On 6th May the European Commission will announce its strategy for the Digital Single Market.
There has already been one leak and announcements that the leak is outdated. Much of the discussion had initially been about the modernisation of copyright having a high-profile position in the paper but as the publication date gets closer it seems that copyright is now just one issue among the many that make up the strategy for the years to come. The wide-reaching copyright/authors’ rights reform seems to have been scaled back and replaced with more targeted work. The statements on geoblocking seem to have calmed with Vice-President Ansip claiming to have heard the messages from across the audiovisual sector. The issue now seems to be with “unjustified” geoblocking (although quite what qualifies as “unjustified” is not yet clear) and supporting portability of paid-for services. What has been re-assuring to hear is Vice-President Ansip's recent statements in the European Parliament claiming that fair remuneration is his aim. If the Commission is going to look at copyright in the coming years then it has to look at the situation of contracts and remuneration of authors. As SAA outlined in its white paper, the current situation for screenwriters and directors is particularly bad and especially for exploitation of works outside of home markets. Europe’s creators are the foundations of the creative works that are driving the development of the digital economy. The Digital Single Market can help European works travel better and the remuneration flow back to Europe’s creators. That starts with the Commission recognising in its strategy paper that the remuneration of creators is an issue that needs to be dealt with urgently. JT