This new publication series from 2015 covers a selection of topics that are high on the European regulatory agenda, offering comparative and reliable information on a chosen topical issue in the perspective of the ongoing reforms of the legal framework on European and national level.
For each chosen topic, this new publication looks into:
- the economic and technological backdrop
- the international and European regulatory framework
- the national implementation of these provisions
- self- and co-regulation
- recent trends.
The former version of the IRIS Plus series (until 2014) was a paid-for publication that featured a combination of a lead article, related reporting and a Zoom section, comprising overview tables, market data or practical information.
All published issues are now available online for free (see below):
The model of separation of powers (legislature, executive and judiciary) in its different declinations forms the basis for the political structure of most democratic states in the world. Not formally one of these powers, the press is nevertheless often called “the Fourth Estate” or “the fourth branch of government”, since it provides information to the people on matters of public concern and thereby acts as a guarantee that these state powers do not abuse their prerogatives. More
Younger generations nowadays take the existence of the European Union for granted. Today’s European adolescents were born into the European Union, so to speak, but it is a very recent development if we take into consideration the history of Europe as a whole. It is an organisation that was not created overnight, not even in seven days, but one that evolved gradually. Some would argue that the EU is still an unfulfilled dream, but despite this much has been achieved since its creation. Among the many advantages that citizens of an EU member state enjoy, the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the EU treaties allow them to move around, do business and live in other EU countries. More
There is an uneasy relationship between copyright and data protection, the main reason being that the legal rules governing both these areas are based on a potentially conflicting idea. There is a clash of objectives between copyright law and data protection law, but this does not immediately become apparent when the intention of the legislators in each case is compared. More
The destruction of the Library of Alexandria is a symbol of knowledge lost forever. Although the facts about this historical event are not entirely clear, the myth of a centralised source of knowledge ravaged by the flames remains in the collective conscience as a reminder of the fragility of cultural heritage. More
Few songwriters have captured the presentiment of change as Bob Dylan in his song "The Times They Are A-Changin'". Although written in a very particular period of the twentieth Century, its message is universal and therefore can be applied to virtually any moment in time. Indeed, the fight between the Old and the New is a constant in the history of Mankind. In that sense, Dylan's song perfectly fits the Internet age: while old media giants currently struggle with fast-paced technological developments, new online companies started by teenagers in garages and universities are taking the world by storm. The generational gap evoked by Dylan is also evident, with parents feeling that, paraphrasing the song's lyrics, their children's online activities are "beyond their command". More
Convergence is no longer a future vision but can be experienced in the here and now. At least, this is true for those among us who possess a smart TV and manage to use its full technical potential. At the same time, media professionals never tire of pointing to the fact (and to supporting surveys) that for users traditional television still ranks high or even highest among the different media. Television screens are therefore one likely place for linear and non-linear audiovisual media services to meet. Thanks to the advanced technology employed they can in parallel function as an interface for other communication and information services. This turns television screens into a prime testing ground for consumers who wish to explore combined offers of formerly clearly distinct media and information services. Television screens are therefore also the place where consumers will learn whether or not the current legal framework takes care of their expectations regarding the protection of their interests. More
Publish and be damned? The Duke of Wellington's famous phrase could be used to describe the challenges for regulators dealing with the complex legal issues surrounding open journalism. In the age of Internet and the smart phone, we are ALL potentially journalists capable of generating copy, sound and images. From the rise of blogs which allowed private individuals to publish content on their own platform, to the opening of comments sections at the end of newspaper articles, to the inclusion of user generated films in news reports, the "professional" media have come to absorb user generated content as a supplementary source of content. Nowadays the media actively recruit these "open journalists" in order to tap into an additional source of copy. Clearly, this practice brings with it a new array of societal and consequently legal questions. They are only partly covered by the existing legal frameworks, which were designed for media services with less important user input and less inventive media reach out. More
The European Commission's report on the telecommunications market and regulatory development (see also IRIS 2012-9/8) describes, among other things, the current status of the introduction of digital television in the EU member states. According to section 5.3.2 of the report, at the time of publication (18 June 2012) it was already clear that Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Greece were the only EU member states that would not have completed the digitisation process before the deadline of 31 December 2012. More
On-demand services with audiovisual content are continuing to be more and more popular among users. One of the world's best known platforms is no doubt YouTube, which, according to Matthew Glotzbach, the company's EMEA Managing Director, currently has 800 million users a month who upload 72 hours of fi lm material every minute and watch videos totalling 4 billion hours every month (figures quoted from www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Medienwoche-Sender-und-Google-kaempfen-um-die-TV-Hoheit-1697883.html). As can be gathered from the European Commission's First Report on the application of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (COM(2012) 203 fi nal), there are a wide variety of video-on-demand (VoD) services, such as television broadcasters' catch-up TV offerings, which normally enable viewers to access via their websites (a selection of) audiovisual content for up to seven days after it has been aired. In addition, programmes stored on a continuous basis, or at least for a long period, are available from broadcasters' media libraries. In most cases, these services can be used free of charge because private providers in particular fi nance them through revenues from commercial communications. More
On 11 July 2012, the Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale per il Lazio, an Italian administrative court in Rome decided on a case involving the Italian public service broadcaster RAI (TAR Lazio Decision n. 6320). It found RAI guilty of having violated its charter by encrypting its free-to-air TV channels, which made it impossible for Sky Italia to carry RAI channels on its platform. More