11,117 contributions! Democracy in action?

The clock strikes 12.

“Time’s up!  Check your name is on your papers and put your pens down – that includes you at the back!  I hope there hasn’t been any copying!”

One examinee turns to another. “I don’t know about you, but I found that really hard.  What did you put?”

“Something about importance of access to culture and copyright monopolies holding back generations of creativity.  What about you?”

“You didn’t? That’s never the right answer.  I put about protecting investment and jobs.  I mentioned cultural diversity, you know they like it when you mention that.”

Well this wasn’t an exam, and there are no right or wrong answers. The Commission has consulted.  11,117 people have replied.  I certainly don’t envy the teams that will have to analyse all those responses. Why have we fallen into such a caricatured view of the debate around copyright?  Why can’t we break this cycle of friction and confrontation?  Why has the position between digital rights, consumer and rightsholder groups become so irreparable to the point where there is no constructive dialogue.  Are our ideologies for the future of the internet so opposed?

SAA recognises that the ultimate goal of access to Europe’s constantly evolving audiovisual heritage is maybe some way off, but the current confrontation is not going to get us anywhere. The underlining theme of our contribution to the consultation is that – creators need to be put back at the heart of copyright policy.  I would hope that we could all agree that the people at the heart of these creative works deserve to be able to earn a living from their creativity.  If this can be the starting point of a dialogue with all the different stakeholders involved then maybe we can reach our ultimate goal together. You can read our submission here.