by Glyn Moody

Filed Under:
copyright, copyright reform, europe

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 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 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.

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 24 Jan 2014 @ 2:33am

    Done my part to try to help. Now we wait to see how things will play.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2014 @ 2:55am

    Even though this is about European copyright laws, submissions can be made by anyone.

    Which strikes me as a way to let foreign lobbyists dominate the contributions.
    How many people employed by the MPAA and RIAA will fill in the form with the statements they are given, because they are told to.
    /conspiracy theory

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2014 @ 3:39am

    more to the point, let's hope that the views of the public and their representing groups are taken notice of. just because the 'door is opened to the public', doesn't mean any notice will be taken. also remember that de Gucht, the EU Commissioner is involved in this. given that he has had talks with Hollywood, which can only be to sort out ways of ramping up copyright protections but had no talks with anyone from the public interest groups and that he was the chief advocate for getting ACTA introduced in Europe, he will want everything that was kicked out before, brought back in and extras on top! the best place for that arse hole is on a scrap heap somewhere, away from where he can do harm, because he isn't interested, like the entertainment industries themselves, in anything other than stopping everyone from doing everything unless those industries agree and are being paid! the public are not even on his list! and isn't it funny that the 'consultation period' was half way through before the public were made aware of it!

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    Jeevan, 24 Jan 2014 @ 3:40am

    Copyright Law

    I really like your post because u had described all the details in depth.

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

  • identicon
    Zaharias, 24 Jan 2014 @ 5:28am

    hard demands for making copyright more flexible

    Many of us want to see copyright becoming more flexible. Some of us by an exception in copyright, which allows non-commercial filesharing of copyright protected material, others of us think, that non-commercial online-streaming of copyright protected material belongs legalized. For demands like this question 23 is the right place.
    The funny thing with this consultation is, that it takes certain things for granted; so for instance it doesn't question, that copyright protects DRM. Luckily, we can ! ;D Best place for saying the EU commission what we think of the fact, that copyright protects DRM, and what we think how copyright should be changed regarding this probably is question 80.
    Regarding "taking things for granted" questions 75 - 77 have pure popcorn factor: In this chapter, it's pondered how to "strenghening respect for copyright" as apparently the masses don't accept copyright - LOOOOOOL !!!
    How much does one have to drink to come up with that thought ?!
    In a liberal-democratic constitutional system like the EU member states the laws have to follow sense of justice of the people and not the other way around !
    When by the practical behaviour of the people the people don't accept copyright in it's current socially-unbalanced form then you have to change copyright, but not peoples minds ! So: Totally freaked out, naive, and dangerous subtile suggestions in this chapter.
    If they want people to accept copyright, they should make the copyright more socially balanced, instead of consider brainwashing.
    Question 76 also is tricky: What lays behind it is the idea of making intermediaries - so, for instance, but not only internet service providers - more reliable for copyright infringements of their users, which would urge intermediaries to play private police to avoid legal trouble; so content industry shouts "COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT !!1!!1" and intermediaries have to jump and act then without any law suit or evidences. Making intermediaries more reliable is like making a fork company reliable for a murder, where the wife murdered her husband with a fork. So, once again, totally nuts. Any form of liability for intermediaries regarding copyright infringement of their users is totally wrong and must be completely abolished.
    Enforcement of copyright is the job of the police and not private companies ! And of course, enforcement of copyright, must find limits in basic rights like data protection or privacy. Additionally, the term "commercial us" is misleading; in lawsuits "commercial use" does not mean, what someone with common sence thinks of - so a criminal with a huge hall full of CD pressing equipment, who is about to sell thousands of copyright protected CDs on black markets without authorization. In lawsuits EVERYTHING is "commercial use" so, if I have purchased an Audio-CD and I offer one of it's tracks via filesharing for free download => "commercial use". So, you see we the public really needs to put law makers in their place by making clear that current tendencies of copyright are totally wrong and the opposite of what is needed, so that they stop perverting copyright more and more. Because actually copyright is a good idea, at least in it's origion, as long as copyright is formed VERY freely and not restrictive at all.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    out_of_the_blue, 24 Jan 2014 @ 6:40am

    A much more frequent threat that you should stop stealing:

    "Mike Weatherley MP significantly raised the bar by stating that the government must now consider “some sort of custodial sentence for persistent offenders.” Google also got a bashing – again."

    And kids, NOT stealing someone else's potential profits for their creative work isn't a tyranny imposed on you. It's simply fair trading, the very basis of good economic activities.

    Mega-grifter Kim Dotcom got millions by hosting infringed content. That's not even capitalism, that's THEFT.


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

  • icon
    Alien Rebel (profile), 24 Jan 2014 @ 10:32am

    Hello- Reprographic Royalties?

    I just did a search on TD for "reprographic", and was surprised to get pretty much zilch. Millions of dollars in reprographic rights royalties, and of particular concern, "non-title-specific" fees, comes into the U.S. from IFRRO organizations and winds up in the hands of rats such as the Authors Guild and Graphic Artists Guild, who then get to do wonderful things with it in the name of "artists rights" and "copyright reform". I would think that this money would be on somebody's radar screen around here.

    I know that the Graphic Artists Guild has received upwards of $500,000 per year, which it spends with little accountability to anyone. This free money sloshing around, courtesy of European copyright law, is something that needs more sunlight.

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

  • icon
    Mike Shore (profile), 24 Jan 2014 @ 11:25am

    Public domain

    Once again, the approach is backwards. Instead of focusing on
    "harmonisation, limitations and exceptions to copyright in the digital age" the focus should be on "harmonisation, limitations and exceptions to the public domain in the digital age"

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2014 @ 12:31pm

    Works must enter public domain within 10 years.

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

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