EU Parliament Rejects Bad Proposals On Copyright Over Outdoor Photography And Links

In the past few weeks, we’ve discussed two particularly ridiculous proposals put forth by members of the European Parliament in the report that it is sending to the EU Commission for copyright reform across Europe. First was the proposal to remove freedom of panorama, which would allow countries to block the photography of certain buildings and structures, claiming that those photographs violated the rights of the architects. The second was a plan to support a link tax that would tax content aggregators like Google News for linking to content elsewhere.

Thankfully, both of these proposals were voted down, despite earlier indications that they might have enough support in Parliament. Either way, the real issue now is what proposal the EU Commission comes out with for copyright reform across the EU. Julia Reda who prepared the original report for the EU Parliament hopes that the EU Commission recognizes the importance of the public’s rights in its eventual plan (though she continues to refer to them as "limitations" rather than the public’s rights, as is more appropriate):

This decision embodies a central message of the report: Commissioner Oettinger cannot limit his upcoming reform proposals to improving conditions for cross-border trade. Reforming exceptions to copyright protection must be at the center of his initiative, since they fulfil such an essential, multi-facetted role: They provide creatives with the space to create new works, users with legal certainty for everyday activities, and access to culture and knowledge to everyone.

It calls for a reduction of geoblocking measures, particularly to allow cultural minorities to access content in their language online. The report asks for consideration of new exceptions for libraries and scientists when dealing with digital works, for example allowing e-lending. Creators should be strengthend in their negotiations with publishers, it states.

We’ll see what actually comes out of the Commission, but Oettinger’s comments in the past have not been encouraging. And, of course, other aspects of what was added to the report are just as troubling. Such as this:

Jean-Marie Cavada, a French member of the centrist ALDE group, amended the report to claim that “virtually all the value generated by creative works is transferred to… digital intermediaries, which refuse to pay authors or negotiate extremely low levels of remuneration.”

Needless to say, there’s going to be a lot of fighting over the eventual proposal.

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via Techdirt.


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