New cloud strategy to reform EU online market
By Benjamin Fox
Digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes has promised to present a European cloud strategy this summer, as part of a plan to reform the online market in the EU.
Speaking at a meeting of the IP Forum in the European Parliament on Tuesday (24th January), she said that a harmonised EU digital market would "offer creators the opportunity to make a decent living from their art and consumers, and offer an open place for innovation."
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She cited the iPhone application "Angry Birds", created by Finnish video game developer Rovio Mobile, as an example of how cloud technologies could generate huge revenues, noting that its $100 million turnover was "enough to fund 'The King's Speech' [a successful film] eight times over."
The market for cloud, or Internet, computing in which software and information is available on demand, has surged in recent years. The US market was worth an estimated $68 billion in 2011, while the European market is growing by 20 percent a year according to French marketing company Nexima.
Kroes also told the audience that she would present legislation on collective rights management licensing and multi-sector licensing, which would radically change the way royalties are sold, alongside a paper on 'Connected TV' looking at ways to bring together television on demand and gaming to European consumers. She noted that "within the next two or three years 90 percent of TVs will be connected to the Internet." She added that most Europeans were already regularly watching television on demand.
The IP Forum event, hosted by French centre-right MEP Marielle Gallo, focused on the online distribution of audiovisual and music works in the EU. Gallo said that a common but flexible legal framework was needed to contribute to a true pan-European demand for online content, complaining about what she described as a "fragmentation" of the digital content market in Europe.
Speaking about huge potential revenues, she noted that 170 million song titles had been downloaded legally in the first six months of 2011. According to the 2011 annual digital music report published by the International Federation for the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), 3.6 billion downloads were purchased around the world in 2011, an increase of 17 percent.
Meanwhile, fellow French centre-right MEP Jean-Marie Cavada on Monday (23 January) opened the parliament's debate on a discussion paper by the European Commission on the online distribution of audiovisual works.
Cavada promised that his report, which is non-legislative, would focus on authorship rights and how to ensure equal treatment for authors between digital and non-digital content.