EU to enable cross-border portability of content, says Ansip

Andrus Ansip

Andrus Ansip

The EU will unveil plans to overahaul copyright rules and facilitate “cross-border portability of online content” according to digital single market commissioner Andrus Ansip.

Delivering a speech yesterday at the University of Strasbourg, Ansip said, “Put simply, this means allowing people who subscribe to online content services in one EU country – for books, music, games, films, drama, sport – to use those services when they are travelling in another country.”

He said there was a “mess of exceptions to the rules that apply across the EU’s 28 countries” and that the proposals to be unveiled would be a first step to “modernise Europe’s outdated rules on copyright”.

Ansip said that the EC wanted to “widen people’s access to cultural content online” and create a situation where there was “more culture circulating across Europe”.

Ansip said that the EC will also consider a review of the current Cable and Satellite Directive and how it can be extended to online TV and radio programmes.

Ansip said that enabling cross-border access to content would eliminate a major incentive to view pirated content.

Piracy is also a drain on Europe’s s wider economy. It just means everybody loses out. And the creators are first in line. Too many people are tempted into illegal downloads, sometimes because there is no access,” he said.

“According to a recent survey, 22% of Europeans think it is acceptable to download or access copyright-protected content illegally when there is no legal alternative in their country.  This clearly shows how important it is to give people a legal alternative, by improving cross-border access. In parallel, we plan to tackle piracy by using a ‘follow the money’ process with the industry, for instance working with the big brands and advertising professionals. Our aim is to deprive commercial-scale infringers of their revenue flows.”

Ansip said the Commission was “quite inspired by the French CNC model for finding legal offers of movies” and that it plans to “develop a European aggregator of online and national search tools so that people can easily find works legally available to them.”

He said the EU had earmarked €1.46 billion up to 2020 to support the culture and audio-visual sectors.

“We will use this funding to create catalogues of European films. We want to develop hubs to help the licensing of works not yet available in a given EU country,” he said.