Industry, consumers asked to suggest solutions.

The European Commission (EC) has launched a three-month public consultation exercise to examine potential obstacles to the development in Europe's online entertainment content, such as music, films and games.

The EC, the European Union’s executive arm, published a legislative "green paper" that outlines the issues it expects to emerge, digital rights management (DRM), the interoperability of encryption systems, cross-border licenses, and consumer awareness of intellectual property rights (IPRs).

Companies, interest groups, lobbying organizations and consumers have been asked to put forward suggestions by Oct. 13.

Viviane Reding, EU information society and media commissioner, says the exercise aims to identify potential roadblocks to a competitive, pan-European online content industry.

“Supplying content online, such as music, films and games, not only helps to make Europe's culture more accessible, but will also be a tremendous opportunity for Europe's content industry to expand its own markets,” she says.

Reding adds that the consultation is part of the EU's drive to be on top of this technological wave. She wants to find the best payment methods for customers and providers, the most efficient rights-clearance systems, and the most effective DRM technologies.

EU officials say entertainment accounts for the vast majority of the €3 billion ($3.8 billion) a year online market in the region. They add that the European online sector is expected to triple in value by 2008.