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 EPC Members' Newsletter: Jun 2002

 

EPC MEMBERS’ JUNE NEWSLETTER 111
“European Copyright Revisited” conference
Possible Audiovisual Content Legislation
Sales Promotion
WHAT’S NEW
Electronic Commerce
1.1 Commission ebusiness consultation
1.2 VAT number validation service
1.3 European Multimedia Forum conference
Internet Regulation
2.1 Results of the Telecoms Council
2.2 European database Directive
2.3 Internet libel actions
2.4 e-Education
Copyright
3.1 Rightsholders coalition
3.2 Data privacy consultation
Advertising
4.1 Health claims on food
4.2 Spanish ban on alcohol advertising
4.3 Tobacco advertising
Audiovisual & General Media Policy
5.1 New forms of advertising study
5.2 Multi-media conference
5.3 Sports broadcasting rights
5.4 Cultural objects study
5.5 EPC/ACT workshop
5.6 Separation of accounts Directive proceedings
General
6.1 Takeover Directive
6.2 Parliamentary question on VAT
6.3 Governance
6.4 Merger Review

UPCOMING EVENTS 12

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
1st July, Start of the Danish Presidency of the EU
1st July, 5th CEN/ISSS DRM Meeting, Brussels
9th July, Rome2Group meeting, European Parliament, Brussles
10th July, 16th ESF Policy Committee Meeting, Brussels
10th July, E-PING meeting, Brussels


KEY ISSUES OF THE MONTH
“European Copyright Revisited” conference
Two hundred and fifty delegates from industry, national governments, the Commission, international organisations and individual rightsholders met in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, this month to discuss the issue of copyright in Europe.

Items discussed were:
Harmonisation of moral rights
Individual rightsholders, supported by academics attending the conference were keen for harmonisation because they view moral rights as economic rights. They cited pan-European differences in treatment of this issue as a reason for the Commission to do this. When asked, the Commission was unwilling to confirm whether or not it could establish a case for harmonisation. EPC’s view is that the Commission may seek to tie harmonization of moral rights into initiatives on rights management or contracts.

Harmonisation of copyright contracts
This action to base harmonisation on the new German copyright laws (see EPC News May edition) was well-received by academics and rightsholders alike. The EPC questioned the Commission’s competence in this area.

Enforcement Directive
There was a general consensus in favour of an Enforcement Directive. The Commission is now working on a text. EPC is a signatory to a letter from the Rightsholders Coalition, which lists the measures needed to make this Directive as effective as possible. (See article in the copyright section of this newsletter).

Rights Management
The Commission confirmed that it was working on a Communication which will examine the full range of rights management and the bodies which handle these collectively. This might lead to a Directive. The general consensus from delegates was that there is a need for greater transparency and efficiency in this area. Separate work is ongoing at ISO and CEN levels in terms of standards for digital rights management.

Review of existing Directives
In addition to enforcement and rights management mentioned above, the Commission is working on Communications in the following areas:
Legal Protection of Databases; review of the Cable and Satellite Directive; the definition of “authorship” of cinematographic works; Rental and Lending Rights Directive

Implementation of the Copyright in the Information Society Directive
The Commission made it clear that there should be no discussion of this directive as implementation was not due until the end of the year. Nevertheless, many expressed views – mainly of frustration over the long list of exceptions in article 5 which they felt would lead to a distinct lack of real harmonisation. There were several suggestions in favour of a harmonisation of the “fair use” exception which some felt would obviate the need for many of the other exceptions.

The EPC legal advisor Laurie Kaye attended the conference with Angela Mills and has produced a full report which is available on request. Also for the Commission conclusions on the conference please contact EPC.

The EPC Copyright working group will be convened in the Autumn to address the rising number of copyright issues of importance to publishers. Please contact Angela if you’d like to attend.


Possible Audiovisual Content Legislation
Viviane Reding, the Commissioner for education and culture announced the Commission’s work programme for 2002/3 when she gave a speech at the Brussels meeting of the International Television Magazine Association (ITMA).

After outlining the Television Without Frontiers Directive, the Commissioner described the work programme. The Commission will review the three studies undertaken this year into new forms of advertising, promotion of European Content and new technology. It will also report on the implementation of the Directive. Mme Reding’s opinion, which is shared by most of the Council, is that the potential effect of the Directive has not yet been fully exploited, as the deadline for implementation was only three years ago.

Mme Reding’s view of the future is that it will probably be necessary to develop a more cross-media approach to TVWF, which goes beyond the traditional concept of TV. The Commission will be reviewing whether current rules on new forms of advertising are flexible enough and will examine the possibility of an audiovisual content package. There may also be a re-examination of the Cable and Satellite Directive, the eCommerce Directive and the Media Plus programme.

Using the results of its investigation, the Commission will be in a position to assess whether a more consistent EU policy towards content regulation will be necessary in the future.

EPC will continue to follow the progress of the Commission’s work closely.


Sales Promotion
EPC sent a briefing to MEPs this month on the proposal for a Sales Promotion Regulation. All members of the Legal Affairs Committee, the lead committee on this subject, received the briefing in which the EPC outlined its opinion on the following points:

The role of Sales Promotion for the printed press
The briefing outlined the various methods the printed press uses for promotion. It stressed that these methods (free gifts, loyalty schemes) are popular with readers and promote wide distribution. EPC urged MEPs to take a simple, neutral approach to regulation and allow producers of printed press to promote their product within competition policy guidelines.
Legal basis
The briefing confirmed EPC’s support for a Regulation rather than a Directive in this area. The EPC made clear the fact that it does not accept that the legal base of this instrument should be extended to include “consumer protection” when its purpose is to ensure the “proper functioning of the internal market.

Upper limit on the value of prizes EPC opposed amendments seeking to impose an upper limit on the value of promotional prizes so as to prevent unfair competition. EPC queried whether specific commercial restrictions, in what is essentially the area of competition law, properly fall within the scope of the proposal.
Prohibition of promotional contests and games where every participant wins something EPC argued that a general prohibition on the “everyone a winner” type of promotion would be unduly restrictive. It recommended a general requirement that participants should not be misled as to the difference between a gift and a prize instead.
The value of prizes and limits on the value of a free gift or premium EPC contended that any amendment seeking to restrict the value of a prize or gift would be unduly restrictive. MEPS were informed that in the context of the printed media, a limitation to 20% of the value of purchase would not enable any meaningful prize or gift to be given. A more appropriate and proportionate approach ensuring that through the transparency provisions, participants are informed of nature of the free gifts and/or prizes was recommended. EPC also made the general point that the free gift’s stated value should be the commercial rather than the invoice value as this was a better reflection of its worth.
Information to be provided on the odds of winning a prize EPC opposed the provisions in the draft Regulation requiring promoters to state the actual or estimated odds of winning a prize. The reasons EPC gave for its opposition were that this would be difficult or impossible to calculate. EPC stated gave its support to amendments stating that it is sufficient for the promoter, upon request, to provide information to the participant. It also supported amendments which would stipulate that there is no need to provide fictional cash value for vouchers in cases where they cannot be redeemed for cash.
Scratch cards
EPC opposed any attempt to limit the use of scratch cards or any other promotional game to state funded lotteries. It was argued that these techniques should be available to commercial promoters as well as state lotteries.
Restriction on promotional games to minors EPC suggested that rather than attempting to limit games generally to all minors, it would be more appropriate to recognise that some games are legitimate and appropriate for minors and that promoters should be required instead to ensure that such games are suited to the age group targeted.
Prior notification or authorisation EPC supported the original proposal, which specified that Member States shall not impose a requirement for prior authorisation. Any other option was argued by EPC to be wholly impractical in terms of time constraints and a huge burden on the “appropriate authority” as well as publishers.
Alcohol and Tobacco
EPC stated its opposition to any amendment seeking to widen the restriction on offers of free alcoholic beverages or tobacco products as gifts to minors, to a ban on the use of sales promotions in relation to alcoholic beverages or tobacco products to adults.
EPC gave its broad support to the proposals as part of the programme to complete the internal market for services but asked that MEPS take the in the briefing into consideration. The vote on the draft Regulation will take place on 2nd July in Strasbourg. EPC will report on the result.
Access to Parliamentary documents
European Parliament President Pat Cox announced this month that all Parliamentary documents will be available at the web address http://www4.europarl.eu.int/registre/recherche/Menu.cfm?langue=EN

WHAT’S NEW

Electronic Commerce
1.1 Commission ebusiness consultation – significant market power and relevant markets
The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the state of certain markets in the electronic communications sector which it hopes will shape a new regulatory framework to be applied by national regulatory authorities from July 2003. They are considering definitions of relevant markets in the electronic communications sector in order to determine significant market power and abuse thereof.

In launching the website the Commission stated that the new framework will respond to “the need to provide the best deal for consumers, greater legal certainty for market players, and to roll back regulation where it is no longer required.”

The public consultation will last for a month. The Commission is also organising a public hearing on this issue to take place in Brussels on 3rd July. The final Recommendation will be adopted by the Commission, following additional consultation of national regulatory authorities and national competition authorities.

The document is available on:
http://europa.eu.int/information_society/topics/telecoms/news/documents/206_17_rec_public_consultation.pdf

1.2 VAT number validation service
The Commission has started a service enabling businesses across Europe to check the validity of customers' VAT identification numbers on the internet. The reason for the need to check is because a supplier sending goods to another EU country must be sure that the customer is subject to VAT in another Member State. The goods can then be sent out free of VAT. If the supplier does not charge VAT and the customer does not have a proper VAT identification number, the supplier may be liable to pay the VAT.

The Commission expects the new service to save time and administrative costs for all parties.
The online system replaces one where a supplier wanting to confirm the validity of the VAT identification number provided by his customer had to contact his own tax administration, which would check the database and confirm that the number quoted was valid.

1.3 European Multimedia Forum conference
EPC attended the EMF annual conference in June which focused on ebusiness in Europe and examined policy initiatives which would support its further development. This included a presentation on research and development programmes in ecommerce supported by the Commission’s 6th Framework programme.

On the second day of the conference, delegates examined the development of a single European market for ebusiness and the possibility of removing restrictions on sales promotions. How to protect intellectual property online was the subject of much debate.

A full report of the proceedings is available from EPC on request.
Internet Regulation
2.1 Results of the Telecoms Council
The Telecoms Council, which also deals with internet matters, met on 18th June. Amongst other things it discussed illegal and harmful content, the eEurope programme and internet management.

The e-safe scheme which coordinates action against harmful and illegal content across Europe will be extended for a further two years and include candidate countries. The eEurope 2005 action plan was debated before its presentation at the Seville summit. Negotiations currently underway over the international management of the Internet and ICANN reform were investigated. According to some ministers who attended the meeting, there is general agreement that the consultation committee (of governments and ICANN) is the best way to organise management of the internet.

2.2 European database Directive
Brussels law firm NautaDutilh has been entrusted with the task of surveying the implementation of the European Database Directive into national laws as well as analysing the Directive's practical effects and suggesting amendments if they are needed.

The draft final report was due to have been submitted to the European Commission by 28th July 2002 but this deadline has been extended. NautaDutilh has therefore organised a twofold consultation process with national authorities and interested parties about their practical experiences with the Database Directive, in particular the sui generis protection.

The questionnaire covers the goals, means, practical effects of and possible adjustments to the Database Directive, as well as the evolution of the database industry and information society. EPC will also participate in a hearing on the issue in Brussels on 1st July. A report will be available after the hearing.

2.3 Internet libel actions
A former teacher has brought a successful libel action against one of his former pupils for comments made on the Friends Reunited website. Although damages awarded were small, the case has confirmed that it is illegal to make defamatory comments about an individual on the net in the UK. Although there is no legal precedent, the judge cited a similar case from a few years ago where damages were settled between the parties, when giving his decision.
In the States this month there has been a hearing into whether newspapers which post stories on the Internet can be sued for libel in states outside their local market. A local newspaper in Connecticut was taken to court by a prison warder from Virginia because he believed that an article published about alleged mistreatment of Connecticut prisoners sent to Virginian jails was libellous. The outcome of this case will set a precedent in the US with many believing that newspaper publishers will be afraid of publishing stories online which might result in them being taken to court outside the state in which the article was published.

2.4 e-Education
Commissioner Reding gave a speech this month to the British Chamber of Commerce on e-education for all. She reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to becoming the most dynamic knowledge-based society in the world by 2010, using ICT as one of the lynchpins to the lifelong learning strategy.

The Education and Culture Commissioner praised the way business and academia are using ICT to promote the learning of higher skills. She encouraged them to continue and expand the successful public/private partnership in this field. Mme Reding described the Commission’s part in e-education and gave many examples of recent projects.

In her vision for the future of e-education, the Commissioner listed virtual campuses with virtual mobility for students and school twinning as Commission priorities.

Copyright
3.1 Rightsholders coalition
As a member of the Rightsholders’ Coalition, the EPC signed a letter which was presented at the Santiago conference. The Rightholders’ Coalition brings together over 30 associations representing the European creative sector. The group sent the letter to encourage the Commission to take a strong stance against piracy. It stressed the need for the following measures:
• deterrent civil sanctions and criminal penalties
• reasonable presumption of the ownership of copyright and subsistence of copyright
• provisional measures to seize and preserve evidence of piracy
• a “right of information” clause for rightholders against infringers
• compulsory use of identifier codes on optical discs
EPC will report on the reply the Rightsholders Coalition receives. A copy of the letter is available on request.

3.2 Data privacy consultation
The European Commission has launched a consultation on data privacy which includes questions on cookies but also the original exemption for journalistic purposes. The general approach is to ask such questions as “Should your boss be able to read your email?” “Are customers who want to shop online confident that their data will be handled responsibly?” and “Are businesses overburdened with enquiries from the public who wish to know what data the company has on them in its database?” but matters of crucial importance to publishers, such as the freedom of expression clause are covered.

There are two separate questionnaires: one for data controllers and for other interested parties. The consultation will form the basis of a report at a conference on data privacy later this year. The questionnaire can be found at the following address:
http://europa.eu.int/BFM/consultation/index.cfm?fuseaction=form&id_form=204&lang=en

Advertising
4.1 Health claims on food
The European Commission is preparing a proposal for a Regulation on 'Nutrition, Functional and Health Claims Made on Foods'. The proposal covers nutrition, functional and health claims used in the labelling, presentation and advertising of foods.
Its main objective is to achieve a high level of consumer protection by encouraging the provision of further voluntary information beyond the mandatory information required by EU legislation. This would ensure that information is clear, claims are not misleading and rules are properly enforced to prevent abuse in this area.

The proposal would proscribe products that do not have a 'desirable' nutritional profile from bearing claims, ie biscuits, cakes, confectionary. Nutritional, functional and health claims on alcoholic beverages designed to appeal to children and adolescents would be banned. Claims such as 'X% fat-free', 'reinforces the body's immune system', 'helps support your body's natural defences' would also be prohibited as would the term ‘diet’ in ordinary foods.
The EPC views the measures as highly intrusive and will be monitoring developments very closely.

4.2 Spanish ban on alcohol advertising
Further to the announcement that the Spanish draft advertising bill will ban the advertisement of alcohol, EPC has been investigating the proposal further.
The current Spanish draft Advertising Bill does not specify clearly if the proposed alcohol advertising ban will apply to all media, including foreign printed media. For TV it is clear that the country of origin principle and mutual recognition applies, as it is stated in the Spanish TVWF Law.
However, for the rest of the media (including print media), the new bill does not make it clear at all. In fact, it makes some broad references to the need to harmonise legislation and eliminate the current existence of different legal rules. This might lead one to think that country of origin and mutual recognition principles apply but the draft bill also highlights the need to provide consumers (above all, minors) with high protection levels in relation with public health. This is worrying as public health is one of the EC exceptions for country of origin and mutual recognition. EPC will continue to monitor developments closely.

4.3 Tobacco advertising
In June the Commission adopted a proposal for a Council Recommendation on the “Prevention of Smoking and on Initiatives to Improve Tobacco Control”.
The proposal specifically addresses a series of measures that will complement EU law in place. These include reducing the availability of tobacco products to children and adolescents; reducing the indiscriminate promotion of tobacco products; monitoring the promotion activities of the tobacco industry and improving the protection of non-smokers from the effects of passive smoking.
SANCO Commissioner David Byrne’s main concern is that children and adolescents not start smoking. He feels it is necessary to counterbalance the recruiting techniques the tobacco companies direct at minors. He proposes to do this using a series of measures proposed in the recommendation.
As well as measures which will impose restrictions at point of sale, the recommendation calls on Member States to work to ensure that certain forms of advertising and promotion for tobacco products do not reach children and adolescents. The list of measures includes limiting the use of tobacco brand names on non-tobacco merchandises, clothes or services; the distribution of promotional items; the use of outdoor billboards and posters and the use of cinema advertising. It also calls on Member States to oblige tobacco manufacturers to disclose the expenditure they incur on advertising, marketing, sponsorship and promotion campaigns; to provide adequate protection from exposure to passive smoking at the work places, in enclosed public places and in public transport; and to strengthen smoking prevention programmes. This raft of measures reflects closely the result of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which the Commission has had a key part in negotiating.
The Commission proposal will be presented to Health Ministers at their next Council meeting. A Recommendation is not legally binding but most Member States make an effort to fulfill its requirements to some extent. After adoption by Council, the Commission will monitor and report on the implementation of the Recommendation in Member States and at Community level. Any further information and a copy of the proposal is available upon request.

Audiovisual & General Media Policy

5.1 New forms of advertising study
The report on new advertising techniques in the context of the TVWF Directive, cited by Mme Reding in her speech to ITMA was released this month.
The report highlights the risk of legal disputes due to the age of the original Directive, which was adopted in 1989 - long before the internet and digital TV were used as commercial channels.
Interactive advertising is flagged up by the report as one of the most important new forms of advertising. Using this medium, viewers can control the programmes and adverts they watch. The report states that there should be a solid division between commercial and programme. Another important issue is the use of split screen. This is prohibited in the France, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden. The report suggests that the Directive should only apply where split screen is permitted. Finally, according to the authors of the report, the Directive should apply to “virtual sponsorship” or “virtual advertising”, which allows the sponsor to place their name or product in the show, without overtly marketing that product to the viewers. This is also prohibited in France, Italy, and Portugal.
The report states that guidelines on how to interpret the existing Directive would be the best approach to the problem, rather than the creation of new legislation. As Mme Reding stated in her speech to ITMA, the Commission will be reviewing this and two other studies as part of its 2002/3 work programme.
The report is available, in French only for the time being, on the Commission’s web site at:
http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/avpolicy/stat/studi_en.htm

5.2 Multi-media news - conference
EPC attended an academic conference in the European Parliament on 17th and 18th June It was organised by MUDIA and addressed the subject of European multimedia news markets.
The MUDIA project is a European Commission-sponsored IST project launched in May 2001. The academics involved monitor and analyse current trends in the European multimedia news markets, looking at the implications of new technologies on existing and new content production and consumption issues.
In the course of the conference, few authors addressed the issue of regulation. Those who did discuss the issue made the following recommendations:
-policy makers should consider legislation to facilitate the take off of online content
-the right balance should be found between the protection of consumers and producers
-policy should create a favourable climate for innovation, guarding against market dominance whilst at the same time allowing enough scale for companies to sustain losses in the short term.
It was suggested by the Chairman that a “Mudia II” follow-up could be used to investigate the issue of regulation more fully.
The group will be holding a final project conference in Maastricht in October. Copies of the final studies will be obtained by EPC as they may feed into any future policy initiatives by DG INFSO.
All presentations from the conference are available on the Mudia website http://www.mudia.org.

5.3 Sports broadcasting rights
The Commission and UEFA have reached agreement on the sale of broadcasting and other media rights for the Champions League. The new rules will make the media rights on the Champions League accessible to providers of Internet content and UMTS operators as well as a larger number of television and radio channels. The Commission felt that existing rules for distribution distorted competition and were delaying the development of internet and 3rd generation mobile services in this area. It is now hoped that this new agreement will enable the development of these services.

5.4 Cultural objects study
The Commission has announced a call to tender for an ‘analysis of aspects of the ''cultural objects'' directive. The study will collate data on the structure and circulation of information which authorities must have in order for the directive to function. It will also aim to analyse the structures put in place by Member States so that information can be collected and exchanged about those cultural objects and about their movement from one Member State to another. The contract has not yet been awarded. The study will be published one year after the award is made.

5.5 EPC/ACT workshop
EPC and ACT held a joint workshop on the 28th June which looked at the work in progress of the consultants kpe and OC&C on the proposed “White Paper” entitled “An Independent Assessment of the Impact of Public Service Broadcasting on the Audiovisual and Electronic Publishing Markets in Europe.” Data obtained so far was presented and both organisations called for assistance from EPC companies to obtain the extra data they need to complete the study. Those present gave suggestions for the future development of the study. Drafts have already been circulated to EPC members and a group of legal experts from EPC and ACT companies will now meet to look at how the White Paper may be used and what legal grounds there are to insist on Commission action. Copies of the study and slides accompanying it are available on request.

5.6 Separation of accounts Directive proceedings
The Commission in July 2000 adopted an important amendment to the so-called Transparency Directive (Commission Directive 2000/52/EC of 26 July 2023 amending Directive 80/723/EEC on the transparency of financial relations between Member States and public undertakings). The amendment required the separation of accounts for companies active both in areas open to competition and in areas where they are entrusted with public service obligations for which they get state remuneration. Such separation is important for the broadcasting sector, as it makes the costs of public services more transparent and measurable, thereby enabling the Commission to reach a conclusion on any complaints it receives from private TV operators.

"The adoption of separate accounts showing clearly the costs of public service obligations and their financing will create a more level playing field for sectors open to competition. It will also allow the Commission to proceed with the examination of long-standing complaints in the broadcasting sector alleging that state-owned TV stations are receiving more public funds than due," Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said.

Member States had until the end of July to implement the Directive into their national laws. To date Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Sweden have failed to inform the Commission of the provisions adopted to comply with the new requirement. The Commission has decided to send these Member States a reasoned opinion, giving them two months to comply with requirements.

General
6.1 Takeover Directive
According to a draft proposal for a new European Takeover directive, leaked to the Financial Times, most anti-takeover defences such as "poison pills", limits/ceilings on individual shareholdings, and restrictions on the transfer of shares will be outlawed by this new EU Directive. This means that if a company currently relies on a shareholding limit to guard against hostile takeover and/or preserve editorial integrity, this is now under threat.

However, multiple voting rights - where some shares carry more rights than others - would remain unaffected by the new EU takeover code despite a recent recommendation by Commission experts for a "one-share-one-vote" system.

For further information on the draft proposal please contact the EPC.

6.2 Parliamentary question on VAT
Commissioner Bolkestein has made an interesting statement in answer to a parliamentary question by Theresa Villiers. In the question the MEP asked what the status of the 1996 Commission proposal to harmonise VAT rules and rates across Europe was. She also asked whether the proposal would be scrapped in the light of admissions from the Commission that it is not politically or practically viable.
In answer to the first part of Mrs Villiers’ question Mr Bolkestein replied that it is still the Commission’s opinion that the internal market would function better with a VAT system based on the 1996 programme. He states that this would be easier to administer, less costly for business and less susceptible to fraud. The Commission will be reappraising the 1996 proposal in order to simplify and modernise the rules, ensure more uniform application of those rules and develop closer administrative cooperation.
Mrs Villiers went on to ask that if the Commission is not going to distance itself from the proposal, would implementation of a common system mean that all countries would have to apply a uniform system of exemptions. She was particularly concerned that the zero rating on certain items in the UK (including books, children’s clothes and food) might be removed.
Mr Bolkestein reminded her that the 0% rating is a transitional measure pending the adoption of a common VAT system. He did add, however, that the possibility of agreement on a common system in the near future was unlikely as this was only possible if all Member States agreed to changes in their systems.
EPC will monitor developments closely. A copy of the 1996 proposal is available on request.

6.3 Governance
The Commission has launched a follow-up paper to the consultation on Governance. The ‘Action Plan for Better Regulation’ identifies improvements at various stages of the legislative cycle, from early conception to implementation. It contends that EU laws should be written in a less complicated style, making it easier for Member State authorities to implement them and making European legislation easier to understand for members of the public.

From 2003 the Commission will introduce a system whereby each major policy initiative will include: an overview of consultation with stakeholders; the results of the consultation; analysis of the measure's expected impact; and justification of the degree of legal constraint at EU level. The Commission also proposes to set minimum standards for consultation. These will apply at the stage of policy-shaping to a large number of proposals before decisions are taken.

In order to facilitate this, the Commission will make available all information needed to facilitate responses; publish widely in order to meet all target audiences, using single access points on the Internet; allow sufficient time for responses; acknowledge receipt of contributions and display results of open public consultations on the Internet; and allow all relevant parties to express their opinions. This improved consultation will be accompanied by an improvement in internet services.


6.4 Merger Review
The European parliament voted this month to support the Commission’s proposal for a review of existing Mergers legislation. The Economic and Monetary Affairs committee took the view that the 1997 modification to EU law on this subject was too complicated and has not brought about necessary improvements.

Although in favour of many of the proposals laid out in the Commission green paper on the subject, the committee did voice concern at the fact that the Commission acts as both “jury and prosecutor” in EU merger cases. It also asked the Commission for clarification of the method it favours to establish whether a merger will be damaging to competition. The committee favours the “dominance test” a legalistic approach to a proposed merger from the point of view of one-company domination of a market rather than the much wider "selective lessening of competition" (SLC) test which looks at the broad economic picture and is favoured by US competition policy authorities.


UPCOMING EVENTS
22-23rd July, New Media Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark
8th October 2002, Montreux, Switzerland. European Multimedia Associations' Convention
8th –11th October 2002, Montreux, Switzerland. World Summit on Internet & Multimedia
The Third World Summit on Internet and Multimedia will take place under the aegis of the International Federation of Multimedia Associations (FIAM- IFMA). It is hosted by SwissMedia and co-organised by EMF.

 
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