A leaked European Parliament document exposes some of the most bizarre suggestions yet in the debates around the proposed new copyright rules in Europe. The proposal for the Copyright Directive is currently being debated in various European Parliament Committees. The leaked document shows that conservative, socialist and Green Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) have agreed to “compromise amendment”* that would ban legal uses of legally acquired copyrighted material. They would also require the implementation of upload filter, which would remove uploads identified as copyrighted material – memes for example. The vote takes place on 11 July.
This week, EFF joined Creative Commons, Wikimedia, Mozilla, EDRi, Open Rights Group, and sixty other organizations in signing an open letter addressed to Members of the European Parliament expressing our concerns about two key proposals for a new European "Digital Single Market" Directive on copyright.
These are the "value gap" proposal to require Internet platforms to put in place automatic filters to prevent copyright-infringing content from being uploaded by users (Article 13) and the equally misguided "link tax" proposal that would give news publishers a right to compensation when snippets of the text of news articles are used to link to the original source (Article 11).
On 16 October 2017, Politico leaked the response from the Legal Services of the Council of the European Union (CLS) to the questions raised by six member states about the legality of the upload filter proposal in the Article 13 of the Copyright Directive proposal. As the censorship filter is about restricting fundamental rights, it is regrettable that the questions did not mention the rules under which restrictions can be imposed, namely Article 52.1 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. This means that key issues were not addressed in the CLS response.
According to a new leak, a number of EU Member States share our serious concerns about the proposal for mass surveillance and censorship of uploads to the internet in Europe, included in the European Commission’s proposal for a new copyright Directive. Those Member States seem unwilling to build a censorship machine forcing EU countries to build a censorship machine forcing EU countries to adopt Google’s current practices. They highlight that such practices should not be implemented without making sure of the consequences for fundamental rights and for the rule of law.
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.
Today, 16 October, European Digital Rights (EDRi), together with 56 other civil society organisations, sent an open letter to EU decision makers. The letter calls for the deletion of the Article 13 of the Copyright Directive proposal, pointing out that monitoring and filtering of internet content that it proposes breach citizens’ fundamental rights.