The copyright was originally meant to promote creativity and innovation, but instead it’s become outdated, overly complicated, and even threatening to some users. Fortunately there are still ways to fix copyright and the EU is in a unique position to do it. The European Commission should look into best examples of national-level solutions and apply them within the current reform. We present several best examples of exceptions and limitations that should benefit citizens in their access to culture and education across Europe.
Reform – the dealmaker or the dealbreaker for citizens?
The current copyright system fails us on so many levels that we know the forthcoming EU copyright reform won’t fix it all. Given the pressure from creative industries to introduce new rights in order to protect their existing business models, the outlook is not very good. Instead of engaging in discussions and actions that would rebalance copyright, users and public interest organizations engage in battles against bad policy ideas.
It is time to tell the EU that while it plays with the elusive vision of the Digital Single Market by inventing how to tax linking, there are some good solutions that already work in member states. Exceptions and limitations to copyright, so dreaded by many rights holders, do not break the creative industry in Portugal and France or the educational systems of Estonia and Finland. They simply work! To the benefit of creators, artists, students and users, reinforcing creativity, freedom of expression and providing good balance of the interests of rights holders and citizens.
EU, harmonize towards the common advantage!
At Communia we believe that the EU should look into how the freedom of panorama benefits artists in Portugal, how parody reinforces creativity in France, how Estonian education benefits from a wide copyright exception, or how the right to quote works for multiple purposes in Finland enabling new transformative uses. These best case scenarios for copyright are already foreseen in the InfoSoc Directive – the EU just needs to make them mandatory across Europe.
Each week of June we will present one of these exceptions: how it works, who can benefit from it and what is the impact on the society, creativity and freedom of expression. We urge you to tell the EU that copyright is about your right to access culture and education, too. Use these examples in advocacy, when you explain copyright to people, on social media.
Yes, the copyright fails us when it doesn’t work. But we also know what works. Let’s use that knowledge to #fixcopyright.
The scenarios are based on case studies developed by Alexandra Giannopoulou (France), Alari Rammo (Estonia), Maria Rehbinder (Finland) and Teresa Nobre (Portugal). Teresa – an IP lawyer, Creative Commons Portugal legal lead and a member of Communia – is also the project’s legal lead.
Anna Mazgal is the project’s campaign lead. She is the managing director of the Polish Centrum Cyfrowe, a think-and-do tank turning society digital. Anna is also a COMMUNIA representative at the Observatory of IP Infringements at EUIPO.
The graphic design has been created by Manufactura Independente and all materials are available under a CC0 license. Manufactura Independente is a Portuguese design research studio focused on free culture and critical engagement with design tools.