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Copyright consultation is closed - long live the reform!

UPDATE, 11117 contributions!!! :


The deadline for sending in responses to the copyright consultation is passed. Now comes the road towards reform!

The Pirate Party was founded in 2006 as a reaction to the Swedish implementation of the Infosoc-directive. It criminalized downloading in Sweden, link-sharing in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, and made it unlawful to circumvent digital rights management in all EU countries. In Sweden it also killed small copy-shops, in Germany newspapers can't publish photos of art on the internet to accompany news stories and in the UK you can now only view webpages if you have an appropriate license agreement with the website proprietor.

At a time when copyright needed more flexibility, more permissions and less centralization, the Infosoc-directive accomplished exactly the opposite. To have the European Commission open up for the possibility that there could be problems arising from that strategy after more than 10 years of ignoring the problem was quite grand.

Together with Julia Reda from Piratenpartei we had model response guides up at this site starting December 12 or so. With the help of my fantastic staff at the Parliament and pirates all over Europe we eventually succeeded in making the guides available in 14 EU official languages and Russian. Over the winter holidays, CopyWrongs.EU came into being, and since mid-January the ever-evolving response guide YouCan.FixCopyright.EU was also available. Since the beginning of February, the Czech Republic has been rewarded with beautiful copyright consultation bulletin boards spread out over the country. We have reason to believe that the model response guides and easy-to-use tools for European citizens to voice their concerns with copyright in their own words have assisted more than 10'000 EU citizens to make themselves heard.

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who sat down, replied to the consultation and helped the European Commission be aware that something isn't right!

It should be pointed out that a consultation is a beginning of a reform process, and not an end in itself. We've taken the first step towards a copyright reform in Europe, but several hurdles remain before we can enjoy cultural freedom.

Indicatively, we should be looking out for:

  • Publication of the responses on the European Commission website. They should eventually be available here.
  • Publication of the European Commission white paper. Originally foreseen for April 2014, I have heard that the large number of responses may cause a couple of months delay.
  • Release of a new Infosoc-directive proposal. Impossible to say exactly when - except it will definitely be after the white paper has been released for comments.

Things to look out for outside of the European Commission:

  • The member states governments and the European Parliament may be requested to issue statements on a white paper or a green paper. Be prepared to exercise local and democratic influence over non-Commission EU institutions!

Also, make the European Commission aware in the European elections that copyright legislation, being a primary internet regulation and shaper of the information society, is something that matters. It is a question of democratic legitimacy for the EU whether the Commission is able to act on the consultation in a responsible and quick fashion.

Now that copyright reform level one is completed, all pirates running for the EU elections in 2014 are looking forward to continue to level two in autumn 2014. Help us get there, and thanks again for all your help! The future is ours!


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