Originally published by Rene Summer
Art feeds the soul. But who feeds the artist?
"...Art feeds the soul. But who feeds the artist? Often, this debate focuses on copyright, especially enforcing copyright. But this isn't the whole story...Economically, we want financial reward so that artists can benefit from their hard work and be incentivised to create more. I am an unconditional supporter of these objectives. But let's ask ourselves, is the current copyright system the right and only tool to achieve our objectives? Not really, I'm afraid ....ICT can help here. In all sorts of sectors, ICT can help artists connect with their audience, directly and cheaply. And it can help audiences find and enjoy material that suits their specific needs, interests and tastes." said Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission (EC), responsible for the Digital Agenda in Avignon, 19 November 2011. Read the Speech here.
And Ericsson couldn't agree more. The pre-digital copyright issue at hand is decisively defining the digital demand side conditions for increasing the consumption of, and trade in, creative works. It is also defining the supply side incentives to invest in new cultural creations, new digital services and ultimately, the adoption of higher speed broadband services. Hence the true potential of a nation's digital opportunity cannot go on and continue to keep separate creativity/culture from productivity, not in the EU nor elsewhere.
Through its Digital Single Market initiative, the EC can update the current state of play in the European digital market. They can do this by tearing down some of the structural barriers in making digital lawful content commonly available within the EU frontier in an appealing, timely and customer friendly way. The EC needs to address some of the fundamental problems for example the market supply failure of digital lawful content. This failure is caused by three structural factors: a) limited availability of attractive lawful digital content offerings (windowing, territoriality) b) technology specificity of copyright licensing that limits or delays innovation of new services and c) unreasonable transaction costs, making digital content unnecessarily more expensive.
Ericsson can only hope that nations all over the world start to recognize the rigidity of outdated copyright legislation inherited from the pre-digital era. And that when countries engage in digital reforms, they put focus on stimulating the growth of lawful digital creative markets by abolishing structural barriers.