After successfully destroying our agricultural and fishing industries and making a start on bringing ruin to the City of London, Brussels has now revealed the next few prosperous British sectors on its hit list – our envied television, film and music industries.
The European Commission has announced it wants to create a “Digital Single Market” by harmonising the online distribution of digital media (such as television shows, films and music) EU-wide. This in practice means digital media will have to be available from the same online providers, for the same price, across all 28 Member States of the EU.
Whilst this sounds reasonable enough in theory, it has catastrophic ramifications for Britain’s creative industries. Currently, digital media is released online at different times by separate providers in each of the 28 EU countries. This allows the creators – the television producers and musicians – to charge prices in line with the demand for their product in each individual country, thereby maximising their profits. When the EU’s Digital Single Market makes this illegal, the profits of TV, film and music producers will plummet.
Indeed, seven British film industry leaders are so concerned with this new EU scheme, they recently wrote an open letter to the Daily Telegraph. The film industry experts argued the granting of exclusive distribution rights in individual countries is one of the ways they get funding for film projects in the first place. They claim without this avenue for funding it will be “nigh-on impossible” to finance some films in the future.
The EU’s proposals – aside from devastating our creative industries – are also a slap in the face of the British TV Licence-payer. Britons are currently forced to pay a Licence fee in order to support the financing of BBC programmes. Whilst at the moment the BBC’s online service, BBC iPlayer, is unavailable abroad, the EU’s Digital Single Market will remove this restriction, allowing foreigners to tune in to BBC programmes online for free whilst we continue to pay. In short, YOU will be paying your Licence fee so the people of continental Europe can watch programmes like EastEnders for free!
Given what a disaster this plan will be for Britain, it is astounding it’s so readily supported by the British Government. Unsurprisingly, the Digital Single Market’s loudest advocate is Liberal Democrat Cabinet Minister Vince Cable. The unwavering support of arch-Europhile Vince Cable for this policy demonstrates one thing – the proposal has a hidden agenda.
Far from being designed to improve EU citizens’ access to online digital media, the Digital Single Market proposal is just the latest gauche attempt by the European Commission to create a European identity amongst the staunchly anti-EU Great British Public. EU President Jean-Claude Juncker clearly thinks if Britons start watching European TV shows and films and listening to European music we will forget how distinctly un-European we are.
If we want to protect our world-wide respected TV, film and music industries we need to Get Britain Out of the EU. Until we do, we are powerless before the European Commission We can only wait with dread to see what new damaging policies Juncker is dreaming up when he publishes his complete paper on the ‘Digital Single Market Strategy’ in May.
Luke Stanley is Research Executive at Get Britain Out