More than four months after the end of the European Commission’s public consultation on copyright review, the Directorate-General for the Internal Market has just released an analysis of the more than 11,000 responses. The 100-page report documents the huge demand for copyright reform.

Julia Reda, member of the European Parliament (Pirate Party): “The European Commission’s report clearly states: People in the EU demand a single European copyright. Instead of blocked videos and a confusing web of national regulations they want to share knowledge and culture across borders. Their demand is supported by scientists, libraries and other public institutions who also insist on Europe-wide rules.” [1]

“Having seen the report, it is downright inconceivable to see some members of the parting Commission continue to insist on a nationally fragmented copyright. The circulating leak of a draft white paper on copyright is an Call to Inaction.” [2]

According to news reports, the inner-services consultation of the Commission on this white paper resulted in two negative opinions from other Directorates-General. As a result, the white paper release has been postponed until the Fall. [3]

“The Commission has to seize the opportunity to substantially improve on the copyright white paper in the course of this delay”, says Reda. “Before being elected President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker declared his support for a European copyright that is easy to comprehend. The parting Commission now has to lay the foundation for this ambitious reform agenda.”

In the hearing conducted by the Greens/EFA EP group, Juncker responded to a question by MEP Reda: ‘Copyright must not impede Europe’s digital ambitions but it must become an instrument of mobilisation of European digital capabilities.” [4]

Sources:

[1] Report of the European Commission

  • pg. 89 “the vast majority of end users/consumers consider that the EU should persue the idea of a single EU copyright title”.
  • pg. 7: “[Users] consider the blocking of content to be mostly arbitrary and unpredictable”.
  • pg. 91: “the vast majority of institutional users are also generally in favour of the idea of a single EU copyright title”.
  • pg. 91: “Academics generally consider that the EU should pursue the objective of a single EU copyright title in the medium term and that current approach of harmonisation by specific directives with many optional provisions (notably on exceptions/limitations) is not sufficient”.
[2] Leaked draft of a white paper on copyright by the weblog ipKat
[3] European Voice: Barnier forced to delay copyright roadmap
[4] Hearing of candidate Juncker for President of the European Commission (POTEC) in the EP group Greens/EFA on July 9, 2014

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My name is Julia, I'm the Pirate in the European Parliament.

I'm fighting to make copyright in the EU unified, progressive and fit for the future. Will you join me?

One comment

  1. 1
    Nick Overweg

    Two things really annoy me about the report;

    1, Theres no regard for “lost profits” with regards to copyrights. The underlying assumption is that copyrights give an artist/publisher enough time to make profits and that they in fact will actively try to achieve this. This leads to problems with songs not being available in certain countries for instance. And in some cases allow artists/publishers to create artificial scarcity (by purposely avoiding certain types of distribution)

    2. The duration of copyrights protection isn’t discussed anywhere. The only time duration in regard to this subject even comes up is when transference of rights comes into play. This also ties back to the previous point; lost profits due to content creators being unable to use content up to 70 years old are completely ignored.

    Another thing that I feel isn’t explicitly covered (though perhaps its better that it isn’t) is certain types of UGC, in particular UGC like “let’s play” videos on youtube or streamingplatforms like twitch.tv. This area is especially difficult to quantify due to a lot of the “content” being intangible. To specify; the added content is usually both the interaction with existing content itself and the reaction of the user to that situation (and in some cases interaction with an audience).

    All in all the commission report feels overly biased towards protecting more traditional content creators at the expense of more modern content creators.

    I also keep reading about “moral rights” yet I can’t seem to find anything on “moral obligation”. Aren’t we all in one way or another standing on the shoulders of giants? You could even argue that there is no solid ground left and that all creators in some way shape or form use ideas and technology made by other creators. Shouldn’t we start limiting moral rights in favor of moral obligations towards the society that helped create those ideas? I’d like to see that.

    TLDR; This report and the consultations it is based on is still way to biased towards the idea that copyrights should be protected for a long time. If the duration of copyrights isn’t specifically questioned then the answers to all other questions will be biased.

What do you think?