Kroes: EU copyright rules need major overhaul

European copyright rules are out of date and require a major overhaul, European Union Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes told the Forum d’Avignon.

According to Kroes, those who will prosper in the digital age are those who understand that convergence is one of the keys. “The convergence of media provides an incredible opportunity for the artists and creators of our times, and also for their public – you and me,” she said. “Just like cinema did not kill theatre, nor did television kill radio. The Internet won’t kill any other media either.”

“Our fragmented copyright system… has ended up giving a more prominent role to intermediaries than to artists,” Kroes said. “It irritates the public who often cannot access what artists want to offer and leaves a vacuum which is served by illegal content, depriving the artists of their well deserved remuneration.”

“Instead of a dysfunctional system based on a series of cultural Berlin walls, I want a return to sense,” she said. A committee of experts, chaired by Maurice Levy, will report on possible solutions in early next year. Kroes said the commission will examine divergent national private copyright levies. It will also investigate multi-territorial and pan-European licensing.

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