Tuesday, November 03, 2009

BPN 1397 Dutch government: new approach to copyright on internet

The Dutch government is seeking a new approach to copyright on internet. Two main measures are forthcoming: abolishing a surcharge on physical media and a ban on downloading content from an illegal source. Other measures are a better supervision of collecting societies and an improvement in the position of authors and artists. The measures are a reaction to the recommendations of parliamentary working party on copyright.

The government has concluded that the surcharge on physical media or the so called levy for the home copy has grown out of fashion due to the memory expansion of computers. This coupled to the download capacity of internet, it is more proper to download content than to buy an information carrier. It hardly does matter where and when a movie is viewed, music is listened to and games are played.

So paying for making a copy of a protected work should be organised differently. In fact it is better to organise this through the market parties such as the copyright owners, consumer organisations, entertainment industry and internet providers. They can best develop business models which are closer to the consumers and copyright owners such as monthly subscriptions for listening to music. The government is willing to support this trend in lieu for a ban on illegal activities for enrichment. In this way the government sees an opportunity to establish a market in which consumer buy content in a legal way and copyright holders are insured of revenues. This will imply that not only in the case of illegal uploading of protected content action can be taken, but also in the case of downloading from an evidently illegal source. The government will take out three years in order to work out the legal measures. The Dutch government makes clear that the ban on downloading is not to hassle individual internet users, but to ban activities of commercial parties.

The Dutch government will come with a bill to improve the contractual position of authors and performing artists. The supervision of collecting societies will be strengthened on good governance, financial management, investment policy and renumeration.

The collecting societies have been under fire recently as they have suggested surcharges on many items. The collecting society for physical media had suggested a levy on MP3. The collecting society on music copyrights had suggested unreasonable tariffs for using music on private sites such as blogs. A wave of indignation gathered strength and in hardly two weeks time the collecting society BUMA/STEMRA retracted the proposal for private sites.

Blog Posting Number: 1397

Tags: copyright, collecting societies

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