Netopia Newsletter #16: #DigitalSingleMarket, #Jobs, #Growth and #Copyright

Can the Digital Single Market live up to the expectations? And what’s behind the big numbers? Netopia takes a closer look.

Jobs: 3,8 million jobs – or 2,5 million – or actual job loss? The promise of jobs is appealing, but will the Digital Single Market create more than it kills?

Money: Nine months ago, the expectation was €17 Billion per year, today it’s 415. Any more bids?

Safe Harbour: Will the DSM be the end of the “safe harbour”-principle that lets internet services and telecoms take the money and let somebody else deal with the fallout? The Commission is committed to the principle, but is smart enough to launch a public consultation on the topic. Wild guess: the result will be that safe harbour has run its course and the time has come for intermediaries to step to the responsibility. What’s that noise? Netopia cheering!

Copyright Reform: The “balance of interests for creators and consumers” is a trap – copyright gives creators the right to decide the price for their works, and the consumers decide if they want to pay. That is fair and balanced, just like any market. Problem is that if this right is being reduced, that will not only hurt creativity but also jobs. Case in point: exceptions for educations and scientific publishing hurts the jobs in this sector. And the difficulty in getting such a reform through the door would be tremendous. As one think-tank director put it “Copyright reform is where commissions go to die”.

Can Europe emulate the digital single market of the United States? For all the Commission’s best efforts, there is one big piece that’s missing in its puzzle: venture capital. Silicon Valley could not have been where it is today without a big supply of money with an appetite for risk. Access to capital is arguably a much bigger issue for European start-ups than many of the problems the DSM-strategy hopes to fix. That’s where the next bold move should be! Vice President Ansip, do you read this?

This is Netopia’s newsletter #16, distributed May 13 2015