This week is Copyright week, the perfect occasion to draw your attention to a consultation on Copyright the EC is conducting.
If you are unsatisfied with current copyright law in the EU – this is the perfect occasion to express your feelings and try to make it better. The European Commission is conducting a Public Consultation on the review of the EU copyright rules and is looking for your input – unfortunately within a very limited timeframe (all responses need to be in before February 5).
You might think this is something high profile and difficult for laypersons to grasp, but chances are that you have already come across some of the limitations current EU copyright laws impose upon fair (re)use. A very good overview about what’s at stake can be read here at Europeana.
By answering the 80 (!) questions of this questionnaire, you give the Commission a clear signal that copyright reform is a matter in which the public’s wishes need to be taken seriously.
If you are anything like me, I know you’ll be panicking right now. I know that questions like “Should the provision of a hyperlink leading to a work or other subject matter protected under copyright, either in general or under specific circumstances, be subject to the authorisation of the rightholder?” (question 11) will break the internet if this becomes law – and are therefore pretty easy to answer, “Should digital copies made by end users for private purposes in the context of a service that has been licensed by rightholders, and where the harm to the rightholder is minimal, be subject to private copying levies?”(question 65) seems to be a lot more time-consuming – and frankly, I don’t know if I have enough expertise to answer this question coherently.
Luckily, nice people on the interwebz are here to help you with filling out the questionnaire.
- LIBER offers a good overview of how to respond to the most important questions, also offering an automatic response wizard – guiding you step-by-step through the questionnaire
- EFF has developed another tool, based on your own practical experiences: http://copywrongs.eu/ : through a number of simple questions, you can pick your stance on practical copyright issues – and the responses are semi-automatically forwarded to the EC.
- If you insist on going the long way, you can download the full forms at the EC Consultation Page. It’s fun! You can even choose between pdf, word and odt!
Anyway, this is your chance to have your voice heard. As is always the matter in these consultations, power lies in the numbers – so the more responses the Commission receives, the more it will be obliged to take our concerns seriously. And if you use any of the above tools, it should only take you the time of a coffee break. A fair deal, I’d say.