[P2P-F] Fwd: [opennetcoalition] Failure of "Licenses for Europe" Underlines the Need for Reform of the EU Copyright Framework

Michel Bauwens michel at p2pfoundation.net
Wed Nov 13 22:02:33 CET 2013

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: La Quadrature du Net <jz at laquadrature.net>
Date: Wed, Nov 13, 2013 at 1:22 PM
Subject: [opennetcoalition] Failure of "Licenses for Europe" Underlines the
Need for Reform of the EU Copyright Framework
To: opennetcoalition at laquadrature.net


JOINT PRESS RELEASE – For immediate release

Permanent link:

Failure of "Licenses for Europe" Underlines the Need for Reform of the EU
Copyright Framework

*** Brussels, 13 November 2013 — Ahead of the last meeting of the “Licences
for Europe” [1] initiative, five European citizen organisations – Centrum
Cyfrowe [2], EDRI [3], Kennisland [4], Modern Poland Foundation [5], and La
Quadrature du Net – release the following joint press release reaffirming
the urgent need of an European Copyright reform. ***

** Failure of "Licenses for Europe" underlines the need for reform of the
EU copyright framework **

Today, the Licenses for Europe experiment comes to an end. This initiative,
launched almost a year ago was ostensibly an attempt to 'explore the
potential and limits of innovative licensing and technological solutions in
making EU copyright law and practice fit for the digital age'.

At the end of this process we are compelled to conclude that 10 months of
meetings have largely failed to identify any solutions which can be backed
by all, or even the majority of, stakeholders involved. It is evident that
there is very little consensus among stakeholders about the appropriate
approach to making EU copyright law and practice fit for the digital age.
It is unclear as to how licensing solutions can provide a significant
improvement to a copyright system that has been widely recognised as being
inefficient and out of date.

As a result, and as many stakeholders have been arguing for years, it is
long past time that the European Commission initiated a full review of the
existing copyright framework to identify areas where legislative changes
are needed. We call on the Commission to stop delaying this urgent step, to
proceed now, and to waste no additional time in further discussion on
whether or not legislative action is necessary.

In real policy making terms this means that the copyright directive must be
analysed by reopening the list of possible exceptions, and reviewing each
individual exception to determine if and how they need to be adapted to the
changed environment. As all of the exceptions are, by definition, compliant
with the 3-step-test, they should be made mandatory, in order to avoid an
unnecessary restriction on access to culture and freedom of communication.

* 'User Generated Content' *

Our organisations participated in Working Group 2 of the stakeholder
dialogue on 'User-generated Content and Licensing for Small-scale Users of
Protected Material'. From the start this working group has struggled to
identify, let alone agree, a (set of) problem(s) that need to be addressed:

Civil society groups and representatives of users have stressed the need to
have clearly established rights for European citizens that allow them to
create and share works that include protected works from third parties.

The representatives of rights holders have insisted that this is not
necessary. Instead they have advocated an approach where rights holders
license their works to platform operators, which would in turn allow users
of these platforms to share such works via these platforms.

Given the focus of the Licenses for Europe process on 'innovative licensing
and technological solutions' and the explicit refusal of the Commission to
allow any discussion of other approaches the stakeholder dialogue proved
itself to be incapable of even attempting to reconcile these different

It has however clearly shown that the general approach of facilitating the
agreement of licensing arrangements between rights holders and platform
operators does not produce outcomes that address the needs of the public
and other non-industry stakeholders such as institutions in the public
sector. In the current technological environment, copyright affects
ordinary citizens and many professionals, such as teachers and cultural
heritage professionals, that are not represented by the two industries that
Commission’s approach suggests are the only legitimate stakeholders. There
are user rights at stake in this discussion that are extremely important in
fields other than popular culture, in particular in education, but also for
political expression and democratic participation.

Looking back, it is difficult to view the proceedings of Working Group 2 as
anything other than a fundamentally undemocratic attempt to subjugate the
ability of citizens to express themselves through digital media to the
outcome of licensing negotiations between rights holders and platform
operators. Such a process does not create rights, it would simply authorise
certain forms of expression on the terms of rights holders.

* Looking forward *

This means that the discussion needs to shift to the question of how we can
best guarantee the right of European citizens to make transformative use of
protected materials, in order to express themselves via digital media.
Canada has recently introduced an exception for such uses into its
copyright law. Member states such as the Netherlands are currently
exploring the possibility of broadening an existing exception to achieve
the same effect.

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