21 June 2018Copyright

EU takes step closer to passing copyright directive

The European Parliament’s legal affairs committee (JURI) voted in favour of the draft directive hoped to modernise copyright rules in the EU yesterday, June 20.

The directive is aimed at modernising the European copyright framework and allowing it to meet the requirements of the digital age, but it has been criticised by a number of stakeholders.

According to Julia Reda, a member of European Parliament for the Pirate Party: “Despite a massive outpouring of protest from voters during these last few days, the majority voted for both the link tax and upload filters.”

One of the more controversial aspects of the directive is the provision (article 11) which addresses the so-called value gap—the remuneration received by authors and performers compared to the profits made by the internet platforms making rights owners’ works available.

Under the right, publishers could charge services such as Google for displaying parts of a work in search results.

Ron Moscona, partner at the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney, said that this proposal will give the press an independent right to enforce the copyright in their publications, in the same way that authors enforce their copyright under existing laws.

“The provision may assist in the enforcement of copyright online, but in principle it does not introduce a major change to copyright laws,” he said.

Article 13, which would require internet platforms to filter uploaded content, has also come under fire.

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, and more than 70 other internet experts, spoke out against the provision in a letter sent to the European parliament a week before the vote.

“By requiring internet platforms to perform automatic filtering all of the content that their users upload, article 13 takes an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the internet, from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users,” said the letter.

Late last month, the European Council’s Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) finalised its position on the draft.

It proposed that service providers are considered liable for copyright infringement when they fail to take “urgent steps” to prevent the availability of copyright-protected works on their platforms.

Coreper added that exemptions from this liability should be made available to platforms under certain conditions, “linked notably to their size”.

A wider parliamentary vote on the new copyright rules will take place on July 5.

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More on this story

5 July 2018   The European Parliament rejected a draft directive aimed at modernising copyright rules earlier today, sending it back to the drawing board.
4 September 2018   Film directors and screenwriters have urged the European Parliament to pass the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, which is due to be discussed next week.
13 November 2018   The CEO of YouTube has expressed concern about the European Parliament’s “unrealistic” approach to modernising copyright rules in the EU.