Public consultation on the review of EU copyright rules: Protection of rights holders, whilst achieving greater accessibility for scholars and consumers

Public consultation on the review of EU copyright rules – Protection of Rights and achieving accessibility

Click to access consultation-document_en.pdf

Please find attached a short consultation document on the EU copyright legislation. This consultation closes very soon; however it is useful in its discussion of ‘licences for Europe’ including consumer rights to access services, and online services when visiting or travelling in other member states. There is also discussion of the issue of protection of digital content, and licensing of digital works, with the accompanying issue that often in the use of technology, and accessing copyright works on the internet, several copies of the works are made by way of linking and browsing when viewing web pages – which was a subject of a previous blog in the case of Public Relations Consultants Association Ltd Case number C-360/13 – currently on appeal before the Court of Justice of the European Union (as to whether such temporary copies are invariably covered by the mandatory exception for temporary acts of reproduction) provided for in Article 5(1) of the Directive 2001/29/EC.

The Directive 2001/29/EC enables member states to implement national legislation for exceptions to facilitate non-commercial teaching – in Article 5(3)(a). Such exceptions include use by a teacher of parts of entire works to illustrate or teach as part of a course, including newspaper articles. This part of the Directive also includes the right of member states to implement exceptions for non-commercial scientific research. This is also the subject of consultation at page 25 in the attached.

There is also reference to consultation on Article 5(3)(b) of the 2001/29 Directive for persons with disability. The general aim is to further increase the accessibility of copyright works, notably increasing the number of works in special formats and further facilitating distribution. The general aim follows initiatives from the European Trusted Intermediaries Network and the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works (by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities) concluded in Marrakesh in June 2013. The treaty creates a mandatory exception to copyright that allows organisations for the blind to produce, distribute and make available accessible format copies to visually impaired persons without the authorisation of the rights holders. The EU and member states are currently working on signature and ratification of this treaty.

Although the consultation process is soon to end, the attached contains numerous reminders that copyright and access to copyright works is still the subject of considerable activity in the EU to ensure protection of rights of creators of copyright works, whilst ensuring where possible the greatest accessibility to their enlightening content. This has been the perennial problem, one would guess, since Caxton and the printing press of Gutenberg.

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