The current cycle of EU copyright reform started with a desire for copyright rules to be modernized “in the light of the digital revolution, new consumer behaviour and Europe’s cultural diversity” (Commission president Juncker’s 2014 appointment or “mission letter” to Günther Oettinger, then Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society). The aim was to produce “ambitious legislative steps towards a connected Digital Single Market”. Four years later, the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market ended up with a text that attempts industrial policy for specific sectors, namely the record industry (Article 13) and the news media industry (Article 11), each struggling to remain profitable in an online world dominated by platforms. During a full parliamentary period of law making, this new form of industrial policy was turned into an ideological battle between European culture and so-called “GAFA” (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon), the multinational industrial complex dominated by US firms.
This session attempts to reflect on the role of lobbying and empirical evidence in the debate, leading up to the plenary vote in the European Parliament in March 2019. Is evidence based policy possible in a constellation in which it is no longer possible to hold independent, reasoned positions? Keynote speaker Professor Martin Kretschmer, Director of the Copyright & Creative Economy Centre CREATe (1), at the University of Glasgow, has coordinated academic contributions (2) to the debate since 2016. He will draw on his experience as an expert in the context of powerful corporate interests. He will also reflect on a new study by the Corporate Europe Observatory quantifying targeted lobbying and campaign strategies: Copyright Directive: competing big business lobbies drowned out critical voices (3).