Il liberale tedeso MEP Jàrgen Creutzmann ha proposto una interrogazione al Parlamento europea sulla “possibilità di introdurre un flat rate culturale” alla Commissione e in particolare al commissario Reding. Di seguito il testo dell’interrogazione e della risposta.
The illegal exchange of copyrighted audiovisual works (music, films, etc) via Internet exchange sites has led to considerable declines in turnover among producers of sound and image recording media. Measures by the industry to tackle this problem (e.g. advertising campaigns, reporting of offences) have to date been unsuccessful or have encountered resistance on the part of users because they have led to restrictions on use and compatibility problems (digital rights management systems).
In order to resolve the conflict of interests between authors and users the legal introduction of a content or culture flat rate is frequently being proposed. This describes the approach of legalising the non-commercial spreading and reproduction via the Internet of digital copyrighted works, such as music, films, software or e-books, and of levying and paying to rights holders a fee by way of compensation.
The introduction of a culture flat rate would require changes to national copyright law, which are only permissible if they do not contravene provisions of European law, in particular Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (Information Society Directive). According to many legal experts, this would, however, currently still be the case, because the introduction of a legal licence for the exchange of digitalised works on the Internet for non-commercial purposes would undermine exclusivity rights guaranteed under European law ” both for authors and for producers of sound recording media ” and because the directive in question does not provide for exceptions in this connection. Article 5 of the Information Society Directive would have to be adapted.
1. How does the Commission view in principle the culture flat rate as a means of balancing interests between authors and users’
2. Does the Commission see a need to adapt the Information Society Directive in order to enable or facilitate amendments to national copyright law so as to introduce a culture flat rate’ If so, when does the Commission plan to publish relevant proposals’
3. Does the Commission intend to submit a legislative proposal in order to introduce an EU wide culture flat rate’ If so, when is this proposal to be published’ Would such a culture flat rate be voluntary or compulsory for all digitalised cultural works, or only for individual types of work’ According to what system would revenues be distributed to authors’
The Commission shares the Honourable Member’s view that a widespread violation of copyright and related rights in the Internet represents a serious threat for the further development of a flourishing creative economy.
At the same time, the Commission believes that the lifting of impediments to the cross-border online distribution of creative works will improve the supply of attractive and affordable services. In turn, this will reduce the temptation for consumers to indulge in the illicit consumption of copyright-protected material. In order to fuel the debate on how to achieve this objective, a public consultation on the basis of a Reflection Paper on Creative Content in a Digital Single Market, was recently launched.
The Reflection Paper sets out different options raised in previous consultations. It mentions, inter alia, alternative forms of remuneration at EU level, including online subscription fee models, also known as “cultural flat rates”. The Commission is aware that the application or introduction of alternative remuneration models would have to be preceded by a careful examination of whether such models are in compliance with several international copyright conventions, notably the Berne Convention and the Treaty on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS). The proposals made by different stakeholders concerning a “cultural flat rate” also raise questions with regard to the exclusive rights and the provisions on copyright exceptions set out in Directive 2001/29/EC (“Copyright Directive”). Further, it would be necessary to assess the long term sustainability of a creative content market using such a model. Finally, reflection on alternative forms of remunerat
ion touches upon delicate issues of how proceeds would be shared out with regard to different rights belonging to various right holders.
It is also one of the Commission’s objectives to improve the offer of legitimate services on the Internet and to ensure that the rights of all right holders are properly secured and paid for in line with EU, international and national laws.
The Commission believes that the Digital Single Market offers great opportunities for consumers, right holders and commercial users alike. At this stage, the Commission services are seeking substantiated comments and contributions on this point of the debate.