EU MEPs accept lonely Pirate's copyright report – and water it down

Full vote in July, H-dot’s draft law on table by September

The European Parliament’s legal committee on Tuesday approved a non-legislative and non-binding report by Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda by a majority of 23-2 - albeit with several substantial amendments.

Reda's report examines the EU’s current copyright law, the so-called Infosec Directive from 2001.

A new draft directive is expected to be proposed by the EU's Digi Commissioner Gunther "H-dot" Oettinger by September.

“We have managed the impossible in getting a clear vote for copyright reform despite extremely controversial discussions," said Reda. "Our report goes beyond what was presented by the Commission in the Digital Single Market Strategy."

"Some of the most ambitious elements have been rejected, and it does not go as far as I would like, but overall I am satisfied,” she said.

MEPs submitted more than 500 amendments to the report, some of which removed the “ambitious elements” Reda mentioned, such as extending the copyright exemption for examples of parody or quotation to all media formats. This rule already exists in some countries but Reda wanted to make it mandatory for all countries. Her idea was rejected by 11 votes to 10.

DigitalEurope, a lobby group which represents the EU tech industry, was less upbeat about the amendments, arguing that “what we see from the vote in parliament is a clear lack of ambition ... Reda’s original proposal was ambitious."

"Unfortunately, many of her colleagues have been swayed by the rights holders community, who don’t want reform. The result is another copyright report destined to gather dust on a shelf,” said group director general John Higgins.

The report is destined for a vote before the EU parliament as a whole on 9 July.

An amendment by French MEP Jean-Marie Cavada, of the ALDE political grouping, which aimed to limit the "freedom of panorama" (a provision that permits taking images of buildings and art permanently located in a public place), was approved. The new text reads: “The commercial use of photographs, video footage or other images of works which are permanently located in physical public places should always be subject to prior authorisation from the authors or any proxy acting for them."

Reda argued that MEPs who voted for this text don’t seem to realise they are “asking for something to be forbidden that is already permitted in half the EU countries.”

However, Maltese MEP Therese Comodini Cachia of the right-leaning European People's Party grouping, who voted for the new text, said “the report reflects the balance that is required for end users to benefit from enhanced access to what is currently available as well as to new creative content.”

“The balance of rights reflected in the compromises will continue to foster investment in the creative industry, safeguard employment and encourage job creation, while at the same time give the industry an opportunity to embrace digital technologies," she added.

Elsewhere, the report calls for new copyright exceptions to include text and data mining for scientists as well as the creation of new fundamental rights of access to culture and education.

Belgium and France do not have a freedom of panorama in their national laws, so taking a photo of the European Parliament in Brussels or Strasbourg for commercial purposes is against the law.

This means that a huge number of images used by MEPs are, in fact, in breach of copyright. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Want to buy your own piece of the Pi? No 'urgency' says Upton of the listing rumours

    A British success story... what happens next?

    Industry talk is continuing to circulate regarding a possible listing for the UK makers of the diminutive Raspberry Pi computer.

    Over the weekend, UK newspaper The Telegraph reported that a spring listing could be in the offing, with a valuation of more than £370m slapped onto the computer maker.

    Pi boss, Eben Upton, described the article as "interesting" in an email to The Register today, before repeating that "we're always looking at ways to fund the future growth of the business, but the $45m we raised in September has taken some of the urgency out of that."

    Continue reading
  • JetBrains embraces remote development with new IDE for multiple programming languages

    Security, collaboration, flexible working: Fleet does it all, says project lead

    JetBrains has introduced remote development for its range of IDEs as well as previewing a new IDE called Fleet, which will form the basis for fresh tools covering all major programming languages.

    JetBrains has a core IDE used for the IntelliJ IDEA Java tool as well other IDEs such as Android Studio, the official programming environment for Google Android, PyCharm for Python, Rider for C#, and so on. The IDEs run on the Java virtual machine (JVM) and are coded using Java and Kotlin, the latter being primarily a JVM language but with options for compiling to JavaScript or native code.

    Fleet is "both an IDE and a lightweight code editor," said the company in its product announcement, suggesting perhaps that it is feeling some pressure from the success of Microsoft's Visual Studio Code, which is an extensible code editor. Initial language support is for Java, Kotlin, Go, Python, Rust, and JavaScript, though other languages such as C# will follow. Again like VS Code, Fleet can run on a local machine or on a remote server. The new IDE uses technology developed for IntelliJ such as its code-processing engine for features such as code completion and refactoring.

    Continue reading
  • Nextcloud and cloud chums fire off competition complaint to the EU over Microsoft bundling OneDrive with Windows

    No, it isn't the limited levels of storage that have irked European businesses

    EU software and cloud businesses have joined Nextcloud in filing a complaint with the European Commission regarding Microsoft's alleged anti-competitive behaviour over the bundling of its OS with online services.

    The issue is OneDrive and Microsoft's habit of packaging it (and other services such as Teams) with Windows software.

    Nextcloud sells on-premises collaboration platforms that it claims combine "the convenience and ease of use of consumer-grade solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive with the security, privacy and control business needs." Microsoft's cloud storage system, OneDrive, is conspicuous by its absence.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021