Your views wanted for European Commission’s Public Consultation on the review of the EU copyright rule
Deadline is Wednesday 5 March 2014
The European Commission’s review on copyright in Europe closes soon, and we are advising that as many illustrators submit a response as possible. The review is focusing in particular on the digital area.
The Commission will be taking note of the number of responses (as well as what is said in them), and groups who want to reduce the power of copyright (the right which you derive your income from, as it controls how your work is reproduced by yourself or your clients) are encouraging those with the same beliefs to complete the form. We would like the creative community to impress upon the Commission the importance of copyright to creators. It’s important that creators, such as yourself, send a submission in to balance the ‘change copyright’ submissions.
An online form set up by PRS for Music is intended to simplify the completion of the EC’s Public Consultation on the review of the EU copyright rules can be found here. The questions may appear complex, but there is no requirement to complete the whole form. If you’d like to answer some of the questions the AOI believe are the most important, please see those below. You can email [email protected] with queries.
The same form is accessible here. This site includes a petition for signing, and has been set up by the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance, but you don’t have to be a composer or songwriter to support it.
For your guidance when completing the form:
◦ Under ‘Type of respondent’ illustrators should select ‘Author/Performer or representative of authors/performers’
◦ ‘Right holder’ or ‘rightsholder’ refers to creators
◦ Questions which reference ‘musical works’ or musicians still apply to artistic works and visual artists
‘Collective management organisation’ refers to collecting societies such as DACS or PRS for Music
It’s not necessary to complete the entire form, so these are the question numbers we encourage illustrators to complete:
What should be the role of the EU in promoting the adoption of identifiers in the content sector, and in promoting the development and interoperability of rights ownership and permissions databases?
AOI explanation: Identifiers already exist for books and magazines in the form of ISBN’s and ISSN’s, and it would be beneficial for creatives and those using creative works such as images to be able to have a system which allows for easy identification. This would assist both creators and their clients, and help prevent or track unauthorised use of images.
Answer: Adoption of standard identifiers should be encouraged, and funding from the EU to support work in this area alongside education on identifiers would be good. Sanctions against those who remove metadata (metadata will include the identifier) should be effective.
Additional answer: You can comment on how you believe identifiers would help with illustration files/images.
Term of Protection: Q20
Are the current terms of copyright protection still appropriate in the digital environment?
AOI explanation: Yes – Copyright for artistic works is set at 70 years after the death of the author, and AOI consider it an appropriate term for artistic works in the digital environment. More term information here
Answer: Yes, the existing term of protection of 70 years after the death of the creator is as valid in the digital environment as in the physical. Copyright exists for the benefit of creators, promotes diversity, and being able to make income from your copyrighted works incentivises creativity.
Additional answer: You can comment on how you might expect copyright protection in the digital realm to be as beneficial as in the physical. This could be royalties from digital books, protecting your artworks on websites, your rights in games and animations/films etc.
Exceptions flexibility: Q24
Independently from the questions above, is there a need to provide for a greater degree of flexibility in the EU regulatory framework for limitations and exceptions?
AOI explanation: No – The current copyright framework allows for flexibility, and there is no need for more specific exceptions to copyright. More information on exceptions here
The UK Fair dealing exception for use of copyrighted works functions (When assessing whether or not the use of an exception is fair dealing, the question to be asked is: how would a fair-minded and honest person have dealt with the work?) More information on fair dealing here
Answer: No – The current copyright framework allows for flexibility, and there is no need for more specific exceptions to copyright.
Copyright infringement enforcement: Q75
Should the civil enforcement system in the EU be rendered more efficient for infringements of copyright committed with a commercial purpose?
AOI explanation: Yes. Creators would benefit from support and resources for tackling infringements. Getting them removed or compensated for can be difficult.
Illustrators have found their work being used without their permission on websites which generate income for the infringer, for example through advertising or subscription costs. AOI are aware of the use of illustrations sold on merchandising online without permission of the illustrator.
Answer: If you are aware of examples, you can comment on these as reasons for a more efficient civil enforcement system which could ensure take down of infringed works within an effective timescale and prevent providers of infringing content making money from such a service.
Illustration by Beth Walrond