Securing user rights in education – reflections from our policy debate.

De eerste schooldag
Both copyright reform and voluntary licensing secure user rights in education
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How to secure user rights in education? This was the question we asked during a policy debate organised by Communia and hosted by MEP Michał Boni in the European Parliament on the 17th of November. Panelists, politicians and stakeholders participating in this debate discussed two approaches: the creation and use of Open Educational Resources (OER), and a progressive copyright reform for education.

While these issues are usually presented separately, as Communia we see them as two aspects of a single effort to ensure user rights in education. This two-path approach has been acknowledged at least since 2013, when the Creative Commons community argued that the movement behind open licensing policies needs to be involved in the copyright reform debate as well. Today in Europe, we are facing both developments related to OER policies (related to the Opening Up Education initiative, launched in 2013), and a copyright reform process in which education has been highlighted by the EC to be one of key areas for modernisation of copyright.Continue reading

Activists meet to discuss copyright reform in Europe

School of Rock(ing) EU Copyright
School of Rock(ing) EU Copyright
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European copyright law reform enters its decisive phase. Changes will be proposed by the Commission in the coming months, and will determine the shape of European law for many years. Activists involved in copyright reform from across Europe met last week in Warsaw to discuss this subject. During the meeting we worked to expand the participants’ knowledge on the legislative process in the European Union, but also map the major challenges and plan further action of non-governmental organizations in Europe.

Activists from 12 countries in Europe, who work on the reform of copyright law, came to Warsaw for the School of Rock(ing) EU Copyright, organized by Communia Association, European Digital Rights Initiative (EDRI) and Centrum Cyfrowe. The participants discussed the main areas of upcoming reform: text and data mining, geoblocking, fair use in education, freedom of panorama, online access to cultural heritage, the liability of intermediaries, court injunctions in copyright and approach “follow the money”. Continue reading

EDRi and Communia team up for the organisation of “School of Rock(ing) EU Copyright”

Communia is partnering up with EDRi,  organising the “School of Rock(ing) EU Copyright” in Warsaw, Poland, November 5-6th. COMMUNIA advocates for policies that strengthen the public domain and increase access to and reuse of culture and knowledge, and we believe that a strong network of activists for European copyright reform is crucial for this.  Events such as this 2-day course are essential to train future policy influencers and to strengthen the network of copyright reform advocates.

EDRi offers travel support for 20 participants, applications should be in before September 6. 

EDRi offers a stipendum of maximum 300 EUR to cover transport and accommodation costs for up to 20 participants of the School of Rock(ing) EU Copyright and the CopyCamp conference in Warsaw. Non-funded participants will also be welcome, of course.

If you’re interested, please apply by sending an email to brussels@edri.org with the title “Application for The School of Rock(ing) EU Copyright” stating in no more than 200 words why you are interested in attending CopyCamp and the School of Rock(ing) EU Copyright, why you should be selected. We’re looking for people who have experience and/or plan to prepare campaigns on a national level, who can help building online campaigning tools, who have the ability to create networks with similar organisations on national and international levels and general knowledge of the main problems in the current EU copyright system. Continue reading

Alternative Compensation Systems only work if adopted by all sides

Een violist en een fluitist musicerend
ACS: a viable solution for creators and users?
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This post was written by Lisette Kalshoven and Katarzyna Rybicka.

Fifteen years ago, the explosive growth of the file sharing network Napster changed the music industry forever. It was a simple response to the difficulty of finding, downloading and sharing music over the web. Since then, policy makers and stakeholders have been trying to resolve the ongoing challenge of unauthorised copying, without much success. In many instances copyright enforcement turns out to be either ineffective, or is applied in such a way that violates fundamental rights such as the right to information, freedom of expression or privacy and protection of personal data.

Last Saturday in Amsterdam, the renowned institute for research on intellectual property rights, IViR (Institute for Information Law) held a symposium on Alternative Compensation Systems (ACS) for cultural goods. An ACS can be described as a legal mechanism which permits the reproduction, downloading, sharing and sometimes even modification of copyrighted works. This can be done without the need for an opt in from users (mandatory ACS) or with an opt in (voluntary ACS), but with both options giving compensation to the creators and copyright owners of those works.

The IViR researched the non-commercial use of cultural goods online for two years. The results suggest that consumers are dissatisfied with the existing legal access channels. As a consequence, different forms of ACS were supported by the majority of the Dutch population questioned. Continue reading

Representing the Public Domain at the EU Observatory on Infringements of IPR

Last week Communia joined the “European Observatory on Infringements of IPR” which is hosted by the European Union’s Office of Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM). The Observatory’s task is to provide the EU Commission with insights on every aspect of IPR infringement. It does so primarily by conducting surveys and studies on how, where and why IP rights are violated by whom and to what extent. In addition is helps coordinate across borders the efforts of various institutions involved in law enforcement. It also runs general as well as focussed awareness campaigns in the field of IP. This is done in conjunction with a permanent stakeholder dialogue, which is organized in working groups and a yearly plenary.

The EU observatory on infringments of IPR
The European Observatory on Infringments of IPR is a unit of the EU’s Office of Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), which is located on top of a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean sea in Alicante, Spain

As part of this year’s plenary, held last week in Alicante, Spain, Communia joined the observatory as only the seventh civil society group. By far the largest stakeholder group are 58 industry representatives, followed by 28 public sector institutions and 10 representatives with an observer status, which include international orgnizations such as OECD but also US interest groups. This heavy industry bias of the observatory members has to do with the Observatory’s origin being an initiative from the world of industrial property (such as trademarks, registered designs) and insititutions fighting product counterfeits entering the EU internal market.

The decision to join the observatory was prompted by the fact that the Observatory increasingly moves its focus also to the field of copyright and related rights. A major part of its agenda for 2015 deals with finding out about what children and young adults know and think about counterfeit goods and copyright violation, and with running campaigns to raise the yonger generation’s awareness of the damage done by rights violations.

The observatory is also working on a “Study on Open Licensing and the Public Domain”, both of which are core fields of expertise of COMMUNIA Association as a network and of its members. We can draw on this knowledge and also on the material produced by the Communia Project between 2007 and 2011 to support the Observatory with such studies. This offer was met with great interest by the research staff involved.

Over and above support for the study, Communia will strive to make a case for the Public Domain as a concept and as a pool of re-usable cultural heritage whenever that seems appropriate in the work of the Observatory, especially in the relevant working groups. The necessity to do this is obvious, as the Public Domain does not have too many other supporters and its value for society is often overlooked.

Book launch of ”The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture”, Brussels, June 18th, 18:30-20:00

On Monday, June 18, MEP Amelia Andersdotter, along with her colleague MEP Ioannis Tsoukalas, is inviting you to attend the launch of the book ”The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture”, edited by Melanie Dulong de Rosnay and Juan Carlos De Martin as an output of the Communia Thematic Network.

The book is under a CC Attribution license and the PDF can be downloaded here.

”The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture”
18 June 2012
18:30 – 20:00
European Parliament, Brussels, ASP Main Hall
(Ground Floor, in front of the Newspapers Quiosque)

18:30 Welcome: MEP Amelia Andersdotter
18:35 Introduction: MEP Prof. Ioannis Tsoukalas
18:45 The Digital Public Domain – presentation by editors: Melanie Dulong & Juan Carlos De Martin
19:00 Q&A and Discussion / Cocktails
19:45 Closing remarks: MEP Amelia Andersdotter

If would like to attend the event and require access to the Parliament, please register with amelia.andersdotter-office@europarl.europa.eu before June 14, indicating your full name, date of birth and ID number.

More information on the book can be found on the Communia Association’s website.

Link to the invitation on Amelia Andersdotter’s blog.

Edit on 14 July 2012: a video interview of Anne-Catherine Lorrain, Juan Carlos De Martin and Melanie Dulong de Rosnay during the book launch event is available on YouTube. Thanks to Amelia Andersdotter’s team members Julia Reda, Edvinas Pauza and Tess Lindholm.

Public Domain Day 2012 (Paris)

Following the trend established by the Communia Thematic Network, we celebrated Public Domain Day in Paris on the 26th of January with an event organised by the Communia Association, Wikimedia France, Creative Commons France, the CNRS Institute for Communication Sciences and the Open Knowledge Foundation.

What unites all these organisations is that they share the common goal of encouraging the dissemination of knowledge and information, including – but not limited to – works that are in the public domain.

After an introduction by Adrienne Alix (Wikimedia France) and Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay (ISCC/Communia), the event started with a screening of Georges Méliès’ science fiction movie “A Trip to the Moon” from 1902. This was followed by a presentation of works that entered the public domain on January 1st 2012. A list was created by sorting the entries of Wikipedia according to the authors’ deaths and is available at the following address. The list includes famous French authors such as Maurice Leblanc (Arsene Lupin), as well as the painter Robert Delaunay. It also includes internationally renowned authors such as James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, to name a few.

After the initial celebration, Lionel Maurel (Bibliothèque Nationale de France) and Primavera De Filippi (Open Knowledge Foundation) went on to illustrate the role of open bibliographic metadata in its relation with the public domain. While accurate and precise metadata is necessary for the purpose of identifying works that have fallen in the public domain, it is often difficult for libraries and other cultural institutions to provide all necessary information to properly determine the legal status of a work. This also was the occasion to present the Public Domain Calculators of the OKF and the challenges that must be addressed as a result of the complexities of French copyright law.Continue reading

Public Sector Information to be discussed in Bruxelles

The European Thematic Network on Legal Aspects of Public Sector Information (LAPSI, coordinated by Politecnico, NEXA Research Center, Torino) is hosting its 2nd public conference in Bruxelles on January 23rd & 24th.

As the European Commission is presenting a proposal for a Directive amending the 2003 Directive on re-use of public sector information, the question is now about how to implement the proposed amendments in practice, with the purpose of enhancing innovation and genuine public access to open data. Since 2003, the technical and societal environment of public sector information has changed, while raising issues deserving an adapted legal framework, be it as regards IP rights, competition and the protection of private data and access to information. While the Commission representative addresses the EU “Open Data Strategy”, all the high level experts and academics gathered at the conference (Marco Ricolfi, Séverine Dusollier, Hanns Ullrich, Josef Drexl, Miram Bitton, Mireille van Eechoud…) seem to agree that the legal minefield might be difficult to avoid.

COMMUNIA’s Policy Paper on the Commission’s proposal of amendment to the PSI Directive is publicly presented at the conference on January 24th by Daniel Dietrich from the Open Knowledge Foundation. While COMMUNIA supports the need to amend the PSI Directive, and praises the widening of its scope to cultural heritage institutions (despite the amendments do not include all of them), the Association is suggesting several improvements to the proposed text, insisting on the fact that the Public Domain would deserve a more consistent policymaking at the European level.

 

 

Public Domain Day in Paris, France, 26 January 2012

Creative Commons France organizes with Wikimedia France, the CNRS Institute for Communication Science and the Open Knowledge Foundation a public domain day in Paris, with members of organizations partnering for this event, Philippe Aigrain and Jérémie Zimmermann of la Quadrature du Net, Rémi Mathis of Wikimedia France, Lionel Maurel @calimaq and Tangui Morlier of Regards Citoyens.

Journée du domaine public
Jeudi 26 janvier de 18h à 21h
Institut des Sciences de la Communication du CNRS (ISCC)
Maison des Sciences de la Communication et de l’interdisciplinarité (MSCI)
20, rue Berbier du Mets 75013 Paris
Metro Gobelins

InfoSoc @ Ten

Ten years after the EU Directive on Copyright in the Information Society: Looking back and Looking Forward.

In may 2011 the directive 2001/29/EC of 22 may 2001 on copyright and related rights in the information society (also known as the ‘copyright’ or ‘infosoc’ directive) has turned 10.

To mark this (belated) birthday, the CRIDS (University of Namur) and the IViR (University of Amsterdam) jointly organize a conference in Brussels on the 13th of January 2012, with the collaboration of the European Parliament.

The overall objective of this event will be to assess the achievement of the objectives of the Information Society Directive and to discuss the next steps to undertake to promote creativity in the digital age. Has the Directive been a success? What is still missing to foster a thriving European market for cultural products and an inclusive knowledge society?

You can find the full programme of the one day conference here (PDF) and you can register (until the 4th of january) on the website of the CRIDS.