Copyfighters

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Since 2012, a reform of copyright legislation is going on in the European Union. It could have been the opportunity to harmonize laws, to include exceptions, such as for education and for fair use, to end geoblocking as well as territoriality and to support remix culture. Unfortunately, the Copyright Directive was adopted without much innovation but with some big issues by the European Parliament in September 2019 and is now discussed in the trialogue meetings.

Campaign

It was in 2016 during a youth pre-event of the European Dialoque on Internet Governance - EuroDIG conference when I met people from different European countries interested in the ongoing copyright debate. While having a few further meetings throughout Europe, we created the campaign Copyfighters. Its goal has been to present the issues and ideas young people have with and about copyright. The campaign was launched with some social media accounts, a website, and a video giving the voice to some young people.

I have been part of the website team. At the beginning, we made some paper-based prototypes for the user interface and did some research on the technologies to use. Then, we decided to use Django, a Python framework, for the back-end and Bootstrap, SASS (CSS), jQuery (JavaScript) and HTML for the front-end. Additionally, we have used many tools, such as Github for Git-based code hosting, Codeship for continuous integration and the task runner gulp. Between the meetups and after the last one, we used Slack to communicate. I am happy to have been part of this campaign as I learned a lot.

Sziget Festival 2018

In 2018 a few of the Copyfighters set out to make people more aware of the ongoing copyright debate. We collected a few grants to run a stand at the Sziget festival being one of the largest music festivals in Europe, and taking place mid-August in Budapest. We invited festival visitors with the following text to pass by at our booth:

How are your works protected? Which limits do you have when you enjoy and reuse music, videos, images and software? Come find out, discuss and raise your voice for the ongoing European copyright reform. Unfortunately, the current proposal includes some nasty points, such as a link tax and censorship machines, and does not make it easier for start-ups in the EU. Send a post card to your Member of Parliament and share censored pictures of you and your friends to fix copyright at our booth!

Atmosphere at our booth by David Krystof

Atmosphere at our booth by David Krystof

In fact, many people passed by to discuss the current situation. Some of them even wrote a postcard to one of the Members of Parliament to demand them to review their viewpoint about the directive. Others grabbed stickers with the text *_______ is more important than copyright* and filled the gap with words such as *Europe*, *Culture*, *Sharing* and *Learning*. In contrast to our ideal, we did not talk to every visitor, but I see this kind of activism as important part of being an European citizen.

Further reading