Europe’s Copyright Maze


Europe’s copyright maze is a reality, each country as its own labyrinth of copyright laws relating to everything from media, like films and TV to publishing, plus music etc. Problem is all these European copyright laws were made 50, 60 years ago and seem to be stuck in some kind of a time bubble? For example why is it not possible to watch the BBC or Sky channels online in Portugal? Choice is what many Europeans want, normal national terrestrial TV does not meet their needs anymore. The whole of South America can get access to Netflix online, but the vast majority of Europeans cannot? why, because of outdated and antiquated European copyright laws.

Many examples, in Portugal access online to popular sites like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, are blocked, plus many more online choices of entertainment. Some European countries are more enlightened in the digital age like the UK, Ireland, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Even the large countries like Germany and France seem to be dragging their heels when it comes to reforming their out outdated and antiquated copyright legislation, but the worst offenders by far are the southern European countries of Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Greece.

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So what is the solution to Europe’s maze of antiquated and outdated national copyright laws, because there lies the main problem. Building a wall around your country to stop the flow of free access to restricted copyright either be it online TV, music, books etc is really like sticking your fingers in your ears and pretending the digital world does not exist outside?

Well there are efforts to try to change the labyrinth of European copyright laws for a kind of pan European wide copyright agreement. The EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes @NeelieKroesEU is trying to push for change, but it is an upward struggle against deeply rooted European national self interest?

The EU is at long last trying to change the maze of European copyright and there is at the moment a consultation period where we the actual European plebs get a say in the matter, whether anyone listens to our input is another matter. The clock is ticking so if you want to have your say before 5th of Feb EU copyright consultation deadline then do it ASAP.

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Then maybe whether you live in Germany, Belgium, Italy, or Portugal you can watch and listen to what you want online, and not have to read something like ‘this content is not available in your country? Is copyright working? well for many Europeans online, no it is obviously not, it is failing them badly. Though I confess I am not a big fan of the EU, but I admire Neelie Kroes efforts to shake things up, and reform European outdated copyright laws.

The digital age is here, but seems many European governments still think its the 1960’s. Maybe things will change and maybe one day Portugal will offer Netflix, HBO, Sky, or BBC drama online, but as the saying goes don’t hold your breath?


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