Bring copyright back to its original purpose!

Topic 1 | Monday, 14 May, 2012 16:33 GMT+2, by Johannes Bouphos, Germany

Good idea to include copyright issues in such a reflection. However, on should not throw the baby out with the bath-water, as is now often the case when such debates are reduced mainly to a conflict between users and "providers" of digital content. The other – and indeed main – deficit that needs to be tackled concerns a fair remuneration of creators for their effectively delivered work. Contrary to what artists are being told (by major rights holders), and what lawmakers are supposed to believe, this problem cannot be solved within our present copyright model, which today rewards mainly the commercial success of a work and not its innovative content or the effort and time invested by the original creators. Digital media and particularly the Internet are not the main cause for the departure of copyright from its original purpose, but make the deterioration of authors' protection all the more obvious. What can (and should!) be done, in this respect? Here are five suggestions:

1. Reward honest work through honest, direct and fairly remunerated contracts (between creators and service providers);

2. Reduce the duration of copyright protection in order to: dissolve monopolies of commercial rights holders; strengthen the position of living creators; and enhance cultural diversity;

3. Restructure the membership composition and distribution plans of copyright licensing societies (with larger shares of the revenue to be attributed as "fees-per-item" to original creators);

4. Strengthen the fair use of protected works in artistic, educational and scientific contexts as well as alternative forms of protection and licensing (e.g. the "Creative Commons" model);

In the longer run, reform copyright legislation and global conventions by clearly separating the protection of original creators from that of derivative rights holders (e.g. content producers and distributors).



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