Today we have the pleasure to present to the youngest member of ILAC team Ms. Sirma Grozeva who is directly jumbling into the deep  with  the article “EUROPE MEETS DIGITAL CHALLENGES BY DELIVERING NEW COPYRIGHT FRAMEWORK”. As intelligent as charming Sirma’s dream has  always  been  to become a  lawyer. She graduated Law school at Sofia University. Following her passion, she focused on developing Civil Law as her main area of expertise, specializing in domains such as Corporate law, Intellectual property and Litigation. Some of her achievements are claiming compensations from airline companies for violation of the conditions of carriage for a number of clients. Now as a member of Sofia Bar Association, she is still looking to widen her perspective and further develop her competences in areas with growing potential. We  are  very happy  to have  her  with  us and  we  wish her  “Good luck”.

 

EUROPE MEETS DIGITAL CHALLENGES BY DELIVERING NEW COPYRIGHT FRAMEWORK

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Image from Pixabay.com

The free movement of persons, services and capital holds in itself the free access of online data and activities, where human values meet modern vision. One of Europe’s top priorities today is the Digital Single Market. A new strategy requires overcoming barriers related to infrastructure, broadband accessibility, copyright and data protection by further improving the use of online services and digital technologies. What the EU wants is to provide equitable and clear regulatory systems in the area of telecommunications, audio- visual services and the Internet.

Europe inaugurates a fresh and aspiring plan on the Next Generation Internet. Many European citizens are yet hesitant about going online when making financial transactions, for example. Concerns about personal data and transparency are still on the radar. The Next Generation Internet needs an up- to- date look at issues involving better services and providing more to people and society meeting full potential on economical, as well as ethical level. That will bring together internet innovators, startups and SME’s with leading academia and the corporates that will allow, in the long run European enterprises to become global winners.

  „Data is the basis of our digital future and prosperity. Data will drive our competitiveness and economic growth. But if data does not flow freely across the EU, then the growth potential of the digital economy in Europe will be limited“ says vice-president of the European Commission for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip.

 

Online content will be advanced by the European copyright framework that is now underway, where Intellectual property rights are about to be refreshed by new comprehensive approach. Europe believes legal certainty will be increased when the Digital Single Market strategy will get into its final stage.The developed copyright rules shall ensure that creative content is secured in its production, distribution and accessibility. On 14 September 2016 the Commission proposed two directives and two regulations to adapt to the digital reality, outlining the main points of the objective:

  • better choice and access to content online and across borders
  • improved copyright rules on research, education and inclusion of disabled people
  • a fairer and sustainable marketplace for creators, the creative industries and the press.

„Today’s #copyright rules were made for the analogue world. They should be adapted to reflect the realities of the digital age and make it easier for archives, museums and libraries to carry out mass digitisation of cultural works“ adds Andrus Ansip.

 

Despite the European innovative approach and willingness to contribute the individual and business’s needs, there are certain allegations of the reform as being regressive. The EC has been accused of not taking some citizens and tech companies proposals solemnly, owing to the fact that one of the two sides will have to police the Internet on behalf of the other. Perhaps the breaking point of concern is the shift of responsibility by requiring the ISP’s and Internet platforms (YouTube, Google etc.) to check for copyrighted material, rather than expect to be given request for take down from a rights holder, as it is now.

Another point of view prompts that start-ups might be affected because of the limited free flow of information. Unnecessary fees on bloggers linking out to other sites is seen as restriction on competition and knowledge.

The Commission defended the integrity of its action plan against such allegations by suggesting collaboration between the institutions and the business to collect information on whether the current rules are adequate and where additional or different framework is needed. As a contradiction to the comments not in favour of the anticipated reform, comes the affirmative position of Jean- Claude Juncker:

„As the world goes digital, we also have to empower our artists & creators and protect their works. Artists and creators are our crown jewels. The creation of content is not a hobby. It is a profession. And it is part of our European culture.

The overhaul of Europe’s copyright rules we are proposing today does exactly that.“

A recent ruling of a European top court brought up an interesting matter, related to hyperlinking.  The decision interprets whether the sharing of a hyperlink is a breach of copyright by taking into account the purpose of sharing- if its profit resulted or if the content is illegally hosted and subject to copyright.

Online platforms are the newest drivers of growth, innovation and competition, transforming how we live, act and transact. With a substantial market power, the digital trade is seen as a horizontal matter to the benefit of the whole EU industry, as the EU being the biggest global exporter of digital services. Building trust on the Post- terrestrial Age by strengthening security goes hand in hand with personal data, freedom and privacy, when Europeans will know they have their back.

Investigating the digital markets, it is observed that there is some disruption associated with the challenge that the sector gives on existing laws, as the online platforms generate many legal disputes when they operate on the current regulatory frameworks. Yet the benefits of digital technologies should be acknowledged along with the importance of fundamental rights and freedoms, highlighting consumer protection, data protection and competition law.

Extending the evolution of present law so that fits the purpose of modernisation and the Digital Single market strategy is particularly relevant. Europe has always addressed issues with greater care and by thorough analysis in assessing the impact of a certain concern on people’s lives and the importance of the business’s interests on the economy, so that the union conducts resolutions that bring growth and are timely. The work of reviewing and updating regulation is a continuous process, where the outcome shall follow the current trends, so that can further expand and develop the digital reality, as well as sustain public balance, leading towards effective solutions.

It is important that Europe keeps managing priorities allowing competitiveness, productivity and growth to improve the different sectors in the digital market, maximising potential conducted by human values.

 

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Sirma Grozeva, Lawyer at Sofia Bar Association, ILAC affiliate

 

 

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