copyright is for losers (2)

During his election campaign for President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker set himself five key priorities. Juncker’s number one priority, according to these pledges, was the creation of a European Digital Single Market. This was an integral part of Junker’s strategy for growth and jobs, potentially creating €500 billion of additional growth in Europe and hundreds of thousands of new jobs by the end of his mandate in 2019.

Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip and Commissioner Guenther Oettinger have been tasked with formulating this Digital Single Market strategy, including proposals on copyright reform. Existing EU copyright rules are mostly laid out in a Directive from 2001 (before Facebook, YouTube or Twitter existed), but the rules are flexible and each Member State essentially has its own law on copyright.

Proponents of reform argue that this confusing set of different copyright rules has fragmented markets along national lines, impeding the establishment of a true Digital Single Market. Indeed, we had a comment sent in to us by Ingemar, who believes that Europe should move towards a single intellectual property regime, where copyright rules can only be made at the EU level.

To get a reaction, we spoke to Andrus Ansip, Vice-President of the European Commission and the EU Commissioner responsible for the Digital Single Market. How would he reply to Ingemar?

ansipThe European Union has already created single regimes for some intellectual property rights, such as patents and trademarks. A single copyright title and the accompanying full-scale harmonisation of copyright across Europe would take much time and necessitate a massive intervention at EU level to bridge the differences between regulations of the Member States and replace national copyright laws.

Ultimately this may raise questions of proportionality and subsidiarity, which are key principles guiding EU actions. And we do not have much time, the digital revolution is taking place now. This is why we want to come soon with a targeted reform modernising copyright in the areas where digital technologies have the most important impact and where there is a clear cross-border potential. We are looking at all these issues in the context of the copyright modernisation proposal which will be presented later this year.

We also had a comment from Nic, who said he was worried that a single EU copyright regime might be exploited by lobbyists and big multinational companies, to the detriment of the consumer.

To get a response, we spoke to Julia Reda, a German MEP with the Pirate Party who authored a report for the European Parliament on copyright reform. Her report called for the introduction of a Single European Copyright Title, and the harmonization of copyright terms and exceptions across Europe. How would she respond to Nic’s concerns?

Finally, we had an interesting question from Lillie, who wondered what copyright really means in a world where so much content is being created by users on social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube:

citizen_icon_180x180[Can there] be a universal agreement on intellectual property in the digital information age when users as individuals create much of the content that is found in the social networking space, but are not well organized to protect their intellectual property interests?

What would Julia Reda say to Lillie?

And how would Andrus Ansip respond to Lillie?

ansipUser-driven creation and online sharing are indeed part of our daily life! They have also proved beneficial to professional creators and a range of successful businesses. Europeans can also state their views on copyright. In the public consultation carried out by the European Commission last year, the majority of the almost 10.000 replies came from consumers. These contributions are feeding into the proposal we are preparing right now. We also invite you all to share your views on the creation of the Digital Single Market on our forum Digital4EU.

Should there be a single EU copyright regime? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Sam Telgen

64 comments Post a commentcomment

  What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Eu CuMine

    yes, inside an union there must be different rules governing the rights of copying than outside that union

  2. avatar
    Thomas Beavitt

    The Pirate Parties International movement has some interesting things to say on this question in the European context. I tend to think that copyright ? and intellectual property more generally ? can only be thought of these days in the context of the increasing dominance of (mainly US headquartered) global corporations in all areas of “our” lives. As citizens, the effectiveness of tools with which we may counter this dominance tends to decrease to the vanishingly small. Claiming universal citizenship rights to “our culture” and all its expressions may seem to run counter to assertions of “intellectual property” on the part of global corporations.

  3. avatar
    Rui Jamp

    No. Each country should decide. Europeans are not equals, there are big cultural differences between people from different countries…

  4. avatar
    Mykolas Stankevicius

    There is no more copyright. I can get anything what i want.

    28/06/2018 Cory Doctorow, author, digital rights activist, and co-editor of the blog Boing Boing, has responded to this comment.

    28/06/2018 Maud Sacquet, Senior Manager of Public Policy at the Computer and Communications Industry Association, has responded to this comment.

  5. avatar
    Ingemar Grahn

    If not a single market so are least ban blocking copyright material within Eu so it doesn’t matter witch country you are in to watch a pic or video.

  6. avatar
    Nando Aidos

    What does it mean? How do you define it? Are we into populistic senseless statements without substantive definitions? And the people are supposed to vote on these? Isn’t that what we have today with all the polititians?

  7. avatar
    Ingemar Grahn

    The problem as I see it is like u can bye a cd from any country you like but you can’t by the same song for download except for the country you reside in. Also when I’m in Sweden and watching German news online sometimes the video goes grey concord due to its was seeing it in an different country. That’s not acceptable behaviour under any circumstances from the copyright holders. But the video is mutch worse than music. So there is no reel competition between the different online services like Netflix cuse they mostly only have the movie on one services at a time and that in to is only accessible at home country and mostly not when you are outside it in Eu. That is also no good.

  8. avatar
    Dimitris Stamiris

    No …. Like is not “union” to everything !!!!!

    “Union” will die soon because they want to be united countries of Germany !!!!!

  9. avatar
    Andrew Lally

    And if there is to be an EU copyright office, it should be located in Ireland for historical reasons – it might not suit Rhineland residents who wrongly imagine an eternally rain-sodden landscape and who are used to winning the spoils of unity for their benefit in their locality, but they have benefitted enough from transnational European institutions.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Andrew Lally
      Thanks for the interesting fact about the 1st ever copyright law – brilliant!

  10. avatar
    Jude De Froissard

    No…each country is different. .even old countries like Switzerland have in each canton their own laws …europe should take many examples and lessons from this successful country..

  11. avatar
    Anna Terzi

    There are countries that copyright is not registrable but artistic works are protected ipso facto upon publication.. what will happen in such instances?

  12. avatar
    Ingemar Grahn

    noin the future will the states have no choice than to put it at un level cuse och the digital development

  13. avatar
    Louis Raes

    off course, it’s the only way to a more fair system. Rulingleaks learned us that…

  14. avatar

    No. Copyright in the end is just less for people (regular folks) and more for lawyers and corporations. What the heck, is People’s Europe or Corporate Europe that we want ?

  15. avatar
    Ingemar Grahn

    An other problems is that shall we allow companies like Facebook to exploit users on their copyright without compensation other than free services? It should also be taken to consideration in an new Eu weid copyright.

  16. avatar

    Copyright is for losers – I fully agree.
    Did you know that certain parts of Africa do not get life saving medicine because “copyright” makes it EXPENSIVE to bring them there? ( they are not allowed to produce it ).
    This system protects businesses and hurts the populace.
    Away with copyright I say. Great inventions were not made “for money” as the corporate tools might tell you but by CREATIVE minds driven by PASSION or by GOVERNMENT funded projects ( even the Internet is a “govt research” ).

    • avatar
      Chris Smith

      Get your facts straight. It’s not copyright that prevents medicines from reaching Africa – it’s Patents. An entirely different thing

  17. avatar
    Aleksandros Ho Megas

    Copyright and so-called “intellectual property” is wrong.
    The only way one can really protect ideas is not sharing them, everything else is violence.

  18. avatar
    Aleksandros Ho Megas

    Copyright and so-called “intellectual property” is wrong.
    The only way one can really protect ideas is not sharing them, everything else is violence.

  19. avatar

    All copyright, IP and trademarks should have expiry dates, I think that 5-10 years is more than enough. We need to get rid of ridiculous rules that favor large corporations and multinationals where copyright, IP or trademarks seem to last forever.

    TTIP too will favor large corporations and work to the detriment of, say, cheap medicine for ‘third-world’ countries. TTIP is of course greatly favored by these large corporations since they’ll be able to get more money from sueing ‘third-world’ countries for ‘violating’ these.

    • avatar
      Ingemar Grahn

      It’s in Sweden 70 years after the author of an book dies that the copyright expire. In på it should be 5 years I think cuse of the rapid development. Pag programme is not mutch worth after that.

  20. avatar

    Since ‘Debating Europe’ is conspicuously avoiding the more important issues of our time (greedy rich bankers vs Greece, American imperialism and ISIS vs Iraq and Syria etc..):

    The EU/IMF/ECB really do think that rich bankers are more important than ordinary people, see here the latest proposal:

    “Don’t pay salaries for a few months to fund bankers bonuses”… well how magnanimous of them, this socalled ‘not-the-Trojka’.

    THAT is the state of things. This is what happens if you let unelected undemocratic politicians and appointed ‘leaders’ of ‘international’ institutions overrule democratic governments and parliaments. Since 2008 we have seen non-stop policies that benefit the rich, the multinational corporations and the banks. And as always, austerity for the common man (or woman).

    Ukraine is another example, right now the IMF is looting the place on behalf of foreign (non-Ukrainian) multinationals, and at the same time insisting on ‘austerity for the people’ aka big increases in gas and electricity prices, slashed spending on education, healthcare ea, slashed pensions etc… Ukraine: one pro-Russian set of oligarchs out, the next set of pro-western corporate oligarchs in. The oligarchs and foreign multinationals benefit, the rest of the people, not so much.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      It appears that DE has made a strategy change this year re forum questions – they all seem to be of the risible form ‘Should XXX be YYY by the EU’.

      One wonders if Microsoft or indeed Skype are aware of this politically biased EU-funded media stream?


  21. avatar
    Paul Odtaa

    American corporations are trying to copyright seeds that were grown in India for thousands of years so they could charge the farmers. American corporations are trying to copyright sections of the dna code, exploiting research done by academics, for free, around the world.

    There needs to be a European copyright court to define what can, and cannot be copyright. It should take into account what is reasonable and what is exploitative.

  22. avatar
    Christiane Vermoortel

    Copyriight is one of those many values (if not all) that are counted in money instead of in respect. But in our actual society it is impossible to live without money. So as long as money rules the world we are unfortunately condemned to copyright.

  23. avatar
    Mohamed Ezz

    People thought that Copyright protects there ideas .. however copyrights protects the expression of the idea .. in US a digital millinium act exists and by virtue of that law megaupload was closed . In EU there are many domestic regulations imposing fines on dowloaders of ip prorected items .. the matter is different in our social life because we upload our photos and other copyrighted works in public manner giving a consent to third paties to share comment and download such work then if you are suffuring change your privacy setting to set restrictions over third parties rights otherwise do not share your items

  24. avatar
    Mohamed Ezz

    law set the principles of protection but the protection itself is a different topic and it depends on how the author manage protection of his works .. if interested visit you can find information

  25. avatar
    Arjan van Eersel

    Copyright simply protects the rights of authors. I think that the system is functioning well.

    Users of social media waive intellectual property rights on whatever they write or publish there.

    On software, books, music, etc CAN be claimed copyright by the owner, which makes sense because these people and companies work and invest in being able to work. These people also deserve to make a living and copyright laws help to do so.

    The remarks that copyright is about big companies and only about money is simply nonsense. Making these products also costs money, how will these companies and people involved ever make a living if they can’t protect their work? I consider piracy respect-less.

    Even open source software is usually copyrighted, it just has more free conditions regarding use and re-use of the code.

    If there wouldn’t be any copyright law, then similar principles would be used in, for example, the license/user agreement of software; unauthorized copying would be a breach of contract.

    Regarding physical books it’s already harder, having clients sign a contract and terms of use to be a book would be kind of weird, so these copyright laws tackle that problem.

    Hence I don’t see a reason why I should be against copyright principles.

  26. avatar
    Ed Cocks

    Copyright is for commercial creations not things you shout from the roof-tops as personal expressions.

  27. avatar
    Music management student

    If accessing content is the new business model (which is) then indeed we need a reform and take a first step into hamonising the copyright law in the digital world. We have been treating it in the same way as we did in the analogue world and now things have become extremely complicated especially allocating the incomes from remuneration. As long as there is a lot of money coming in and there is no coherent system for allocating and distributing the money the cash goes to the big players of the industry. Then Europe must think how important the little people are in a creative society. We have to make it simpler and give all future creators the economic incentive to create. Reda has made a very good point, especially on reducing the years of copyright. If the copyright runs from the death of the last ‘surviving major contributor’ (if the band wrote it together, it’s the last living member who dies) plus 75 years. A total of 135 years. And if we assume that person got married and had 3 kids it becomes an absolute madness. How do you find those people? If the publisher cannot find your children and grandchildren after 6 years, they keep it for themselves. Then they can use it to their interest of course. Again, we have to make it simpler because this complex system undermines the whole idea of copyright and “fairness”. We need to give the new people a reason to create whilst retaining a sustainable and viable music economy. I hope this is going to work out.

  28. avatar
    Ryan Gibson

    Well I think so much is being copied by online sources and I think that copyright is vital, and there should be even stronger penalties, same as movie and music industry such as big fines and jail time like piracy.

  29. avatar
    Aleksandros Ho Megas

    So called Intellectual Property is violence!
    If one wants to protect his/her ideas then dont spread m. Stop using state force! Besides Intellectual Property concept violates basic right ones of ownership, since it limits my freedom of usage and enjoyment in product that I bought. If I bought a book, it is my business if I will copy it, gift it or destroy it!

  30. avatar
    Ryan Gibson

    On the contrary, knowledge has ownership such as books, music, videos and they take time, experience, and cost. If you oppose copy right you are the violent rapist stealing from the creator of the work. Aleksandros the violent is the one who steals the copy right materials, they steal
    Someone’s dignity and work, thief and intellectual rape for sure. It’s a complete violation and shame on you for thinking differently … Shame on you.

  31. avatar
    Bill Gibson

    Yep…as u know Ryan I have invested years and hundreds of thousands in my proven processes and models with my sales, marketing and business programs to have a few others change a few words, say its available in libraries any way and go sell their new system for the tune of 4 million dollars or 40 million Rand. The old adage if you use and add on to a small amount from many people than it is research…to take the majority from one or two sources then it is theft. Thats the difference. By the way when one of my clients notified me that they thought one ex employee of mine was using and selling my IP to them I did not go after him I just gave the original material to the bank to compare with his. They stopped paying him until he got a letter from me. He got upset, went to the top copyright attorneys in SA and his expert copyright friend told him to come and beg for forgiveness as all he did was rework most of my stuff. In other words it is theft if you doctor it a bit and start marketing it. If an individual or company uses my material to improve from buying my programs or from an article etc…thats fine…but to re-package and sell it that is a different ball game. It sounds like some people believe copyright means the right to copy. In my biz it is the little guy who is hungry for a short cut or a quick buck that will rip you off and justify it (sell him or herself on how he or she has the right)…also if you do go after him or her there is not usually any capability to pay up compared to the time, energy and money put into dealing with it. Big companies do not usually do it as they know they would have to pay the fiddler not only financially but reputation wise. Believe it or not in most cases the big companies follow the copyright laws much better than smaller guys or anti society or anti business people who think empowerment means entitlement…because I am alive I deserve it!

  32. avatar
    Tsvetan Borisov

    It is catch 22. If we ban VPNs, TOR and other tools for hiding identity – people from opressed countries will stop reporting and ideas will be more easily stolen over unsecure connections by competitors, if we admit we can decrypt them not so good citizens planning not good things will stop using them and it will be harder to trace them.

  33. avatar
    Ryan Gibson

    Well if they are reporting its their own “works” and that’s not an issue. They can use VPNs for that, but TORRENTS for example can be used for open source knowledge but for those who choose to copyright should be able to protect that copy right. Imagine if I had 100 percent right to your computer, your bank card, your bank account, because what you “make” is open to me. If what someone makes should be open to everyone in works, then let me have everything in your bank account, rather, I am entitled to it, etc. It’s the same thing!

  34. avatar
    Michalis Pillos

    Copyrighting is an essential element of motivating innovation… which is an essential element of improving human lives and progressing humanity!

    28/06/2018 Cory Doctorow, author, digital rights activist, and co-editor of the blog Boing Boing, has responded to this comment.

    28/06/2018 Maud Sacquet, Senior Manager of Public Policy at the Computer and Communications Industry Association, has responded to this comment.

  35. avatar
    Danilo Proietti

    …which is an essential element to make money for editors, labels, networks, etc, that steal from the authors. Nowadays to me copyright is 20% protect intellectual property and 80% business

  36. avatar
    Buj Alex

    i think it realy states that people that make things would rather turn to making them not selling them … the more you make the better you are, the more you sell !! selling books or other things, should be limited to the quality of first print … the rest is history … if you’re still selling a book for profit after 50 years, that is sad … and limits the number of people that discover you …

  37. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    But within a monetary and social Union has to be watering federalists

  38. avatar
    Anne Bergman-Tahon

    is there a single EU culture, uniform across the 28 member States? no and for the same reason, there should not be one regime. Governments support creation differently all over Europe, models of access are different and for good reasons.

    • avatar

      Indeed! That’s true!

  39. avatar

    The concept of harmonisation is quite tricky. It’s not possible to introduce just one copyright regime for 28 different countries in Europe, as we talk about Europe. For sure, this act demonstrates that globalization is a kind of contemporary trend. As long as there is no such need then there is no need to make everything exactly the same and adapt specific copyright regime for all European member states. Do you think that the country of Ireland has the same needs of information and relevant access with the country of Italy? Moreover, what’s the purpose of local governments? Why do we have elections as super-national governments want to rule in a way that weakens local governments. To sum up, I disagree with the proposal for one copyright regime for whole Europe. I suppose that the framework of European directives can play an important role in the context of appropriate amendments needed for current copyright regimes in the European countries.

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