We're taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of copyright law and policy, and addressing what's at stake, and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation.
One of the interesting side effects of the internet is that more people than ever are aware of copyright. Pretty much everyone online has seen some version of the “this media is no longer available due to a copyright claim” notice on something they wanted to see. Copyright affects everything from what entertainment we see to which of our devices we can repair. This is why we must fight for copyright law and policy that serves everyone.
Eleven years ago, a diverse coalition of Internet users, non-profit groups, and Internet companies defeated the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), bills that would have forced Internet companies to blacklist and block websites accused of hosting copyright infringing content. These were bills that would have made censorship very easy and harmed legitimate speech, all in the name of copyright enforcement.
Last year there were a bevy of bad copyright and copyright-related proposals in the U.S. Because thousands of you spoke up, none of them made it into the year-end, must-pass bills in Congress.
But this week isn’t just about stopping bad proposals. It’s about celebrating positive changes for all of us. It’s about right to repair, fair use, and the public domain.
And so, every year, EFF and a number of diverse organizations participate in Copyright Week. Each year, we pick five copyright issues to highlight and advocate a set of principles of copyright law. This year’s issues are:
- Monday: Public Domain The public domain is a crucial resource for innovation and access to knowledge. Copyright should strive to promote, and not diminish, a robust, accessible public domain.
- Tuesday: Digital Ownership. As the things we buy increasingly exist either in digital form or as devices with software, we also find ourselves subject to onerous licensing agreements and technological restrictions. If you buy something, you should be able to truly own it – meaning you can learn how it works, repair it, remove unwanted features, or tinker with it to make it work in a new way.
- Wednesday: Open Access Having an even playing field when accessing the latest information isn’t just good for science, it’s fundamental to human rights worldwide. As we’ve seen in the global response to COVID-19, copyright shouldn’t get in the way of open collaboration and global equity.
- Thursday: Free Expression and Fair Use Copyright policy should encourage creativity, not hamper it. Fair use makes it possible for us to comment, criticize, and rework our common culture.
- Friday: Copyright Enforcement Tools as Censorship Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right essential to a functioning democracy. Copyright should encourage more speech, not act as a legal cudgel to silence it.
Every day this week, we’ll be sharing links to blog posts and actions on these topics at https://www.eff.org/copyrightweek and at #CopyrightWeek on Twitter.
As we said last year, and the year before that, if you too stand behind these principles, please join us by supporting them, sharing them, and telling your lawmakers you want to see copyright law reflect them.