Over the last few years the European Commission has undertaken analysis and carried out several consultations on the current copyright rules and the regulation of the audiovisual sector. Alongside this we have seen strong rhetoric from European Commissioners responsible for these areas campaigning for change.
The developments from the European Commission have included: the 2011 Communication ‘A Single Market for Intellectual Property Rights’; the 2013 Green Paper ‘Preparing for a Fully Converged Audiovisual World: Growth, Creation and Values’ (with responses published in September 2014); the 2012 public consultation ‘On content in the Digital Single Market’ (with responses published in July 2014); and the Licences for Europe stakeholder dialogue which resulted in the Joint Statement on Cross-border Portability of lawfully-acquired Audiovisual Content in November 2013.
The responses to these papers make interesting, although not unsurprising reading, largely showing that consumers generally desire access to all content freely across the whole of the EU, whereas the audiovisual industry do not see any need for any legislative intervention and argue that the use of current practices such as territorial licencing are necessary. The industry responses emphasise that there is a lack of incentive and little demand for cross-border services due to viewing habits of consumers, language, and maintaining cultural and linguistic diversity between member states. They also state the importance of licencing by region to ensure the best placed distributors are involved to target the relevant market and enable producers to effectively obtain the financing required to create new content.