Cutlasses rattle in Brussels as Black Spot copyright report argument heats up

Cap'n Reda blasted as Pirates fall out

Costumed pirate

MEPs have been scribbling furiously in response to Pirate MEP Julia Reda’s report on copyright.

Reda told El Reg that her non-legislative report on the functioning of the so-called Infosoc Directive had received more than 550 amendments – a staggering number for a report that isn’t even legally binding. Reda’s report [which we shall be calling the Black Spot* -Ed] is merely a review of how the old copyright law has been implemented.

Clearly MEPs are thinking about the message the European Parliament will send to Digi-Commissioner Gunther H-dot Oettinger ahead of his proposals for a new copyright law, due in the summer, said Reda. Nor are the comments exclusively from the shadow rapporteurs (the parliamentarians appointed by political groups to assess the report).

“I haven’t been sent the text yet, but I get the feeling that the amendments will be going in opposite directions, so it will be very difficult to reach a compromise text,” said Reda.

It is hardly surprising that she has split the Parliament, given that the report has been both lauded and pilloried outside the EU's institutions. Even members of the Pirate Party have been critical – saying Reda’s report does not go far enough – while collecting societies have seen it as an attack on their very raison d’etre.

Lobbying in Brussels has gone into overdrive, as groups push hard for Oettinger to represent their interests in his forthcoming law. On Wednesday a new organisation, the Association of European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (CEDC), was launched amid fears that “authors’ rights are under threat”.

The Reda report will be discussed in the parliament’s legal affairs committee on 23 March, where arguments are likely to get heated. ®

Bootnote

*According to Treasure Island, when pirates deliver judgement on something - often something they would like to see dead or removed - this is done in the form of a written message with a black blob on the other side, the "Black Spot". Reda's copyright report is plainly in this category.

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