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International Activists Launch New Website to Gather and Share Copyright Knowledge

November 13, 2009

International Activists Launch New Website to Gather and Share Copyright Knowledge

Anyone Can Track National Copyright Laws Globally with 'Copyright Watch'

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Electronic Information for Libraries (eIFL.net), and other international copyright experts joined together today to launch Copyright Watch -- a public website created to centralize resources on national copyright laws at www.copyright-watch.org.

"Copyright laws are changing across the world, and it's hard to keep track of these changes, even for those whose daily work is affected by them," said Teresa Hackett, Program Manager at eIFL.net. "A law that is passed in one nation can quickly be taken up by others, bilateral trade agreements, regional policy initiatives, or international treaties. With Copyright Watch, people can learn about the similarities and differences in national copyright laws, and they can use that information to more easily spot patterns and emerging trends."

Copyright Watch is the first comprehensive and up-to-date online repository of national copyright laws. To find links to national and regional copyright laws, users can choose a continent or search using a country name. The site will be updated over time to include proposed amendments to laws, as well as commentary and context from national copyright experts. Copyright Watch will help document how legislators around the world are coping with the challenges of new technology and new business models.

"Balanced and well-calibrated copyright laws are extremely important in our global information society," said Gwen Hinze, International Policy Director at EFF. "Small shifts in the balance between the rights of copyright owners and the limitations and exceptions relied on by those who use copyrighted content can destroy or enable business models, criminalize or liberate free expression and everyday behavior, and support the development of new technologies that facilitate access to knowledge for all the world's citizens. We hope that Copyright Watch will encourage comparative research and help to highlight more and less flexible copyright regimes."

"Details of copyright law used to be important only for a few people in creative industries," added Danny O'Brien, International Outreach Coordinator at EFF. "But now, with the growth of the Internet and other digital tools, we are all authors, publishers, and sharers of copyrighted works. Copyright Watch was created so citizens of the world can share and compare information about their countries' laws."

Funding to create Copyright Watch was generously provided by the Open Society Institute.

Copyright Watch:
http://www.copyright-watch.org

Contacts:

Gwen Hinze
International Policy Director
Electronic Frontier Foundation
gwen@eff.org

Danny O'Brien
International Outreach Coordinator
Electronic Frontier Foundation
danny@eff.org

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