Reform or censorship? - EU Copyright Directive heads toward final vote

The following has not yet been verified. Please improve it by logging in and editing it. If you believe that is not sufficient to solve the problem, please discuss it with the community on the Talk Page. If you think that this article should be removed, please contact [email protected]

Since 2016, the EU has been working on an update to its copyright laws, in order to make them more adequate to the digital age. The proposed directive, which has been the subject of acerbic public debate, aggressive lobbying and massive grassroots campaigns, is approaching the final vote in the plenary of the European Parliament on the 25-28 March.

While supporters of the bill point to its benefits for European artists and journalists, critics have argued that the proposed laws leave ample room for abuse and would result in sweeping censorship. Articles 11 and 13 of the new directive are the most contentious.

Article 11 would mandate that aggregation websites, like search engine Google or link sharing platform Reddit, will have to pay licences for each piece of copyrighted content that they link to, if said link is accompanied by a quote from the copyright-protected work. Dubbed the ‘link tax’, Article 11 has been lambasted on the grounds that it is unrealistic to require platforms to acquire licences to every possible work that a user or algorithm might link to. Furthermore, there is doubt that copyright can even extend to short illustrative quotes. The result could be a decrease in diversity on the Web. Nonetheless, supporters of the measure believe that it will lead to fair remuneration for journalists, whose work is indirectly exploited for profit by Internet platforms at no cost to themselves.

Article 13 would obligate the owners of Internet platforms where content is user-submitted, like YouTube, Facebook or Instagram, to install mechanisms that prevent copyright infringing material from appearing on their platforms. Owing to the bill’s wording, it is widely held that the way to achieve this is likely automated upload filters. That is software which scans each uploaded document for copyright infringing material, and, if it detects any, it does not allow the material to be published. Because accurate content filtering software is far from being reality, it is likely that internet platforms will choose to err on the side of caution to minimize risks to themselves. Hence, they would overfilter rather than underfilter, thus preventing some legal material from seeing the light of day as collateral damage. This effect has been called a “censorship machine” by activists who oppose the directive. It has also been pointed out that this approach is ripe for abuse by malicious actors wishing to censor others’ speech by means of copyright claims. However, media groups and some artists have argued that Article 13 is a proportionate measure against infringement, which is rampant on the Internet and tedious to fight against.

 

 

Article 13 would place the liability for breach of copyright on intermediaries and require mandatory upload filters, creating a high risk for sites that distribute user generated content and potentially limiting online collaboration. Article 13 has also been called  a “meme ban”, on the basis that the filtering technologies will block so-called fair dealing uses of copyrighted content such as parody.

A group of internet pioneers including world wide web creator, Tim Berners-Lee, and Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, signed an open letter in June 2018 stating article 13 would take “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”.

The Directive has received support from publishers, major music labels, mainstream newspapers and some artists, including Paul McCartney.

Publishing trade groups have made claims of a disinformation campaign being orchestrated by organisations such as Wikipedia and Google. The European Newpaper Publishers Association state that Article 11 specifically excludes uses by individuals and hyperlinks. They criticise what they call a “bad-faith attempt to discredit a proposed directive aiming at re-balancing a digital ecosystem dominated by platforms”.

 

Sources

The EU Copyright Directive

Defending equal access to the free and open internet is core to Reddit’s ideals, and something that redditors have told us time and again they hold dear too, from the SOPA/PIPA battle to the fight for Net Neutrality. This is why even though we are an American compan

Don’t Wreck The Net!

Tell European lawmakers to fix the Copyright Directive.

EU votes for copyright law that would make internet a ‘tool for control’

MEPs defy warnings from internet pioneers, civil liberties groups and commercial interests

No Title

No Description

Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market – Wikipedia

The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market 2016/0280(COD), also known as the EU Copyright Directive, is a controversial proposed European Union directive intended to ensure “a well-functioning marketplace for the exploitation of works and other subject-matter… taking into account in particular digital and cross-border uses of protected content”.

 

 

Image information

  • TODO tags

      Is there a problem with this article? [Join] today to let people know and help build the news.
      • Share
        Share

      Subscribe to our newsletter

      Be the first to collaborate on our developing articles

      WikiTribune Open menu Close Search Like Back Next Open menu Close menu Play video RSS Feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Follow us on Instagram Follow us on Youtube Connect with us on Linkedin Connect with us on Discord Email us