Michel Barnier, EU Commissioner for Internal Market, agreed yesterday (29 May) with European Competitiveness Ministers that Europe needs a reform on copyright levies, and both parties recognised that the current status “is not an option.”

Ministers, who were attending the Competitiveness Council, debated a report on copyright levies in Europe by former Commissioner Antonio Vitorino, who was asked to write it by Barnier.

The report highlights that a change on copyright legislation is needed and recognises that the actual arrangement is “a source of friction” with internal market principles.

Among other recommendations, Vitorino's document emphasises that Europe must ensure that right holders are properly remunerated for their creative efforts and investments. Besides, it expresses the need of a single market in order to reconcile disparate national levy systems.

Vitorino affirms that other systems can help Europe compete with markets like the US and Japan, where there's no a levy system and citizens spend four times more money on digital music.

The conclusions delivered by the European Council after the debate say that “the review of the copyright environment in Europe is deemed essential in order to achieve a well-functioning digital single market.”

This will involve “facilitating the creation of digital business models, providing with appropriate protection to creators and producers and ensuring certainty to commercial users and online consumers,” explained the Council.

However, despite Ministers expressed their intentions of improve the Communication on General Reform of Copyright in 2014, they didn't set out a concrete course of action.

John Higgins, Director General of DigitalEurope, an association which represents IT organisations and also Vitorino's report, called on the European Commission to develop a roadmap towards a single digital market “without delay.”