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Friday, 19th June 2015

A Truly Digital Single Market?

Source: European Digital Rights

From the Introduction:

It is undoubtedly a positive development that the Commission has launched the Digital Single Market Communication. For far too long, we have found ourselves in the ridiculous situation where “progress” has been translated into the inability to do things with new technologies which were previously unproblematic, such as selling or lending books. For far too long have European citizens and businesses been tripping over the chaos of the million-plus options given to Member States for the implementation of copyright exceptions and limitations. For far too long have citizens been faced with “not available in your country” when trying to access cultural content....

(W)hile the Commission is completely correct about the need to engender trust in the online space, the Communication’s efforts to accommodate all of the demands of all lobby groups leads to policies which will unquestionably fail to achieve this trust.

The most serious example of this is the approach to intermediaries. Responding to pressure from telecoms operators, the Communication expresses worries that online intermediaries are too powerful. This is not an invalid argument. However, in the very next section, the Commission argues, responding to pressure from copyright holders, that online intermediaries should be given even more power, in order to undertake ad hoc policing activities. In the absence of any analytical information showing that this would be necessary or legal, the Commission’s “evidence” document that accompanied the Communication descended into a chaotic analysis of this policy area, mixing unauthorised online content, illegal online content and legal but potentially harmful and treating this all as one issue. The dangers of this unsophisticated approach are very clear.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »



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