EU minister calls for joined up digital approach

<p>A European Union commissioner has reiterated her call for a mass scale digitisation of books and orphan works to provide &quot;Europe&#39;s answer to the Google settlement&quot;. </p><p>Vivianne Reding, EU commissioner for information society and media, argued that Europe&#39;s fractured approach to digital matters made it lag behind the United States. </p><p>She said: &quot;Let me be honest: when it comes to the provision of digital content, Europe is not anymore the largest marketplace in the world, it is just 27 separated markets.</p><p>&quot;This situation contributes to the competitive advantage of the U.S. in the provision of online services. It is not only by chance that all the major existing platforms providing digital content were born and grew in the U.S..&quot;</p><p>A mass digitisation of books in Europe would offer consumers the same opportunities that will be available through the Google Settlement, Reding claimed. </p><p>The Google Settlement allows users to search and preview 7m titles, with an option to buy. The settlement has had numerous problems since it was agreed between Google, the US Authors&#39; Guild and the Association of American Publishers last year and has yet to be formally approved by a US court. Despite this, Reding said it was only a matter of time before it was approved &quot;in one form or another&quot;.</p><p>Initiatives like Europeana, Europe&#39;s digital library, have been hampered by some material only being made available to users in its country of origin. </p><p>&quot;It is unacceptable that a huge part of cultural heritage remains inaccessible to EU citizens, while, technically it could be just &ldquo;one click away&quot;,&quot; she added. </p><p>&quot;We should create a modern set of European rules that encourage the digitisation of books, including one or several European Right Registries able to guarantee that publishers and authors&rsquo; rights are respected and fairly remunerated, in line with the principles of European Copyright Law.&quot;</p><p>Reding also called for a single European e-commerce market. She claimed that in 2008, one in three consumers bought an item online, but only 7% did it from a company in another member state. The same went for businesses, she claimed. Three quarters of EU retailers sell over the internet but only one in five has entered cross border markets. Reding said: &quot;It is clear that here the main problem is the lack of confidence in cross-border transactions, often caused by complex and fragmented rules.&quot;</p><p>Reding said the commission will launch a public debate and issue a paper with the aim to aid EU-wide licensing for digital content.</p>