Revolving Door Between Commission and Copyright Industry?
Unconfirmed reports claim that Maria Martin-Prat is to succeed Tilman Lueder as head of Directorate unit D1 at the European Commission, responsible for copyright policy. Martin-Prat took a sabbatical between 2000 and 2004 to work for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. As yet there has been no official confirmation, but the news is being relayed by french webzine PCinpact, Pirate Party MEP Christian Engstrom and consumer organization KEI (which includes a precis on the positions expressed by her whilst working for the IFPI such as her aggressive opposition to private copy rules). Being a high level appointment, i presume the decision was in the hands of Commissioner Michel Barnier.
People are understandably outraged at the appointment. While there is no question as regards her suitability to work for the Commission in general, it is grotesque that she should be put in charge of a policy unit in an area where she was previously a paid lobbyist. She is currently head of Directorate Unit E1, concerned with the Services Directive.
Whilst web commentary presents her as ringmaster for the new Enforcement Directive (IPRED2), I’m not so sure. As I wrote in February, there is now a unit dedicated specifically to Enforcement, headed by Alvydas Stancikas. His unit ran the legal sub-committee formed to report on the first IPRED and suggest modifications. Head of Directorate Margot Fröhlinger has also been prominent in the enforcement field.
Tilman Lueder was a pretty entertaining guy, rather wry, who also expressed some scepticism about the direction of copyright policy in recent years, pointing out the impossibility, for example, of the Google Books initiative in the EU due to the lack of a general fair use defense. Apparently he’s off to China.
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