Spotlight on Copyright and Piracy - Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA

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Madrid, 03/16/2017

Spotlight on Copyright and Piracy

Rhys Noelke of RTL Group and Patricia Pérez of Atresmedia with José Luis Hervías of Universal Pictures Spain (from left to right)

Subject: Media & Services
Country: Spain
Category: Project

Details of the digital single market in Europe were the dominant theme at the "Cultura en Red" ("Culture on the Internet") media conference. Bertelsmann teamed up with the American television network NBC Universal and the Spanish media companies Grupo Planeta and Grupo Prisa to organize the event for the third time after 2013 and 2014. More than 200 guests from politics, business and culture gathered at the Espacio Bertelsmann in Madrid to listen to the speeches and panel discussion discussions by prominent people.

Besides Andrus Ansip, Vice President for the Digital Single Market at the European Commission, the organizers welcomed Spanish Secretary of State for Culture Fernando Benzo, and José María Lassalle, Spain’s Secretary of State for Information Society and the Digital Agenda. Bertelsmann was represented by Fernando Carro, CEO of Arvato and a member of the Bertelsmann Executive Board; Hays Steilberg, Vice President of Talent & Corporate HR at Bertelsmann; and Rhys Nölke, Senior Vice President for Strategy at RTL Group.

'Need for action on product piracy'

In his speech, Fernando Carro spoke out for upholding the principles of freedom of contract and the principle of territoriality in copyright law. This means that all actions are subject to the laws of the country they take place in. The application of this principle is particularly important in the fields of books, audiovisual media and movies, because it provides the basis for financing and disseminating cultural content, Carro explained. He sees an urgent need for action in combating piracy, which is also widespread in Spain. Here, he said the national supervisory authorities must take concrete measures, faster and more stringently.

Fernando Benzo took up Carro's call and announced that his next action plan for culture will be designed to shape an "anti-piracy generation." "We must clearly point out to young people that piracy is not a harmless misdemeanor but a criminal offense," said the Secretary of State. With regard to the debate on copyright, his colleague Lassalle stressed that "cooperation between all players in the digital ecosystem is the most effective way to achieve the greatest possible consensus and compromise." He said it is the European Union’s task to ensure effective international protection of intellectual property.

Great media interest

In his role as the representative of the EU, Andrus Ansip made it clear that the EU Commission does not want to abolish the principle of territoriality in copyright law. However, he said it is unacceptable for consumers not to be able to use creative content and services they have paid for in their home country when they are in other European countries. "Solutions must be found here," said the Commissioner for the digital single market.

In four panel discussions, the participants dealt in greater depth with the key themes of the conference, such as the digital reinvention of the media, or the question of whether the new EU Commission proposals on the digital single market will foster the development of the cultural industries. A panel discussion with young internet entrepreneurs focused on the implementation of cultural projects in the digital age. Another panel discussion, moderated by Penguin Random House writer Robert Levine, focused on the competencies required for the digital transformation of business and society.

"Cultura en Red" was also a big topic in the media: All the major Spanish daily newspapers as well as various radio and TV stations reported on the event. The conference’s hashtag "#culturaenred" was among the trending themes on Twitter in Spain.