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The considerable fragmentation of this sector could be an obstacle to the adoption of joint texts on issues not directly affecting all participants. Be that as it may, social dialogue in this sector – which has experienced so many upheavals over the past twenty years – does seem to be reaching cruising speed at the end of the first decade of the 2000s.

Given all the economic and social issues facing this rapidly changing sector, the SSDC has apparently decided, at least for the time being, to address only those overarching concerns which affect the sector as a whole (labour law, health and safety, training).

By contrast, it has been noticeable over the last few years, as regards specific Community initiatives (intellectual property, introduction of competition in collective management of royalty collection, etc.), that action has been taken above all by the federations directly affected. They have done so by lobbying the European Commission and the Member States to put across their point of view. For example, in February 2007, it was heads of companies in the communications technology and online media industries who contacted the Commission directly on the subject of fees to be charged for private copy in the EU; in March 2008 it was the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) that defended its position on the UHF (ultra high frequency) market, and on developing digital terrestrial television (DTT) services; in July 2008 it was authors' groups that made representations to the Commission on the subject of the monopoly held by collecting societies. This is no doubt explained by the fragmentation of the sector, which might be an impediment to the adoption of joint opinions on matters of direct concern to only some of the participants.

In any event, while it might seem surprising that it has taken so long to establish social dialogue in a sector that has experienced such upheaval in the last twenty years, the end of the first decade of the 2000s would seem to constitute a turning point, which may well lead this social dialogue to reach cruising speed.

ETUI and Observatoire Social Européen (2010) European Sectoral Social Dialogue Factsheets. Project coordinated by Christophe Degryse, online publication available at www.worker-participation.eu/EU-Social-Dialogue/Sectoral-ESD