Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
You are here: Home topics Media Towards a Single Market in Creative Content Online

Towards a Single Market in Creative Content Online

02 December 2009
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 03 December 2009

Online content knows no bounds and is on the increase. Reaching almost 500 million consumers, content services could significantly enhance the competitiveness of the European music, film and games industry by 2010. This is why the European Commission is encouraging the development of a stronger and more consumer-friendly internal market for online creative content within the European Union.



Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 3 January 2008 on Creative Content Online in the Single Market [COM(2007) 836 final - Not published in the Official Journal].


This Communication covers a wide range of subjects related to the online creative content sector *. It aims to foster the emergence of a single European market for online music, films and games.

The continuous widespread availability of broadband internet access (roll-out of advanced mobile networks) and content distribution possibilities (mass availability of digital devices) are opening up new prospects for both the European online content industry and European consumers. Revenue from the sale of online content will go from EUR 1.8 billion in 2005 to EUR 8.3 billion in 2010.

Existing regulation of the European online content sector is too fragmented and lacks transparency. One of the main objectives of the strategic i2010 framework launched in 2005 is the creation of an open and competitive market for the services of the European Union (EU) information society.

However, this situation gives rise to new challenges, ranging from copyright to consumer safety and technical (radio spectrum and broadband) issues. This Communication specifically relates to the distribution of online content.

Challenges associated with developing a single market for creative content online

Three objectives need to be met to ensure the transfer of creative content services to an online environment, namely:

  • to encourage European content contributing to European competitiveness while fostering the diversity of content creation and Europe's cultural and linguistic heritage;
  • to modernise the legal framework relating to distribution of creative content taking into account copyright;
  • fostering the active role of users in content creation, selection and distribution.

On the basis of the public consultation held in 2006 on these issues, the Commission identifies the main challenges which merit Community action:

  • availability of creative content;
  • development of multi-territory licensing;
  • interoperability and transparency of Digital Rights Management systems (DRMs);
  • fight against piracy and illegal downloading of copyright-protected content.

The availability of creative content is not stimulated by the development of new forms of distribution. Creative content owners still remain suspicious of online piracy, while distributors cannot reach agreement with content owners on the terms of trade for exploitation of content. This situation prevents licensing on new platforms for online content. By enhancing its role of facilitator at the heart of the new platform for discussion on online content, the Commission wishes to establish constructive dialogue between stakeholders.

The lack of multi-territory licences for creative content makes it difficult for online services to make full use of European cultural works outside their national markets, while content services are available across the Internal Market. The Commission had already recommended the implementation of a multi-territory licensing system specific to the field of musical works online.

The Commission encourages the establishment of a framework for the interoperability * and transparency of Digital Rights Management Systems which would enable copyright holders to enforce compliance in the digital environment while guaranteeing clear information for consumers on the terms of use for downloaded content and on the interoperability of corresponding online services.

The Commission invites access and service providers, copyright holders and consumers to work closely together on the basis of a "code of conduct" to combat online piracy and ensure that a wide range of online services are available legally.

Twofold approach: communication and consultation

The Commission's approach is twofold. On the one hand, establishment of a new framework for discussion between stakeholders by creating a platform for discussion on all the issues raised by online creative content (content availability, multinational licensing, online copyright management, etc.) and, on the other hand, preparation for the adoption of a Proposal for a Recommendation on online creative content by mid-2008.

By referring to the Annexes to this Communication, stakeholders are invited to give their views by 29 February on the main challenges associated with the development of a single market in creative content online.

Sponsor a Guide

EUbusiness Guides offer background information and web links about key EU business issues.

Promote your services by providing your own practical information and help to EUbusiness members, with your brand and contact details.

To sponsor a Guide phone us on +44 (0)20 7193 7242 or email sales.

EU Guides