The issue of copyrights has long been one of the key components in building a truly European Digital Single Market. The European Committee of the Regions adopted on 8 February its suggestions for the revision of copyright rules, with the aim of promoting a fair, efficient and competitive European copyright-based economy. The opinion is drafted by Mauro D’Attis, Member of the Brindisi Municipal Council (IT/EPP).

The opinion combines two proposals by the European Commission on copyright rules – stressing better choice and access to content online and across borders, improving copyright rules on research, education and inclusion of disabled as well as a fairer and sustainable marketplace for creators and press. It welcomes the proposed measures concerning the internal market for e-communications designed to speed up dynamic and sustainable growth in all economic sectors and to create jobs, as well as to ensure that copyright rules are modernised in light of the digital revolution and changes in consumer behaviour.

The rapporteur Mr D’Attis said: “I wish to stress the importance of transparency in what has been a fragmented market until now, often leading to the detriment of the creator as well as the customer. I also welcome the European Commission’s call for the publishers’ recognition as right holders. However, I would have liked to have seen the local and regional aspect recognised in the proposals as it is often the collaboration and support at the grass roots level that enables these works.”

Pointing out that all available technological developments should be used for the benefit of rightholders, the opinion welcomes the development of measures to improve the position of rightholders to negotiate on the exploitation of their content, particularly as regards uses by online services which give access to user-uploaded content and which sometimes do not provide fair remuneration for this exploitation. However, the Committee stresses that regional and local actors, start-ups and small businesses are often in a weaker position than large rightholders and must not be unduly restricted.

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