EU Commission clears acquisition of Skoobe by Klio, Holtzbrinck, Verlagsgruppe Random House and Arvato CRM Solutions

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control of the whole of Skoobe GmbH by Klio GmbH, Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH & Co. KG ("Holtzbrinck"), Verlagsgruppe Random House GmbH ("Random House") and Arvato CRM Solutions GmbH ("Arvato"), all of Germany. Skoobe offers the temporary rental of e-books over its online platform and via its own application. Klio is active as a book retailer. Holtzbrinck is an international media company that is active in trade-book publishing, education and science, newspapers and magazines as well as electronic media and services. Random House is a publishing house of Bertelsmann SE & Co KGaA ("Bertelsmann") active in the area of fictional and non-fictional books, books for children and adolescents, audio and e-books. Arvato is an international service company of Bertelsmann offering various technical services. Bertelsmann is an international me…

Less hate speech and more European content on video streaming services: EU Council adopts new EU rules

Press contacts Katharina RettigPress officer +32 2 281 55 05 +32 473 52 75 49
Today we can watch our favourite programmes anytime, anywhere. New times call for new audiovisual rules, to protect children and consumers.

As a result of updates by the EU to its rules for audiovisual media services, traditional television and new services such as on-demand broadcasting will compete on a level playing field. Video sharing platforms will also for the first time be subject to rules ensuring that viewers, and in particular minors, will be better protected from violent or harmful content or hate speech.

The new rules also aim to increase cultural diversity and promote European content by introducing a quota of at least 30% of European content in the catalogue of providers of on-demand audiovisual media services.

The Council adopted the new directive on 6 November. This is the final step in the legislative process.

The new directive modifies an existing directive on the provision of au…

Electronic publications: EU Council adopts reform allowing reduced VAT rates

Source: EU Council

06/11/2018 | 11:45

On 6 November 2018, the Council adopted a directive allowing alignment of VAT rules for electronic and physical publications. From now on, member states will be able to apply reduced, super-reduced or zero VAT rates also to electronic publications.

The adoption of the e-publication directive follows the political agreement reached by the Council on 2 October. It opens up the possibility for member states to implement reduced VAT rates in their national law if they wish to do so.

Under the current VAT rules (directive 2006/112/EC), electronically supplied services are taxed at the standard VAT rate, i.e. minimum 15%, whereas publications on a physical support may benefit from non-standard rates.

For physical publications – books, newspapers and periodicals – member states currently have the option of applying a ‘reduced’ VAT rate, i.e. minimum 5%. Some have been authorised to apply ‘super-reduced’ VAT rates (below 5%) or ‘zero’ rates (which involve VAT …

Apple Case: EU Commission withdraws legal action against Ireland after full recovery of illegal aid to Apple

Following the confirmation by Ireland that the full recovery of the illegal State aid granted to Apple has been finalised, the Commission has today decided to withdraw its Court action against Ireland. 
On 30 August 2016, the Commission adopted a State aid decision finding that Ireland had granted undue tax benefits of up to €13 billion to Apple. The Commission concluded that these tax benefits were illegal under EU State aid rules as they allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax on profits recorded in Ireland than other companies subject to same national taxation laws and ordered Ireland to recover the amount of taxes that should have been paid by Apple. 
The deadline for Ireland to implement the Commission's decision and recover the illegal State aid was 3 January 2017. In view of the delay in recovery, on 4 October 2017 the Commission referred Ireland to the European Court of Justice for failure to recover the illegal State aid granted to Apple. On 6 September 2018, Ireland co…

EU Commission presents a directory of European films to facilitate on-line access

Link - Source: EU Commission

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Brussels, 18 October 2018

On the occasion of the Marché international du film classique [International Classic Film Market] in Lyon, Mariya Gabriel, the Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, will today present the prototype of a directory of European films, a key action of the Digital4Culture strategy which is also part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.

Launched with the assistance of the European Audiovisual Observatory, the new directory will help professionals, the public authorities and citizens to find information about European films and their availability on-line in video-on-demand (VOD) services throughout the European Union.

Commissioner Gabriel said: "It is up to us to ensure that European works enjoy the audience that they deserve. Digital transformation has the potential to reinforce the positive impact of culture, at economic and societal levels. The o…

EU-Mitgliedstaaten einigen sich auf niedrigere Mehrwertsteuer für E-Books


Quelle: Vertretung der EU in Berlin

Die Finanzminister der EU-Mitgliedstaaten haben heute (Dienstag) einen Durchbruch bei der Mehrwertsteuer erzielt. Unter anderem wurden die Mehrwertsteuersätze für elektronische Veröffentlichungen wie etwa E-Books, die derzeit in den meisten Mitgliedstaaten zum Normalsatz besteuert werden, an die günstigere Regelung für gedruckte Veröffentlichungen angepasst. Darüber hinaus einigte man sich auf neue Vorschriften zum Informationsaustausch und auf eine engere Zusammenarbeit zwischen nationalen Steuerbehörden und Strafverfolgungsbehörden. Betrug und Steuerhinterziehung in diesem Sektor dürften somit künftig schwieriger werden.

„Glaubt man den jüngsten Zahlen, so gehen den Mitgliedstaaten jährlich immer noch rund 150 Mrd. Euro an MwSt. verloren. Die heutigen Vereinbarungen sind ein wichtiger Schritt zur Lösung dieses Problems“, erklärte EU-Wirtschafts- und Finanzkommissar Pierre Moscovici.

Nach den geltenden Mehrwertsteuervorschriften (Richt…

The EU joins the Marrakesh Treaty on access to print works in formats adapted for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled

On 1 October 2018, the EU ratified the Marrakesh Treaty. The Treaty facilitates access to print works in formats adapted for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled. 
The act took place in a ceremony at the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva. It was carried out by Ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger of Austria, which currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the EU, and Claire Bury, Deputy Director-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technologies at the European Commission.
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EU Parliament approves revised rules for audiovisual media (AVMSD) across Europe

Source: EU Commission
2 October 2018
The European Parliament plenary session approved today the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD). Part of the Digital Single Market strategy, the new rules pave the way for a fairer regulatory environment for the entire audiovisual sector, including on-demand services and video sharing platforms.

They promote European audiovisual productions and guarantee the independence of audiovisual regulators, strengthen the protection of minors and reinforce the battle against hate speech in all audiovisual content.

The new Directive additionally promotes European works by guaranteeing a 30% share of European works in on-demand catalogues and keeps the country-of-origin principle as the cornerstone of EU audiovisual regulation, with more clarity on which Member State's rules apply in each case.

Vice-President Andrus Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market, and Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, responsible for Digital Economy and Society w…

EU Commission study reveals problems with advertising and marketing practices on social media

Source: EU Commission
Study can be found online here.

The European Commission today published a study that identifies unfair and manipulative advertising and marketing practices on social media. 
Evidence collected shows that consumers are often not aware about the way social media providers target them for marketing purposes. For example, one third of the participants surveyed were unaware of the commercial nature of native advertising, i.e. paid ads in an online publication which resemble the publication's editorial content. Conversely, consumers usually are able to quickly recognise a typical magazine advertisement. 
Likewise, two thirds of consumers are misled by a common practice on Facebook, which consists of showing “likes” from their friends next to other products than those that they had actually “liked”. Practices forbidden under the EU Unfair Commercial Practices Blacklist such as false offers and false prize winning competitions were also found to be commonplace. 
Věra …

S&D/SPD-Hintergrund zu Neuen Video-Regeln für TV und Internet - Verordnung: Abstimmung am Dienstag,, 3. Oktober 2018

Quelle: SPD im EU-Parlament:
Verordnung: Abstimmung am Dienstag, 03.10.2018, 12 Uhr bis 14 Uhr; Pressekonferenz, Mittwoch 10 Uhr bis 10.30 Uhr, im Pressezentrum (LOWN-1/201)
Petra KAMMEREVERT MdEP, Vorsitzende des Kulturausschusses im Europäischen
Hintergrund: Die Richtlinie für Audiovisuelle Mediendienste gab bisher Grundregeln für Fernsehinhalte und Videoabrufdienste, zum Beispiel Netflix, vor. Durch eine umfassende Reform werden die Regeln für Bild und Ton an die Herausforderungen des digitalen Zeitalters angepasst und sollen in Zukunft für Bewegtbilder insgesamt, also auch online, auf Social Media Plattformen wie Facebook oder Videoplattformdiensten wie Youtube, gelten.
Am Dienstag, 3. Oktober 2018, wird das Plenum in Straßburg über den finalen Text abstimmen, der nach langwierigen Trilog-Verhandlungen einen Kompromiss präsentiert. Folgende Veränderungen werden demnach in knapp zwei Jahren eingeführt sein: Die Richtlinie führt einen erweiterten Anwendungsbereich ei…