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Is Neelie Kroes Implicitly Calling For Your Assistance For Copyright Reform?

from the you-go-girl dept

Neelie Kroes, the Vice President of the European Commission and politician in charge of the Digital Agenda, announced the impressive ambitions of the EU to support the ongoing technology revolution in a recent speech in Brussels. Repeatedly, she calls for radical reform of policy and public R&D investment. The speech shows once again that she and her team really understand the current transformation to a networked economy, which brings about “open, agile and collaborative” innovation and research. Kroes wants to accelerate and boost the potential of technology innovation by creating space for “disruptive ideas”. A few snippets:
“I want to try out support for truly open, disruptive innovation in ICT.”

[…] remember that great innovation isn't about keeping the status quo: it's about challenging it. It's radical, disruptive, and sometimes non-linear – especially for emerging technologies. So let's make space for that in Horizon 2020.”

“We must update our policies and practices for the digital world”

How refreshing is that from a senior government official? Of course, she names and shames some barriers, which she intends to bring down. Notably, she mentions the policy incoherence of EU copyright, where the status quo strangles innovation (if you follow her implied logic from the speech). This is not the first time she mentions that copyright is doing more harm than good. She has criticized the system again and again. And again just the other day. And several more times in unofficial speeches.

It must now be getting obvious -- even for the layman -- that the copyright system is one of the biggest inhibitors of Mrs. Kroes’ ambitious and forward-looking agenda for positive technological change. Too bad the copyright office of the EU is not in her department, but in the department run by Mr. Barnier, who seems a little more hesitant to enact change. Perhaps it's because he has a top former IFPI lobbyist working for him? Perhaps Kroes’ frequent mentioning of copyright is an implied call for assistance to her audiences to help change Mr. Barnier’s mind.

I wonder how long it will take for civil society organizations to pick up on these hints. The current public interest in copyright policy after ACTA, SOPA and PIPA can now be called into action again to send a batch of friendly notes to Mr. Barnier, possibly with a few quotes from Mrs. Kroes’ speeches, urging him to develop new copyright legislation which should be discussed in open and transparent forums sooner rather than later. It would be a shame to let governments postpone legislative action until the public interest from the internet freedom movements subsides.

In any case, you may comment on Mrs. Kroes' speech or leave a reply on her blog to show your support and even make some suggestions of your own.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2012 @ 1:24am

    the person she has got to get over first, surely, is that arse hole Karel De Gucht. God knows what incentive he had been given but he tried anything and everything to get ACTA through in the EU and hasn't stopped yet in trying to bring it back. as long as there are people like him fighting on behalf of the entertainment industries (and remember, it's mainly the US entertainment industries, nowhere else!) to keep things in the dark ages and hold progress back in the EU, she has a hell of an uphill battle. i wish her well. she needs all the help she can get

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

  2. icon
    benzevenbergen (profile), Sep 27th, 2012 @ 2:23am


    Hi AC, Karel De Gucht is responsible for International Trade. ACTA was masked as an international trade agreement, so he was responsible. Further than that, he doesn't have that much to say about these issues. Only when it comes to IP chapters in free trade agreements.

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

  3. icon
    benzevenbergen (profile), Sep 27th, 2012 @ 2:23am


    Hi AC, Karel De Gucht is responsible for International Trade. ACTA was masked as an international trade agreement, so he was responsible. Further than that, he doesn't have that much to say about these issues. Only when it comes to IP chapters in free trade agreements.

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2012 @ 5:22am

    so do you think there would have been no changes if de Grucht and his ilk had gotten ACTA passed into law? had it done, there would have been the greatest implementation of draconian/restrictive measures we have seen to date. mind you, with the way TPP is still being conducted in total secrecy to everyone except the raft of particular industries that will benefit from it, we are nowhere near in the clear. Kroes has no easy task here and those opposed to her way of thinking will be stopping her plans in any way they can, even though progress and innovation will be badly thwarted as a result

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2012 @ 7:07am


    OK, let us get things into perspective, here.
    The primary problems of ACTA was not in itself a demand for more draconian laws in europe. I am pretty sure that the only real demand for change of laws would be a tort reform. Dont get me wrong: That is a horrible idea, with far reaching potential consequences.
    The rest of ACTA is mostly under attack for the use of conciously obscure language without judicial meaning so far while being direct swaps of judicially well-defined and well-working terms. That is a sign of future malicious overreaches, but not even close to being a demand for such. The internet chapter was brought in at a late stage of the negotiations and the one in the final text was a hail Mary after the US lobbys draft was completely rejected as being so obscure and draconian that the negotiators were scared it could turn down the agreement. The final chapter is based on what is in the EU aquis today and then made more obscure to cover the rest of the parties demands.
    It is a bit ironic that the things sparking protests in USA and EU are mostly already in EU laws, barred some horrible formulations and further openness of language...

    Karel de Gucht went far too far in his defence of ACTA. He went as far as calling out the Greens in the parliament several times and he went somewhat ad hominem with some of the "experts" who disagreed with him.
    On the other hand he had to defend what he and the commission had used years on reaching. EU is far from democratic in the sense that if there is any chance of avoiding any kind of vote or avoid a potentially unwanted discussion on the content of an agreement, the commission or council takes it since they think that a no will be years of wasted work (and in terms of direct law it is).

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

  6. icon
    chespirito (profile), Sep 27th, 2012 @ 8:13am

    Unfortunately most people are only willing to mobilise when there is something they fiercely oppose, let it be SOPA, PIPA or ACTA. They have to feel that there is a threat, even if there is no such a thing, that a certain legislative proposal will ''break the internet as we know it.'' Very few activists are willing to actually propose realistic alternatives to the current legal framework, let alone support anything coming from Brussels (however good intentioned it may be).

    If people that care about the internet would be as committed with the current (very important) proposals in the pipeline as they were with ACTA I'm sure the quality of the final outcome could be improved substantially.

    I call for less negative protesting and more positive instead!

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2012 @ 9:04am


    I call for a far more open communication on ideas instead of a political witchhunt on the people coming up with them. If that was possible, it would be easier to create laws around them. Unfortunately politics is 20% looking confident while spewing complete nonsense, 30% making up empty phrases (or percentages in this case) and 50% ridiculing your political opponents regardless what they say.
    Unless we can get politicians to hold back on the ridiculing, we will never know what they mean or what ideas they have before they hit office and start killing jews...

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

  8. icon
    benzevenbergen (profile), Sep 27th, 2012 @ 9:56am


    No its good ACTA did not come through, but now it is gone De Gucht has little to say on IP policy. I don't think he wants to be involved with either internet or IP policy either...

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

  9. identicon
    Dan, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 10:17am

    Copyright reform solution

    Here is my opinion on the copyright laws currently in place. To summarize patents and copyright must be thinked of in our current set of terms, when the time to market of a product/invention/patent is from few months to few years at most not a few lifetimes as the patent law suggests. Limiting the patent protection time to a few years is what is required to provide the needed change. Read more here tdated/

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

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