In September 2016, the European Commission proposed legislation that would require the constant monitoring and filtering of virtually everything that is uploaded to the internet in Europe. Under the extreme rules proposed by the Commission in the Copyright Directive, uploads to the internet would need to be scanned to assess if any photo, video or text that is being uploaded can be “identified” based on information provided by copyright holders. This would block, for example, memes that include copyrighted images or videos, parody, quotation and other perfectly harmless activities.
In order to encourage internet companies to monitor and delete information as thoroughly as possible, it is also proposed that their legal liability for uploads would be increased.
Estonia is globally known as a powerhouse of the digital world. It eagerly moves everything into the digital realm and prides itself on being at the forefront of technology. As it now holds the Presidency of the Council of the EU, it is in charge of negotiations on the new Copyright Directive proposal.
Knowing how “digital” and progressive Estonia is, many people are surprised at the rather primitive, backward-looking leaked “compromise” proposal it produced on intermediary liability and upload filtering.