Thursday, 9 February 2012

ACTA demonstrations and EU online music licensing

All around Europe demonstrations are planned, especially for Saturday, 11 February 2012, against the Anti-Counterfeiting (and much more) Trade Agreement ACTA. As never before, Europeans keep tweeting #ACTA calls to sign the @Avaaz online petition for the European Parliament (and the national parliaments) to reject the anti-piracy treaty.

But they also tweet to exchange information about the deal among governments to attain ”state-of-the-art provisions on the enforcement of IPR, including provisions on civil, criminal, border and digital environment enforcement measures, robust cooperation mechanisms” etc.

By now the Avaaz online petition has been signed by 1.946 million citizens, so the new goal of two million signatures is approaching fast.

Resistance and EU Commission agenda

Yesterday I looked at why forcing ACTA down the throats of actively resisting EU citizens wasn't such a great idea in the wider scheme of things, and I also presented the bare bones of the EU Commission's agenda on intellectual property rights (IPR), as recorded in the Commission Work Programme (CWP) 2012.

Let us take a look at the individual proposals being prepared.

Online music

82 Legislative proposal on collective rights management: Music rights – music online

The proposed instrument will have a double focus: first, a general level of governance and transparency to apply to all collecting societies; and second, specific rules aimed at licensing of online music in order to foster the digital single market and provide more cross-border services to customers across the EU. (1st quarter 2012)

The CWP web page offers us access to forthcoming CWP initiatives 2012. The link provided opens up the so called roadmap regarding initiative 82: Legislative initiative on collective rights management.

If we want a real digital single market, the whole European Union (EU), indeed the European Economic Area (EEA), should constitute one seamless, borderless market for online citizens and consumers.

However, the roadmap language is much fuzzier, speaking only about facilitating multi-territory licenses, which looks like a more modest aim.

Are these doubts justified?

We need further study.

COM(2011) 287

The roadmap refers to a communication from the Commission. For my multilingual readership I would like to point out that this ”strategy paper” is available in 22 of the official EU languages and different formats on Eur-Lex. Here the English version (pdf):

A Single Market for Intellectual Property Rights: Boosting creativity and innovation to provide economic growth, high quality jobs and first class products and services in Europe; Brussels, 24.5.2011 COM(2011) 287 final (25 pages)

The introduction seems ambitious enough for those, who accept the basic idea of monopoly rights for creators and right holders, but without the ”medieval” online market fragmentation and outdated business models we see in Europe today:

Putting in place a seamless, integrated Single Market for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is one of the most concrete ways to release the potential of European inventors and creators and empower them to turn ideas into high quality jobs and economic growth.

We need to take a closer look at the proposed strategy and the process in future blog posts.

Ralf Grahn
speaker, teacher and advisor

P.S. For better or for worse, between the global issues and the national level, the European Union shapes our digital future and online freedoms. Is your blog already listed among the more than 900 euroblogs aggregated by multilingual Are you following the debates which matter for your future?