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Share Your Opinion with European Copyright Legislators

Copyright Locked

Screencap from @topgold.

I GOT A COPYRIGHT ALERT from the Icelandic Pirate Party and later noticed Cory Doctorow covering the point. [1] The alert told me about a short timeline set by the European Commission on Copyright Reform and the need to make an input by February 4, 2014.

Ásta Helgadóttir, reserve MP for the Icelandic Pirate Party, writes, "The European Commission has opened up for consultation on their proposal for legislation [2] (which then will be sent to the European Parliament) and you, as an individual, alien or organization can give your honest opinion about whatever copyright has done, good or bad, for and to you in the past decades".

The copyright consultation period lasts only 60 days for 80 questions. The language in the consultation document is very technical and this will compound problems for Europeans who are unable to read English. The Commission has rejected pleas on extending the consultation period and providing translations at least in French, German and Polish.

Copyright is Culture. Good copyright legislation ensures we can reimagine content and continue to fuel the rise of the creative economy. And most importantly, copyright cannot be perverted into a system that makes peer-to-peer filesharing illegal. We need our Dropboxes, our Skydrives and our shared Evernote accounts because these functional software services reduce the friction associated with the sharing of knowledge.

Good copyright legislation does not make people liable for the content of webpages they connect with hyperlinks.

But without citizen involvement, Europeans risk copyright laws being twisted to criminalise normal usage patters on the social web.

If you care about these issues, please go to www.copywrongs.eu before 5 February 2014 and answer the questions which are important to you. You do not have to answer all the questions, only the ones that matter to you.

Fair play to the Pirate Party Austria, Wikimedia in Germany and Open Knowledge Foundation Germany who set up Copywrongs as a place for citizens to have their voices heard.

[Bernie Goldbach is the senior creative multimedia lecturer at the Limerick School of Art & Design.]

1. Cory Doctorow -- "URGENT: Input Needed on EU Copyright Consultation" on BoingBoing, January 5, 2014.

2. Original EU consultation.

3. Simplified consultuation document.