Main stakeholders in the Croatian audiovisual sector concerned about lack of clarity in Commmission's strategy for European single digital market

In its capacity of the main strategic agency for the audiovisual sector in Croatia, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre held on Tuesday, 2 June an open meeting of its Croatian Audiovisual Council, which comprises of the main stakeholders in the Croatian audiovisual sector (professional associations, both public and commercial broadcasters, distributors, exhibitors, telecoms), together with representatives from Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, State Institute for Intellectual Property, Croatian Performers’ Rights Collecting Society (HUZIP) and Croatian Composers’ Association’s Copyright Protection Office (HDS ZAMP).

The main topic of this meeting, open to the public, was “A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe” of the European Commission, published on 6 May 2015 and its possible impact on the Croatian audiovisual and creative sector and its sustainability if legislative measures outlined in the EC’s Communication were to go ahead without a proper informed public debate in all member countries and possible amendments.

The primary goal of this open meeting of the Croatian Audiovisual Council was to offer to all stakeholders in the Croatian audiovisual and creative sector a democratic platform for a cross-sectorial exchange of views and debate in the wake of the Commission’s Communication. It was to be the first in a series of planned meetings and consultations in between the stakeholders with the ultimate aim of defining a common position of the Republic of Croatia.

The interventions and the debate that ensued centred on the following issues: the announced reform of the European copyright regime, the upcoming refit exercise of the AVMS Directive and the obligations of new digital players on the European market, all while stressing the need for closer cross-sectorial collaboration in all things pertaining to announced changes.

Whilst all the speakers, recognised the importance of the Commission’s ambition to make the best of the digital technology as a motor of growth, innovation and employment, as well as the basis for increased circulation of European audiovisual content to the benefit of the industry and Europe’s citizens, it was repeatedly stressed by all that there should be, in forthcoming months, more clarity from the EC in terms of how these goals were to be achieved in practical terms and that any legislative measure proposed with aim to bring benefits to all Europe’s citizens should not come at the detriment of either the European creative community’s right to proper remuneration or undermine the sustainability of the existing European audiovisual complex and fragile financing model based on multi-territorial licensing principle.

As the outcome of the meeting it was agreed that a joint statement, summarizing positions of all stakeholders in the Croatian audiovisual sector and demanding an impact assessment study of the proposed changes on the Croatian audiovisual and creative industries, were to be sent in due course to the Croatian Parliament, the Government of Republic of Croatia, as well as Croatian MEPs.

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