On 28th of November we launched a petition. We were hoping to get 5,000 signatures within a week as the college of Commissioners was meeting on Wednesday 5th December to decide on their future approach on copyright. The meeting was the culmination of months of evident discord within the college of Commissioners on the best approach for Europe to fully take advantage of one of its key assets – its creative industries – in the digital world. President Barroso sought to set things straight and work out the path to the end of the current Commission term. We decided that the creators should be heard on this issue.
The support our petition received was stunning. With 48 hours to go we had reached our target and thought we could push for more. We reached our new target of 8,000 by the next morning. By the time the Commissioners had finished their meeting over 17,000 (!) people had signed the petition. This was a great result and just shows how much authors’ rights mean to creators and citizens alike. Question marks may be raised over how quickly the cultural and creative industries are adapting in providing access to all kinds of creative content in a way that consumers want. The blame, however, cannot be laid at the door of authors’ rights. Limiting them cannot be the solution. The conclusions of the “orientation debate” recognised this and it was good to see Commissioner Barnier’s pragmatic approach winning through. He will now work together with Vice-President Kroes (in charge of digital policy) and Commissioner Vassiliou (in charge of culture) and all stakeholders to try to resolve some of the biggest sticking points but while recognising that authors’ rights are what enables creators to make a living from their creativity. SAA is now looking forward to participating in the stakeholder dialogue and making sure that the creators are not forgotten.