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A coherent EU policy for cultural and creative industries

In 21st century Europe, with the transition to the digital economy, CCIs are increasingly replacing traditional manufacturing processes and traditional value chains. Today, the production of quality content, the ability to innovate, to narrate, to imagine, to evoke emotions, have become our most precious materia prima.

Cultural and creative industries are those industries that are based on cultural values, individual creativity, skills and talent with the potential to create wealth and jobs through generating value from intellectual property. They include the following sectors relying on cultural and creative inputs: architecture, archives and libraries, artistic crafts, audio-visual (including film, television, video games and multimedia), cultural heritage, design, creativity-driven high-end industries and fashion, festivals, music, performing arts, books and publishing, radio and visual arts.

The peculiarity of Cultural and Creative Industries is that they build a bridge between arts, culture, business and technology. Additionally, CCIs are characterised for providing jobs that can hardly be offshored, as they are related to specific cultural and historical skills, territorially and traditionally bound and determined.

Technology and infrastructure rely on the content provided by creators; therefore, it is necessary to establish a legal framework for the value chain in the digital age that takes into account the specificities of the sector and leads to an improvement in the remuneration of authors and creators. Commission should create legal solutions which will suit creators, right holders and consumers alike in order to make clear that liability exemptions can only apply to genuinely neutral and passive online service providers and not to services that play an active role in distributing, promoting and monetising content at the expense of creators.

Piracy and counterfeiting remain a serious concern for CCIs and citizens alike; these illicit activities can cause safety and health concerns that need to be addressed. It is recommended to consider the introduction of tougher sanctions and the promotion of a system of guarantees on traceability as a deterrent for counterfeiters as well as increasing the damages and compensation awarded to right holders.

Motion (de) suggested the promotion of “intellectual property assets protocols” facilitating the valuation of intellectual property rights (IPRs) and invited the Commission and the Member States to adopt the necessary mechanisms in order to increase the bankability of IPRs and the recognition of their full value as assets.

The protection of copyright is an element vital to the very survival of the creative industry. Despite the fact that more creative content is being consumed today than ever before, on services such as user-uploaded content platforms and content aggregation services, the creative sectors have not seen a comparable increase in revenues from this increase in consumption.

Although in fact, never as in recent years, creative content have been consumed so much (think of the record levels reached by the music), such an explosion in consumption achieved through platforms and aggregation services content uploaded by users, rights holders, artists and producers, have not benefited equally and in proportion of revenues related to this consumption. This has generated a so-called “value gap”, whereas platform services retain the value of cultural and creative works, which is diverted from creators. The transfer of value has created an inefficient and unfair market, and threatens the long-term health of the EU’s cultural and creative sectors and the success of the Digital Single Market.

The Committee on Legal Affairs also underlined (de) that cultural and creative industries (CCIs) operate in a constantly evolving environment dominated by the development and use of digital Information Communication Technology on a global scale; business models are challenged by continuous digital innovation and the economic value of content is being displaced towards the end of the value chain thereby upsetting the system through which the creative community draws value from content, while facing losses resulting also from piracy.

The committee also called on the Commission, to effectively address the circulation of illegal digital content and to examine the different options, focusing on copyright related contracts, for improving fair remuneration of creators thereby rewarding creativity and innovation while promoting transparency in the copyright value chain in the digital environment, and safeguarding national cultural and linguistic specificities and stimulating economic activity.