Rights holders breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday (6 May), when the European Commission unveiled its Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy. The executive’s determination to tackle copyright reform has waned in the face of fierce oppposition. EURACTIV France reports.
The crucial questions of copyright, geo-blocking and personal data protection, which are all covered by the new legal framework, were not addressed in detail in the Commission’s new digital strategy.
In fact, the project is lagging behind schedule: MEP Julia Reda’s report, which was due for adoption in the European Parliament’s April plenary session, has still not been put to the vote.
And after the strong words of the 2014 electoral campaign, the Commissioners have somewhat diluted its stance on these subjects, which had triggered particularly strong reactions from the French cultural sector.
Even on geo-blocking, the most advanced subject, the Commission is showing no great ambition.
Gently dismantling geo-blocking
The French Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers (SACD) welcomed the fact that “the need to preserve the value of works, which rely largely on territorial financing, is expressly stated as an objective to take into consideration” in the new strategy.
The Civil Society of Multimedia Authors (SCAM) no longer appears overly worried by the subject either. “Any changes must be negotiated so as not to destroy the territorial exclusivity of broadcasters and distributers. We have to do lots of consultation on the subject and take our time,” said Hervé Rony from SCAM.
Despite being one of the stated priorities of the Juncker Commission, copyright reform does not appear at the centre of the new digital strategy. This change of gear is surely not unrelated to the outcry from of authors, copyright collectives and the governments of certain countries, including France, that followed the Commission’s work programme.
Parcel delivery and Eurodisney
Following several consultations, opinions are also more nuanced within the European executive.
“We can see that the Commission has found another hobbyhorse in e-commerce, where the financial stakes are higher,” a lobbyist said. The stakes are also easier to understand: the Commission has promised to deal with differences in the price of parcel services and tickets to Eurodisney.
Belgian Socialist MEP Marc Tarabella said “I have brought the case of Eurodisney to the Commission’s attention. The price of a ticket for the theme park is different if you buy it in France, in Belgium or in Germany. This is unacceptable discrimination.”