from the good-signs dept
It appears that we have one more such story to add to the list, but there's at least some chance that some good will come out of this particular horror story. This one takes place down in Peru. Last time we had checked in on Peru, there were efforts under way to put in place very bad copyright legislation, copying the approach in SOPA to place copyright liability on service providers. It looks like that didn't take -- but what has happened is a scandal with that country's collection society, the Peruvian Association of Authors and Composers (APDAYC).
In recent years, the Copyright Office had accumulated several investigations and even sanctions against the APDAYC, but little has this done to make matters change. In early March, there was confirmation that the APDAYC was applying questionable rules for measuring popularity and distribution of royalties among its associates, which persuaded the Indecopi Copyright Commission to order the temporary suspension of the current directors of the company. In response, the APDAYC called the decision “unfair and illegal” and announced that they were willing to exhaust all possible means of defense and had already filed an appeal which has put the decision on hold.Apparently this has created something of a scandal in Peru, and may have kickstarted some good copyright reforms focused on increasing user rights (too frequently mislabeled as "limitations and exceptions"). In fact, some of the proposals will put things like fair use on par with the ability to exclude granted by copyright law. Some of the proposals are also about reforming how APDAYC works, but it has also opened up the possibility of these other important public-focused reforms:
As a result, there are currently thirteen bills pending that seek to change different parts of Legislative Decree 822, copyright law of Peru. Some of these bills propose changing specific rules on how collecting societies operate, stemming from the allegations in recent months against the APDAYC. Therefore, there is an intent to change the method of electing its governing board, banning re-elections, avoiding direct and indirect conflicts of interest, and the obligation of having to convincingly demonstrate their legitimate representation of works that they charge for.So perhaps yet another story of corruption in a collection society will actually help spur beneficial copyright reform, not just cleaning up questionable practices within such an organization, but also increasing the rights of the public that have been yanked away by over-aggressive copyright law.
However, there are also proposals for even deeper reforms. Some proposals include new exceptions and limitations for domestic purposes, non-profit activities, libraries, small businesses and religious activities. Our copyright law, published in 1996, has been changed very few times and has almost always worked in favor of a more rigid and maximalist system. For the first time in eighteen years, there are many bills that seek to put the rights of users at the same level as those of the authors. Regardless of the outcome , the mere discussion of these issues is very necessary and welcome in a country that is moving forward in many cultural aspects and is eager to have better access to culture and knowledge.