In March of 2016, the European Commission asked for your input on two specific issues of copyright reform: Freedom of panorama (the ability to freely share your photos of public places) and extra copyright for publishers.
In their legislative proposal unveiled on September 14, which was supposed to take the results into account, the Commission laid out the following copyright reform plans:
- No action whatsoever on Freedom of Panorama
- The introduction of a new special copyright for news sites, restricting how we can share news online
Given this outcome, it is interesting to investigate the responses to the consultation and check whether the proposals match the input provided by the public, and if so whose feedback was actually incorporated.
However, the technical choices the Commission made when publishing this data create a barrier to analysis that is much higher than necessary.
Among the 5700 people who responded, about half did so using a tool provided by FixCopyright.eu that offered easy explanations to the Commission’s complex questions, so that everyone could understand the issues at hand and have their opinion heard.
The Commission released every reply submitted via this tool as one combined file, while submissions from other stakeholders were released as separate files in a different format, making it hard to compare and analyse them. I’m republishing the data today in a format that is easier to investigate.
A cleaned-up dataset
Download the data: consultation.zip [6 MB]
- responses – organisations and individuals.xls – Responses from organisations and individuals, derived from the PDF files the Commission originally published
- responses – via fixcopyright.xls – Responses submitted via the fixcopyright tool (some are missing data because anonymity or confidentiality were requested)
- responses – anonymous.xls – Responses asking for anonymity
Source files and the scripts used to convert them
- When the consultation was answered on behalf of an organisation, the additional organisation name resulted in a shift by one for several columns. If the organisation provided an weblink, an additional shift by one.
- The same happened when it was a response from a non-EU country, resulting in the response “[x] other” followed by an additional free form country name
- The Commission provided the survey in three different languages. Due to limitations of the script extracting the information from the PDF files, the responses – combined.xls files contain answers in the language in which the survey was filled out.
At the EU hackathon next week, volunteers will be working on visualising data related to copyright reform. I hope this work can serve as a useful basis to make the consultation responses understandable. If you have questions on using the data or suggestions, please contact Mathias Schindler.
I would like to thank @drahflow for writing the script to extract and compile the survey data.
And I would like to thank the European Commission for making these responses public and encourage them to further contribute to the open data community by providing raw and valuable data that can fuel an informed debate about policy work. It is imperative to make this data available in a timely fashion and in as consistent a manner as possible.
To the extent possible under law, the creator has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work.