Portugal began 2016 in a complex political and economic climate: a new Government, a new President and an economy still coming out of a deep crisis. The telecommunications sector is also going through a period of transition and 2015 was a year of intense legislative discussions. We now highlight the main prospects for 2016.
LISBON, CAPITAL OF INNOVATION
Lisbon is fast emerging as a capital of incentives for innovation. Innumerable incubators and accelerators, consultants and independent entrepreneurs have set up in the city to foster start-ups. The Web Summit, one of the world's most influential events for entrepreneurship, technology and innovation, has chosen Lisbon as the host for its 2016, 2017 and 2018 events. This is expected to bring Portugal greater visibility and more business.
REFORM OF THE ADVERTISING CODE
The reform of the Advertising Code is being debated. Among the most significant amendments proposed is a requirement that advertising done by telecommunications operators should be subject to prior approval by ANACOM (the National Communications Authority). This proposal was suggested after the Directorate-General of the consumer announced that companies in the telecommunications sector attract the most complaints from consumers. The Association of Telecommunications Operators has challenged the proposal on the grounds that it amounts to prior censorship. Consensus has not yet been reached on the final text.
ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE PRIVATE COPY LAW
Another significant legislative change that took place in 2015 was the approval of amendments to the Private Copy Law, which regulates the collection of fair compensation on devices useful storage of copies of works protected by copyright. The law has updated the list of products subject to the tax and it includes, among others, devices for storing digital copies including MP3 and USB devices, memory cards and internal or external storage drives. The responsibility for paying the fair compensation falls on manufacturers and importers, and this inevitably reflects an increase in the price of this range of products. The approval of these amendments was subject to a great deal of discussion and manufacturers and importers of digital equipment have publicly made it clear that they are unhappy with the final version of the text. 2016 will reveal how the rules are to be applied in practice and questions relating to the applicability of the law will come before the courts.