Members of Germany's Main Political Parties Start 'Fair Copyright Initiative'

from the it-seems-they-really-get-it dept

Techdirt has run several stories recently about the rise of the Pirate Party in Europe, and how its ideas on copyright have been largely adopted by the Greens. That you might have predicted, since the policies of the Green and Pirate Party are closely aligned on many issues. What you might not expect is that 30 members of Germany's CDU/CSU parties the major bloc in the ruling coalition - would set up what they term a "Fair Copyright Initiative", calling for "a fair balance of interests of creators and users of works" (Web site in German):
Three guidelines for fair copyright

We are a group of members of the CDU/CSU. For us, the Internet is part of everyday life, whether as an economic foundation, a source of information, a means of communication, a tool for our policy work or a subject for research.
The three guidelines are: a simplification of copyright; a fair use principle that can respond flexibly to technological developments; and a recognition that throwing people off the Internet for copyright infringements is neither just nor effective:
For more and more people, the Internet is taking over the the role that traditional media once held, and is becoming the dominant medium.

It is not only a source of information, but also a workplace and social space. Thus for a large, ever-growing number of people it is an indispensable part of their lives.

Nobody would suggest, for example, prohibiting a shoplifter from accessing newspapers or television.

The idea of imposing a temporary block on Internet access in the case of copyright infringement is equally absurd. This massive encroachment on fundamental rights is obviously unconstitutional, taking into account the principle of proportionality.

The existing legal system currently provides adequate civil and criminal sanctions for copyright infringement.

Individual blocks are also not technically and practically feasible - for example for the following reasons:

- The blocking of Internet access may constitute a disproportionate interference in professional and academic freedom.

- With an increasing number of smart phones and tablet computers, it is a fact of life that many people have more than one Internet connection available.

- ISPs do not have a suitable blocking system, which would in any case be easy to circumvent.

- Fixed line Internet access points are typically used by more than one person, eg by a family or community.
It's impressive not only that a group of politicians should understand and articulate the issues so clearly, but that they should feel strongly enough about them to set up an initiative and web site proclaiming the fact. When moves to make relevant laws fair and proportionate span the entire political spectrum, it offers the hope that the copyright pendulum may be starting to reach its maximum, in some countries at least.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Rikuo (profile), Oct 12th, 2011 @ 3:22pm

    Holy! A sensible and realistic outlook on copyright law from politicians! Someone pinch me, I must be dreaming!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 4:04pm

    Or, if you read between the lines, what it really says is:
    Big hollywood and record companies, our economy is in the toilet. We need an influx of cash to be re-elected. We are happy to accept large donations. Many of our staff members will also be looking for jobs in a year or two. Our opinions on the matter of copyright is subject to change. Feel free to fly us to glamorous parts of the world, donate to our campaign funds, and "educate" us on the evils of piracy. Our price is high, but not too high. Thank you."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Jay (profile), Oct 12th, 2011 @ 4:06pm


    The Hargreaves Report was pretty good too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    PRMan, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 4:57pm


    I thought it was:

    "Oh, crap! If we don't do something about this to take away the Pirate Party's only platform, we're going to get outvoted in the next election."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 5:15pm

    Looks like the day flying pigs roam the air is going to happen sooner rather then later.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 5:24pm

    622 seats in the Bundestag. So that means that < 5% of the members are on this.

    Sounds like a win.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 5:27pm

    Re: Re:

    Exactly that. Now that the Pirate Party is growing, and the Green Party supports "anti-copyright", too, they'll start acting like they care about people's rights, too, but I don't buy it. They can't just do a 180 degrees turn. It's just for show.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    blaktron (profile), Oct 12th, 2011 @ 5:49pm

    Do you have an official translation of that available? I would like to share it with some people I know, but its hard to use translations on a blog as a piece of evidence, regardless of the quality.

    The reason I ask is because this is an idea that deserves to spread.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    btrussell (profile), Oct 12th, 2011 @ 7:00pm


    It already happened right after the last US election.
    Swine flu.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Rekrul, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 7:04pm

    Come next election time, those 30 members are going to be out on their asses.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 10:10pm

    I've read through original text and the translations is correct. If you don't trust the translation you could try to translate it with an online translater, like Google Language Tools, and look for major discrepancies.

    @6.Anonymous Coward
    No, it's just a group of members of the CDU/CSU parties. Only 2 of them are members of the parlament (MdB)

    With 620 members in the Parlament they represent 0.3% of them.

    @glyn moody
    You are too optimistic. I'm sure that for the next election these members will be placed at lower end of the election list or ignored completely.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 10:23pm

    One more thing. You could ask them directly if they could provide a translation. They probably would be happy to gain some international attention.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Chargone (profile), Oct 13th, 2011 @ 5:44am

    Re: Re:

    ok, that? that was pretty dreadful :P

    good pun though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    Chargone (profile), Oct 13th, 2011 @ 5:46am


    Germany uses MMP right?

    sadly, if it's similar enough to NZ's MMP system for the quirks to carry over, if they got in on the party list, that's incredibly likely.

    on the Other hand, if they got in from an electorate? if they didn't suck at representing their constituents they're all but guaranteed to keep coming back, even (especially?) if they break from their current party (if it's a major party that is doing a substandard job of representing those constituents (as most do) and was being voted for mainly to keep out the Other substandard major party...)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Seegras (profile), Oct 13th, 2011 @ 8:23am

    Pirate Party Panic

    "Oh my God, the Pirate Party does it, the Greens are doing it, we need our own version" -- which of course doesn't go near anywhere necessary or proposed by the other parties.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Mr. Oizo, Oct 13th, 2011 @ 10:50am

    A simple explanation

    I think it has rather to do with the rise of the pirate party and the fact that Universal Music has been sending nasty letters to citizins demanding unreasonable payment. To stay in power they must act as if they act. Anyway, CDU won't solve the thing, that's quite clear. This is mainly an attempt at stemming the flood of complaints. They will need to do better than that. E.g: kick universal music out of the country for abusing the lawsystem and tell universal that all germans already paid to watch television, listen to music and thus also paid to download music.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2011 @ 2:11pm


    Even better. It means that it is something that few members of each party have discussed, and that the sitting members appear to be mostly ignoring. Does "snowballs chance in hell" cover this one?

    Glyn, why not investigate further rather than just pumping out happy anti-piracy news that is marginal at best?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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