Copyright reform for an open society

Copyright is out of touch with the realities of the digital environment which is characterised by pervasive sharing and reuse of culture and knowledge. The European copyright framework has not been updated since 2001 and is based on rules that have been agreed on in the last decade of the 19th century. The resulting outdated system unnecessarily restricts citizens from accessing, sharing and reusing cultural objects and knowledge. At the same time public cultural heritage institutions face problems when attempting to make their collections available online. Innovative online services are increasingly developed outside of Europe where copyright laws provide more flexibility.

<span>Copyright</span> reform for an open society
Creative Commons

Maker: Giulio Zannol

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We believe there are ways to do this differently. Because of technological progress the conditions to enable access to knowledge and culture have undergone a big change. Technology provides a level of access that was previously unimaginable, but the current copyright system fails to account for the societal opportunities created by this development.

Copyright laws have been designed decades ago++Anno 1886The main framework of the modern copyright laws are based on a number of principles that have been agreed on in 1886 in Berne, Switzerland. . At the time, only a fraction of society engaged with copyright issues: organisations and professionals that produce or publish copyright protected works. Copyright rules were the guiding principles for transactions among them. A limited number of exceptions++Exceptions and limitationsExceptions and limitations are included in the law to serve the common purpose. They guarantee for example the right to access to information, culture and education. to and limitations of copyright ensured that the majority of consumers and public organisations did not have to obtain permission from copyright holders for their ordinary activities. The internet, with its opportunities to share material on a large scale, challenges the status quo of copyright. People and organisations share and publish copyright protected works on the internet daily and this brings them within the realm governed by copyright law.

The copyright system therefore affects the whole of society and determines to a large extent how open or closed a society is. Kennisland believes in an open knowledge-driven society. Copyright can be a relevant instrument, but only in an adjusted, up-to-date shape. A copyright systemA copyright system that is not broadly respected is evidently not a well-functioning system. that is not broadly respected is evidently not a well-functioning system. Given this, we  encourage modernisation and flexibilisation of the copyright framework. We do this both within and outside of the current copyright framework: we develop and implement open licensing systems and we simultaneously advocate for modernisation of the existing legal framework.

We focus our activities on three main themes:

  1. A stronger digital public domain
    We are the Public Project Lead of Creative Commons Netherlands, a member of the COMMUNIA Association and we work with cultural heritage organisations such as Europeana to encourage cultural institutions to make their collections available online. We also stimulate reuse of these digitised collections.
  2. Increase access together with Collecting Societies
    In cooperation with Buma/Stemra, we created a system that allows Buma/Stemra++Buma/StemraAround 23,000 composers, lyricists and authors are affiliated to Buma/Stemra. Buma/Stemra ensures that when their creations are used they receive fair remuneration. members to apply Creative Commons licenses. Together with a number of other organisations we aim to introduce Extended Collective Licensing in the Netherlands. In the context of the Europeana Sounds project we are working together with GESAC to create structures that help cultural heritage institutions to make forgotten materials from audio archives available to the public again.
  3. Modernisation of the copyright framework in the Netherlands and Europe
    A modernised copyright system must include exceptions and limitations to safeguard the interests of citizens, cultural heritage institutions and educational and research institutions to recreate a balance with the exclusive rights granted to creators and other rights holders.

 

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