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Copyright isn't working, says European Commission

ZDNet - People have come to see copyright as a tool of punishment, Europe's technology chief has said in her strongest-yet attack on the current copyright system.

Digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes said on Saturday that the creative industries had to embrace rather than resist new technological ways of distributing artistic works. She added that the existing copyright system was not rewarding the vast majority of artists.

"Is the current copyright system the right and only tool to achieve our objectives? Not really," Kroes said in a speech to the Forum D'Avignon thinktank. "Citizens increasingly hear the word copyright and hate what is behind it."

"Sadly, many see the current system as a tool to punish and withhold, not a tool to recognise and reward," Kroes added.

The commissioner said online distribution and cloud computing offered a "totally new way of purchasing, delivering and consuming cultural works", and suggested that the existing legal framework around copyright was not flexible enough to take advantage of this evolution.