EU pays for, then ignores study on copyright extension
Copio un extracto da noticia aparecida onte en ars technica. Fala dun informe sobre a extensión do copyright solicitado e pagado pola Comisión Europea e logo silenciado porque argumenta en contra dos intereses das discográficas:
The European Union wants to add 45 years to the current 50-year copyright on musical recordings, arguing that aging performers can’t afford to be cut off from sources of income just when they need them the most. In defense of this plan, Commissioner Charlie McCreevy’s proposal said that no external expertise on the matter was required and, furthermore, that the (music-industry-provided) data he already had said the plan was a good one. Now, a prominent European academic is furious that his work —which the European Commission requested and paid for— has been totally ignored by the very Commission that signed off on the piece and published it.
Professor P. Bernt Hugenholtz, Ph.D, heads the Institute for Information Law (known as IViR) at the University of Amsterdam. IViR was commissioned to produce two major studies on EU copyright issues back in 2005, and the reports duly appeared in 2006 and 2007. Hugenholtz and his team of experts concluded, among other things, that a copyright term extension would be a bad idea with costs for consumers, competitors, and society as a whole. (The team turned some of this work into an academic paper [PDF] that appeared this year.)
Despite the work, which was signed off on by the European Commission and duly published on the website of the Internal Market and Services directorate, Commissioner McCreevey’s term-extension proposal (PDF) did not mention it. The proposal collected responses for the idea from the usual sources (music publishers, performers, collecting societies) and responses against the idea, also from the usual sources (libraries, consumers, public domain companies, telecoms). How to weigh them all? Not through the use of expert opinion, apparently. Under the bullet point “Collection and use of expertise,” the proposal simply noted that “there was no need for external expertise.”
Hugenholtz doesn’t mince his words in an open letter (PDF) to Commissioners (noted by UK legal site OUT-LAW). Although he recognizes that academic experts won’t see their words translated directly into policy, he still does expect that the ideas the Commission itself approved would “be given the appropriate consideration by the Commission and be duly referenced in its policy documents, in particular wherever the Commission’s policy choices depart from our studies’ main recommendations.”
In fact, Hugenholtz goes on to say, the whole process “seems to reveal an intention to mislead the council and the Parliament, as well as the citizens of the European Union. In doing so the Commission reinforces the suspicion, already widely held by the public at large, that its policies are less the product of a rational decision-making process than of lobbying by stakeholders.” […]
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