Friday, 2 October, 1998
panel 1
Content and distribution: the electronic challenge
(Musik, Literatur)
Aim: Position paper

This working group is focussing on discussion of the effects of the electronic revolution on selected areas of cultural life (literature/books, music).
The chosen title "Content and distribution: the electronic challenge" addresses a very wide-ranging field of interest. The aim is to introduce discussion of cultural and also employment policy to this field.

The central question for the cultural sector is the situation or positioning of creators of culture, i.e. those who produce, create, invent the contents on the one hand and their traditional distributors (book shops, printing industry - culture industry or SMEs) on the other, is the wider framework surrounding this working group.  The aim is to make the interests of the various groups involved in these processes (authors, publishers, producers) visible and therefore more transparent to a culturally and also socio-politically active (expert) public.The employment policy aspect should also receive consideration in every debate; "Siting and Employment" will be discussed in particular in debate 4.

If the starting point at EU level is in fact sectoral AV policy, there has previously been no European book policy, i.e. no policy of convergence either.  Thus, for example, the new communication technologies, especially the Internet, fundamentally and lastingly call into question the traditional role of stages of commerce. 

Examples of this are:

  • Authors publish direct on the Net (without involving publishers and book shops).
  • Publishers communicate directly with their customers via Internet (exclusion of book shops).
  • In their turn libraries demand that after a certain period has expired (e.g. 5 years) copyright-protected   works may be made available free of charge.
It should be a matter of cultural policy that the areas of friction arising as a result of these changes between those involved in the îbook chainî be addressed.

A similar diagnosis can be made for the field of music - the Internet represents the major non-specific challenge to the "music chain" (music shops etc.).

What is happening in the field of cultural studies?  How much longer will there be professional journals, how will the electronic media change the practice of cultural study and the culture of debate?

During the panelís debates the following points and questions in particular should be discussed from different perspectives:

  • "Content follows form" (W. Coy)
  • Political skeleton conditions - cultural policy responses?
  • Significance of copyright legislation- Effects of new technologies on cultural variety (does competition  generate homogeneity?) - New alliances and structures (bookshops/book market, music shop/music market): effects on the   situation and position of creators of culture, often described as "content" suppliers.
panel 1 panel 2 panel 3