Copyright laws across the European Union will be reformed in a gradual and balanced way, a senior official has said.
Andrus Ansip, EU commissioner for the digital single market, has confirmed that plans to change intellectual property legislation will be outlined in a strategy paper expected to be published at some point this month.
Speaking in Strasbourg, Mr Ansip hinted at the changes that the European Commission was likely to bring forward.
“We will propose to give cross-border portability of online content to Europeans,” he said.
“Put simply, this means allowing people who subscribe to online content services in one EU country – for books, music, games, films, drama, sport – to use those services when they are travelling in another country.
Often this is not possible today. This will create more rights for consumers straightaway. Real benefits and impacts for people and their daily lives.”
His speech seemed to rule out a complete overhaul of the legal framework, but he argued that change was needed to take account of the massive changes to digital technology.
“According to a recent survey, 22 per cent of Europeans think it is acceptable to download or access copyright-protected content illegally when there is no legal alternative in their country,” said Mr Ansip.
“This clearly shows how important it is to give people a legal alternative, by improving cross-border access. In parallel, we plan to tackle piracy by using a ‘follow the money’ process with the industry, for instance working with the big brands and advertising professionals. Our aim is to deprive commercial-scale infringers of their revenue flows.”
Discussions about copyright reforms have been ongoing for a number of years, with those in favour highlighting the “messy” variation in the way that laws are applied across the EU’s 28 countries. However, it is likely to be difficult to draw up a set of laws which all of the EU’s member states are happy with.