[Advocacy Advisors] Wikimedia and the EU Report - February 2015

Dimitar Parvanov Dimitrov dimitar.parvanov.dimitrov at gmail.com
Tue Mar 3 07:43:28 UTC 2015

Wikimedia and the EU
February 2015 Report

There are two copyright theatres at this point - the European Parliament
and the European Commission. The former is working towards the media, the
latter is writing away in a cloud of mystery. Wikimedia is engaging in both
on an ongoing basis.

This and past reports: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/EU_policy/Monitor

1. IMCO, CULT & ITRE Committees Publish Draft Opinions on Copyright Reform

2. Wikimedia Participates in High-Level Roundtable with Commissioner

3. #AskAnsip and #AskOettinger Twitter Events

4. Scope and Terms of Wikimedia Requested PD Contribution Study


#fixcopyright ##DigitalSingleMarket

1. IMCO, CULT & ITRE Committees Opinions on JURI’s Draft Report on the
Implementation of the InfoSoc Directive

Why is this relevant?

Whenever the European Parliament is working on a dossier, several
committees are usually involved. In this case there are three additional
committees giving their opinions on the report. These usually take the form
of a list of unassorted remarks or amendment proposals that MEPs from
outside the responsible committee want to float. These may or may not be
accepted, but they give an idea about how Parliament’s general thoughts on
a given topic.

What happened?

The three Committees for opinion released their draft opinions on the
Report on the Implementation of the InfoSoc Directive. [1] These are:

1. José Blanco López (PT S&D) for the Committee on Industry, Research and
Energy [2]

2. Isabella Adinolfi (IT EFDD) for the Committee on Culture and Education

Catherine Stihler (UK S&D) Internal Market and Consumer Protection [4]

The texts essentially lack anything very worrisome or positive, in fact
they stay away from specifics as much as possible. One thing they have in
common is that they’re all asking the Commission to square the circle,
meaning that they are saying that we need a copyright reform that
strengthens authors’ rights, is makes users’ lives easier and facilitates
access to knowledge. Another thing that can be observed in the reports is
that they talk about enforcement. Normally enforcement is not part of the
InfoSoc Directive (it is regulated by the e-Commerce Directive instead),
but the recent move by the industry in Brussels has been to demand stronger
enforcement instead of engaging in actual copyright debate.

What comes next?

Just like the actual report, each of these opinion papers will be discussed
and amended in their respective committee. They will then be sent to Julia
Reda and the legal Affairs Committee for consideration.

It is clear that everyone would like to be the hero of the day but no one
believes to have a solution. We should put our energy into selling our
demands as solutions that facilitate access to knowledge, make users’ lives
easier and don’t hurt authors.

As for the enforcement talk, my personal take is that this is a tactical
manœuvre by industry advocates that won’t work. There seems to be very
little appetite by the Commission to reopen the enforcement dossiers at
this stage. We should just focus on our core proposals, underlining that
we’re in favour of authors’ rights and that we (are perhaps the only ones
that) rigorously apply copyright on our projects.


#fixcopyright ##DigitalAgenda

2. Wikimedia Participates in High-Level Roundtable with Commissioner

Why is this relevant?

Formally the Commission has had its round of consultations on the topic of
copyright. However, individual Commissioners continue to meet with
stakeholders. The type of organisations they tend to meet also reflect
their political preferences. Participating in a small-scale, pre-selected
roundtable demonstrates we can be one of the relevant players when it comes
to the aspects of digitisation and cultural heritage in copyright.

What happened?

Wikimedia had managed to meet the political cabinets of President
Jean-Claude Juncker and Vice-President Andrus Ansip almost immediately
after they were confirmed by the Parliament. The office of Commissioner
Oettinger turned out to be somewhat of a challenge. Eventually we received
a meeting and were told about these “high-level” roundtable dialogues. We
asked to be included - which was again a challenge - and in the end
received an invitation. Lukas Mezger, vice-chair of Wikimedia Deutschland,
represented us at the event and reported his experience on the WMF blog. [5]

What comes next?

We will follow up by sending a written version of Lukas’ statement and some
additional information to the Oettinger cabinet and the copyright unit. Now
that we were a personal invitee of theirs, this gives us the extra minute
of attention that we must use to generate more attention.

Simultaneously the European Parliament has formed an ad-hoc Working Group
on Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright Reform coordinated by MEP
Jean-Marie Cavada (FR ALDE). We’re trying to get invited to one of their
next coming meetings.


#AskAnsip #AskOettinger

3. #AskAnsip and #AskOettinger Twitter Events

Why is this relevant?

Commissioners Ansip and Oettinger are responsible for the upcoming proposal
to create a European digital single market. Their participation in public
discussions, whether online or offline, gives stakeholders a chance to
reinforce their arguments. It's also an opportunity to get an idea about
what the Commission is planning and what their priorities are.

In addition, events that attract stakeholders give a good overview of who
the active players are, which allows us to identify opposing views to
address as well as potential allies to approach.

What happened?

The #AskAsip event with Commissioner Andrus Ansip had a broad focus on the
digital single market. While this Twitter chat was largely taken over by
interest groups with a tax-policy agenda, a number of Wikimedians
contributed with questions and comments on FoP.

As in many of his previous public appearances, Ansip made clear his
commitment to get rid of geoblocking. Anyone in Europe should be allowed
access to any European online service. Except for that, his visions were
quite vague.

The #AskOettinger event with Commissioner Günther Oettinger dealt
specifically with copyright. Oettinger repeated Ansips call for ending
geoblocking and added a few other points. For instance, he said that
enforcement “is high on the agenda,” adding that “violators need to fear
the stick.”

On the positive side he expressed that the Commission wants to “unlock
access to our rich cultural heritage.” He also stated that 28 national sets
of rules are not practical and that a proposal will be indeed released

What comes next?

The EU Commission's online dialogue continues through the newly launched
website Digital4EU: https://ec.europa.eu/futurium/digital4eu

The web site is a channel for those who want to initiate or participate in
online discussions. The site also offers an events calendar and will likely
serve as a portal for anything relating to the Commission's work on related
to the Digital single market.



4. Study on the Economic Value of the Public Domain in the EU

Why is this relevant?

As we reported back in November 2013 [6], we’ve been pushing the EU’s IPR
Infringements Observatory to commission a study on the economic value of
the Public Domain in the EU ever since they released a rather shameful
report claiming that restroom maintenance at fast food restaurants creates
IPR intensive jobs. [7]

What happened?

In 2014 we managed to put a “Study on the Economic Contribution of the
Public Domain in the EU” in the Observatory’s work programme for 2015. Last
week in Alicante, they presented the scope, concept and timeline of the
report. The study will be rather small at first, done in-house and very
focused. According to the scientists working there, they want to do
something credible and clean at first with the possibility of expanding it

The study will analyse the derivative value of the public domain for the
film industry by analysing which films have been based on public domain
elements and what part of their economic value (measured in revenues) can
be attributed to PD elements. For this they will introduce a PD dummy
variable. [8] The main reason for picking the film industry is the
availability of information in IMDB.

On a side note, the study plans to build on the work of people already on
this list (shout out to James and Communia members).

What comes next?

We should follow the process closely and make sure we get decent results
that will withhold scientific and public scrutiny. The study will be
attacked even while it is written, which is not always a bad thing, as it
helps to know what kind of criticism to expect.

We’re already making it known that we’d like the scope of the study to be
broadened in a second phase.

Some interim information will be presented during the working group
meetings on 15 September this year and a first draft is planned to be
published on 16 February 2016.









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