Christian Engström, Pirat

12 april 2011

A game plan against copyright extension

Filed under: Copyright Term Extension,English,informationspolitik — Christian Engström @ 13:06

We need to get a renewed referral of the copyright extension directive, so that the European Parliament can discuss it properly

We now have a game plan for how to try to stop the extension of the copyright term for neighbouring rights from 50 to 70 years. You can read about the background in yesterday’s blog post. What we want to achieve is to overturn a decision to extend the protection time that was taken by the European Parliament in April 2009, after heavy lobbying by the record companies.

This morning we lost the vote on the small technical correction in the 2009 directive in the legal affairs committee JURI in the European Parliament. This was expected, and does not matter.

The encouraging thing about this morning’s session in JURI was that there was quite a lively debate on the subject, which would otherwise have been expected to just get rubber stamped by the committee without anybody taking any particular interest. This was no doubt due to the fact that Slashdot readers and others have been sending mails to their Members of the European Parliament yesterday. Thank you, everybody who did!

But now to the game plan.

According to Rule 59 of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament, the parliament can reopen a dossier that is still in first reading if a new parliament has been elected since the first reading position was adopted. Since a new European Parliament was elected in June 2009, this is the case.

If 40 or more MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) ask for it, the proposal for a renewed referral will be put to the vote in plenary.

If we get a majority there, the President (speaker) of the Parliament shall ask the Commission to refer its proposal again to the parliament. This means that the dossier is open again, and we can have a full discussion about the subject matter.

This would be the sensible thing to do. The previous Parliament’s decision to extend the time for the neighbouring rights was ill considered, and has been heavily criticised by legal and economic scholars. There is no reason for the present Parliament to be bound by it.

We will now start the process of collecting at least 40 MEP signatures on the following text:

Request for
to Parliament

pursuant to Rule 59 of the Rules of Procedure

of  the proposal for a EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND COUNCIL DIRECTIVE amending Directive 2006/116/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the term of protection of copyright and related rights (COM(2008)0464 – C6-0281/2008 – 2008/0157(COD)).

If we can collect 40+ signatures, we should be able to get the item on the agenda for the parliamentary session in May. Then we will need citizens to email their MEPs to explain the issue and urge them to vote in the right way. But more about that when the time comes.

Now I’m off collecting signatures. 🙂


Andra som skriver (på svenska): Henrik Alexandersson, Opassande, Anders S Lindbäck,

Tags: , , ,

22 kommentarer

  1. What the hell is ”protection time”? What kind of ”protection” is something that forbids copying?

    We will write to the Czech MEPs 🙂

    Kommentar av Jakub Michalek — 12 april 2011 @ 13:38

  2. If anyone is interested in further arguments against copyright extension, the ”Gowers Review of Intellectual Property”, a UK-government commissioned review of IP laws conducted in 2005-2006 did a very thorough analysis of this issue. Following evidence from a variety of sources it concluded that copyright in sound recordings should not be extended. It presented all the arguments for extending it and demolished them one by one.

    The report can be found here: The important section is from paragraph 4.20 to 4.47 (around page 50 onwards).

    Kommentar av Duke — 12 april 2011 @ 16:16

  3. […] hoppas jag att ingen missat att det just nu pågår ett ivrigt signatursamlande i Bryssel. Läs gärna mer om det här. Upphovsrättsdiskussioner strandar alltid i tjabbel om skyddstid eller pengar. Jag vill prata om […]

    Pingback av Mysteriet med de frånvarande copyrightkrumelurerna | Anna Troberg — 12 april 2011 @ 20:42

  4. Dear Julie Girling, William (The Earl of) Dartmouth, Graham Watson and Trevor Colman,

    I am writing to you in the hope that you will consider signing up to the following proposal:

    Request for
    to Parliament

    pursuant to Rule 59 of the Rules of Procedure

    of the proposal for a EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND COUNCIL DIRECTIVE amending Directive 2006/116/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the term of protection of copyright and related rights (COM(2008)0464 – C6-0281/2008 – 2008/0157(COD)).

    Proposed by Christian Engström, Member of the European Parliament for Piratpartiet, Sweden.

    Whilst I recognise an artist’s right to gain suitable compensation for their work, copyright was only ever intended to provide protection for a ”reasonable period”; commercial entities, however, are constantly pushing to extend this beyond what could be deemed reasonable by any right thinking person. In fact, if they could do so, it seems they would like nothing more than to demand copyrights in perpetuity but without even giving up reasonable use rights in return.

    There are more than sufficient grounds to not grant the current extension that is being demanded, even more telling is a UK Government report detailing that any such extension would actually cost the public more than any gains to be made by the commercial entites. The Gowers review can be found here:

    Further discussions can be found here:

    And here:

    Please take the time to consider this situation and whether this extension proposal benefits the interests of the people you represent, or just those of the lobbyists, then sign Christian Engström’s proposal.

    Yours sincerely,

    Adam Gurney

    Kommentar av Adam Gurney — 13 april 2011 @ 12:02

  5. which swedish mps should we mail about this?

    Kommentar av manen — 13 april 2011 @ 13:26

  6. At this moment, we are four Swedish MEPs who have signed: Christian Engström (PP), Christofer Fjellner (M), Eva-Britt Svensson (V) and Carl Schlyter (MP). You can find the rest of the Swedish MEPs on this page

    If you want to email all the MEPs from a certain country or region, you can use this tool

    Kommentar av Christian Engström — 13 april 2011 @ 14:43

  7. […] är flitiga på upphovsrättsfronten. Christian Engström ger sig inte så lätt och har tagit fram en plan för hur vi ska kunna stoppa en förlängning av upphovsrätten på inspelad musik. Den är timad […]

    Pingback av Nyhetsbrev 2011-04-13 | Anna Troberg — 13 april 2011 @ 15:55

  8. Interesting timing :

    Berners-Lee: Web access is a ‘human right’

    Kommentar av Jeff Burdges — 13 april 2011 @ 16:42

  9. BoingBoing:

    Kommentar av Christian Engström — 13 april 2011 @ 18:21

  10. […] EU. Engström, an MEP from Sweden (who was elected as a challenger of the current copyright rules) is going to invoke Rule 59 of the European Parliament to get a “renewed referral”, so Parliament can again have its say on the proposal. From a power balance perspective it is a […]

    Pingback av EU copyright extention « Sköne Oke — 13 april 2011 @ 19:41

  11. Why copyright extension?

    While at the beginning it may have seem useful to grant creative people an limited exclusivity to the benefits generated through their works, so that they could dedicate themselves to creation (only) and make sure that those benefits generated at least enough income to pay fully for the cost of living during the whole period one was creating… much in the same way as it should be obvious that no one, whether creative or not, can afford to have a job that takes all available time of day but in one months time only pays as much as to cover the living costs of a fortnight, it is quite obvious nowadays that it is not only, and not even mostly, the creator of a work who needs to extract income from the benefits of its creation.

    A whole industry has been set up in the pursuit of benefits. An industry to which the creator is just some special sort ow wage earner. The creator gets a part of the benefits, and he better be really good creating things to which a big price tag can be attached if he wants to earn more than the standard industry chain worker. The industry is perpetually chasing bestsellers and does not really care after the small fish that rather more than not fails to generate the appropriate return on investment necessary to contribute to the maintenance of mammoth production facilities.

    As an industry, they have to invest heavily in big machinery to be able to access economies of scale in production. In this sense, the content industry is not better off than any regular industry. Long term loans are taken on the assumption that the sales of the goods to be produced are going to enable them to regularly pay back both capital and due interests.

    In times of crisis and economical recession like the one we are facing since at least 2008, the market for non-essential goods shrinks considerably. If this phenomenon strikes unexpectedly, industries that produce non-essential goods can find themselves selling far less units than what their production capacity permits, and even generating that much less income that the fixed costs of the maintenance of their infrastructure is not recouped totally and they have to operate at a loss.

    While this natural phenomenon, shrinking markets, can explain much of the troubles in modern industries based on economies of scale, and may account for lower book, film, etc. sales… it is not so much because of a possible lack of income for contemporary creators that the content industries is trying with all possible tricks to defend and prioritarily EXTEND copyright terms. No author really needs to see his income guaranteed long after his grave has been dug 😉 .

    The real trouble the industry is facing is that at the same time as the potential clients base is diminishing due to shrinking family and individual budgets more than in any other industry because they produce non-essential goods ( I can assure you holiday resorts are not doing better though 😉 ), … technical evolution is conspiring against them.

    Because before, as long as they were needed as an industry to physically produce the goods, nobody really could avoid paying them for a dead-tree book, or a vinyl recording of music, or a ferro-magnetic recording of sound and/or video. Either you paid for the material thing they provided, or you had no other way of access. Audio and video tape recorders changed that slightly, but you had to accept a clear loss of quality so they kept their incentives to sell mass-manufactured copies.

    But with networked access everywhere and digitalisation… they have lost all their assets at once. What hurts them is not that much the few that can put their conscience to sleep and dishonestly ignore logical and ethical coherence, copying for the sake of copying, be it with or without the intent to make a profit. What really hurts is the fact that enormous amounts of digital copies of creations that have come into the public domain are freely available for download as soon as one caritative soul takes it upon him to digitize them.

    It is the competition of all these free available works that scares them to death.

    That is why as an industry they focus not that much on correct author revenue… they focus on making content discrimination (whether the content in a data stream is copyright protected or not) a pain in the ass for the carrier industries so that their only practical possibility is to SHUT DOWN DOWNLOADING completely (thus also making torrents of GNU-Linux distros unavailable -MicroSoft might appreciate- AND the possibility to download works non encumbered by copyright restrictions).

    Because they NEED people to starve into boredom if they are to pay for content to get rid of it. Those on a restricted or small, already insufficient budget to pay for essential things… are not going to pay a dime for costly content if free alternatives are available.

    To have right to these contents after their protected terms expire is the part of the copyright agreements that benefit society that made the deal look as an acceptable bargain to start with at the first place.

    The only problem is that the technical evolution has changed the balance point of that agreement and gotten it to the point that they can no longer sell enough copies on physical media they can charge a good profit margin on (not only in %, but mostly in absolute value) to bill what is needed to pay for the fixed cost of their mastodont material production facilities… their business implodes before they can reach any proper returns on their long-term investments.

    Because most people wont even look anymore for the limited supply of physical works available within physical reach at affordable supplementary costs inherent to material goods… when enormous amounts of quality works are available at no cost and only a click of effort.

    That is why the industry only cares about EXTENDING THE TERM OF PROTECTION, so that the least possible interesting works become available for free digitalisation.

    That is why the industry wants TO BAN DOWNLOADING ANY KIND OF WORKS. And in this last effort they get the help of GOVERNMENTS that see in the TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS needed to make this possible a perfect excuse to force control of the internet in their advantage with the theoretical protection of the rights of creators as a very useful TROJAN HORSE that serves both groups to disguise their true motives.

    If we want ordinary people to react appropiately… we have to spread the word ABOUT THESE TRUE MOTIVES.

    Kommentar av NingúnOtro — 13 april 2011 @ 20:05

  12. Wow, that sure was a shitload of text.. Let’s just put it this way…

    Copyright ”industries” of small scale creations are going down. I don’t know if it will happen like the bang of an international economical crisis tomorrow or slow decline over the next 5-15 years. But seriously, ALL CONTENT IS FREE wheter you like that or not. There is simply no value in keeping ”content” as hostages in companies anymore.

    It’s the new work related to create NEW ”content” that may or may not have any value, depending on if you can convince people that you are skilled enough to be worthwhile to pay for that new piece of art.

    SOFTWARE/TELEVISION/LARGE SCALE: Risk capital -> make a pilot/demo/PoC, if popular, let the fans/intressents finance the rest (and pay the risk takers over time).
    SMALL SCALE: No risk capital needed. Show what you can do, spread to maximum number of people and open up for donations for your future work.

    Kommentar av gastlind — 13 april 2011 @ 22:01

  13. Did the legal affairs committee JURI now vote in favour of 70 years or even 95 years?
    I’m against both proposals, but if they voted in favour of 95 years, they even did not consider the opinion of the EP 2009…

    Kommentar av Pat Maechler aka Valio — 14 april 2011 @ 15:15

  14. gastlind, thank you for such an interesting resume of a shitload of text 😉

    As you suggest… I might ask Christian for a cut in any donations it generates. I certainly can leave it to you to write the next one if the cut happens to be zilch.

    Kommentar av NingúnOtro — 14 april 2011 @ 20:00

  15. @ Pat Maechler aka Valio:

    The vote in JURI was just concerning a small technical detail: changing the date when the new protection times should take effect from January 2010 to January 2012.

    This is what I (and the other Green MEP) voted against in JURI. You can either argue that I tried to make the directive even worse by extending it retroactively in time, or that I very cleverly tried to make sure it could not be implemented until they design a time machine. 😉

    In any case I lost that vote, as expected. This means that the directive now looks just like it did in 2009, with 70 years, but that it will go into effect in 2012 instead of 2010, as they were hoping when the directive was first drafted.

    What we are trying to do now is to get the parliament to decide to reopen the directive to have a new discussion about it. This has to be done by the full parliament in the session that starts May 9.

    If we fail to do that, the small technical change in the original directive will get accepted as a formality by the May 9 parliamentary session, and there will be nothing to stop the Council from just accepting the Parliament’s position (with 70 years), if there is no longer a blocking minority in the Council.

    Kommentar av Christian Engström — 14 april 2011 @ 20:26

  16. […] schijnt een verzoek voor ‘renewed referral’ te liggen van Christian Engström van, nota bene, de Piratenpartij. Ik kan er ook niets aan doen, maar deze man heeft gelijk. Kunt u […]

    Pingback av Best Europarlementslid, | — 14 april 2011 @ 21:26

  17. […] did not come to a vote last week, but there is a game plan by some of the opposing […]

    Pingback av Barnhard Blog » How Copyright Extention Really Works — 17 april 2011 @ 11:54

  18. Any updates? Did you get the 40 signatures? May 9 is coming fast…

    Kommentar av ByteMaster — 17 april 2011 @ 20:58

  19. […] Traducimos la entrada del blog del Eurodiputado del Partido Pirata Christian Engström, donde solicita escribir a tus Eurodiputados para detener la extensión del copyright de las grabaciones musicales de 50 a 70 años. Al final del artículo encontrarás los mails de nuestros Eurodiputados y un modelo del mensaje a enviarles para que el debate sobre esa extensión vuelva a abrirse en el Parlamento Europeo. […]

    Pingback av Un plan de actuación contra la extensión del copyright « El Blog d'en Jaume Satorra — 19 april 2011 @ 14:17

  20. […] sin embargo, existe un nuevo plan de acción. Lo mostró el representante del Partido Pirata Sueco, Christian Engström, y lo difundía ayer la Asociación de Internautas. Se trata de hacer valer la regla 59 de los […]

    Pingback av Cómo parar la extensión del copyright a 70 años — 20 april 2011 @ 12:08

  21. […] sin embargo, existe un nuevo plan de acción. Lo mostró el representante del Partido Pirata Sueco, Christian Engström, y lo difundía ayer la Asociación de Internautas. Se trata de hacer valer la regla 59 de los […]

    Pingback av Cómo parar la extensión del copyright a 70 años « Maestroviejo's Blog — 21 april 2011 @ 8:43

  22. […] hierop van heeft Piraten europarlementariër Christian Engstrom per direct met succes een “gameplan” tegen de verlenging ingesteld. Volgens het reglement van het Europees Parlement, artikel 59 […]

    Pingback av Een uitkering voor gestorven artiesten? « Blog — 4 maj 2011 @ 20:01

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Skapa en gratis webbplats eller blogg på

%d bloggare gillar detta: