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Dutch Government Proposes 21st Century Copyright Vision

Teeven van Veiligheid, the Dutch Secretary of State for Justice has recently published a letter outlining the Governments vision on copyright. The letter is only available in Dutch but Wouter Schallier, Executive Director of LIBER, the Association of European Research Libraries, has kindly offered to summarise the text in English for the C4C members.

Click here for the original Dutch letter with inline comments in English by Wouter Schallier.

Here are some of the key policy recommendations of the copyright letter:

  • There is a need for improved control over collective societies, which have to be more transparent about their distribution policies. One suggestion is to create a digital service for inquiries and complaints about the distribution of royalties.
  • Authors and artists need to benefit more from the exploitation of their Works. If a rights holder does not fully exploit the potential of the online market, authors and artists should be able to intervene.
  • There needs to be more and better protected copyrighted material on the Internet. The following actions are suggested to encourage the development of more legal services:
    • Downloading of copyrighted material from unauthorized sources should become illegal.
    • Rights holders should be able to request that websites offering illegal content hosted outside the Netherlands be blocked.
  • New regulations should generally only apply to professional websites. There is no need to criminalize average consumers who occasionally upload or download a file.
  • Levies on private copies and digital storage devices are undesirable. Instead, rights holders should include a compensation for private copies in the price of the product.
  • Barriers for online copyright licences should be reduced. Also, limitations on copyright licenses should not be continued.
  • Licenses for online services should be valid in all 27 EU member states.
  • Fair use exceptions for the re-use of existing works should be incorporated in national law as they allow consumers to produce, publish and exchange non-commercial, user-created content.
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