Thursday

26th Apr 2018

Focus

Copyright file moves to pro-digital commissioner

  • Ansip (l) will take over Oettinger's portfolio, temporarily at least (Photo: European Commission)

European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has tasked commissioner Andrus Ansip to temporarily take responsibility for the digital economy portfolio, which includes copyright reform.

Ansip will take over on 1 January 2017 from commissioner Guenther Oettinger, who moves on to the budget portfolio, the commission announced on Wednesday (21 December).

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.

Ansip was already partly responsible for the copyright file, as digital single market vice-president of the commission.

Copyright reform is a sensitive, heavily lobbied issue, on which Ansip and Oettinger expressed some differences of opinion, with Ansip showing more openness to the new digital era, while Oettinger has sided with current rights-holders of copyrighted content.

One source said Ansip had more eye for the interests of consumers than Oettinger.

Last year, for example, Ansip announced he would like to end all geo-blocking, which is the practice of limiting access to online services based on a user's location.

For some companies offering digital copyrighted content, geo-blocking is part of the business model.

To consumers, however, it can be a nuisance. Those who want to use BBC's iPlayer, for example, cannot do so outside of the United Kingdom.

Ansip has repeatedly spoken out against geo-blocking.

“I hate geo-blocking,” the Estonian commissioner has said several times, arguing that it should be banned.

Cultural diversity

In a March 2015 interview, Oettinger slightly mocked Ansip's remark on geo-blocking.

“I hate my alarm clock at five o'clock in the morning,” Oettinger said, noting that “we should protect our cultural diversity”.

Ansip himself has frequently played down the apparent diverging views between him and Oettinger.

“We were always able to find consensus with Gunther Oettinger,” he told journalists last month.

Ansip said it was a “simplification” to say they stood at two ends of a spectrum.

“There are different interests in our society. I think [EU] proposals will be much better if you take into account all those different interests.”

Damage already done

Julia Reda, a left-wing MEP from the German Pirate party, told this website in a written comment that Ansip has “shown much more understanding for the technological details of the portfolio” than Oettinger.

However, the legislative proposal for copyright reform was published in September. It was presented by Ansip and Oettinger together.

While the commission promised that access to online content would become easier, it did not ban geo-blocking altogether, as Ansip would have wanted.

Reda, wrote a report about copyright for the parliament last year.

Reda, who wants the copyright regime to be less strict, hopes Anip will be "more open" to take her side, but said she doubted that Ansip would be able to change the file significantly.

“The commission's opportunity to present a real modernisation and harmonisation of the copyright regime has been missed, so despite the reshuffle in the commission, the damage is done,” she said.

It is now up to the European Parliament and member states to say how they want to amend it.

Oettinger's portfolio becomes available because the German will take over the budget and human resources portfolio from Kristalina Georgieva, who has taken a job at the World Bank.

It is unclear who Bulgaria will send to replace Georgieva, and which portfolio this new Bulgarian commissioner will be responsible for.

EU commissioners at odds over geo-blocking

EU digital commissioner Andrus Ansip and his fellow commissioner Gunther Oettinger are at odds with one another over the need to abolish the practice of restricting online content based on someone's location.

EU targets Google in copyright reform

Publishers welcomed EU proposals for a new right that could see them take a bite out of Google's income, but some say the law could end up hurting Google's smaller rivals.

EP adopts 'watered down' copyright report

MEPs have adopted keenly-awaited proposals they'd like to see in the commission’s forthcoming copyright reform, but they were roundly criticised by all sides.

Opinion

Cybersecurity and defence for the future of Europe

Cybersecurity is a core element of Europe's strategy to become a global leader in digital technologies and a secure place for its citizens, write EU commissioner Jyrki Katainen and expert Jarno Limnell.

New EU fines will apply to 'old' data breaches

On 25 May, a new general data protection regulation will apply. Data breaches that happened before that date, but were covered up, can be fined under the new regulation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May
  2. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  5. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  6. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  8. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  9. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  10. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  11. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  12. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip

Latest News

  1. EU tells platforms to sort fake news by October or face new law
  2. Civil society chief: social media can't replace engagement
  3. The reality behind the €7 'Brexit bombshell visa'
  4. Commission wants bigger post-Brexit budget
  5. Whistleblowers could be enforcers of rule of law in Europe
  6. EU shelves Macron idea for 'European Darpa'
  7. Don't play EU 'games' with military HQs
  8. EU had a plan for Jordan - now it's time to make it work

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  5. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector
  8. Swedish EnterprisesEU Tax Proposal on Digital Services Causes Concern for Small Exporting Economies
  9. European Jewish CongressCondemns the Horrific Murder of Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris
  10. Mission of China to the EUAn Open China Will Foster a World-Class Business Environment
  11. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  12. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan