European AV: Challenges & Opportunities of Digital Age

Subject: European AV: Challenges & Opportunities of Digital Age
From: Barbara Schleihagen (
Date: ma 06 huhti  1998 - 12:40:04 EEST

A European audiovisual conference (TV, cinema, video, multimedia) entitled
"Challenges and Opportunities of the Digital Age", jointly hosted by the
British EU Presidency and the European Commission, is held from 6-8 April
in Birmingham. Four working groups will examine specific themes:
1. Employment and the audiovisual sector
2. Financing mechanisms
3. Role of regulation
4. Intellectual property

The forth working group, under the chairman Jukka Liedes, will examine the
impact of the two treaties of WIPO, the EC draft Directive on copyright in
the information society and the prospects of a WIPO protocol on the
audiovisual sector. The pre-report drafted by chairman Jukka Liedes and
rapporteur Henry Olsson is available at:
This pre-report identifies some issues as "key issues" for the proper
development of the audiovisual sector in Europe. The 25 pages pre-report is
also of interest to the non-AV sector as it examines issues like the
reproduction right, communication to the public right, exemptions and
limitations, and moral rights in the context of the WIPO Treaties and the
new draft Directive. The pre-report's introduction to "limitations and
exceptions is worth quoting:

"Almost as important as the basic rights are the limitations on or
exceptions to those rights, because the real scope of the protection of the
beneficiaries depends on the interrelation between the rights themselves
and the designing of their limits."

The pre-report explains that the issue of limitations is of particular
importance in the digital environment for three reasons:
1. the application of existing limitations/exceptions may have profoundly
different consequences when applied in the digital environment
2. the digital environment may call for specifically designed
limitations/exceptions, because the application in digital environment may
be different from what was intended
3. due to the international character of the exploitation of works it is
hightly desirable that limitations/exception do not differ too much between
different countries.
It is then stated that a fourth factor could be added "...namely the fact
that the question of the balancing of the exclusive rights versus the
limitations/exceptions is a politically charged issue with several
economically powerful players (right-owners, service providers, library and
education communities,consumers). This makes the framing of the
limitations/exceptions somewhat difficult, far from the situation in the
world before the digital age."

Attendance to this high-level conference is by invitation only. Further
information is available at:

Barbara Schleihagen

Barbara Schleihagen, Director
Heidi Grootscholten, EU Policy Officer
P.O. Box 43300
NL-2504 AH The Hague
Tel: +31-70-309 06 08
Fax: +31-70-309 07 08

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