European Parliament Committee Calls For Creation Without Copyright To Become EU Policy

from the whaaat? dept

The European Union's governmental machine is a complicated beast, with its intertwining of supra-national, national and party-political levels (if you're interested in understanding how it works, the digital rights organization EDRI has put together a useful introduction (pdf).) That makes it quite hard to tell what is going on behind the scenes with this new Opinion of the International Trade Committee on a Digital Freedom Strategy in EU Foreign Policy (pdf.)

It begins with the usual boring statements about how

the internet has become a part of the public space where new forms of cross-border trade are achieved, along with innovative market development and social and cultural interaction
and then in line with the reference in its title to a "Digital Freedom Strategy", it
calls on the Council and the Commission, in the context of free trade agreements, to consider the possibility of implementing objective and transparent safeguards aimed at preserving unrestricted access to the open internet and ensuring the free flow of information and related services in accordance with existing legislation
before plucking the following surprising statement out of nowhere:
Is aware that there is concern that some people increasingly hear the word copyright and hate what lies behind it;
But that's nothing to what comes afterwards:
Calls on the Member States and the Commission to develop IPR policy in order to continue to allow those who wish to create their own content and share it without acquiring IPR to do so;
Yes, you read that correctly: an official document from the important trade committee of the European Parliament is calling for the option to create without copyright being attached. Had this come from some obscure and informal grouping, buried deep in the bowels of Brussels, and infested with pirates, such a call might be dismissed as simply a wacky and totally irrelevant view. But this has been published by one of the main committees, which had just one pirate politician present, but many representatives from other parties that traditionally have regarded the sanctity of copyright as somewhere north of the sanctity of life.

Of course, the proposal stands no chance of being implemented because EU countries are signatories to the Berne Convention, which requires copyright to be automatic as soon as a work is "fixed," which means that creation without copyright is not permitted. But equally, this is an official request to another European Parliament committee, that for Foreign Affairs. It will be fascinating to see how the latter responds to this extraordinary production of the EU machine.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and on Google+



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 3:23am

    It will never happen. That Karel De Gucht twat will scupper any attempt to keep the Internet open and free.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 3:24am

    It will never happen. That Karel De Gucht twat will scupper any attempt to keep the Internet open and free.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 3:26am

    You can file that report on the shelf with the 10,000 other self-serving documents generated and ignored every year. It's not really meaningful, except as proof they spent people's money having meetings.

    I wonder how many stakeholders they invited? Want to guess NONE?

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 5:15am

      Re:

      Considering that copyright affects the entire public, and those people are, by definition, part of that public, then indeed they are "stakeholders." I find it telling that you think they're not stakeholders in some way, as if copyright was only to benefit a select few at the expense of many.

       

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

      •  
        icon
        Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 5:40am

        Re: Re:

        "as if copyright was only to benefit a select few at the expense of many."

        That is exactly the case with copyright. The only people who benefit from it are the corporate bean counters. The public and the content creators certainly do not benefit from copyright.

         

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 5:18am

      Re:

      "I wonder how many stakeholders they invited? Want to guess NONE?"

      Oh, so it's equivalent to how many members of the public or at least looking out for the public interest are invited to meetings. You know, meetings where the stakeholders actively discourage members of the public, as well as those looking out for the public interest, from actively participating in, in addition to even having a clue about.

      It's funny, your type of hypocrisy knows no bounds. When you and yours are excluded, FOUL! When the public's interests are excluded, "too bad".

      And you and your kind wonder why the public could give fuck all about your rights. I'll give you a hint, your attitude about us... we hate it. So our attitude about you and your interests will be reflective. Don't like how we treat you and your property, start respecting us and ours (of which our rights are most, and should be MORE, important and trump your profits).

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 5:25am

        Re: Re:

        I put my comment out there figuring some chucklehead would snap back. Surprise that it took 2.

        "Oh, so it's equivalent to how many members of the public or at least looking out for the public interest are invited to meetings. "

        We the people elect the government, who appoints the officials to work on our behalf. That way we don't have to invite the whole world to the table every time we want to talk about anything. You elected them, they work and represent you.

        "And you and your kind wonder why the public could give fuck all about your rights. "

        You actually sound more angry than Paul today. It's not MY rights. Why does every arrogant son of a bitch here think anyone who posts even a gentle chide about a post is the fucking enemy?

        Please turn your rant down to about 5. The current level of 11 is too high.

         

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

        •  
          icon
          Richard (profile), Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 5:37am

          Re: Re: Re:

          We the people elect the government, who appoints the officials to work on our behalf. That way we don't have to invite the whole world to the table every time we want to talk about anything. You elected them, they work and represent you.

          Yawn - heard that one before (and I have the refutation - below) - funny how you don't realise that (on the surface) it answers YOUR original point too.

          The fact is that, although elected by all the public, in practice the representatives only have time to talk individually to a small proportion of that public.

          That being the case it is important that those that they do have time to talk to form a representative sample of the public. This doesn't mean an opinion poll style sample - after all we want these people to have expert knowledge on the subject discussed.

          The problem arises when the search for expertise has the effect of biasing the opinions expressed towards the interests of a minority. That kind of imbalance has to be addressed by finding experts who can speak on behalf of the public interest.

           

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

        •  
          icon
          Ninja (profile), Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 5:43am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Actually, you brought this angry reaction upon yourself with your previous behavior.

          You elected them, they work and represent you.

          Internalize those words. They don't have to and probably can't invite the whole world. However there are organized groups that advocate to the public and get involved in issues where they are NOT representing the public wishes. Those groups should be heard and invited when possible. And even individual constituents should also be heard in some cases, specially if they try to contact their representatives in droves.

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 7:03am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yes and those constituent groups talk to their elected officials, who carry their concerns with them to the table. The point is you can't every citizen AT the table, in the same manner that industry groups or artist groups have their representation. The elected officials (and their staff) are your representation as the people.

            It's not hard to understand. Perhaps it's something you don't have in Brazil.

             

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

            •  
              icon
              Richard (profile), Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 10:33am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The point is you can't every citizen AT the table, in the same manner that industry groups or artist groups have their representation. The elected officials (and their staff) are your representation as the people.

              The elected officials represent everyone. They are also the representatives of the industry and the artists.

              By your logic they should talk to no-one.

              Please read my comment above for further clarification of the situation.

               

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 1:54pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The constituent groups that represent the people, instead of industry, are almost never allowed into these kinds of talks. Only the people that pay the bribes, I mean 'campaign contributions,' are actively courted and heard. Government, especially in the US, hasn't worked 'for the people' in years.

               

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

        •  
          icon
          Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 5:45am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "We the people elect the government, who appoints the officials to work on our behalf. That way we don't have to invite the whole world to the table every time we want to talk about anything. You elected them, they work and represent you."

          Do you honestly believe that bollocks? Western democracy is such a sham that it isn't funny. The only way a politician can get elected is with the financial backing of corporate donations, corporations who only make those donations for something in return.

          The icing on the cake is that they have idiots like you believing that their 'democracy' is the greatest on the planet, and defending it religiously.

           

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 6:28am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "We the people elect the government, who appoints the officials to work on our behalf. That way we don't have to invite the whole world to the table every time we want to talk about anything. You elected them, they work and represent you."

          Actually, they don't work for or represent myself and the rest of the public. That much is evidenced by all the legislation aimed at curtailing many of the publics rights, done so at the behest of corporations and lobbied for actively by said corporations.

          But you know, I find it interesting that you would basically fall back to, "They're your elected officials. Don't like it, vote them out." It's the equivalent of "it's the law, don't like it then have it changed". We can't. Period. Because corporations have more power and say than the public.

          "You actually sound more angry than Paul today. It's not MY rights. Why does every arrogant son of a bitch here think anyone who posts even a gentle chide about a post is the fucking enemy?

          Please turn your rant down to about 5. The current level of 11 is too high."

          Oh, so you're THAT Anonymous Coward. The one who thinks Paul is angry. He's not. He speaks quite calmly, yet gets slightly annoyed when YOU put words in his mouth or start moving the goal post. And people like you are the enemy. SOPA and other similar things are testament to where you stand regarding the rights of the rest of us. Invasive measures to spy on our internet usage, limiting our first sale rights, and so on and so forth. For what? Profits?

          And that was in no way a rant. It was me saying "fuck you and the horse you rode in on". To put it rather simply. The one at 11 is yourself most of the time. I'd post links to some of your more outlandish comments, but with some of you trollish sounding ACs it's hard to do so. What with your complete and total deniability regarding which comments are yours and which aren't. But as I've said on more than one occasion, the writing styles of an individual are as unique as their fingerprints. Yours are rather obvious. You give yourself away with your "angry Paul" bit.

          I oh so wish we could track down all your comments though, so we could see who does more ranting and pissing and moaning and foaming at the mouth. Aren't you the same guy who had no actual clue about how bittorrent technology works? And also aren't aware of how many legitimate ways there are to hit data limits/caps LEGALLY? Yeah, pretty sure that's you. Deny all you like though, your words speaks for themselves. Like I said, unique writing style. Yours more so than others. Your arrogance gives you away.

           

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 4:11am

    'creation without copyright is not permitted'

    perhaps the intention is to make the work, although copyrighted, to be accessible to all? i wonder if Neelie Kroes is aware of this statement? i wonder who will be the first to try to oppose, if not outright stop this from happening? i wonder who is the first to state that the world will end if copyright is relaxed, let alone removed? i bet there are 'brown envelopes full of cash and promises of good times if you help us kick this out' charging round the EUP corridors at this very minute.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Lennart Regebro, Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 4:39am

    This is not as radical as it sounds.

    The case is that in some European countries you can not as of today resign your copyright. In other words, you can't say "This belongs to the public domain".

    The EU may add EU law requiring countries to allow giving things away to the public domain.

    This is a good thing, of course, but not much to shout about, as you can assign a CC0 license or something similar which gives more or less the same effect: Anyone can use what you created in any way they wish.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      RonKaminsky (profile), Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 5:23am

      Re: This is not as radical as it sounds.

      > as you can assign a CC0 license or something similar

      Unfortunately, there is currently no way to make a durable attachment of the license to the content, the minute someone forwards the content to someone else without the license, the person receiving it is just out of luck. Of course, one has the possibility for embedding RDF metadata in many file formats, but most people who create stuff have never heard of that. What the EU could do is recommend/regulate that content creation utilities, in their initial setup procedures, always ask what the default licensing terms are to be embedded into the created content (with CC0 or CC-BY being recommended for non-professional use).

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Lennart Regebro, Oct 7th, 2012 @ 1:00pm

        Re: Re: This is not as radical as it sounds.

        Why would you need durable attachment of the license to the content? Once it's out there with a non-durable open source license, then it's out there. You can remove it from a copy, but so what? It's still out there with the CC0 license attached. That's durable enough.

         

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

  •  
    identicon
    Lennart Regebro, Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 4:41am

    To clarify, this is in other words not at all against the Berne convention at all, and therefore it *can* happen. It will also not create a free internet, or have any other significant effect.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Richard (profile), Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 5:29am

      Re:

      One could even go further and add a provision that would make certain forms of publication imply the relinquishment of certain rights unless accompanied by a clear statement to the contrary. That would also lie witihin the Berne convention on my reading.

      My expectation is that copyright in new works will eventually wither on the vine - as more and more creators realise that they are not helped by it.

      There will then be a tipping point at which it becomes impossible to enforce the old copyrights because no-one is expecting them to be enforced.

      Sadly this will not happen in my lifetime - but I expect my children to live to see it...

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 5:25am

    Let me clarify one thing: The document is written by Andersdotter from the pirate party.

    How she got it through the committee on International Trade with a clear 25-4 in favour is a bit of a mystery.

    It is not just the Berne convention making the creation without acquiring IPR impossible. It is also the Free trade agreements mentioned in the document. How they are going to work around that fact is still to be seen.

    The document INTA hopes to insert this opinion into is also very positive reading. It is a strategy on how ICT should help inform lawmaking a lot earlier in the future process.

    It is a pre-firstreading document and it is expected to be 2 years out in the future before it has been finalized, so a lot can happen before then. But if this document goes through we are looking at a clear change away from the extremely IPR-protectionist strategy to a far more balanced view on things.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 9:30am

      Re:

      Let me clarify one thing: The document is written by Andersdotter from the pirate party.


      For what it's worth, Andersdotter apparently has said she did not write the document.

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 6:56am

    Too many committees!

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 7:28am

      Re:

      Ah government bureaucracy. Create committees to talk about making changes that will never come to light and then create a committee to find out why and another committee to investigate the actions of the other two.

       

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

  •  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 7:33am

    It's sad that a person can't create something without it instantly being wrapped in a legal security blanket.

    99% of the things created in this world do not need copyright (this comment, for instance).

    I would love to give works to the public domain if there were a way to do it. CC0 isn't the same thing.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    Chris Brand (profile), Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 10:02am

    Berne's days are numbered

    I think there's a growing recognition that the Berne treaty isn't a good match for the world of today. It'll take a *long* time (a generation or two), but sooner or later we're going to see either countries pulling out of Berne, a renegotiation of the treaty, or some sort of amendment to it.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    Violated (profile), Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 4:25pm

    Copyright without choice

    I have always said that we stand no realistic hope of reforming copyright laws on National levels all the time those laws are fixed in concrete on an International levels as part of near-impossible-to-break trade agreements.

    So just like in this case some group of countries desire to create a copyright free media sharing world then this is impossible when as correctly identified every snippet of media now created is born with "owned by copyright" stamped on it. That is no matter if the person created it desires that or not and that leads to an array of problems like orphaned media.

    We should also recognize that things did not used to be this way when the Berne Convention was once created with choice and balance in mind. Years ago to be copyright restricted the media had to be released baring a copyright declaration and the name of the owner. It was in later years that the corruption of copyright set in and not only was the copyright term extended to life plus 70 years but that all media ever made get an automatic copyright status.

    It is nice to see them wanting a change but the foreign office is only the first small step in this. To change the Berne Convention requires all the countries to have signed it to agree to a change and the United States would be a very tough nut to crack.

    You are really talking about the battle of the century where many IP organizations like the MPAA and RIAA are quite proud of their ownership over IP laws. So if you want to start attacking their control base then they would certainly bring out their biggest guns to fire back. Huge lobbying funds employed to resist change and endless media owners and artists saying how their media would be raped from them.

    Well all great things have small beginnings so I can only hope to see the ball keep rolling on this one.

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This