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EPC media alerts: June 2010

Your monthly EU media issues update direct from Europe's leading publishers

The following document is a regularly updated schedule of EU Media issues of interest to the EPC in order to give advance warning to journalists covering EU media issues. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information: heidilambert@hlcltd.demon.co.uk.

Dates for the diary

2010 - Commissioner Barnier to launch a new IP Strategy this year which will set out proposals for the future of copyright and related rights at EU level

June - EP JURI vote on Brussels I

June - EP ITRE vote on Information on Medicinal Products

2 June - EC Stakeholders Workshop on "Study Concerning Multi-Territory Licensing for the Online Distribution of Audiovisual Works in the EU", Brussels

2 June - Vote in CULT committee on journalism and new media

4 June - EPC/Spanish Presidency conference on the media, Madrid

7-8 June - Audiovisual heritage preservation and diffusion, Madrid, http://www.eu2010.es/en/agenda/grupostrabajoycomites/evento59.html

7-8 July - US-EU Journalism Roundtable on the Challenge of Online Content Distribution (AMW speaking)

9-13 June - CEPIC Congress on Content, Dublin

10 June - Platform of cultural and creative industries

21 June - OECD conference on News Distribution, London

22 June - European Cultural and Creative Industries Summit, Brussels

30 June - "European Media Revolution - Ensuring viability", Brussels -EPC joint industry event

30 July - Deadline for consultation on Green Paper on Cultural Industries (see fact sheet at www.epceurope.org/xxx)

November - EP vote on Consumer Directive proposal

November - Expected adoption of Commission Roadmap on the protection of Personal Data (see fact sheet at www.epceurope.org/xxxx)

More detail

Conferences and events

9-13 June - CEPIC Congress on Content, Dublin

CEPIC is the European Trade Body representing European Photography Agencies that has chosen "Evolution of Content" as the theme for its Congress in Dublin, 9-13 June this year. The annual CEPIC Congress is the largest event of its kind in the world, representing the entire spectrum of the international photo agency community.

Under theme of the evolution of content, the Congress will discuss what the digital economy means for content owners and rights holders, especially those to whom imaging and the use thereof is of relevant. Because imaging touches many aspects of online publishing (therefore affecting authors, musicians, newspapers, social networks, mobile content providers, social platforms and more) the freedom to dive into IPR, trademarks, sustainable business models, the impact of market dominance on the digital economy and so on is notable.

30 June - "European Media Revolution - Ensuring viability", Brussels -EPC joint industry event

Hosted by MEP Mary Honeyball and with a keynote address by Commissioner Neelie Kroes, this is a joint industry event organised by the EPC, ENPA, ACT, AER, EACA, EGTA, FAEP and the WFA. This is an event for media professionals from all over Europe and MEPs with an interest in the media sector gathering to debate the value of advertising and its role in upholding a free and independent media.

Copyright/IPR

2010 - Commissioner Barnier starts to assess the future of copyright and related rights at EU level

In advance of new proposals from the Commission on copyright and the management of copyright later this year, the EPC has published its paper "A Vision for Copyright in the 21st Century", presenting it to Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier who now has responsibility for copyright regulation in the EU Commission.

In the document, the EPC sets out six key principles that aim to ensure that copyright, which underpins the creative economy, is fit for the digital age.

The principles:

  • We must cherish the fundamental role of copyright in providing the incentive to invest in the production and dissemination of creative content;
  • We must respect the entitlement of copyright holders to choose how their content is made available, accessed and used;
  • We must promote freedom of choice in licensing solutions including automated systems of licensing through technological innovation;
  • We must make sure that our system of rights management always carefully balances rights, exceptions and limitations;
  • We must take a balanced approach to the challenge of digitising Europe's analogue print legacy;
  • We must uphold the publishing industries' unique economic, cultural and social contributions to the future of our digital Europe.

In particular, the EPC is calling on the European Commission to:

  • adapt tried and tested existing solutions for copyright rather than running the risk of introducing inappropriate and untested measures that could threaten established creative businesses;
  • ensure Europe's publishers are in no less favourable as position online than other producers and distributors of digital content;
  • fight against piracy of copyright content and ensure full implementation of the EU Enforcement Directive;
  • preserve publishers' freedom to choose licensing solutions;
  • encourage the development of technological solutions for rights management such as ACAP (www.the-acap.org);
  • resist the move to extend mandatory exceptions to copyright.

These principles were well-received by the Commissioner and further follow-up with the Mr Barnier and his Cabinet officials are planned.

7-8 July - US-EU Journalism Roundtable on the Challenge of Online Content Distribution (AMW speaking)

EPC's Angela Mills Wade will be participating in a US/EU roundtable on the challenge of Online Content Distribution in the US on 7 and 8 July. The objective is for European and American publishers to exchange strategies and insights gained in the shared struggle to monetize digital and online content and to share best practice. The event takes place in New York. Participants will include journalists, publishers, lawyers and academics and will be a private, high-level, industry leader event.

Brussels I

June - EP JURI vote on Brussels I

JURISDICTION AND APPLICABLE LAW IN CROSS BORDER CASES OF LIBEL AND PRIVACY

The Zwiefka report on Brussels I (jurisdiction), in our view a difficult piece of legislation to change, was published at the end of April. Difficult to change, because it determines conditions of access to courts by private citizens - one of the Commission's objectives in the forthcoming revision and one which affects us in terms of issues of privacy, libel and defamation.

However, we do feel that the draft report is a step forward as it suggests an improvement to the current situation of forum shopping for cases of invasions of privacy, libel and defamation (§ 20): ".. in order to mitigate the alleged tendency of courts in certain jurisdictions to accept territorial jurisdiction where there is only a weak connection with the country in which the action is brought, a recital should be added to clarify that, in principle, the courts of that country should accept jurisdiction only where there is a sufficient, substantial or significant link with that country...";

Moreover, the draft report suggests in recital L that guidance should be given to Member States in the Rome II Regulation (applicable law) in regards to rights of the personality, highlighting the problems related to the Internet and courts readiness to accept jurisdiction.

Therefore a recital which aims to guide courts on whether they should accept jurisdiction or not, is a welcome step forward.

The notion of sufficient, substantial and significant link is often made reference to in International Private Law cases and would presumably lead to the place of publication becoming the determining factor for deciding jurisdiction. The link to Rome II in recital L is also useful for media companies who face ever increasing numbers of challenges arising from internet publications.

Timetable: Deadline for amendments is May 10th., followed by a vote in JURI committee end May/beg. June.

Advertising

June - EP ITRE vote on Information on Medicinal Products

The EPC will be watching this closely as advertising restrictions and/or requirements are under debate.

Journalism/Press Freedom

2 June - Vote in CULT committee on journalism and new media

European Parliament debates communication: concerns raised over independence of the media

The EPC CULT Committee vote on 2 June on a report on how to use journalism and the media to improve reporting of the EU to the general public.

Danish Liberal Morten Løkkegaard has drawn up a report, which says that embracing new media forums like Facebook and Twitter is the way forward.

Speaking at a meeting in Brussels where he presented his report he said, "there is a wealth of information in the EU but no communication. We need to approach this on the citizen's level, a bottom-up approach, not from the top down."

He stressed that "new social media on the internet is where the conversation takes among young people who are used not only to having access to the media but to responding to it, sharing and using information, he said. It is an ideal platform for telling the "new European story".

To reach these audiences, Mr Løkkegaard explained, "one must be where the conversation takes place", i.e. Facebook, Twitter or other online social networks.

He said the Parliament had been a "frontrunner" in this respect, since it launched several social media platforms last year to promote the European elections. But he also recommended promoting private-public partnerships as "the private sector has a lot of knowledge and experience in social media".

French Centre Right MEP Jean-Marie Cavada regretted the "arrogance of EU institutions (that) do not explain things clearly". Instead, he stressed, "social forms of media are very horizontal and a good idea".

"The institutional and technological setting has never been better... there is no overarching European public sphere at present, but there are very lively national public spheres," Mr Løkkegaard pointed out. To solve this problem we need to start from the bottom, and the leaders - governments and European leaders need to take responsibility, he said.

To get more European news in national media, he called on governments to draw up guidelines for EU coverage in public service broadcast media.

"An experiment, of course,", he said. "we want more stories in the media. This would put more pressure on the media at home to send more journalists to Brussels". He was worried about the decreasing of the number of accredited reporters in Brussels. According to International Press Association President, Lorenzo Consoli, in 2005 there were around 1.300 journalists accredited to the EU, but now there are only 800.

Italians Socialist Silva Costa agreed that there should be "a mention of the EU in public service contracts. That would make a substantial contribution." But her German colleague Petra Kammerevert warned: "There is nothing wrong with appealing to broadcasters to cover more EU affairs but member state guidelines are the start of a slippery slope".

Mr Løkkegaard also proposed to set up an EU "task force" of independent journalists, free of editorial control, who would produce daily EU news coverage to be published on different platforms and channels in accordance with journalistic news criteria.

Ms Kammerevert voiced concerns: "It would serve nobody's future interests buying up editors and newspapers. There is a spirit in your report that seems to blur the divisions between us and the independence of the media".

"I wouldn't dream of interfering in editorial lines," Mr Løkkegaard responded. He asked MEPs to take the ideas "in good spirit" and "not as an attack on journalism in any way whatsoever".

Consumer Directive

November - EP vote on Consumer Directive proposal

Debate underway on harmonisation of rights

The Consumer Rights directive that merges four existing directives into one horizontal instrument is under the spotlight. The directive concerns: 1. contracts negotiated away from commercial establishments; 2. abusive clauses in contracts concluded with consumers; 3. distance contracts; and 4. the sale and guarantee of consumer goods. It regulates information, protection against delivery delays and non-delivery, cooling off periods, repairs, replacements and guarantees.

There is currently a narrow consensus between the European Parliament and the European Commission on the need for a "full but targeted harmonisation" of consumer rights.

At the European Parliament, MEPs are leaning towards full harmonisation of the definitions, but they are divided on the withdrawal period for distance contracts and contracts negotiated away from business premises. While the assembly's position at first reading is not due before 22 November, the rapporteur, Andreas Schwab (EPP, Germany), has already drafted an initial working document, summarising the viewpoint of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO), in charge of the dossier. According to him, the approach must be qualified. He considers that, while a unique approach in terms of information is appropriate for typical service or sales contracts, this is not the case for specific contracts.

More precisely: - Chapter 1 - Definitions and field of application: Schwab considers certain definitions to be unsatisfactory from a legal perspective, adding that some of them should be reformulated. Moreover, he proposes reducing and simplifying the article relating to the field of application (Article 3), admitting that a mutual recognition clause should not be excluded for areas not covered by the proposal. - Chapter 2 - Basic information to be provided before concluding a contract: He does not really note any controversy within his committee, but acknowledges that the directive influences legal systems more than existing Community measures. - Chapter 3 - Withdrawal period: The rapporteur notes a relatively consensual position among deputies. However, some members of the committee consider that certain national characteristics cannot be properly replaced. - Chapter 4 - Other factors specific to sales contracts (delivery, transfer of risk, legal guarantee, conformity default, etc).

Some deputies believe that several national characteristics should be retained in terms of other rights, which are specific to sales contracts. "Some national rules are not compatible with the harmonised hierarchy of the recourse and the two-year period of harmonised responsibility from the date of delivery established by the proposal," he underlined. - Chapter 5 - Contractual clauses: Schwab asks for an additional evaluation of the possible harmonisation of the general clause on abusive clauses and refuses to resort to comitology for additional abusive clauses. At this stage of negotiations, he also refuses to harmonise 'black' and 'grey' lists of abusive clauses.

Commissioner Viviane Reding (justice, fundamental rights and citizenship) has, until now, shown herself to be relatively flexible, promising to consider the possibility of targeted harmonisation where practical and to remain open to changes. According to her, one possibility could be to consider fully harmonised rules for distance contracts and to allow divergent national rules for face-to-face contracts.

Text based on: http://www.europolitics.info/pdf/gratuit_en/270534-en.pdf

Media Pluralism

In Portugal there has been an attempt to bring in a new law on media pluralism which was subsequently rejected by the President. The law woul dpforbid any public service to have ownership of any media. The Government is about to change ownership and transparency obligations in radio and television by defining the number of licenses that can be acquired but there are no restrictions on newspapers.

In France, a lobbying process is underway to remove the ceiling that currently says that there be no more than 3 national networks. Whilst there is no legislation on the table at the moment, action might be taken by the socialists. Meanwhile, a new law is expected this autumn that will allow advertising on public service broadcasting during the day - though not on prime time.

There is also discussion in Germany as to whether advertising should be allowed on psb.

Latest news

1. Copyright

1.1 EU must strike a blow against piracy, says Commissioner

Speaking at the Business Leaders Convention in Brussels in May, Commissioner Neelie Kroes conceded that Europe had allowed borderless illegal file-sharing to take place in the absence of a proper functioning EU digital single market.

Mrs Kroes said: "While the internet is borderless, Europe's online markets are not. It is often easier to buy something from a US website than online from the country next-door in Europe. Often you cannot buy it at all within Europe. For instance, consumers can buy CDs in every shop but are often unable to buy music online across the EU because rights are licensed on a national basis. No wonder the US market for online music is five times bigger than Europe's.

"But there is a huge Digital Single Market for audiovisual material. The problem is that it's illegal, and it's not monetized. We have effectively allowed illegal file-sharing to set up a single market where our usual policy channels have failed. Creating the legal Digital Single Market will lead to a wealth of options for citizens. It will strike a blow against piracy and benefit authors and artists. And it will do this without endangering the open architecture that is essential for the internet. It is obviously common sense to fix problems like this." This last statement will be of interest to the EPC which has had to fight off arguments that online copyright (ACAP) somehow threatens the internet.

(more on Digital Agenda speech below in 2.1)

To read full speech, go to:
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/10/203&format;=HTML&aged;=0&language;=EN&guiLanguage;=en

1.2 Private copying levy must be linked to copyright use, says EU court advisor

The Court of Justice to the EU (CJEU) has been asked by a Spanish appeal court to consider a case in Spain whereby a rights management company is claiming compensation for private copying from a company (Padawan) that sells digital media, the level of compensation being based on a levy of all products sold by Padawan.

An EU adviser to the Court of Justice to the EU (CJEU) has suggested that a levy on blank digital media and devices should only be charged when they are likely to be used to make private copies of copyrighted works.

Under EU law, member states can decide on a national basis whether or not to ban or allow private copying of copyrighted works (with "fair compensation") for the rightsholder. It is the interpretation of "fair compensation" that is key in this case as Padawan's products are not all copying devices, and yet the compensation requested is based on a levy of all their product sales.

An Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has said, though, that this levy should not be charged unless it can reasonably be presumed that that material will be used for private copying. It should be noted that judges of the CJEU are not obliged to follow the opinions of their advisers.

Spanish law allows for private copying and for a levy to compensate rights holders. The amount of that levy is calculated by rights management companies and trade bodies in a process overseen by Spain's Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade.

1.3 MEPs back Europeana

Whilst MEPs support the goal of having 10 million pieces of content in the EU's on-line library, museum and archive - Europeana - by this June - and a further target of 15 million items by 2015, they insist that more funding from the EU is required, along with more content from Member States if these targets are to be met.

A Resolution on Europeana adopted in May in response to the Commission's Communication on Europeana in August 2009, says that access to Europeana's material without downloading should be free - but copyright must be respected. According to the resolution, "access to the Europeana portal and viewing documents without downloading must be free of charge for private individuals and public institutions" and any charges for downloads and printouts of copyright materials "should be socially acceptable". MEPs also believe that Europeana should use collective licensing.

MEPs "endorse the Commission's intention to establish a simple and cost-efficient rights clearance system" working in close co-operation with all the stakeholders. They also call on the Commission to introduce a legislative proposal on the digitisation, preservation and dissemination of orphan works, and to develop their database.

To date, 7 million digitised works including photos, film clips, maps and books have been added to the portal. By far the largest amount of the contributions have come from France (47%), with other most significant contributions coming from (Germany (16%), Spain (13.2%), the Netherlands (8%) and the UK (8%).

The Resolution also calls on the Commission and Member States "to make Europeana one of the main reference points for education and research purposes."

MEPs argue that there should be a special budget line in the next EU budget after 2013 to fund the project.

For more information, go to Commission press release:
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/10/539&type;=HTML

1.4 Anti-Copyright group calls for relaxing of law

A group of trade bodies and other associations representing librarians, ISPs, and music managers, have called for the relaxing of copyright law in the EU to allow more people to access and re-use copyrighted material.

A series of demands are expressed in a declaration named "Copyright for Creativity" that calls on regulators to harmonise copyright excecptions across the EU, to relax copyright law itself and to improve accessibility to copyrighted material via new technologies for those with disabilities.

European consumer association BEUC, one of the declarations' signatories, said in a statement: "The establishment of harmonised, consumer-friendly copyright limitations and exceptions is needed with a view to create more certainty for consumers and remove unrealistic constraints on the use of creative content by consumers…
Despite the increasing importance of copyright for the everyday life of consumers, the notion of users' rights is absent from the current copyright framework…A limited number of permitted uses are only allowed as exceptions and limitations to right owners' exclusive rights. EU action is needed to ensure that users' rights are fully recognised and integrated within the copyright legal framework."

Other signatories to the declaration include:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation
Open Rights Group
The International Federation of Library Associations Institutions (IFLA)
Special Libraries Association (SLA)
The International Music Managers' Forum
ISP trade body EuroISPA.
BEUC
Computer and Communications Industry Association
European Bureau of Library, Information, and Documentation Associations
European Digital Rights
Electronic Information for Libraries
Free Software Foundation Europe
German Library Association
IPJustice
Knowledge Ecology International
Association of European Research Libraries

These groups believe that copyright law should not stop individuals i) accessing copyrighted materials and ii) making new material out of that content.

They are calling for exceptions to Copyright law to be expanded. They say: "While exclusive rights have been adapted and harmonised to meet the challenges of the knowledge economy, copyright's exceptions are radically out of line with the needs of the modern information society. The lack of harmonisation of exceptions hinders the circulation of knowledge based goods and services across Europe. The lack of flexibility within the current European exceptions regime also prevents us from adapting to a constantly changing technological environment."

The declaration can be found at: www.copyright4creativity.eu

1.5 (and 9.2) British High Court awards copyright protection to football fixtures lists

The British High Court has ruled that lists of football fixtures are protected by copyright law and therefore betting companies and newspapers should pay to use and publish those lists.

The case was brought by the English Premier League and Scottish football league against companies that include the British subsidiary of Yahoo Inc, Brittens Pools and Stan James, the bookmaker over "unlicensed" use of fixture lists.

Ignoring a ruling by the European Court of Justice in 2004 that said that fixture lists could not be protected, the British High Court agreed with the Premier League that the work involved in scheduling of matches warranted protection under database copyright law.

"The process of preparing fixture lists involves very significant labor and skill in satisfying the multitude of often competing requirements of those involved," Judge Christopher Floyd said. "(It is) not mere sweat of the brow, by which I mean the application of rigid criteria to the processing of data.

"The quality of the solution depends in part on the skill of those involved."

On his Telegraph blog, Shane Richmond questions this decision, concerned about "another copyright judgment that backs the idea of copyright as property." He continues: " If the fixture list is the property of the leagues then it does follow that they can licence it. In this context facts are available to all, they are nobody's property and thus not copyrightable. But what about the true purpose of copyright - as an incentive to create? Would the football leagues create fixture lists anyway, even if they had no copyright? Of course they would. They are seeking copyright protection simply so that they can create another revenue stream. It's a cynical use of the rules because publishing fixtures is a way of promoting the leagues' product, which was football the last time I checked. Of course, the leagues would argue that the media benefits commercially from publishing their fixtures but that does not mean that they deserve copyright protection."

Arguably another nail in the coffin for sports rights, Shane continues: "Who would suffer most, I wonder, if the media simply refused to publish fixture lists? What if we just stopped publishing fixtures and instead directed fans the league websites? If the leagues really wanted our readers to know about their fixtures, I'm sure we would offer very reasonable advertising rates."

Full blog can be read at:
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/technology/shanerichmond/100005087/why-do-football-fixtures-deserve-copyright-protection/

1.6 UNESCO launches Anti-Piracy Observatory

A new anti-piracy "observatory" has been launched by UNESCO to provide a free online-platform on information on anti-piracy measures and policies implemented in Member States including information on copyright legislation, on events related to the fight against piracy worldwide, and on best practice.

Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO said: "in the light of the emergence of new forms of books, of changes in the design, production and access to contents of books, it is urgent to recall that there can be no book development without respect for copyright," She added that "this is particularly the case at a time when digitization further exposes books to risks of illicit use."

The Observatory makes available comprehensive information on copyright legislation, news and announcements of events related to the fight against piracy worldwide, and best practices. Free awareness-raising and capacity-building tools can also be downloaded.

For more information on the observatory, go to:
http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/ev.php-URL_ID=39055&URL;_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL;_SECTION=201.html

1.7 German court decides Google's image search does not infringe copyright

The German Federal Supreme Court has ruled that Google did not infringe copyright when it displayed thumbnail images of an artist's pictures taken from her own site because she failed to block Google from indexing her site.

Although the artist had not explicitly consented to the use of the images she had not blocked her website from being indexed by search engines thus giving an implicit permission to any search engine to display the thumbnail images.

The Court also said that when a person's images appear in Google searches, as published on-line by third parties without the artist's permission, the company would be liable only if it was informed of the copyright infringement and did not act upon it.

In agreement with the E-Commerce Directive, the service providers are not liable for the illegal acts of their users until they are notified about them.

Google commented on the results in its European Public Policy Blog saying: "We're heartened by the German Supreme Court's ruling that Google Image Search doesn't infringe copyright. (...) Today's ruling makes it clear not just for Google, its users in Germany and all owners of websites containing images, but also for all providers of image search services operating in the country: showing thumbnail images within search results is legitimate and millions of users in Germany benefit from being able to discover visual information at the click of a mouse."

Court news release (in German):
http://juris.bundesgerichtshof.de/cgi-bin/rechtsprechung/document.py?Gericht=bgh&Art;=pm&Datum;=2010&Sort;=3&nr;=51777&pos;=3&anz;=96

Also in Germany, a court fined the owner of a wireless internet connection for failing to secure it with a password - a connection that was subsequently used by a stranger to illegally download music.

Despite being able to prove that he himself was innocent of the downloading as he was on holiday when the offence occurred, the German court maintained he had to bear some responsibility.

Billboard magazine reported that the network owner had to pay the legal fee but no damages.

2. Digital Agenda and Creative industries Europe's Digital genda/creative industries

2.1 More on the Digital Agenda

On 19 May, Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes adopted a ten-year agenda, an ambitious proposal that aims to remove regulatory barriers, improve the single market aspect of the sector (74% of Dutch people use online banking, but only 5% of Greeks), look into new legislation to improve consumer confidence in online shopping and to consider how to boost investment (The European Commission's ICT R&D budget is smaller than Google's and Israel alone launched more companies on the NASDAQ IT stock exchange in the last 20 years than all of Europe).

In addition to the action points on copyright mentioned in the article above, the Commission plans to provide funding for high-speed broadband from the EU budget to address the fear that the EU currently lags behind in its roll out of next-generation broadband. Although telecoms companies have long complained that investment in the provision of new fibre networks has been hampered by a lack of clarity in the regulations concerning payment by rival firms for use of their networks. A new recommendation on this issue is expected in June. Meanwhile, UK telecoms giant BT has just announced that there is to be £1bn investment in rolling out its own super-fast fibre optic broadband service to cover at least 2/1 or UK businesses and households by 2015.

An online dispute resolution system is also envisaged with EU "trust marks" for internet retailers and in increase in R&D in ICT.

In a recent speech to the Business Leaders Convention in Brussels, Commissioner Kroes talked about:

-Lack of investment in networks:

"We need better incentives for new and faster networks - not simply marginal upgrades. These networks will be the centre of future competitive economies, so Europe can't afford a second-class internet. All of these networks need to be competitive and open."

- Fragmented digital markets:

"Europe is still a patchwork of national online markets even though the problems are fixable."

- Lack of digital literacy and skills:

"Europe suffers from digital poverty and no amount of traditional social security can hide that. It hurts the daily and professional life chances of millions and it holds business back. It can't continue."

- Missed opportunities in addressing societal challenges

"Europe misses out on much of the potential of ICT because it does not give common answers to challenges facing society (such as the ageing population, rising health costs, climate change). In this we really can be the world's laboratory and its leader."

- Rising cybercrime and risk of low trust in networks:

"You wouldn't use a system you don't trust, would you? And you'd be furious if the digital equivalent of a volcanic ash cloud left you cut off for days."

- Insufficient research and innovation efforts:

"Europe continues to under-invest and fails to convert intellectual advantage of research into the competitive advantage of market-based innovations. Our priority has to be not only attracting more investment, but building bridges between the ideas and their potential markets."

- Lack of interoperability:

"Europe does not maximise the benefits of interoperability. Weaknesses in standard-setting, public procurement and coordination prevent digital services and devices from working together as well as they should."

Anthony Whelan, head of Kroes' cabinet, has also blamed high ICT salaries for slowing down digital development in Europe.

To read full speech, go to:
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/10/203&format;=HTML&aged;=0&language;=EN&guiLanguage;=en

To read the Commission press release on the final strategy document, go to:
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/10/581&format;=HTML&aged;=0&language;=EN&guiLanguage;=en

Meanwhile, the European Parliament has adopted its own "'Digital Agenda 2015.eu', a five-year plan with concrete actions to enable European society to take advantage of all the benefits of the new information and communication technologies and become a real digital society."

Commissioner Kroes has welcomed the report saying: "Europe will only truly benefit from the digital revolution if all EU citizens and businesses are empowered to be active and confident participants in the new digital society, which must deliver sustainable economic and social benefits. I would like to thank the European Parliament - and especially the rapporteur Pilar del Castillo - for their contribution to the debate".

Objectives of the EP plan include a deadline of 2013 for access to broadband internet at competitive prices for all EU households and a deadline of 2015 whereby 75% of mobile subscribers are mobile broadband users with access to high-speed wireless services. The report concedes that a review of universal service obligations will need to be reviewed if this is to be achieved. 2015 is also the magic date for digital literacy levels in the EU population to be doubled. Additionally, or perhaps to help achieve this last goal, all primary and secondary schools are to be provided with high-speed internet connections along with training on internet safety and the provisions of training opportunities for the working age population.

The plan also proposes a European Charter of Consumers' Rights in order to make sure that "all EU citizens are aware of their basic digital rights and obligations".

Del Castillo also uses this opportunity to call for a speedier implementation of the Telecom Regulatory Framework that was approved in 2009 - something he believes is necessary as a boost for investor confidence.

Commission press release on EP Report:
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/10/538&format;=HTML&aged;=0&language;=EN&guiLanguage;=nl

2.2 Commission launches new consultation on net neutrality

Commissioner Neelie Kroes is preparing to launch a consultation on how best to protect net neutrality - the concept that all Internet traffic going through Internet service providers' systems should be treated the same and not prioritised.

ISPs claim that they should be paid more by suppliers of content that take up more bandwidth (or space on the line). However, supporters of net neutrality argue that people should not be able to pay for preferential treatment of their content, particularly if it's the sort of content that slows other content down.

Speaking at a recent conference, Kroes stated the following principles:

"- Freedom of expression is fundamental

- Transparency is non-negotiable

This is already addressed in the new regulatory framework, but the principle is worth re-stating: in a complex system like the internet, it must be crystal clear what the practices of operators controlling the network mean for all users, including consumers.

- We need investment in efficient and open networks

We have to adopt clear regulatory measures to foster investment in new efficient and open networks. Deploying such networks and promoting infrastructure competition may be the best way to avoid bottlenecks and monopolistic gatekeepers, thereby ensuring net neutrality.

- Fair competition

Every player on the value chain should be free to fairly position themselves to offer the best possible service to their customers or end users. Any commercial or traffic management practice that does not follow objective and even-handed criteria, applicable to all comparable services, is potentially discriminatory in character. Discrimination against undesired competitors (for instance, those providing Voice over the Internet services) should not be allowed.

- Support for innovation

There must be opportunities for new efficient business models and innovative businesses. And over time, we should continue to monitor whether traffic management is a spur to future network investment, and not a means of exploiting current network constraints."

Commissioner Kroes concluded that First and foremost, users should be able to access and distribute the content, services and applications they want and that content providers and network operators should have the right incentives and opportunities to keep investing, competing and innovating.

To read the full speech, go to:
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/10/153

3. Internet safety

3.1 Internet blocking proposal discussed at Internet Governance event

An EU proposal to block child pornography websites was discussed at the recent European Dialogue of Internet Governance (EuroDIG), an open platform for informal and inclusive discussion and exchange on public policy issues related to Internet Governance between stakeholders from all over Europe.

A plenary on digital rights entitled "Online content policies in Europe - where are we going?", debated and agreed that deleting the illegal websites should be the logical main activity, with "a huge demand for improvements in international cooperation, particularly by creating efficient procedures and thus speeding up content takedown processes."

Concerns were expressed about how blocking rights could be abused. For example, in Russia, the Internet Service providers are encouraged to block certain sites on their own initiative and in Turkey, there are now about 3700 websites officially blocked.

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/newsroom/cf/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=5811&utm;_campaign=isp&utm;_medium=rss&utm;_source=newsroom&utm;_content=tpa-7

4. Broadcasting

4.1 Harmonised EU rules adopted to foster high-speed wireless internet services

Whilst Radio spectrum management in Europe remains a national competence, the European Commission believes that spectrum coordination at EU level is increasingly needed.

A Decision has been adopted by the European Commission that establishes harmonised technical rules for Member States on the allocation of radio frequencies in the 800 MHz band that contribute to the deployment of high-speed wireless internet services by avoiding harmful interference.

In several Member States the 800 MHz frequencies are being freed up as part of the so-called "digital dividend" resulting from the switchover from analogue to digital television broadcasting. If Member States decide to change the existing frequency allocation (for broadcasting) they must immediately apply the harmonised technical rules laid down by the Decision to make these frequencies available to wireless broadband applications.

Member States are not required to make available the 790-862 MHz band for electronic communication services. However, the Commission is considering such a proposal in the forthcoming Radio Spectrum Policy Programme, following a recent consultation on the subject and the 22-23 March Spectrum Summit organised by the Commission and the European Parliament (see IP/10/232).

Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "This Decision paves the way for implementation of innovative broadband technologies and for the fast growing demand for wireless services to be met. I encourage Member States to take the necessary steps to implement the Decision, so that European businesses and citizens can take full advantage of the benefits of the switchover to digital TV."

The Commission strongly supports the use of the 790-862 MHz band (currently used for broadcasting in most Member States) for electronic communication services and wants EU countries to act quickly, as coordinated management of this spectrum could give an economic boost of up to €44 billion to the EU's economy and help to achieve the EU 2020 Strategy target of high-speed broadband for all by the end of 2013 (with speeds gradually increasing up to 30 Mbts and above in 2020 - see IP/10/225).

The new Commission Decision stipulates that all Member States which decide to make available the 790-862 MHz spectrum band (the so-called 800 MHz band) for services other than broadcasting should apply the same harmonised technical rules when they do so. These technical rules will ensure that radio communications equipment, like handsets or base stations using the 800 MHz band, can be used efficiently for wireless broadband networks, such as 4th generation mobile technology (e.g. LTE or Wimax). LTE and Wimax enable larger amounts of information to be processed and transmitted than today e.g. for high quality (on demand) video streaming to mobile/smart phones and other devices without interruptions.

Telecoms industry experts estimate that infrastructure to provide mobile broadband coverage using the 800 MHz band will be around 70% cheaper than through using the radio frequencies currently used by 3rd generation mobile technology (UMTS). The lower costs involved in rolling out such networks will make these investments more attractive for operators, which should improve the geographic coverage of wireless broadband services. Application of the technical rules for frequency allocation foreseen by this Decision will substantially increase the potential economic benefits of the digital dividend by giving a new impetus to wireless internet services.

Until now, the 800 MHz band has been used for terrestrial TV broadcasting in most Member States. The new rules laid down in the Decision set out conditions for allocation of nearly one quarter of the frequencies that will become available when Member States switch from analogue to digital broadcasting (due by end 2012 - see IP/09/266). The Commission is currently working on a Radio Spectrum Policy Programme (see IP/10/232) that will take into account the other elements of the digital dividend and may also include a common date by which all Member States must make the 800 MHz band available.

EU Member States are due to complete their switchover from analogue to digital terrestrial television by the end of 2012.

Decision is available at:
http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/ecomm/radio_spectrum/documents/legislation/index_en.htm#800mhz

4.2 New report published on product placement

The European Audiovisual Observatory has published an overview of current product placement legislation in Europe. All EU countries were due to adopt the Audiovisual Media Services Directive by December 2009 and this Observatory, part of the Council of Europe, considers the new product placement provision in its new IRIS publication.

Researcher Christina Angelopoulos from the Amsterdam Institute for Information Law (IViR) states in the report that the rationale behind the product placement provisions in the new Directive was "full liberalisation, with the objective of strengthening the position of the European audiovisual industry vis-à-vis its foreign counterparts". However, given what the author regards as being "deeply ingrained European taboos against the picking and mixing of editorial and commercial content"; the final Directive is described as "a symbolic prohibition, set off by liberal exceptions".

Taking a step backwards in time, the report looks at product placement under the TVwF Directive. In point of fact, the legal status of product placement under the old legislation was totally unclear due to the fact that the TVwF upheld the principles of the separation of commercial from editorial content and of the clear identification of advertising. Product placement, by its very nature, involves the mixing of branded goods in a context of editorial content and so the separation principle is almost impossible to respect.

Indeed the following chapter entitled "The AVMS Directive's dodge: product placement escapes the principle of separation" explains how the new legislation limits the principle of separation to "television advertising" and "teleshopping" alone. The principle of identification is retained so as to guarantee transparency for the viewing public and thus product placement becomes possible under the new AVMSD, having acquired an official regulatory framework.

The report then delivers a thorough analysis of the regulation of product placement in the AVMS Directive. Upon the adoption of the AVMS Directive the European Commission encouraged member states, in their transposition into national law, to take a "light approach", while leaving them the legislative possibility to adopt stricter rules if they so wished. In practical terms, most countries have moved to allow product placement "within often slightly stricter, but generally still generous frameworks." Angelopoulos also focuses on a list of product placement compatible genres such as "cinematographic works" or indeed "sports programmes" before outlining the four principles governing legitimate product placement and to be avoided: undue influence of the programmes containing product placement on the editorial independence of the service provider; undue promotional effect which would directly encourage the purchase or rental of goods or services; undue prominence given to products, services or trademarks; and lastly the obligation to inform of the existence of product placement via warning logos should be respected.

Angelopoulos concludes her report by looking at the relationship between product placement and other AVMS Directive concepts. As regards sponsoring, for example, both product placement and sponsoring are, according to the AVMS Directive, possible within the same programme, the difference being that sponsoring maintains the separation between advertising and editorial content, whereas product placement does not. Interestingly, in its transposition of the AVMSD, France has chosen to make it impossible for the same product to be represented in a programme via sponsoring and product placement.

The leading article concludes that the value of the AVMSD is that is has provided "the explicit regulation of product placement" within audiovisual productions, so that, together "with the increased advertising awareness of audiences in complex modern media environments, it seems that transparency has emerged as the order of the day."

Related reporting also provides a useful up-date on the state of product placement in various European countries following the AVMSD transposition deadline. A final Zoom section of this new publication provides brand new country by country information on product placement legislation gathered by the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities (EPRA). The report gives you an overview, as of April 2010, of the state of transposition of the AVMS Directive provisions for product placement throughout Europe. Links are provided, in each case, to the current national legislation in place.

http://www.obs.coe.int

4.3 Huge increase in use of digital radio

The results of a survey conducted by Rajar show that there has been an increase in the UK of people using digital listening devices to consume radio.

Digital radio is still more popular than the internet, although use of the internet for radio listening experienced the largest yearly increase.

To read the full results, go to: http://www.rajar.co.uk/

Meanwhile in France, French MP Catherine Morin-Desailly has called for the French parliament to end analgue radio completely.

Read the French press release (in French) at:
http://www.followthemedia.com/newsfromyou/newsfromyou15052010.htm?PHPSESSID=a56425f8ec01ab0bee9b12030d85588d#NFY3

4.4 EUR 12 Million Support Scheme for Dubbing and Subtitling Films in Catalan

A EUR 12 million scheme has been approved by the European Commission to fund the dubbing and subtitling of films into Catalan.

This state aid granted by the regional government of Catalonia is in accordance with EU state aid rules that allow subsidies for cultural objectives.

The scheme notified by the Spanish government aims to promote the use of the Catalan language, in particular in the film industry. Around 800 films released in Spain every year are dubbed in Spanish while only 20-25 films are dubbed in Catalan. A further 10-15 are subtitled in Catalan.

They point out that Catalan is the main language of Catalonia, where it is understood by 95% of the population, spoken by 78% and read by 82%. A total of 62% also write it. But, as most inhabitants of Catalonia also understand Spanish, few commercial film distributors consider spending money on dubbing and/or subtitling films in Catalan when they have a Spanish version of the films.

The Commission examined the measure under Article 107(3) (d) of the Treaty, which allows aid for cultural objectives and in this case to promote cultural diversity and multilingualism.

To read a Commission press release on the issue, go to:
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/10/356

5. Data Protection and Privacy

5.1 European court to rule on legality of EU data retention law

The Irish High Court has asked the European Court of Justice to determine if a European directive allowing the storage of telecommunications data for potential use by law enforcement agencies violates rights of privacy and communication.

Digital Rights Ireland, a not-for-profit organisation concerned with promotion and protection of civil and human rights, particularly in the context of telecommunication technologies. has been given the go-ahead by the Irish High Court for their case to be referred to the European Court of Justice.

Irish High Court judge Mr. Justice McKechnie has given a legal decision that clears the way for a legal challenge made by Digital Rights Ireland to proceed and, says DRI, "to challenge the entire European legal basis for data retention."

DRI claims the European directive, intended to harmonise telecommunication data retention obligations across the EU, is invalid and in breach of rights under the EU and EC treaties, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. DRI has also challenged the constitutionality of the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005 which requires telecommunications service providers to retain traffic and location data relating to phone communications and provides for access to such retained data for law enforcement and security purposes.

The ECJ decision will have major implications for mobile phone users across Europe.

For further information, go to: http://www.digitalrights.ie

5.2 EU Parliament calls for data rights charter

The Parliament has also called for a charter of individuals' internet rights that would enable internet users to be able to demand that their information is removed from company systems even if it was collected with their consent. These and other ambitions are outlined in the Parliament's 2015.eu strategy (see 2.1 for more on 2015.eu). The new strategy says that a charter of citizens' and consumers' rights should be implemented by 2012. "Citizens should be made aware of the privacy impact of their behaviour in an online context, and should be afforded the right to require the removal of personal data even when the data was initially collected with the consent of the data subject," it said.

http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/10/538&format;=HTML&aged;=0&language;=EN&guiLanguage;=nl

5.3 EU watchdog slams Facebook privacy settings

Europe's privacy watchdogs have apparently written to Facebook, making it clear that changes the social networking site made to its privacy settings last year were unacceptable.

Criticism first emerged last December when the changes were made, and then when it became clear that Facebook intended to allow business partners to make more use of members' data.

A statement from the data protection working party reads:

"It is unacceptable that the company fundamentally changed the default settings on its social-networking platform to the detriment of a user. Facebook made the change only days after the company and other social networking sites providers participated at a hearing during the Article 29 Working Party's plenary meeting in November 2009."

5.4 UK and Germany question the data collected by Google Street View

Google has horrified German data protection Commissioner Peter Schaar who criticises the internet giant for the amount and type of data gathered. He has demanded that the Wi-Fi database that collects information from citizens' routers as the cars drive on the streets taking pictures for Google Maps be deleted since this kind of data collection is illegal in Germany.

German officials have threatened action against Google and UK privacy watchdog ICO is taking interest in how the data is collected and processed by Google.
However, Google is reported as saying that the collection of this information was accidental and that it is in talks with the regulators of the countries involved to see how that data can be destroyed.

5.5 TACD calls for better consumer protection for social network users

Meanwhile the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) has got involved in the issue of data privacy, saying that millions of social network users are being exposed to privacy risks because of a lack of adequate control over their personal information.

The TACD has adopted a new resolution criticizing the U.S. and European governments for failing to protect social network users from privacy and marketing abuses. "Social networks are like virtual homes for millions of people, but they are being invaded by data miners and marketers seeking to capitalize on information that users never intended to provide to strangers," said Susan Grant, Director of Consumer Protection at Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and co-chair of the TACD Information Society Policy Committee. For example, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, CFA, the Center for Digital Democracy, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, and several other groups filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on May 5 contending that recent changes to Facebook's policies reclassify user information that was previously protected, such as lists of friends, employment information, gender, geographic region, and film and literary preferences, as "publicly available."

Furthermore, the groups expressed concern about Facebook's "instant personalization" feature and asserted that it is becoming increasingly difficult for Facebook users to exercise meaningful control over their data.

The TACD resolution urges the U.S. and EU governments to enact and enforce laws that would, among other things: Forbid making access and use of consumers' data a condition for using social network sites; Prohibit users' data from being collected and used for marketing purposes without express opt-in consent; Require social networks to protect users' data from unauthorized use and third party access; Require social networks to inform users about the need to protect their personal data and the measures that they can take to do so; Hold social networks liable if third parties wrongfully access or abuse users' data; Limit the personally identifiable information available to application providers to only what is needed for the applications; Require social networks to ensure that no personally identifiable information is obtained by third party services without the users' permission; Require social networks to honor users' requests to delete or correct their information; Ensure that consumers can freely move their photographs and other data from one social network to another. TACD members are especially concerned about young people who use social network sites. The resolution calls for the U.S. and EU governments to prohibit social networks from targeting advertisements to children under 16 and to bar them from using online marketing practices that studies show can have a negative impact on individuals, particularly children - for instance, digital marketing of products that contribute to childhood obesity.

http://tacd.org/index.php?option=com_content&task;=view&id;=161&Itemid;=43

6. Competition

6.1 Tighter rules ahead on industry standards

The Commission is due to publish new draft guidelines to tighten rules regarding the development of industry standards.
This will be the first time that competition officials at the Commission set out how they will decide whether or not essential technology that becomes part of a standard is being licensed to third parties on fair or reasonable terms.

7. Journalism/press freedom

7.1 European Parliament debates communication: concerns raised over independence of the media

A report on how the EU institutions can interest citizens has been written by Danish Liberal MEP and the subject debated at a recent EP event.

The report says that embracing new media forums like Facebook and Twitter is the way forward.

Speaking at the meeting in Brussels where he presented his report he said, "there is a wealth of information in the EU but no communication. We need to approach this on the citizen's level, a bottom-up approach, not from the top down."

He stressed that "new social media on the internet is where the conversation takes among young people who are used not only to having access to the media but to responding to it, sharing and using information, he said. It is an ideal platform for telling the "new European story".

Controversially, Mr Løkkegaard has called on governments to draw up guidelines for EU coverage in public service broadcast media and to set up and EU "task force" of independent journalists.

"An experiment, of course," he said. "we want more stories in the media. This would put more pressure on the media at home to send more journalists to Brussels". However, Petra Kammerevert MEP warned: "There is nothing wrong with appealing to broadcasters to cover more EU affairs but member state guidelines are the start of a slippery slope".

The EU "task force" of independent journalists would be free of editorial control, and would produce daily EU news coverage to be published on different platforms and channels in accordance with journalistic news criteria.

Ms Kammerevert voiced concerns: "It would serve nobody's future interests buying up editors and newspapers. There is a spirit in your report that seems to blur the divisions between us and the independence of the media".

"I wouldn't dream of interfering in editorial lines," Mr Løkkegaard said. Hmmmmm!

The Culture Committee will vote on the report 2 June.

7.2 A Free Press is not for Free - EPP Group Hearing on 12 May 2023

The European Commissioner Viviane Reding, member of the cabinet of Commissioner Dalli, as well as representatives of journalists, publishers and the new media addressed an EPP Group public Hearing on the Press in Europe on 12 May 2023 in the European Parliament.

The Hearing was chaired by Mr. Bob Taylor, a media consultant with many years of experience as a Brussels based journalist and communicator.

"For the EPP Group, as the largest group in the European Parliament, it is important to seek expert views in order to define measures to be taken from our side to improve the situation of the press and the news industry in Europe", said Joseph Daul MEP, Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament.

"This Hearing is especially important now as the print media is going through one of the biggest crisis to date. A free, open and thriving news industry is of vital importance to democracy in Europe", added the Chairman.

The programme of the Hearing covered a wide range of issues, including recent developments in advertising and consumer behaviour and ways to ensure a thriving publishing sector. The Hearing also debated the new challenges of the internet era, such as authors' rights and new business models, which are important in shaping the Digital Agenda for 2020. Finally, the different aspects of EU regulation and what can be improved to ensure freedom of the press were also discussed.

The EPP Group Coordinators in the committees involved presented their positions and shared their views with the media representatives. EPP Group Vice-Chairman Manfred

Weber MEP drew the conclusions.

For further information:
Robert Fitzhenry, Head of the EPP Group Press & Communications Service, Tel: +32-2-2842228
Giedre Uzdilaitė , EPP Group Press & Communications Service, Tel: +32-474 942022

The video of the event can be found:
http://www.eppgroup.eu/tv/default_en.asp?vid_id=100517_event

For the full report of the event please contact Nikolas at nikolas.moschakis@europe-analytica.com

7.3 'Culture is not a luxury, it's a compelling need', says PACE President

Speaking in Istanbul at the Council of Europe Hearing: "the right of everyone to take part in cultural life", President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Mevlüt Çavusoglu said: "Culture is not a luxury, it is a compelling need."

On the media and information and communication technologies, the President said that they were at the heart of global society - the most powerful vehicles of knowledge and know-how. However, he said that many disseminate misinformation that contributed to "world-wide hatred of diversity." Mr Çavusoglu said PACE must deliver guidance "so that global communication patterns contribute to overcoming divides and do not generate new ones."

Read full speech at:
http://assembly.coe.int/ASP/APFeaturesManager/defaultArtSiteView.asp?ID=913

7.4 Europe must defend free expression

EU High Representative Catherine Ashton made a Declaration on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May, recalling journalists and other media professionals who have sacrificed their lives or liberty in their efforts to present news and comment to the public at large.

Mrs Ashton said that the EU is a strong advocate of the right to freedom of expression and pluralism of the media which his a cornerstone of democracy "and a vital component in the protection of all other freedoms and liberties."

The Declaration reads: "The EU is deeply concerned by the threats that exist towards media freedom and considers the killing, intimidation and imprisonment of journalists as a serious infringement of media freedom. It strongly condemns any deprivation of the liberty to exercise the freedom of expression as a violation of human dignity, and reaffirms the freedom of expression as a Fundamental Right, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

On the Guardian "comment is free" site, in an article published on World Press Freedom Day by Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, we are reminded of the fate of imprisoned editor Eynulla Fatullayev who has been jailed for three years on dubious charges by the Azerbaijani authorities. "He is an award-winning journalist who was just doing his job. The European Court of Human Rights decided last month that he should be released immediately. The court decision said Azerbaijan had violated three articles of the European Convention on Human Rights, including article 10 concerning the right to freedom of expression. Azerbaijan signed the convention in January 2001, and ratified it in April 2002. As a signatory, Azerbaijan is legally bound to comply with these rulings. The fate of artist Lars Vilks and cartoonist Kurt Westergaard also concerns Mr Jagland. "They have both received death threats. Westergaard barely escaped an attempt on his life. They are both under threat from Islamists for their caricatures of Muhammad and of Islam. They are not in prison, but the threat of violence will make their life a prison."

"As we celebrate World Press Freedom Day, we see that freedom of expression is threatened not just in Europe but around the world. Google left the Chinese market because of censorship concerns. An episode of the popular American comedy programme South Park was censored after Islamists threatened the show's creators for their depiction of the prophet Muhammad. In 2010 we mark 60 years of the European convention on human rights. Article 10 of the convention guarantees freedom of speech and expression - not as an absolute right, but as a fundamental right, which needs to be weighed against other rights and carries with it certain responsibilities. However, we cannot afford to interpret article 10 in a manner that undermines the very fabric of our society. Freedom of speech and expression protects freedom in Europe. It is the very essence of our European identity. Our liberal and secular cultures demand discussion of differences. Freedom of speech and expression is the means by which we are able to integrate the different cultures, traditions, religions and beliefs into a common European home. We cannot allow incitement to violence and hatred, but I vigorously defend both the right to criticise governments, political leaders, religions, their myths and their ideas, as much as the right of people to protest - peacefully - against such free expression, whether in articles, television programmes, art or cartoons. The fate of our democracy is at stake if we make compromises on freedom of expression. Without freedom of expression there is no freedom at all. World Press Freedom Day is the day to remember that. And to do something about it."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/may/03/europe-defend-free-expression

And on the Council of Europe website, COE Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg talks about the challenges faced by the media who face an unprecedented pace of change and with closures of newspapers, cutbacks and de-staffed newsrooms coinciding with the outpouring of an extraordinary amount of undigested information on the Internet. Mr Hammarberg says: "Media markets are growing fast, but offer a more superficial coverage. A crisis of journalism is rapidly threatening to become a serious problem for democracy in Europe."

To read the blog, go to: http://commissioner.cws.coe.int/tiki-view_blog_post.php?postId=35

At an event organised on the day by the European Association of Journalists (AEJ), a Belgian MEP criticised media organisations for cutting back on their EU coverage, saying that most coverage seemed to come directly from news agencies rather than from correspondents working for different media.

Mr Sterckx, MEP also criticised the media for the "personality-driven" style of modern-day political reporting. He said, "A lot of what is said and reported these days is all about personality and not about substance. It has become very shallow."

Mr Sterckx previously worked as a presenter on a Flemish TV news programme.

7.5 UK's new Coalition Government promises review of libel laws

Reform of libel law is included in the UK's new coalition Government's Agreement document.

Entitled "Civil Liberties", the document says that it has been agreed that a full programme of measures to "reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour Government" will be implemented.

Of particular interest is the commitment that reads: "We will review and reform libel laws to protect freedom of speech, reduce costs and discourage libel tourism".

7.6 News distribution conference - London 21 June 2023

The draft programme for the forthcoming OECD conference on "The evolution of news delivery: Opportunities and challenges" is available at: http://www.oecd.org/document/1/0,3343,en_2649_34223_44950337_1_1_1_1,00.html

Places are limited. To register, or for further information, contact Natalie at mazier@biac.org

7.7 UK Culture Secretary publishes priorities on media

On 17th May, the Guardian newspaper published a possible outline of the culture secretary's priorities according to the Tory and LibDem manifestos. Firstly, both coalition parties support a size and scope reduction of the BBC, including the re-negotiation of the license fee and more scrutiny of BBC finances, as well as a possible replacement of the BBC Trust by another form of external public service regulator. Secondly, regulator Ofcom is likely to partially lose its policy-making powers, but will remain an independent regulator of radio and commercial TV broadcast services, particularly overseeing the new rules introduced by the implementation of the AVMS Directive and the Digital Economy Bill. With regards to commercial TV, both parties support a move to abolish the Contract Rights Removal System (CRR) and deregulate the broadcasting industry.

The Competition Commission, however, suggests that CRR should remain in place, while the TV advertising sales market should be reviewed. Finally, Conservatives support a reform of rules relating to local media enterprises to allow local newspapers to merge and establish cross-platform networks and a relaxation of media ownership rules and revenue raising innovation to encourage commercially viable local TV networks. The LibDems support independently financed local news consortia, which Conservative Culture Secretary Mr Hunt strongly opposes. Hunt's first goal is to work out a plan to save about £66m in his department.

For more information on the manifestos visit:

Conservatives:
http://www.conservatives.com/Policy/Where_we_stand/Culture_Media_and_Sport.aspx

LibDems:
http://issuu.com/libdems/docs/manifesto?mode=embed&layout;=http%3A%2F%2Fskin.issuu.com%2Fv%2Flight%2Flayout.xml&showFlipBtn;=true&proShowMenu;=true&pageNumber;=20

8. Sports and sports rights

8.1 Education, Youth and Culture Council - Ministers to discuss sport for first time

With a new Communication on an EU agenda for Sport in preparation by the Commission, an exchange of views on the implementation of the sport provisions of the Treaty were under discussion at the May meeting of the Education, Youth and Culture Council.

The Treaty states that the European Union shall contribute to the promotion of European sporting issues, while taking account of the specific nature of sport, as well as promoting fairness and openness in competitions and protecting the physical and moral integrity of sportspeople. The first EU Sport Programme will initially run between 2012-2013.

The Ministers of Sport of the European Union unanimously agreed to design a common policy to boost the social role and values of sport and the fight against racism, violence and doping and to supporting a declaration, proposed by Commissioner Vassiliou with five key objectives:

  • Promoting the educational and social function of sport.
  • Supporting sport structures, especially those of volunteers, and ensuring sustainable funding.
  • Promoting values such as the fight against discrimination and xenophobia.
  • Defending the moral and physical integrity of athletes, including the fight against doping
  • Strengthening dialogue and co-operation within the world of sport and its organisations.

Mr Vassiliou is committed to developing a declaration based on these principles, expected for next November, to allow the EU to agree on common policies in these areas in 2011.

At a press conference at the end of the meeting, the Spanish Secretary of State for Sport, Jaime Lissavetzky, who chaired the meeting, stressed the importance of this first Council of Ministers, which shows that "sport now plays in the Champions League of the EU" as an independent issue.

Among the issues addressed by the ministers, Lissavetzky stressed the need for the EU to "carry its own weight within the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA)."

European ministers have agreed to conduct studies and collect data to allow, "not so much the harmonization of laws, but the sharing of experiences and the definition of a common course of conduct," he said.

Lissavetzsky noted that possible points in the fight against doping might be the establishment of closer co-operation with Interpol and pharmaceutical companies to promote fair play.

For her part, Vassiliou expressed her willingness to talk with the commissioner of the Interior, Cecilia Malmstrom, to "sound out if it is the right time to try those who trade in doping substances".

A total budget of €3 million is earmarked for different sport projects addressing doping, social inclusion and volunteering - €1 million for each. The call for proposals will be launched shortly. The call, entitled "supporting the fight against doping in sport in view of protecting the physical and moral integrity of sportsmen and sportswomen," will see five projects receive funding. The aim is to support transnational anti-doping networks in boosting prevention measures that target amateur and fitness sport. Action on "promoting social inclusion in and through sport" will finance five projects focused on the social inclusion of migrants and "persons of foreign origin," as well as inter-cultural dialogue. In the spirit of the upcoming 2011 European Year of Volunteering, a call for proposals on "promoting and supporting volunteering in sport" will fund three cross-border projects. These are expected to encourage exchange of best practice on the legal, fiscal and funding-related challenges faced by actors involved in the management and running of local sport structures. The 2009 call totalled €4 million and focused on health-enhancing physical activity, education and training in sport, gender equality and sport for persons with disabilities.
Special events: A total budget of €8 million is earmarked for supporting the organisation of two special sports events: the 10th biannual European Youth Olympic Winter Festival, which takes place in February 2011 in Liberec (Czech Republic) will be supported with €2 million. A further €6 million is allocated to the European Special Olympics Summer Games in Warsaw in 2010 and the World Special Olympics Summer Games in Athens in 2011.

http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/10/171&format;=HTML&aged;=0&language;=EN&guiLanguage;=en

EU sport report available at: http://ec.europa.eu/sport/news/news925_en.htm

8.2 (and 1.5) British High Court awards copyright protection to football fixtures lists

The British High Court has ruled that lists of football fixtures are protected by copyright law and therefore betting companies and newspapers should pay to use and publish those lists.

The case was brought by the English Premier League and Scottish football league against companies that include the British subsidiary of Yahoo Inc, Brittens Pools and Stan James, the bookmaker over "unlicensed" use of fixture lists.

Ignoring a ruling by the European Court of Justice in 2004 that said that fixture lists could not be protected, the British High Court agreed with the Premier League that the work involved in scheduling of matches warranted protection under database copyright law.

"The process of preparing fixture lists involves very significant labor and skill in satisfying the multitude of often competing requirements of those involved," Judge Christopher Floyd said. "(It is) not mere sweat of the brow, by which I mean the application of rigid criteria to the processing of data.

"The quality of the solution depends in part on the skill of those involved."

On his Telegraph blog, Shane Richmond questions this decision, concerned about "another copyright judgment that backs the idea of copyright as property." He continues: " If the fixture list is the property of the leagues then it does follow that they can licence it. In this context facts are available to all, they are nobody's property and thus not copyrightable. But what about the true purpose of copyright - as an incentive to create? Would the football leagues create fixture lists anyway, even if they had no copyright? Of course they would. They are seeking copyright protection simply so that they can create another revenue stream. It's a cynical use of the rules because publishing fixtures is a way of promoting the leagues' product, which was football the last time I checked. Of course, the leagues would argue that the media benefits commercially from publishing their fixtures but that does not mean that they deserve copyright protection."

Arguably another nail in the coffin for sports rights, Shane continues: "Who would suffer most, I wonder, if the media simply refused to publish fixture lists? What if we just stopped publishing fixtures and instead directed fans the league websites? If the leagues really wanted our readers to know about their fixtures, I'm sure we would offer very reasonable advertising rates."

Full blog can be read at:
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/technology/shanerichmond/100005087/why-do-football-fixtures-deserve-copyright-protection/

8.3 Coca-Cola becomes official partner of Football leagues

Coca-Cola Great Britain is to become the official partner of the Football League and the Scottish Premier League in two separate three year partnerships.

9. Public funding

9.1 New guide to EU public funding launched

A new EU database called KORDA has been launched as a guide to public funding for the film and audiovisual sector in Europe.

The guide lists funds and funding schemes, profiles of funding bodies based in Europe and details of types of projects and eligibility information.

Programmes providing support for scriptwriters, directors, producers, distributors, sales agents and exhibitors are included in KORDA.

KORDA is now available to use, although work is still ongoing to enter the 170 different public funding bodies for film and television works in Europe, running in excess of 600 different funding programmes, into the database.

http://korda.obs.coe.int/korda.php/organisation/indexType1/id/10

10. Advertising and labelling

10.1 New labelling laws proposed

The European Parliament is proposing that country of origin "Made in" labels should become compulsory for clothes sold in Europe.

MEPs have taken advantage of work on a technical proposal drafted by the Commission aimed at speeding up the process to get new fibres onto the market and used the opportunity to call for obligatory country of origin labelling.

MEPs will ask the Commission to table a report within two years, and if necessary a proposal for legislation to impose the new labelling requirements EU-wide. The report would consider harmonisation of care labelling, clothes and footwear sizes and health and safety warnings.

10.2 Energy labelling directive adopted - EPC disappointed

The EPC regrets the decision to include the requirement for the new energy labelling to be displayed on all advertisements, whilst the European Parliamentary Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats has welcomed the adoption of the energy labelling directive that must be implemented by member states by 2011.

The MEPs say: "Forming part of the Energy Efficiency Package, the Directive - together with the legislation on the energy performance of buildings and on the labelling of tyres - has a crucial role to play not only regarding the fight against climate change, but also vis à vis the transition of EU to an efficient, sustainable and competitive economy, and the strengthening of Europe's energy security."

The goal of the recast Directive is to "extend the scope of the current Directive 92/75/EEC, restricted to household appliances, to allow for the labelling of all energy related products including the household, commercial and industrial sectors and some non-energy using products."

The labelling will still be based on the current A-G scale but now there will be three additional classes. Those additional classes will be A+, A++, and A+++ for the most efficient class. Any advert mentioning the energy consumption or price of a specific model of household appliance will have to show the product's energy class.

Similar provisions will apply to any technical promotional literature such as manuals and manufacturers' brochures, whether printed or available on the internet.

More specifically, according to the Article 4 on Information requirements, the Member States shall ensure that:

(a) information relating to the consumption of electric energy, other forms of energy and where relevant other essential resources during use, and supplementary information is, in accordance with delegated acts under this Directive, brought to the attention of end-users by means of a fiche and a label related to products offered for sale, hire, hire-purchase or displayed to end-users directly or indirectly by any means of distance selling, including the internet;

(d) any technical promotional material concerning energy-related products which describes the specific technical parameters of a product, namely, technical manuals and manufacturers' brochures, whether printed or online, is provided to end-users with the necessary information regarding energy consumption or shall include a reference to the energy efficiency class of the product.

10.3 WHO adopts alcohol strategy

The World Health Organisation has adopted its long-awaited global strategy on alcohol concluding that there is evidence to show that marketing has an impact on the introduction of alcohol consumption to young people.

The strategy document outlines guidelines and policy recommendations.

On marketing, it says:

  • Reducing the impact of marketing is an important consideration in reducing harmful use of alcohol. Consideration must be given to the content and quantity of alcohol marketing to which young people are exposed.
  • A precautionary approach should be applied for marketing.
  • The strategy mentions "young people" who should be protected from marketing. There is no definition of young people.
  • It pays special attention to new marketing techniques: "Alcohol is marketed through increasingly sophisticated advertising and promotion techniques, including linking alcohol brands to sports and cultural activities, sponsorships and product placements, and new marketing techniques such as e-mails, SMS and podcasting, social media and other communication techniques.
  • It also stresses the problem of cross-border marketing, particularly advertising on satellite TV and Internet.
  • The global strategy also proposes the setting up of regulatory or co-regulatory frameworks, preferably with a legislative basis, supported when appropriate by self-regulatory measures.

Also within the document of interest:

Regulating direct or indirect marketing in certain or all media;
Regulating sponsorship activities that promote alcoholic beverages;
Restricting or banning promotions in connection with activities targeting young people;
Regulating new forms of alcohol marketing techniques, such as the use of social media;
Development by public agencies or independent bodies of effective systems of surveillance of marketing of alcohol products.

The global strategy suggests setting up effective administrative and deterrence systems for monitoring and infringements on marketing restrictions. It proposes banning or restricting the use of price promotions, discounts sales, flat rates and other types of promotional offers.

Importantly, an annex to the strategy on evidence for the proposed policies, says that "A growing volume of evidence from longitudinal youth studies points to an impact of various forms of alcohol marketing on initiation of youth drinking and riskier patterns of youth drinking. Some results remain contested, in part owing to methodological difficulties. To be effective, systems to regulate marketing need sufficient incentives to succeed; in general, regulatory frameworks are most active where pressure from the government is greatest, and can only work as long as there is provision for third-party review of complaints about violations. Sanctions and the threat of sanctions are needed to ensure compliance."

Policy options in the area of health services' responses, community actions, drink-driving policies, availability of alcohol, pricing policies, reducing the negative consequences of drinking and alcohol intoxication, reducing the impact of illicit alcohol and informally produced alcohol are also proposed including the suggestion that retail sales to licensed stores or national monopolies should be restricted and on-premise and off-premise outlets should be regulated. Minimum prices for alcohol where applicable and special taxation regimes are also suggested.

To read the full document, go to:
http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA63/A63_13-en.pdf

10.4 WHO adopts recommendations on Food Marketing to Children

The World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted on May 20th the WHO Recommendations, already endorsed by the WHO Executive Board in January 2010, with no significant changes.

Summary of some of the key points:

Member states are given the objective of reducing the impact on children of marketing of high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) foods both in qualitative and quantitative ways ("power" and "exposure") (RECS 1&2)
Governments need clear definitions for:
"high fat/sugar/salt" (HFSS) foods,
the age of a child,
communications channels, etc. (REC 4)

Member states are presented with different options for how they should achieve the objectives. It is important that there are provisions for regulatory and self-regulatory/voluntary approaches (PARA 22 & REC 7)
Governments should take the lead in setting policy but are encouraged to engage with other stakeholders (while bearing in mind potential "conflicts of interest"). Multi--stakeholder platforms are advocated for implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policy. (REC 6)
Monitoring and enforcement mechanisms are essential (RECS 9, 10) as well as a mechanism by which the impact of the policy can be evaluated (REC 11)

The WHO Recommendations will serve as guidance to governments worldwide for the development of national policies on food marketing to children. The adoption of the Recommendations is likely to increase focus on the issue in a number of markets worldwide.

Alongside the Recommendations, the WHA also adopted a resolution tabled by Norway, which strengthens the status of the Recommendations. In particular, the Norwegian Resolution states that the WHA "endorses", rather than simply "notes", the Recommendations. It also urges Member States to:

  • Take the necessary measures to implement the recommendations on the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children;
  • Establish a system for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the recommendations on the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children;
  • Take active steps to establish intergovernmental collaboration in order to reduce the impact of cross-border marketing;
  • Cooperate with civil society and with public and private stakeholders in implementing the set of recommendations to reduce the impact of marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children, while ensuring avoidance of potential conflicts of interest;

The text of the recommendation, with the accompanying Resolution, is available at: http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA63/A63_12-en.pdf

11. Telecoms

11.1 Report calls for work to close the digital divide

A report by the Telecom Austria Group claims that the gap in access to high-speed internet between east and west Europe is widening and calls for "enhanced efforts" to close this gap by 2013 (the target set in the EU's 2020 strategy).

To read the report, go to: http://www.telekomaustria.com/suche/index-en.php?category=TA_HOLDING&query;=digital+divide&submit;

12. Internet Governance

12.1 China sparks fears of government-controlled internet

The Chinese government has renewed pressure for the system that manages the allocation of domain names on the internet to be controlled by the UN.

The USA, UK and other European countries are resisting these calls which they see as an attempt to transform the current voluntary system into an inter-governmentally controlled Internet, risking the transformation of a generally free internet to a state controlled activity. Currently the domain naming system is handled by a stakeholder group - the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) whose mandate was established at the World Summit on Information Society in November 2005. This mandate expires at the end of this year, hence the renewed pressure.

A comprehensive briefing paper from the UK Government is available on request.

13. Other news

13.1 Commission and Parliament relaunch work towards a common register and code of conduct for lobbyists

The European Commission and European Parliament have relaunched talks aimed at establishing a joint register and code of conduct for lobbyists. The EPC, already a signatory to the Commission register, is entirely comfortable with the idea of a joint register.

At the initiative of Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič and Mrs Diana Wallis, the high level working group, launched during the previous parliamentary legislature and Commission, will now resume its work with the intention of completing negotiations on the common register as early as possible, after reporting back to both institutions.

"We are very pleased with the progress we have made with the Commission register since it was established in 2008," commented Vice President Šefčovič. "We already have some 2,700 organisations which have signed up. But now I want to take things to the next stage with a joint register with the Parliament. I look forward to fruitful discussions with Mrs Wallis and her team over the coming months."

"The Parliament looks forward to restarting negotiations with the Commission and to establishing the common register," said Diana Wallis, Vice President of the European Parliament. "It is plainly in the interest of our European citizens that we work together to make this system as transparent as possible, and that we chart lobbyists that try to influence EU policy decisions at every stage in the process."

With the opening of the register of interest representatives in June 2008, transparency and access for citizens to information about organisations engaged in advocacy and lobbying activities reached an unprecedented level1. This process is now intended to go one step further with a joint initiative by the Parliament and the Commission

Work will now concentrate on the administrative and technical issues that will need to be resolved, including for example the complaint and sanction mechanism.

13.2 How the EU measures up to its Lisbon goals

In its fifth and final Lisbon Review 2010, the World Economic Forum asserts that Sweden remains the most competitive economy as measured by the European Union's (EU) own competition benchmark, the Lisbon criteria, followed by Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands.

The report assesses the performance of the 27 EU members as well as the performance of EU candidate countries.

"In 2000, the EU set for itself an ambitious action and development plan with the Lisbon Agenda. As this Review indicates, while some progress has been made, much remains to be achieved in order to fully harness Europe's economic potential. As Europe and the world emerge from the most significant economic crisis in a half-century, accelerating the reform process articulated through efforts such as the new Europe 2020 Strategy will be critical for ensuring that the region gets back to growth," said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

The Nordic countries:

Strong performers in innovation, adoption of new technologies, high spend on R&D, collaboration between universities and private sector in research, high level of social inclusion, low unemployment, strong participation of women in the workforce, highly-skilled workforces (good educational systems and strong on-the-job training programmes).

The Netherlands scores well for its information society and liberalisation and Germany and France are strong in network industries.

The UK has fallen from 1st to 11th place in financial services.

Estonia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic rank ahead of many EU members in reaching their Lisbon goals.

Croatia and Montenegro outperform the four lowest-ranked EU Members - Poland, Italy, Romania and Bulgaria - and Turkey and Macedonia outperform Bulgaria.

The Lisbon Review 2010 measures the following:

1. Creating an information society for all;

2. Developing a European area for innovation and R&D;

3. Liberalization (completing the Single Market; state aid and competition policy);

4. Building network industries;

5. Creating efficient and integrated financial services;

6. Improving the enterprise environment;

7. Increasing social inclusion;

8. Enhancing sustainable development

http://www.egovmonitor.com/node/36286

13.3 Google launches online e-book store

Google is set to launch its own online e-book store in 2010.

Unlike Amazon's Kindle, this Google's e-Editions will not be attached to a specific device with books readable on any web-enabled device.

12 million books have apparently already been scanned by Google - both in-and out-of print books.

Meanwhile, a ruling on the Google book deal, thought unlikely to affect the launch of eEditions, is due soon.

However, a survey of 13,000 internet users in 14 different countries conducted by The Boston Consulting Group concludes that tablet computers and electronic readers will only become as popular as digital music players if prices drop significantly.

13.4 Big record labels win LimeWire copyright case

LimeWire, makers of file-sharing software, has been found guilty of engaging in unfair competition and of infringement of copyright by a US judge in a case brought by 13 record companies.

In her ruling, Judge Wood wrote: "The evidence demonstrates that Lime Wire optimized LimeWire's features to ensure that users can download digital recordings, the majority of which are protected by copyright, and that Lime Wire assisted users in committing infringement,"

The accusers were: Arista, Atlantic, BMG Music, Capital, Elektra, Interscope, LaFace, Motown, Priority, Sony BMG, UMG, Virgin and Warner Brothers.

In a press statement, Mitch Bainwol, chief executive of The Recording Industry of Association of America, a trade group representing the labels, said: "The court's decision is an important milestone in the creative community's fight to reclaim the Internet as a platform for legitimate commerce. The court has sent a clear signal to those who think they can devise and profit from a piracy scheme that will escape accountability."

To read the RIAA press release, go to: http://www.riaa.com/newsitem.php?id=B78C8571-0E8D-5861-27C6-4D2178AEB7D1

13.5 Advertising industry not responding to change, warns Google

Nikesh Arora, Google's president of global sales has said that global online advertising will increase by up to 50% over the next five years and warned the advertising industry that it was failing to turn technological advances to their advantage.

In an interview in the Daily Telegraph ahead of an industry conference in the UK, Mr Arora said. "The internet has two attributes which are way different [for advertisers]. One is the ability to engage with the ad. That ability to engage with the consumer is not fully understood by the advertising industry. The second aspect is the ability to personalise - instead of showing one ad in the middle of the Superbowl, I can show 16 different segmented ads to 16 different sets of people. That gives personalisation and makes me feel a little more related to you. There is a big gap between what businesses need to do and what they are doing so far."

13.6 BEUC publishes reflection paper on E-Commerce

Published on 6th May, the paper states that the various national approaches to copyright pose one of the major barriers of the EU internal market for e-commerce. Consumers are met with many obstacles when seeking to buy content online, especially cross-border. At the same time the lack of harmonized rules deter businesses / commercial users from offering their content across Europe.

For the full paper visit:
http://www.beuc.eu/BEUCNoFrame/Docs/2/COIAOGNAHDBKMHKAGJMBKANIPDWD9DBY2N9DW3571KM/BEUC/docs/DLS/2010-00256-01-E.pdf

13.7 Update on the Working Time Directive

On 27th April, Commissioner Andor replied to a written question by Christensen MEP on the reasoning behind the "outdated derogations" from the Working Time Directive for workers in press, radio, TV and film production. Mr. Andor stated, that such derogations provide for a fixed compensatory rest and are necessary for the continuity of service or production. He further pointed to the current consultation on reviewing the Working Time Directive to adapt it to modern developments.

To see the full Q&A visit:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=0&language;=EN&type;=WQ&reference;=E-2010-19000

For more information on the Working Time Directive visit:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32003L0088:EN:HTML

Meanwhile, in the UK Government Coalition agreement between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, the Working Time Directive gets a mention under the section "Relations with Europe":

We agree that the British Government will be a positive participant in the European Union, playing a strong and positive role with our partners, with the goal of ensuring that all the nations of Europe are equipped to face the challenges of the 21st century: global competitiveness, global warming and global poverty.

We agree that there should be no further transfer of sovereignty or powers over the course of the next Parliament. We will examine the balance of the EU's existing competences and will, in particular, work to limit the application of the Working Time Directive in the United Kingdom.

The full work programme:

http://www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/groups/dg_digitalassets/@dg/@en/documents/digitalasset/dg_187876.pdf

13.8 US: Google launches television service

On 20th May, Google launched Google TV and announced its plans to launch a free of charge service combining Google Search, applications, a web browser and television programming through a set-top box or integrated TV. The move is supported by collaborations with Adobe, Intel, Logitech, Sony and other, all providing new equipment, technology or applications for the service.

For more information visit: http://www.google.com/tv/

13.9 Expert group seeks to improve contract law

On 21st May, the first meeting was held of the "expert group on a Common Frame of Reference for European contract law", made up of 18 contract law experts, lawyers, consumer and business representatives, with a remit to propose ways to simplify contract law. The group also aims to establish legal certainty in cross-border trading and shopping and transform a recent Draft Common Frame of Reference into a comprehensive form. A public consultation, to run until January 2011, is also due this summer.

For more information and a full list of group members' visit:
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/10/595&format;=HTML&aged;=0&language;=EN&guiLanguage;=en