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:
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.