the middle of 2008 on new ways for achieving a single online market for 500 million potential consumers worth 8.3 billion euros.
On Thursday 3rd January, the European Commission adopted a Communication on Creative Content Online which launches further actions to support the development of innovative business models and the deployment of cross-border delivery of diverse online creative content services.
The transfer of creative content services to the online environment is an example of major systemic change. Building on the results of the consultation process which took place in 2006, while complementing the initiatives already undertaken in the context of the i2010 strategy, the Commission intends to launch further actions to support the development of innovative business models and the deployment of cross-border delivery of diverse online creative content services.
The Commission deems that there are four main, horizontal challenges which merit action at EU-level:
Availability of creative content - Lack of availability of creative content for online distribution and lack of active licensing of rights on new platforms remain major obstacles for the development of online content services. Since online content is a nascent market, the value of new forms of distribution is sometimes still unknown. This results in major difficulties in settling terms of trade for online exploitation of creative content. Most of the difficulties related to availability of content are considered as inherent to emerging markets, and stakeholders are expected to find innovative and collaborative solutions to exploit content online and prevent or remedy bundling, exclusivity or non-use of media rights .
Multi-territory licensing for creative content - The online environment allows content services to be made available across the Internal Market. However, the lack of multi-territory copyright licences makes it difficult for online services to fully benefit from the Internal Market potential. While it is first for right holders to appreciate the potential benefits of multi-territory licensing, there is a need to improve the existing licensing mechanisms to allow for the development of multi-territory licensing mechanisms.
Interoperability and transparency of Digital Rights Management systems (DRMs) - Technologies allowing management of rights in the online environment can be a key enabler for the content sector's digital shift and for the development of innovative business models - especially with regard to high value content. As lengthy discussions among stakeholders did not yet lead to the deployment of interoperable DRM solutions, there is a need to set a framework for transparency of DRMs regarding interoperability, by ensuring proper consumer information with regards to usage restrictions and interoperability.
Legal offers and piracy - Piracy and unauthorised up- and downloading of copyrighted content remains a central concern. It would seem appropriate to instigate co-operation procedures ("code of conduct") between access/service providers, right holders and consumers in order to ensure a wide online offer of attractive content, consumer-friendly online services, adequate protection of copyrighted works, awareness raising/education on the importance of copyright for the availability of content and close cooperation fight piracy/unauthorised file-sharing.
The market for online creative content is emerging and developments take place at a rapid pace. This calls for a twofold approach to deal with already identified challenges that need to be addressed quickly, and to launch further discussions on some of the existing and forthcoming challenges. Therefore, this Communication is launching a focused public consultation in preparation for the adoption of a Recommendation on Creative Content Online by the Council and the European Parliament, and is creating a stakeholders' discussion and cooperation platform, the so-called "Content Online Platform", to initiate the work on forthcoming challenges.
All stakeholders are invited to take position on the elements listed in the Annex to the Communication by 29/02/2008.