Project deliverable Open Access

D2.2 Interim report on barriers experienced by vulnerable groups

Ferri, Delia; Higgins, Noelle; Serra, M. Laura; Donnellan, Katie

The End-users’ perspective is often a neglected aspect of the European Union (EU) copyright regulatory framework and within copyright scholarship. In light of the objectives pursued by reCreating Europe, and its overarching aim to promote a modern, creative, culturally diverse, accessible Europe, Work Package (WP) 2 aims to discuss the role of End-users’ rights, interests, expectations, and behaviors vis-à-vis copyright rules. Within WP2, the aim of Task 2.2 is to assess the extent to which vulnerable groups experience barriers in accessing digital cultural content. It also aims to investigate whether, and to what extent, the EU regulatory framework might exacerbate or counteract those barriers. In that regard, we linked ex ante the idea of vulnerability to structural inequalities by identifying specific groups of End-users. However, our analysis aims to further unveil the role of those inequalities and of specific barriers linked to them in accessing digital culture.

This interim report provides a detailed overview of the objectives of Task 2.2, of specific research questions posed as part of this Task, as well as a comprehensive discussion of the methodology used for this research. In this regard, the report also discusses in detail the process of data collection and lays out some ‘incidental’ findings emerging from that process. In addition, it discusses some general preliminary findings of the research conducted to date. In particular, it highlights three main issues, which will be further analyzed in the final report. First, the degree of knowledge of copyright law and the understanding of its relevance in relation to the consumption of digital cultural content seems limited amongst vulnerable groups. Second, in all countries considered, underlying barriers, such as the ‘digital divide’ and structural inequalities faced by vulnerable groups, represent a substantial challenge and prevent the consumption of digital content. In this respect, this interim report confirms the results of other past and well-established research. Third, we could observe initial (and not fully defined) patterns of convergence and divergence between different vulnerable groups (e.g. persons with disabilities, migrants, linguistic minorities).

The deliverable is under acceptance by the European Commission. 

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