The European Commission recently published its latest proposals for upgrading and harmonizing copyright law to reflect modern digital realities. Though short, the communication is quite piecemeal, lacking any vision for how to reform the basic concepts of copyright, and preferring to separately discuss a wide range of symptomatic issues that cover everything from encouraging more copyright books to be turned into audio recordings for blind people, to establishing consistent exceptions when illustrations are used for education. The main topics that will interest telcos are:
- firm proposals to end geo-blocking and make all content broadcast over the internet equally available in every EU country, irrespective of previous licensing restrictions that would have limited the geographical range of distribution;
- a ‘follow the money’ approach that will place increased emphasis on intermediary businesses to inhibit internet piracy and spare rightsholders the need to go to court; and
- continued probing of whether there is a need to safeguard the value of copyrighted content by requiring fees to be paid when hyperlinks point at copyrighted material (a so-called ‘link tax’), or when snippets of such content are reproduced by web aggregators.
You can read the full text of the EC’s document by downloading it from here.