Fight with Cudgels

Open letter to the Commission: Focus on reforming copyright instead of curtailing internet freedoms

In the ongoing reform of copyright, the European Commission has presented a conservative approach . There are some alarming ideas being raised, such as ancillary copyright and broadening the scope of internet intermediaries’ liability. If these concepts are translated into policy, it would make copyright even more complicated to understand and the internet a less free place. The reform discussions so far look neither progressive nor adjusted to users’ needs. This worries Communia and other organisations that serve the public interest.

COMMUNIA is one of the signatories of an open letter on copyright reform sent today to the European Commision. Various civil society organizations and representatives of consumers, businesses, creators, distributors, broadcasters, and public institutions voice their support for a more ambitious reform that is fit for the digital environment and that upholds and strengthens fundamental principles such as the limitation of intermediaries’ liability, rights of citizens to freedom of communication, and access to knowledge.

The letter underlines the notion that online platforms such as search engines and aggregators should not be required to monitor content submitted to their platforms. Even more importantly, they should not be held responsible for blocking links to websites that are accused of hosting illegal content or providing access to content made available illegally. From the letter:

We ask you now to deliver an ambitious reform that is fit for purpose in the digital environment and that upholds and strengthens fundamental principles such as the limitation of intermediaries’ liability, rights of citizens to freedom of communication and access to knowledge.

What does “ambitious copyright reform” mean to COMMUNIA? We advocate for policies that strengthen and expand the public domain and increase access to and re-use of culture and knowledge. We advocate for using Creative Commons licences, enhancing and harmonizing copyright legislation, securing users’ rights in education and culture, and introducing new exceptions to copyright, such as for text and data mining. The Commission needs to hear the voices of organisations and individuals supporting the public interest. The Commission should give copyright the modernisation it deserves by enabling innovation and the sharing of culture—not by adding new layers of protection and complexity to already complex system.

Etching of a printer's press by Abraham Bosse.
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