back to article One European copyright law-to-rule-them-all? EU launches review

The European Commission is seeking industry views on whether to completely harmonise copyright laws across the EU. The Commission has launched a consultation in an effort to gather views on how to modernise the existing EU copyright framework (36-page/223KB PDF). Respondents are being asked for views on matters ranging from …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now that's not going to present a policing problem, is it?

    ""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 right holder?" the Commission has asked."

  2. Christoph Silver badge

    "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 right holder?"

    That's barking mad.

    Everything not specifically put into the public domain or where the copyright has expired is automatically copyright the author.

    Such a law would require explicit permission for every cross-site link on the web. And that permission would have to be retained and able to be retrieved in case of dispute.

    Search engines would require permission from every site they index.

    The only way I can see for it to be viable is some mechanism to include the permissions in a robots.txt file or similar. And then what happens when that file is changed - how often does everyone have to scan to check that their links are still legal?

    Meanwhile the rest of the world gets on with running the Web, linking to whatever they like, and laughing at the EU.

    1. Suricou Raven

      That's not how the law works.

      1. Make a trivial action illegal, usually with severe penalties for breaking it.

      2. Trust in the police or civil courts to use their judgement and only enforce it against the deserving.

      3. When the rampant abuse of the legal process inevitably starts, deny this was your intention and claim naivety.

    2. veti Silver badge

      That's how "consultation" works

      Lobbyists throw as much into the pot as they can, no matter how barking mad.

      You'll note El Reg - which is in itself firmly in the tank for Big Copyright - doesn't mention the next question, directly below that one, which is:

      Should the viewing of a web-page where this implies the temporary reproduction of a work or other subject matter protected under copyright on the screen and in the cache memory of the user’s computer, either in general or under specific circumstances, be subject to the authorisation of the rightholder?

      A definitive, full-throated "No way!" to that one would amount to a significant loosening of the law as it's currently applied in many member states. It might even pave the way for a ruling to the effect that you don't "make a copy" of a program when you load it from disc into your computer's memory for execution, which would seriously weaken the legal basis of those EULAs we all love to hate.

  3. paulc


    in EU speak always means the strictest laws from each country get mashed into one bad law for everybody, which the French and others usually ignore unless it's a chance to stop our products from competing with theirs...

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: Harmonisation...

      EU or US speak. The EU likes to harmonise a lot of things - measurement systems, mains power voltages, fire extinguisher color codes, emergency service numbers, things like that. But given the political influence of the copyright-driven industries, it's hard to believe there wouldn't be intensive lobbying in the direction of 'harmonising to the strictest.'

  4. Guillermo Lo Coco

    kill the problem, remove the copyright and embrace the opensource.

    1. Steve the Cynic

      "remove the copyright and embrace the opensource."

      Take one FAIL point.

      If you remove copyright as a legal concept, you also remove the ability to place restrictions on the use of the copyrighted software (because it isn't copyrighted anymore, duh), and you end up throwing out the GPL (and other F/OSS licences) as well, so all that GPL software becomes public domain and I can incorporate it into a closed-source product without having to open my code up.

      The key point, often forgotten or at least overlooked, is that all open-source software, whether GPL, MPL, ApacheL, BSDL or whatever, is just as copyrighted as Windows is... The only difference, in the end, is that the F/OSS licences place <== this list of restrictions on the copying of the software and the availability of source code, and closed-source licences place ==> that list of restrictions (including that the source code is not available except perhaps at huge cost). They can only do this because the software is still subject to copyright.

      Caveat lector: I have a mild and semi-reasoned dislike of the GPL, especially v3. I'm not going to explain why here, because (a) it isn't relevant and (b) it is only semi-reasoned, and I don't care to discuss the unreasonable/irrational part.

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