Dear European Commission, could you at least pretend you’re listening to us?

C4C and several of its signatories co-signed two open letters, one addressed to the European Commission and the other to the European Parliament, in order to share our concerns regarding the European Commission’s current approach on copyright matters in its public consultations.

The signatories of this open letter urge the European Commission to uphold the better regulation principles, and in particular to ensure that:

  1. Official documents, such as the announced Communication “Towards a modern, more European copyright framework”,  are not released before the end of consultations that are relevant to the subject at hand: otherwise, what is the point in consulting stakeholders, when clearly a decision has already been made regardless of their input?
  2. The detailed impact assessments that are required prior to the proposal of legislative measures should be published before the publication of the proposals, to allow for a rebuttal time.
  3. All EU citizens, associations and businesses should be able participate in Commission consultations and that they are able to respond to any of the questions posed in them. For example, in the Online Platforms Consultation that is currently ongoing, some questions are only open to ‘rightholders’, whilst in some cases an explanation related to a question can only be given if the ‘Yes’ option is selected, i.e. if one agrees with the biased statement proposed.

The first point hinting at the fact that the European Commission is set to adopt its Communication “Towards a modern, more European copyright framework”, which was already leaked thanks to IPKat, on 9 December, while at the same time the EC has spread copyright related questions in various recently closed or even on-going public consultation. This is the case for some of the questions in recently closed public consultation on review of the Satellite and Cable Directive and the on-going public consultation on online intermediaries and platforms that runs until the end of the year.

Looking at the leaked Communication, we believe that the EC sets-out some actions in the document that prejudge the outcomes of these consultations. Therefore, one could wonder if responses from stakeholders are actually valued.

As regards the outreach to the European Parliament, the letter’s signatories believe that the European Parliament must uphold the position it took in the so-called “Reda Report”, and to defend the rights of all EU citizens, associations and businesses to engage in an open and transparent debate, as set out in our asks to the EC. The letter also encourages Members of the European Parliament to reiterate their opposition to the illegitimate introduction of new and controversial copyrights for press publishers, an opposition stressed by many during the Reda report discussion, but which is yet again under fire due to Amendments proposed by a minority of (German) MEPs to the Draft Report on the Digital Single Market that is currently being debated.