The world of copyrighted content has changed radically in the past decade thanks to the modern infrastructure and the new technologies provided by digital industries, to the benefit of artists and consumers alike. The digital industry has become an essential partner for the cultural sector: not only does it manufacture devices necessary for cultural creation and the dissemination of cultural goods, but it also significantly reduces market entry barriers for creators and has facilitated the creation, consumption and distribution of an immense diversity of content. Digital industries constantly invest and innovate to help content creators find ways and appropriate economic models to remunerate their works and offer consumers direct payments or subscription models.
However, the fragmented copyright systems in Europe have not adapted to new trends in the creation, distribution and consumption of copyrighted content, and there is an obvious need to modernise certain aspects of the copyright rules in order to make them relevant in today’s digital environment. One of the most economically significant copyright rules that is crying out for modernisation in the digital era is the private copy exception and the associated regime of digital device-based levies. Copyright levies were created in the analogue era in some countries in order to compensate copyright holders for the supposed harm they suffered as a result of the private copying of content. At a time when consumers want to access their films and music anytime, anywhere and from any device through cloud services or streaming platforms, the very notion of private copying is obsolete. The European Union should establish a roadmap for reform and the ultimate phase out of copyright levies systems.