[drn-discuss] summaries of the creative economy conference

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Tue Oct 11 11:02:03 CDT 2005

For any of you interested in the outcome of the Creative Economy 
conference and what went on there is a short post here:


with links to *excellent* and comprehensive summaries produced by 
Michelle Childs and Johanna Gibson. In particular I wish to highlight 
some info db directive from Ms Gibson (pasted below) which makes me 
think there should be some attempt to make a submission regarding the 
database directive asap (does anyone know whether there is a formal 
consultation taking place?).



The debate I wish to highlight was that over the Database Directive. The 
representatives from the Commission (DG Internal Market) introduced the 
discussion, outlining the uncertainty with respect to the success and / 
or necessity of the Database Directive (particularly after the recent 
ECJ cases of British Horseracing Board and Fixture Marketing; the 
absence of any similar sui generis right in the US; and the possibility 
of compilation copyright providing the necessary protection). In 
response to this uncertainty, a Report is being prepared, and the 
Commission representative set out the 4 options open to be considered in 
that report, in the light of these decisions:

1. do nothing and simply wait to see if further ECJ jurisprudence 
clarifies the scope of the right;

2. considering stakeholders that have an interest in the sui generis 
right, option 2 is to amend the Directive to correct what might be 
perceived to be a defect;

3. withdraw the right on the basis that it has not had its intended 
effect either in law or in terms of economic effect, and allow member 
states to revert to the system they had previously (sweat of the brow / 
compilation copyright);

4. look at the viability of the Directive, not simply the sui generis 
right, with a view to withdrawing the Directive.

Options 3 and 4 were met with some heated (almost emotional) responses 
from the publishing industry, or at least, from 2-3 individuals (I say 
2-3, because the 3rd was rushed in during the debate to beef up the 
statements of its colleague). The statements were frequently incorrect 
as to the law (for instance, a statement regarding the absence of 
publishers' rights) and claimed that the entire objective of this 
creative economy conference was the generation of wealth for the 
industry, despite the rhetoric that the conference was for the 
generation of diversity in creativity and in creative production, of 
which industry is one aspect. A creative economy surely depends upon not 
only rights-holders, but also those with whom the products are 
exchanged. Of note, the publishers also suggested that the database 
right does no-one any harm and so there's no reason to get rid of it. If 
the right does no harm (implying that it has no impact on access), then 
there must be no need for the industry to require such regulation (there 
is no risk) so one might ask why the right is needed in the first place. 
Nevertheless, the publishers' interventions were met with reasoned, 
critical, and informed responses from the Commission. When they demanded 
to be heard in the form of any impact assessment, the Commission stated 
that such input would be welcome and that in fact they had been asking 
for it for some time.

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