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Surfer heaven is on the way - 10/01/2008

Gum-chewing senior citizen in park with laptop and headphones

New EU strategy promises easier, faster and wider internet and mobile phone access to music, films and games.

Multimedia content is big business – revenue from online content is set to more than quadruple (from €1.8bn in 2005 to €8.3bn in 2010). If Europe really wants to harness the potential of the online content industry, content creators need to be paid fairly, there needs to be more certainty and consumers should have more choice. The EU has adopted a new strategy to address these issues.

“We have to make a choice in Europe”, says information society and media commissioner Viviane Reding, “do we want to have a strong film, music and games industry?” With the answer a firm ‘yes’, the EU is concentrating on four areas of action:

  • availability of creative content – encouraging distributors to put more online.
  • multi-territory copyright licences – improving existing licensing and promoting the commercial benefits of multi-territory licences for rights holders.
  • digital rights management systems – increasing transparency so that consumers are properly informed of any usage restrictions placed on downloaded content.
  • legal offers and piracy – cracking down on unauthorised up- and downloading of copyrighted content, piracy and unauthorised file-sharing.

A proposal should be ready by mid-2008, suggesting how to create a single market for online content without damaging intellectual property rights. A public consultation continues until 29 February – with all stakeholders encouraged to take an active part in the debate

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