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The European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations is an independent umbrella association of library, information and documentation associations and institutions in Europe.

Re-defining Intellectual Property Rights– Exceptions, Limitations, “Fair Use”

20 June 2012

EBLIDA at the European Parliament for the Copyright Challenge: Re-defining Intellectual Property Rights– Exceptions, Limitations, “Fair Use”.

The question of more flexible copyright regime in Europe is obviously a central question now on the agenda of the MEPs. Since the beginning of 2012, at least three events have been organised in the remits of the European Parliament regarding this question. EBLIDA participated in all of them and once as co-organiser.
The interesting point is that politicians of big parties such as the Socialist and Democrats are concerned with the questions related to intellectual property. It shows that the awareness begins to grow. The participated MEP’s were Sylvie Guillaume (France), Luigi Berlinguer (Italy) and Françoise Castex (France).
In her opening speech, Sylvie Guillaume highlighted that such events are held to help S&D group in its reflection regarding Intellectual property. She reminded the audience that “the Infosoc Directive of 2001 with its exhaustive list of Exceptions and Limitations to Copyright doesn’t seem fit for the Digital world, and that the question of copyright on a tangible material was over. The question of how make copyright evolve is a critical one”.
She stated that : “exceptions are weaker than a right. The design of copyright is not immutable.[…] It should also take into account the question of sharing in non-commercial sphere”.
Then Luigi Berlinguer (who strongly supported the WIPO Treaty for Visually Impaired Persons proposed by the World Blind Union and supported by the European Blind Union) informed the audience that “the Socialist and Democrats group is not for an enforcement of the legislation of copyright, and that the law can evolve. But we have to be clever in adapting to the change”.
High-level speakers such as Bernt Hugenholtz claimed once again for flexibility, and reminded the audience that the Wittem group is advocating for a European Copyright Code since April 2010 ( Rosa Maiello, representing EBLIDA-EGIL made an interesting presentation where she hightlighted the fact that […] “library services need clear, simple, and unambiguous juridical rules, not dependent on specific formats or
technologies, and harmonised at European and international level”.

In its conclusion, Luigi Berlinguer insisted on two points:

  • it is important to continue the pressure on European Institutions in order to achieve the necessary change. But this pressure has to be maintained especially in each individual country. The real obstacle in the EU is the Council, representing the interest of the countries;
  • Libraries are the place where you can access to books without buying for them. This should be expanding to the digital world. It is necessary to change the copyright to adapt it to the digital era. Copyright should not be an obstacle to the diffusion of Culture.
Luigi Berlinguer stated that: “We are the Knowledge society, so we have to make it happen. We must invent new economic models. Fantasy will invent change. And Flexibility is Fantasy”.


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