Every day, the publishers of Europe’s newspapers and magazines face choices about how and when to enter new markets, taking advantage of digital technology through on-line services and new forms of off-line delivery such as CD-ROM.
Publishers of newspapers and magazines, alongside broadcasters, are the most important creators of information in Europe. Computers have replaced yesterday’s printing presses as new information networks offer alternative delivery systems to traditional paper-based publications.
Publishers see the dynamic of this burgeoning new industry as the intellectual property itself whose distribution is our industry’s purpose.It is this intellectual property that will determine the success or failure of these innovative services. As owners of strong brands of newspapers and magazines,we are directly affected by the choices consumers make about what new on or off-line services to buy. A whole range of leading-edge technologies enable the delivery of these services and provide an interface between our information and access by consumers.The electronics industry is joining forces with the content providers and more significantly, is making its own content, employing journalists to edit and project news and information.
We are moving towards a single integrated information industry.
Competition in the new information industry is fierce as more and more new products and services enter the market. Why should publishers, the founders of the information industry, be more heavily regulated for doing exactly what new media immigrants do without constraint.
Our business is creating information; our information is a valuable store of intellectual property rights. Any threat to how we create or exploit this bank of information will jeopardize opportunities for investment and will threaten our future livelihoods and thus the stability and independence of the press.
There are some danger signs
- Too many decisions affecting our future are being taken only on the basis of technology.
- The major role of publishers in creating wealth, competition, growth and employment in Europe is not taken seriously enough by those taking decisions affecting our future.
- We currently face contradictory policies, for example on broadcasting, media ownership and some aspects of copyright which militate against the healthy development of an integrated information industry putting publishers at an unacceptable disadvantage.
The information industry needs your help to enable it to meet consumer needs, become more competitive and to contribute to employment and economic growth.
This is what publishers need:
We need unassailable intellectual property rights. That is:
- We need full protection against unauthorized use of our information.
- We need full control over the creation and exploitation of our copyright material in order to build our store of information and to distribute it how and when our consumers wish.
- Publishers must be free to invest across all sectors of the information industry which include all forms of publishing, broadcasting, computer, cable and telecommunications companies.Artificial barriers between these sectors will hinder the development of an integrated information industry in Europe.
- Advertising and other forms of commercial communication, such as sponsorship, direct marketing etc., are vital sources of funding for publishers. Any restriction on the freedom to communicate with consumers will create a barrier to the independence of the press, whether in printed or electronic form.
Privacy of Personal Data
- Any legal protection against potential abuse of personal data must be weighed against the obligations of editors and their journalists. A independent press depends upon the free flow of information and the ability to collect, store, process and ultimately publish – within the law – information about individuals in the public domain.
What the government should do now:
- Recognize that we exist to meet our readers’ – the consumers – needs for information. Our consumers want to be able to choose in what form they buy and receive this information, e.g. the printed word, on-line,TV, radio, CD-ROM. If we are to succeed in meeting our consumers needs, we must be able to provide our information in their choice of medium.
- Recognize the role we play in creating wealth, competition and jobs and liberalize the laws which reduce our ability to do this.
- Recognize the vital role that publishers play as creators of content in this integrated information industry and to recognize the urgent need for a coherent and integrated approach to our business.