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 EPC Members' Newsletter: April 2002

 

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NEWSLETTER CONTENTS
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DIARY DATES

KEY ISSUES FOR APRIL 2002

WHAT'S NEW?

1. Electronic Commerce
1.1Data privacy: how standardization can help
1.2 Commission adopts proposal to combat Cybercrime

2. Internet Regulation (content)
2.1 eLearning Industry group launched
3. Copyright
3.1 Conference in Santiago
3.2 Speech on last ten years of EU Copyright Law
3.3 WIPO meeting on protection of AV Performances
4. Advertising
4.1 Interservice consultation extended for new Communication on Consumer Protection
4.2 Tobacco Advertising hearing in the Legal Affairs Committee
4.3 Byrne comments on lobbying tactics of the tobacco lobby
4.4 EP adopts opinion on Protection of Minors
5. Audiovisual and General Media Policy
5.1 Italy: Results of the public consultation on the review of the TVWF Directive
5.2 Parliament votes for Audiovisual Self-regulation
5.3 Digital switchover in Broadcasting Conference
6. General
6.1 EPC consultation on talks with European Paper Organization
6.2 Company law: expert group launches online consultation on possible reforms
6.3 Australians lead the world in newspaper recycling
6.4 Green paper on Alternative Dispute resolution in Civil and Commercial matters
6.5 Response to Communication on Contract Law
6.6 Danish Presidency (July-December 2002) programme published

UPCOMING EVENTS


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DIARY DATES
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May
07 May: TWF meeting with WFA/ACT
09 May: Europe Day ­ EU institutions closed
16-17 May: Fourth Annual TV Meets the Web Seminar
17 May: Meeting of Fair Trade Alliance
23-24 May: EPC/ACT European Media RoundTable on Public Service Broadcasting, Madrid
27-29 May: World Association of Newspapers conference in Brugges and Brussels
29 May: Meeting of ALERT, tobacco lobbyists

June
06-07 June: European Business Summit. European Services Forum, Brussels
16-18 June: EU Copyright Conference, Santiago, Spain

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KEY ISSUES FOR APRIL 2002
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Cookies

The European Parliament's Committee responsible for the second reading report on data protection met and adopted the final report on 18 April. Following extensive lobbying by the European Publishers Council in cooperation with other pan-European trade associations the Committee adopted an amendment which broadly fits in with the positions we had been putting forward. The report and amendments will now have to be voted through by the Plenary session of the European Parliament the week of 13 May, before going back to Council. The Council will then issue its position on the EP's second reading amendments. As there appears to be a general feeling that this proposal should be adopted as quickly as possible, it is likely that Council will formally debate the EP amendments in June. The Commission however, in a response to the EPC and other organisations is rejecting the amendment on the grounds that users must be given information "in advance" in order to comply with the basic data protection principles. Their position carefully ignores the point that we and others have been making that the majority of cookies do not process "personal" data but only anonymous data.

The key concern for industry had been the Council and Commission's insistence that information about the use of cookies had to be given in advance. This terminology has now been replaced in the EP amendments with compromise language stipulating that the consumer must have access to clear and comprehensive information about the use of cookies. The Committee, while underlining that users should have the right to refuse having a cookies or similar equipment placed on the terminal they are using, highlighted the fact that this is very important in terms of situations where other users could have access to the terminal equipment and access privacy sensitive data (i.e. in internet cafes). The Council of Ministers working group has already started looking at the possibilities for a compromise and we believe the Spanish are attempting to find wording which meets the industry¹s concerns.

Market Abuse

The EPC has continued to be extremely active in the last month on the Market Abuse Directive and great gains have been made. A meeting took place in mid-April with Mr David Wright of the Commission who assured the media groups present that the Commission would in fact support the Parliament¹s amendments on the definition of market manipulation and the dissemination of information which included several defences for journalists. On Article 6.4. which deals with the need for "fair presentation of information" and disclosure of any conflicts of interest, the Commission confirmed that this article would apply to journalists as well as professional analysts. They acknowledged our concerns and invited new suggested wording but it would seem that the Commission is not prepared to push our case as they feel the recital allows member states to delegate the management of disclosure to self-regulation.

However it was later revealed that the Council were not planning to include the EP amendments and instead preferred to stick with their original text. EPC again wrote to all the Permanent Representations in Brussels urging them to find an acceptable text, which ensured that innocent mistakes by journalists, and reporting of rumours would not be caught by the rules.

The latest news is that a text based on the Spanish Presidency compromise has been adopted which although not ideal (a more general clause like the one from the Parliament, or a full exemption would be preferable), does recognise the special nature of the media whilst not giving journalists any special treatment from others in cases of unlawful market manipulation. As such it represents a fair compromise between the proposals from the Parliament, from the industry and the various positions of the Member States. Concerns still remain regarding the nature of comitology and the possibility of the Commission getting into discussion of the nature of the actual self-regulatory rules for the media. One possibility under consideration by the EPC and other media groups is to ask the Parliament to put in a recital at second reading which somehow excludes the codes, rules etc governing the press from the comitology procedures.

Once the Council has confirmed its text the Directive ­ due 07 May, it will return to the Parliament for a second reading.

Sales Promotion

The Parliament has been discussing the Regulation on Sales Promotion amid much controversy. The draft Regulation is designed to open up the internal market to sales promotion as many techniques are currently banned in many member States. The Commission fears that such a patchwork of rules which inhibit the development of the internal market particularly online. The Rapporteur on the lead committee, Legal Affairs is in favour of the draft Regulation although he has suggested some modifications. However the Environment committee, which is giving an opinion to the lead Rapporteur, voted to request that the Commission withdraw the proposal in favour of awaiting the equally controversial directive on a duty to trade fairly, due later in the year. As the Commission quite rightly refused they amended the proposal to remove most of its main elements on Sales Below Cost and also the reference to Mutual Recognition, which the MEPs claim would lead to a race to the "bottom of the consumer protection ladder".

The concerns expressed by members of the EPC on the requirements to give detailed and specific information about the odds on wining competitions and prize draws, as well as giving the value of any prize on offer have been taken up by several MEPs as well as by other industry bodies. EPC is also tracking the amendments concerning scratch cards to ensure that nothing is passed which would exclude their use by non-licensed lottery operators.

More information and reports of all committee meetings are available on request.

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WHAT'S NEW?
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1. Electronic commerce

1.1 Data Privacy: how standardization can help
A study on the progress of data privacy protection efforts and the potential of EU standardization work to help achieve the aims of Data Protection Directive 94/46/EC has just been published by DG Enterprise. This study, part of the Initiative for Privacy Standardization in Europe (IPSE), was commissioned from the European Standards Bodies CEN, CENELEC, and ETSI in September 2000, to explore the scope for developing and codifying voluntarily agreed business practices that meet the Directive's legal requirements. Its key conclusion is that there is scope for specific data privacy standardization initiatives, mainly in the areas of data protection auditing practices and privacy standards education and promotion. To allow business sufficient flexibility in meeting the Directive's requirements, the report does not suggest developing management standards for privacy and data protection. The full report can be found at:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/ict/index.htm

1.2 Commission adopts proposal to combat Cybercrime
The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a Council Framework Decision on "Attacks against information systems". It addresses the new most significant forms of criminal activity against information systems, such as hacking, viruses and denial of service attacks. This Framework Decision seeks to approximate criminal law across the EU to ensure that Europe's law enforcement and judicial authorities can take action against this new form of crime. It also aims to encourage and promote information security. The proposed Framework Decision also takes into account other international activities such as the work of the G8 and the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime. Further Information:
http://europa.eu.int/information_society/topics/telecoms/internet/crime/index_en.htm

2. Internet regulation (content)

2.1 eLearning Industry group launched
The Commission launched the eLearning Industry Group this week. The Group will assist the Commission and MS Governments in furthering the objectives of the Commission's eLearning Action Plan. The 15 founding members of the e-learning Industry Group are: 3Com, Accenture, Apple, BT, Cisco, Digitalbrain, IBM, Intel, Line Communications, NIIT, Nokia, Online Courseware Factory, Sanoma WSOY, Sun Microsystems and Vivendi Universal Publishing. For further information see:
http://europa.eu.int/rapid/start/cgi/guesten.ksh?p_action.getfile=gf&doc;=IP/02/623|0|RAPID≶=EN&type;=PDF

3. Copyright

3.1 Conference in Santiago
DG Internal Market are organising a conference entitled "European Copyright Revisited" in Santiago de Compostela 16-18 June 2002. This conference, at which the EPC will be represented, will perform a stocktaking exercise on the functioning of all seven Copyright Directives in the European and Global context (see also next item). Emphasis will be put on practical experience of the acquis and there will be a round table of judges to open the conference. Other panels will cover Digital Rights Management, Country of Origin vs. Territoriality and expectations from international organizations. If you wish to attend please contact Barbara Norcross in DG Internal Market on 00 32 2 295.53.23.

3.2 Speech on last ten years of EU Copyright Law
Jorg Reinbothe the head of unit E3 in DG Markt recently gave a speech at the Fordham Conference entitled "A Review of the Last Ten Years and A Look at What Lies Ahead: Copyright and Related Rights in the European Union". In this he assesses the impact of the seven directives. He also covers the ongoing work of the Commission in the area of Digital Rights Management and Collective Management of Rights. For more information visit:
http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/en/intprop/news/reinbothe04-04-02.htm

3.3 WIPO meeting on protection of AV Performances
At the assembly of the Member States of the WIPO from 23 September to 01 October 2023 the delegates will participate in a diplomatic conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances. The minutes from the last meeting in Geneva last year are available on request.

4. Advertising

4.1 Interservice consultation extended for new Communication on Consumer Protection
The draft follow up communication to the Green Paper on Consumer Protection (Duty to Trade Fairly) has been prolonged in interservice consultation following complaints about lack of time. Industry has been shocked by the new draft which was expected to be presented at the Internal Market Council on 21 May 2023 despite the fact that the Parliament has only just started to discuss the Green Paper. The new communication makes the case strongly for a harmonising directive and claims that there is overwhelming support for such an approach. EPC has written to the President of the European Parliament, Pat Cox, asking him to intervene and call upon the Commission to wait until the Parliament has given its opinion. In his reply he stated that he does not perceive a problem as the Parliament will have commented before a legislative proposal is produced even if not before the Communication is announced.
The delay in the Parliament is due to a dispute between the two committees for competence over the dossier. It was finally decided that there would be joint lead committees split between ENVI and Legal Affairs. The work between the Committees has been divided up so that the Legal Affairs committee will deal with the legal aspects, such as enforcement and the different regulatory frameworks that exist within the Green Paper. The ENVI committee will predominately deal with the information and educational aspects of it. A copy of the draft communication is available on request. The Commission has also published on the SANCO website the responses from Member States. For more information visit:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/consumers/policy/developments/fair_comm_pract/responses/responses_en.html

4.2 Tobacco Advertising hearing in the Legal Affairs Committee
On 15 April 2023 a hearing on the Tobacco Advertising Directive took place in the European Parliament¹s Legal Affairs Committee. Those invited to talk included health professionals, the tobacco industry, a publisher and legal experts. Rolf Wickmann from Gruner & Jahr stated that the directive would have little impact on the circulation of the press as only a few of the biggest titles sell cross-border and then in extremely small amounts. He argued that a ban would hit revenues of smaller publishers and seriously reduce consumer choice. Max Moseley, President of the FIA, the International Federation of Automobiles, supported the prior and the current version of the directive, but asked for a major amendment to be included in the draft: replace 01 July 2023 by end of 2006. A full report of the discussion is available on request.

4.3 Byrne comments on lobbying tactics of the tobacco lobby
David Byrne the Commissioner for SANCO commented on an article published in The Lancet this month on "Tobacco industry strategies for influencing European Community tobacco advertising legislation." In his statement, Mr Byrne said, "this research demonstrates lobbying tactics which I and others like the WHO are faced with. I am convinced that those efforts continue up to today. However, despite this we have an impeccable track record on adopting strict and effective tobacco control legislation. The health of our citizens is our prime goal. I take pride in the fact that the tobacco industry has not managed to make us change course". Mr Byrne pointed out that the article also refers to a World Bank report on the effects of tobacco advertising which concluded that legislation ending advertising would reduce consumption - provided that it is comprehensive, covering all media and uses of brand names and logos. It is negotiating a total advertising ban in its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The Lancet's article can be found at: http://www.thelancet.com
.

4.4 EP adopts opinion on Protection of Minors
On 11 April 2002, the EP plenary adopted the EP Resolution by Christopher Beazley (EPP, UK) on the EC evaluation report on the 1998 Council recommendation on the protection of minors and human dignity by 460 votes in favour and 3 abstentions. The Resolution states that children¹s welfare is essentially the responsibility of their legal guardians, but reminds legislators, as well as suppliers and producers of audio-visual content that they are also involved. It supports industry self-regulation, and expresses concern about recent moves to block access to certain websites. It calls on MS to set up hotlines to handle complaints about illegal or harmful content, and urges the EC to promote the creation of affordable and user-friendly content filter systems. A copy of the adopted text is available on request.

5. Audiovisual & General Media Policy

5.1 Italy: Results of the public consultation on the review of the TVWF Directive
The Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCOM), the Italian regulatory authority for communication, has just published a summary of a public consultation on the review of the Directive "Television without Frontiers". This consultation dealt with five key topics of the review, i.e. the scope of the text, the list of events of major importance, new advertising techniques, production quotas and the protection of minors. The consultation was launched on 15 December 2023 and finalized at the end of January 2002. The results have been presented on 14 March 2002 during a seminar in Naples attended by the main market players, institutions and academics. For more information, see the web-site of the AGCOM at http://www.agcom.it.

5.2 Parliament votes for Audiovisual Self-regulation
MEPs voted 460 to 0 with 3 abstentions in favour of a resolution setting out Parliament's views in response to the Commission's evaluation report on the application of the 1998 Council recommendation on the protection of minors and human dignity. In its resolution Parliament emphasises that children's welfare is primarily the responsibility of their legal guardians, though this does not absolve suppliers and distributors of audiovisual content, nor drafters of legislation, from their responsibilities. In general, MEPs favour self-regulation by the industry and are concerned at recent moves to block access to certain websites. They argue that such drastic measures do not solve the problem of sites outside the EU nor that of sites which are legal for adults but could be harmful to children or young people. An action plan to promote safer use of the internet was adopted in 1999 as a follow-up to the Council recommendation. With reference to this plan, Parliament calls on the Member States to set up hotlines to handle complaints about illegal or harmful internet content. In addition, MEPs want reliable filter and rating systems for digital broadcasting, and the Commission is urged to promote the creation of user-friendly content filter systems at affordable prices so as to support parental control.

5.3 Digital Switchover in Broadcasting Conference
On 09 April 2023 the Commission organized a conference to present the results of a study on digital switchover in broadcasting. The study covers issues such as how far digital switchover can go if driven by market forces alone and the consequences of the introduction of digital terrestrial broadcasting. Lastly the study examines the whole range of policy measures that can be taken in order to encourage digital switchover. The study concludes that there are general interest objectives at stake and that policy intervention can be justified. A copy of the study is available on request.

6. General

6.1 Talks with European Paper Organization
EPC is currently consulting members for their opinions on discussing a potential joint position paper at European level signed by the paper and publishing organisations. The German publishers and their trade associations, together with the ink and paper associations produced neutral, joint position on the environment last year. Its purpose is to provide a public relations instrument aimed at customers, Environmental NGOs and, where necessary, politicians and officials, covering the key political issues of the day, showing how the industries are working together to tackle these. One of the aims is to prevent legislation in this field. Please contact EPC for more information.

6.2 Australians lead the world in newspaper recycling
A study by the Publishers National Environment Bureau has shown that although in 1989, 72 per cent of newsprint in Australia ended up in council rubbish dumps, the country had reversed that trend, with Australians now recycling 72.4 per cent of newspapers. Victoria has the best recyclers, with 75.4 per cent of all newsprint being recycled. Half a million tonnes of newspapers were recycled in Australia in 2001, with 96,000 tonnes going back into Australian newsprint and 133,000 tonnes exported for newsprint, packaging and cardboard.

6.3 Company law: expert group launches online consultation on possible reforms
The High Level Group of Company Law Experts set up by the European Commission has launched consultations on possible reforms to company law in Europe. The issues covered include both general themes and the following seven specific issues: corporate governance; shareholder information, communication and decision-making; alternatives to capital formation and maintenance rules; the functioning of groups of companies; corporate restructuring and mobility; a European Private Company; and co-operatives and other forms of enterprise. The deadline for comments is 21st June 2002. Responses to the consultation will be taken into account in the Group's final report later this year. This report is due to suggest specific priorities and measures for reforming company law. Copies of the consultation paper are available at:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/en/company/company/modern/index.htm

6.4 Green Paper on Alternative Dispute resolution in Civil and Commercial matters
The Commission published on 19 April a Green Paper on ADR concerning civil and commercial matters. The Green Paper is a follow up to the Commission's work on the improvement of Access to Justice. This Green Paper launches a wide consultation on this subject, comments can be sent until 15th October 2002. See:
http://www.europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/com/gpr/2002/com2002_0196en01.pdf

6.5 Response to Communication on Contract Law
The Commission has produced a synthesis of all contributions received on its Communication on European contract law. The Commission has received more than 160 comments from governments and all sections of society, including businesses, legal practitioners, academics and consumer organisations. The European Parliament and the Council have adopted reports, which set an agenda for further action in a number of areas. Mr David Byrne, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, said that "the reaction to the Communication has shown that the debate on the future work in the area of European contract law is now also taking place outside the academic world. We now have a clearer picture of the problems of cross-border contracts and how to tackle them. European Parliament and Council agree that something needs to be done where contract law problems remain. They have invited the Commission to submit its recommendations, if necessary, in the form of a Green or White Paper by the end of 2002 and to suggest an action plan." The Commission will come forward with a follow-up of its Communication before the end of this year. A pdf copy of the Commission's analytical document can be found on the Europa website at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/consumers/policy/developments/contract_law/comments/summaries/sum_en.pdf

6.6 Danish Presidency (July-December 2002) programme published
The Danish government has produced a list of their goals for their presidency in the second half of 2002. On Consumer policy they are committed to incorporation of consideration for the consumer when new policies and activities are being formulated - not least in connection with the internal market. They also aim to improve of cross-border access to making complaints, i.e. though complaints and appeals boards and the establishment of common rules for good marketing practices. The objective is to create a higher degree of due process for both enterprises and consumers as well as more equal conditions for competition. See http://www.um.dk/english/presidency/prec.asp

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UPCOMING EVENTS
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Protection and access to innovation on the net: an environment for technological progress. Patents, trademarks, designs 06-07 May 2002
This Seminar tries to approach two aspects: protection and access to innovation through the Net and the Industrial Property special importance on it. Thus, the conference "Protection of Innovation in the digital economy" will establish the general frame of development of the communications. The effort of the Administrations to use agile supports that would satisfy the demand of the companies and, simultaneously, manage to protect its innovations will be developed in the communication "Paperless administrative procedure: Special reference to industrial property". The Industrial Property answer to the challenges that presents the acceleration of the innovating process will be analyzed in the lectures "Proposal of Directive to protect inventions implemented in computers", "Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights in a digital environment: Unfair competition" as well as in the different parallel sessions. The access to innovation, through Industrial Property, using new channels will be treated in the topics: "Services of industrial property in the net", "Information and training of industrial property in Internet" and the different round tables in which outstanding members of the Industry will take part. http://www.oepm.es/internet/sem6mayo/ing/index.htm

Conference "e-Europe: SMEs ­ Go Digital" Brussels 16 May 2023
The objectives of the conference are to highlight the results and experiences gained during the first year of the Go Digital Initiative and to raise awareness on how European SMEs can become more competitive by making use of information technology. In view of the forthcoming eEurope 2005 Action Plan, this conference provides an excellent opportunity to discuss potential barriers for the take-up of e-business by SMEs and to identify future priorities for helping SMEs to go digital. Further information can be found at: Conference programme Online registration Go Digital website

EPC/ACT European Media Roundtable, Madrid 23-24 May, 2002

European Copyright Revisited, Santiago de Compostela 16-18 June 2002

Accumulation and enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, Maastricht 19-20 June 2002
This seminar will be focused on the most recent legal and policy considerations shaping the global environment of innovation and creativity. Speakers from the bar and academia will cover a number of issues related to the TRIPS regime and the enforcement of patent, trade mark, design and copyrights, as well as the accumulation of Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights and their interface with contract and technical protection mechanisms. Furthermore problems of access and the role of competition law in software, database and diagnostic tool markets will feature strongly on the agenda. Convenor: A. Kamperman Sanders, (Universiteit Maastricht). Lecturers: Hugh Hansen (Fordham University); John Adams (University of Sheffield); Graeme Dinwoodie (Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology); C. Heath (Max Planck Institute Munich); M. Blakeney, (University of London) and others. Detailed information about this seminar available at http://www.amsu.edu/courses/law/law42002.htm

 
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