Wednesday, September 29, 2010

EU green paper on cultural industries

Hi. I came across this today in doing some research and thought it might be interesting and useful to you. Below is the paper referred to. You can see some of the submissions on the green paper at . It does refer broadly to cultural industries (including film, production, architecture, crafts, music etc) but what is most interesting I think is the emphasis on the very broad contribution these industries make to a society – including a broad definition of economic impact beyond just job creation, and the social and political impact.

All the best
EU: Help Cultural Industries to Flourish! [Media - general]

Convinced as they are that the cultural and creative industries ("CCIs") will do wonders for the economy in Europe, EU policymakers have focused a great deal on this sector lately.

At the end of April the European Commission published a Green Paper on "unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries" coupled with a consultation on the subject.

This sector – to which the Commission counts performing arts, visual arts, cultural heritage, film, television and radio, music, publishing, video games, new media, architecture, design, fashion design and advertising - has a lot of untapped potential to create growth and jobs, says the Commission.

Furthermore cultural content plays a crucial role in the deployment of the information society, "fuelling investments in broadband infrastructures and services, in digital technologies, as well as in new consumer electronics and telecommunication devices", points out the Commission. They are also important drivers of economic and social innovation in many other sectors.

The Green Paper highlights the need to improve access to finance, especially for small businesses, as key to enabling the sector to flourish and to contribute to sustainable growth. In the consultation the Commission asks how to facilitate access to funding for small and micro enterprises and help to secure the right mix of creative and managerial skills in these sectors.

EU Ministers of Culture have recently stressed the importance of these industries too. At their Council meeting in May the ministers adopted Conclusions on the contribution of culture to regional and local development. "There is an evident link between culture, creativity and innovation contributing to social and economic progress" says the Council, encouraging, "strategic investment in culture and cultural and creative industries, in particular SMEs (small and medium-sized companies), at local and regional level".

Some of those who have responded to the Commission consultation are very positive, such as IMPALA, an organisation representing the interests of independent music companies, most of which are SMEs.

Others express some criticism. The Green Paper "neglects the individual creators and the problems related to their status, rights and social and tax environments", says the Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA), a new association of European collective management societies representing audiovisual authors.

The European Consumers' Organisation (BEUC) – ever more engaged in these types of issues –highlights the important role of user-created content. "The European Commission considers the promotion of culture and creativity as the exclusive responsibility of those industries involved in the production and distribution of content. However, consumers have been engaging with new technologies and the opportunities offered to them to the point of becoming active players in the creation and dissemination of content, information and knowledge."

"The rise of User-Created Content (UCC) is a major component of the notion of participative internet, while it has allowed for new business models to appear and for ICT technologies to be developed further. User-Created Content needs to be afforded appropriate protection to allow for this type of content to continue developing", stresses BEUC in its statement.

The many contributions to the Commission's Green Paper are now available online. Later in the autumn the Commission will publish an analysis of the replies.