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The Digital Single Market strategy: what consumers want

On May 6 this year, the Commission announced its digital single market strategy. Reaction has been, to put it politely, somewhat mixed. Access, an international human rights organisation focused on the Internet, commented memorably that delivery on the strategy’s promise to improve people’s fundamental rights would be welcome, but it is a crippled unicorn: a fabulous beast going nowhere. This sums up much of the criticism, which is that it puts forward a mixed bag of desirable objectives – improving people’s fundamental rights is only one of these – without a clear overall plan to achieve them.

The objectives are addressed by sixteen activities in areas ranging from privacy to parcel delivery. They include consumer law, copyright law, VAT, and cross-border digital content distribution. Many of these are old battlegrounds with entrenched positions, where opposition is expected. For example, reacting quickly on May 16 from the Cannes festival, film and video trade organisations called for the preservation of territorial licensing. Success will be patchy, at best.

What consumers want

Standards enable markets. The massive global market in digital goods and services is enabled by the standards of the Internet and the World-Wide Web. People in Europe, and elsewhere, desire to achieve this market fully, and to dismantle the political and commercial barriers that prevent its realisation. With increasing travel, and common availability of information over the Internet, they are aware of things that they want that are available in other countries. They see it as ridiculous that they cannot have these things, or can only have them at a higher price than others pay elsewhere.

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Source: ComputerWorld

 

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