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Julia Reda publishes draft report for new EU copyright law

Am 20. Januar 2015 - 21:26 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Julia Reda, MEP for the German Pirate Party and Vice President of the Greens/EFA group, has released the draft report evaluating 2001's EU copyright directive (InfoSoc). She is a member of the Committee on Legal Affairs of the EU Parliament and was elected rapporteur on this particular issue in May.

“The EU copyright directive was written in 2001, in a time before YouTube or Facebook. Although it was meant to adapt copyright to the digital age, in reality it is blocking the exchange of knowledge and culture across borders today“, Reda explains. “We need a common European copyright that safeguards fundamental rights and makes it easier to offer innovative online services in the entire European Union.”

The report lays out an ambitious reform agenda for  EU copyright law which  shall be implemented within the coming years.  For example, the report encourages the Commission "to harmonise the term of protection of copyright to a duration that does not exceed the current international standards set out in the Berne Convention" which is 50 years after the author's death. By contrast, in the EU Members States the term  of protection is 70 years after the author´s death. Furthermore, Reda would like to see new exceptions for emerging use cases such as audio-visual quotation, e-lending and text and data mining. Among many other reform proposals, the report also recommends “exempting works produced by the public sector […] from copyright protection” .

The optional nature of most copyright exceptions and limitations has led to the continuing fragmentation of national copyright law within the European Union. The introduction of neighbouring rights by some Member States, such as the ancillary copyright law for press publishers  in Germany and Spain  exacerbates this fragmentation. To achieve legal clarity and being more user-friendly "all exceptions and limitations permitted in the InfoSoc Directive should be made mandatory in all Member States". "The lack of harmonisation in areas of copyright law that do not fall within the scope of the InfoSoc directive [...] has demonstrable, negative consequences on the clarity of the law." 

Reda describes the core finding of the report as follows:

Although the directive was meant to adapt copyright to the digital age, in reality it is blocking the exchange of knowledge and culture across borders today.

The report will now be discussed by the Committee on Legal Affairs. Its members have one month to submit amendments before the Committee will come to its final vote on April 16. Before that, three other Committees (Industry, Research and Energy; Internal Market and Consumer Protection; Culture and Education) will also have to give their opinion on the report.Thereafter the full plenary of the Parliament will discuss, amend and pass the report.  Reda expects the final vote to take place on May 20.

Reda also called for participation and feedback from everyone, be it  a rating or a comment. You can access the discussion platform by using this link.

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