Thursday

23rd Nov 2017

Focus

Brussels claims failed business model is causing online piracy

  • Online piracy is prevalent among young users of the internet (Photo: European Commission)

The EU's telecommunications chief, Viviane Reding, blamed the current internet business model for the rise in online piracy on Thursday (9 July), during a speech in which she outlined a new medium-term strategy for a 'digital Europe.'

Ms Reding said the European Commission intends to open up a broad consultation period on the 'digital Europe' strategy next month, but already she has indicated that a central part of the plan for the next five years will be to provide greater access to good quality online content.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The debate over what can be legally downloaded from the internet has flared up in recent months, fuelled by proposed French legislation that would have allowed a new state agency, known by the acronym Hadopi, to shut down web access for up to a year for those downloading materially illegally.

With the original proposal thrown out by the country's top court last month, adjusted legislation was approved by the French senate on Wednesday under which the final decision on cutting off web users has been moved from the state agency to the courts.

Other EU countries including the Netherlands are also looking at bringing in similar legislation.

"In my view, growing internet piracy is a vote of no-confidence in existing business models and legal solutions. It should be a wake-up call for policy-makers," said Ms Reding on Thursday, while studiously refusing to take sides.

The Luxembourg politician, who is set to take up a record third term in the next European Commission, was speaking at an event hosted by the Brussels-based think-tank, the Lisbon Council

She said she regretted the "extremely polarised debate" on internet content and indicated that a main component of the commission's medium-term ‘digital Europe' strategy will be to create a consumer friendly legal framework for accessing digital content within the EU.

A possible component of the new framework could be a simplified system of licensing intellectual property rights for content providers that would cover the whole union, she indicated.

However the recently elected Swedish MEP, Christian Engstrom, whose Pirate Party campaigned in the European elections under a manifesto to improve access to content on the internet, says policy makers must move away from the idea of internet users as merely consumers.

"We are citizens …and we do have certain human rights according to the European convention on human rights which includes the right to information freedom," he told EUobserver.

"Blocking people's access from the internet is obviously in breach of article ten of the European convention, but still we see the EU introducing language which opens up that possibility," he added.

The Pirate Party won one seat in the European parliament in last month's elections, and will gain another if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified as the number of MEPs will swell from 736 to 751.

Internet to drive economic growth

Ms Reding also said future European growth depended on harnessing the new generation of internet-savvy youngsters.

"My specific answer to the present economic downturn [is] Europe's digital economy, where private and public investors can expect a particularly good return on investment," she said.

At present only 35 percent of EU citizens use advanced internet services such as social networking sites or the downloading of information, but the figure jumps to 73 percent for citizens aged between 16 and 24 years old.

"It is in this new generation that there is real growth potential for Europe," says Ms Reding, describing the age group as "digital natives."

The commission believes that as these individuals grow older and their purchasing power increases, greater internet use has the potential to create around one million jobs in Europe and generate €850 billion in economic activity.

The claim is supported by a recent World Bank study that estimates every 10 percent of additional broadband penetration yields 1.3 percent in economic growth.

Pressure mounts on EU cloud deal as deadline looms

The European Commission is under pressure to keep to its self-imposed September deadline to publish an EU cloud computing strategy, as new evidence revealed widespread public confusion about it.

Mali blames West for chaos in Libya

Mali's foreign minister Abdoulaye Diop told the EU in Brussels that the lack of vision and planning following the Nato-led bombing campaign in Libya helped trigger the current migration and security crisis.

News in Brief

  1. December euro summit still on, Tusk confirms
  2. EU calls for end to Kenya election crisis
  3. Report: Israeli PM invited to meet EU ministers
  4. French banks close Le Pen accounts
  5. Commission relaxes rules on labelling free range eggs
  6. Commission issues €34m fine over car equipment cartel
  7. Estonian presidency 'delighted' with emissions trading vote
  8. Mladic found guilty of genocide and war crimes

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  2. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  3. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  4. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  6. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  7. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  8. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!
  9. Dialogue PlatformErdogan's Most Vulnerable Victims: Women and Children
  10. UNICEFEuropean Parliament Marks World Children's Day by Launching Dialogue With Children
  11. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  12. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure

Latest News

  1. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya
  2. Orban stokes up his voters with anti-Soros 'consultation'
  3. Commission warns Italy over high debt level
  4. Mladic found guilty for Bosnia genocide and war crimes
  5. Uber may face fines in EU for keeping data breach secret
  6. EU counter-propaganda 'harms' relations, Russia says
  7. The EU's half-hearted Ostpolitik
  8. Glyphosate: 1.3 million EU citizens call for ban