Be careful what you wish for: EU eyes pan-European licensing

The European Commission on Wednesday unveiled its plan to create a single digital economy across the entire EU to match the unified market in physical goods. A key element of the plan is a proposal to create a new copyright framework that would enable pan-European licensing of digital rights for movies, music and other media content.

The question of pan-EU licensing, which could play havoc with current content financing and distribution strategies that rely on territory-by-territory licensing, has lately taken a back seat to content owners’ push for French HADOPI-like anti-piracy regimes. But EC Digital Agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes made clear she sees the two issues as opposite sides of the same coin, noting that currently, the only functioning pan-European market for digital content consists of illegal file-sharing.

“You can only buy from the iTunes store where your credit card is based,” her spokesman told ZDNet.  “Anomalies are arising because of the rights management system.”

As with HADOPI itself, the push in Europe for greater government involvement in regulating Internet piracy could again prove to be a double-edged sword.

Related content:

European Commission Digital Agenda (English) (PDF).

Europe offers big boost to Net.