Today OpenForum Europe (OFE) has jointly signed two coalition letters, together with 28 other stakeholders representing civil society, news publishers, consumers and the digital industry. One letter is addressed to vice-president Timmermans, who is coordinating the work on ‘Better Regulation’ within the Commission. The second letter is addressed to MEPs who are members of the JURI, IMCO and CULT committees, which are among the committees involved in the adoption of the “Towards a Digital Single Market Act” report.
Through this initiative, the 29 signatories ask that the EP’s own initiative report on the implementation of the Copyright Directive (July 2015) be respected. The focus is on rejecting controversial copyrights for news publishers, and on conducting transparent and open consultations on copyright. In particular, the signatories point out that the Commission’s ongoing public consultation on online platforms (which is published as running from September 24 to December 30, 2015) has been designed in a way which appears only to allow right holders to submit responses to certain critical questions dealing with the creation of new, controversial copyrights for publishers (see here, page 12). This evident restriction in the design of the questionnaire effectively excludes responses from all other citizens, associations and businesses. Moreover, on 9 December – i.e., three weeks before the end of the Commission’s consultation period – the Commission is set to adopt a ‘Communication on Copyright’ (already leaked), which cannot possibly take into account any complete analysis of inputs to the consultation. This is clearly contrary to the Commission’s ‘Better Regulation’ principles. The coalition therefore demands that the Commission only finalises, and then releases, its ‘Communication on Copyright’ following the end of the consultation period.