21st nov, 2011

Blood pressure rising over silly speech by EU-Commissioner

In a speech given by Neelie Kroes Vice-President of the European Commission at the Forum d´Avignon last week, the Commissioner really got my blood pressure up. The speech was called “who feeds the artist” and centered about copyright.
The commissioner asked if “the current copyright system the right and only tool to achieve our objectives?” In her opinion the copyright is a trollish system seeming evil to consumers and not rewarding the artists.
Instead she suggests the following “ICT can help in other ways too, supporting a system of recognition and reward. A Global Repertoire database to find out what belongs to whom. Tracking technologies, to permit a totally transparent process for artists and intermediaries to find out who is looking at what artwork when and to distribute revenues accordingly. Digitisation, to make artworks available for instant transmission to distant fans.”
Basically she suggests that all content on the net (any net, any platform) is monitored and revenues are taken from the users and distributed to the artists. Even if such a model was even remotely possible, is it desirable? And the result would be that the popular artists get all the money, not the struggling ones that Ms. Kroes wants to support. Reviewing data from Danish public libraries reveal that people go for the main stream and not for the niche.
Her quick fix to the copyright system is flexibility that allows many business models. Especially licensing must be made easier. Out with the old rules in with the new. Licensing is easy already. What is needed is for the collection societies and distributors to open up more and create cross platform licensing agreements – One license to rule all platforms. Such a move requires the artists to demand this from their organizations and publishers.
Ms. Kroes has jumped the IP-bashing bandwagon and as many others she does not bring any new suggestions to frameworks, business models or regulation with her.

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