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European Union to Focus on Digital Content Policy in 2012

The Digital Agenda for Europe, a project of the European Union (EU), issued its Annual Progress Report for 2011on December 22nd.  The project’s primary goal is creating a single digital market to boost entertainment download and streaming services across borders, including simplifying content licensing and harmonizing online payments access.

The key provisions in Europe’s big digital content policy project for 2012 include:

  • Legislation will be proposed by the European Commission (EC) to simplify cross-border content licensing.
  • The EC “will restart a dialogue among industry stakeholders on copyright levies”.  Most states charge a levy on products that can copy content, driving up technology prices. Hardware makers oppose it (the UK is exempt).  Legislation is planned for 2013.
  • Revision of the Directive on Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRED), which will address online piracy, is expected in the first six months of 2012.
  • A revision of the Data Protection Directive  to update the 1995 Directive in the light of developments such as cloud computing and social media will be adopted in the beginning of 2012.
  • To reach an agreement on the Directive on Orphan Works by 2012. The new legal framework will create coherent rules for the use of orphan works in the EU, thereby stimulating the availability of a large body of copyrighted material.
  • To move forward with Open Data by implementing the proposal for a revised Directive on Re-Use of Public Sector Information, presented by the Commission in December 2011, within the next 12-24 months.  Progress is crucial for unlocking the potential wealth of government data and creating ground for web-based applications and services.
  •  Making cross-border electronic online payments as easy as domestic ones is a key growth factor for the digital single market.  The EC is set to produce a Green Paper on an integrated market for card, internet and mobile payments, which is expected in early 2012.

EDUCAUSE will continue to follow and report on this issue.

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