Against widespread dissent and controversy MEPs in the European Parliament voted this morning to allow copyright term extension to pass a first reading.
4 out of the 7 main groups (ALDE, GREENS/EFA, NGL, IND/ DEM) together with a cross party platform of MEPs voted to reject the proposal. Internal opposition threatened the group positions of the two largest parties (PSE and EPP) as several national delegations and key MEPS also joined the fight to reject. We understand that, in total, 222 voted in favour of rejection, 370 against. The final vote was 317 in favour, 178 against, 37 abstentions. A key amendment to ensure benefits accrued only to performers was also rejected.
The proposal now moves forward to the Council of Ministers where it is currently blocked by member states. The fundamental problems remain: how to include a workable use-it-or-lose it clause; agreeing to deliver real benefits to the vast majority of performers; how to avoid breaking the respect necessary for a functioning IP system by simply taking money from the pockets of consumers.
While the lobbying of powerful vested interests pushed the proposal through, the widespread condemnation in the press, among stakeholders, and in the European Parliament shows that our argument has been won in the eyes of the public and that Europe must create balanced and fair copyright if it wants a system fit for purpose in the 21st century.
We know that many of you wrote to your MEPs in the run up to plenary and for that we thank you. We also remind you that you can have your say on MEPs in the European elections in June and will be releasing a full roll call of the of votes when we obtain it.
Discussions on the proposal will be held in the Council of Ministers and you can find out how to contact your governments relevant IP body here. (We understand the blocking minority is currently made up of Slovenia, Portugal, Austria, Netherlands, Sweden, Slovakia, Denmark, Belgium, Finland, Romania).
We thank you again for your support again and will keep you updated.
Image by Melanie and John under CC