Annual Report 2023/Story: Copyright Gains a Greater Role

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Det här är en översatt version av sidan Verksamhetsberättelse 2023/Story: Upphovsrätt får en större roll. Översättningen är till 100 % färdig och uppdaterad.

This story focuses on how Wikimedia Sverige, through participation in a government investigation, during 2023 has come to play a central role in influencing Swedish copyright law. It also highlights how the association has established itself as a key player in international copyright conversations. By actively advocating and arguing for standpoints that benefit internet users in general as well as access to free knowledge, we have been able to prevent the implementation of a large number of harmful proposals and ensure that positive additions are made. MMany of our contributions have also focused on making it easier for the majority of the population who are internet users, and who are directly affected by the legislation but are not lawyers, to understand what is allowed and not allowed. By informing and engaging others in these issues, we create public opinion and can act as a counterbalance to well-resourced actors who focus on the needs of individual interest groups. Legislation has an immensely significant impact on the work of the association and the Wikimedia platforms; thus, each victory has a very significant and long-term effect.

In 2023, Wikimedia Sweden has come to play a crucial role in the conversations and legislative processes that aim to review the exceptions and restrictions in the Swedish copyright law.

Participation in the government investigation on copyright restrictions has signified one of the greatest opportunities to influence Swedish copyright legislation in the history of the association. The investigation has opened direct means of contact with government officials and legislators, enabling us to thoroughly explain why flexible copyright is indispensable for the Wikimedia platforms and the activity of the association. We have also compiled comprehensive material dealing with critical issues of the investigation, such as those concerning freedom of panorama, exceptions and restrictions for research, and text and data mining (TDM), as well as the so-called three-step rule.

As the investigation approached its end, we reactivated the network of GLAM institutions, researchers, civil society organisations, seats of learning, and other user organisations that were formed in connection with the implementation of the Copyright Directive. This allowed us to once again gather input and insights on the importance of flexible copyright. For many smaller actors, it is difficult to become involved in copyright issues, despite being significantly affected by them. Hopefully, an inclusive process like the one we led in connection with the implementation of the Copyright Directive can contribute to additional organisations feeling capable of contributing with consultation responses. Throughout the process, we have been the sole representative from civil society and have experienced great value in sharing our insights with other associations and interest groups to make them aware of the risks and opportunities associated with the ongoing legislative process.

The contacts established during the work on the investigation strengthened our advocacy efforts in Sweden but also facilitated close relationships and discussions with officials representing Sweden in the EU Council's Working Party on Intellectual Property and at WIPO. This provided deeper insights into Sweden's role in WIPO and how Swedish delegates operate in WIPO, which in turn played a significant role during our participation in the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) in the spring where Sweden, as chair of the Council, coordinated EU support for the African group's proposals on copyright exceptions and restrictions.

The active participation in both the copyright investigation and WIPO further positioned us as key players in discussions on copyright issues, both nationally and internationally. This, in turn, resulted in invitations to seminars, discussions, and panel discussions on copyright exceptions and restrictions, including Creative Commons' roundtable discussions in Lisbon to launch the process of attempting to have UNESCO develop a recommendation on open culture. In May 2023, we attended the kick-off meeting in Lisbon. Since then we have been trying to help find support for this work through our UNESCO contacts. If adopted, these recommendations could influence public sector choices and priorities for many years to come.

Additionally, we organised an event on AI and TDM during Almedalsveckan, where the participation of both the national librarian and members of parliament helped raise the issue of AI, TDM, and copyright on the political agenda.

In 2022 and 2023, Wikimedia Sverige has been able to expand its commitment to political advocacy. We have prioritized it much higher than before, as we identified this as a unique opportunity for us to make a difference considering that we have the necessary skills and starting points. However, the work would not have been possible without external funding secured through our participation in two projects funded by the Arcadia Fund. Without external funding, we would not have been able to devote so much time to the inquiry, and would not have gained the weight in the copyright discussions that we have. The remuneration from the Swedish Government Offices for participation in the inquiry is SEK 350 per meeting. However, you need to read up on relevant material in preparation for each meeting, and the compensation is far from proportional to the time spent. Understandably, one of the major challenges is that many smaller actors find it difficult to make their voice heard; while copyright holders have a lot of resources and are well-coordinated, many of the user organizations are small, under-resourced and lack legal expertise. This is one of the biggest long-term challenges for sustainable advocacy that we and other organizations close to us are facing.

In summary, the efforts of Wikimedia Sverige have not only influenced national legislation but also established our role as an important part in European and global copyright discussions and as an advocate for a more inclusive and flexible legal framework for free sharing and disseminating of knowledge.