Happy World Television Day!

The first World Television Forum was held by the United Nations on 21 and 22 November 1996. The leading media agents met to discuss the growing significance of television in today’s changing world. Television was acknowledged as a major tool in informing, channeling and affecting public opinion. That is why the General Assembly decided to proclaim 21 November as World Television Day.

“The world today is controlled by advancements in technology. We live in a society that depends on information technology and communications to perform its daily activities, including work, entertainment, education, health care, personal relationships, travel, and many other pursuits.

Everything we experience through television shapes and influences our lives. Television educates, informs, entertains, instructs, and influences us in so many ways. The youth are greatly influenced by images and we can expect new value systems to emerge among them.” [United Nations]

 

This year, three European broadcasters’ associations have decided to organize the World TV Day :

egta association of television and radio sales houses

The Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT)

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU)  which is one of the EUscreen Project Partners

 

 

Licenses for a digital Europe: a report from the final session

In today’s digital context there are many new ways of providing, creating and distributing content as well as new ways to generate value. In order to ensure that copyright and licensing stay fit for purpose in this world, the European Commission started a stakeholder dialogue titled Licenses for Europe. Its main purpose was to deliver “rapid progress in bringing content online through practical, industry-led solutions.” The initiative held its final plenary session on November 13th in Brussels.

Report by Réka Markovich, ELTE University

Participants of the dialogue included representatives from interested parties such as consumer and digital rights organizations – and the topic touches on the lives of many. IT and technology companies, internet service providers, film heritage institutions, broadcasters, public libraries, authors, producers, performers and other copyright rightholders in the audiovisual, music, publishing and video game industries all took part. However, as the European Digital Rights Initiative (EDRI) points out, after 10 months of debate, there is little consensus between these different stakeholder groups as to how to make EU copyright fit for the digital age in law and in practice. The final plenary meeting provided an opportunity for the different working groups to report-back to the plenary on their conclusions. The main critique of the EDRI is that in the process, all attention went to establishing relationships between rights holders and platform developers – thus excluding other approaches and larger attempts at a much needed copyright reform. In their words: In the current technological environment, copyright affects ordinary citizens and many professionals, such as teachers and cultural heritage professionals, that are not represented by the two industries that Commission’s approach suggests are the only legitimate stakeholders. There are user rights at stake in this discussion that are extremely important in fields other than popular culture, in particular in education, but also for political expression and democratic participation.

At this final meeting, moderator Norman Jardine invited the four thematic working groups each in turn to introduce their results and outcomes.

Cross-border Access

From Working Group1, which has worked on cross-border access and portability of services, the sub-group of Print — represented by Fabian Paagman — was the first on the floor. Fabian introduced a roadmap by e-book sector on improved availability of e-books across borders and across devices. Their statement is available to read here.

Bertrand Moullier from IFTA represented the sub-group Audiovisual in WG1 and talked about cross-border portability of subscription services, introducing a joint statement by the audiovisual industry. Gradually offered cross-border portability would make it easier for consumers to legally access films and TV programmes from their home member state when travelling abroad on holidays or business trips. The representatives of this sector (twelve organisations) affirmed their willingness to continue to work towards this.

User-generated Content

Working Group2 has worked on user-generated Content and Licensing for Small-scale Users of Protected Material. Frances Lowe, representing PRS for Music and GESAC, talked on what kind of commitments the music sector has made on easier licensing for music. So did Olivia Regnier from IFPI, who announced a pan-European licensing scheme for small-scale users.
Anita Huss-Ekerhult from IFRRO introduced a toolkit solution proposed by the rights holder communities in the print industry for licensing including micro-licensing in text and images works. You can find this toolkit here [PDF].

The next speaker from WG2 was Angela Mills Wade from EPC, with a pledge to enable the identification of your work and rights online. This introduced roadmap enables creators to attach a machine-readable identification to their content, which helps using and re-using content. Sarah Davis, commercial legal director of the Guardian Media Group introduced a declaration on improving the user experience in the digital environment, that is: How to involve readers more actively in online press.

After these pledges the time had come for presentations. Paul Keller from Kennisland voiced a critical opinion on the results of WG2 and drew attention to the difference between licensing and creating user rights. After Paul we heard two presentations on user-generated content: from the perspective of YouTube from the European IP Policy Manager of Google, Tobias McKenney, and from the perspective of Sony ATV’s Antony Bebawi.

Audiovisual Heritage

Nicola Mazzanti, president of ACE talked about the agreement on principles and procedures between rights holders and European film heritage institutes, pursuing the goal of getting more heritage films online. This statement was signed at the end of the plenary meeting. With this statement, film heritage institutions and film producers now have a clearer agreement on how to go about digitizing, restoring and making available European film heritage without requiring changes in legislation. Nicola Frank from EUscreenXL partner EBU introduced the discussion between public broadcasters and rights holders on freeing up TV archive footage through digitization. Considering that we have to count on a myriad of rights holders, clearing the rights makes the use of such materials highly expensive and time-consuming, so participants agreed to find solutions.

James Taylor, communications officer of the SAA introduced in a pledge the audiovisual industry’s declaration to improve the identification and discoverability of audiovisual content online. The parties here declared to make current standards interoperable and to use them widely, which should help streamline their distribution.

Text and data Mining

The fourth working group focused on Text and Data Mining. Here only Eefke Smit from STM talked about the scientific publisher’s commitment on easier text and data mining of subscription-based material for non-commercial researchers. As a solution, publishers proposed a licensing clause, a “mining portal” and a “click-through license”.

Views of the European Commission

After these pledges and presentations, the three commissioners — by whom this dialogue was jointly led — evaluated the results of the dialogue. All of them mentioned that first of all, practical solutions were required.

  • Vice-President Neelie Kroes (Digital Agenda for Europe) expressed her gratitude for the stakeholders’ workmanship. At the same time, however, she expressed that she did not consider the achievements of the stakeholder dialogue conclusive. As an exception, she highlighted the fruitfulness of working group 3 on audiovisual heritage. Ms. Kroes stressed that this nine-month-long project was only the first track in the process and results of it will feed into an ongoing track: the legislative review. She committed that Commission will seriously consider all possible legislative proposals.
  • Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou (Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth) also stressed that parallel work is necessary: stakeholders’ dialogue and legislative review. She said users need more clarity and transparency both on their rights and their obligations. Like ms. Kroes, Commissioner Vassiliou zoomed in on the results from the audiovisual heritage working group. She said this agreement opened the door to one million hours of European film works. She also mentioned the joint agreement on the cross-border portability of subscription services as a remarkable achievement.
  • Commissioner Michael Barnier (Internal Market and Services) said that ”we need more single market on the Internet and more Internet on the single market” and he mentioned a recent economic study according to which the creative industry creates more jobs in Europe than the car manufacturing industry does. Commissioner Barnier announced that a final decision on a review process will be taken in spring 2014.

Conclusions

With this final plenary meeting, the Licences for Europe dialogue came to an end. The Commission will follow up more specifically on some of these initiatives, such as the agreement to carry out an ad hoc dialogue on broadcasting archives, where further work will have to be carried out as a result of Licences for Europe. In all cases, the Commission will continue to provide information on the state of implementation of the different initiatives. The Commission is currently working on an Impact Assessment and in this context will shortly launch a public consultation on the on-going review.

In EUscreenXL, we recently closed our first stakeholder survey, directed at collections managers and legal experts. It was held to obtain a pan-European overview of the difficulties memory organisations and audiovisual archives experience when they decide to bring their collections to the web. Together with Europeana, we plan to hold an IPR-focused workshop in early spring in order to develop the policy and advocacy steps the audiovisual heritage domain can take to improve the public’s access to audiovisual sources through the web.

More information

  • The official press release is available here
  • Read the European Digital Rights Initiative’s response here.
  • You can find the final document with ten pledges with their signatories here [PDF]
  • The lists of participants in the four working groups are available on the Licences for Europe website.
  • To get all the details of the session, it is worth it to watch the full video stream.
  • To read more about the participation of the cultural heritage field in the Licenses for Europe trajectory, read Réka’s report on Second Europeana Licensing workshop.

Visions of Europe in the Eurovision Song Contest

The 59th Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark in May 2013. The Eurovision Song Contest is the oldest continuous television program in the world. Launched by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in 1956 as one of many initiatives to develop live broadcasting technology in Europe and to contribute to peaceful interaction across the European continent the contest which has been broadcast annually ever since, has developed into the most-watched international festival of popular music.

With a TV audience of around 120 million people plus an increasing viewer base on the internet, the popularity of the contest rivals sporting events such as the UEFA Euro and the American Super bowl.

You can watch the final of the 22nd Eurovision Song Contest in London on EUscreen:

eurovision

Since its inception the Eurovision Song Contest have become a communicative and negotiated space triggering discussions of Europe, its boundaries and identities. Over the years national broadcasters, journalists, audiences, performers and even politicians have promoted their vision of Europe in relation to the Eurovision Song Contest. This Years Eurovision conference, which will take place in Copenhagen during Eurovision week 2014, will as its main theme focus on the multiple visions of Europe in the Eurovision Song Contest. Such visions can take many shapes, be they politically, economically, culturally, sexually and (mental)geographically charged. Visions of Europe link intrinsically to specific comprehensions of Europe in past and present. Visions are always partial, situated, embodied; they have material-discursive implications. Popular culture and performance cultures represented in the Eurovision Song Contest offer distinct opportunities for observing and displaying the contested nature of envisioning Europe.

Visions of Europe in the Eurovision Song Contest conference at Copenhagen University, Faculty of Humanities, will take place on the 5th-7th of May 2014. The organizers announce first call for papers on European visions in the Eurovision Song Contest – with emphasis on empirical, theoretical, analytical and/or methodological dimensions; Other papers presenting research about the Eurovision Song contest is however also welcome.

Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words to: ceklw@hum.au.dk by February 15th 2014

The conference is co-organized by the research program Modern Europe at Aarhus University and Centre for Modern European Studies (CEMES) at Copenhagen University.

 

 

Public Service 3.0 International conference on the current transformation of broadcast television

20-21 November 2013, Filmhuset (Stockholm, Sweden)

 Organizers:

Ib Bondebjerg & Patrick Vonderau

Department for Media Studies (IMS), Stockholm University

Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen

 

Keynote Speakers:

James Bennett (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Bridget Conor (King’s College, London)

Toby Miller (UC Riverside)

 

Television production, distribution and consumption are currently undergoing major changes. While some fear the «end of television», others have praised the advent of «social TV». Bringing together scholars from Denmark, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, this seminar invites to discuss the current transformation of broadcast television.

Focusing on the role of public broadcasting services, the seminar addresses issues related to regulatory frameworks and commissioning structures, multiplatform production and digital distribution. It also sheds light on changing conditions for media work, on new forms of content creation and storytelling strategies. How do PBS deal with the challenge of new independent online providers? What strategies for digital content provision and audience interaction are they developing? What implications does the digital landscape hold for creative work and content providers?

In taking up these and related questions, the overall aim of this meeting is to stipulate international collaboration that may lead to collaborative research projects of relevance to Media Studies but even to legislators, commissioners, programmers and practitioners working in the television industries.

 

Registration:

Conference Management:

Chris Baumann & Kit Krogvig

Attendance is free, but registration is required

chris.baumann@ims.su.se

 

 

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