A Constructive Proposal For Copyright Reform

We want to keep copyright for commercial purposes, but we want to set all non-commercial copying and use free, schreiben Christian Engström (Member of the European Parlament) und Rick Falkvinge in ihrem Buch The Case for Copyright Reform. Das Buch ist frei zugänglich und unter eine CC0-Lizenz (Copyleft) veröffentlicht.

Auszug aus dem Buch:

The Pirate Party does not want to abolish copyright; we want to
reform it. We want to keep copyright for commercial purposes, but
we want to set all non-commercial copying and use free.
This reform is urgent, as the attempts to enforce today’s ban
on non-commercial sharing of culture between private citizens are
threatening fundamental rights, such as the right to private communication,
freedom of information, and even the right to due process.
File sharing is when two private individuals send ones and zeros
to each other. The only way to even try to limit file sharing, is to introduce
surveillance of everybody’s private communication. There
is no way to separate private messages from copyrighted material
without opening the messages and checking the contents. Gone is
the postal secret, the right to communicate in private with your
lawyer or your web-cam flirt, or your whistle-blower protection if
you want to give a sensitive story to a journalist.
We are not prepared to give up our fundamental rights to enforce
today’s copyright. The right to privacy is more important than
the right of big media companies to continue to make money in the
same way as before, because the latter right does not even exist.
Today’s copyright also prevents or restricts many new and exciting
cultural expressions. Sampled music on MySpace, remixes on
YouTube, or why not a Wikipedia filled with lots of pictures and
music in the articles? Copyright legislation says no.

The copyright laws must either be reformed or abolished outright.
The Pirate Party advocates the reform alternative.
We want to set all non-commercial copying and use free, and we
want to shorten the commercial protection time. But we want to
keep the commercial exclusivity in a way that allows most business
models that are viable today to continue to work.
Our proposal can be summarized in six points:
• Moral Rights Unchanged
We propose no changes at all to the moral right of the author to
be recognized as the author.
Nobody should be allowed to claim that they are ABBA, or have
written all of Paul McCartney’s songs, unless they actually are
or have. To the extent that this is a real world problem, it should
still be illegal to do so. ”Give credit where credit is due” is a
good maxim that everybody agrees with.
• Free Non-Commercial Sharing
Until twenty years ago, copyright hardly concerned ordinary
people. The rules about exclusivity of the production of copies
were aimed at commercial actors, who had the means to, for
example, print books or press records.
Private citizens who wanted to copy a poem and send to their
loved one, or copy a record to cassette and give it to a friend,
did not have to worry about being in breach of copyright. In
practice, anything you had the technical means to do as a normal
person, you could do without risk of any punishment.
But today, copyright has evolved to a position where it imposes
serious restrictions on what ordinary citizens can do in their
every-day lives. As technological progress has made it easier for
ordinary people to enjoy and share culture, copyright legislation
has moved in the opposite direction.
We want to restore copyright to its origins, and make absolutely
clear that it only regulates copying for commercial purposes. To
share copies, or otherwise spread or make use of use somebody
else’s copyrighted work, should never be prohibited if it is done
by private individuals without a profit motive. Peer-to-peer file
sharing is an example of such an activity that should be legal.
• 20 Years Of Commercial Monopoly
Much of today’s entertainment industry is built on the commercial
exclusivity of copyrighted works. This, we want to preserve.
But today’s protection times – life plus 70 years – are absurd. No
investor would even look at a business case where the time to
pay-back was that long.
We want to shorten the protection time to something that is reasonable
from both society’s and an investor’s point of view, and
propose 20 years from publication.
• Registration After 5 Years
Today, works that are still in copyright, but where it is impossible
or difficult to locate the rights owner, are a major problem. The
majority of these works have little or no commercial value, but
since they are still covered by copyright, they cannot be reused or
distributed because there is nobody to ask for permission.
Copyright protection should be given automatically like it is
today to newly published works, but rights owners who want
to continue to exercise their commercial exclusivity of a work
beyond the first 5 years after publication should be required to
register the right, in such a way that it can be found by a diligent
search of public rights databases. This will solve the orphan
works problem.
• Free Sampling
Today’s ever more restrictive copyright legislation and practice is
a major obstacle to musicians, film makers, and other artists who
want to create new works by reusing parts of existing works. We
want to change this by introducing clear exceptions and limitations
to allow remixes and parodies, as well as quotation rights
for sound and audiovisual material modeled after the quotation
rights that already exist for text.
• A Ban on DRM
DRM is an acronym for “Digital Rights Management”, or “Digital
Restrictions Management”. The term is used to denote a
number of different technologies that all aim to restrict consumers’
and citizens’ ability use and copy works, even when they
have a legal right to do so.
It must always be legal to circumvent DRM restrictions, and we
should consider introducing a ban in the consumer rights legislation
on DRM technologies that restrict legal uses of a work.
There is no point in having our parliaments introduce a balanced
and reasonable copyright legislation, if at the same time we allow
the big multinational corporations to write their own laws,
and enforce them through technical means.
This is, in essence, what the Swedish Pirate Party proposes, and
the position on copyright that the Greens/EFA group in the European
Parliament adopted in September 2011.
The proposal is completely in line with ideas that have been
voiced in the international debate, such as Lawrence Lessig’s Free
Culture or Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks. These ideas
have been thoroughly discussed for at least a decade, both by academics
and the Internet community.
”But how will the artists get paid, if file sharing is set free?” is
the question that always comes up in the discussion.


One Response to A Constructive Proposal For Copyright Reform

  1. Norris says:

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