#Fixcopyright – panel discussions on the future of copyright in the European Parliament

#Fixcopyright – panel discussions on the future of copyright in the European Parliament

 The review of the EU’s copyright directive is in full swing. 20 April 2015 Julia Reda, MEP and the Parliament’s rapporteur on said directive, and Josef Weidenholzer, MEP (S&D), held two panel discussions on the forefront of these developments inside the European Parliament. The event was held as a way of replying to the criticism hurled against her draft report by other Members of the European Parliament as well as lobbyists, interest groups, and other stake holders. The audience was mixed, with many Pirates and members of civil society (both in line with the Pirates and opposed to the proposals from Julia), but also parliamentary staff members were present.

The panelists for the first discussion, named ‘New Authors Facing Old Systems’, were Lexi Alexander, a Hollywood director from Germany, Pouhiou NoéNaute, a French author with more than 30,000 subscribers on YouTube, Alexander Bard , a Swedish author, philosopher, songwriter and record producer, and Neil Jomunsi, French online publisher and author. Moderated by Jennifer Baker , the panel discussion mainly focused on problems with the current international copyright system that they encountered when producing their work or looking at how it was received. This was followed by 15 minutes of debate with the audience, where people representing the collection society industry were also able to voice their objections and ideas, obviously differing quite from the panelists.

The second discussion, with the topic ‘New Ways to Make a Living in the Arts’, moderated by the two hosting MEPs had the following panelists: Cory Doctorow , New York Times bestselling author, Brit Stakston & Martin Schibbye from the Blank Spot Project, Jonathan Worth, award-winning Creative Commons photographer, as well as Nicolás Alcalá, film director and member of the art collective Riot Cinema.

Memorable moments included Lexi Alexander calling for people in favour of reform not to be dismissive of people willing to work within the system (her example is working on movies), and Alexander Bard recounting how it took him three years to clear up the rights for a guitar riff for the song ‘Crying at the Discotheque’. Again signifying the rift between the two sides of the current debate was the comment of a composer arguing against reform saying that ‘Internet has not fundamentally change how the World works’, shocking many in the audience. In the second discussion Jonathan Worth recounted how he wrote stern emails to people pirating his work, until a tearful 14-year old replied to him and made him rethink his approach to piracy, which turned out to work for him financially.

The evening was rounded up by Cory Doctorow giving a book presentation of his book ‘Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free’. Later this week Kimiko Ishizaka will be playing various works from Chopin, replaying pieces that were be recorded and then immediately put in the public domain, all of which was financed via crowdfunding, accompanied by a Presentation by Robert Douglass on the Open Goldberg Variations project and challenges around classical music and the copyright framework.

If you missed the discussion, here are the recordings. You can also reread the twitter commentary by looking at the hashtag #FixCopyright


Featured image:  Christopher Clay, Public Domain