EU Commissioner for Telecoms and Media, Viviane Reding has called for a new system that would make it easier for rights owners to license digital content across all 27 Member States of the European Union.
Delivering an address in Brussels Reding said: “Today, right holders and online service providers need to spend far too much time and money on the administration of rights, instead of investing this money in attractive services.”
Reding likened the online rights situation to that of pay TV rights as that industry was emerging. “We had a similar problem when commercial satellite TV started more than 30 years ago,” she said. “As right clearance for this per se cross-border service became increasingly complex, Europe developed the Cable and Satellite Directive and introduced a simplified system of rights clearance for the whole of Europe. I believe it is now time to develop similar solutions for the evolving world of online content.”
Reding also said that Member States should speed up the switch to digital TV in light of the current economic downturn. Accelerating switchover will mean spectrum worth up to Euro200 billion will be freed up, she noted. The commissioner called upon Member States to ‘act swiftly’ and not wait for the 2012 EU-wide deadline for switchover.
“I believe the present economic crisis requires us to accelerate the ongoing switchover from analogue to digital TV in Europe,” Reding said. “The Commission estimates that the incremental value of this spectrum for wireless broadband across the EU is between €150 and €200 billion. Appropriate European coordination of Member States’ work on the digital dividend would increase the potential economic impact of the digital dividend by an additional €50 billion between now and 2015.”