One of the unresolved problems of copyright is how to deal with huge numbers of orphan works — creations still in copyright, but whose owners can’t be traced to give permissions that may be necessary for re-use. The European Parliament’s JURI committee met recently to vote on a new report on possible permitted uses of orphan works, prepared by the Polish Member of the European Parliament, Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg.
As Rick Falkvinge writes, things didn’t go too well for those hoping to free up orphan works for modern use:
the copyright industry lobby won key points in the voting procedure with 14 votes against reform and 12 in favor of it, according to the just-published protocol.
End of story, you might think. But Geringer de Oedenberg noted something strange with the voting:
During the vote I was making precise notes as to the balance of votes in favour and against to my crucial amendments.
It came to me as a surprise that for my Compromise Amendments 20 check vote announced by the Chair was 14 to 12 which gives us 26 Members!
Considering that we only have 24 Members in Juri Committee and according to the protocol only 23 were present this result is confusing and calls for clarification.
Similar situation appears on Amendment 71 (Ms. Gallo and Mr. Borys) which pass with the result announced 13 to 12 what gives as 25 Members and my Amendment 32 which fall 13 to 11 -24 Members.
So the question has to be asked: did the copyright industry lobby really win, or was there some miscounting along the line? To avoid the impression of anything improper going on here, it’s vital that those votes be taken again. After all, as Falkvinge points out:
The final kicker here is that the 113-per-cent voter turnout happened in the Legal Affairs committee (JURI), which has the responsibility of safeguarding the integrity and trustworthiness of the legal framework as a whole in Europe.