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In Lisbon from 9-11 May people will come together from around the world to participate in the Creative Commons Global Summit. The gathering is a chance for for CC network members, digital rights activists, open content creators, and commons advocates to meet together, share information, and collaborate on projects.
Communia’s bread and butter over the last several years has been advocating for a progressive copyright reform in Europe that will protect users rights and improve the legal situation for both creators and institutions that want to share in the digital age.
After 30 months of working on the reform package, at the end of March the European Parliament voted in favor of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Last week the EU council approved it as well, sealing the deal. Soon the directive will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. From the date of publication, the Member States of the EU will have two years to implement the provisions contained in the directive into their national laws.
As civil society organisations who’ve been working on the copyright directive re-group to adjust for the opportunities and requirements of the transposition phase at the Member State level, the Creative Commons Summit can provide a timely and useful venue to discuss how CC members and advocates in Europe could work together to ensure that the national implementations do the least harm to user rights and maximise the potential benefits for the commons. There are several sessions that will explore this and related topics around supporting productive copyright reforms.
Here’s just a quick preview of some of the sessions we’re interested in, contributing to, or helping lead. Click through for more information, and if you’ll be in Lisbon please join us at these events.Copyright reform related sessions
Thursday, May 9, 9:00am – 10:55am
Despite compelling evidence on the overwhelming evidence supporting fair and flexible copyright exceptions, fair use or its equivalent is politically toxic to many governments. What can we learn from recent failures/obstacles? What do we need to do better?
Thursday, May 9, 12:30pm – 1:25pm
The first part of the session will be an overview of recent policy proposals around the world that seek to mandate online intermediaries to filter content for copyright infringement. The second will be a hands-on look at the filtering systems currently deployed by major web platforms. In understanding the limitations of these tools, we can improve the debate around their use, particularly as lawmakers consider proposals to require web platforms to filter.
Thursday, May 9, 12:30pm – 1:25pm
Copyright law is central to three activities for CC advocates: (1) explaining the function of the licenses themselves and (2) advocating for laws and policies that support the creation of openly licensed materials, and (3) arguing for copyright flexibilities and copyright law reform. However, copyright education and policy advocacy can seem technical and separate from many users and creators core interests. This workshop brings together CC members who have worked to build coalitions around copyright or open policy advocacy topics and discuss successes and failures in public copyright education.
Thursday, May 9, 2:00pm – 2:55pm
With the EU copyright reform, many of the thriving businesses that have emerged in Europe over the past 20 years might be negatively affected and many may not even survive. It is now crucial to keep the discussion active and bring these business together so they understand the power they still have to (help) revert these recent political decisions and continue to promote a more open and sustainable business culture, more aligned with the technological progress and social challenges we are facing today (namely, in terms of labor).
Friday, May 10, 1:30pm – 2:25pm
Panel members will include current participants in the World Intellectual Property Organization Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights. We will discuss the current plans for work of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights – including regional meetings in Asia, Africa and Latin America — and how chapters can get involved.
Saturday, May 11, 10:00am – 11:55am
The opening lecture (“5 Years of EU Copyright Reform – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”) will trace the copyright reform process back from its origins in 2014 until its conclusion earlier this year and evaluate the impact of the various measures adopted. It will evaluate where we have made progress, were we have suffered defeats and why we have ended up where we have ended up. This session draws on the experiences of COMMUNIA’s five year long involvement in the copyright reform process. In the second part representatives from organisations promoting access to knowledge that have been closely engaged in the European copyright reform over the past years will discuss ways to positively influence the national implementations of the directive. This workshop will provide an opportunity for anyone interested in working on the implementation on the national levels to join this effort and to discuss strategy and the opportunities offered by the implementation on the national level.
Saturday, May 11, 2:30pm – 4:25pm
At previous summits we’ve worked on sharing information about copyright reform opportunities, wrote the rationale for the platform, and updated our goals and objectives with broad input from the community. This year we’d like to focus on bringing people together to dig into the development of collaborative projects in service of the platform goals and objectives.
Other sessions of interest!
Saturday, May 11, 4:30pm – 5:25pm
Tired of apocalyptic scenarios and Black Mirror episodes? Then join us to work backwards from imagining better futures, in which internet is for the people. Let’s kick things off with stating the futures we want and then we will plan ways of getting there. In order to have time for in-depth discussions we will brainstorm, speculate and sketch ideas in small groups. There will be several opportunities to share back and discuss with the whole group.
Saturday, May 11, 2:30pm – 3:55pm
The roundtable will discuss the possibility of developing a framework for digital policies that is based around such concepts as the commons, decentralisation, self-determination and public provision of goods. As a starting point, we will take the experience of our project “Reframe Digital Europe”, in which we have designed such a framework for digital policymaking in Europe. We believe that an alternative, high-level frame is needed to move us away from the market orthodoxy that dominates much of policy debates – not just in Europe, but all over the world.
Saturday, May 11, 4:30pm – 5:25pm
In July 2018, Wikimedia movement launched 9 working groups that have been tasked with developing a strategy for the next 12 years. Advocacy is probably one of the topics that go the most beyond the movement itself and that touch on achieving change benefitting literally everyone. But is is possible to have a strategy that encompasses contexts that are open to citizen voice and those that are not? Can the variety of political and non-political methods form a cohesive tactics? Are we ready to charge free knowledge with the potential to change the world?
The post A preview: Creative Commons Summit and copyright reform appeared first on International Communia Association.
Earlier this week, after almost exactly 30 months of legislative wrangling) the EU member states approved the final compromise of the Copyright in the Digital Single Market directive. This is the same text that was approved by the European Parliament at the end of March. This means that the Directive will become law as soon as it is published in the Official Journal of the European Union. Judged against our own ideas about a modern EU copyright framework that facilitates access to cultural and information, strengthens user rights and reduces unnecessary copyright infringement the outcome of EU copyright reform process is a big disappointment. The directive substantially expands the scope of copyright and instead of harmonising copyright rules across the EU member states the directive contains measures that will further fragment and complicate the EU copyright framework. Instead of strengthening public intrest exceptions to copyright the directive relies on voluntary licensing by rightholders, giving them the ability to block users acces.
As a result the final directive does not live up to the “Digital Single Market”label that it carries in its title. The adopted text does very little to harmonise an already complex set of rules among the Member States. Instead the directive ads additional rules to the system that have been designed to further the (perceived) interests for specific classes of rightholders (most notably the music industry and press publishers). Once the directive has been implemented the EU copyright system will likely be more complex (and thus more difficult and costly to navigate for users and European businesses) that it already was.
In this regard the provisions of Article 17 remain the most problematic ones in the entire directive. The article is a legislative monstrosity that will most likely achieve the opposite of what it was intended to achieve. Instead of establishing clear rules that require commercial content sharing platforms to adequately remunerate the creators of the works that they distribute, it will impose substantial regulatory burdens and cause substantial legal uncertainties for the years to come. The most likely benefactors of this outcome will be the large rightholders and the dominant platforms. While these intermediaries in the middle of creative value chains will have the means to navigate the uncertainties and conclude complex licensing arrangements, users and independent creators at the edges of these value chains will suffer the consequences: They will have less choice of distribution platforms and they will have less freedom of creative expression.Implementation can make a difference
With the directive being adopted the fight for a better EU copyright enters into a new phase. The EU member states have 2 years to implement the rules established by the directive into their national copyright laws. While such implementations will have to include all the problematic aspects of the directive, there is some room for meaningful improvements and the ability to mitigate some of worst aspects of the directive.
While the directive largely failed at harmonising the EU copyright rules so that users have the same rights in all EU member states (the most prominent example of this is the freedom of panorama that exists in some member states while it is absent or limited in others) member states can still contribute to a more harmonised user rights by implementing as many as the optional exception from the 2001 InfoSoc directive as possible. While the DSM directive contains only a handful of mandatory exceptions, Article 25 makes it clear that “Member States may adopt or maintain in force broader provisions, compatible with the exceptions and limitations provided for in [InfoSoc directive]”. Expanding user rights by maximising the scope of key exceptions will be one of our priorities during the implementation period.
In addition we will keep a close eye on national implementation of the rules laid down in Article 17. In this regard paragraph 10 of the article is particularly interesting as it requires the Europeana Commission in cooperation with Members States organise stakeholder dialogues aimed at providing “guidance on the application of the Article, in particular on regarding the cooperation referred to in paragraph 4”.
While this language is rather vague and non biding, these stakeholder dialogues (if carried out in earnest with input from users and civil society) may provide a last line of defence against the worst excesses of article 17, such as widespread use of automated upload filters. In a statement issued on the occasion of this weeks final vote in the council the German government notes:
Under Article 17(10), the European Commission is required to conduct a dialogue with all interest groups concerned in order to develop guidelines for the application of Article 17. The provision explicitly calls for a balance to be maintained between fundamental rights and the possibility of using protected content on upload platforms within the framework of legal authorisations. The German Federal Government therefore assumes that this dialogue is based on a spirit of guaranteeing appropriate remuneration for creatives, preventing ‘upload filters’ wherever possible, ensuring freedom of expression and safeguarding user rights. The German Federal Government assumes that uniform implementation throughout the Union will be agreed on in this dialogue, because fragmentary implementation with 27 national variants would not be compatible with the principles of a European Digital Single Market. On the basis of this declaration, the German Federal Government will participate in this dialogue.
In the light of the fact that the German government voted for the directive in spite of massive protests from it’s own citizens, this conviction needs to be taken with a big grain of salt, but that should not keep us from measuring the implementation steps taken by the Commission and all Member States against this standard.