Friday, August 22, 2008

Troubles in Brussels

The often playful IPKat has a very serious and gloomy report on Bernt Hugenhotltz' open letter to Dr. Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission.

Prof. Hugenholtz is understandably concerned that the Commission has ignored the work that it had commissioned from his exemplary institute, for example in the course of its controversial recommendation in July to extend the term of protection for sound recordings to 95 years. He states:
As you are certainly aware, one of the aims of the `Better Regulation' policy that is part of the Lisbon agenda is to increase the transparency of the EU legislative process. By wilfully ignoring scientific analysis and evidence that was made available to the Commission upon its own initiative, the Commission's recent Intellectual Property package does not live up to this ambition. Indeed, the Commission's obscuration of the IViR studies and its failure to confront the critical arguments made therein seem to reveal an intention to mislead the Council and the Parliament, as well as the citizens of the European Union.
The power of lobbyists to override the advice of professional public servants and academics of immense integrity and independence, such as Bernt Hugenholtz, is indeed very regrettable and is, regrettably, not restricted to Europe.

Prof. Hugenholtz is to be commended for standing up for the work of his colleagues and for matters of principle at a time when principled and professional analysis in IP by governments seems increasingly like a quaint memory.


1 comment:

  1. It is unfortunate that the UK government failed to adopt any of the other proposals. The Gowers Report, included, for example, the following recommendation:

    Balanced and flexible rights should enable consumers to use material in ways that do
    not damage the interests of rights holders and will help ensure that citizens have trust in the system.

    Instead, the government is cherry-picking those that are most favoured by some media industries.