The copyright reform announced by both Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, and Günther Oettinger, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, is going to be one of the core priorities of the new Commission’s Digital Agenda in 2015.
Ansip has shown signs of interest to tackle copyright reform to “modernise copyright rules and getting rid of unjustified curbs on transfer and access to digital assets”. Oettinger has stated his intentions to find a balance between different interests in the copyright discussions, but his proposal to have an EU-wide “Google tax”, reported previously in the EDRi-gram, has lowered the initial positive expectations raised after his nomination as Commissioner. The proposal is not a tax, but a levy and has never been paid by Google. It is a not-Google, not-tax.
Now that Christmas is just around the corner, it remains to be seen if, as in 2013, there is a “Christmas list” waiting for us. In a report leaked last year from a Commission-run lobbyist meeting on “intellectual property in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)”, a European Commission negotiator allegedly said that he was “”happy” that the public [was] being kept in the dark about a secret corporate Christmas list of new “intellectual property” rules in new EU-US trade treaty”. According to the report that described the meeting, the Commission had received the “list” from corporate lobbyists and was willing to implement the requested measures. In the report, NGOs and consumer organisations, for example the TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD), were described as a threat the Commission should worry about.
It remains to be seen if the Digital Agenda of the new European Commission will be based on the principles described in the meeting. Will its approach to copyright reform focus again on failed repressive measures, out-of-date copyright rules and “re-education” of citizens in order to “teach” them their real-life experience of copyright chaos and market failures never happened? We will find out over the coming months.
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TTIP: Commission intends to place secret, corporate “Christmas list” of IPRs in trade treaty (19.12.2013)
#AskAnsip on Copyright
Why the EU needs a Digital Single Market: Speech by Vice-President Ansip in the European Parliament plenary session (26.11.2014): http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-14-2182_en.htm
Summary report of the responses to the copyright public consultation (30.07.2014): https://edri.org/summary-report-responses-copyright-consultation/
EDRi-gram: The “Google tax” that is not a Google tax (05.11.2014)