To students of the School of Information Studies at University of Ottawa:
The European Commission (EC) has opened public on the copyright reform for the European Union, legislation that will impact copyright policy in Canada. Now, before February 5, is the time to have your voice heard on this import issue for information professionals.
As busy students, an easy way to have your say is to visit the website copywrongs.eu developed by group of workshop participants at a recent Chaos Communication Congress. All you have to do is visit the website, select a copyright issue that is of interest to you, and fill out the comment box. A standard response to the question “I feel that copyright duration is excessively long” has been developed for your use.
Standard Response to “I feel that copyright duration excessively long”
As a student of the School of Information Studies at the University of Ottawa, I am concerned that the length of copyright duration in the EU is excessively long.
If copyright is extended or remains as life of the artist plus 70 years, EU citizens, as well as their culture and scholarship will be placed at a strategic disadvantage. Taking into consideration that few copyrighted works are commercially available, and that orphan works present a challenge to digitization, long copyright terms inhibit access to literature, music, art and scholarship. As such, copyright obstructs learning, innovation and economic growth.
To achieve its intended outcome, copyright is meant to benefit all of society, and not solely to protect the interests of corporate bodies. During this consultation, the public has been asked to consider whether the current copyright terms are appropriate in a digital age. I would argue that today’s copyright protection policies are too restrictive. Decentralized production characterizes the knowledge economy. Content consumers are also content producers and not everyone is motivated to created because of copyright. Evidence of this can be found all over the Internet. For example, many are choosing to customize copyright for their work through creative commons licenses. Restrictive copyright laws hinder innovation, knowledge production and sharing.
Copyright is intended to ensure that incentives and rewards are in place for content producers. Since profit margins for most works are only high for a short period after publication, there would be no more incentive to artists were copyright periods to be extended.
The Berne convention states that copyright should extend 50 years after the life of an artist. Countries should not attempt a race to the bottom by extending copyright terms in favour of large corporations, who are the only beneficiaries to such policy.
As the European Commission considers the duration of copyright protection, evidenced-based decisions factoring in broad social and economic growth should be priorities over the economic interests of a few. Decisions made for the European Union on copyright reform set precedents in turn putting pressure other countries to conform. Balanced copyright legislation is important. If copyright is skewed, negative impacts ensue society: access to information and cultural production is reduced, innovation and growth in the economy is obstructed. Let us ensure that the EU is not racing to the bottom.