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.