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Initiative Copyright for the Information Society

Initiative Copyright for the Information Society

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Visual recording "Copyright for the Information Society" (German)
Visual recording of the panel discussion "Copyright for the Information Society" (German)

3rd Initiative of Co:llaboratory: Copyright for the Information Society

In the third initiative of the Internet & Society Co:llaboratory, we will study the required characteristics of a regulatory framework for intellectual property, i.e. copyright for the information society of the 21st century. Such a framework should encourage both creativity and innovation and allow for new business models. It should thus, generally speaking, fulfill the requirements of a "Magna Carta for the information society".

Copyright is no longer exclusively of interest for the field of law and legal policy, rather civil society and large parts of the private sector have become aware of its fundamental significance. Copyright probably is the most important legal regulatory instrument for the information or knowledge society. Criticism of the current system is pervasive and stems from many diverse sources. However, criticism alone changes nothing and does not bring about change. The current discussion in Germany is mostly lacking the constructive element: a basic debate on the development of copyright, i.e. regulatory alternatives to the current system that do not hesitate to re-examine the very principles of copyright itself.

In contrast to many other projects, the Initiative’s approach is not limited to solutions that are consistent with the rules of current national, European and international copyright law. On the contrary, it is crucial to consider perspectives that are consciously independent of the existing regulations to formulate a new regulatory framework. In this context, some fundamental principles (the critical points) of copyright law should be examined from a conceptual point of view:

  • the rationale of copyright (the idea and purpose of copyright),
  • the relationship between copyright and limitations/exceptions,
  • the extent of copyright applicability,
  • individual rights and their relationship to exploitation rights,
  • the timeframes of protection.

These aspects essentially define both the conceptual configuration as well as concrete regulations of copyright. As part of this initiative, the points listed above will be analyzed regarding the current and, if possible, the future requirements of copyright law. Working groups and workshop participants, staffed according to the principle of multiple stakeholders, will ascertain if and to what extent the named critical points need to be changed and which issues related to the further development of copyright must be clarified. The findings will be collected in a report name “A Blueprint for Copyright for the Information Society” (working title). Based on these new models, the experts will examine how the actual implementation of the individual aspects could be undertaken. The required national and international processes are to be described in roadmap, identifying the various phases and institutional lines as well as setting milestones against which progress can be measured.

Time Schedule (Oct. 2010 until March 2011)

The Experts will primarily collaborate online, although the online-exchange will be accompanied by the following meetings in Berlin

  • Initially the Co:llaboratory experts met for a Workshop on the 15th of November in the "New Thinking Store" in order to lay out a work program.
  • In mid-December (the 14th) we invited approximately 50 leaders of their fields to Berlin to give feedback and partake in presentations in a deliberative event.
  • On the 19th of January 2011, in the second workshop, our body of experts discussed an agreed upon prototype of preliminary results and discussed the course of action for the midterm.
  • On Wednesday the 16th of March 2011 at ESMT (Schlossplatz 1) we presented our final results and put forward recommendations for a group of politicians and policy makers. We discussed a concrete roadmap for middle to long-term implementation of these objectives.
Gordon Süß
John Dykes
Gordon Süß
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