Any political support to the sector should minimise the level of discretion by the Government. Therefore support demand is preferable than subsidies to publishers.
Subsidies must always be based on strong rationale: supporting innovation is the main area for that.
“Who owns the robots rules the world” (Freeman 2015). Data are the fuel of AI robots. Control of data is the key political matter.
Regulation is crucial to cope with the future challenges, in the fields of copyright, freedom of expression and competition.
Only a holistic approach, combining the different tools (support of demand and the industry, and regulation), can succeed.
Piero Attanasio is one of the most relevant voices in the European Publishing environment as Head of international projects & Public Affairs at the Italian Association of Publishers. He has an extensive experience as leader of many European projects and initiatives during the last two decades and that is why his presentation was so opportune within the European approach of 2021’s edition of Readmagine.
In this video you can follow how Attanasio structured his compelling presentation in four blocks on the role of public policies for the European publishing industry from the perspective of the Aldus Up network: the means for public support, funding innovation, regulatory measures and data policies.
Attanasio stressed the need to understand the importance and limits of public policy from his statement: «Any public support to the sector should minimise the level of discretion by the Government» and providing some examples of the better performance of supporting demand than «subsidising publishers».
In the case of innovation he considers that innovation is the main area for subsidies because designing a programme with no discretion in identifying beneficiaries is easier in innovation than in cultural field and a good example is the idea which is being discussed in Italy:
introducing a tax credit for all investments in innovative software and R&D by book publishers and retailers.
Regulation is crucial to cope with the future challenges and the main areas for that would be copyright and freedom of expression are the two pillars, linked each other competition policy is the new challenge in the web economy
Attanasio used several quotes about the crucial role of data, such as “The quintessential task of many digital platforms is making predictions of various sorts (…) Data is the oil that powers these predictions” (Calvano and Polo, 2020) or the famous idea by Freeman: “Who owns the robots rules the world” and even more challenging for the European publishing industry:“The collection and use of big user data enables [platforms] to continuously improve the quality of their offerings”(Fast et al., 2021), which “may result in monopolistic market power of platforms which they can use for their own benefit, at the expense of users” (Martens, 2020).
Finally Piero Attanasio supported the idea of a holistic approach for the European policy agenda for the Publishing because only a holistic approach can achieve results, showing good examples such as DSM Directive with explicit market regulation objectives (value gap); Library funds in Italy and Pass culture in France designed also to strengthen physical shops.
This presentation was part of the different activities for the dissemination of different outcomes provided by the Aldus Up network and the work oriented to promote innovation in the European book industry.
At the last part of this video you can see the exchange of ideas by Attanasio (AIE), Simone Lippold (Börsenverein) and Kristenn Einarsson (WEF) moderated by Luis González (Fundación GSR).
After a degree in economics at the University of Bologna, Piero Attanasio has been working in book publishing since 1986. In 1995 he joined AIE (Italian Publishers Association) where he is currently director of international affairs and R&D programmes and coordinates the activities of the academic publishing group and now also is Head of Public affairs. He is CEO of mEDRA (multilingual European DOI Registration Agency) and member of the Board of the Fondazione LIA, which provides services to enhance accessibility of ebooks for visually impaired people.
He has been the scientific director of the ARROW projects (www.arrow-net.eu), the leading European initiative to facilitate right information management in digital library programmes. He is a member of the Board of the Federation of European Publishers, of the Executive committee of the ISBN International Agency, where he served as chair from 2006 to 2012, of the Membership Committee of the International Publishers Association, and the advisory board of the P&R Foundation. He was also a board member of Editeur and of the International DOI Foundation and chaired the Standard and Technology Committee of the IPA.
He is author of many articles and two monographs about the book industry, in particular about the impact of technologies on book trade and rights management in the digital environment. He is lecturer in the Master course on publishing at the University of Milan.