EBLIDA response to the European Commission’s Green Paper on the online distribution of audiovisual works in the European Union
We appreciate the initiative taken by the Commission to launch this first step in the attempt to close the gap in the availability of online services for consumers by creating a European framework for copyright licensing of multi‐territorial and pan‐European services
The focus of the Green Paper is the commercial online services regarding audio visual works. Libraries and Cultural Heritage Institutions are basically of a non‐commercial character providing services to either the community at large or well defined user groups of specific educational establishments. Therefore many of the asked questions are not relevant in this context.
The points of direct interest for libraries and cultural Heritage Institutions are found in section 5. However, we would like also to address some detailed points made in the Introduction and the section on Policy Approaches.
The last paragraph of section 1.1, in the context of infringement of copyright, refers to ‘enforcement and cooperation by intermediaries’. Libraries are intermediaries between, on the one hand, the holders of copyright in materials made available by the library, and on the other, the patrons of the library who use the material. How the patrons use the material is normally outside the control and knowledge of the library. In general libraries would maintain a principle of neutrality in such cases and not become involved in disputes in which they are not a contesting party. Furthermore, law enforcement is not an objective of library’s activities, and the necessary legal and technical prerequisites for libraries to function as law enforcement agencies are normally not present.
In the second paragraph of section 1.2, several reasons are given for the fragmentation of the online market, but the reasons do not include the most obvious, namely that each Member State has its own copyright regime.
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