6. Summary of the proceedings (part two)
This discussion followed after the coffee break. It was preceded by Petra
Wikström's presentation of the current EU position.
6.1. What is the aim of the EU Directive on copyright?
We have to bear in mind that it is a directive on the protection of copyright.
It is not a directive which aims at regulating the information society
as a whole. It is to affirm the validity of the copyright in the new means
Although the directive focuses on the copyright aspect, we would want to
assess that it concerns those other democratic values or "public service
values" (Gary Herman) as well.
Question (of the chairman): Which of the Committees of the European
Parliament focuses on the broader implications of the directive?
Answer (by Cécile Despringre): The Legal Affars Committee.
The Directive speaks about copyright and investment. I did not see the
word culture anywhere. It is not a nursery for the authors.
6.2. Fame and fortune
Kersti Juva, literary translator
I think there is a third dimension, said Kersti Juva, who recently finished
a translation of "Tristram Shandy" into Finnish. Our work as authors and
translators is already as such a public service. In the case of the translators
it is the service of mediation.
I think there are two groups here: those, for whom copyright is a commercial
issue, who do all these things for money and those for whom it is not.
I think we are used as a smoke-screen. You said that a good copyright serves
us nicely. It doesn't. For something that Leena Krohn does, or that I do,
or all the authors who were mentioned here do, there is no money in it.
We have to make our living otherwise. So we are actually in the same line
as the libraries and with the whole of society, and just as vulnerable.
Sure, I don't want that little money I can get to be taken away from
me; I will fiercely protect that. I am just saying that even from where
I look at it, the issue is morally more complicated. If I publish something,
it is for the public. Works are like children. The parents do not own their
children, they have just sent them out and they have a life of their own.
Our discussion is too focused on the money issue.
The expression "fame and fortune" is a handy way to cover many of these
In Finnish, we speak about 'maker's rights' [tekijänoikeus]. In connection
with the databases, we have found that the fame goes to the author and
the fortune to the producer. The word maker is confusing because it covers
both. The author and the producing company are put in the same basket although
they have different interests. As long as the author is alive he has more
in common with the libraries. But I want to be on the same side as the
French ladies here.
The problem is that the authors are paid by the publishers. When the publisher
or producer sells hundreds or thousands of copies, the author should be
compensated. We know that libraries are not making commercial activities.
But if we are not careful with the exceptions, we don't know what will
happen. We are not sure that, for instance, encoding will work. Let us
wait before we make exceptions. Let us negotiate with libraries. The agreement
between libraries and the French government is signed both by companies
(publishers) and by the authors.
We don't make our living from copyright, but from grants from the Finnish
6.3. Why to worry about the Directive?
What is there with this directive I should worry about? Should I worry
about problems which the directive does not address, or about what the
directive permits governments to do, or about what the member states may
be prohibited, or forced to do?
The directive makes a division between old and new technology. Your countries
will still be able to have the same rules for copying onto paper. So that
for photocopying books, the rules are not going to change. But as soon
as digital technology is involved, the rules are different. The directive
would allow one rule but not the other.
There are two currents of thinking. The first says that you ought to
be able to do everything in the electronic age that seems similar to what
you did with the old technology. You should be able to read a book for
free and, therefore, you should be able to read it for free on the Internet;
that is a big concern for the libraries.
The others, like the collecting societies, say: we don't know what is
happening with the digital age; it is better if we stop that sort of thing,
and wait and se what is into it.
The whole issue is about the vision of the content. This is why we see
all these mergers. The only way to make money with the content is to control
it. And the only way to control it is to own it.
Reading is viewing and, in the digital environment, viewing means copying.
The consequence of the draft EU Directive would be that too much of the
reading would be organised on a pay-per-view basis. This is a concern,
since it could mean the end of reading as we know it. To this day, we have
not yet been charged as readers.
We should not stay calm with the information that the Directive is supposed
to be implemented June 2000, in two years. That is not very slow compared
with , for instance, legislation in Sweden.
6.4. Authors, Rightholders and Big Business
Farrell Burnett, Researcher, Centre for Communication and Information Studies,
University of Westminster, UK
They say 'rightholders and authors'. In reality, that means big companies.
In France, it could mean authors, because of the Civil Code. But it certainly
does not mean authors in the case of the journalists and the scientist,
who could not get their work published without signing a contract which
transfers their rights to the publishers, who become the rightholders.
Rightholders means big business.
'Authors' encompasses rightholders generally. Anyone who produces something.
News corporations may say "we are the authors".
We can say, that the artists are the people we are concerned about, but
can you imagine the government to say that?
Analysis is needed of the relationship between WIPO, the Directive and
national legislation. The WIPO treaty established 'the right to communicate
to the public'.
The Berne Convention is founded on the French and German Author's Rights,
which is not a common law term.
What the European Union has done in this directive is not quite honest,
because they are not speaking strictly Berne Convention. They use the term
author as in the common law countries, to mean a legal person. Here is
a political point to, beacuse it is becoming clear what they mean by rightsholders.
6.5. Cooperation between authors, rightholders and libraries?
The libraries don't want to take any income away from the authors. Neither
do we think that free access is access for free. But with this construction,
you will perhaps always have to ask the question, can we give access. There
are different kinds of digital documents:
If a consumer or a library finds interesting works on the internet, it
must be a democratic right to reproduce it.
in databases; we can ask the government for funds to access databases when
we have paid for it, it should be cleared with the author already;
freely circulating documents; if this is suppose to function, the discussion
must be divided in two. If an author publishes on internet, he gets the
fame but not the fortune. If he wants fortune, he has to publish himself
in a more secure way.
Researchers and scientists may be prepared to by-step the publishers, because
science is not about making money. It is essential for science as an institution
that the results be publicly available in, for instance, libraries. Scientific
literature must not be distributed on a pay-per-view basis.
One must be careful to distinguish between copying for commercial purposes
and copying for private use. We must be clear about this, that a single
copy is not a criminal action.
How do you control? I cannot make 100 copies of my videotape, because it
costs a lot of money.
Tom Egil Hverven, journalist and critic, Norway
The new media are changing so rapidly that it is very difficult to control.
Everybody is able to use, and also everybody is able to become an author.
I talked to participants in the Norwegian debate before coming here.
They said that a new side of this debate is that authors or rightsholders
come together with librarians or library organisations and try to cooperate.
Some of them found that very interesting, because the authors or rightholders
and the librarians have some common interests. It would be practical to
find out what are the common interests between the authors and the librarians,
and which are the common threats.
6.6. What to do next?
Together with friends I have written a draft appeal which is enclosed in
"Library is a Keyword" [included below among the papers in section 7].
A number of MEP:s, authors and others have signed or promised to sign this
appeal. From today on, it is possible to sign it via the website www.kaapeli.fi/saveaccess.
It is not our immediate task to formulate propositions for the Barzanti
committee, I think. There seem to be enough lobbyists and alliances of
lobbyists who already do this. It could be fruitful to launch a cross-political
action which disregards the present alliances of the lobbying organisations.
The fear among librarians is certainly justified. The fear of the collecting
societies may also be justified. But their "wait and see" attitude to Internet
and the information society is not. It is too passive.
Library is a keyword. The public library, rather than Big Business,
deserves to be given control over the information. The position of the
library in the society's division of power could be much stronger than
it is today. In order to make it stronger, let the "The Information Commissioner"
and "Statewatch" move into the library.
Victor Hugo said "Dead authors should pay young authors"
I think we should lobby the Barzanti committee -- "we" being librarians
and broader coalitions. We should also begin immediate lobbying on MAI.
If a library is public, it has a budget to buy works. The problem of budget
is a problem with the government. We are with you to increase the budget
for the library.
Mikael's vision depends on that, because it implies that the library would
have a more prominent role than hitherto in the whole of civil society.
Of course, we [the library sector] want more money, but we also want to
know what to do with it.
Journalists are supposed to write bout these things, but they have interests
in both ways.
Mr Jukka Liedes has suggested that the problem of access is a question
of political agreement. We just need agreement on the necessary increase
in the library budget for buying access to information.
There are two ways:
This may lead to an to a 2-3 times increase in the budget for libraries
and to a situation where we lose the libraries, if the increase is not
paid. If we lose libraries, it is also against the creators (who also need
Tom Egil Hverven
The draft appeal stresses constitutional problems too much.
To counter the yawn of the media, create good stories.
Libraries and authors lobbying together is a good idea, but someone has
to pay. A key problem is this: How to strengthen the position of the authors
in the negotiations with the corporation.
The libraries are the right places to deposit digital newspaper archives.
This is a concrete proposal.
Lobby national parliaments, do not lobby only at the European level.