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ISSUE 72 page 8

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Sites of Interest

 

 Web sites mentioned in this issue are available at:
 EURES Drop'pin:
The art of preventive health and safety in Europe:
 Noise exposure app on iTunes:
Second EU Commissioner goes after ‘geo-blocking’

ANOTHER EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER HAS WEIGHED IN TO THE DEBATE OVER THE practice of companies limiting access to their cultural products to specific Member States. Following the efforts of Andrus Ansip in the online field (see issue 71) declaring ‘I hate geo-blocking’, Margrethe Vestager has given notice of action in the televison broadcast sector.  The Competition Commissoner has put down a statement of objections to the business models of six Hollywood film studios and Sky U.K., the British pay-tv company. The American producers forbid Sky from showing their films outside Britain and Ireland and, crucially, from accepting subscriptions from residents in other countries. It is the blocking of these ‘passive sales’ together with the inability of U.K. subscribers to access their programmes when travelling abroad, that Ms. Vestager believes could breach EU competition law as well as being inimical to the Digital Single Market that Commissioner Ansip is trying to create. She insists ‘European consumers want to watch the pay-TV channels of their choice regardless of where they live or travel in the EU’.
Defenders of the current arrangements point to the money from individual country contracts flowing into investment in national cultures. Guillaume Prieur, representing French authors and screenwriters, stated that between 25 percent and 60 percent of the money raised for some films comes from the pre-sales of screening rights in each country. Disney, one of the companies accused replied that ‘The impact of the Commission’s analysis is destructive of consumer value and we will oppose the proposed action vigorously’. Sky and the Hollywood studios now have two months to formally respond to the allegations. There is a lot at stake as a Commission study in 2012 estimated that 125 million European consumers would be interested in watching television from another country while the Hollywood Reporter believes that the Digital Single Market will cost the studios ‘billions’.

New EU jobs site aims at youth

EURES IS THE EU”S JOB MOBILITY PORTAL, a web site which tries to match up job-seekers and employers with vacancies; trade unions and employment agencies are also involved. Bearing in mind the horrific level of youth unemployment in Europe, still at 21.4%, EURES has created a site dedicated to those under 24 years of age. Drop’pin is not just a job match service. It includes apprenticeships, traineeships, coaching, mentoring, language training and support to move to another EU country. Young people can upload their CVs and share their experiences in blogs and discussion groups. Stimulating apprenticeships is an important aim of the site and, to this end, companies such as Bertelsmann, BMW and Adecco, who are members of the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA), have pledged 140,000 new ones. Education providers are also encouraged to get involved as the project recognises their importance in shaping young people for the world of work. EU Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen launched Drop’pin on 22nd. June at a special event in Riga, Latvia.

Drrop'pin launch

New H & S apps follow Swedish noise success

THE EUROPEAN AGENCY FOR safety and health at work (EU-OSHA) recently held an event to explore the possible uses of web applications, or apps. Both their familiarity via smartphones and the fact that they are often free make apps particularly useful for micro and small businesses (MSEs) when discharging their health and safety responsibilities. One early example was 'Noise Exposure’ developed by the Swedish Work Environment Authority, which was released in 2011. It uses your smartphone to measure the noise around you, whether at work, home or in the street. As well as giving continuous readings it will average them out and give an 8-hour mean so that your whole working day can be measured. Downloaded over 400,000 times for both Apple and Android devices, it also contains basic information on noise and health. EU-OSHA intend to stimulate the development of apps in the field by holding meetings, publishing articles on their wiki (see issue 67), mentioning them in campaigns and exchanging best practice.

 NoiseScreen




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