Twelve EU culture ministers are intent on defending their capacity to implement policies, particularly in the areas of taxation or public aid, and to maintain the obligation of remuneration of copyright online. This is the message of a letter sent to three Commissioners - Michel Barnier (internal market), Neelie Kroes (Digital Agenda) and Androulla Vassiliou (culture and education) - on 28 November 2012, by the French, German, Austrian, Bulgarian, French-speaking Belgian, Spanish, Estonian, Finnish, Italian, Luxembourg, Polish and Romanian ministers. Other countries have a more liberal approach to culture.

The initiative was launched by French Minister Aurelie Filippetti.

With Kroes regularly claiming that copyright is an obstacle to the free movement of works online, the ministers find that intellectual property must be conceived of as the "guarantee of remuneration for creators". The "digital revolution" requires a modernisation of copyright, they admit, but "a Europe without modern and ambitious copyright protection would be a continent doomed to the consumption of content, often imported from the same country, a continent that would forget its cultural heritage and give up trying to renew and enrich it".

Recent EU measures to facilitate the digitisation of orphan works by public cultural institutions and the project under way to harmonise collective rights management do not represent a threat to copyright. However, much more controversial initiatives, such as the reform of royalties for private copying of...

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