A Perspective by Fieldfisher - Copyright and the Single Digital Market | Fieldfisher
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Press Release

A Perspective by Fieldfisher - Copyright and the Single Digital Market



United Kingdom

Fieldfisher publishes an overview on the future of copyright in Europe today.

Fieldfisher publishes an overview on the future of copyright in Europe today. The paper comprises views and opinions from the industry, as well as reaction to Digital Single Market agenda.

In February 2015, over 100 lawyers and executives from the creative industries joined us at our London offices for our annual Media Crammer know-how event. One of the key topics on the agenda was the European Commission’s proposed copyright reform programme. Among our audience sat representatives of TV broadcasters, film producers, intermediaries and others, all with different takes on the Commission’s agenda, which could, during the course of 2015, trigger major reforms to the European copyright landscape, affecting all in the creative industries. 

The European Commission looks determined to drive forward a programme that  includes radical proposals for copyright reform. In his opening statement on taking over the presidency in July 2014, Jean-Claude Juncker said:

“We need to break down national silos in telecoms regulation, in copyright and data protection legislation, in the management of radio waves and in the application of competition law. We can ensure that consumers can access services, music, movies and sports events on their electronic devices wherever they are in Europe and regardless of borders… To achieve this I intend to take, within the first six months of my mandate, ambitious legislative steps towards a connected digital single market… by modernising copyright rules in the light of the digital revolution and changed consumer behaviour, and by modernising and simplifying consumer rules for online and digital purchases.”

While the reform programme may have the backing of consumers, looking to access all content freely across the whole of Europe, based on a questionnaire put to the attendees of Fieldfisher’s Media Crammer, it does not have widespread support within the creative industries. We surveyed attendees at our seminar and found: 

  • The vast majority, 78%, believe the market should be left to address any need for reform: They would like to create and foster industry initiatives where market operators can experiment with new business models and respond to the fast moving evolution of the digital market place.
  • A substantial majority were against a single unitary copyright title, to substitute the current systems of national copyright titles.
  • 70% believe geo-blocking in the online distribution of audio-visual content is necessary, saying restrictions on territorial licensing would be a hindrance to business models, jobs and diversity of content in the industry.

Barry Smith, Partner in the Media Team at Fieldfisher, added:

"This analysis takes a closer look at some of the key copyright issues for TV broadcasters, film producers, intermediaries and content providers doing business in Europe and the whole Digital Single Market reform agenda.  Whatever your view on the EU's agenda, 2015 is a year actively to engage in the discussions. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the delegates who attended our recent Media Crammer event in February; their contributions were insightful and help take the debate forward."