The European Commission has recently unveiled a 16 point plan for boosting the European digital economy entitled 'A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe' (the Plan). The Plan envisages widespread revision of existing European internet, intellectual property and e-commerce law in a series of bold measures that the European Commission projects would add €415 billion to European GDP and also create 3.8 million new jobs.
Some of the key tenets of the Plan include:
- Reformation of EU copyright laws with legislative proposals to follow before the end of 2015 to reduce the differences between national copyright regimes and allow for wider online access to works across the EU, including through further harmonization measures;
- Simplification of rules to make cross-border e-commerce easier. This includes harmonized EU rules on contracts and online consumer protection;
- Ending unjustified geo-blocking. Putting an end to the discriminatory practice whereby sellers, for commercial reasons, either deny consumers access to a website based on their location, or re-route them to a local store with different prices;
- Modernization of telecom rules to bring the EU legislative regime in this area in line with modern technology;
- Review, and potential overhaul, of the E-Privacy Regulations; and
- Propose a European free flow of data initiative to promote the free movement of data in the EU. This initiative is intended to remove restrictions on where data is located or on data access. The European Commission will also launch a European Cloud Initiative covering certification of cloud services, the switching of cloud service providers and a "research cloud".
The Plan has the potential for far reaching reform of the current EU legislative landscape in the internet, intellectual property and e-commerce spheres. We will be watching developments with interest and will update you on these developments in future blog posts.