Copyright reform needs to bring about a shift in digital content accessibility and availability - Therese Comodini Cachia
MEP Therese Comodini Cachia made these remarks when discussing copyright reform with journalists today at Europe House, Valletta. The press briefing was organised in conjunction with the European Parliament Information Office in Malta.
Comodini Cachia said that the reform has to strike the right balance between rights of content creators and end users. “Rights of authors and producers will continue to be protected but in a digital world content is to be more accessible to end users. The reform will facilitate the availability and accessibility of content, be it books, films or music”.
She explained that exceptions on text and data mining would facilitate research as it would allow researchers linked to Universities and other public mission institutions to mine multitude of published documents to extract new conclusions and to generate more knowledge.
Comodini Cachia said that the proposal also facilitates use of resources for teachers including published works and other cultural content for illustrative use. The proposed directive will also facilitate the development of cross border e-learning by allowing the use of content to be uploaded as resources for e-learning study. Cultural heritage institutions are also set to benefit from the reform as they will have the facility to make digital copies of their collections for preservation purposes.
Referring to libraries, Comodini Cachia argued that “Citizens expect the role of libraries to change to reflect their digital lifestyle. In this regard, we need to give libraries the push they need to be able to provide services demanded by users and reforms should meet their needs.”
Pointing out that there are over 400 composers and artists from Malta registered with collective management societies, the introduction of the dispute resolution mechanism, contract adjustment mechanism and transparency mechanism as are being discussed in the reform will address the value gap that currently exists.
Speaking about timeframes, she emphasised that she has no intention to lengthen the process on this dossier as the matter is of utmost importance not only for content creators but also to Maltese and EU citizens.
Comodini Cachia stated that she is meeting stakeholders in Malta and Brussels and fellow MEPs with an open mind before putting forward ideas on how to improve the proposal of the European Commission. Yesterday MEP Therese Comodini Cachia also met European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip who is responsible for the digital single market during his official visit in Malta to further discuss the copyright reform.
Comodini Cachia said that beyond the copyright reform she was working on two other related files that jointly are important steps towards achieving a digital single market. As a member of the Committee on Legal Affairs, Comodini Cachia is contributing to the proposal for portability of content. This will ensure that content such as films on demand and streamed music acquired by a person in his place of residence, would also be accessible to him during his temporary stay in another Member State. Within the Committee on Culture and Education she is Rapporteur on geoblocking and is working to remove online barriers for digital access of goods and services. This will facilitate life of consumers who currently are either redirected to different platforms to acquire goods and services often at higher prices, or rejected from accessing those goods and services online merely on the basis of their country of residence.
As rapporteur for the lead Committee, that on Legal Affairs, Comodini Cachia’s role on this legislative report is to draft the text of the Directive as reflecting the position of the European Parliament on the reform. This is a much-expected step from both creators and consumers as current EU rules date back to 2001 and do not reflect the realities of the internet era. The reform is being considered as an important step in achieving a digital single market.