The European Commission is today (6th May) set to reveal plans for the “digital single market”, to remove barriers to online services across Europe.
The plans would mean that customers across the European Union could all access the same digital services and products, including e-books and on-demand TV services, regardless of which country they are in. The European Commission has also said that as part of the plans for a digital single market a “more modern copyright law is needed so that the interests of creators harmonise with those of consumers”.
Digital services “too often remain confined to national borders”, according to the European Commission, with people and companies running “into many barriers – from geo-blocking or cross-border parcel delivery inefficiencies to unconnected e-services”. The digital single market aims to give consumers and businesses better access to digital goods and services across Europe, shape an environment for digital networks and services to flourish, and create a European Digital Economy and society with growth potential.
According to the Commission, a digital single market could create up to €415bn in additional growth, hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and a “vibrant knowledge-based society”.
Andrus Ansip, EC vice president for the Digital Single Market, has previously said: “Let us do away with all those fences and walls that block us online. People must be able to freely go across borders online just as they do offline. Innovative businesses must be helped to grow across the EU, not remain locked into their home market. This will be an uphill struggle all the way, but we need an ambitious start. Europe should benefit fully from the digital age: better services, more participation and new jobs”.
The commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Günther H Oettinger, has said: “Europe cannot be at the forefront of the digital revolution with a patchwork of 28 different rules for telecommunications services, copyright, IT security and data protection. We need a European market, which allows new business models to flourish, start-ups to grow and the industry to take advantage of the internet of things. And people have to invest too – in their IT-skills, be it in their job or their leisure time”.
But the Publishers Association has spoken out on the issue, saying that the digital single market is already a reality in publishing and copyright is therefore not in need of reform.