BRUSSELS — The European Union is examining more efficient ways for collecting societies to amass levies on behalf of authors, composers, musicians and other copyright holders in the digital age.
Top EU official Frits Bolkestein said holders and commercial users deserve modern management of these rights. Brussels hopes that by legislating, it can create a single market across Europe and make the process a lot easier.
The explosion in digital entertainment makes it increasingly difficult to manage rights, a new EU report says. Because of this, digital-rights management systems, which ensure works cannot be copied or viewed without permission, will be crucial to any new regulatory framework. However, Brussels notes these will have to be interoperable to be effective.
The European Information and Communications Industry Assn. said many collecting societies are slowing down businesses that distribute content online, because they have to negotiate with one or more society in each country to obtain the proper rights.
The launch of Apple’s European version of iTunes may have to be delayed while it sorts out all the licensing deals it needs for each country. The existence of an EU-wide agreement could solve the problem.