Magazine article Information Today

Delay, Drop, Delete

Magazine article Information Today

Delay, Drop, Delete

Article excerpt

Moves to bring European Union (EU) copyright law in line with the digital age continue to advance at the pace of a very tired and slow snail. The European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs was due to vote on the draft of the directive on copyright in the digital single market on Oct. 10, but to the surprise of no one, the vote was pushed back, probably to December. This follows a previous delay in voting on the directive.

According to a post by Alastair Shaw, Nils Rauer, and Lea Kaase from the Hogan Lovells law firm, "The main reason for the delay obviously is the high number of suggested amendments ... in total 996!" As if that wasn't enough, more than 50 civil society organizations, including European Digital Rights (EDRi), sent an open letter to the European Commission and the European Parliament asking them to drop Article 13 from the proposed directive. The signatories are concerned that the article would compel internet companies that share and store user-generated content, such as video and photo-sharing and creative writing, "to monitor, filter and block EU citizens' communications if they are to have any chance of staying in business." They also claim that the article would "lead to excessive filtering and deletion of content and limit the freedom to impart information on the one hand, and the freedom to receive information on the other."

Please Share Responsibly

Meanwhile, some major publishers, calling themselves the Coalition for Responsible Sharing, have asked scholarly collaboration network ResearchGate to remove articles that the group says breach the copyright of its members--which include Elsevier, Wiley, and Wolters Kluwer. The coalition says that ResearchGate "has removed from public view a significant number of copyrighted articles it is hosting on its site. ResearchGate has not shared any information with the Coalition about this change. Nevertheless, we welcome this if it is a first step towards operating ResearchGate's service in copyright-compliance. At this point, not all violations have been addressed and ResearchGate will need to take additional steps to cease unauthorized distribution of research articles."

ResearchGate's head of communications, Danielle Bengsch, said she was unable to answer questions on the dispute with the coalition. Earlier this year, ResearchGate raised $52.6 million in funding. Investors included Bill Gates and Goldman Sachs.

A Bookstore for Everyone

Operating with rather more modest resources is Walking BookFairs, which strives to bring books to people in India who have little or no access to them. It was founded in January 2014 in the Indian state of Odisha by Akshaya Routray and Satabdi Mishra. Initially, they carried books in backpacks and laid them out on pavements in villages. Since then, they have set up a bookstore in the Odisha capital city of Bhubaneswar and also run a mobile shop in a small van.

Routray and Mishra say that Walking BookFairs' "purpose was and still is to bring good books to people. And also to make more books accessible and affordable for a larger number of people coming from various socio-economic backgrounds. ... In India, it is not just villages that do not have books ... but many big towns and cities do not have any bookstores or libraries. We have traveled more than 20,000 km across India in our traveling bookstore and library visiting thousands of schools, colleges, universities, reaching out to thousands of people in villages, towns, [and] cities. …

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