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European Commission copyright consultation/Other issues

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A single EU Copyright Title European Commission copyright consultation
Other issues
Table of contents

The European Commission is considering modernizing European copyright laws. To get feedback and input on this modernization, the Commission has published a series of questions, and is looking to interested stakeholders (like our community) to answer them. This is a vital opportunity to participate in a dialogue that could have a major impact on copyright laws and the future of the free knowledge movement. More background is available from the European Commission.

We would like to prepare a draft response here, as a collaborative experiment. If we wish to respond, it will need to be finalized before the end of January 2014 (see the proposed timeline).

Welcome to the discussion! Please help by answering the questions below.

Other issues


The [preceding] questionnaire aims to provide a comprehensive consultation on the most important matters relating to the current EU legal framework for copyright. Should any important matters have been omitted, we would appreciate if you could bring them to our attention, so they can be properly addressed in the future.

Question 80


80) Are there any other important matters related to the EU legal framework for copyright? Please explain and indicate how such matters should be addressed.



[Open question]

  • Copyright has negative interactions with other legal restrictions imposed even on public domain works, which should be as easy to disseminate as possible for the sake of the public advancement. This is true in particular for the lack of freedom of panorama (broadly construed), the database rights protection and unreasonably restrictive legislations such as those posing non-copyright restrictions on the digital reproduction of cultural heritage. An egregious example is offered by Italy with the "Codice dei beni culturali", a law which forbids citizens from donating their time and skills to the dissemination and promotion of local cultural heritage, by making even the distribution of photos illegal absent a specific authorisation, a very costly process both for bureaucratic complexity and fees which makes it unfeasible and effectively forbids initiatives such as Wiki Loves Monuments, the biggest photo competition in history, from helping the state and society promote its culture.
  • Authors rights have two big legs: economic issues and non-economic issues. The economic exploitation of works is governed by copyright law. That is, copyright law is meant to allow creators to get money for doing works and live as professionals.
Now, authors right aren't only an economic issue. Creative works are essential not just because it lets some people live out of it. Creative works deal with deep social aspects: thoughts, feelings, knowledge. Author rights should let authors be recognized for their works, but also should help people to enjoy life. Law should never restrict the right to access to culture, technology and knowledge. --NaBUru38 (talk) 15:25, 11 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  • ...

Proposed Foundation answer


Based on the comments above and the Free Knowledge Group EU suggestions, I propose the following answer for the official Foundation response: —LVilla (WMF) (talk) 01:28, 7 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Throughout this document we have discussed a number of important matters that should be addressed that were not directly raised by the Commission. These include:
  • A thorough analysis and rebalancing of the system, so that it benefits not only the small class of corporate creators, but also the many people who create and share for non-financial reasons, the people who build on the works of others, and the citizens whose rights have been curtailed in the name of improved efficiency.
  • Clarity that the faithful reproduction of a public domain work does not create a new, copyrightable work.
  • Prohibition or strict limitations on rules that, like the Italian "Codice dei beni culturali", use non-copyright means to restrict the ability of citizens to create new cultural works.
  • Improving access to and use of orphan works.
  • Exemption of government works from copyright.
  • Repeal of the ill-considered database right.
  • Avoiding joining international agreements that take materials out of the public domain and restore them to copyright, or otherwise hinder future reform efforts.