Monday 2 December 2013

Now Here’s A Thought?

European Parliament Might Decriminalize File-Sharing

A number of MEPs have recently decided to urge the European Commission to update its copyright policy. It seems that they are calling for a more flexible copyright system that could benefits EU citizens and businesses. The main part of the system is the decriminalization of file-sharing for personal use.

Actually, the European Copyright Directive started more than ten years ago, but at the time the worldwide web looked entirely different and this is why lawmakers understand that reforms are needed now to update the law.

Back in 2012, several MEPs sent a letter to the President of the European Commission and asked to take up this issue. However, thus far the Commission hasn’t followed this up, and the MEPs had to take more concrete action themselves. They decided to host an event in order to highlight the lack of progress and the need for change. The hostess and Pirate Party MEP explained that the current copyright law is very outdated, as it restricts users’ ability to enjoy and share culture. Indeed, the current directive has created a horrible licensing nightmare that nobody can penetrate. File-sharers, DJs, libraries, schools and others who make use of culture live in a constant state of uncertainty today.

So, decriminalization of file-sharing is one of the issues on the agenda, and it directly affects over hundred million European citizens. It is clear that it will also facilitate the development of new business models. But this is not all. The MEPs want to make information in general more readily available across countries, without complex copyright limitations and restrictions. They believe it will enable “better access to culture for libraries, online archives, research, visually impaired people and educators”.

The above mentioned event has been setup to encourage a more coordinated effort among MEPs of various parties to push for the copyright reform. Perhaps, there will be collaboration between like-minded members of Parliament who keep the interests of the European public at heart. As you know, starting 2013, the EU will have a new Parliament and a new Commission, so it’s a good idea to coordinate early how to ensure the better legal certainty. The MEPs point out that it is very important to “build common and shared platforms of cultural exchange and dialogue”. Hopefully, the number of the supporters of this idea will be more than three.

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