The EC Digital Commissioner has criticised the application of copyright law in Europe, adding that the internet and technology ought to help artists connect with their audience "directly and cheaply."
Speaking at the Forum d’Avignon event, Neelie Kroes said: "We need to keep on fighting against piracy, but legal enforceability is becoming increasingly difficult."
Kroes said that the millions invested in attempting to enforce copyright had not eradicated piracy. "Meanwhile citizens increasingly hear the word copyright and hate what is behind it," she added.
"Sadly, many see the current system as a tool to punish and withhold, not a tool to recognise and reward."
Kroes urged the creation of legislation to make it easy to license content and repeatedly painted the current system of copyright as failing to ensure that struggling artists saw a return from their work.
"The life of an artist is tough: the crisis has made it tougher. Let's get back to basics, and deliver a system of recognition and reward that puts artists and creators at its heart," she said.