Copyright is a very old phenomenon that can be traced back to the time when monks sat in the monastery and made handwritten copies of the important books of that time. With the entry of the printing of books and the printing presses, the first copyright legislation was created. Since then, the rules have been adjusted and updated many times to be modern and to create a good balance between the promotion of free information flow and the important defense of the authors' rights.och dels det viktiga försvaret av upphovsmännens rättigheter.
Copyright protects artistic creations like music, movies and books. Unlike industrial intellectual rights, such as patents and trademarks, the author does not need to register his or her works to enjoy copyright, since it automatically applies. Copyright is not absolute, there are a number of important exceptions. The main exception is that the right is time-limited. Within the EU, protection is valid for 70 years after the author’s death. There are also exceptions that allow the right to quote from copyrighted works, copies for private use and other relevant exceptions.
With the internet’s emergence of new and innovative services that offer access to, for instance, films and music it has become clear that it is difficult to work with 27 different national laws and regulations regarding copyright. The free movement of goods has meant that a physical DVD, book and CD must be able move freely across borders in Europe
With the internet it is different. A service like Spotify can potentially be reached by all European citizens who have access to the internet. This means that the services are subject to different types of copyright rules in each country. Since the organisations that issue licenses for using music in a digital service are national, it means that those who want to start a service have to negotiate many different agreements before gaining the rights to a broad European music repertoire. And this costs money! In order for smaller companies to be able to operate in several countries, the regulations need to be harmonized.
In recent years, the EU has worked on several projects to improve and modernise copyright protection. During the last parliamentary term, I was the Liberal Group’s spokesman for copyright issues. For me and the Liberal party in Sweden, Liberalerna, focus has always been on facilitating new legal services to emerge, while protecting copyright. It is also very important that we ensure the best accessibility for consumers in Europe to all these services and ensure that you can use the services you use at home, even when travelling around the EU’s different member states without any hesitation. What you pay for home in Sweden must be accessible even outside the country’s borders.
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