Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Do you copy that? - BEUC's new copyright strategy

In particular in the digital environment, consumers are more and more often facing questions concerning copyright. As the European consumer organisation BEUC puts it in a letter to European Commission President Barroso:

'From the consumers’ point of view, the current copyright framework is far from balanced. In many Member States, copyright law makes the everyday activities of consumers, such as backing up and copying legally bought music, films and e-books in order to play on a different device, illegal. Under current laws, parodies and pastiches which have gained new cultural relevance in the digital ‘mash up’ culture are illegal.'

According to BEUC, the current legal framework regarding consumers' use of copyright protected material is outdated, since it does not sufficiently take into account consumer expectations and the public interest. For that reason, BEUC has now published a Copyright Strategy, which lists specific action points for specific problems on the intersection of consumer law and copyright law. 

As regards consumer rights, BEUC's main suggestions are to:
• Recognise consumers as a key stakeholder in debates and discussions surrounding copyright law on equal footing as creators and copyright users;
• Assess the effectiveness of the current copyright law from the consumers’ perspective;
• Strike a balance by recognising a set of clear, comprehensive and absolute consumers’ rights;
• Revise the Copyright Directive 2001/29 with the aim of establishing a flexible, future-proof and consumer-friendly copyright law;
• Replace the current system of copyright exceptions and limitations with a system of user’s rights.

1 comment:

  1. The Commission, indeed, has announced today that a "structured stakeholder dialogue will be launched at the start of 2013" with regard to: cross-border portability of content, user-generated content, data- and text-mining, private copy levies, access to audiovisual works and cultural heritage.
    However, it doesn't look like legislative change is coming any soon: the idea is to make a decision in 2014 "whether to table legislative reform proposals".
    More at