2007 in a nutshell…

  • Culture and creative industries, and in particular the sector’s SMEs, finally become an official part of Europe’s Lisbon strategy.
  • European Parliament interrogates EC Commissioner Kroes twice during the year on her decision to approve the SonyBMG merger.
  • SMEs in the cultural and creative sectors gain highest possible recognition that: a) they are Europe’s drivers of innovation, creativity, growth and employment; and b) they need specific support measures.
  • First ever European Communication on Culture which led to establishing an Agenda for Culture. Priorities include developing the cultural and creative industries and specifically SMEs.
  • EC Commissioner for competition, Neelie Kroes recognises that preferential treatment for SMEs is both “politically and economically justifiable”.
  • EC starts integrating culture in all other policy areas under the new Agenda for Culture. This “mainstreaming” of culture should open up a new debate to improve traditional policy areas such as competition, internal market, trade and tax etc.
  • All member states, again, for the first time ever, will meet on a regular basis to discuss not just EC policy, but their own national policies – under the “open method of co-ordination”.
  • EC holds first ever European Cultural Forum, hosted by the Portuguese Presidency.
  • France indicates it will support lower VAT on music and will re-open the debate when it takes over the EC presidency in the second half of 2008.
  • The new EC Treaty elevates cultural diversity and intellectual property as fundamental treaty rights.
  • Cultural policy decisions to be taken by qualified majority under the new Treaty instead of unanimity of all member states.
  • The European Commission finally sets precedent in Universal/BMG that major music mergers need remedies, after re-approving Sony/BMG for a second time despite IMPALA’s court victory in 2006.
  • EC sets out for the first time ever a concrete list of problems regarding Universal’s market power as the worlds biggest record company and publisher, controlling more than half the world’s music (Universal/BMG decision).
  • French reach groundbreaking agreement on ISP collaboration.
  • European Court reaches opinion in favour of IMPALA, that it was right to annul the SonyBMG merger.
  • "Creeping dominance" arguments raised with regulators at EC and national level, following Universal's acquisition of a series of key European independents.
  • UNESCO Convention on cultural diversity enters into force, becoming part of EC law.
  • Through the UNESCO Convention, the principle of fair and equitable access to the means of creating, producing, distributing and disseminating music and other cultural expressions becomes part of EC law.
  • EC President Barroso intervenes (very beginning of the year) in the private copying debate to put an end to the bid to challenge this vital source of income.
  • After just two years, IMPALA awards reach a total of 500, representing 50million units sold and three quarters of a billion euros.

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IMPALA supports Music Declares Emergency

"This movement seizes the power of the music sector to take action and inspire change. It is important to join forces and to encourage collective action for climate"