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European Greens Call For Copyright Reform, Legalized File Sharing, Banning of DRM

Posted by: , 18:56 AEDT, Sat October 8, 2011

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The European Greens have released a new position paper on copyright reform which calls for a ban to DRM, legalizing not-for-profit file sharing of copyrighted works, and a reduction in the copyright protect period from 70 years to 20 years

The European Greens have released a position paper on dealing with copyright in the 21st century. The Greens have signalled a position change that brings its copyright platform in line with its The Greens–European Free Alliance ally, The Pirate Party, with some radical changes suggested that will surely test the resolve of Hollywood and those in the EU that believe tougher copyright laws are the answer to everything.

The Greens/EFA alliance, which holds only 55 seats in the 736 seat EU parliament, wants instead to reduce the rights of rights holders, for the common good and to promote innovation. The Greens want to start by first legalizing personal, non commercial file-sharing. "To share copies, or otherwise spread or make use of use somebody else's copyrighted work, should never be prohibited if it is done non-commercially and without a profit motive," stated the position paper.

Next up is the banning of Digital Rights Management, or DRM, which is deployed often to prevent copying and sharing, often at the expense of fair use. The Greens want DRM circumvention to be "always legal", and even calls for an outright ban on the technology, as DRM would "allow the big multinational corporations to write their own laws, and enforce them through technical means".

But most controversial of all, perhaps, is the call to reduced the recently extended 70-year (plus life) period on copyright protection, to only 5 years, with the possibly to renew up to 20 years. The Greens says this makes sense from "both society's and an investor’s point of view".

Other proposed changes include clearer laws that protect "remixes" and "paraodies" and quotation rights, to lessen the "obstacles" for artists who create new works by reusing existing works.

The Pirate Party's MEP Christian Engstrom, speaking to TorrentFreak, welcomed The Green's new position. "I think it’s great," Engstrom said, before adding that the position paper "made perfect sense".


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