Mozilla Festival Day 2: CopyBetter: Notes from Copyright Reform in the EU

Trying to explain the bureaucratic mess.

Three main institutions

  • European Commission (Executive, divide who to )
  • Parliament (only elected group in the EU)
  • Council (representation of all member states)

Three institution have to hammer out solution or compromise, then parliament and council vote, then commission implement it.

Legislative Acts

  • Directive – minimum standard for all countries.
  • Regulation – one law for all countries.

2001 Information and Security Act

A lot has changed. A lot of calls for modernization. Moving analogue to digital. Pressure from publishers who wanted to keep everything the same.

2013/14 – launched a public consultation, 11k submissions with over half from citizens, the other half basically from those who want to keep everything the same

Present Context

May 2015 – New commission plan included copyright highly. Non-binding report also came out of Parliament. Push back came from groups for not being ambitious enough, but also very practical.

Enforcement of intellectual property report which can be a big problem. Ambitious in terms of enforcing copyright, especially of intermediaries without distinction between online and offline, and their role. Also includes many provisions from ACTA.

Recently – more public consultations. Need something flexible, meets the digital era. Commission is much less ambitious than expected.

What the Commission is Planning

Immediate term:

  • geo-blocking: portability of content
  • Marrakesh treaty

Further measures:

  • definition of rights and exceptions – unclear, but not fair use
  • clarification of role of intermediaries, i.e. ancillary copyright (e.g. linking) – thinking this is a good idea
  • review of technological protection

Copyright Goals

1) Open Norm (like fair use, following Bern Convention) – might include data mining; UK has fair dealing, but in general, if don’t fit in 20 exemptions, tough luck.
2) Interoperability (locks don’t remove rights)
3) All-Medium Quotation (across all media, not just text)
4) Hyperlinking Without Fear
5) Robust Intermediary Protection (can’t take content down even if asked to)

Where to collaborate, how to move forward together.

Wikimedia: 3 main focus: freedom of publishing photos (e.g. public buildings), orphan works to enter free license, government works be freely available

Communia: Strengthen and protect the public domain by framing it positively instead of as a lack of copyright, seen as no value. Two main areas: culture, education. Publish arguments, blog that reacts (e.g. when ancillary copyright doesn’t work). Medium that focuses on education.


Things you can do even without funding on advocacy.

The best thing you can do is share stories.

Discussion Activity

Near the end of the session, we were broken up into small groups to discuss one of four topics. I joined the group discussing possible activity topics for a copyright Thimble teaching kit. Some ideas included:

  • role playing a publisher to determine what to charge someone for quoting or linking to an article
  • writing a short article and having a costing table that would determine how much it would cost to publish
  • pick a type of work and determine in which country (from a list of 3) where it would be allowed
  • write a short piece, then strike out everything on a disallowed list, the point being that it would reflect the kind of legislation that publishers are pushing to be implemented
  • read/listen/watch a pre-chosen piece (such as the remix manifesto video) and attempt to determine how many times it infridges copyright in a specific country

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

Leave a Comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: