European Parliament seeks new online regs

Says movie, music market needs specific legal framework

BRUSSELS -- The European online music and movie market needs a new legal framework, the European Parliament voted Thursday. Euro MPs said the lack of EU rules created legal uncertainty for authors and composers, broadcasters and private users.

The Parliament resolution, drafted by Italy's Giuseppe Gargani, said Europe's content sector is suffering under its regulatory fragmentation, its lack of clear, consumer-friendly rules for accessing copyright-protected online content, and arguments about issues such as private copying.

It said the current licensing requirements involving collecting societies in each of the EU's 27 member states have hampered the emergence of a true European market.

The only way to overcome the legal and bureaucratic hurdles of licensing would be to create a Pan-European license for online music sales, the Euro MPs said. They said specific laws regulating the sector would protect European cultural diversity and local repertoires.

The call to accelerate the EU's online market comes after forecasts showing that effective measures by industry and public authorities could see rocketing revenue from Europe's music, film and games sector.

Earlier this year, the European Commission held back from formal policy proposals for the sector, instead calling on the content industry to work with telecom giants and Internet service providers to develop an online market for music, films and games.