Julia Reda

Defending and promoting online rights


Julia Reda

Project:

The goal of this project is to seek precedents in German law to benefit open access and defend the digital rights of individuals.

“Our fight to #SaveYourInternet was not in vain! We can be proud of how far we came – and our efforts continue.”

The Big Idea


Julia Reda spent five years as a European Member of Parliament campaigning to reject the EU’s Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. The legislation eventually passed - albeit narrowly - but she successfully negotiated a range of balancing elements in the new law. With the directive set to become a reality across all EU countries by 2021, it is time-critical these specific elements are tested so individuals, small organisations and the underprivileged can exercise their rights, and ensure open culture and knowledge remain represented in all languages as part of the future web.

During her fellowship, Julia will build on the successes of her previous work in Germany and seek legal precedents for the benefit of society. If successful, Germany’s influence on the EU - and the EU’s influence on the rest of the world’s digital policies - could expand protections for the open movement into many other jurisdictions.

Why We Funded


Julia’s work as an MEP successfully stated the case for openness to be considered in copyright law, an area traditionally one-sided and based entirely on an “all rights reserved model.” She raised the open movement’s profile during her term and has been a figure of inspiration to many of the hundreds of thousands who protested the EU’s near-capitulation to the whims of the entertainment and publishing industries.

There is still vital work to be done and a lot at stake. Copyright laws favourable to large rights holders stunt innovation, damage online communities and entrench the already-significant power of established technology companies. Researchers suffer, too, and several of our fellows have experienced adverse effects from the pressure and legal weight of academic publishers. Julia has the opportunity to break significant ground and unleash the real potential of knowledge sharing on the Internet while expanding the reach of open further into public consciousness.

Julia’s work focuses on:

  • Promoting and defending transparency rights to challenge the status quo enjoyed by academic publishers
  • Testing specific elements of the EU Directive and fighting for a progressive interpretation for the benefit of creators and users
  • Involving marginalised communities who suffer disproportionately from restrictive copyright policies