For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Monday, 21 May 2012

The big copyright debate – in Germany

Copyright and the protection of IP rights is a topic that is hotly debated in many countries.  With Die Piratenpartei (The German Pirate Party) increasingly gaining seats in more and more German state parliaments, the debate is becoming more heated in Germany too. 
One of Die Piratenpartei’s political aims is a reform of Germany’s
patent laws (keywords: “fewer monopolies and open markets”) and copyright legislation (keywords: “no copy restrictions and free use”, “fair balance between rights owners and the public”].  All rather progressive and controversial stuff -- that is, rather appealing to the young(ish) and free spirits of the Internet Age but downright scary for some rights owners and creators.

The German magazine Focus now reports that these recent developments now prompted an open letter by more than 100 well-known German writers and other artists asking for better protection of intellectual property, the biggest concerted effort in this field so far.  They start their open letter by defending copyright protection with the following sentence (translated by this Kat with a lack of elegance):  
“As authors and artists, we follow the public attacks against copyright laws with concern and a lack of understanding.  Copyright laws are a historical achievement of civic freedoms against feudal dependency, they grant the material basis for individual intellectual creation”.
In a society based on the sharing of labour, artists have to trust publishers, galleries, producers or collecting societies with the marketing of their works, insofar as these look to and defend their interests.  The new realities of the internet and digitalisation do not justify the profane theft of intellectual property nor require the legalisation of such theft.  The open letter further demands a strengthening of copyright and IP laws and an adjustment of these laws according to the modern requirements of fast and mass access to such intellectual creations.

This Kat sometimes wonders whether these at first very opposite opinions are really that irreconcilable...  

1 comment:

Graham Smith said...

One thing's for sure: yelling Theft! every time anyone raises a legitimate question about the scope of copyright will not advance the debate one iota.

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