OTW Legal Submits Comments to European Commission

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In January, the OTW posted about efforts in the European Union to influence copyright reform. In addition to encouraging fans to make their voices heard, OTW’s Legal Committee also began preparing comments.

Our Legal Committee has registered the OTW in the European Union’s Transparency Register and has now filed a submission to the European Commission in response to its call for comments concerning possible EU copyright reform.

The OTW discussed the problems that arise for members of the public from the fact that most limitations and exceptions provided in the EU copyright directives are optional for the Member States. We also argued for exemptions and greater flexibility in regulations that would enable fans to create works more freely.

“There is a great need for an exemption that would protect transformative works, particularly noncommercial, transformative works. Either a flexible exemption of broader scope that covered transformative uses or a specific exemption for noncommercial, transformative works could provide the necessary certainty for internet-based communities of authors and audiences…Making this type of exception mandatory furthers the interests of both users and future creators, and at the same time helps to foster expressions of culture within the EU. This scenario, in turn, complies with the integration clauses of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), particularly arts. 12, 167(4) and 169(2), which mandate the EU to take into account cultural aspects and consumer protection in EU legislation.”

OTW Legal concluded that “protection for noncommercial transformative works would avoid the difficulties posed by inevitably futile attempts at pervasive licensing, and would allow commercial industries to focus on wholesale copying and unauthorized, illegitimate commercial uses that compete for revenue.”