ARTICLE 19 launches The Right to Share to balance copyright and freedom of expression

Today, on the eve of the World Intellectual Property Day [cool dudes looking for some even cooler parties tomorrow can check out the event map here], London-based human rights [in particular freedom of expression and information] organisation ARTICLE 19 [directly from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights] launches "The Right To Share: Principles on Freedom of Expression and Copyright in the Digital Age (Right to Share Principles)". 

This document aims to guide policy makers, legislators, judiciary and civil society on how to balance the right to freedom of expression and copyright.

As explained in the press release:

The Right to Share Principles – developed in cooperation with high-level experts from around the world [activists, legal practitioners, academics and other experts in international human rights law on the freedom of expression and in copyright law] - seek to establish a framework, which can be used to ensure that the right to freedom of expression and the ability to share knowledge and culture are protected from increasing and excessive copyright interests in the digital age. The Principles also seek to promote positive measures that foster the free flow of information and ideas and allow greater access to information, knowledge and culture on the Internet and beyond.

“The tension between the right to freedom of expression and copyright is not new. However, over the last ten years, we have seen an alarming expansion of copyright claims at the expense of human rights protection. The Right to Share Principles show that freedom of speech and the free flow of information and ideas should not and cannot be marginalised by claims to property” comments Agnes Callamard, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19.

“As part of a series of recommendations, lawmakers should consider scrapping criminal sanctions for non-commercial copyright infringement. It is entirely disproportionate that millions of internet users worldwide face the threat of criminal punishment for personal use of copyrighted material where they seek no commercial gain. Copyright law must keep pace with technological and social change and not stifle creativity in the name of protecting it” added Callamard.

This may not be the official invitation -
And copyright is slightly older than that.
According to ARTICLE 19, to (re-)balance copyright and freedom of expression and information, the way forward includes the following:

·         The decriminalisation of non-commercial copyright infringement;

·         An appropriate regime for copyright enforcement in the digital environment;

·         Comprehensive measures for promoting access to knowledge and culture;

·         Human rights assessment of all trade treaties dealing with copyright protection.

For those based in London or its immediate surroundings, there is also an ARTICLE 19 event taking place TONIGHT (When: 6:30pm - Where: Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA) to answer the following question: What’s Wrong with Copyright? Freedom of expression and copyright in the digital age. 

Speakers include Maria Aretoulaki (Pirate Party UK), Phillipe Aigrain (La Quadrature du Net) and Gabrielle Guillemin (ARTICLE 19). Your registration is just a RSVP away: email Ana Melissa Zárraga Zamora ( to reserve your place.

ARTICLE 19 launches The Right to Share to balance copyright and freedom of expression ARTICLE 19 launches The Right to Share to balance copyright and freedom of expression Reviewed by Eleonora Rosati on Thursday, April 25, 2013 Rating: 5


  1. If all speakers are critical towards copyright and it is well known that they all share basically the same opinion, what's the point in holding a public conference?

  2. How very Orwellian. Remove creator's human rights, strip them of economic autonomy, and call it "freedom".

    Still, thanks to Eleonora for telling us what the "cool kids" are doing. And thanks to IP Kat for the ethics lesson.


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