A Rare Invitation To Help Shape European Copyright Law
from the seize-it dept
Back in May last year, we wrote about how the European Commission's "Licences for Europe" initiative had turned into a fiasco, with public interest groups and open access supporters pulling out in protest at the way it was being conducted. The central problem was the Commission's attempt to force everything into the straitjacket of copyright licensing, refusing to allow alternative approaches to be discussed. Fortunately, its public consultation on copyright, launched back in December, and closing soon, does not make this mistake, and is broad in scope:
The consultation invites stakeholders to share their views on areas identified in the Communication on Content in the Digital Single Market (IP/12/1394), i.e. territoriality in the Single Market, harmonisation, limitations and exceptions to copyright in the digital age; fragmentation of the EU copyright market; and how to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of enforcement while underpinning its legitimacy in the wider context of copyright reform.
Although it's regrettable to see so much prominence being given to enforcement, at least there is a mention of taboo topics like limitations and exceptions -- something that was forbidden during the licensing talks.
Even though this is about European copyright laws, submissions can be made by anyone. Full details about how to do this can be found on the European Commission's Web page on the subject. There is a consultation document, which consists of dozens of questions on different areas of copyright. Navigating this can be daunting, so a broad coalition has put together a site called youcan.fixcopyright.eu. It is designed to offer a quick way of selecting groups of questions that are most likely to be of interest to specific kinds of respondents -- for example, online users, teachers, parents, bloggers, etc. As a further alternative, replies can be sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org using Open Document Format, Microsoft Word or PDF. The closing date for submissions is 5 February.
As Techdirt has reported, all too often in the past, the public has been shut out from the decision-making process when it comes to copyright policy. Here, for a change, is a welcome opportunity for ordinary citizens to make their views known. Let's hope people take it.