Christian Engström, Pirat

21 december 2011

Abba-trummis gläds åt att äldre musik förblir ofri

Filed under: Copyright Term Extension,informationspolitik — Christian Engström @ 14:19

Mitt i Musiken intervjuar mig och en före detta Abba-trummis om EU's beslut att förlänga upphovsrätten

Sveriges Radios Mitt i Musiken skriver:

Vad har en före detta Abba-trummis med Bryssel att göra? När upphovsrätten ändrades från 50 till 70 år i september, var diskussionerna om vilka som skulle vinna och förlora på förlängningen heta.

En av vinnarna är Roger Palm, som var trummis åt Abba på 70-talet. Mitt i Musiken intervjuar honom, och låter sedan mig kommentera:

Men i Bryssel menar Christian Engström att det är en liten skara musiker som drar fördel av den förlängda upphovsrätten, samtidigt som detta hindrar andra från att ta del av en massa gammal musik.

– Man ska komma ihåg att det bara är ett litet antal verk som spelades in för 50 år sen, som är evergreens och som kommer fortsätta vara det. Men det allra mesta som gjordes på den tiden, hur bra det än var, är ju i huvudsak bortglömt idag. Det finns ett litet antal entusiaster som skulle ha velat lyssna på det som skulle vilja ha tag på den musiken. Det blir alltså svårare för de entusiasterna att få tag på den musiken. Men det blir ju inte stora pengar för de allra flesta verk som är så gamla, säger Europaparlamentarikern och representanten för ett av Sveriges nyaste partier.

Läs mer hos Mitt i Musiken

Annonser

13 september 2011

Copyright Term Extension: Defeat

Filed under: Copyright Term Extension,English,informationspolitik — Christian Engström @ 12:27

The EU yesterday handed over an extension of the copyright monopoly from 50 to 70 years to the record companies

As expected and feared, the EU Council of Ministers yesterday took the decision to extend copyright for sound recordings retroactively from 50 to 70 years.

This is yet another example of how the Council and Commission of the EU are completely in the hands of the copyright lobby and will do whatever the lobbyists ask them to, no matter how absurd or harmful to society it may be.

The Belgian, Czech, Dutch, Luxembourg, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian and Swedish delegations were the only ones to vote against the extension.  Austria and Estonia abstained.

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Others on the subject: Torrentfreak, Open Rights Group, Iptegrity, The EU Commission

På svenska: TT, Anna Troberg (PP), Kulturbloggen, Viktualiebrodern, Upphovsträtan, Anders S Lindbäck

8 september 2011

Formal Decision on Copyright Term Extension on Monday

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

The Council will take the formal decision to extend the copyright term for music recordings on Monday

Yesterday there was a meeting of the Coreper, which is Brussels jargon for the Committee of the Permanent Representatives to the EU. Its job is to prepare the agenda for the ministerial Council meetings.

At the Coreper meeting, it was decided that the EU Council of Ministers will take the formal decision to extend the protection term for music recordings from 50 to 70 years on Monday. It will be an ”A item” on the agenda, which means that the ministers will just rubber stamp the decision without any discussion.

Unless a miracle happens, and one or more governments change their mind over the weekend, the term extension will then be a fact.

Read more about the background.

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Others on the subject (in English): PC World
På svenska: DN, DN, Mitt i musiken, Kulturnyheterna, Kulturnyheterna

5 september 2011

Copyright Term Extension in the EU Council on Wednesday

Filed under: Copyright Term Extension,English,informationspolitik — Christian Engström @ 12:31

The big record companies want to keep their exclusive rights to recordings from the '50s and '60s

Four months have now passed since I and 40 fellow members of the European Parliament submitted a request for renewed referral of the Parliament’s decision to extent the protection time for music recordings from 50 to 70 years. Our aim was to give the Parliament a chance to reconsider the decision before the Council of Ministers adopted it as well, and made it into law.

Last Friday, at long last, we received a letter by snail mail from the EU bureaucracy apologizing for the long delay, and saying that our request was against the Rules of Procedure for the Parliament, and would not be accepted.

Considering the summary way that the request was dismissed, it is not obvious to me why it had to take them four months to reach that conclusion.

Coincidentally, it appears that the copyright term extension is on the agenda for the Council meeting that starts on Wednesday, September 7. I have not managed to find the agenda on the Council’s web site, but the information comes from one of the permanent representations here in Brussels.

This is bad news.

There used to be a blocking minority in the Council, which is what prevented the copyright term extension from becoming a reality in 2009, when the (old) Parliament took the decision. But now that blocking minority has disappeared, since Denmark has changed its position.

The Member States that currently oppose the proposal are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, and The Netherlands. That is five votes short of a blocking minority.

Unless something very unexpected happens, odds are that the copyright term extension will become reality this week. This is despite the fact that the extension has met massive criticism from the academic world, including the Hargreaves Review that was presented to the British government earlier this year.

Despite the damning criticism the Hargreaves Review levies at the copyright term extension, the British government is still pushing for the extension.

Are you surprised that politicians first order a scientific review of a policy area, and then completely ignore its findings and do the exact opposite? You shouldn’t be. Fact based policy making has never been applied in the intellectual property field before, and the people who are pulling the strings are not going to start now.

The purpose of the European Union is to keep the various lobbyists for big business happy, in this case the big record companies that own the rights to 80% of all music that has been recorded in history. If the copyright term extension goes through this week, they will be very happy with their politicians who delivered.

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Andra om ämnet (in Swedish): Henrik Alexandersson, Europaportalen, Piratpartiet

In English: PC World

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Copyrightförlängningen: Så går det till i EU

Filed under: Copyright Term Extension,demokrati i eu,informationspolitik — Christian Engström @ 11:30

Kopierat från Henrik Alexandersson

Det ser mörkt ut när det gäller att stoppa förlängningen av skivbolagens rättigheter till skivinspelningar från 50 till 70 år. Henrik Alexandersson, som är min politiska assistent i Bryssel, berättar vad som har hänt:

Den här EU-firman kan driva folk till vansinne. Här kommer ännu ett exempel på dess byråkratiska arrogans…

Förra Europaparlamentet beslutade, våren 2009, att förlänga upphovsrätten för inspelad musik från 50 till 70 år. Detta trots en massiv kritik från bland annat den akademiska världen. Och trots att vanliga artister knappt tjänar något på det. Många protesterade mot detta och en del omvalda ledamöter (som då röstade för) har sedan dess bytt åsikt. Vad det nya parlamentet, som valdes sommaren 2009, tycker – det vet vi inte.

Men i ministerrådet var man splittrade. Där fanns en blockerande minoritet. (I vilken bland annat Sverige ingick.) Frågan om en förlängning av upphovsrätten lades därför – glädjande nog – i malpåse.

På senare tid har en del länder dock bytt uppfattning. Till exempel Danmark. Så den blockerande minoriteten i ministerrådet finns inte längre. Förlängningen av upphovsrätten kan nu klubbas.

Men – då upptäckte Pirate MEP Christian Engström en regel i Europaparlamentets arbetsordning. Den säger, kortfattat, att ett nyvalt parlament kan ompröva frågor som ännu är öppna. För detta krävs exempelvis att minst 40 ledamöter begär det.

Så i mitten av april lämnade Engström och 40 andra ledamöter – från hela den politiska skalan – in en ”request for renewed referral” av denna fråga till Europaparlamentet.

Så långt är allt begripligt. Sedan går det helt över styr.

Vecka efter vecka gick, utan att det kom något svar på vår begäran. På piratkontoret låg vi på. Och Europaparlamentets byråkrati lovade att ”visst, det kommer ett svar”.

Veckor blev sedan till månader, utan att parlamentets ledning lyckades ta ställning. När parlamentet öppnade efter sommaren igen, då var vi riktigt oroliga. Hur länge kan eurokratin ducka i denna fråga?

Svaret kom, med snigelpost, i fredags. Med en del ursäkter för dröjsmålet – och med en rätt tunn motivering – meddelade plenardirektoratets chef att vår begäran om att frågan tas upp igen strider mot reglerna och inte är möjlig att ta upp.

Med tanke på det schablonmässiga sätt som frågan avfärdades på, kan man undra varför det behövde ta fyra månader att komma med ett svar.

Ett skäl skulle kunna vara att det visar sig att frågan om den förlängda upphovsrätten kommer upp i ministerrådet – redan nu på onsdag. Det ger oss i princip ingen tid eller praktisk möjlighet att överklaga plenardirektoratets avslag på vår begäran innan allt är för sent.

Enkelt uttryckt: Europaparlamentets byråkrati drog benen efter sig så att det blev för sent för parlamentet att försöka stoppa den hårt kritiserade förlängningen av upphovsrätten.

Lita på att vi aldrig kommer att gå på en sådan fint igen.

Denna byråkratiska arrogans är inget unikt. När parlamentets utvärdering av IPRED skulle spikas, då kom frågan upp utan att vara på föredragningslistan och med bara 30 minuters förvarning. Vid utskottsbehandlingen av Stockholmsprogrammet, då kom bunten med de ändringsförslag man skulle rösta om så sent att ledamöterna bara hade drygt 30 sekunder på sig att läsa, utvärdera, undersöka och bestämma sig om varje förslag.

Sådant är inte seriöst. Det är ett demokratiskt problem. Och det är ett tecken på att EU:s beslutsapparat är riggad: Det är inte meningen att tjänster åt särintressen, korporativism och överstatlighet skall gå att rulla tillbaka.

Man blir fan tokig.

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Andra om ämnet: Europaportalen

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30 augusti 2011

Official Silence on the Copyright Term Extension Request

Filed under: Copyright Term Extension,English,informationspolitik — Christian Engström @ 13:18

Still no response from EU officials on the request to stop copyright term extension

In April this year, I and 40 fellow Members of the European Parliament. tabled a request for renewed referral of the copyright term extension dossier. The aim is to give the European Parliament a chance to reconsider its decision from April 2009 to extend the copyright term for musical recordings from 50 to 70 years. You can read more about the background here.

So far, I have not received any official response from the European Parliament at all. Unofficially, I have learned that there are people behind the scenes who want to interpret the relevant rule in the Rules of Procedure so that the request is technically inadmissible. But officially, I haven’t heard anything.

I find this odd, and, quite frankly, a bit worrying. If the relevant bodies in the European Parliament do in fact think the request is inadmissible, they should at least give me an official answer, so that I can decide what to do next. It is now the end of August, and more than four months have passed since the request was tabled.

Today I heard another rumour that adds to my worries, namely that the Council of Ministers is to make a decision on the copyright term extension next week. It was a blocking minority in the Council  that prevented the term extension from becoming a reality in 2009, but since then Denmark has switched sides, and now supports the extension.

This means that the blocking minority is gone, and that the Council would approve the extension if they vote on it next week. But I should stress that it is only a rumour that it will be on next week’s agenda for the Council.

Can they do this, and go ahead and push through the decision even though there is a pending request in the European Parliament to re-open the dossier and let the parliament have another look at it?

Answer: I don’t know. The interpretation of the various rules of procedure in the EU are pretty much a mystery even to people who have spent years trying to understand them, and I am certainly not one of those people.

But if a decision is taken in the Council next week, before I have even received an official reply to the request I tabled in April, I would find that very remarkable indeed.

I will post updates on this blog as events unfold.

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Andra som skriver om ämnet: Henrik Alexandersson

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21 juli 2011

”Förlängd upphovsrätt inom EU kan komma att rivas upp?”

Filed under: Copyright Term Extension,informationspolitik — Christian Engström @ 9:55

Mitt i Musiken skriver om ansträngningarna att stoppa EU's förlängning av upphovsrätten

För två år sedan beslutade EU-parlamentet, efter kraftiga påtryckningar från de stora skivbolagen, att förlänga upphovsrättsskyddet för skivinspelningar från 50 till 70 år. Det beslutet kan nu komma att rivas upp, efter det att svenska Piratpartiets EU-parlamentariker Christian Engström hittat ett kryphål i EU-reglerna.

Läs mer hos Mitt i Musiken

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Andra bloggar om: , , ,

1 juni 2011

The Hargreaves Review on Copyright Term Extension

Filed under: Copyright Term Extension,English,informationspolitik — Christian Engström @ 13:57

This video from the Open Rights Group explains the background to the copyright term extension issue

Some weeks ago I collected the signatures of 40 MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) to try to get a renewed referral of the Parliament’s earlier decision to extend copyright on music recordings from 50 to 70 years. The goal is to give the Parliament a chance to reverse its decision, and not support the extension.

Right now, there is a legalistic struggle going on over the question as to whether this request is admissible or not according to the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure. The legal experts in the Green Group are handling the matter, and I am very grateful for this, since they are in a much better position to sort out the intricacies of the Rules of Procedure in the Parliament than I am.

In the meanwhile, we can look at the substance of the issue once more.

Last week I wrote about the Hargreaves Review, which is an independent evaluation of intellectual property rights policies that the UK government has commissioned.

In Chapter 2, the Review cites Copyright Term Extension as an obvious example of IPR policy that is inconsistent with the economic evidence:

[2.16]
Copyright Term Extension Economic evidence is clear that the likely deadweight loss to the economy exceeds any additional incentivising effect which might result from the extension of copyright term beyond its present levels.[14] This is doubly clear for retrospective extension to copyright term, given the impossibility of incentivising the creation of already existing works, or work from artists already dead.

Despite this, there are frequent proposals to increase term, such as the current proposal to extend protection for sound recordings in Europe from 50 to 70 or even 95 years. The UK Government assessment found it to be economically detrimental.[15] An international study found term extension to have no impact on output.[16]

References
[14] Handke C, 2010, The Economics of Copyright and Digitisation: A Report on the Literature and the Need for Further Research, Report for the UK Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property Policy http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ipresearcheconomics-201005.pdf
[15] IPO, 7 Jan 2010, Impact Assessment of: Proposed Directive to extend the term of copyright protection for performers and sound recordings
[16] Png I P L and Qiu-hong W, 2009, Copyright Law and the Supply of Creative Work: Evidence from the Movies, Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues

In Chapter 10 of the Review, it elaborates:

10.12 A prominent and persistent example of the lobbying problem concerns the duration of copyright protection, which has been periodically extended in recent decades. In spite of clear evidence that this cannot be justified in terms of the core IP argument that copyright exists to provide economic incentives to creators to produce new works. As has been noted by a number of commentators,[7] no one has yet discovered a mechanism for incentivising the deceased.

10.13 The most recent example of such extensions involved a UK decision to support a still incomplete EU process to extend the rights of owners of sound recordings from 50 years to 70 years. Such an extension was opposed by the Gowers Review and by published studies commissioned by the European Commission.[8] A decision in favour of the change was, nonetheless, announced by the Secretary of State for Culture, Andy Burnham, in December 2008. The Government’s own economic impact assessment subsequently estimated that extension would cost the UK economy up to £100m over the extended term.

One justification for extension might be that Ministers wished to afford extended copyright as a mark of respect and gratitude to artists and their families – a perfectly legitimate argument, though one that ignores the fact that very often artists’ rights are owned by corporations. Independent research commissioned for the Gowers Review suggested that the benefits to individual artists would be highly skewed to a relatively small number of performers.[9]

References
[7] Kay J, March 2011, The difficult balance of intellectual property, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/98c17366-54c2-11e0-b1ed-00144feab49a.html#axzz1HPV1KQTw
[8] http://www.ivir.nl/news/Open_Letter_EC.pdf
[9] Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law, 2006, Review of the Economic Evidence Relating to an Extension of the Term of Copyright in Sound Recordings, University of Cambridge

On this issue, I agree with the Hargreaves Review completely. Extending the copyright term, and even doing it retroactively, is just madness.

It will be interesting to see what the current UK government will do in the EU Council of Ministers when the issue comes up there.

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21 april 2011

Names of the 40+ MEPs supporting review of the copyright term extension

Filed under: Copyright Term Extension,English,informationspolitik — Christian Engström @ 10:57

Yesterday I tabled a request for a renewed referral of the copyright term extension dossier, together with 40 fellow Members of the European Parliament. The purpose is to give the European Parliament a chance to reconsider its decision from April 2009 to extend the copyright term for musical recordings from 50 to 70 years.

The MEPs who signed the request were:

Christian ENGSTRÖM (Greens, SE)
Christofer FJELLNER (Christian Democrats, SE)
Françoise CASTEX (Social Democrats, FR)
Marietje SCHAAKE (Liberals, NL)
Eva-Britt SVENSSON (Left, SE)
Carl SCHLYTER (Greens, SE)
Claude TURMES (Greens, LU)
Oriol JUNQUERAS VIES (Greens, ES)
Eva LICHTENBERGER (Greens, AT)
Olle SCHMIDT (Liberals, SE)
Marie-Christine VERGIAT (Left, FR)
Keith TAYLOR (Greens, UK)
Lena EK (Liberals, SE)
Marit PAULSEN (Liberals, SE)
Lidia Joanna GERINGER de OEDENBERG (Social Democrats, PL)
Heide RÜHLE (Greens, DE)
Bas EICKHOUT (Greens, NL)
Pascal CANFIN (Greens, FR)
Michail TREMOPOULOS (Greens, GR)
Judith SARGENTINI (Greens, NL)
Marije CORNELISSEN (Greens, NL)
Jean-Paul BESSET (Greens, FR)
Malika BENARAB-ATTOU (Greens, FR)
Heidi HAUTALA (Greens, FI)
Jan Philipp ALBRECHT (Greens, DE)
Åsa WESTLUND (Social Democrats, SE)
Isabelle DURANT (Greens, BE)
Zuzana ROITHOVÁ (Christian Democrats, CZ)
Ulrike LUNACEK (Greens, AT)
Karima DELLI (Greens, FR)
Michèle RIVASI (Greens, FR)
José BOVÉ (Greens, FR)
Barbara LOCHBIHLER (Greens, DE)
Gerald HÄFNER (Greens, DE)
Raül ROMEVA i RUEDA (Greens, ES)
Gunnar HÖKMARK (Christian Democrats, SE)
Indrek TARAND (Greens, EE)
Anna IBRISAGIC (Christian Democrats, SE)
Ivo VAJGL (Liberals, SI)
Sylvie GUILLAUME (Social Democrats, FR)
Margrete AUKEN (Greens, DK)

In addition, there were other MEPs who contacted us and told us they wanted to sign, but whom we failed to meet up with for practical reasons before we had the 40 signatures necessary, and tabled the request. These included:

Rebecca HARMS (Greens, DE)
Anna Maria CORAZZA BILDT (Christian Democrats, SE)
Christel SCHALDEMOSE (Social Democrats, DK)

There are of course a number of other MEPs who would have wanted to sign as well, so please feel free to contact them and ask. You can find a summary of the arguments against the term extension here.

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20 april 2011

40+ MEPs request review of copyright extension

Filed under: Copyright Term Extension,English,informationspolitik — Christian Engström @ 16:30

A request to review the copyright term extension signed by 41 MEPs

I have just tabled a request signed by 41 Members of the European Parliament to review the Parliament’s previous decision to extend the copyright term for music recordings from 50 to 70 years. The MEPs who signed represented most of the different political groups in the Parliament.

It was the previous Parliament that decided it wanted such an extension in April 2009, but since we now have a new Parliament in place after the June 2009 EU elections, I and my co-signatories think it would make sense for the Parliament to take a new look at the issue, to see if this is really such a good idea.

You can read more about the issue and the arguments against term extension here, and more about the EU procedure in my earlier post A game plan against copyright extension.

Now we’ll see what happens. There are indications that the request may be opposed on various legalistic grounds depending on how you interpret the Rules of Procedure, but if that happens, we’ll see how to proceed.

Collecting the signatures was just the first hurdle in a rather long and complicated process, but at least we cleared that one.

The sun is shining in Brussels today, and I’m looking forward to the Easter holiday. 🙂

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Update: Names of the MEPs who signed

Andra som skriver (på svenska): Henrik Alexandersson,

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