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Home 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

Pisac ACM
22. 11. 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.

 
agg_quest_to_vpresident_ansip_400 


    - 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"...


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    + "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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  imag0573_400

    An "Eugenic" loophole Amendment, which might expose to Dangers reminiscent of "3rd Reich's" notorious Genetic Abuses, hidden at the last minute inside an otherwise Good, larger Health policy Package scheduled to be voted on Thursday, was strongly denounced by a coalition of MEPs from various Political Groups and Countries, in a Press Conference held this afternoon at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    Mainly calling to "Select Human Embryos", via "Genetic Counselling" and "pre-implantation" Techniques including "Genetic Tests", in order to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", it might open ways to Dangerous Practices in Future, they denounced in substance.

    But they also made it clear that a much larger Report inside which this Controversial Amendment "No 15" was added in dubious circumstances, officialy destinated to struggle against "Rare Diseases", and drafted by Professor Antonios Trakatellis, was otherwise "an Excellent Report", aiming at a "completely Uncontroversial target" of Health policy on which "all MEPs and Experts are united, believing that Europe should act" to protect People's Health (See "EuroFora"'s earlier News).

    The controversy came at a particularly delicate moment for the EU in relation to Citizens, at the eve of June 2009 EU Elections, and shortly before Ireland re-votes for "Lisbon Treaty"..    

- Denouncing risks of "an Eugenic demand, very similar to what we had during the 3rd Reich in Germany, but now coming from some Scientisists themselves", German ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Dr. Peter Liese stressed that critical MEPs were against "Eugenic" engineering with "Selection of Human Embryos", and anything which might ultimately lead up to to a "Selection of Human Race". It doesn't help to "eradicate" Human Lives, he added.


    Several Experts and NGOs expressed "Deep Concern", as f;ex. DR M.C. Cornel of the "European Society of Human Genetics", which stressed, on this occasion, that "the importance of Non-Directiveness in Reproductive issues is a Central characteristic of Human Genetics, after the Atrocities committed in the name of Genetics in the first half or the 20th Century".

     - "This is completely Unacceptable", stressed Italian Liberal MEP Vittorio Prodi, on the Controversial Amendment, also because pushes to "eliminate early Human Life", as he noted.

     - "This opens a Dangerous Road, rather a Motorway", denounced Danish MEP Mrs Margrette Auken, from the "Greens", observing that various similar attempts were made in the Past "not only in Germany, but also in several other Countries, "even at the 1970ies", "f.ex. on forced Sterilisation of Roma" People, and other criticisable situations f.ex. in the UK, in Sweden, etc. as she said.

    + Other NGOs, as f.ex. "LebenHilfe" from Berlin, added that, among various other Risks, could also be that, by exploiting the pre-implantation Genetic Diagnostics and the Selection of "healthy" Embryos, some may "propagate" several "Eugenic" aims, starting f.ex. by pushing to eradicate Human Livies which might "Cost too much" to preserve, ultimately exposing to dangers reminiscent of the "3rd Reich"'s atrocious abuses.

    In consequence, ChristianDemocrats/EPP and "Green" MEPs "decided by Majority to vote against" this Controversial Amendment, anounced to Journalists the 5 MEPs who participated in the Press Conference, representing a wide spectrum, from Liberals to "Greens" and ChristianDemocrats, and from Hungary, Italy, Germany and Danemark up to Ireland (Gay Mitchell), etc.
----------------------------------
    Hungarian ChristianDemocrat MEP Laszlo Surjan said "that it was "Suddenly, at the End of the Procedure" in Committee, that "appeared this (Controversial) Amendment, which has nothing to do" with the main purpose of the Report, on which all agreed.

    He denounced an "Unhonest" move, and called to "avoid this kind of unacceptable situations". Nobody should "Select People", Surjan stressed.

    - "We (MEPs) had No Chance to Discuss" this last-minute Amendment earlier added at a Committee's level, said German MEP Peter Liese

    Speaking to "EuroFora", Dr. Liese, the Spokesman of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group in EU Parliament, said that MEPs didn't oppose other references of the Report f.ex. on "Genetic Tests", because they were "no proposals" to impose them, while, on the contrary, there was "a Problem" if anyone attempted to "impose" f.ex. this or that Genetic Technique and "Genetic Counselling", etc. to the People on human reproduction.
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The precise Text :
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    Controversial parts of Amendment No 15 ask mainly "to lead finally to the Eradication" of "Hereditary" "rare diseases", "through Genetic Counselling .., and ..pre-Implantation Selection of healthy Embryos".

    But  EU Rapporteur Professor Trakatellis, said to "EuroFora" that fears should be alleviated by Guarantees that all this should be done only "where appropriate", when it's "not contrary to existing National Law", and "always on a Voluntary basis", according to other Parts of the Amendment.

    He stressed that the main aim was to allow "a free and informed choice of persons involved", without imposing them anything :  - "It's not an obligatory, but advisary" text, he said.

    To make that point clear, he was ready, in agreement with many MEPs, to eventually drop at least that part of the controversial Amendment which initially called for "efforts to ..lead finally to the Eradication of those rare diseases" "which are Hereditary".

    But, until late Wednesday evening, reportedly together with many other MEPs, he stood by all the rest of the controversial Amendment, (fex. on the "Genetic Counselling" and the "pre-implantation Selection of healthy Embryos"), so that critical MEPs, going from ChristianDemocrats as Dr. Liese, to "Greens" or "Ind/Dem", observed to "EuroFora" that "this was not enough" to close the dangerous loophole.

    Particularly since, as Professor Trakatellis noted himself, "this is already allowed to the U.K.", and "other National Legislations would probably follow, sooner or later" in a similar direction. As for a general call to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", this "should happen, at any case, in practice, de facto", to protect public Health.

    On the contrary, "our goal should be to help patients suffering from rare diseases, not to eradicate the patients. In case of genetic disease risk, the decision should not be guided by scenarios" made by politicians. "Perents who may decide to accept a child, even if handicapped or with genetic disease, must be respected and supported with solidarity", critical MEPs stated.

    - "Any Pressure" to "a patient or couple (who "should be able to make an informed choice consistent with their own values"),"from health Professionals, Public Health Policies or Governemental Institutions, or Society at large, should be avoided", stresses the "European Society for Human Genetics".

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

Each MEP's vote will be registered !

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

The Socialist Group requested a "Split vote" on the Amendment 15, first without, and afterwards with the words "lead finally to the Eradication" etc.


    But the first "split vote" leaves intact all the other parts of the Controversial Amendment, (i.e. "Genetic Counselling", "Selection of healthy Embryos", etc).

    That's why, 3 Groups of MEPs : ChristianDemocrats/EPP, "Greens/EFA", and "Ind/Dem", have asked for "Roll Call Votes", on everything regarding the Controversial Amendment No 15, and on the final outcome of the resulting Report as amended, which will register all the individual positions to be taken by each MEP.   

Something which will obviously make each MEP think twice before voting for one or another choice, to be sure that he/she will make the right choice in front of EU Citizens, particularly at these pre-Election times...


    Crucial Votes were scheduled between 12 Noon and 1 p.m. local Strasbourg time, in the middle of a long series of various other Reports, and after a long Public Debate on the larger Health policy package, from 9 to 11.50 am.

    The specific Report inside which was hidden the controversial Amendment is due to be debated between 11 and 12 am.

    So that more last-minute Surprises may not be excluded a priori...

    Particularly at the present Historic moment, when even the Institutional Future of the EU depends on the result of a second Referendum on "Lisbon Treaty", later this year, in ...Ireland, a mainly Catholic country, where People are particularly sensitive in such kind of socio-cultural and values issues...
 

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     (Draft due to be updated).
 
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