Today Copyright 4 Creativity (C4C), a coalition of 35 organisations from the NGO, library and technology sectors (including a number of COMMUNIA members) is launching a copyright manifesto. The copyright manifesto is intended as a contribution to the ongoing review of the European Union’s copyright rules. With the manifesto, Copyright 4 Creativity wants to stress the importance of a copyright system that can ‘effectively promote innovation, access and creativity’.
The manifesto starts by outlining what is wrong with the current EU copyright framework and how this is negatively affecting users, businesses, innovators and – as a result – the competitiveness of Europe’s economy. In doing so, the manifesto touches on many concerns shared by COMMUNIA, including the fact that the current term of copyright protection is much too long and undermines access to knowledge and culture.
Based on the analysis of the status quo the manifesto calls for a substantial reform of the copyright rules in the EU and argues that such a reform needs to address 4 main issues. According to C4C the EU needs to:
- Simplify and modernise copyright rules by updating the existing exceptions and limitations, by clarifying that exceptions and limitations apply regardless of the type of work and regardless of the technical nature of the allowed uses, by adding new exceptions for user generated content, text and data mining, and by adding an open norm that allows the exceptions to be interpreted to ‘similar uses’ outside of the cases explicitly listed and cater for future evolutions.
- Harmonise copyright rules across the EU by making the list of limitations and exceptions mandatory in all Member States and ending the development of new rights at the national level by Member States, extending the scope of copyright even further while creating even more fragmentation.
- Shorten the duration of copyright protection by shortening the copyright term, including the terms of protection for neighbouring rights and databases and by introducing a registration mechanism that ensures a faster transfer to the public domain of works whose right owners have abandoned them.
- Stop the current dysfunctions in the implementation and enforcement of the rules by focusing on adopting rules for the digital era and ending the continual strengthening of enforcement mechanisms. This can be done by undertaking a thorough analysis of the economics underlying the creation and dissemination of culture, by upholding the limitation of intermediary liability and by ensuring that the rule of law must apply to any enforcement mechanism.
You can read the full manifesto here. Copyright 4 Creativity is not the only organisation that has been calling for a substantial overhaul of the existing copyright rules. Late last month the European Copyright Society (which is made up of leading European copyright scholars and academics) argued for for the introduction of Union-wide copyright title and for the simultaneous abolishment of national copyright titles.