Ana de Hollanda, the new Minister of Culture, has been proving to be an incredible asset to the Ministry of Culture.
The prior policy of the Ministry of Culture was to say everything was very transparent while, in reality, it was not. Actually, it was far from transparent. Proof of that is that a pre-bill of Copyright Act was actually sent to the Head of the Civil House still in 2010 as I reported in this post. However, nobody knew the contents of this bill, which had allegedly been modified.
And why the secret, you might ask. Why indeed. Was that a fear that the modified version would be worse than the original (a very difficult task I would say)? Or was that a total disregard for the democratic process? Or maybe even a mix of both?
Well, never mind the reasons. Now, Ana de Hollanda, who has been receiving fire and brimstone from the rabid (and blind) supporters of the pre-bill, has valiantly uncovered the truth and posted the entire text of the revised pre-bill. You can find it here in Portuguese. I have to confess that I have not yet delved deeply into the text but I can safely say that the new pre-bill has been heavily modified at least in two sections: exceptions of copyright protection and compulsory licenses.
The vastly expanded list of exceptions continues there intact but the clauses have been refined, probably as a result of the public consultation. A lot more must be done to make these clauses look acceptable but at least the responses from many sectors involved with copyright have actually been read.
The compulsory licenses, one of the main targets of the negative comments about the pre-bill, have vanished. In their place, there is a new section dealing with orphan works which I have yet to analyze carefully. The elimination of the compulsory licenses, however, was more than expected. I am pretty sure that this was designed from the outset to be eventually taken out. It was like a huge nuisance that was so obviously controversial and illegal that it was bound to be taken out. It is always a great – albeit quite easily to detect – negotiation technique to request something outrageous just to eventually accept to take it out and divert attention from the real problems.
What I can tell you, my faithful readers, is that many of the problems I detected in my previous posts (just scroll down a bit and you will see a considerable number of my comments on the pre-bill) continue to exist. After I have had the change to look into this with more detail, I will post my comments on the changes.