Under ‘Harmonise Exceptions Across Europe’
Within the European Union, common trade policies mean that physical goods can be freely traded across borders. However businesses that license “knowledge goods” (i.e. digital material) are faced, as are libraries, by varying exceptions across the single market. This lack of harmony results in high transactional costs as separate end user licenses and agreements are often necessary to reflect local variations for each of the 27 member states. Implementation of contracts – each one different – also causes high transaction costs for libraries.If exceptions to copyright laws were harmonised at an EU level, with these exceptions forming a minimum above which member states can extend, individual contracts for each member state can be avoided, facilitating cross border trade and minimising negotiation related transaction costs.
Under ‘Act as a Spur to Innovation’
Web pages are the history of our time. Web pages will prove as useful to the historians of tomorrow, just as much as newspapers and books are a window on the past today. The average life of a website is anywhere between 44 and 75 days. However not all member states provide for clear exceptions to allow websites to be copied and preserved for future generations without the permission of each and every copyright holder and contributor to a website – an impossible task given the hundreds of millions of European websites.While some European countries have created specific exceptions in law for the harvesting, preservation and long-term access of websites by national libraries, others have not. In order to preserve our digital heritage for future scholars and creators, web harvesting and access must be permitted in all European countries.
Under ‘Support User Creativity and Wider Participation
Parody is a cornerstone of culture in many countries and can be an art form of considerable export value: British programmes and publications like Monty Python, The Office, Spitting Image, Drop the Dead Donkey, Bremner, Bird and Fortune, and Private Eye are favourites worldwide. Furthermore it is a crucial element of democracy and free expression, given its ability to deliver political critique in an engaging and popular way.
There is a need for clear exceptions for parody in copyright law throughout Europe to prevent tensions between common practice and the law from increasing and to ensure that parody can be distributed online throughout Europe. As Lloyd L Rich observes: A parody, because it is a method of criticism, must inevitably make use of another creative work. This inherently creates a conflict between the creator of the work that is being parodied (as no one likes to be criticized, made fun of or ridiculed) and the creator of the parody. It is also highly unlikely that a copyright owner will grant permission or a license to a parodist to use their copyright protected work in creating a parody.
Under ‘Ensure Accessibility by all Europeans’
Technical protection measures frustrate legitimate uses.
Anyone who enjoys digital music knows that many services use technical protection measures (often referred to as Digital Rights Management, or DRM) to limit the use of a song to one device, or in connection with a single service. This leads to a situation where users are more restricted in what they can do with the music they buy online than they are with CDs bought in a shop. This, in turn, provides a disincentive to pay for music in digital formats, and creates an incentive to take it from free services (which don’t have these restrictions), and retards the development of new products and services. Harmonising the law regarding these uses would also help to provide the legal certainty to underpin pan-European innovative services.The European exceptions regime should ensure that users can enjoy the music they own, on any of their music devices, at home, or on the move, providing that they respect the original licence terms.
Online Video Recording
Video recording – allowing viewers to watch broadcast content at a time of their choosing – has long been seen as an entitlement. As audiovisual services move to the Internet and end-users increasingly store and access their content online, they increasingly expect online storage of audiovisual material to give them the same choices in how and when they view broadcast content as they did in the pre-Internet era.The European exception regime should support the development of innovative service offerings based on the recording and storage of content for viewing by users at a time and place of their choosing.
Blind people and people with print disabilities as well as intermediaries need legal certainty to end the “book famine”
Today there is no harmonization of limitations and exceptions to copyright law for blind people or people with disabilities among European member states. Less than 5% of all books are accessible to those who are fully or partially blind. European copyright needs to ensure there is legal certainty for import and export of works in accessible formats across Europe to end the ‘Book Famine’. The European exception and limitation regime should expressly support the sharing of accessible formats of copyrighted works across borders, including on-line. The European Union should also support increasing and facilitating the availability and sharing of accessible works globally by supporting a WIPO treaty for sharing accessible format of copyrighted works currently under discussion.
Under ‘Support for Education and Research’
Increasingly huge amounts of data are being produced. For example CERN’s Large Hadron Collider produces over 15 million gigabytes of data a year – the equivalent of 2.4 million single layered DVDs. People can no longer read and make sense of such large amounts of information and are increasingly using computers to analyse it for them – a technique known as data and text mining. For example a medical researcher will write a computer programme to search thousands of online articles looking for a link between a certain protein and a certain cancer. Given the importance of this new research technique to society, in order to propel science and learning forward, it is crucial for the European exception regime to fully support the computational analysis of data and text for purposes such as education and research.
Under ‘Facilitate Preservation and Archiving’
In addition to giving the public access to their collections, the preservation of those collections is one of the key roles of a library, underpinning and guaranteeing our cultural output for future generations. Currently across the EU, not all countries support the digital preservation of all forms of outputs such as digitised books and newspapers or ebooks and websites. Ensuring that information and culture is preserved for the benefit of future generations is essential for science and learning so society can build on knowledge that has gone before.The European exceptions regime should fully support the digital preservation of library collections.
Under ‘Ensure Monopoly Rights are regulated in the Online Environment’
When libraries across Europe purchase digital material, the acquisition is governed by a contract, not by copyright law. Whereas copyright law exists to protect the public interest, contracts may often not as they are created to support a company’s business. Under copyright law certain exceptions exist to permit certain user to undertake certain tasks, e.g. copying for preservation, copying for the visually impaired, copying to support research, and news reporting exceptions supporting the freedom of the press. However contracts offered to libraries, many which are not negotiated, can prevent copying by the visually impaired or allow loans of books between libraries.In order to protect the public interest, the European copyright system should ensure that private contract law cannot undermine copyright law. This is already the case in Portugal and Belgium.
As is the case with other forms of entertainment, music relies upon copyright protection. Unfortunately, the weak bargaining position of musicians and musical performers means they must generally assign all their rights to third parties without being able to ensure that their creativity remains accessible to the public. The result is that a significant quantity of recorded music is only made available to the public for a small period of time as it suits a record company’s needs. The public are deprived of access, and the artist who made it cannot make a living from ‘warehoused’ recordings either.While this situation was understandable in the pre-Internet age – after all, there is only so much space on record shop shelves – it makes no sense in the Internet age. European copyright law should ensure that musicians and songwriters get their copyrights back if those who control them fail to ensure they remain available to the public on reasonable terms. This would allow the artists to make new arrangements so that the public can enjoy the works and the artist can benefit from their creativity.