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Haupt arrow newsitems arrow EUCommission v.President Ansip to EF: Digital Tech. for Citizens Access + Authors Reward on Culture

EUCommission v.President Ansip to EF: Digital Tech. for Citizens Access + Authors Reward on Culture

Geschrieben von ACM
Tuesday, 22 November 2016
 
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- Modern Digital Technologies and EU's Single Market are Able to Ensure, at the Same Time, Both Better Citizens' Access, and Fair Remuneration to Authors, for the Preservation and Promotion of the European Heritage, replied, in Substance, the competent Vice-President of the European Commission, Andrus Ansip^, to an "Eurofora"'s relevant Query.


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   Raising 2 relevant Questions on the Sidelines of an EU/CoE Conference about Digital Data Protection, organized by the PanEuropean AudioVisual Observatory of the CoE, with the Participation of vice-President Ansip, s Key-note Peaker, "Eurofora", Started by Reminding the Fact that the current President of EU Commission, former Long-Time Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, had Drafted a Landmark Report on the Future of EU - CoE Cooperation, in a New Architecture of Europe, after being Invited to do so by the Heads of State/Government of the 47 Member Countries of the CoE, at their 2005 Summit in Varsaw, Poland.

 
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    - In this regard, By a Coincidence, this Same Day, in CoE's Committee of Ministers, was Anounced, (by the Incoming Cyprus' CoE Presidency for November 2016 - May 2017) a Project about the Legal Protection of Cultural Heritage, spreading up to Next year (2017), and, since Digital Technologies, Both from the point of view of Copyright, and from that of Common Market, are very Important, in order to Protect and Promote the Cultural Heritage, could yu kindly tell us what would be your ideas on How to Build the Horizon of this Junction between Cultural Heritage, Digital Technologies, and Copyright ?"


    - "Don't you think, in this regard, that Europe has a great Potential in this area, which sould be Both Protected and Promoted ?", "Eurofora" asked Ansip.


    - "Thank you for this substantial, but wide Question", reacted Positively with a Smile, EU Commission's vice President, who had Earlier taken himself the Initiative to Evoke also Culture. 

- "I think that the whole Idea of the Digital Single Market is meant (also in order) to Protect our (EU's) Cultural Heritage, and to Improve Access to those MasterPieces created by our Artists, and I Hope Everyone will realize that", he stressed from the outset, practicaly Agreeing with "Eurofora"s main observation, (See Above).

    - "As you know, our (EU's) Aim is to provide Better Access to Digital Contents for our Citizens, and, at the Same Time, our Aim is also to provide Fair Remuneration to our Authors", Andrus Ansip^pointed out, as a matter of General Principle. Indeed, - "I canNot see a Contradiction between those 2 Aims", he acknowledged.


    - "Last May, we (EU) Launched a Digital Single Market Strategy, while on December we presented Priority Proposals, and, one of the very First was about the portability of the Content. Today, 20% of European Citizens are Spending at least 10 Days each Year in anOther (EU) Country. And Many of those Travelling somewhere in other EU Countries would like to get Legally Access to their Digital Content. But, because of Copyright Restrictions, they canNot", he Denounced.


    - However, "for some Other People, that's Not a big Problem" : F.ex., for them "VPN is Available"... "So, 20% of Internet Users in the EU are used to Pay in order to get thus Access to Digital Content, and, since it's not free of charge, they just Pay 6 or 10 € for one of 2 Month, 20 € for 3 Months, etc., without even thinking that they are doing something in the Wrong Way. But, there is a Problem : Authors are Not Remunerated", he observed.


    - And "68% of interviewed EU Citizens said that they are using so-called "Free Goggles". "But, once again, there is a Problem : Authors are Not Remunerated". "So, somehow, as I said many times, with our (EU's) Regulations, we are Pushing People to those so-called "Free Goggles", he Warned.


    >>> - In fact, "We (EU), have to Tackle Piracy, but, First, we have also to Provide Legal Access to Digital Content for our People !" the Competent EU Commission's vice-President Urged.


    - "So, concerning the Portability of Content :" Of course, "we (EU) will Protect the Principle of Territoriality, But, for me, it's Difficult to Understand when People are Asking for Absolute for Territorial Exclusivity", Ansip Denounced.


    - Indeed, "Is there absolute Territorial Exclusivity, when, already, at least 20% of EU Citizens use VPN, while 68% use Free Goggles ?", he critically wondered. "My Understanding about Absolute Exclusivity is Differend : Absolute Exclusivity can be either Zero %, or 100%, but this kind of Exclusivity is very Relative"...


----------------------


    + "Our (EU Commission's) 2nd Reform Package is also about Cultural Heritage" indeed, vice-President Ansip observed, pointing Closer to "Eurofora"'s original Question, (See Above).


     - We proposed also a special regulation for Preservation purposes by Cultural Heritage Institutions : F.ex., concerning Museums, or Archives, etc, Change from one Carrier to anOther, (f.ex. DSHL to Fiber, or to DVD, etc) may be a Big Challenge and have a High Level of Administrative Costs", he  observed.


    => - "We (EU) Want to Cut those Administrative Costs, and Provide Access for People to all those Masterpieces Created by Artists", he stressed.


     >>> Because "Cultural Heritage is a Great Value", EU Commission's vice-President underlined.


     - "But it will be Much Better when this woN't be Blocked in Archives or Museums, so that People will have Access to Cultural Heritage !", Ansip pointed out, as a matter of Principle.


    + "So we (EU Commission) proposed also to Extend  the uses of Cultural Origin principle", as well as "of Collective Licensing", to "at least Double the Volume of" (relevant Digital) "Content which will Cross Borders for Access by our Citizens", etc., he added.


    => "I think that Everybody will Benefit, if we (EU) are Anle to Reach those Aims" : i.e. "Both Creators, and our (EU's) Citizens", the Competent EU Commissioner, optimisticaly observed, pointing at the Heart of the Matter.


     + Moreover, "a Lot of Other Proposals were made, so that Cultural Heritage can also ensure a Fair Remuneration of our Authors", since, "if they are Not Remunerated, then, Nobody will Provide", preserve and present "no more such real Masterpieces", he went on to add.


     - Nevertheless, Many among them, "f.ex. Musicians, are Unhappy. They say that they are Not fairly Remunerated", etc. "They are Complaining about Platforms for Distribution".

 
    - But, "there are very Differend Platforms" : F.ex., "Platforms based on Subscription, where there are 68 Millions of Users per Month, Contributing for about 2 Bilions € to Musicians".


    - "At the same time, there are some Other Platfroms, supported by Advertizing, and they have 1 Billion Users per Month, but they are Contributing just 643 Millions € to Musicians, who, of course, are UnHappy...


    - "So : 68 Millions of Users = 2 Billions €", in the First Case.  But "1 Billion Users = just 0,6 Billion €", he noted.


    Therefore, "we (EU) tried to make it more Clear : When Platforms are Selling many Value-Added Products, but withOut Remuneration, f.ex. by Advertizing, they say that it's Not well Known what happens there, Because we are just Neutral Intermediaries", etc.


    - So, we Tried to Find some Other kinds of Platforms of Distribution, which are Not so Expensive, but Allow for Authors to be more Fairly Remunerated, Ansip pointed out.   

 
    In this regard, f.ex., "YouTube" is Not the only one... In the case of anOther, for 10.000 Songs, you have to Pay some 400 € in Total : it's not too much", he observed.


    >>> "Once Again" : What matters most, is "to Provide Better Access to Digital Content, and to Provide (also) Fair Remuneration to our Authors" : Both Those 2 Things are very Important for this Matter,  the competent EU Commission's vice-President reiterated in Conclusion of his Reply to "Eurofora"s above-mentioned Question.



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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

Halonen, known as "Mother" of CoE's "Monitoring" mecanism, a long-time MEP and former Foreign Minister before becoming Finland's President, holds a long experience in the mattter, after also serving twice as CoE and EU Chairwoman in the past. That's why she is well placed to judge how CoE's "monitoring" should deal today with some crucial issues of importance both to CoE and to the EU.

The move came just a Month before a crucial, last visit to Turkey, scheduled for June, by the President of CoE''s "Monitoring" Committee, Ukranian MEP Serge Holovaty, to finalize his Report on Ankara, the CoE Member State with the longest Monitoring procedure. From its results depends its overall credibility.

This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
-------------------------
    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
    
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.

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