Iptegrity wishes all readers a very Happy New Year!
2012 was a tumultuous year for copyright policy. Political support for the copyright industries overturned by a push-back from citizen interests, who got thousands out on the streets in protest. What effect will it have on EU policy?
The first significant development of 2012 was the move by the US Congress to put the SOPA and PIPA laws onto a dusty back shelf. Then, in in France, data emerged on the Hadopi measures that indicated they do not work, they only force a change of method, not of behaviour. This was followed up in the European Parliament in July, when the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was effectively killed off by a resounding majority.
These events sent a clarion call to the copyright industries. Stop trying to get so-called stronger enforcement measures that bypass legal systems and will kill off the Internet as we know it. Instead, work within the Internet environment and put money into developing business models that acknowledge digital behaviour.
The effect on the EU seems to be that policy-makers are changing their position on copyright policy. In 2013, the EU will focus on new business models and is backing away from stronger enforcement measures. Three directives are already held up over the enforcement issue – at least until after the 2014 elections.
It’s an amazing victory for citizens interests, but it may not last forever. The copyright industries may creep into the political bushes for a while to lick their wounds, but one thing is for sure, they will come out fighting. And do not forget that they are still trying to get Internet enforcement measures into the law on the other side of the world, within the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that is still under negotiation.
Copyright as a political issue never completely goes away, it just alters its tune. As I wrote for the Society for Computers and the Law, my predictions for 2023 and 2053 are that copyright will remain on the policy agenda, and among other things, we can expect further demands for extension of the term of copyright as major rock music compositions fall out of copyright and their authors die off.
The shift in focus towards new business models will create new fronts in the battle for the Internet. We will see some different players emerge in the forefront as they seek to position themselves for not only market share, but political influence. The battle may alter towards the more traditional economic paradigm of industry players shooting it out with each other.
On another political plane, we’ll see traffic management and deep packet inspection begin to come under the political spotlight.
What is certain is that Internet politics and copyright will remain dynamic and interesting for policy academics. However, if there is a lesson we can draw from the events of 2012, it is that we to remain on our metaphorical toes, ready to expect the unexpected.
My book The Copyright Enforcement Enigma - Internet Politics and the ‘Telecoms Package’ was published in 2012. It tells the story of the EU Telecoms Package and the attempt by the copyright industries to insert amendments that would have supported their enforcement agenda. If you are studying this issue, you should read it.
This is an original article from Iptegrity.com. If you refer to it or to its content, you should cite my name as the author, and provide a link back to iptegrity.com. Media and Academics – please cite as Monica Horten, Happy New Year 2013 – a change of tune for copyright? , in www.iptegrity.com, 2 January 2013 . Commercial users - please contact me.