European Commission Embarks On Process To ‘Modernise’ Copyright

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The European Commission today (5 December) agreed on a process to ensure copyright is best suited for the digital age with the aim of possible legislative reform in 2014. Commissioners in a meeting decided to launch a stakeholder dialogue immediately, and to complete market studies, impact assessment and legal drafting work.

The process will be jointly led by Michel Barnier, Neelie Kroes and Androulla Vassiliou. Barnier is European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Kroes is European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, and Vassiliou is European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.

“The Commission will … work for a modern copyright framework that guarantees effective recognition and remuneration of rights holders in order to provide sustainable incentives for creativity, cultural diversity and innovation; opens up greater access and a wider choice of legal offers to end users; allows new business models to emerge; and contributes to combating illegal offers and piracy,” it said in a release.

“The Commission’s objective is to ensure that copyright stays fit for purpose in [the] new digital context,” it said. “Good progress has been made in implementing the May 2011 Intellectual Property Rights Strategy, but there remain a series of issues which need to be addressed to ensure an effective single market in this area.”

In December 2013, stock will be taken of the stakeholder dialogue. In parallel, four issues will be addressed: “mitigating the effects of territoriality in the Internal Market; agreeing appropriate levels of harmonisation, limitations and exceptions to copyright in the digital age; how best to reduce the fragmentation of the EU copyright market; and how to improve the legitimacy of enforcement in the context of wider copyright reform.”

More details are provided in the Commission press release, located here.

The International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO), a Brussels-based industry group for collective societies, also reported the outcome.

Libraries and digital civil liberties groups provided their views going into today’s meeting (IPW, EU Policy, 5 December 2012).

[Update:] The views of a coalition of electronic communications companies and internet service providers, including the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association, are here.

William New may be reached at wnew@ip-watch.ch.

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