I'd be sad if - as is quite possible - you hadn't noticed an absence of posts from me since October. But if you have been wondering, my humble apologies. I plead pressure of client work.
Before I get into the subject matter of this post, together with my friends Hugh Jones and Florian Koempel of the Publishers Association, I'm giving a talk on Wednesday December 11 from 4-6pm at Roberts 421 LT, Roberts Building, UCL, immediately followed by a reception in Foster Court, G24, Arts faculty common room. The title is 'Tools, not rules: copyright in the digital age". It's all about the subject of this post. We'd be delighted if you can come and please share this with friends and colleagues. (Ack to my friend Angela Mills who coined the phrase).
Anyway, the title of my last post 'Of content, technology and copyright' still remains relevant, as the European Commission have just published its Consultation on the review of copyright rules. It's incredibly very wide ranging and replies have to be in by February 5th 2014, which is a vert short time scale for such a far reaching review. I can do no better than quote my friend Gemma Hersh, Head of Public Affairs at the Publishers Association who wrote:"The results of this consultation will sit alongside the Commision's desk research and the outcomes of the Licences for Europe plenary to inform proposals for a new Commission in April 2014. This is still looking likely to be a White Paper (our favoured approach) rather than concrete legislative proposals that could bind a new Commission, but either way there is much work to be done."
I agree with Gemma. I can't see how the Commission will have a enough time to digest responses from the consulation and turn them into legislative proposals for the Commission to consider.
As you would expect, a number of the questions in the consultation are about copyright licensing and pan European services. After all, the raison d'etre of the Commission is the single market. But others go to the heart of copyright with questions such as "do we need a single EU copyright title?" and, in effect, "is the term of protection too long?". Whoa! In addition, there are a number of technical questions about copyright, including how the 'making available' right works, and whether the principle of 'country of origin', 'country of desination' (or both) should apply. These directly impact on rights clearance.