EC Still Pushing For Cross-Border Digital Content Retail, Licencing

In case you thought the idea had gone away – European media and telco commissioner Viviane Reding still wants to give online retailers the right to sell music, movies and video games across EU borders, leading to lower prices and increased competition across the continent.

That’s just one of eight proposed policies released today by Reding and consumer affairs commissioner Meglena Kuneva in a wish-list of issues they want to EU to take further action on. The pair also want tougher criminal and civil legislation to combat spam, clearer rules on home copying of music and EU-wide DRM systems for content. Reding and Kuneva also today release an online guide to consumer rights setting out what people can expect from broadband providers and online retailers in terms of service, and from social networks in terms of privacy.

Reding says: “In the EU, consumer rights online should not depend on where a company or website is based. National borders should no longer complicate European consumers’ lives when they go online to buy a book or download a song.” But these are not actual legislation submissions — just areas Reding and Kuneva have identified “for possible EU action”. More after the jump…

Reding has long campaigned for consumers to be able to buy online content not just from the country they live in but from any of the 27 EU member states. She wants to sweep away the current system under which individual collecting societies, such as PRS For Music in the UK, administer each country’s copyright systems. In January last year Reding introduced the Creative Content Online In The Single Market, which she promised would “support development of innovative business models, cross-border services and consumer-friendly offers”.

Reding’s proposals, in fact, go back to 2006 and got renewed impetus from Apple’s regulatory headaches in introducing its movie download store in Europe. In January Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) was forced to harmonise its UK iTunes prices with the rest of Europe despite the differing fees it pays to collecting societies in each country.

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