EC ponders digital single market for creative content online

The European Commission has published a reflection paper on the challenge of creating a European Digital Single Market for creative content such as books, music, films or video games.
According to Commission studies, a truly Single Market without borders for Creative Online Content could allow retail revenues of the creative content sector to quadruple if clear and consumer-friendly measures are taken by industry and public authorities. The digital availability of content thus presents great opportunities for Europe, but also a number of challenges. First of all, regulatory and territorial obstacles still stand in the way of digital distribution of cultural products and services and can impede creativity and innovation. In addition, illegal downloads on a large scale can jeopardise the development of an economically viable Single Market for digital content; there needs to be much more encouragement for legal cross-border offers.
Against this background, the reflection paper drafted jointly by the services of Commissioners Reding and McCreevy outlines current challenges for three groups of stakeholders rightholders, consumers and commercial users and invites everybody interested to participate in a broad debate about the possible European responses to them. Comments can be sent by 5 January 2010.
"Copyright and the Internet are two powerful engines for driving creativity and innovation for the benefit of all Europeans. They should be combined in the new project of a competitive and prosperous Digital Single Market. Such a Digital Single Market can only be built with content creators on board; and with the generation of digital natives as interested users and innovative consumers," said Viviane Reding, the EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media.
"It will be my key priority over the next years to work, in co-operation with other Commissioners, on a simple, consumer-friendly legal framework for making digital content available across borders in the EU, while ensuring at the same time a robust protection of copyright and a fair remuneration of creators," she asserted.
In Europe, the cultural and creative sector (which comprises published content such as books, newspapers and magazines, musical works and sound recordings, films, video on demand and video games) is estimated to generate a turnover of more than E650 billion annually and contributes to 2.6 per cent of the EU's GDP, employing more than three per cent of the EU work force. European policymakers therefore have the responsibility to protect copyright, especially in an evolving economic and technological environment.