Annual Report 2022/Story: Amongst the selected few – Joining a public inquiry about the Swedish legal exceptions of copyright

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In this story, we focus on how a small association can become a central player in improving Swedish legislation, on the path towards one of our staff members being invited to join a public inquiry, and on how Wikimedia Sverige became part of national, European and global networks fighting for a more flexible copyright.

Freedom of panorama is one of the questions that the inquiry will discuss.

In recent years, Wikimedia Sverige has become a central player in the copyright field in Sweden. When the European Copyright Directive was to be incorporated into Swedish law, Wikimedia Sverige was invited by the Ministry of Justice to join their focus group. After building the foundations for a network of actors in cultural heritage, research and internet culture, we also took on a central role to increase flexibility in legislation and protect the capacity to spread free knowledge to the general public.

The strategic work for a copyright that protects free knowledge was facilitated by the fact that Wikimedia Sverige became one of four national participants at the EU level (together with representatives from Poland, Slovenia and Italy) in a global project focused on international copyright and funded by Arcadia Fund. The network provided us with increased knowledge and a network of contacts that were central to the work of implementing the copyright directive as flexibly as possible, and thanks to the Swedish, European and international network building, good enough feedback could be collected for the government to put forward an implementation in its bill that broadened Article 14 in the EU directive (page 118) – that reproductions (digitizations) of copyright-free visual artworks are also free from copyright – from covering only visual artworks to including works of art in a broad sense.

In fall 2022, one of Wikimedia Sverige's employees, Eric Luth, was also invited as one of the 13 experts to join a public inquiry about the second chapter in the law on copyright, which takes up legal exceptions and limitations to copyright. The inquiry will be going on until November 2023, reviewing issues such as freedom of panorama, the right to parody, the right to use people's names and exceptions for news reporting. Being part of the inquiry gives us a unique opportunity to modernize the copyright exceptions, enabling more digitalization and digital spread of information in our country. It also puts Wikimedia Sverige in a central position in copyright issues, as well as gives us unique experience when it comes to legislative work around copyright.

Overall, the international copyright project, together with the work in the public inquiry, means that Wikimedia Sverige is building a network of contacts, knowledge and insights in the area of copyright at both national, European and international level. It makes us a central actor fighting for a flexible copyright and builds a stable foundation for being able to influence copyright in the future.