Von Lewinski, who warned in her speech against NGOs and public interest groups active on copyright issues who she said were really fronts for telcos and ISPs, assured the audience that there were no problems with the digital lock rules in Europe with only one complaint in the many years since it was established (a positioned echoed by Mihaly Ficsor later in the day). It should be noted that other studies, such as this exhaustive one from the Institute for Information Law at the University of Amsterdam commissioned by the European Commission’s Internal Market Directorate General, come to a much different conclusion. It found numerous problems with situation in Europe, recommending:
To remedy the lack of legal certainty and harmonisation with respect to the legal protection of TPMs, and to align the European provisions with the EU’s international obligations under the WIPO Treaties, the EC legislator should consider clarifying the legal framework in four respects. First, the prohibition on acts of circumvention should only find application in circumstances where the act of circumvention results in copyright infringement.
Von Lewinski also argued that fair use was “not in our tradition”, a point later challenged by Jonathan Griffiths of the School of Law, Queen Mary University of London. Griffiths warned against importing the Berne “three step test” directly into national law for copyright exceptions such as fair dealing (as some groups have called for in Canada), arguing that it frequently leads to greater uncertainty and overly restrictive interpretations.
A subsequent panel of copyright collectives featured many notable comments with German lawyer Martin Schaefer telling the audience that Europe provided Canada with an example of what not to do and Professor Francois Dessemontent focusing on the lack of copyright collective transparency and the benefits of independent directors. SOCAN appeared on the panel as well, using the opportunity to attack ISPs, search engines, and sites like YouTube, with the claim that their arguments about payment were “pathetic.”
Later panels included Ficsor’s defence of the WIPO Internet treaties and commentary on Bill C-11 as well as criticism from Italian professor Giovanni Maria Riccio, who lamented a “political invasion” on copyright with conflict of interests and lobbying a major problem. For example, he noted that the Italian notice-and-takedown system includes a challenge right for the person who posts the content online, but that their challenge is limited to 50 characters, far less than even a tweet.