Friday, January 25, 2013

What is Licensing Europe?

EU Commission has in the end of last year launched the Communication on content in the Digital Single Market, which presents its future work with copyright issues. By the end of 2015 they plan to establish a working and functioning Digital Single Market.[1]  Their aim is to modernise Europe's copyright regime and facilitate licensing, as well as ensure a high level of protection of intellectual property rights and also taking into account cultural diversity.[2] The name “Licensing Europe" therefore represents seeking and exploring of “possible limits of innovative licensing and technological solutions in making EU copyright law and practice fit for the digital age.”[3]
With addressing the issue of cross-border access and the portability of services they want to reach effective legal system, which would enable users to benefit from new technical developments. Therefore their aim is to “identify the main categories of restrictions on cross-border access and portability by sector and the main reasons behind these restrictions[4] and produce practical solution.

With addressing the issue of user-generated content and licensing for small-scale users of protected material, the Commission want to advance more transparent and clearer overview on the use of protected material (legitimate or non-legitimate).[5] The issue is that the user-generated content is often “covered by some form of licensing by rights holders, in partnership with certain platforms,” which is too often not transparent to the user, neither provides him legal certainty.[6] On the other hand it is common that users who want to use protected content cannot find information how to license it in the case of low value use.  The Commission’s aim is to examine “the extent to which user-generated content is licensed to relevant platforms, and identify how to ensure that end-users are informed about what is legal and illicit use on the internet”[7] and to explore the possibility of free licenses.

With addressing the issue of audiovisual sector and cultural heritage institutions, the Commission wants to clarify “the deposit and online accessibility of films in the EU both for commercial purposes and non-commercial cultural and educational uses.”[8] They want to improve discoverability and online availability of audiovisual works and also present concrete solutions for commercial and non-commercial uses. 

The Commission is addressing text and data mining issue from the scientific research perspective. They want to “explore the potential and possible limits of standard licensing models, as well as assess the appropriateness and feasibility of technology platforms.”[9]
With intentions to review the EU copyright framework, the Commission will give attention to: “territoriality in the Internal Market; harmonisation, limitations and exceptions to copyright in the digital age; fragmentation of the EU copyright market; and how to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of enforcement while underpinning its legitimacy in the wider context of copyright reform.”[10]

[1] COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION On content in the Digital Single Market, COM(2012) 789 final, Brussels, 18.12.2012, Accessed 25.1.2013, p 2.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Id., p 3.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Id., p 4.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Id., p 5.