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Julia Reda, MEP for the German Pirate Party and Vice President of the Greens/EFA group, has released its 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 the overhaul of EU copyright which the Commission wants to approach within the next years. For example, the report calls "on 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 whereas 70 years are common in the EU member states. Furthermore, Reda would like to see new exceptions for emerging use cases like audio-visual quotation, e-lending and text and data mining. It also recommends “exempting works produced by the public sector […] from copyright protection” among many other things.
The optional nature of most copyright exceptions and limitations had led to continuing fragmentation of national copyright law within the European Union. The introduction of neighbouring rights by some member states like the ancillary copyright laws for press publishers introduced in Germany and Spain would exacerbate the fragmentation. To achieve legal clarity and user-friendliness "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 fall explicitly outside 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 now has to pass 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. After three other Committees (Industry, Research and Energy; Internal Market and Consumer Protection; Culture and Education) will have given their opinion on the report, 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 the participation and feedback of everybody - be at just a rating or a comment. You can access the discussion platform by using this link.
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