Open Letter To Key EU Copyright Working Group Calls For 'Balanced Representation Of Views'
from the good-luck-with-that dept
Back in January, we wrote about the report from the Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda, which made a number of bold but sensible proposals for reforming the EU’s 2001 copyright directive. Not surprisingly, the lobbyists have been hard at work, and no less than 556 amendments to the report have been proposed (pdf), many of them clearly aiming to undermine some of Reda’s ideas completely — for example, those seeking to rein in DRM. One of the important players in the revision process is the European Parliament’s Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright Reform, which describes itself as follows:
The aim of the Working Group is to reflect on IPR issues and especially to pave the way to the upcoming reform of the EU legal framework on copyright. The Working Group will meet once a month and will exchange views with the widest range of stakeholders and civil society. The result of the work would serve as a starting point for future legislative review in the field and would enable Members to present concrete and innovative proposals to the European Commission.
Of course, one of the problems with reform in this area is that rarely do lawmakers engage with “the widest range of stakeholders and civil society”: instead, they tend to listen to what the copyright industries tell them, and act accordingly. Hoping to head off that risk this time, a group of industry and civil society groups has sent an open letter to the coordinator of the Working Group (pdf), Jean-Marie Cavada, calling for a more balanced representation of views. Here’s the key section (found via Netzpolitik):
We would like to express our concern with regard to the lack of diversity of expert speakers and the corresponding representation of views. In the digital age, copyright impacts a great variety of stakeholders. Apart from established copyright industries and authors, it is of great relevance to citizens, consumers, cultural heritage institutions, libraries, researchers, universities and the Internet industries. It is also of fundamental importance to creators who are taking advantage of new, digital opportunities and who are not represented by traditional copyright industries.
In that context, we call on the WG to make sure that these views are appropriately represented in the upcoming meetings. Making copyright rules future-proof requires a holistic approach. This can only be achieved if the full spectrum of stakeholders is adequately represented and given a chance to speak in front of Members of Parliament who will ultimately be tasked with passing new copyright legislation.
That pre-emptive call is a shrewd move: it makes the Working Group’s coordinator aware that people are watching carefully who exactly he calls to give their views. Whether it succeeds in producing a more balanced representation is another matter.