The EU's vice president responsible for Digital Agenda has slammed current digital copyright systems, saying they're "hated" by Europeans.
"Is the current copyright system the right and only tool to achieve our objectives?," Neelie Kroes said at the Forum d'Avignon, which took place in France last week.
"Not really, I'm afraid. We need to keep on fighting against piracy, but legal enforceability is becoming increasingly difficult; the millions of dollars invested trying to enforce copyright have not stemmed piracy.
She said that citizens hear the word copyright and "hate what is behind it".
"Sadly, many see the current system as a tool to punish and withhold, not a tool to recognise and reward."
Kroes said the existing copyright system needs to "go back to basics and put the artist at the centre".
"We need creativity, out-of-the-box thinking: creative art to overcome this difficult period and creative business models to monetise the art. And for this we need flexibility in the system, not the straitjacket of a single model. The platforms, channels and business models by which content is produced, distributed and used can be as varied and innovative as the content itself."
She called for a "Global Repertoire database" to be created that makes it easy to see who owns the copyright combining technology along with "tracking technologies" to ensure artists could see who's been accessing their work and allowing revenues to be distributed easily, while "digitisation" would mean instant transmission of content to fans in remote places.
"In all sorts of sectors, ICT can help artists connect with their audience, directly and cheaply. And it can help audiences find and enjoy material that suits their specific needs, interests and tastes," she said.
"It's not all about copyright. It is certainly important, but we need to stop obsessing about that."