Today the European Parliament with a broad majority adopted my copyright evaluation report. The plenary decisively removed the controversial proposal to restrict the so-called Freedom of Panorama, the right to use pictures of public buildings and sculptures without restriction, which had previously been inserted by the Legal Affairs Committee.
The parliament has listened to the more than half a million people who have joined me in criticising this proposal. As a result, most Europeans will continue to be able to post selfies online and view photos of famous buildings on Wikipedia unencumbered by copyright. We must now continue to fight for an extension of important copyright exceptions such as this one to all member states.
Nevertheless, this decision embodies a central message of the report: Commissioner Oettinger cannot limit his upcoming reform proposals to improving conditions for cross-border trade. Reforming exceptions to copyright protection must be at the center of his initiative, since they fulfil such an essential, multi-facetted role: They provide creatives with the space to create new works, users with legal certainty for everyday activities, and access to culture and knowledge to everyone.
For the first time, the Parliament demands mandatory minimum standards for user rights in copyright, which may not be restricted by technical copy protection measures or contractual terms.Tweet this!
It calls for a reduction of geoblocking measures, particularly to allow cultural minorities to access content in their language online. The report asks for consideration of new exceptions for libraries and scientists when dealing with digital works, for example allowing e-lending. Creators should be strengthend in their negotiations with publishers, it states.
I welcome these instructions to Commissioner Oettinger. At the same time, the fact that the attack on freedom of panorama for a time enjoyed the support of a majority demonstrates that many MEPs have yet to fully understand the cultural shift caused by the Internet and its consequences for copyright. Much work remains until we have a European copyright framework fit for the digital age.
Parliament today also rejected a renewed attempt from German conservative MEPs to pave the way for an ancillary copyright for press publishers. This should be the final blow to the idea of introducing at the European level a law to cross-finance news publishers which has already failed spectacularly in Germany and Spain.
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