Abstract: Nations and businesses around the globe have been battling over copyright protection laws, with industrialized nations pressuring developing nations to adopt “Western-style” copyright regimes. These battles are escalating as copyright piracy grows, while developing nations struggle to formulate reforms that will protect their own intellectual property as well as that of industrialized nations.
[Timothy Vollmer, Creative Commons, Link (CC-BY)] Last month the European Commission released its proposed changes to copyright in the EU. Unfortunately, the proposal fails to deliver on the promise for a modern copyright law in Europe. In an ideal world, the Directive would have provided for progressive policy changes to serve the goals of a unified digital marketplace across Europe. It would have jumpstarted economic activity, championed innovative digital technologies and services, and protected consumers and access to information. It would have expanded opportunities for European businesses, cultural heritage institutions, educators, and the research community.
[Natalia Mileszyk, Communia Association, Link (CC-0)] While at this stage almost everyone agrees that the EU’s 2001 Copyright Framework is outdated and needs to be reformed, there is a very broad spectrum of ideas of what such a reform should look like. Recently, two of the three EU legislative bodies (who will need to agree on the final outcome) have laid their cards on the table: on the 9th of December 2015 the European Commission presented its long-awaited communication on copyright ‘Towards a modern, more European copyright framework‘ (our comments can be read here), and on the 19th of January the European Parliament followed up with a report on how to achieve a Digital Single Market Act (our opinion on the document is presented here).
[La Quadrature du Net, Link (CC-BY-SA)] Today, the European Commission has presented its proposal to reform copyright law in the European Union. This package includes a proposal for a regulation on portability of online services, as well as a communication to announcing future reforms to follow in 2016. The European Commission has thus confirmed that it does not wish to reopen the file on the InfoSoc directive 1, reflecting its reluctance and lack of ambition on this issue.
[Greens-European Free Allaince press release, Link] The European Parliament’s Legal Affairs committee today voted by a broad majority on a report reviewing the EU’s current copyright framework. The report is authored by Pirate Party MEP and vice-president of the Greens/EFA group Julia Reda. The vote follows intense debate, multiple delays and the consideration of over 550 amendments. Commenting after the vote Julia Reda said:
“This report recognises that copyright reform is necessary not just to improve the Digital Single Market but also to promote all EU citizens’ access to knowledge and information in the EU. The report calls on the European Commission to consider a wide variety of measures to bring copyright law up to speed with changing realities and improve cross-border access to our cultural diversity.
Executive Summary: South Africans should be able to make fair use of copyright materials. Fair use is important for technological innovation, reverse engineering, education and access to knowledge. Contracts and anti-circumvention rules should not be allowed to prevent South Africans from making fair use of copyright materials. South Africans should be able to bulk import copyright works including textbooks legitimately purchased outside South Africa.
We write in response to your request for public comments on South Africa’s planned copyright legislation reform. We are copyright scholars and experts from around the world who are interested in South Africa’s law reform process. Our interest arises both because of the leadership position of South Africa on the global stage and because we desire to be consumers of the products of culture and innovation that will be enabled by a properly balanced copyright system in your country.
We write to urge South Africa to join and lead the emerging consensus among rapidly developing countries that inclusion of a generally applicable “flexible” copyright exception is a necessary component of modern copyright reform.
[Paul Keller, Communia Association, June 25, Link, (CC-0)]
Earlier this week the IPKat leaked what appears to be an internal draft of the European Commission’s white paper on copyright policy reform (“A copyright policy for Creativity and Innovation in the European Union”). Once finalized this white paper is supposed to sum up the current Commission’s position on making European copyright policy fit for the digital environment. As such the white paper will build on work that has been undertaken during the last couple of years, which included the Licenses for Europe stakeholder dialogue, a number of studies commissioned by the commission and a public consultation on a review of the European copyright rules that generated more than 11 thousand responses.
[Naomi Korn, CILIP, Link (CC-BY-SA)] 20 years of hard work by our sector has resulted, at last, in the recognition that copyright laws are out of kilter with the digital age and many of the activities taking place across our libraries, archives, museums and educational establishments, need to be supported by fit for purpose exceptions. This will create legal certainty and achieve a better balance between creators rights and user needs, and in doing this make copyright itself stronger.
[Reposted from Digital Rights LAC, Link, (CC-BY-SA)] At Digital Rights LAC we wanted to ask different specialists in the region about their personal appraisals on digital rights issues. This is the case of Carolina Botero from Colombia. We asked her what the main achievements were regarding the “exceptions and limitations to copyright” and what direction these discussions took in 2013. Here is her reply.
Bearing in mind that Colombia is anticipating a copyright reform, essentially to fulfill the commitments of the FTA with the USA (ie commercial interests of the holders), 2013 was, however, an interesting year for the “positive agenda” that the country’s Karisma Foundation is pushing, which has exceptions at its central axis, which are understood as guarantees of fundamental rights and not as favors for the holders.
Mariana Giorgetti Valente (@mrnvlnt)
Pedro Nicoletti Mizukami (@p_mizukami)
Creative Commons Brazil, Link, (CC-BY-SA)
Center for Technology and Society @ FGV Law School, Rio
While open licensing can be a powerful strategy to correct some of the many distortions produced by an unbalanced copyright system, there’s only so much that can be accomplished without a major overhaul of copyright law.
Last week, 78 stakeholders submitted comments to the Department of Commerce on policy raised in its recent Green paper Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy.