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Francisco Pinto Balsemão
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Tel: +351 21 392 9782
Fax: +351 21 392 9788
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c/o Europe Analytica
26 Avenue Livingstone
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B-1000 Brussels
Tel: +322 231 1299
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Heidi Lambert Communications
Tel:  +44 1245 476 265
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EPC news - September 2002

The monthly update on EU media issues



Market abuse

New concerns raised for financial journalists

The Parliament will debate the Council’s Common Position on the Market Abuse directive later this month amid new concerns from media organisations that financial journalists will be inadequately protected.

Click here for the latest text of the Common Position.


April's newsletter reported the EPC as relatively happy at the new wording which carved out an element of protection for journalists, recognising the special nature of the media.  Since then, the Committee of European Securities regulators (CESR) has produced a paper on the implementation of the directive which clearly implicates journalists

Click here for the CESR paper.


The EPC has written a letter jointly with other media organisations to EP Rapporteur Robert Goebbels, MEP to express the concern that the article in question (now 6(5), previously art 6(4)) now extends fair presentation and public disclosure obligations to financial journalists.

Click here for the EPC letter.


If implemented, the CESR proposals would subject financial journalism to new intrusive and unworkable regulation, effectively replacing existing self-regulatory regimes operating successfully in member states over many years.

Media organisations are calling for the following wording to be added to the current text of the article: "This article shall not apply to journalists when they act in their professional capacity".

The European Parliament must submit a response to the CESR paper before the end of September.

Second Reading debates begin this month

Click here for the Market Abuse fact sheet.


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Sales promotion

Unhelpful wording remains after EP First Reading

The European Parliament’s report on the Sales Promotion Regulation was adopted on 4 September with wording which allows the possibility for member states and national regulators to limit the prize value of sales promotions as well as the insistence that promoters must "provide sufficient information for any participant in the promotion to understand the likely chance of winning".

The EPC and other newspaper organisations have pointed out that it can be impossible to provide odds for winning when the number of participants is not known in advance.

Click here for Sales Promotion First Reading text.

Click here for EPC letter to MEPs.

Next step: The EPC will now be presenting its arguments against the current wording to the Council Working Group.

Click here for fact-sheet on sales promotions.


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Data protection

EPC highlights problems to date as directive goes under review

The EPC has submitted its comments to the European Commission in advance of the review of the Data Protection directive 1995/46/EC calling on the Commission to grant further exemptions to journalists in order to restore freedom of expression, increase consistency in rules across the EU and to restore journalists' rights to seek out personal information without prior consent without fear of prosecution.

Click here for the Data Protection directive.

Click here for the EPC submission to the European Commission.

Other issues raised are the pressures on publishers  to make decisions on data privacy based on unclear definitions, the difficulty in obtaining explicit consent and the conflict between data protection rules and the protection of journalistic sources.  A recent court case in the UK decided that an exemption to data protection rules for journalists only applied before publication - once publication has taken place, the publisher and journalist must comply with all the provisions of the Act.

A Commission conference on the revision takes place 30 September - 1 October  in Brussels as part of the consultation process.


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Commissioner liaises with EASA on alcohol advertising

Health and Consumer Affairs Commission David Byrne has invited the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) to help to agree an agenda for a meeting of CEOs in the alcohol and advertising industries scheduled for 16 November. The objective of the meeting is to discuss the future of self-regulation in the industry. The conclusions of the meeting will be reported in the November edition of EPC News.


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Danes put TV Without Frontiers back on agenda

The Danish Presidency has declared an interest in moving forward the debate on TV Without Frontiers.  A Presidency report entitled "Fundamental Principles and Challenges" looks at the technological progress in the Audiovisual sector and moots the idea of a content directive. Members of the Council Working Group have repeatedly asked the Commission to deal with new forms of advertising and are urging the speedy production of a work programme for the review.

Email us for a copy of the Danish Presidency discussion paper.

Click here for the TV Without Frontiers fact sheet.


EP calls for digital TV action plan

A motion adopted by the European Parliament’s Culture Committee on 10 September makes the successful adoption of digital TV a top priority on the political agenda.

The Commission will be asked to produce an Action Plan outlining measures to be taken to encourage the use of a single European standard for digital TV. The motion suggests that the Action Plan should include proposals for interoperability, freedom of choice for users and an open standard. The Plan would be integrated into the TV Without Frontiers work programme.


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'European Copyright Revisited' Conference

Two hundred and fifty delegates from industry, national governments, the Commission, international organisations and individual rights holders met in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, in June to discuss the issue of copyright in Europe.

Among the issues under discussion were:

  • Harmonisation of moral rights
    Individual rights holders were keen for harmonisation because they view moral rights as economic rights. They cited pan-European differences in treatment of this issue as a reason for the Commission to do this. EPC’s view is that the Commission may seek to tie harmonisation of moral rights into initiatives on rights management or contracts.
  • Harmonisation of copyright contracts
    This action to base harmonisation on the new German copyright laws (see EPC News May edition) was well-received by academics and rights holders alike. The EPC questioned the Commission’s competence in this area.
  • Rights Management
    The Commission confirmed that it was working on a Communication which will examine the full range of rights management which could lead to a Directive. Separate work is ongoing at ISO and CEN levels in terms of standards for digital rights management.
  • Implementation of the Copyright in the Information Society Directive
    The Commission made it clear that there should be no discussion of this directive as implementation was not due until the end of the year. Nevertheless, many expressed frustration over the long list of exceptions in article 5 which they felt would lead to a distinct lack of real harmonisation.

The EPC Copyright working group will be convened in the Autumn to address the rising number of copyright issues of importance to publishers.

Rightsholders Coalition

As a member of the Rightsholders’ Coalition, the EPC signed a letter which was presented at the Santiago conference. The Rightholders’ Coalition brings together over 30 associations representing the European creative sector. The group sent the letter to encourage the Commission to take a strong stance against piracy. It stressed the need for the following measures:

  • deterrent civil sanctions and criminal penalties
  • reasonable presumption of the ownership of copyright and subsistence of copyright
  • provisional measures to seize and preserve evidence of piracy
  • a "right of information" clause for rights holders against infringers
  • compulsory use of identifier codes on optical discs

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Commission ebusiness consultation - significant market power and relevant markets

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the state of certain markets in the electronic communications sector which it hopes will shape a new regulatory framework to be applied by national regulatory authorities from July 2003.  Of particular interest to EPC is the work on definitions of relevant markets and how these will be used to assess significant market power.

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

The public consultation will last for a month.

Click here to read the consultation document.


European Multimedia Forum conference

EPC attended the EMF annual conference in June which focused on e-business in Europe and examined policy initiatives which would support its further development. This included a presentation on research and development programmes in e-commerce supported by the Commission’s 6 th Framework programme.

Delegates examined the development of a single European market for e-business and the possibility of removing restrictions on sales promotions. How to protect intellectual property online was the subject of much debate.

A full report of the proceedings is available from EPC.

Click here to request the report.


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Internet regulation

European Database Directive

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

NautaDutilh has organised a twofold consultation process with national authorities and interested parties about their practical experiences with the Database Directive.

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


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Tobacco advertising

In June the Commission adopted a proposal for a Council Recommendation on the "Prevention of Smoking and on Initiatives to Improve Tobacco Control".

The proposal specifically addresses a series of measures that will complement EU law in place. These include reducing the availability of tobacco products to children and adolescents; reducing the indiscriminate promotion of tobacco products; monitoring the promotion activities of the tobacco industry and improving the protection of non-smokers from the effects of passive smoking.

As well as measures which will impose restrictions at point of sale, the recommendation calls on Member States to work to ensure that certain forms of advertising and promotion for tobacco products do not reach children and adolescents. The list of measures includes limiting the use of tobacco brand names on non-tobacco merchandises, clothes or services; the distribution of promotional items; the use of outdoor billboards and posters and the use of cinema advertising.

The Commission proposal will be presented to Health Ministers at their next Council meeting in November.


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Audio-visual and general media policy

New forms of Advertising Study

The report on new advertising techniques in the context of the TVWF Directive, cited by Mme Reding in a recent speech was released this month.

The report highlights the risk of legal disputes due to the age of the original Directive, which was adopted in 1989 - long before the internet and digital TV were used as commercial channels.

The report states that guidelines on how to interpret the existing Directive would be the best approach to the problem, rather than the creation of new legislation. As Mme Reding stated, the Commission will be reviewing this and two other studies as part of its 2002/3 work programme.

The report is available, in French only for now, on the Commission web site.

Click here for the report.


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For more information on any of the following issues, contact Heidi Lambert Communications Tel: +44 1245 476 265.

Internet regulation
Market abuse
Tobacco advertising
Children's advertising
Jurisdiction and applicable law
Duty to trade fairly
Sales promotion


Angela Mills, Director of  EPC: Tel: +32 2 231 1299 (Brussels) or +44 1865 310 732 (UK)

Heidi Lambert Communications: Tel: +44 1245 476 265


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