Make your voice heard to fix copyright in the EU!

As we have mentioned here before, the European Commission has launched a consultation on the future of European copyright policy. The responses provided to the questionnaire must be submitted by 5 February 2014 and will be used as a justification for future policy proposals from the Commission. If citizens and professionals don’t make their voice heard the outcomes of the consultation will likely be used to further limit citizens’ rights to create, share and access culture and to further weaken the public domain.

Fix copyright – take part in the consultation

In order to prevent this from happening, COMMUNIA has joined forces with a range of other NGOs and professional associations to produce a tool that helps citizens and professionals to respond to the consultation in a way that promotes access to culture and a strengthening of the the public domain. The results of this collaboration can be found at youcan.fixcopyright.eu.

The tool lets you filter the 80 questions from the consultation document based on a number of different personas (we have compiled selections for online users, parents, teachers/academics/researchers, freelancers/entrepreneurs/businesspersons, librarians/cultural heritage professionals, bloggers/remixers, disabled users and rights holders). There is of course an option to answer all questions. The website also provides background information and advice on how to respond to the questions.

If you care about a copyright system that promotes innovation and access to culture in the digital environment and if you care about the public domain, you should respond to the consultation today! You may also want to ask friends and colleagues to do the same.

The Copyright Directive and User Freedoms

It is not very often that citizens get the chance to make their voice heard in the complicated and often very opaque discussions about European copyright policy. This is the first time that the European Commission is soliciting a broad range questions (some of which are rather sensible, others not so much) about the core of the existing legal framework, the 2001 Copyright in the Information Society Directive. This directive establishes a number of user freedoms (‘exceptions and limitations’ in the language of the directive) to make use of copyrighted material without prior authorisation for purposes related to education, use by disabled persons, access to cultural heritage and private use.

These user freedoms are important in shaping the contours of what is regulated by copyright and what is not. By pushing for an extension of these user freedoms, copyright can be brought back to a more sensible system that protects the legitimate interests of creators without needlessly limiting uses that are beneficial to society as a whole. The consultation provides a lot of opportunities to make this argument.

In addition, the consultation contains questions on lots of other topics that are dear to COMMUNIA. These include the length of copyright protection (hint: it is too long) and questions about registration of works (an important idea). You can find more information on how the questions in the consultation relate to our own policy recommendations in our previous post on the consultation.

Still with us? Then please go and answer the consultation now!

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