By Doru Frantescu, Director and co-founder of VoteWatch Europe
Last review: 19 June 2015.
This article discusses how the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are likely to shape the new EU copyright laws. We show that the conflict within the society between those who consume and those who create digital content has been transposed in the European Parliament in the struggle between the political forces on the classical left-right axis. We predict that the “pro open content camp” will gain the upper hand and will push for a softening of the regime of copyright throughout the EU, such as the abolition of geo-blocking and territoriality principle. We map the MEPs’ positions by ideology and country and show that, while the ideology is the main predictor of an MEP’s vote, the country of origin also plays a role (e.g. the French Members of the Socialist group have a position more in favour of protection of cultural property than the rest of their group colleagues, while the British Labour are more in favour of free market and protection of property in general, compared to their continental colleagues).
– On 9 June, the report drafted by the Chair of the Legal Affair Committee Pavel Svoboda (EPP – PL) on Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement was voted during the EP plenary session in Strasburg and was approved (with 529 votes in favour and 143 against).
– On 17 June, the report drafted by the German Pirate Party’s Julia Reda proposing major changes to copyright laws in the EU has been adopted by the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs committee (JURI) after it spent several hours voting on 550 amendments. (23 votes in favour, 2 against). The report will now be voted on by the full European Parliament on July 9, where more amendments could be made. The final text will then be sent to the European Commission, which will use it as input for a legislative proposal on copyright reform, expected to appear by the end of the year.
In May, the European Commission put forward the long-awaited guidelines for a digital strategy. The Pandora’s Box is now open and the Commission will take on board reactions from various segments of the society and politicians.
While there is a large consensus that going digital is the way forward, some of the areas have raised a high level of controversy. Perhaps chief among these is the approach to copyright, on which the Commission has announced plans to follow up with legislation before the end of 2015. Intellectual property seems to be one of the most hotly debated areas and which lines up impressive lobby efforts on both sides of the reform. Continue Reading