We have just released our EUCD best practice guide. The report, sponsored by the Open Society Institute (OSI), provides a set of recommendations for transposing the EU Copyright Directive (EUCD) into the national copyright frameworks of accession states and candidate countries. The guide, which could also inform future law reform in existing member states and is related to stock-taking studies such as the Gowers Report (released yesterday) and the forthcoming official review of the EU copyright framework, is based on a peer-produced compilation and comparison of existing EUCD implementations across the EU.
The best practice guide takes a closer look at four clusters of legal issues typically associated with EUCD-implementation. First, in a cross-sectional manner, it provides recommendations regarding the implementation of the EUCD’s anti-circumvention provisions (i.e., legal protection of technological protection measures). Second, it suggests a series of principles in areas of copyright law that shape the ways in which we – as peers – can produce and distribute information. The third section deals with universal access issues, including teaching and research exceptions, exceptions for libraries, archives, and the like, and copyright exceptions for disabled people. Third, the document provides recommendations with regard to selected copyright provisions that have an impact on political and cultural participation.
Here is an overview of the recommendations we’ve made:
- In order to avoid unintended consequences in general and spillover effects of anti-circumvention legislation in particular, (a) define the subject matter and scope of TPM as narrow as possible; (b) choose a liberal approach to exceptions and limitations and make sure that beneficiaries of exceptions can enjoy them; and (c) take a minimalist approach to sanctions and remedies for the violation of anti-circumvention provisions.
- Provide a definition of the circumstances (“minimum threshold”) under which TPM are considered to be “effective”.
- To the extent possible, limit the scope of prohibited circumvention-relevant conduct to situations where circumventions would lead to actual infringement of copyright.
- Immediately establish a mechanism for the enforcement of copyright exceptions vis-à-vis TPM and in the absence of voluntary measures by right-holders. Provide for an easily accessible and effective enforcement mechanism.
- Incorporate a private copying right vis-à-vis TPM analog to traditional private copying exceptions in order to foster access to information, knowledge, and entertainment.
- Use discretion with regard to sanctions and penalties and adhere to the principle of proportionality. Consider limitations on criminal and civil liability for non-profit organizations such as libraries, archives, etc., flexible sanctions for innocent infringers, and limitations on sanctions for legitimate purposes such as research and teaching.
Peer collaboration & distribution
- Provide for a broad private copying exception that is applicable to both analog/offline and digital/online works.
- Use discretion with regard to sanctions and penalties imposed on illegal file-sharing (uploading) and adhere to the principle of proportionality. Consider limitations on criminal and civil liability for small-scale infringements.
- Provide for a private copying exception that encompasses the act of downloading copyrighted material from the Internet, including from P2P file-sharing networks, regardless of the lawfulness of the master copy or the distribution platform.
- Provide a broad teaching exception that not only covers materials for face-to-face use in the classroom of educational facilities, but also the use of works at home for studying purposes. The preparation and post-processing of courses at educational institutions should be included as well.
- Implementations should not (further) limit the scope of the teaching exception as stipulated in the EUCD. Instead, provide for open definitions of the limitations on exempted uses for teaching purposes.
- Transpose the quotation exception by allowing quotations in multimedia works with an educational purpose or within instructions and textbooks for educational use.
- Provide for an exception that allows publicly accessible libraries and archives as well as documentation centers to make copies of entire works for specific purposes, without respect to whether these institutions are part of an educational or scientific institution or of a museum.
- Explicitly allow the reproduction of works on any medium in both digital and analog format.
- Allow the sharing of out-of-print copies among beneficiaries if certain requirements are met (out-of-print clause).
- Explicitly regulate the question of traditional as well as advanced forms of electronic document delivery by privileged institutions such as public libraries in the national copyright act.
- Permit electronic forms of delivery (e.g. in graphic file format) of individual copies of articles in periodicals and parts of published works to patrons for private study and research for non-commercial purposes, regardless whether the relevant material is available via an on-demand service or not.
- Provide for a broad disability exception to both the rights to reproduction and communication to the public that might mention, but is not limited to, certain types of disabilities such as visual or hearing impairment.
- Consider an exception or limitation for people with disabilities without requiring fair compensation.
Political & Cultural Participation
- Provide for a current-event exception and prescribe the conditions under which the freedom of expression right trumps the exlusive author’s rights. Do not restrict the scope of the exception to traditional media, such as newspapers, television or radio.
- The quotation right should allow diverse forms of quotations. It should encompass multimedia quotes as well as texts.
- Allow private persons to disseminate public and political speeches over the internet.
- Explicitly allow creative forms of political and cultural crticism. Use caricature, parody or pastiche as exemplary forms, but do not restrict the exception to these forms.
Download the full report for detailed discussion, references to member state implemenations, and case law examples.