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Ehler’s and Morgano’s CCI report: framework conditions and fostering innovation

Report calls the Commission to introduce an umbrella scheme that bridges the gap between R&D, European creative content production and technological innovation in the media field and beyond; such an umbrella scheme would foster the production of creative and competitive EU services, and commercial and employment opportunities, and enhance access to market for SMEs and start-ups, while nourishing a pluralistic and diverse European landscape built on strong synergies between CCIs and technological innovation, thereby strengthening the European Digital Single Market.

Digital technology and infrastructure rely on the content provided by creators. Direct access to global audiences has led to new forms of artistic and creative content. The report calls, therefore, on the Commission, balancing the needs of all relevant actors, to establish an appropriate legal framework, including copyright, for the value chain in the digital age, which takes into account the specificities of the sector, enables further innovation, promotes transparent contractual relationships and leads to the establishment of the right to fair remuneration and legal protection for authors, creators and all parties involved in the creative process and their works, thus ensuring a thriving digital economy.

The protection of copyright and related rights is at the core of the CCI’s revenue. The Commission is addressed, in view of the ongoing copyright reform, to create balanced legal solutions that are adapted to the digital age, including in partnership with industry and consumer groups, which will support and meet the interests of SMEs, very small enterprises and micro-enterprises, creators, right holders, right users, freelancers and consumers alike in order to make it clear that liability exemptions can only apply to genuinely neutral and passive online service providers, as defined by the E-Commerce Directive and the case law of the CJEU, and not to services that play an active role in distributing, promoting and monetising content at the expense of creators. Given the borderless nature of the digital environment there is a need to ensure coherence between regulators, law enforcement agencies and the judicial system, within the EU.

Research into right holders and non-transparent rules on copyright represents administrative burdens entailing high costs and considerable effort, especially for SMEs working on a cross-border basis. It is recommended, therefore, that a common pan-European database be established, with all available information on right holders for each sector in order to facilitate rights clearance.

Directive 2014/26/EU has led to improvements in the rights clearance system of musical works in the online environment; the Commission is asked also to improve good governance, efficiency, transparency and accountability of collective rights management organisations in other sectors.

Piracy and counterfeiting remain a serious concern for CCIs and citizens alike. These illicit activities cause serious income and job losses, and can result in safety and health concerns that need to be addressed. The report welcomes the industry’s involvement in finding solutions to tackle piracy and counterfeit and underlines the need to reinforce the fight against these illegal activities.

There is the need to monitor and strengthen the application of existing enforcement rules across the EU. It should be considered the introduction of tougher sanctions and the promotion of a system of guarantees on traceability as a deterrent for counterfeiters – particularly large-scale commercial ones – as well as increasing the damages and compensation awarded to right holders. The EU and the Member States are addressed to launch awareness-raising campaigns against piracy and counterfeiting, and to identify trends and target them more effectively, while encouraging right holders and service providers to ensure that there are easy routes to accessing legal content in order to discourage piracy.

The report calls (de) on the commission to propose effective measures to fight online piracy, in particular to ensure that online services which host content apply effective means in order to remove unlicensed content from their services and to take action to prevent this content, once removed, from reappearing.