EU Copyright Directive review:Bernt Hugenholtz to lead
Brussels 21 March 2006
I am at the TACD conference on the politics and ideology of intellectual property http://www.tacd.org/docs/?id=286
There have been a number of lively and thought provoking sessions. See below for a blog on each of the sessions. There will also be an official report on the TACD website after the event.
He gave a helpful overview of the Commissions approach to access to knowledge. A number of interesting points came out of this. First in relation to the Commission's review of the Copyright Directive, due this year. Originally it was to be a review only of implementation, but now it will be an evaluation review of the Directive i.e an evaluation of whether or not has it achieved its policy objectives. This is an important change. The most recent evaluation report from DG Internal Market, on the Database Directive, was the first evaluation of an IP right based on evidence rather than rhetoric. It found that granting increased rights to database owners had not achieved its policy aims of increasing EU competitiveness against the US, in fact the reverse.
LCN also discussed two other Commission initiatives. First the proposal to review the Term Directive , in the face of industry pressure to extend the term of copyright protection. DG Internal Market will provide an impact assessment at the end of the year.
DG Int Market is 'advising' DG InfoSoc. What are they saying? In short, only move ahead with the the copyright right holders agreement, and that there are no real problems with the law.
-On line access- How can EU citizens be given access to their culture on line? DG Int Mart recommends that if the material is subject to copyright, this material should only be used with the consent of copyright owners. No apparent mention of the use of exceptions in the law.
-What content should be digitized?- DG Mart encourages the focus to be on public domain materials.
- How can material be preserved and stored?. One of the issues is the use of TPMs. DG Mrkt considers that current legislation allows for sufficient flexibility to allow institutions to preserve such artifacts. Most library groups are concerned that it may not.
The significance of the copyright issues is shown by the fact that first meeting of the High Level group on digital libraries set up by DG Info Commissioner Reding, due to take place next week, is entirely devoted to copyright issues
The final comments where on the proposed Broadcasting and Web casting Treaty being discussed at WIPO. LCN caveatted his comments, that he is not the person responsible for this issue within DG Int Mrkt. He did confirm however that the Commission has carried out an assessment of the proposal ( though this has not been made public)which has been discussed with Member States . It is a very controversial issue. The EU's original position was to be against web casting, but they are under strong pressure from WIPO to reach agreement on this Treaty. The key block for the EU is the need to try and find an agreement that would be acceptable to the US. For the US web casting is a deal breaker for the Treaty.
Blog on the TACD conference:
Details on Professor Bernt HugenholtzPo
DG Internal Market page on the Database Directive evaluation.
DG Information Society page on the Digital Libraries Project:
Cptech page on the Braodcasting and web casting Treaty: