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16th Dec 2018

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EP adopts 'watered down' copyright report

  • The directors and screenwriters association said parts of the report "are a mix of so many compromises as to be meaningless" (Photo: EUobserver)

MEPs Thursday (9 July) adopted a keenly-awaited text on what kind of proposals they would like to see in the European Commission’s forthcoming copyright reform - but it has been roundly criticised by all sides.

The non-binding report, adopted in Strasbourg with 445 in favour, 65 against and 32 abstentions, was subject to hundreds of amendments, with the resulting compromise failing to satisfy anyone.

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“There are two ways of to look at this copyright evaluation report. On the one hand it is a great step forward. … But at the same time, this report is also a tragically missed opportunity”, said German MEP Julia Reda, who authored the report.

Several of the Pirate MEP's original proposals were watered down in order to secure a majority.

Jean-Marie Cavada, a French Liberal MEP who in the legal affairs committee acted as Reda's main counterpart, said the adopted text was “very far from the original text” .

“My commitment in favour of artists and collective works has allowed the adoption of a balanced and satisfying report”, Cavada wrote on his website.

He called the report a “victory for artists”, although not all artists agreed.

The lobby group for European screenwriters and directors said the texts lacks concrete proposals.

Referring to specifically to some of the report's articles, the Society of Audiovisual Authors noted “at best they consist of welcome but weak generalities (paragraphs 24, 27) at worst they are a mix of so many compromises as to be meaningless (paragraph 25)”.

“Whilst parliament calls for the fair and appropriate remuneration of performers, some MEPs prevented the opportunity for parliament to make a concrete proposal on how this is to be achieved in the on-going EU copyright reform process”, said another lobby group, representing musicians, singers, actors and dancers.

An organisation speaking on behalf of technology companies, said “the European Parliament appears to favour ‘reform lite’”

“Digitaleurope hopes the European Commission will show greater ambition than we’ve seen from the European Parliament today regarding the much-needed reform of Europe’s copyright rules”, Digitaleurope said, adding that the report “has been watered down to such an extent that it no longer contains many reforms.”

The European consumer lobby group Beuc was much milder, welcoming the EP's position that geo-blocking should be addressed and that MEPs “are calling for clear rights for consumers in the area of copyrighted material”.

Much of the discussion in the week before the vote was about an amendment that called on the commission to restrict the ‘freedom of panorama’, the exception to copyright-protection on buildings and other works in the public space.

However, the amendment was rejected with a margin of 504 versus 44.

Gerard Batten, MEP for the eurosceptic British party Ukip, said: “Your selfies are safe for now.”

Commissioner Ansip, who is in charge of digital affairs and will give final approval to a copyright reform proposal, said the EP's text was a “good basis for reform plans later this year”.

Julia Reda's statement in EP plenary
Copyright: Anatomy of a controversial report

The EU parliament's text on copyright has sailed through committee, but only after a long fight by its author, including on prejudice against her political colours.

German Pirate MEP kicks off EU copyright debate

The European Parliament is gearing up for what is expected to be a tough fight on reforming the EU's fragmented copyright rules. A German Pirate MEP is leading the way.

Freedom to take photos divides MEPs

Freedom of panorama, which allows you to publish photos of copyrighted buildings, is "under threat", and Pirate MEP Reda is willing to sacrifice her report.

EU copyright reforms kicked into 2016

The European Commission appears to be postponing key reforms of the EU's fragmented copyright system, according to a leaked paper.

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