Licences for Europe stakeholder dialogue – Frequently Asked Questions

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European Commission


Brussels, 13 November 2013

Licences for Europe stakeholder dialogue – Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Licences for Europe and why was it launched?

Licences for Europe is a stakeholder dialogue in the area of digital content launched by the European Commission in February this year following its December 2012 Communication on "Content in the Digital Single Market" (see IP/12/1394).

Its objective is to foster practical industry-led initiatives to bring more copyright-protected content online in the Digital Single Market. Work focussed on four areas where rapid progress is needed and possible:

(i) cross-border access and portability of services,

(ii) user-generated content and micro-licensing

(iii) audiovisual cultural heritage and

(iv) text and data mining.

The stakeholders participating in the dialogue met during three plenary sessions and more than thirty working group meetings over a period of ten months. The results of the dialogue were presented at today's final plenary meeting.

  1. Who were the participants in the stakeholder dialogue?

Participants included representatives from interested parties such as consumer and digital rights organisations, IT and technology companies, internet service providers, film heritage institutions, broadcasters, public libraries, authors, producers, performers, and other copyright rightholders in the audiovisual, music, publishing and video game industries.

Lists of participants in the four working groups are available on the Licences for Europe website:

  1. What was the Commission’s role in this stakeholder dialogue?

The Commission presented a problem-analysis of current licensing issues, and to emphasise the need for a less polarised debate, brokered the stakeholder dialogue. This included acting as a facilitator, organising the meetings and chairing the four working groups and the plenary sessions. Responsibility for and ownership of the solutions presented today remain with the different stakeholders who participated in the dialogue.

  1. What are the main results of the dialogue?

The most tangible results of Licences for Europe are a range of industry initiatives, stakeholder commitments and roadmaps for further action in all four areas covered by the dialogue which were presented at the final plenary meeting (see Annex).

While all the initiatives are the result of (or are directly linked to) work in the four working groups, their nature and the range of stakeholders subscribing to them is different for each. Presentation of these commitments does not imply that all parties in Licences for Europe have agreed to all commitments.

By way of illustration, some results consist of agreements between copyright rightholders and users (for example audiovisual industry and film heritage institutions agreeing on common principles for the digitisation of catalogued European films). Others are contributions made by different industry representatives (such as the audiovisual industry statement on cross-border portability); as well as concrete industry offers such as micro-licensing mechanisms for music on websites and a model clause backed by a web-based mining hub for text and data mining.

Discussions in each Licences for Europe working group have revealed that new services and licensing solutions are being rolled out at an ever-increasing pace to bring more online content to European consumers and users. For example working group discussions have shown that cross-border portability is already and increasingly a reality for some music and e-books, newspaper/magazine services, and that industry is accelerating the development of “one-click” licensing solutions for small-scale uses and users.

Two groups – User generated content and Text and data mining – did not reach consensus among stakeholders on either the problems to be addressed or the results. However the discussions provided useful insights into the issues at stake and some understanding of the positions of different stakeholders. At the same time, concrete pledges, expected to make a difference in online users' life, were presented in these areas too.

  1. Where can I find more information?

All relevant material (agendas, conclusions, presentations of the four working groups and the plenary meetings) has been published and is available online on the Commission Licences for Europe website. Supporting documents on each of the initiatives presented at the final plenary are also published online on the same website.

  1. What are the next steps on Licences for Europe?

The Licences for Europe dialogue itself finished with the final plenary meeting. However, the Commission intends to monitor the commitments made by stakeholders in the context of the dialogue. Industry has been invited to report on the state of implementation of the solutions identified in Licences for Europe. The Commission will follow up more specifically on some of those initiatives, such as the agreement to carry out ad hoc dialogue on broadcasting archives where further work will have to be carried out as a result of Licences for Europe. In all cases, the Commission will continue to provide information on the state of implementation of the different initiatives (for example, the Commission intends to regularly publish online a list of online services offering cross-border portability).

  1. What are the next steps on the copyright review?

As announced in the 18 December 2012 Communication on “content in the digital single market” (IP/12/1394), Licences for Europe was one of the two parallel tracks of action the Commission undertook to take until the end of this term of office to ensure that EU’s copyright framework stays fit for purpose in the digital environment.

Therefore, in parallel to Licences for Europe, the Commission is carrying out a review of the EU Copyright legal framework with a view to a decision whether to table legislative reform proposals in spring 2014. As indicated in the Commission work programme for 2014 the Commission is working on an Impact Assessment and in this context will shortly launch a public consultation on the on-going review. The knowledge obtained during the Licences for Europe dialogue constitutes valuable input.


Licences for Europe

Ten pledges to bring more content online

The "Licences for Europe" stakeholder dialogue was launched by the Commission in February this year following its 18 December 2012 Communication on "Content in the Digital Single Market". The Communication set out two parallel tracks of action: on one hand, to complete its on-going effort to review and to modernise the EU copyright legislative framework; while on the other, to facilitate practical industry-led solutions to issues on which rapid progress was deemed necessary and possible.

The dialogue was held under the joint responsibility of Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier, Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes and Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou. It was organised into four thematic working groups: Cross border access and portability of services; User generated content and micro-licensing; Audiovisual Heritage; and Text and Data Mining.

Pledges have been made by stakeholders in all four working groups. They have either been agreed by copyright holders across different sectors, on a case-by-case basis with representatives as varied as Film Heritage Institutions, retailers, and broadcasters; or they constitute plurilateral commitments on the part of an industry sector. They cover, variously, the music, print and audio-visual sectors. Taken together, the Commission expects that these pledges are a further step in making the user environment easier in many different situations.

Two groups – User generated content and Text and data mining – did not reach consensus among stakeholders on either the problems to be addressed or the results. However the discussions provided useful insights into the issues at stake and some understanding of the positions of different stakeholders. At the same time, concrete pledges, expected to make a difference in online users' life, were presented in these areas too.

This document summarises "Ten pledges to bring more content online" that are the outcome of the "Licences for Europe" stakeholder dialogue. These pledges are without prejudice to the possible need for public policy action, including legislative reform.

The Commission will monitor the implementation of the "Licences for Europe" pledges so that they bring real value added in practical terms. The Commission expects the partners involved to implement these pledges fully and without delay.

In parallel, the Commission will complete, by spring 2014, its on-going review of the EU Copyright framework with a view to a decision whether to table legislative reform proposals. The pledges outlined above and the discussions, including in the areas where no stakeholder consensus emerged, will feed into the review process. A public consultation will be launched in the near future in the context of the review. This will provide a further occasion for all voices to be heard in the debate, and help focus the discussion on the wider set of issues being addressed in the review process.

1. Cross-border portability of subscription services: joint statement by the audio-visual industry.

Today, subscribers to audio-visual services online, e.g. consumers watching movies via an Internet service provider or web-store, are often denied access to services legally bought in their own EU country when they cross national borders.

This will change:

Representatives of the audio-visual sector have issued a statement affirming their willingness to continue to work towards the further development of cross-border portability. Consumers will increasingly be able to watch films, TV programmes and other audio-visual content for which they have subscribed to at home, when travelling in the EU on business or holidays. This is already largely the case with music, e-books, magazines and newspapers.

[Signatories: Association of Commercial Television (ACT), European Coordination of Independent producers (CEPI), Europa Distribution, EUROVOD, Federation of European Film Directors (FERA), International Federation of Film Distributors Associations (FIAD), International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF), Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), International Video Federation (IVF), Motion Picture Association (MPA), Sports Rights Owners Coalition (SROC), Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA)]

2. Improved availability of e-books across borders and across devices: a Roadmap by the e-book sector.

Despite progress consumers are often still not able to transfer their e-book content from one device to another due to different e-book formats and other restrictions. Nor can they easily find online offers in particular from smaller market players.

This will change:

Publishers, booksellers and authors will continue promoting cross-border access, interoperability and discoverability of e-books through several initiatives, such as ePub, an open standard format that will make it possible to read e-books across different devices. As a result, you will increasingly be able to access your e-books online anywhere and from any device, provided your retailer works with interoperable formats.

[Signatories: European Writers Council (EWC), European Booksellers Federation (EBF), International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM), Federation of European Publishers (FEP), European Publishers Council (EPC)]

3. Easier licensing for music: commitments by the music sector.

Use (and re-use) of music on major platforms is largely covered by blanket licence agreements between producers, publishers, authors’ collecting societies and those platforms. Small businesses or individuals who want a licence for e.g. the use of background music on their website may have difficulties to acquire the necessary licences.

This will change:

Record producers offer a new pan-European licence enabling background music on websites. For authors and publishers, their collective rights management societies have committed to spreading best practice on existing licensing schemes. This will make small-scale licences available in all EU countries, e.g. for background music on websites and small-scale web/podcasting.

[Initiatives by International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers (GESAC)]

4. Easier access to print and images: a toolkit by the print industry.

Today, users do not always know what they can or cannot do with a text or picture, and if and how they can get a licence.

This will change:

A range of new licensing solutions will allow all users (from businesses to individuals) to know what they are able to do with text and images and seek permission through streamlined licensing solutions if needed. This includes the identification of rights holders, information to users about licensing and licensing conditions, and easy pay-per-use payment systems.

[Signatories: European Publishers Council (EPC), European Visual Artists (EVA), European Writers' Council (EWC), Federation of European Photographers (FEP), International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM)]

5. Enabling the identification of your work and rights online: an industry roadmap.

Web self-publishers, such as creators posting their new songs or videos online, are protected by copyright. Yet, often they cannot (easily) obtain identifiers for their works, or licences for re-using existing content, preventing them from monetising their works or stopping infringements of their rights, if they wish.

This will change:

Creators – "self-publishers" – will be able to attach a machine-readable identification to their content, in order to facilitate claims and acknowledgement of authorship and associated rights. This will make it easier to use (and re-use) content. Through more national and regional “hub” websites, like the new industry-led Copyright Hub in the UK, industry will accelerate the development of an efficient market helping users to get the licences they need.

[The Web Content Declaration (WCD) has developed out of the Linked Content Coalition (LCC) - an industry alliance aiming to facilitate licensing through the enhanced exchange of rights information (information about the right owner and the licence conditions)]

6. More active reader involvement in the online press: a declaration on improving the user experience.

In the digital environment, an increasing number of newspapers and magazines are encouraging dynamic interaction between users and press publishers.

This will change:

Press publishers will engage with readers to improve user experience, including via the uptake of User Generated Content (UGC) in their online publications and services. This will include improving information about what users can do with press publishers’ content and what press publishers can do with users’ content, including on how to better identify and protect content, as well as education, awareness-raising and sharing best practices across the sector.

[Signatories: European Magazine Media Association (EMMA), European Newspaper Publishers' Association (ENPA), European Publishers Council (EPC)]

7. More heritage films online: an agreement on principles and procedures.

Film heritage institutions struggle to fund the digitisation of European heritage films, and to clear authorisations with rightholders. European cinematographic heritage that would otherwise be accessible to citizens is left on the shelf.

This will change:

Film heritage institutions and film producers now have a clear agreement on how to go about digitising, restoring and making available European film heritage. This includes approaches for sharing the costs of digitisation and remuneration. It will enable film heritage institutions to free up valuable European films stored in their archives while guaranteeing the rightholders an appropriate share of the rewards.

[Signatories: Association des Cinémathèques Européennes (ACE), Federation of European Film Directors (FERA), International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF), Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA)]

8. Freeing up TV footage archives through digitisation: discussions between public broadcasters and rightholders.

Public service broadcasters have archives comprising millions of hours of TV footage. Clearing the rights with the myriad of rightholders today makes the use of such material expensive and time-consuming.

This will change:

Broadcasters and rightholders have for the first time agreed to find solutions for the digitisation and making available of broadcasters’ TV footage archives.

[Signatories: European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA) not excluding dialogue with other relevant parties.]

9. Improving identification and discoverability of audio-visual content online: a declaration by the audio-visual industry.

Some European audio-visual producers have been slow to adopt interoperable identifiers for their productions. This, and a lack of interoperability between the standards available in the marketplace (ISAN and EIDR), has made rights management, including licensing and remuneration, difficult. This puts a brake on the availability of content online.

This will change:

The declaration represents, for the first time, broad support for international, standard audio-visual work identifiers from across a wide spectrum of actors in the European sector. Making current standards interoperable and using them widely will help to take audio-visual works out of the digital 'black hole' and streamline their distribution and discoverability.

[Signatories: Société civile pour l'Administration des Droits des Artistes et Musiciens Interprètes (Adami), British Film Institute (BFI), European Coordination of Independent producers (CEPI), European Association of Regional Film Funds (CineRegio), Entertainment Identifier Registry (EIDR), Eurocinema, European Organisation of Movie and Television Producers’ Collecting Societies (EuroCopya), European Film Promotion (EFP), Federation of European Film Directors (FERA), International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF), Institut National de l'Audiovisuel (INA), ISAN International Agency (ISAN-IA), Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA)]

10. Easier text and data mining of subscription-based material for non-commercial researchers: a commitment by scientific publishers.

Researchers are increasingly keen to engage in text and data mining, i.e. the automated 'scanning' of text or datasets in search of e.g. new significant correlations or recurrences. Even when researchers have a subscription to scientific and other publications, it is not clear that they will be able to mine them in the absence of a specific authorisation from publishers. In addition, researchers sometimes face technical problems to mine text or data.

This will change:

Scientific publishers have proposed a licensing clause for subscription-based material as a solution, further supported by the necessary technological solutions to enable mining. This is expected to allow researchers to mine, for non-commercial scientific research purposes and at no additional cost, journals subscribed by their university or research institution. Researchers will be able to connect to a web-based “mining portal” through which they can access the existing infrastructure of the participating publishers and mine publications subscribed by their university or research institution. A “click-through licence” for individual researchers has been developed.

[Signatories: By 11/11/2013, the following publishers had signed up to this commitment: American Chemical Society, British Medical Journal Publishing Group Ltd, Brill Publishers, Elsevier BV, Georg Thieme Verlag KG, Hogrefe Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Institute of Physics / IOP Publishing Ltd, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, New England Journal of Medicine (Massachusetts Medical Society), Oxford University Press, Springer Science + Business Media Deutschland GmbH, Taylor and Francis Ltd, Wolters Kluwer Health (Medical Research) Ltd]


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