Movies, Copyright and the Internet
The European Commission has recently finished consulting on a series of questions that probably many of us have asked – how can we get more films, television broadcasts and other similar content (legally, of course!) over the internet on our computers, mobile phones, and tablet devices?
This is closely tied up with the issue of copyright, which is the rights that creative people and companies are given in order to be able to manage how they can make money from these kinds of works. Copyright provides an importance incentive for people to create these works, and obviously helps them invest in even more creative activity.
A lot has changed over the past few years as to how films and other content like this can be viewed on the internet. Online digital rental of films (internet video on-demand) in Europe, for example, reached a value of €68.5m in Europe in 2010, up 74.4 per cent over 2009 and is now at a par with rentals of physical Blu-Ray discs. The BBC’s iPlayer service in the UK had 1.1 billion requests for online access to BBC television programming alone in the 12 months ending September 2011. All kinds of online video services, while still in their relative infancy, are growing by leaps and bounds in the EU.
Copyright is largely doing its job to make these exciting new ways of watching movies and television programs available over the internet and on mobile devices.
As we have explained to the Commission, though, there are some useful things that could be done to make this work even better, without undermining the important incentives and rewards of copyright. In short:
- Cross-border copyright licensing mechanisms should be encouraged, to promote wider availability of audiovisual content.
- The practices at copyright collecting societies should be more transparent and market-driven.
- Contracts between all of the people involved in producing and distributing a film should be respected.
- New non-market levies or mandatory licenses are not appropriate.
- Better databases of who owns what rights could be very useful in clearing rights faster.
If you are interested in seeing Microsoft’s response to this consultation, click here.
As one of the members of the UltraViolet consortium, which has developed technology that allows consumers to purchase films and content once, and have that content delivered or streamed to their different devices, we – like you! – are keen that everyone will be able to get movies delivered legitimately when, where and how they want it!