For debate in the Standing Committee — see Rule 15 of the Rules of Procedure

Doc. 9616

4 November 2002

Ensuring fair access to digital knowledge for educational and other socially necessary purposes

Committee on Culture, Science and Education

Rapporteur: Mrs Tytti Isohookana-Asunmaa, Finland, Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group


The Assembly believes in ensuring fair access to digital material for educational and other socially necessary purposes. In order to take account of new information technology, a new balance has to be established between rewarding intellectual property owners and making their work available to the larger public.

The Council of Europe should join forces with Unesco, and other international bodies, for example in preparation of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), in order to establish the public service principle in the digital environment and to draw up norms for the use of such material

I.        Draft recommendation on the digital divide and education

1.       Digitalisation introduces a new risk of dividing those who can afford access for the purposes of education and research from those who cannot. The Assembly believes in ensuring fair access to digital material for educational and other socially necessary purposes.

2.       In the age of printing, society developed a balance between the need to reward intellectual property owners for the use of their works, and the need for society to make some of these works available to a larger public.

3.       In the digital age, this balance has to be re-established and legislation adopted both nationally and internationally to take account of the technological developments.

4.       Access to information is essential for education and research. It is also a basic requisite for democracy, as this relies on the participation of informed and enlightened citizens.

5.       Copyright questions related to digital material available on the Internet are being addressed by the European Union. Unesco together with the International Telecommunication Union is preparing two world conferences (to take place in 2003 and 2005) to develop an international convention on the conditions for public access to material on the Internet.

6.        The Council of Europe has itself begun to address these questions, notably the Assembly in Recommendation 1332 (1997) on the scientific and technical aspects of the new information and communications technologies and Resolution 1191 (1999) on the information society and a digital world, and the Committee of Ministers in its Declaration of May 1999 on a European policy for new information technologies.

7.       The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

i.       joins forces with other international bodies that are currently considering access to digital material on the Internet in order to establish the public service principle in the digital environment and in particular to develop norms for the use of such material for educational and other socially relevant purposes;

ii.        gives particular consideration in drawing up such norms to :

b. limiting access only for reasons of privacy, confidentiality, security and law-enforcement

c. providing of public access points staffed by trained personnel

d. developing special tools to help access for the disabled in concrete terms

e. harmonising, clarifying and making user-friendly national and international copyright legislation applying to digital material

f. encouraging the production of culturally and pedagogically suitable digital material

g. facilitating quality appreciation of digital information

iii.        ensures that these norms are properly and equally applied in member states.

II. Explanatory memorandum

by Mrs Isohookana-Asunmaa

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Educational and other socially necessary purposes

2.1. Education

2.2. Research

2.3. Libraries, museums, archives and national heritage

2.4. Civic knowledge

      2.4.1. Definition of civic knowledge

      2.4.2. Availability of public information

      2.4.3. Pricing of public information

      2.4.4. Need for information policy?

      2.4.5. Public access points

      2.4.6. Marginalised groups

3. Copyright matters

3.1. International agreements

      3.2. The United States

      3.3. The European Union

      3.4. Legislation

      3.5. Open source, technical measures for protection and need for meta-information

4. Recommendations

4.1. Policy of public information

4.2. Infrastructure

4.3. Public access points

4.4. Marginalised groups

4.5. Defining copyright

4.6. Content production

4.7. Technical measures for protection and need for meta-information

4.8. Monitoring

5. Bibliography and aknowledgements

1. Introduction

      Hawkins: “The management of the Spectrum”

      It can be said that the future has never been as short as it is today. Predicting the future of processing information is particularly difficult because of the fierce development of technology. This development has brought new possibilities to create, distribute and use information. The UN conception of the social advantages of digital technology includes contribution of the technology sector’s output to the economy, providing distant communities with convenient on-line access to government and other services, improvement in the public sector administration, potential for improving education, especially distance learning and training, improvement of health care, telemedicine, employment and dissemination of environmental information.

      An estimated 276 million persons were users of the Internet in the year 2000, the growth rate was about 150 000 persons per day, 220 million devices were accessing the Internet and almost 200 000 devices were added everyday. Web pages totalled 1.5 billion with almost 2 million pages being added everyday (UN). The Finnish futurist Mika Mannermaa envisages that in ten years all information and services can be found on the Internet.

      The distinguishing feature of modern knowledge-based societies is the extent and pace of growth in the accumulation and transmission of knowledge, much of which is new or is used distant from its creators. Digital technologies have a profound impact on education and research, library activities and culture. The use of technology can facilitate education and other social activities, but it also raises new questions.

      Society based on analogue information developed a balance between the need to reward intellectual property owners for the use of their works, and the need for society to make some of these works available to a larger public, for education, research and other socially necessary purposes. In the digital world, this balance has been disturbed. Legislation, nationally and internationally, is being overtaken by the technical development.

      The technological development can, in some respects, alleviate factors contributing to social exclusion. New technology can serve as a possibility for marginalised groups in society. On the other hand, reluctance or inaccessibility to technology may lead to further alienation. The elderly, the disabled, the unemployed, people living in distant locations and women to a certain extent are the most vulnerable.

      There is a clear correlation between GDP and the usage of the Internet. Digitalisation may alleviate poverty by increasing information and by offering new opportunities in areas of administration, education and health care. In UN terms, information and communications technology is an increasingly powerful tool for participating in global markets. It has been estimated that the addition of 1 % in telecommunications in Africa will lead to a 3 % rise in GDP. Digitalisation can promote political accountability, improve the delivery of basic services and enhance local development opportunities. But without innovative policies, many people are left behind. The challenge is huge - at present Finland has more Internet hosts than Latin America as a whole (

      The view of the European Union is that public sector information is an important asset and will become a key factor in the further development of the content sector, that already has a size of EUR 433 billion, employing some 4 million Europeans. The Union believes that the integration of the European economies together with technological development will increase the demand for European information products and services. Diverse standards and practices of using digital information hinder the development. The Union is concerned that uncertain conditions for using the information prevents companies from expanding on the European market.

      The present report will not look in detail at the commercial possibilities of the Internet but, as also the European Commission points out, the difficulties of establishing cross-border information services not only affect the producers of these services, but also have a negative impact on the users. The availability of reliable information for administrative practices, traffic information, investment conditions and the environmental situation across different Member States are important also for citizens (COM(2002) 207 provisional version).

      International conventions have recently addressed the question of fair access in the digital environment. They have asserted the right of governments to include in their national copyright legislation exceptions, limitations and special amendments for educational and other special purposes. There is unanimity that the basic requirements for education, research and library activities and access to public information has to be secured. The so-called “digital divide” is widely recognised and is presently being tackled by many international organisations.

      The utilisation of new technology varies greatly between countries. Since the Finnish information society has a fairly long history, it is useful to examine the policy instruments employed in that country. International comparisons are difficult because of cultural differences and variations in educational systems, technologies and legislation.

      In defining “fair access” one has to bear in mind the two approaches of the concept. On the one hand, “fair access” refers to the balance between copyright protection and incentives to publish scientific or artistic works. On the other hand it also means equitable and just access, access for everyone, which in turn refers to equality between countries and within countries (geographical and social) and equal participation of different groups in society. The US legal concept of “fair use” is not used in the context of this report.

      The issue is currently being examined throughout the world as different governments are preparing views for the ITU’s (International Telecommunication Union) World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The Summit will be held in two phases with the first phase to be held from 10 to 12 December 2003, in Geneva, Switzerland and the second in 2005 in Tunis, Tunisia. It is important for the Council of Europe to take an active part in this dialogue.

      The Council of Europe should approach the question as a matter of basic human rights and democracy ( User-friendly and humane aspects are underlined. Fair access to information must be guaranteed. Citizens must be able to produce texts and art freely, while the privacy of both users and producers is secured. Legal and technical solutions alone will not suffice. In addition to practical measures, universal vision and political will are needed.

2. Educational and other socially necessary purposes

      Cultural and educational functions that are performed by schools, libraries, universities, research centres, archives and museums aiming for the widest possible dissemination of data, have a special status when considering fair access to digital material. The report does not focus on entertainment or commercial information.

2.1. Education

      The economic significance of knowledge-intensive work is increasing. New demands for knowledge require the possibility of lifelong learning. The educational system should train people to manage, analyse, evaluate and refine the increasing flow of information and help to utilise new technology.

      Recent studies and pilot programmes show the importance of digital technologies for teaching. Technological skills help students to acquire new knowledge and develop new learning methods. According to the European Union, technology can also encourage intercultural and multilingual communication between pupils, students and teachers throughout Europe.

      However, there are many obstacles to the use of technology in education. Educational establishments do not have enough equipment of sufficient quality. The content available often mismatches with specific needs. Equipment acquisition is restricted by budgetary constraints. Most importantly, new technology cannot be introduced into teaching practices until the teachers feel comfortable using them.

      Our European cultural heritage, intellectual and financial resources and technical expertise are of unique quality. Missing the opportunity of new technology will damage our scientific contribution, employment market, cultural identity, linguistic diversity and social cohesion (EU).

      Many governments have prepared strategies for the utilisation of new technology in education. The Finnish focus areas of the National Strategy for 2000-2004 "Education, Training and Research in the Information Society" include:

1. Information society skills for all

2. The versatile use of networks in studying and teaching

3. Accumulating digital information capital

4. Strengthening information society structures in education, training and research

      The objectives for the year 2004 are stated as follows:

“Educational establishments will be innovative centres of learning where teachers collaborate with students in developing new pedagogical applications. Educational establishments will have greater responsibility for preventing social exclusion. The use of networks for tutoring and support will become more frequent.

“Network projects will have evolved into virtual universities and schools. Teachers will participate in pedagogical development networks. Networking between small schools will have greatly increased in scarcely populated areas.

“Revised curricula will have been adopted and the assessment of their application will be about to begin. Universities and other educational establishments will monitor and assess the development strategies regularly.

“Open and distance learning will have brought new kinds of electronic teaching material and a market for educational network services. This development has been taken into account in developing teacher education; it will be focused in particular on the development of virtual studies.

“Media literacy, the ability of citizens to utilise both the traditional media as well as new information and communication technologies in their daily life, has been taken into the curricula”. (Education, Training and Research in the Information Society. See also Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Doc. 8753 Media education).

      It is noteworthy that in the Internet there is a lot of material that is not suitable for children. We have seen numerous examples where material from the Internet has been used for questionable or even criminal purposes. The only way to avoid unsuitable use of the Internet is to teach critical media literacy. Since it is probably impossible to control the flow of material in the Internet, attention should be placed on education rather than on censorship.

      The utilisation of new technology in schools has been very heterogeneous and the commitment has varied greatly. It was evaluated that only one fifth of the Finnish educational staff extensively applies new technology to support teaching. 20 % of the teachers utilising information technology is estimated to be also the international average (SITRA). Nevertheless almost all teachers and students would be willing to use new technology to a greater extent (Education, training and research in the Information society, A Finnish national strategy for 2000-2004).

      The European Union already launched a programme "Learning in the information society" in 1996. Its four action lines were:

“Encouraging the interconnection of schools: The point here is to gradually increase the interlinking of existing regional and national networks and individual schools, to try out innovative educational projects focusing on the new technologies, and to create and interconnect multimedia discovery classes.

“Stimulating the development and dissemination of teaching "content" of European interest: The Commission intends to encourage cooperation with TV channels, multimedia publishers and producers responsible for co-productions and exchanges of products and services.

“Promoting training and support for teachers and trainers and aimed at using new technology in their teaching methods: This will involve stepping up training activities and encouraging the networking of training centres for teachers and trainers to enable "good practice" to be disseminated.

“Informing all concerned about the teaching opportunities afforded by the new technologies: Helping to create a forum for the exchange of information accessible on the Internet, and circulating information by the traditional media (leaflets and radio and television programmes).” (EC: Learning in the information society,

2.2. Research

      The size of scholarly literature is causing a crisis in the traditional approach to dissemination of research results. Another trend is the increasing power and availability of electronic technology.

      The differences in legislation and practice between countries may threaten the autonomy of science. Imagine a researcher having free access to all information produced by state institutes in comparison to someone who has to pay for the data, or even worse, who will not be able to attain the information at all. For example in the United States the authorities are forbidden to collect money for the information they have produced. On the other hand, in Europe there is a tendency towards charging at least the cost-based price of the information produced by the authorities. The researchers are inevitably in an unequal position. For the purposes of objective science, data should be disseminated with reasonable conditions.

      The American mathematician Andrew M. Odlyzko has predicted that traditional scholarly journals will disappear within 10 to 20 years. The electronic alternatives will be different from current journals. He is convinced that future systems of communication will be much better than the traditional journals. Although the transition is painful, it will bring substantial benefits.

      The number of scientific papers published annually has doubled every 10-15 year for the last two centuries. If the number of articles per year doubles in 10 years, as it did for several decades after World War 2 in many fields, about half of the entire literature will have been produced during the preceding 10 years. Even if growth stops, the total number of articles will double in another 20 years (Odlyzko,

      In addition to storage and transmission improvements, software is much easier to use. A printed paper was far superior in legibility to hand-written copies of the preprint, and it was cheaper to produce than hiring scribes to make hundreds of copies. Today the cost advantage of publishers is gone, as it is cheaper to send digital versions of the work than to have it printed in a journal. The quality advantage of journals still exists, but it is eroding. Digital publication offers the best opportunity of reducing costs. The economic argument will force a move to digital forms of information dissemination. There are additional reasons for preferring digital journals, among which the interactive potential of the Internet and the fact that it is easy to use and access, not to mention positive environmental effects. Publication delays disappear and reliability of the literature increases with opportunities to add comments to papers and attach references to later works.

      The opposition to digital publishing is mostly based on lack of standards for presenting scholarly data in digital form. Digital journals should follow the same policies as the current paper journals, though admittedly digital publication can lead to careless communication because of its ease.

      Along with the digitalisation of research, the markets of digital scientific journals will start to evolve. The commercial basis for digital publishing is already developing. The access to digital journals is conditional and the pricing unclear. Governments need to decide where to draw the line; what is to be organised for public use and how to ensure the equality of researchers in the digital environment, while copyright legislation and definition of generally accessible information differs between countries.

2.3. Libraries, museums, archives and national heritage

      As transmitters of information, libraries and archives have traditionally selected, organised, offered for use and stored printed publications and documents. In this role, the institutions concerned encourage creativity, innovation, research, education and learning.

      Along with digitalisation, these functions have drastically changed, but their performance is even more important in the information society. Due to growing information-intensity, access to information will in future be still more important for democracy than before. With current digital technology it is possible to build comprehensive collections, as well as improved ways to find information among the growing mass of materials. With digital networks it is possible to make these available worldwide. One view is that library activities will evolve into completely digital collections in future.

      Libraries, archives and museums, being legally-based public institutions, grant sufficient copyright protection for copyright owners in a digital environment. To build up a balanced situation, legislation should also provide for affordable access to information. Citizens may expect that they can view and browse electronic material in their libraries, archives and museums as freely as they can read a book. The challenge is to establish the roles, rights and responsibilities of libraries and archives in providing this.

      Again we come down to the question, what information can reasonably be expected to be freely accessible to everyone, what is the public service principle in the digital environment, what do governments choose to organise for their citizens to use freely? The demands of the citizens and the development of the information market are essential to this question.

      Significant economic, legal, and technical issues must be resolved if libraries and archives are to act as deposits of digital information. The most expensive is to digitalise existing analogue material, often rare and fragile, but still important; the cheapest is to publish in digital form on the Internet. For example in Finland the time and money invested on the digitalisation of cultural heritage has been modest. It is not only vital for educational purposes, but also for civilisation to digitalise the material already made available in analogue form.

      There is much concern in the library system about old collections of printed material that will need to be preserved and converted to digital formats and the unforeseen amount of new information to be managed. Librarians also have to deal with increasing material output and a changing working environment. Concerning public libraries, for their role as information intermediaries is under threat; producers may deny them access to those electronic materials which have most commercial potentials, though access would be possible if the same material would be in paper form. Therefore it is of utmost importance to secure the position of libraries in copyright legislation.

2.4. Civic knowledge

      Citizens can greatly benefit from a good provision of the digital public sector information by facilitating the communication with the public administrations and by improving transparency in the decision making process. Public sector information is of utmost importance for democratic and civic life.

      The Finnish Government as other European governments has not been able to enhance the digitalisation of public services, as have for example most of the banks. Since the relationship between authorities and citizens in Europe has traditionally been strong, lifelong and fairly positive, and the costs of the public sector are to be cut in the near future, the electronic services could and should be more broadly utilised.

      2.4.1. Definition of civic knowledge

      The public sector is traditionally defined as the state and the municipalities, often accompanied by state-financed agencies and institutes, whose functions are determined by law. In Finland, the public sector includes also some autonomous entities, such as federations of municipalities and universities. The parliament, government or the president may contract out some of the public services to a non-public entity. All in all, the public sector consists of 1) administration, that takes care of the stability of state organisation; 2) services, which include e.g. public welfare and information services (for example educational administration, libraries, research centres and employment agency) and 3) market-based activities i.e. productive and commercial activities in a competitive market. The information produced by the fore-mentioned entities is defined as public information.

      2.4.2. Availability of public information

      Fair access to civic knowledge for all citizens should be secured also in the digital environment. The information relevant to ”citizenship” must be provided for all and in reasonable conditions. Civic needs should be emphasised in comparison to commercial exploitation of public service information.

      The minimum requirements for public information held and produced by public authorities to be published digitally in the Internet has not been defined, mostly because of the costs of digitalisation, but also because of the attitudes and working methods of the authorities. The Authorities should be obliged to inform the public of the new digital material and the structure of the information should be as uniform as possible.

      The European Union proposes that the authorities should be obliged to deliver generally accessible documents at a reasonable price (Proposal for a European and Council Directive on the re-use and commercial exploitation of public sector documents). The definition of generally accessible documents varies greatly between European countries. The Nordic countries have traditionally offered almost all documents freely to the public, whereas elsewhere in Europe the authorities are less generous in this respect. This is a clear area of disparity between the European countries and will put citizens in an unequal position if the draft directive is adopted.

      Some kind of an international or European consensus on the definition and availability of public information is urgently needed.

      2.4.3. Pricing of public information

      According to the European Union public information is adequately produced but insufficiently utilised in Europe. The problem seems to be the diverging rules and practices of using the information, not the content itself. The European Union has expressed its concern at the uncertainty in conditions for using public sector information. The Union is worried by the competitive edge of the United States, where legislation and practice are somewhat more consistent. One view is that the resources of governments in terms of its extensive information and statistics, should be determined as a commodity that is to be delivered into the market of information products and services. Again the Council of Europe should emphasise the civic needs; pricing of information must be justified from the citizen’s point of view.

      The United States does not provide copyright protection for works of the U.S. Government. (See section 105 of Title 17 of the U.S. Code). Thus, there is generally no intellectual property right upon which the U.S. Government can require a licensing fee for the use of government databases of information. The Freedom of Information Act (section 552 of Title 5 of the U.S. Code) provides for the availability of government documents to the public. That law permits agencies of the U.S. Government to require payment of "reasonable standard charges for document search, duplication, and review...." (Section 552(a)(4)(A)). The law also stipulates that the fees "shall provide for the recovery of only the direct costs of search, duplication, or review." (Section 552(a)(4)(A)(iv)). Further, that same law also allows for reduced fees or no charge "if disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and it not primarily in the commercial interest of the requestor." (Section 552(a)(4)(A)(iii)).

      Charging marginal costs for reproduction and dissemination of information leads to the best welfare effects and to the highest economic impact. The Proposal for a European Parliament and Council directive on the re-use and commercial exploitation of public sector documents defines the policy: "...public sector bodies should not set their prices arbitrarily and should not charge excessive prices for information that has been established within the public tasks and with public money. However, public bodies are entitled to recover the investment made to produce the information." The draft directive suggests principles for charges based on costs (COM(2002) 207 provisional version).

      In Finland the pricing of public information is defined in the law of grounds for payment, where three categories exist: 1) Free of charge: information of public interest, e.g. advisory information and instructions; 2) Cost-priced: information production of which is statutory and over which the government holds a monopoly 3) Market priced. Still, in Finland there seems to be variation of the pricing principles even inside a single ministry. Here it must be pointed out that all the information held and published by the public sector that has been made available in the Internet, is free in Finland.

      2.4.4. Need for an information policy

      There is a need for new kind of societal agreement. Agreement should define the relationship between public and private information, its production, management and distribution.

      The main principle is that citizens have equal access to digital information regardless of where they live and what they earn. The knowledge-based society might be defined as a society of learning, knowing and civilisation.

      The fundamental rights of the knowledge-based society are determined in Finland as

1. Right for knowledge

2. Accessibility to knowledge

3. Citizenship of the knowledge-based society

4. Privacy

5. Intellectual property rights, copyright

Civic skills of the knowledge-based society are defined as follows:

1. Traditional literacy

2. Computer literacy

3. Information literacy

4. Media literacy

5. Information retrieval skills

6. Skills for acquisition of information

7. Ability to create cultural meanings

8. Ability to produce information

(OPM:n kirjastopoliittinen ohjelma,

      2.4.5. Public access points

      The development of the information society has been rapid and the trends are constantly changing. In Finland about 40 % of the people have a possibility of using the Internet either at home or at work. The researchers point out that the latest development has shown a deceleration in growth of Internet connections. Public access points are essential for those who will not or cannot utilise the new technology.

      According to recent research in Finland, two categories exist among the young people: those that use computers and employ digital information in everyday life and those that cannot or want not to use it. 30 % of young people use computers, Internet and e-mail only occasionally, a few times a month, 7 % use digital information less frequently. It was estimated, that more than 20 % of the youngsters use computers daily and more than 40 % use computers a few times a week. The researchers concluded, that the public access points are especially important for those that might otherwise be left out of the development. (SITRA,

      The Council of Europe has already taken the following stand on the matter: "Member states should foster the creation and maintenance of public access points providing access for all to a minimum set of communication and information services in accordance with the principle of universal community service. This should include encouraging public administrations, educational institutions and private owners of access facilities to new communication and information services to enable the general public to use these facilities." (Recommendation No R (99) 15 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on Universal Community Service concerning new Communication and Information Services).

      2.4.6. Marginalised groups

      Without an information policy the digitalisation of public information may lead to the social exclusion of women, disabled, elderly or other marginalised groups.

      Women still face barriers to participate in the knowledge-based economy. For example, ITU adopted a resolution in 1998 to ensure that access to and benefits of telecommunications fall to women and men equally. The problem seems to be the fixed role models; boys are more interested in technical devices and many parents and teachers strengthen the differences by biased attitudes. There are significant differences between the sexes in use of the Internet. An average male uses the Internet almost twice as much as the female (SITRA). Gender inequality culminates in countries of low technology.

      It is estimated that in Europe there are 37 million disabled, the corresponding figure worldwide is 500 million. The special needs of this group have to be taken into account. For example, in the United States there are already 30 million users who need adjustment technology to be able to read the Internet. The European Union, along with the Europe - campaign, has launched a principle of ”Design for all”. It is a way of designing digital products and environment in such a way that everyone can equally benefit from using them. For example, good web sites designed for visually impaired person are good for all users. The European Union’s position on the issue is as follows: "It is important for the Member States to adopt all necessary measures to facilitate access to works by persons suffering from a disability which constitutes an obstacle to the use of works themselves, and to pay particular attention to accessible formats" (Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society 2001/29/EC).

      One trend is that the utilisation of new technology is more common in densely populated areas. The usage of the Internet is most intense in the capitals, where it is estimated that people spend 1/3 more time on the Internet compared to the average citizen. On the other hand in districts of under 7 000 inhabitants in Finland the time spent on the Internet is clearly under the average. The researchers have been surprised by the clear divide among the young; it had been assumed that young people would naturally learn to use and work with computers. Nevertheless, regional correlation is clear.


3. Copyright matters

      Literary, artistic and musical works do not recognise national boundaries. Our cultural community is no longer strong enough to protect creative works in the way that it was a few decades ago. One positive consequence is that the local cultures may actually gain strength from digitalisation in a process of “globalisation”. Supranational communication gives new prospects to local communes.

      Copyright exists for social purposes; it encourages the authors of creative works, which in turn benefits both culture and science. To ensure the continuation of creative activity society needs to secure the rights of the author and other right-holders.

      When information is disseminated across national borders, efficient international protection for copyright is needed. The American approach to copyright matters differs from the European approach. The economic rights of the authors are emphasised in the American system and copyright is seen as a legal and exclusive right to the making of copies, whereas on the European continent, the idealistic and moral rights of authors are stressed in addition to economic rights.

3.1. International agreements

The foundation of the present copyright legislation is in analogue technology. Digitalisation allows an extremely large volume of data and information to be stored, transformed and transmitted very easily across the national boundaries compared to the analogue technique. It often leads to obtaining identical copies and the dissemination and manipulation of copies. To ensure the equality of citizens, the member states should be in charge of the infrastructure of information society.

Copyright questions are pondered around the world. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) adopted new treaties in 1996 : WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), often also called "the internet treaties", are complementary agreements to the international system for the protection of authors and neighbouring right-holders. The basic convention for the protection of authors is the Berne Convention, which is signed by 96 countries. (Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works of 9 September 1886, last revised at Paris on 24 July 1971.) The basic convention for the protection of neighbouring right-holders is the Rome Convention. (International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations of October 26, 1961.) The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (the TRIPs Agreement) of the World Trade Organisation also covers certain aspects of copyright and neighbouring rights.

3.2. The United States

The United States is the leading country both in digitalisation and utilisation of public sector information. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was passed by Congress already in 1966 and amended in 1974. Based on the premise that openness in government will assist citizens in making the informed choices necessary to a democracy, FOIA creates procedures whereby any member of the public may obtain the records of the agencies of the federal government. (

3.3. The European Union

In 1988 the European Union published a Green Paper on Copyright and the Challenge of Technology. The paper carried out a legal and economic analysis of the most urgent problems raised by the development of new technologies from the point of view of the Community's own concerns. Legislation on databases was envisaged by the Commission in its 1988 Green Paper. 'Follow-up to the Green Paper: Working Programme of the Commission in the field of Copyright and Related Rights' was approved in January 1991; the paper defines a programme of priority action at Community level. It emphasises the creation of the internal market also for knowledge-intensive products. The European Union published another Green Paper in 1995, the Follow-up to the Green Paper on Copyright and Related Rights in the Information Society in 1996, which led to the adoption of the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the Information Society in 2001. The implementation of the directive in the national legislations of the Member States is under way at the moment. The Directive aims to provide a harmonised and appropriate framework for copyright and related rights in the information society in the community and corresponds to the new international objectives agreed in the new WIPO Treaties (Harenko).

3.4. Legislation

The provisions of the national legislations mostly refer to analogue copyrights; the key question is whether the current legislations can be amended to account for present needs by adapting the provisions of the treaties and directives into the current copyright legislations, or will digitalisation require a legislation of its own in the future.

The Berne Convention requires countries of the Union to recognize the moral rights of integrity and attribution. The protection must be accorded to authors in accordance with the legal system of the country. The author's work may not be exploited. Certain economic rights are therefore granted to the author in the Berne Convention. Depending on the category of works these exclusive rights may include right of reproduction, translation, public performance, communication to the public, broadcasting, and adaptation.

According to Article 9(2) of the Berne Convention, countries can in their national legislation permit the reproduction of literary or artistic works in certain special cases. This provision is commonly referred to as the "three-step test" to the limitations to the rights granted to authors. The wording is as follows: "It shall be a matter for legislation in the countries of the Union to permit the reproduction of such works in certain special cases, provided that such reproduction does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author." The same provision is also included in Article 13 of the TRIPs Agreement which requires Members to "confine limitations or exceptions to exclusive rights to certain special cases which do not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the right holder."

According to Article 10 of the Berne Convention it is permitted to make quotations from a work which has already been lawfully made available to the public, provided that their making is compatible with fair practice and their extent does not exceed that justified by the purpose, including quotations from newspaper articles and periodicals in the form of press summaries. In addition, countries of the Union are allowed, in their national legislation, to permit the utilisation of literary and artistic works by way of illustration for teaching. Article 10bis allows countries to permit reproduction by the press or broadcasting or communication to the public by wire of articles published in newspapers, periodicals on current economic, political or religious topics.

A considerable harmonisation of the copyright laws will take place when the WIPO Treaties come into force. The WCT confirms the general right of distribution and the right of communication to the public. The WPPT confirms the general rights of reproduction and distribution and the right of making available to the public. The treaties provide a basis for the removal of the present differences in levels of protection and form a foundation for the development of an internal market for information. The questions on liability and implementation of the rights are resolved at national level. It might be fruitful to discuss whether the harmonisation of the exceptions is in place, given the cultural and technical differences between the European countries. The three-step test may lead to different results in different countries.

3.5. Open source, technical measures for protection and the need for meta-information

4. Recommendations

4.1.The public service principle in the digital environment

4.2. Infrastructure

4.3. Public access points

4.4. Marginalised groups

4.5. Defining copyright

4.6. Content production

4.7. Technical measures for protection and need for meta-information

4.8. Monitoring

5. Bibliography and acknowledgements

Council of Europe, Recommendation No R. (99) 14 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on Universal Community Service concerning new Communication and Information Services (Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 9 September 1999 at the 678th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies). Council of Europe 1999.

Council of Europe, Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on a European Policy for new Information Technologies (Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 7 May 1999, at its 104th session). Council of Europe 1999.

Council of Europe, Recommendation No. R (2000) 12 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the social sciences and the challenge of transition (Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 13 July 2000 at the 717th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies) Council of Europe 2000.

Finnish Copyright Institute: Directives pf the European Community on Copyright 1991-2002, Frenckellin kirjapaino Oy, Helsinki 2001.

Finnish Copyright Society: Economic Importance of Copyright Industries in Finland in 1997, Frenckell Printing Worls Ltd, Helsinki 2000.

Finnish Copyright Institute, Harenko, Kristiina: Copyright questions in the digital environment, Kirjapaino Helle Oy, Helsinki 1999.

Joki, Maija: Tieteellisen viestinnän digitalisoituminen, Signum 7/2000.

Kiiliäinen, Katariina and Leino, Markku: Digitaalisen tiedon saavutettavuus, mikä vuosi

Ministry of Education: Education, Training and Research in the Information Society, A National Strategy for 2000-2004, Nykypaino 1999.

Odlyzko, Andrew M: Tragic loss or good riddance? The impending demise of traditional scholarly journals, AT&T Bell Laboratories 1994.

Opetusministeriön asiakaspäätetyötyhmän muistio, Helsinki 2002

Opetusministeriö, Copyright Studies 2002, Catherine Sand: Technological Measures, Strategic Considerations and Conclusions Relevant to the Legislative Work, 2002.

Opetusministeriön digitaalisen tietohuoltoryhmän julkaisu, Maija Jussilainen: Julkisen sektorin tieto ja kirjastot, 2002.

Opetusministeriön kirjastotyöryhmän muistio: Kirjastopoliittinen ohjelma 2001-2004, Opetusministeriön kulttuuri-, liikunta- ja nuorisopolitiikan osaston julkaisusarja nro 2/2001, ISBN 952-442-201-8, Helsinki 2001.

Opetusministeriön tekijänoikeustoimikunnan mietintö: Tekijänoikeudet tietoyhteiskunnassa, Yliopistopaino, Helsinki 2002.

Saxby, Stephen John: Public policy and legal regulation of the information market in the digital network environment, Engers Boktrykker A/S, Otta 1995.

Steinmuller, Edward, W.: Information and communication technologies, International Social Science Journal 171, Blackwell Publishing, UNESCO 2002.

UNESCO: Study on the fair use of limitations exceptions to copyright and neighbouring rights in the digital environment.

United Nations: Report of the High-level Panel on Information and Communication Technology New York 17 - 20 April 2000, United Nations, New York 2000.

Special Government Adviser of the Finnish Ministry of Education Mr. Jukka Liedes has contributed substantially to the report. The body of the text is written by the secretary of Mrs.Tytti Isohookana-Asunmaa, Ms Anna-Mari Vimpari.


* *

Reporting committee: Committee on Culture, Science and Education

Reference to committee: Doc. 9448 and Reference No 2735 of 29.5.2002

Draft recommendation adopted unanimously by the committee on 30 October.

Members of the committee: MM. de Puig (Chairman), Saglam, Baronne Hooper MM. Prisacaru (Vice-Persons), Akhvlediani, Apostoli, Asciak, Bajrami, Banks (Alternate: Russell-Johnston), Barbieri, Berceanu, Berzinš, Billing, Braga, Mrs Castro, MM. Chaklein, Cherribi, Colombier, Mrs Cryer, MM. Cubreacov, Dalgaard, Mrs Damanaki, Mrs Delvaux-Stehres, Mrs Domingues, Mr Duka-Zólyomi, Mrs Fernández-Capel, MM. Gadzinowski, Galoyan, Gentil, Gierek (Alternate: Podgosrski), Mrs Glovacki-Bernardi, MM. Goris, Haraldsson, Hegyi, Higgins (Alternate: Mooney), Iannuzzi, Irmer, Mrs Isohookana-Asunmaa, MM. Jakic, Jarab, Kalkan, Mrs Katseli (Alternate: Skoularikis), Mrs Klaar, Mrs Kutraité Giedraitiené, MM. Lachat, Legendre, Lekberg, Lengagne, Libicki, Mrs Lucyga, MM. Maass, Malgieri (Alternate: Bianco), Marxer, Mrs Melandri, MM. Melnikov, Mestan, Mrs Milotinova, MM. Nigmatulin, O’Hara, Mrs Pintat Rossell, MM. Rakhansky, Rockenbauer, Rybak, Schellens, Mrs Schicker, MM. Schneider, Schweitzer, Seyidov, Shybko, Mrs Skarbøvik, MM. Sudarenkov, Theodorou, Vakilov, Valk, Wodarg, Yürür, Mrs Zaćiragić, Mrs Zafferini, ZZ… (Romania) (Alternate: Mr Ionescu).

N.B. The names of those present at the meeting are printed in italics

Head of Secretariat: Mr Grayson

Secretaries to the committee: Mr Ary, Mme Theophilova, Mr Torcatoriu