Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dutch parliamentary hearings into copyright (1)

A Dutch parliamentary working party is going to investigate the bottlenecks which have arisen due to the introduction of internet. The working party will be part of the commission for justice. The state secretary of justice has announced a vision document on copyright in the past, but the parliamentarians do not want to wait for this. The working party will investigate what scenarios there are in order to come to remuneration models. The working party wants have results in a few months and have a discussion in the House of Parliament before the summer.

The discussion on copyrights and levies has never been away in the last few years. Recently at a seminar several suggestions were discussed. The collecting society NORMA suggested a new system of measures, enforcing levies on media, but tolerating non-commercial uploads (presently uploading copyrighted material is illegal in the Netherlands).

Sample-artist and vj Eboman said that the present copyright law is dated and can not respond to the new ways with images in which people communicate. Remixing and sampling is impossible by the legal squabbles of an industry which is only attempting to protect its revenues.

And the first written reaction, an open letter (only in Dutch), is already in sent by the Vrijschrift organisation (translated Free writing). This organisation promotes the awareness of the economic and social importance of free knowledge and culture for society. Internationally co-operates with the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure, the Free Software Foundation Europe, the Project Gutenberg en many others.

In the open letter (copyrighted under creative commons) to the state secretary of Justice and the parliamentary commission of justice the organisation expresses that it is happy with the parliamentary investigation into copyright.

In the open letter Vrijschrift points to bottlenecks, which are caused by the abundence of copyright regulations. These bottlenecks can be summarised as:
- the length of copyright is too long;
- the reach of copyright is too wide;
- the copyright law is excessively complex;
- publishers claim copyright improperly (copy fraud);
- Levies are unworkable and unjust.

In the extensive open letter the organisation treats all these points. In the next instalments I will produce a digest of the open letter.

Blog Posting Number 986

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