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EU Council backs controversial copyright crackdown

- April 15, 2019 in copyright, eu, Featured, Internet, News, Policy

The Council of the European Union today backed a controversial copyright crackdown in a ‘deeply disappointing’ vote that could impact on all internet users. Six countries voted against the proposal which has been opposed by 5million people through a Europe-wide petition – Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Finland and Sweden.
Three more nations abstained, but the UK voted for the crackdown and there were not enough votes for a blocking minority. The proposal is expected to lead to the introduction of ‘filters’ on sites such as YouTube, which will automatically remove content that could be copyrighted. While entertainment footage is most likely to be affected, academics fear it could also restrict the sharing of knowledge, and critics argue it will have a negative impact on freedom of speech and expression online. EU member states will have two years to implement the law, and the regulations are still expected to affect the UK despite Brexit. The Open Knowledge Foundation said the battle is not over, with the European elections providing an opportunity to elect ‘open champions’. Catherine Stihler, chief executive of the Open Knowledge Foundation, said:
“This is a deeply disappointing result which will have a far-reaching and negative impact on freedom of speech and expression online. The controversial crackdown was not universally supported, and I applaud those national governments which took a stand and voted against it. We now risk the creation of a more closed society at the very time we should be using digital advances to build a more open world where knowledge creates power for the many, not the few.

But the battle is not over. Next month’s European elections are an opportunity to elect a strong cohort of open champions at the European Parliament who will work to build a more open world.”

EU copyright vote a ‘massive blow’ for internet users

- March 26, 2019 in copyright, eu, Featured, Internet, News, Policy

MEPs have today voted to press ahead with a controversial copyright crackdown in a ‘massive blow’ for all internet users. Despite a petition with over 5 million signatures and scores of protests across Europe attended by tens of thousands of people, MEPs voted by 348 to 274 in favour of the changes. It is expected to lead to the introduction of ‘filters’ on sites such as YouTube, which will automatically remove content that could be copyrighted. While entertainment footage is most likely to be affected, academics fear it could also restrict the sharing of knowledge, and critics argue it will have a negative impact on freedom of speech and expression online. EU member states will have two years to implement the law, and the regulations are still expected to affect the UK despite Brexit. Catherine Stihler, chief executive of the Open Knowledge Foundation, said:
“This vote is a massive blow for every internet user in Europe. MEPs have rejected pleas from millions of EU citizens to save the internet, and chose instead to restrict freedom of speech and expression online. We now risk the creation of a more closed society at the very time we should be using digital advances to build a more open world where knowledge creates power for the many, not the few.

But while this result is deeply disappointing, the forthcoming European elections provide an opportunity for candidates to stand on a platform to seek a fresh mandate to reject this censorship.”

Final copyright vote: MEPs must choose to save the internet

- March 26, 2019 in copyright, eu, Featured, Internet, News

MEPs will today vote on a controversial copyright crackdown that could restrict internet freedoms for millions of people. After years of negotiation, the final vote will be held on reforms that could result in automatic ‘upload filters’ which restrict what can be posted on social media platforms like YouTube. More than 5.1million people have signed a petition to ‘save the internet’, and scores of protests attended by tens of thousands of people were held across Europe at the weekend. While entertainment footage such as video game clips or copyrighted songs are most likely to be affected, academics fear it could also restrict the sharing of knowledge. The vote will be one of the last major decisions taken by MEPs before the European elections, and possibly the last by the UK’s MEPs ahead of Brexit. Over 120 MEPs have publicly pledged to vote against the crackdown, but that includes only three from the UK. Brexit does not offer an escape route from the changes, as any website that operates within the EU is likely to abide by the regulations. Catherine Stihler, chief executive of Open Knowledge International which campaigns for openness, said:
“If passed, this copyright crackdown will lead to a chilling effect on freedom of speech. It could change the web as we know it and restrict how we share research that could lead to medical breakthroughs or how we share facts to combat the spread of ‘fake news’. MEPs must choose to save the internet in this crucial vote. I particularly urge the UK’s MEPs to stand up and be counted while they still have a voice at the top table, as this will affect everyone in the UK even after Brexit. We must use digital advances for the public good and help build a more open world, not create a more closed society.”

Catherine Stihler was MEP for Scotland until January 2019. As an MEP, she was vice-chair of the European Parliament’s consumer protection committee and led the fight against the proposals. More background information on the proposal is available here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-47239600

EU’s chilling copyright crackdown an ‘attack on openness’

- February 14, 2019 in copyright, eu, Internet, News

EU negotiators have struck a deal over copyright reform that is an ‘attack on openness’, the new chief executive of Open Knowledge International has warned. Catherine Stihler, a former MEP and vice-chair of the European Parliament’s consumer protection committee, said the changes will restrict internet freedoms for millions of users. The agreement will require platforms such as Youtube, Twitter or Google News to take down user-generated content that could breach intellectual property and install filters to prevent people from uploading copyrighted material. That means memes, GIFs and music remixes may be taken down because the copyright does not belong to the uploader. It could also restrict the sharing of vital research and facts, allowing ‘fake news’ to spread. The proposed changes will now head to the European Parliament for a vote among all MEPs in March or April. Open Knowledge International is a non-profit organisation which fights for open data and helps groups access and use data to address social problems. Catherine Stihler, chief executive of Open Knowledge International, said:
“This deeply disappointing deal is an attack on openness. The copyright crackdown will lead to a chilling effect on freedom of speech across the EU. We want people to be empowered to build, share and reuse their own data and content freely and openly, and this move goes against that principle. It does not enhance citizens’ rights, and could lead to Europe becoming a more closed society – restricting how we share research that could lead to medical breakthroughs or how we share facts to combat the spread of ‘fake news’. I urge MEPs to vote down this proposal and fight for a future where our world is more open.”

For more information on how you can help save your internet, you can visit saveyourinternet.eu or sign the online petition along with millions of others.

Copyright Reform – CREATe Resources

- June 13, 2018 in communication, copyright, Featured

Guest post by Kerry Patterson CREATe Community Manager Copyright Reform is a few votes away. The European Union may require those who share news to obtain licences first (permissions against payment). The EU may require platforms to filter content uploaded by users (aimed at music files but also applying to new digital expressions, such as memes and parodies). Following the adoption of a position of the Council of the European Union on 25 May 2018, the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) will vote on the proposed Copyright Directive on 20 June. It is extremely rare for a later plenary vote to overturn the lead committee’s position. So, the destiny of the controversial directive may be settled shortly. This is an important junction in copyright policy, as the Copyright Directive could be the most far reaching European copyright intervention since the 2001 Information Society Directive. CREATe is the UK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy, based at the University of Glasgow. The Centre brings together an interdisciplinary team of academics from law, economics, management, computer science, sociology, psychology, ethnography and critical studies. CREATe believes that we can know who is right, and who is wrong. Our resource page [http://www.create.ac.uk/eu-copyright-reform] tracks the progress of the European Commission’s Reform Package through the complex EU process of law making and signposts significant independent scientific research. It also offers a timeline of the policy making process for the Copyright in the Digital Single Market directive, and access to draft documents where they have become available (sometimes as leaks).
Text Kerry Patterson -CREATe Community Manager https://www.create.ac.uk  Images Davide Bonazzi/Copyright User

Copyright Reform – CREATe Resources

- June 13, 2018 in communication, copyright, Featured

Guest post by Kerry Patterson CREATe Community Manager Copyright Reform is a few votes away. The European Union may require those who share news to obtain licences first (permissions against payment). The EU may require platforms to filter content uploaded by users (aimed at music files but also applying to new digital expressions, such as memes and parodies). Following the adoption of a position of the Council of the European Union on 25 May 2018, the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) will vote on the proposed Copyright Directive on 20 June. It is extremely rare for a later plenary vote to overturn the lead committee’s position. So, the destiny of the controversial directive may be settled shortly. This is an important junction in copyright policy, as the Copyright Directive could be the most far reaching European copyright intervention since the 2001 Information Society Directive. CREATe is the UK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy, based at the University of Glasgow. The Centre brings together an interdisciplinary team of academics from law, economics, management, computer science, sociology, psychology, ethnography and critical studies. CREATe believes that we can know who is right, and who is wrong. Our resource page [http://www.create.ac.uk/eu-copyright-reform] tracks the progress of the European Commission’s Reform Package through the complex EU process of law making and signposts significant independent scientific research. It also offers a timeline of the policy making process for the Copyright in the Digital Single Market directive, and access to draft documents where they have become available (sometimes as leaks).
Text Kerry Patterson -CREATe Community Manager https://www.create.ac.uk  Images Davide Bonazzi/Copyright User

Cape Town Open Education Declaration 10th anniversary

- January 24, 2018 in #CPT10, copyright, oer

This week, Monday January 22nd, the Open Education community celebrated an important anniversary: 10 years since the publication of the Cape Town Open Education Declaration, a global call to action that has helped inspire thousands of open education advocates across the world.
The Declaration starts by describing an “open education movement” which is pervading educational practices worldwide:
We are on the cusp of a global revolution in teaching and learning. Educators worldwide are developing a vast pool of educational resources on the Internet, open and free for all to use. These educators are creating a world where each and every person on earth can access and contribute to the sum of all human knowledge. They are also planting the seeds of a new pedagogy where educators and learners create, shape and evolve knowledge together, deepening their skills and understanding as they go. This emerging open education movement combines the established tradition of sharing good ideas with fellow educators and the collaborative, interactive culture of the Internet. It is built on the belief that everyone should have the freedom to use, customize, improve and redistribute educational resources without constraint. Educators, learners and others who share this belief are gathering together as part of a worldwide effort to make education both more accessible and more effective.
And it goes on suggesting three strategies to increase the reach and impact of open educational resources:
1. Educators and learners: First, we encourage educators and learners to actively participate in the emerging open education movement. Participating includes: creating, using, adapting and improving open educational resources; embracing educational practices built around collaboration, discovery and the creation of knowledge; and inviting peers and colleagues to get involved. Creating and using open resources should be considered integral to education and should be supported and rewarded accordingly. 2. Open educational resources: Second, we call on educators, authors, publishers and institutions to release their resources openly. These open educational resources should be freely shared through open licences which facilitate use, revision, translation, improvement and sharing by anyone. Resources should be published in formats that facilitate both use and editing, and that accommodate a diversity of technical platforms. Whenever possible, they should also be available in formats that are accessible to people with disabilities and people who do not yet have access to the Internet. 3. Open education policy: Third, governments, school boards, colleges and universities should make open education a high priority. Ideally, taxpayer-funded educational resources should be open educational resources. Accreditation and adoption processes should give preference to open educational resources. Educational resource repositories should actively include and highlight open educational resources within their collections.

So, where are we now, after exactly 10 years from this? The 10 year anniversary was initially marked last year during the World OER Congress , in which a group of open educators, reflecting on progress made by the community over the last ten years and future challenges, collaboratively produced a new set of recommendations to inspire and focus the movement for the next ten years: the Ten Directions to Move Open Education Forward. These directions complement and expand the three Open Education Declaration strategies by giving particular attention to elements such as communication, empowerment, educational development, open pedagogy, and copyright reform, among others. The Open Education Working Group has been involved in the last element through  Communia, a network of activists, researchers and open practitioners who advocate for improvements to the EU copyright framework. We believe that the copyright law is of fundamental importance to move Open Education forward. Indeed, “the availability of openly licensed educational resources continues to grow, a wide variety of cultural and informational resources that are critical for education remain locked up by restrictive copyright terms. Limitations and exceptions to copyright can give teachers and learners the necessary freedoms to use these resources for educational purposes, without having to ask for permission. Copyright reforms taking place around the world can strengthen these exceptions—or hurt education by weakening them”. Last week Communia sent a joint letter to all MEPs working on copyright reform, explaining the changes needed to facilitate the use of copyrighted works in support of education. As we are well aware of, education practices are embedded, and influenced by, social, historical and political dynamics. It is important that we educators become critically aware of these dynamics and become active in making sure that they do not disrupt our pedagogies. Critical awareness of social, historical and political dynamics affecting educators’ practices is an important topic especially nowadays as globally, we are witnessing major migratory flows, which means that providing social and educational services have become pressing concerns in all regions of the world as we need to make sure everyone is able to access adequate education. The Ten Directions to Move Open Education Forward contain 3 particularly important strategies related to this issue: open pedagogy, educational development and empowerment. OERs have the affordances to be used as an instrument for education to social cohesion within a critical pedagogy discourse (Manca et al., 2017), with particular attention to the aforementioned strategies. Critical pedagogies refer to all those educational experiences promoting transformation, empowerment, and exposing the power dynamics affecting educational development and which can perpetuate social injustice. It is then of vital importance that open educators refer to these strategies (and the others) for both personal development and to design education in a way that helps learners develop the critical skills needed to uncover, observe and recognise how socio-cultural, power and emotion-related dynamics influence society. With these new, 10 directions, Open education is not only moving forward, but it is becoming the vessel of a democratic pedagogy aimed at educating future generations to what sociologist Edgar Morin defined as “complex lessons in education for the future” (2002). These lessons include the ability to appreciate the common human condition, the way knowledge is (co)constructed and what are the possible errors in this process, the importance of understanding each others and, most importantly, the aptitude to confront and accept the uncertainties and complexities of the socio-cultural reality we inhabit (Manca et al., 2017). The Open Education Working Group is delighted to join the wider community of open educators on this vessel and moving towards these exciting, transformative  challenges.    

Cape Town Open Education Declaration 10th anniversary

- January 24, 2018 in #CPT10, copyright, oer

This week, Monday January 22nd, the Open Education community celebrated an important anniversary: 10 years since the publication of the Cape Town Open Education Declaration, a global call to action that has helped inspire thousands of open education advocates …

Educators ask for a better copyright

- January 17, 2018 in copyright, open-education, WG Open Education

This blog has been reposted from the Open Education Working Group page.  
Today we, the Open Education Working Group, publish a joint letter initiated by Communia Association for the Public Domain that urgently requests to improve the education exception in the proposal for a Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (DSM Directive). The letter is supported by 35 organisations representing schools, libraries and non-formal education, and also individual educators and information specialists.  
In September 2016 the European Commission published its proposal of a DSM Directive that included an education exception that aimed to improve the legal landscape. The technological ages created new possibilities for educational practices. We need copyright law that enables teachers to provide the best education they are capable of and that fits the needs of teachers in the 21st century. The Directive is able to improve copyright. However, the proposal does not live up to the needs of education. In the letter we explain the changes needed to facilitate the use of copyrighted works in support of education. Education communities need an exception that covers all relevant providers, and which permits a diversity of educational uses of copyrighted content. We listed four main problems with the Commission’s proposal: #1:  A limited exception instead of a mandatory one The European Commission proposed a mandatory exception, which can be overridden by licenses. As a consequence educational exception will still be different in each Member State. Moreover, educators will need a help from a lawyer to understand what they are allowed to do. #2 Remuneration should not be mandatory Currently most Member States have exceptions for educational purposes that are completely or largely unremunerated. Mandatory payments will change the situation of those educators (or their institutions), which will have to start paying for materials they are now using for free. #3: Excluding experts The European Commission’s proposal does not include all important providers of education as only formal educational establishments are covered by the exception. We note that the European lifelong-learning model underlines the value of informal and non-formal education conducted in the workplace. All these are are excluded from the education exception. #4: Closed-door policy The European Commission’s proposal limits digital uses to secure institutional networks and to the premises of an educational establishment. As a consequence educators will not develop and conduct educational activities in other facilities such as libraries and museums, and they will not be able to use modern means of communication, such as emails and the cloud. To endorse the letter, send an email to education@communia-associations.org. Do you want to receive updates on the developments around copyright and education, sign up for Communia’s newsletter Copyright Untangled. You can read the full letter in this blog on the Open Education website or download the PDF.

Educators ask for a better copyright

- January 16, 2018 in communication, copyright, Featured, oer

Today we, the OEWG, publish a joint letter initiated by Communia Association for the Public Domain that urgently requests to improve the education exception in the proposal for a Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (DSM Directive). The