[Fsfe-ie] Software freedom arguments against copyright extension

Ciarán O'Riordan ciaran at member.fsf.org
Mon Apr 11 15:02:19 CEST 2011

There's a proposal for an EU directive to lengthen copyright for certain
works.  We sent an IFSO mail today (text below) to the only Irish MEP on the
European Parliament's legal affairs committee (JURI), Brian Crowley (FF).

Our mail was brief because it's such short notice, but when we have to write
another letter later on in the process, what software freedom arguments
should we use, and what documents back up those arguments?

Arguments are easy to find, but *free software* arguments, in a form for a
non-programmer, are tougher - but it's what we need.

Any ideas?

The dossier for the proposed directive is here:

Dear Mr. Crowley,

Irish Free Software Organisation (IFSO) opposes the extension of copyright
which may be put to a vote in JURI today or tomorrow, and we ask that you do
the same.  Further, we ask for your support in requesting a new first
reading for this proposed directive.

Software companies with dominant market positions are increasingly using the
copyright of cultural works as a barrier to block other software developers.
Due to Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), music lovers can be required
to use the software of a small group of "approved" large software companies,
or be blocked from listening to DRM'd music.

A few large companies are protected from competition, and the majority of
software developers are locked out - including all the "small artists" of
the software field.

For people who object to DRM, or who don't find any acceptable software
among the "approved" group, there is still public domain works.  Extending
copyright impoverishes the public domain and our cultural heritage.

Below is a selection of links to independent studies highlighting the harms
of copyright extension.

Yours sincerely,
Ciarán O'Riordan, +32 487 64 17 54
Irish Free Software Organisation

 1. 8 Universities and policy centres issued this 2-page
    statement about how the proposal would harm Europe's culture
    and economy:

 2. UK government's "Gower's review", which concluded that:

    "The European Commission should retain the length of
     protection on sound recordings and performers’ rights at 50
     years."  (page "56" - which is the 60th page of the PDF document)


 3. Institute for Information Law, University of Amsterdam:
    "Never Forever: Why Extending the Term of Protection for Sound
    Recordings is a Bad Idea"


Ciarán O'Riordan, +32 487 64 17 54, http://ciaran.compsoc.com

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