The field of copyright is associated with important cultural, social, and technological aspects, all of which have to be taken into account when formulating policy in this field. In the last 20 years, copyright and patent holders in different fields of industry and art have entered into a period of redefinition. Today, the copyright that served to protect the interest of creators in the last centuries is a barrier of invention and knowledge-sharing.
In late March 2012, a workshop organized by multiple NGOs and supported by the Visegrad Fund took place in Budapest and joined together perspectives on copyright from four countries of the Visegrad Group: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. International hosts such as keynoter Amelia Andersdotter, MP of European Parliament, introduced the problematic nature of copyright in the European Union. Andersdotter mentioned an important fact: Most of the public licenses are focused on USA jurisdiction--which is harmonized. In the EU, we have 27 different jurisdictions, and some of their legislative systems (like Slovakia's) do not recognize public licenses.
In a series of round-table sessions, we discovered the differences between the visegrad jurisdictions and the discussion ranged from concrete issues to philosophical questions. One of the round-table sessions included opposition point of view from the recording industry. I had a bad feeling about accepting the unacceptable status quo of the current copyright system, which is clearly not working for artists or the recording industry in the digital era. In my opinion, alternative sustainable models for creativity must be discussed before freezing the copyright legal framework by international agreements such as ACTA.
The most exciting result of this conference is that colleagues from copyright activism fields in the four countries were able to meet for the first time to discuss the potential we all share. We're not as strong individually as we are when our vision is put together and presented as an aggregate view shared by many parts of the European union.
Photo credits: Marek Mahut, licensed under CC-BY 3.0