12 February 2019Copyright

CCIA criticises “unworkable” EU copyright directive

“Foreign countries are increasingly prone to imposing onerous IP regulations aimed at US internet companies”, according to the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA).

In new  comments submitted to the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTRO) ahead of its annual report, the CCIA has rebuked the EU and other jurisdictions for their alleged weakening of IP protection and divergence from the US regulatory regime.

The CCIA is an industry organisation representing the information, computers and technology industries. Its members include companies such as Amazon, eBay, Google and Facebook.

The comments, published on February 6, outline the CCIA’s firm opposition to the proposed EU copyright directive, which is currently under negotiation. Among the most controversial elements of the proposal is article 13, which would require internet service providers to filter their content in order to detect copyright infringements.

Article 13 would make service providers “directly liable for the actions of internet users” and require the implementation of “unworkable filtering mandates”, the CIAA said.

“By effectively revoking long-established protections upon which US services relied when entering European markets, the new directive would impair US companies’ investments for the benefit of EU rightsholders”, the submission said.

Also at issue is article 11, which would introduce a so-called “snippet tax” when displaying results from news and content publishers on search engine results.

“The snippet tax as proposed will ultimately undermine the ability of free flow of information online by mandating fees for the quotation of published content”, the CIAA said.

Individual EU jurisdictions also came in for criticism, with the CIAA noting recent Greek reforms in its copyright enforcement laws. “Instead of aligning with the US system”, the comments said, Greek rights owners can now apply for the removal of infringing content online to an extra-judicial committee. The CIAA warned of government restriction of online content occurring “without due process”.

The CIAA also noted that new Ukrainian legislation on online copyright enforcement, which implemented a “notice and takedown” system, goes beyond what is required by the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The Ukranian law requires online platforms to remove infringing content within 24 or 48 hours to avoid liability. This is inconsistent, the CIAA said, with the “expeditious” standard under the DMCA.

The comments also criticised countries such as Australia, Colombia, and Peru for failing to comply with IP protection measures required by those countries’ free trade agreements with the US.

This story was first published on TBO.

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More on this story

14 February 2019   News of a final agreement on the proposed European Copyright Directive has prompted concern from long-term opponents of the law.
1 March 2019   A German federal commissioner has warned that Article 13 of the recently agreed European copyright directive could create an “oligopoly consisting of a few vendors”.