Feeds

Creators: EU cares about turnips more than copyright

Brussels sprouts more ideas

Boost IT visibility and business value

EU: What a pain

What also unites many delegates is the view that the European superstate has done nothing for them. Eurocrats love to pull out the onion and the box of Kleenex, and start getting lachrymose about how Europe is the cultural cradle of civilisation. But compare their lot to that of farmers. European farmers are a truly pampered group, enjoying the benefits of gigantic subsidies and protectionist import barriers, shielding them from the reality of global competition. These barriers ensure that Africa stays poor. Creators, of course, get none of this. Copyright societies resent this enormously, and although they're too polite to point this out, it shows that to the EU turnips are really more important than art.

I chaired a panel on new business that turned into a bit of a scrap – with Reinhard Buscher, Head of Unit for Support for Industrial Innovation at the DG Enterprise & Industry bit of the European Commission, getting quite stroppy. I was unable to take direct quotes, it sounded a lot to me like, "Get stuffed, you dinosaurs can't stand in the way of technological progress," he said in reply to Impala's Lambot, who also runs the PIAS label in Belgium, Europe's biggest indie label. Indie labels were the first to recognise the original pirate Napster, so calling PIAS a dinosaur is a bit misplaced.

It all depends on what you mean by "progress".

Of course, digital licensing is truly horrible in Europe, because it takes place on a national basis, and has fragmented further with major rights-holders withdrawing, or setting up their own licensing authorities. Nobody thinks it's working well.

But the EU is more of a hindrance than a help. The societies got together a one-stop shop licensing plan called the Santiago Agreement, creating a single market for licences, a decade ago. But in 2004, Brussels rejected it. Perhaps there's a bit of a landgrab going on. Brussels wants to clip the wings of the national telcoms regulators – such as Ofcom in the UK – and create its own uber-regulator. Undoubtedly some Eurocrats want to do the same for pan-European licensing, seeing a role in administration and building databases.

The current digital "czar" Neelie Kroes seemed ready to continue the war on copyright societies, comparing them to the "Ancien Régime". Her view is that societies must compete against each other, and if that meant driving the royalty rates down to zero, well, c'est la vie. This puts societies in an awkward position: remember that they're sort of like little trade unions, and if the unions keep selling out, then the members will wander off somewhere else.

Kroes was here in Brussels this week. But so too was Michel Barnier, the Competition Commissioner, and he seems to have grabbed the brief from her. Barnier says a single market for digital licences is also a priority, and has a new framework in mind – with the details to be published shortly. What emerges may look more like Santiago than Elbonia.

I have never left Brussels so convinced about what a blessing, what a fantastic advantage the Americans possess in not having this inept, interfering piece of bureaucratic machinery in the United States. They might think they have a problem with the Federal Government, and some Americans are convinced that it's out to get them at every turn. But they're comparatively very lucky. The European Commission would be more help to small businesses if it simply sent thousands of stink bombs out by mail every day. "It's another consignment from Brussels," we'd think. "Carry on."

Meanwhile, Germany is rumoured to be printing billions of Deutschmarks again – just in case.

Isn't that interesting? ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Microsoft: We're making ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all
Enterprise, Windows still power firm's shaky money-maker
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.