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David Puttnam on Europe’s Digital Single Market: It’s Not Bad Guys Vs. Good Guys

Politician, producer and Ireland’s digital champion guides Euro industry battle vs. E.U. Single Digital Market Strategy

Former producer David Puttnam set a roadmap Saturday in Cannes to help Europe fight the European Commission’s proposed Digital Single Market Strategy that threatens territory-by-territory licensing and single country release strategies.

At the same panel, the Motion Picture Assn. (MPA) and Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) joined other producer and distributor trade orgs to call for an E.U. digital policy that preserved territorial licensing.

“This is a political argument that needs to be won,” Puttnam said. “Unintended consequences haunt almost all legislation. We can’t promote the idea of bad guys and good guys. What we need to do is come to the argument with sufficient power so that it is politically acceptable and in a way that the Commission does not look foolish.”

Going forward, Puttnam argued, Europe’s industry must banish “unfounded mistruths” – “that this is a battle between the old analog world and the new digital world, or that the industry is attempting to block consumer choice.”

If sports rights, which hardly drive cultural diversity, are exempted from a DSM ban on geo-blocking, the industry must move quickly to point out the irony, he added.

Puttnam also called on the Commission to make its case for the economic advantages of a Single Digital Market strategy.

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