Disagreements over the scope and nature of copyright rules have made it one of the most high profile battlegrounds regarding issues affecting freedom of expression. Around the world, rights-holding lobbies are pushing for increasingly draconian measures to combat copyright infringements, while others are calling for copyright law to be significantly revised to align it with modern digital realities. Both sides claim international guarantees of freedom of expression support their causes. On 24 June 2013, the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD), the Centro de Estudios en Libertad de Expresión y Acceso a la Información (CELE) and Fundación Via Libre (FVL) held a workshop in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to discuss problems with the international framework for copyright and possible solutions.
The workshop, which was attended by participants from across Latin America, featured presentations by Michael Karanicolas of CLD and Beatriz Busaniche of FVL, and was moderated by Eduardo Bertoni of CELE. A report on copyright by CLD with draft recommendations served as background material for the workshop.
“Copyright law needs to be fundamentally reformed to reflect a better accommodation of freedom of expression in all of its aspects,” said Toby Mendel, Executive Director of CLD. “We hope that our report, which will be finalised soon, will help situate the debate about copyright reform more firmly within a human rights framework.”
The core challenge of copyright from a freedom of expression perspective is that its protections help foster creative output, while at the same time limiting access to expressive material. International copyright rules no longer strike an appropriate balance between these two interests, including because of the fundamental changes brought about by digital information technologies.