back to article Last Pirate in Brussels: Put ME in charge of yer IP treasure chest. Yarr!

With more individuals than ever posting their words and pictures to social media and sites like Flickr, you may think it's an odd time to weaken the copyright controls and protections we have over our work. Yet Europe has got itself into a unique pickle over copyright – and it was advised this week to slash such protections as …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is not the entitled century

    Why should copyright laws be reduced just because people are using social media? There is no logic in that argument. No one should be allowed to use other people's art without compensating them in advance and receiving written permission to use it.

    1. h3

      Re: This is not the entitled century

      Some groups of creators shouldn't get special privileges which is what currently happens.

      The original idea behind copyright was valid. Same with patents.

      Current system is a shambles.

  2. I don't have a handle

    Head. Sphincter. Firmly.

    Reda, on rare occasion, talks sense (i.e influences on politics must be visible and traceable, mandatory lobby register and auxiliary income transparency of all members of parliament), but generally she appears to live with her head orbiting the event horizon of a dysfunctional sphincter - as is the case here.

    "The ability to understand the law is central to its acceptance and legitimacy", says Reda. Pfft. Head. Sphincter. Firmly, imo.

    Having read the eval report, it's comes across as being just another harmonisation and 'single europe' piece, but with the added bonus of a degree of 'freetardness'. But then what else would we expect from a freetard who believes that the Merkel’s and Cameron's should have no say in how the EU develops (or fails).

    It's fools like Reda that give lefties a bad name.

  3. Marcus Aurelius
    Boffin

    IP

    The main thing that really annoys the anti-copyright crowd is not that copyright exists. I can live with and respect the right that an artist/producer has the right to have the obtain money in exchange for his work and copies of it. I also have no problem in protecting user produced digital content.

    What really annoys is the duration of copyright, partly thanks to what seems to have been a copyright arms race between Europe and the US. If I invent a magic potion that cures all known ailments, I am able to obtain a patent on it for 20 years and after that anyone can copy it. Copyright duration should be roughly similar.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    centralising member states' laws from the top down

    "a single copyright law to rule them all"

    "Member states would lose much of their autonomy,"

    "It would take 30 or 40 years to negotiate and would look something like a Franco-German compromise."

    Which is precisely why the EU is, and always will be, a fiasco based on bodge, deception and ambiguity. Despite all the high-falutin' words about union, every member wants things to be done their way.

    Far better to just accept that, agree to disagree on most things, and get back to making business work instead of posturing about the benefits of unity.

  5. DavCrav Silver badge

    So there are lots of quotations from people who use language like STEAL (note scare caps), so let's go to her report and see what she actually said. Since I didn't see any actual quotations from the original document in the scare story, or any quotations from people who don't agree with studio executives and mega-corps, let's see whether we, on balance, agree or disagree with what she has said. She helpfully numbered her points.

    I recommend having a pdf of her report open at this point!

    5. is interesting, and could cause a few problems if all documents in the legal or political process are copyright free, but as a general idea it seems reasonable enough. The text of laws shouldn't be copyrighted so you cannot access them without permission, for example, and that should be written somewhere.

    6 and 7 are an attempt to stop Cliff Richard and Disney doing another mass land grab of public property, namely removing public works from the public domain. As they are public property, I think this is an entirely reasonable statement. I would say that copyright cannot be retroactively lengthened ever, in fact: if Cliff performed his songs expecting a certain length of copyright, why should he get all uppity now it's coming to an end?

    9. is another one that is difficult to disagree with the principle.

    Many more are to do with harmonization. Nobody in the EU superstate can really moan about this, since that's, you know, the entire point of the EU. Saying a single economic market is silly because it will take a while is a stupid argument: it will always take a while so will never be done. Doesn't mean we shouldn't try. Unless, that is, we don't believe in harmonization and ever closer union, and if we don't, then some fundamental parts of the EU Charter need to be changed.

    15, for example, if just a tweak to the law clearly stating that hyperlinking is not copyright theft.

    17. is one that exists in the US, but doesn't in France, and is mentioned in the article. It's not so clear how to strike a balance between the author's ownership and the public's right to mock. Remember all those send ups of Tory campaigns that would be illegal under a French interpretation against caricature?

    18. is clearly a response to the recent Ryanair case. Data mining on things you are legally allowed to view is a very difficult question. All data mining is is reading something very carefully with a computer. It's going to be difficult to try to walk a line between "reading" and "mining", especially as we move towards a future where AI exists. We should definitely be thinking about what to do about computer programs reading something: is automatic translation even legal, or is that data mining?

    19. is indefensible. A broad exemption for education is bad enough, but informal education is far too broad a term for this to be reasonable. There are educational exemptions currently, but strengthening of these (for example, universities can photocopy stuff, but some might not be able to store the same thing on a hard drive) to eliminate edge case loopholes is the right thing to do, not just say "education gets a free pass".

    20. is a response to publishers being fuckwits about digital books, with ideas like an expiry date on a digital book that makes it crumble to pieces after a certain number of reads. These companies need to sort themselves out, and realize that if they pull that sort of stunt, some pissed off legislator will react at some point.

    21. is for things like removing levies on a memory stick because someone somewhere steals music. It's rather like a tax on knives to go to a stabbing victim fund, that only pays out to the bosses of victims. Seriously, it was stupid to begin with, it's stupid now.

    23. is saying that you cannot block me doing stuff I'm legally allowed to do. It's another attempt to stop companies pulling free content into the chargeable domain through techological blocks. Not sure how that would work in practice.

    24. is the anti-DMCA. You should be legally allowed to break any code publishers put on stuff you own, unless the company tells you how it is secured, which is kind of against the point. There's somewhere that the right answer is on this scale, and the DMCA isn't it. It should not be illegal to ever break encryption if you are allowed to read the unencrypted file.

    There are some silly things in here, but some good things. For someone who is allegedly rabidly anti-copyright, these proposals are pretty tame. If I saw a laundry list of what Disney wanted for copyright, I think I'd be much more unhappy. Something like

    1. Life imprisonment for anyone who downloads anything we have decided they shouldn't.

    etc.

    1. I don't have a handle

      Re 15:

      "just a tweak to the law clearly stating that hyperlinking is not copyright theft."

      More copyright infringement than copyright theft - but I digress before I start.

      1) The CJEU have previously made clear that hyperlinks to content made freely available by a rights holder do not infringe (with a few potential exceptions however).

      2) The CJEU also made clear that restricted content, accessed by a hyperlink - e.g. where the hyperlink circumvents some restriction (paywall or whatever) - would, without the permission of the copyright holder, mean the publisher of the link is committing copyright infringement pursuant to Article 3(1) of the EU Copyright Directive.

      Whilst I may not like paywalls or similar, I see the above as perfectly reasonable. i.e. not copyright infringement where made freely available by a rights holder, but in other circumstances may well constitute infringement. Reda is a little vague here. Specifics will follow I am sure.

      Re 20:

      A mandatory exception for libraries works, but no doubt will seem a little blunt an instrument to some rights holders.

      It would seem perfectly reasonable to me that the client copy of a library sourced e-book self destruct on it's normal return date, but unreasonable for HarperCollins (or whoever) to self-destruct e-books just to force libraries to re-purchase.

      Re: 24

      "It should not be illegal to ever break encryption if you are allowed to read the unencrypted file."

      That would require careful clarification of intent. Unless of course we are to no longer consider intent?

      As to whether "nobody in the EU superstate can really moan about this [harmonisation], since that's, you know, the entire point of the EU", well, there are a few hundred million in the EU who had absolutely no say at all in how we arrived where we are. Personally, I believe they have every right to moan, should they so wish. But that's a debate for a different day.

      1. Matt Siddall

        2) The CJEU also made clear that restricted content, accessed by a hyperlink - e.g. where the hyperlink circumvents some restriction (paywall or whatever) - would, without the permission of the copyright holder, mean the publisher of the link is committing copyright infringement pursuant to Article 3(1) of the EU Copyright Directive.

        Whilst I may not like paywalls or similar, I see the above as perfectly reasonable. i.e. not copyright infringement where made freely available by a rights holder, but in other circumstances may well constitute infringement. Reda is a little vague here. Specifics will follow I am sure.

        If it's possible to circumvent your paywall or login system with a hyperlink, you're doing it wrong...

        1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

          That's Google News in trouble for providing links to the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal that bypass their paywalls, then.

          1. I don't have a handle

            "That's Google News in trouble for providing links to the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal that bypass their paywalls, then."

            Maybe not. National courts appear take contrasting views on exactly what constitutes communication to the public/communication to a new public. There is even polarised opinion between courts within the same country.

            It's also evident that the scope of such communication, and its elaboration in CJEU case law is somewhat confused and contradictory, and therefore still likely to be contested.

            Whatever I personally think about Reda's general politics, one thing is certain... If the CJEU is muddled with respect to it's own rulings, then there's still some way for certain aspects of this run. I don't see her proposals helping much here, unless they somehow lead to a properly scoped and unequivocal legal definition of 'communication to...'.

            But then, we are talking EU here, so it's never going to be clear, concise, efficient or timely.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      retroactive lengthening of copyright

      Yes. It's like you've paid money into a pension fund with the understanding that you will receive a pension when you reach 65, but suddenly Disney and Co decide that you should wait another 20 years ... in order to better protect their rights.

      The copyright extension from 50 to 70 years that took place in 1995 in many EU countries should be declared illegal, invalid and not applicable to works published before 1995.

  6. fearnothing

    "Pirate Party"

    I think the "i" and "e" are redundant.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. fearnothing

      Re: a few facts

      I'm not sure about the whole of your post, but one part that's wrong is that copyright is not a mechanism to get more material into the public domain in the long run. It's a mechanism to encourage artists to publish their work -at all- and thereby be economically productive. It's an economic stimulus, the cultural benefits are a bonus.

  8. Pure Logic

    Can't think straight?

    "Because almost anything is used in education, trying to establish a broad exception for education purposes is saying to authors that you will lose your ability to be rewarded."

    This is a logical fallacy. The proposition "almost anything is used in education" does not imply that "almost nothing is used outside of education". This Richard Mollett requires more education.

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