Want to change copyright?

Want to change copyright? Here’s your chance!

The European Commission has, er, pardon the pun, commissioned a report on how the different copyright directives in the E.U. can be aligned so that the rules can be further harmonized.

Harmonization, that is: true harmonization, would be good news for Project Gutenberg, of which I am a volunteer. For a while now, a group of volunteers has been contemplating a Dutch or even a E.U. Project Gutenberg.

However, as it is, even with a much more clear-cut copyright regime, the American Project Gutenberg gets threatened with law-suits often enough. The morass of European copyright laws is a much larger threat for a European Project Gutenberg.

If you want to comment on the Commission’s proposals for harmonization, you can do so before October 31.

All interested parties are invited to do so.

“What!”, you cry, “that means I have only got two days.”

Well, that is true. But if something is hindering you in the current E.U. copyright regime, two days should be sufficient to write that down. Remember, those civil servants are excellent at comparing stuffy rules to spot what’s wrong with them on a theoretical level, but they can very well use your real-word examples to back them up.

For instance, I love text adventures. Most text adventures, even though perhaps dozens (if not hundreds) still get created every year, are abandoned. They are games from the heyday of adventuring, and their copyright holders are often hard to find, and finding them does not always guarantee that you will be allowed to play or distribute their games. (My experience is that this is mainly because the rights holders do not want the hassle!)

These games were an important factor in my growing up, yet they are disappearing from this world at an alarming rate. If there had not been thousands of people willing to infringe copyrights, most of these games might not even exist anymore.

So this is what I am going to write the commission: that there should be a system to deal with abandoned works. That letting libraries and/or museums take care of this has proven inefficient, because they are slow to respond to new types of works. That stowing away works in stuffy museums is not going to help; in order to relive them, we should be able to replay them.

My note is going to be a bit longer, but mostly along those lines.

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