Feeds

EC misleading EU on copyright extension, says boffin

'Wilfully ignored' studies that disagreed

3 Big data security analytics techniques

A leading academic has warned that the European Commission "wilfully ignored" studies that it paid for whose conclusions disagreed with its policy, and that the Commission is misleading the European Union Council, Parliament and citizens over copyright extension.

Professor Bernt Hugenholtz is the director of the University of Amsterdam's Institute for Information Law (IViR) and has written an open letter (pdf) to Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso that is starkly critical of its controversial policies on copyright extension.

The Commission last month published its intention to extend the term of copyright on sound to 95 years after the recording has been made, giving the player of an instrument on a recording a similar length of protection as that given to the writer of the music.

Hugenholtz accused the Commission of "wilfully ignoring scientific analysis and evidence" in its policy-making process.

The IViR conducted two in-depth studies on this and related issues which were commissioned and paid for by the EC, but found that none of the evidence of arguments raised in those papers seemed to be used as the basis of EC policy.

The fact that those studies had no perceptible impact on decisions is unacceptable, said Hugenholtz.

"The Commission's obscuration of the IViR studies and its failure to confront the critical arguments made therein seem to reveal an intention to mislead the Council and the Parliament, as well as the citizens of the European Union," he wrote.

He said that the studies were robust pieces of work that have had an influence on others' deliberations.

"Since their completion and publication, both studies have attracted considerable attention in scholarly circles and among stakeholders and continue to play an important role in informing the current debate on the future of copyright law and policy in the EU," said Hugenholtz in his letter. "It comes therefore as a complete surprise to us to discover that our studies have been almost entirely ignored in the [Commission's] so-called 'forward looking package' on Intellectual Property."

Hugenholtz points out that a number of studies carried out by industry and other groups with an interest in the outcome of the debate were referenced by the Commission's policy documents, but that his institute's independent academic studies were not. The studies rejected the arguments in favour of term extension.

The professor said that the Commission has been inconsistent about whether it believes that independent analysis and advice is necessary.

"Amazingly and quite misleadingly, the Explanatory Memorandum states that '[T]here was no need for external expertise'. This is patently untrue, as the terms of reference of the Recasting Study, which were drawn up by the European Commission … expressly asked for the examination of, among other issues, the need for a term extension and the issue of co-written musical works," he said.

Hugenholtz conceded that academic work should not necessarily immediately become governmental policy, but said that it should at least be taken into account.

"We are, of course, well aware that several conclusions of the IViR studies do not agree with the policy choices underlying the Commission's proposals. And we are certainly not so naïve as to expect that the recommendations of an academic institution such as ours, however well researched and conceived they may be, will find their way into the Commission's policies in undiluted form," he said.

"What we would expect however is that our work, which was expressly commissioned by the policy unit in charge of these proposals, be given the appropriate consideration by the Commission and be duly referenced in its policy documents, in particular wherever the Commission's policy choices depart from our studies' main recommendations."

The issue of the extension of copyright in sound recordings has been a controversial one. In 2006 the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property published its report in which it recommended that sound recording copyright protection be kept to the existing 50 year term.

Copyright © 2008, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
US Supreme Court supremo rakes Aereo lawman in oral arguments
Antenna-array content streamers: 'Ruling against us could dissipate the cloud'
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.