The European Commission is proposing to bring in new rules next year for copyright on the Internet.


This new copyright proposal  forms part of the European Commission's general overhaul - officially a  relaunch -  of the Single European Market. The announcement was made at a press conference in Brussels today, and encompasses 50 proposals to be put in place by 2012. 

 The Commission's big new idea is to acknowledge that citizens, as well as business, have a stake in the Single Market. The relaunch was therefore held jointly by Michel Barnier, Commissioner for the Internal Market, and Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Fundamental Rights. 

The  single market rules are intended to facilitate the free movement of goods and services. One obvious problem in the EU is the matter of copyright, which remains constrained by national boundaries. Copyright law therefore works

towards a constraint of the single market,  blocking  freedom of movement.  The Commission intends to change the rules to create a new regime which will facilitate a single system of rights for works sold online.


It is not clear exactly what the proposal will be. It is presented today as a 'one-stop shop' for rights. It  looks as though it is intended for music only, and would be a single copyright licence for the entire EU. The Commission will bring out the new copyright proposals in 2011.


It does, however,  appear as though the European Commission has appropriated the concept of citizenship to present something which more  properly should be conceived as a commercial regulation.  The official rationale for the new copyright proposal is that    ‘young Europeans cannot understand why they cannot always buy their music on any website.' 


The real objective for the Commission's new copyright proposal appears to be that the online music industry is ‘seriously underperforming' and that ‘creators and artists' should be able to ‘reap the rewards of their work'.

This is  a matter for concern.  It is right for the European Commission to find ways to allow for citizenship issues to be addressed within the Single Market rules. It is wrong for the Commission to present commercial change dressed up as citizenship.



Link to European Commission press conference on the proposals to strengthen the Single Market


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed. The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2010) New EU Music Copyright Rules for 2011  27 October 2010