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Roundtable on freedom of information:

Internet - Copyright: Problematics of the EU Directive and MAI

Friday 9 October 1998, 1-6pm

at the Finnish Institute

There are reasons to be concerned about the future of access to information in libraries, on the Internet, in schools and universities, and at home. The draft EU Copyright Directive (10 December 1997) does not guarantee reasonable access to and fair use of copyright protected information. For example, the draft directive would mean that libraries must obtain a licence from the publisher before allowing visitors to read material on screen. The publisher is within his rights to withold copies of any work from the library. Library associations and their European umbrella association EBLIDA are now doing what they can to lobby for a change in the directive on copyright. But the copyright issue is important for all citizens, not only for our specialists on information, the librarians. What is at stake here is the right to information.

The Roundtable meeting will discuss whether the decision-makers of the present information society, while glorifying information technology and the information market, show a real understanding of the public library service and the creators of intellectual capital. There are fears that the proposed Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI) reduces art and literature to pure merchandise.

Among the participants will be: Andrew Puddephat (Director, Charter 88)
Stephen Coleman (Hansard Society), Marek Kohn ( journalist and writer),
Brian Groombridge (Scarman Trust), David McDuff (writer and literary translator), Henrik Stenius (Finnish Institute in London), Sinikka Sipilä (Finnish Library Association), Mikael Böök (Katto-Meny), Leena Krohn (writer), Finland, Ms Mirja Ryynänen MEP.

The following organisations are collaborating with the Finnish Institute in the organisation of the Roundtable meeting:

The Scarman Trust. A national charity, dedicated to helping people gaingreater power over their lives, especially by formulating new ideals between community-based organisations and decision-makers in government. See http://www.charter88.org.uk/press/scarman1.html

Charter 88. An independent campaign for a modern and fair democracy. See http://www.charter88.org.uk/politics/why88.html

The Finnish Library Association. A professional organisation with 2.200 individual members, mostly working in public libraries; the few institutional members are folk high schools etc., not libraries. See http://www.fla.fi/

Katto-Meny. An Internet service provider, which is organised as a cooperative society. Its 300 members (owners) are cultural and civic associations (NGOs), small business enterprises, writers, performing artists, journalists etc. See http://www.kaapeli.fi/katto/

See also:


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