In an important step towards modernising the EU's copyright laws, the Legal Affairs committee of the European Parliament on Tuesday adopted a report on the Copyright Directive by MEP Julia Reda.
By adopting the report with 23 votes in favour and 2 against, the committee asks the European Commission to consider a number of important updates to copyright as it works towards a revision of the EU Copyright Directive.
"In a world built on information, copyright law is important in shaping the ways in which we live and work," says Karsten Gerloff, FSFE's president. "We hope that MEPs will further strengthen the rights of users as the report moves towards a plenary vote."
FSFE, which provided input to the MEPs on the Legal Affairs committe ahead of the vote, views the adopted report as largely positive. The committee generally supported the idea that copyright exceptions and limitations should apply equally both on- and offline. The MEPs also voted in favour of allowing authors to dedicate their works directly to the public domain.
The JURI committee adopted language stating that technological measures such as Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) should not stop users from enjoying copyright exceptions and limitations. However, the adopted report leaves out concrete measures to ensure that people can actually enjoy the full use of works that they have acquired.
On the negative side, the text adopted today is lacking in some important respects. It does not contain an explicit statement that hyperlinks do not require a copyright license, so that this essential building block of the web remains in danger.
Reda's proposal for an "open norm" akin to the "fair use" concept in the US was significantly weakened. The adopted wording on text and data mining is regrettably ambiguous. FSFE also regrets the deletion of language that made a clear distinction between physical and "intellectual property".
MEPs can still submit amendments to the report. The European Parliament is scheduled to hold a plenary vote on July 9.