EU Commission's Follow-up to the Green Paper, comment no 1

Subject: EU Commission's Follow-up to the Green Paper, comment no 1
From: Heikki Poroila (
Date: to 13 helmi  1997 - 06:37:13 EET

Dear list members,

I have tried my best to go through this document by Comission of the
European Communitites called "Follow-up to the Green Paper on Copyright
and related rights in the Information Society". I have some comments -
yes indeed -, and I'll start with the user's rights under the right of
reproduction, like Emanuella Giavarra asked us to do.

1. The Commission seems to think, that private copying cannot go on in
digital/electronic enviroment like it has been in analog world. I cannot
agree with this as such. We have already lived with digital/electronic
works (CD's, computer programs) for many years without any notable
problems because of the private copying. I don't see any dramatic
changes in near future. I believe that in open networks the producers of
information and works will be able to adapt suitable technical means to
restrict unauthorized copying. We should be allowed to make electronic
copies for private use, if it is left technically possible.

2. Piracy is a problem for the industry, that's true. But who really
believes that making copying for private use "fully restricted act"
harms pirates too much? They go on like before, but ordinary people are
in trouble in trying to get access to information and works.

3. The new WIPO Copyright Treaty harmonizes the rightowner's rights
internationally, but leaves all exceptions and limitations to national
level. If we look at the situation now in EU countries, the only way to
harmonize these exceptions is to choose the British way. And we all know
that the British way in copyright means limitations to the user's
rights, not to the rightowner's rights.

4. I think that the only reasonable way to try to harmonize limitations
to the reproduction right is to find a minimum level, which should be
permitted Community-wide, and leave everything else to be solved on
national level. The differencies between European traditions are so big,
that any attempt to harmonize all the exceptions and limitations would
be a disaster for instance in Finland.

5. The right to make digital or electronic copies for private use does
not mean, that we should also be allowed to distribute these copies
freely to anybody. Making a copy is not the relevant act, the use of
that copy is.

Heikki Poroila
Music Librarian (Vantaa City Library) & Finnish Library Copyright Group

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