Where next with EU copyright law?

May 2012

All areas

On the 1709 Eleonora Rosati gives a detailed report back from the Fordham IP Conference in the USA which this year focussed on the current state of affairs in the EU, and Eleonora starts with the views from the European Commission, Head of Unit – Copyright, DG Internal Market & Services Maria Martin-Prat first who recalled that in the 1990-2000s copyright harmonisation occurred whenever this was necessary to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market. This objective is and remains at the centre of attention when it comes to legislative initiatives. At the moment, said Martin-Prat, the priority of the Commission is to facilitate licensing across the EU. Interestingly enough, this implies facing the issue of territoriality. In any case, the establishment of EU-wide licensing system is not going to affect the territoriality of Member States’ copyright laws. This is because territorial rights do not necessarily imply territorial licensing, explained the Head of Unit. This said, the Commission’s efforts are directed at tackling five areas of copyright. These include improving the functioning of collective licensing and management and, possibly, setting out an extended collective licensing system; favouring mass digitisation of works and facilitating the use of out-of-commerce works, along with orphan works (emphasis added). Interesting times!

EC Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes seems to have expanded on this saying in a speech “Sometimes the problem is ancient, pre-digital rules that we need to cut back or make more flexible. Other times, openness actually flows from strengthening regulation. And sometimes it’s not about changing the rules at all, but about changing a mindset. People need to realise: they don’t have to look backwards to the constraints and habits of the past; they can look forward to the open opportunities of the future. But that can take time.” Speaking specifically of copyright, Ms Kroes confirmed what tMaria Martin-Prat had said, in particular, the complicating licensing systems for copyrighted material in Europe is deemed to prevent Europeans from enjoying great content and discourage business innovation, thus failing to serve the creative people in whose name they were establishedsa saying to the Wordwide Web Conference in Lyin “Indeed, whether you’re talking about audiovisual works or scientific information, current systems don’t respond nearly well enough to online realities. And these are both areas we are looking at, including through updating EU copyright rules. And through new recommendations on access to publicly funded scientific research results and data.”

http://the1709blog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/eu-copyright-at-fordham-report-part-i.html and http://the1709blog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/eu-copyright-at-fordham-report-part-ii.html


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