Michel Barnier began his speech by saying:
|© European Commission|
He went on to echo the Neelie Kroes by asking the question: is copyright fit for the digital age?Michel Barnier generously said that he did not blame copyright for everything that does not work in the internet and more sensibly that he does not deny that rules need to be modernised and adapted where the evidence is there.
Barnier listed the four main things that he seeks to achieve, each of which he elaborates on further in his speech. In at nutshell what he wants is:a copyright framework that facilitates the access of all Europeans to their heritage. He wants to make make dissemination of digital works currently out of distribution easier by a combination of limiting rights (where justified) and easier licensing, notably by way of collective management. He also refers to the Orphan Works Directive and to the Recommendation made to Member States "inviting them to step up their efforts for the digitisation of cultural material".
a copyright framework that passes the "Single Market test", making more content available to more citizens, cross-border. Michel Barnier argues that the territoriality of copyright, and the complexities of licensing, should not constitute a barrier. He says that an important step was taken in July when the Directive on the collective management of rights was proposed in relation to licensing of music rights by collecting societies. He went on to say that: " it is unacceptable that Europeans are confronted online with the borders we have been dismantling in the physical world for 50 years. As Single Market Commissioner, I cannot accept this." Therefore we can expect to see full implementation of Single Market instruments such as the Services Directive as well as possible new legislation.
a copyright framework that provides the right incentives for those that create and invest in content and that ensures the right balance with other policy objectives such as education, research or innovation. In this respect Michel Barnier considers whether more harmonisation is needed to update the existing limitations and to ensure that they apply across borders; however copyright should not be weakened to enable the development of new businesses free of cost. It is important, he says, the strike the right balance between rights and limitations whilst preserving the incentive to create.
a copyright framework that continues to provide incentives but which must include meaningful enforcement. Now more than ever Michel Barnier argues that it is essential that business models based on infringement of intellectual property rights are eliminated business models as this is how new jobs (in legitimate companies) will be created.