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EU Political Update

Talking Tech Highlights: Sept 19-23rd

27 April 2017

The EU Political Update is produced by the public policy practice of Clifford Chance LLP

Week in Review

Digital Single Market: European Commission delivers on the modernisation of EU copyright rules

On 14 September 2016, the European Commission published a Communication in which it proposed two Directives and two Regulations aimed at modernising current EU copyright rules.

The proposed Regulation on laying down rules on the exercise of copyright and related rights applicable to certain online transmissions of broadcasting organisations and retransmission of television and radio programmes looks to enhance consumers' access to content online originating in other EU Member States, and makes it easier for broadcasters to obtain the necessary approval from rightholders to transmit programs online in other Member States.

The proposed Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market is intended to (i) facilitate the licensing of European audiovisual works and the digitisation and making available of out-of-commerce works; (ii) introduce new exceptions and limitations to copyright rules, principally for education, research, and cultural heritage; and (iii) achieve a functioning marketplace for copyright, focusing on issues related to sharing of value in the online marketplace.

To ensure that the 26 million blind and visually impaired people have access to copyright protected works, the European Commission proposes to introduce a Directive on certain permitted uses of work and other subject-matter protected by copyright and related rights, and a Regulation on the cross-border exchange between the Union and third countries of accessible format copies of certain works and other subject-matter protected by copyright and related rights. The Directive aims at implementing the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired or print disabled by introducing a mandatory exception in the internal market and giving cross-border effect to that exception. The proposed Regulation aims at governing the cross-border exchanges of accessible format copies of certain works between the EU and third countries that are parties to the Marrakesh Treaty for persons who are blind, visually impaired or print disabled.

The European Commission also proposes measures to develop the Creative Europe programme, which provides financing for artists and cultural professionals, among others.

The European Commission will now submit the four legislative proposals to the European Parliament and to the Council of the European Union for adoption. Over the coming months, the European Commission will also communicate a number of other measures and initiatives as set out in the Communication of December 2015.

Digital Single Market: European Commission publishes preliminary report following inquiry into the e-commerce sector

On 15 September 2016, the European Commission published a preliminary report on the e-commerce sector following an inquiry which began 18 months ago as part of the Digital Single Market Strategy.

The European Commission focussed on why 'digital borders' have prevented consumers from buying goods and services from sellers throughout the European Union since, according to statistics released by Eurostat, 84 per cent of Europeans buy online from sellers based in their own countries.

The inquiry put the spotlight on potential barriers to trade where e-commerce is most prevalent such as electronics, clothing and shoes, as well as digital content. According to the preliminary report, the most significant factors fragmenting the market are contractual sales restrictions in distribution agreements and geo-blocking. The most common types of contractual restrictions include: (i) pricing restrictions, (ii) marketplace restrictions, (iii) cross-border sales restrictions, and (iv) restrictions on the use of price comparison tools. Commenting on the report, Margrethe Vestager, European Union Competition Commissioner, encouraged companies to review their current distribution contracts and ensure they comply with the European Union's competition rules.

The Commission is inviting stakeholders to comment on the preliminary report over the course of the next two months, giving it some direction before publication of the final report scheduled in the first quarter of 2017.

This week in the Institutions
European Commission

19 September

  • Commissioner Pierre Moscovici will receive Mr Eric Berman, Executive Vice-President (EVP) of Public Affairs of Universal Music Group; Mr Jeff Harleston, General Counsel of Universal Music Group and Mr Michael Nash, EVP of Digital Strategy of Universal Music Group

20 September

  • Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska will in San Francisco to meet with Mr Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber Technologies Inc and Ms Rachel Whetstone, Senior VP for Public Policy. She will also meet Mr Tom Barton, Chief Operation Officer and Mr Brian Chesky, CEO and Founder of Air BnB. She will deliver the closing speech for Start Up Europe Comes to Silicon Valley week and will attend a lunch hosted by Mind the Bridge/Bay Area Council Economic Institute.

21 September

  • Commissioner Oettinger will be in St. Leon-Rot, Germany, to give a keynote speech at the Industrial Internet Consortium. 
  • Commissioner Vĕra Jourová will receive Mr Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG
  • Commissioner Vestager will be in New York City to speak at the Columbia University's event on 'Tax avoidance and privacy in the digital age: an EU perspective'

22 September

  • The Commission will organise a conference on 'Smart urban mobility: opportunities for cooperation and finance' to discuss how investments in electric mobility and in smart mobility services in European urban areas can be increased 

23 September 

  • The Commission will organise an info day on the Horizon 2020 ‘Smart cities and communities’. The event targets potential applicants to the Smart Cities & Communities topic of the 2016-2017 Horizon 2020 work programme ‘Cross-cutting activities’, and in particular the 2017 call
EU Political Update

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