Wednesday 13 November 2013

Licences for Europe - the outcomes...

The Commission has just published a Press Release  and an accompanying Memo setting out the outcomes of the Licences for Europe dialogue.

At its heart are 10 pledges, including motherhood, apple pie and also that typo most loathed by copyright lawyers "licencing". The graphic that the Commission uses to summarise the pledge is as set out below.

Eleanora has already published one insider's perspective on the IPKat.  This outsider's view is that these are all things that were happening anyway or would likely have happened regardless of any interventions from Brussels, but no doubt the Commission feels it has made a meaningful contribution.

But this outsider is a natural cynic, so what do 1709's readers make of this - ground-breaking or damp-squib? Please comment.


Peter Lawton said...

Could we also have 11. world peace, 12. a cure for cancer 13. a way to stop sprouts smelling the way the do 14. an EEC that doesn't insist on spending eons and billions working on non translatable and therefore non enforceable legislation 15. agreement between copyright societies of a unified data format (or stop buggering about with CISAC's sterling work) to satisfy national egos 16 Actually consider listening to the concerns of the copyright owners... I could go up to 99 or so. We are going to finish up with a overly bureaucratic mechanism that none of the copyright holders will want to use and will reregister their titles outside the EEC to avoid using.

Anonymous said...

Waste of time and effort, and ridiculous spin from Commissioner Barnier and DG MARKT to avoid at all costs copyright reform in this Commission. Were it not ridiculous, it would be sad.
If you write about this, it's worth trying to check what meat there is to the bones: 1 group of audiovisual archives agreed to something vague which rightholders; the rest are unilateral statements of rightholders coming together. You will find neither consumers, nor civil society, nor major users sharing any of these principles. The most single sided view that the Commission has ever produced - licensing the smallest piece of content to the smallest possible user is the solution to copyright reform. Even the most maximalist copyright observers would pause to reflect on the message this sense.
Three Commissioners for that?

Richard Mollet, CEO, The Publishers Association said...

I don't agree with the view that the Licences for Europe process has been futile. What you have in some of these commitments - especially on ebook availabilty and text and data mining - are clearly stated positions from publishers as to how they are working to ensure that the problems identified with accessing works can be solved.

The reason these statements appear one-sided is simple: the "other side" left the room! Researchers and librarians simply refused to engage in any conversation about text and data mining, preferring instead to stand outside and just demand a copyright exception. All very well, but that position goes nowhere near addressing the issues around the need for technological standards and the questions of platform stability. (It also rather ignores the label on the tin of the "Licences for Europe" process. Clue in the title there.)

Most of the things which publishers have committed to were well underway before the L4E process began (like PLS clearing house, or CrossRef), but the exercise was nevertheless useful in (i) allowing us to demonstrate these innovations to the Commission and (ii) helping improve the co-ordindation between the different initiatives.

It is disappointing that the very people who will be potential partners and beneficiaries in these tools did not want to discuss them. And in those cases where taxpayer funded bodies, whose remit is to represent taxpayers to political audiences, decided to quit the field even stronger words could be used.

Simply demanding rights to do something is futile if you can't technically exercise that right. BUT, if you get the technical bit right, plus improved licensing processes, then the alleged "problems with copyright" tend to disappear. The commitments publishers have made will ensure that anybody seeking to text and data mine publisher content will be able to do so in a streamlined way; and which keeps pace with the fast-developing technololgy in this area.

As to the need for three commissioners, that really comes down the internal politics of the Commission. It is safe to say that there are different views of copyright and its importance to rightsholders depending on which floor of the Berlaymont one stands. Commissioner Barnier is very clear in his support and understanding of the importance of intellectual property to the European economy and should be commended for his engagement in the Licences for Europe process.