From "User-Generated-Content" to a "User-Generated-Copyright"

Requirements a modern Copyright is facing in the digital environment.

During the last decade the ways of distributing und consuming copyrighted creations have changed radically. In the light of an emerging “digital economy”, which is especially fostered by a wide availability of broadband-technologies, cloud-computing services and changed user habits, the traditional concept of copyright is subject to a broad public debate.

It becomes more and more common to distribute digital copies of works not only on physical media, but also via online accessible platforms. Nowadays users “buy” and more often “consume” digital goods online. From a legal, economic and social perspective, this paradigm-shift rigorously challenges the classical copyright doctrine, which follows an “analogue-world”-approach. Thus, this research project aims to provide a definition of relevant prerequisites for a modern, well-balanced copyright system based on a broad social consensus.

Recent case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and national courts indicates that the established copyright law is unable to provide appropriate solutions meeting the requirements of the digital age: In the last couple of years several issues arose regarding the reselling of digital goods, the separation of the private and public sphere, the scope of the private use exception within a digital environment and the exception for temporary reproductions, the liability of access providers and website blocking, hyperlinking to copyrighted material in the Web, the implementation of an efficient levy system regarding hard disks by collecting societies.

Against this background, the aim of this research project with students as key figures of the omnipresent ‘prosumer-environment’ is to define the requirements of a modern, well-balanced copyright system. Students as digital natives are not only consuming digital goods, they are also in many ways contributing to cultural creation and dissemination of creative content. It is therefore inevitable that a modern and effective copyright system addresses the interests and needs of users and creators. This concerns in particular the scope of copyright protection, ownership of rights, licensing, limitations & exceptions and collective rights management.

The participation of students with technical and economic skills in this multidisciplinary research project will provide an added value for both researchers and students. Their specific insight in modern "prosumers' habits" and the confrontation with different interests in the political discourse will lead to important and possibly surprising findings. Based on this, the distinct interests of users and creators will be balanced in the light of state-of-the-art technologies (consumption of digital goods via the internet) and future technological innovation like 3D printing and virtual reality. Furthermore the research project addresses questions concerning the scientific and educational usage of protected works.

The cooperation of students and legal scholars within this project will provide a new impetus for a copyright reform in order to promote creativity and innovation as well as a fair remuneration system for creators. Students will be engaged in this research project in an appropriate way. This will include the examination of the relevant literature, empirical research and the knowledge transfer (publications and presentations addressing a broad public outside the scientific community). Internships will further give qualified and ambitious students an insight into scholarly practice.

It is intended to disseminate the results of this research project in scientific journals and in various presentations, both on national and international conferences. In addition, the findings will be conveyed to a broad public via digital media (including social networks).

This project has a Top Citizen Science-extension project.

The aim of the project “INTER-ACT - Interactive Consensus-bases Development of a Copyright Model Act“ is to develop model proposals for copyright regulations with the participation of citizens.

This project has been completed.