Magazine article Screen International

Euro Commissioner Looks to Drop VOD Geo-Blocking

Magazine article Screen International

Euro Commissioner Looks to Drop VOD Geo-Blocking

Article excerpt

During the 90-minute grilling on Monday evening (April 27), Ansip repeatedly detailed his plans for copyright reform as part of the European Commission's Digital Single Market Strategy to be unveiled in Brussels next week.

Ï would like to ask for cross-border access to the content and portability of the content, but it does not mean that we are wanting to destroy this principle of territoriality,¨ he explained.

Ït does not mean that after this reform there will only be pan-European licenses. If, for example, in a smaller Member State, film producers are expecting that the interest to buy those rights of the films is only in the neighbouring Member States, this will be acceptable. There is no need to sell pan-European licenses, no need to buy pan-European licenses.

¨So, I'm in favour of the principle of territoriality, but I'm not supporting absolute territorial exclusivity."

Release windows

Asked by one MEP whether the proposed copyright reform would have any impact on the distribution chronology for films, Ansip stressed: Ï didn't even think about changing release windows, I haven't even thought about any time limits. The DSM Strategy isn't planning to change this system.¨

He suggested that a film would first be released in the cinemas, then on DVD, ¨but then when it goes on video-on-demand, I would like to ask for cross-border access to the content".

Öur creators are losing a lot of money because of all of this geo-blocking,¨ Ansip claimed. ¨Today, we have a lose-lose situation, but I want to create a win-win situation for the creators.¨

No concrete timetable

He did not have a concrete timetable yet in place for when geo-blocking would be abolished, but observed that ït will take time and there is no single form which will solve all of the problems. But our aim has to be very clear.¨

Öur discussions in the Commission go much further than copyright,¨ Ansip added. ¨We are reflecting on how Europe's creative and cultural sectors can become flagships for jobs, growth, and freedom of expression in the digital world.

¨The Commission wants to promote culture as a catalyst for innovation to maximise its contribution to jobs and growth, particularly among the young, and to promote cultural diversity.¨

MEP report in plenum

The meeting with Ansip was then followed some two hours later - just before 11pm - by Polish MEP Bogdan Brunon Wenta presenting his report on European film in the digital age to a handful of colleagues in the plenum ahead of today's voting in Strasbourg.

Speaking on behalf of the European Commission, Irish Commissioner Phil Hogan, who is responsible for Agriculture and Rural Development, welcomed the Wenta report and its analysis of the current state of play in the European film sector.

Referring to the stakeholder dialogue launched within the European Film Forum ¨whose main objective is bridge the gap between European films and their audiences¨, he revealed that a major public event will be held in Brussels in the last quarter of 2016 to draw conclusions from the roundtables, workshops and other events being held under the auspices of the European Film Forum over the next 12 months.

The European Film Forum kicked offlast February when the Berlinale's traditional MEDIA information day was brought under the Forum's umbrella and Digital Economy and Society Commissioner Günther Oettinger made his first public appearance before the European film industry. …

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