Agreeing fair use rights

About this campaign

User rights in copyright vary from country to country. As such, there are common consumer practices such as time, space and format shifting, copying studio photos for family, home taping, and using clips from the Web in projects or presentations, that may be legal in one country, but illegal in another.

This campaign will engage copyright collecting societies in negotiations to allow consumers to legally exercise the day-to-day uses of copyright material that they already rely on, and that rights-holders currently tolerate.  The objective will be to obtain new, simple, and free fair use rights in member countries.

Voluntary agreements with rights holder organisations are one of the least-investigated avenues for the expansion of personal use rights for consumers, but compared to copyright law reform, we believe that it has the potential to be much more productive in the short term.

What sort of "fair uses" do we want?

This is to be determined by discussion by our members, but in general we will be looking first at uses that are already tolerated by rights-holders, such as copying within the family (where copyright law does not allow this), or time, space and format-shifting, that could be allowed to consumers gratis.

We will also only at first approach certain classes of collecting society, eg. those who administer rights over mechanical and reprographic reproduction, rather than those who administer public performance rights (which are less relevant to most consumers).

Once we have achieved this, we can then start to become more ambitious and seek to negotiate fair use rights for consumers over a broader range of works, covering a broader set of exclusive rights. This may occur later in time, once we have obtained additional funding to support this work.

Events and publications

The launch event for this campaign was an event, I Want It Now, held at the library of the European Parliament on 30 May 2012.

This prompted the preparation of a Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Interpretation of the Right of Quotation which was opened for comment in September 2012. It is hoped that this may later be discussed at a follow-up European dialogue on a code of best practices in quotation of copyright works.

How you can get involved

We plan to resource members to lobby for the right to exercise fair uses of works administered by collecting societies, which would de facto legalise certain personal uses by consumers that currently exist in a legal grey area.  We have investigated several possible options:

  1. An agreed moratorium on enforcement of rights against these uses - this option was the main subject of our meeting I Want It Now.
  2. A narrower Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Interpretation of the Right of Quotation  to which we would invite rights-holder representatives and consumers alike to subscribe.
  3. Voluntary collective licences that are “opt-in” for collecting society members (much like how members of collecting societies in the USA, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands can freely redistribute their works to consumers under terms of a Creative Commons licence, whilst reserving commercial use rights for management by the collecting society).
  4. Collective licences that might apply by default to all members of the collecting society in appropriate cases, covering the society's whole repertoire (such as time and format shifting, which are the subject of statutory exceptions in some countries).

If you would like to participate, please contact us.

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