Report about two copyright conferences
The annual ‘New Directions in Copyright’ conference was held 29 and 30 June 2004 at University of London, organised jointly by the Arts and Humanities Research Board and the Birckbeck School of Law. The focus was on legal issues pertaining to recent developments in copyright. The flat fee / compulsory licensing was under serious debate and also otherwise the user rights-angle was prominently present. Especially Professor David Vaver’s ‘User Rights vs. User Exceptions: Reconceptualising the Public Domain’ was a very strong presentation about the need to change the language used in copyright debates. Another very interesting presentation was given by Professor Peter Jaszi, who has been fighting for balanced copyright long before the current generation of copyright fighters. He showed how best practices can be used to shape fair use in his presentation ‘The Crisis in Fair Use and the Potential of a ‘Best Practices’ Approach’. Professor Lisa Maruca’s ‘Cultures of Copying, Cultures of Copyright: Academic Anxiety and the Plagiarism Panic’ was also fascinating and scary at the same time, because it demonstrated how companies like TurnItIn can misuse other persons’ copyrighted material to fight overly broadly against plagiarism cases.
Earlier in June, the Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues held its annual conference in Turin, Italy. The focus was (naturally) more economic, although there were also some quite legally-focused presentations. The hottest question was what kind of effects P2P-networks have on music sales. This time professor Stan Liebowitz was ready to claim that it was harming the industry, but some others did not agree. The only general consensus was that there really are no reliable numbers or statistics about P2P-usage. The most interesting keynote was given by professor Paul David, who presented three scenarios in which copyright as it was known before will die.
AHRB ‘New directions in copyright’ (29-30.06.2004)
SERCI annual conference (8-9.06.2004)
(Contribution by Ville Oksanen, EDRI-member EFFI)