Brussels, 25 May 2018 – Today, the Bulgarian Presidency was granted a mandate to negotiate with the European Parliament on the Copyright Directive reform. EuroISPA is seriously concerned that the compromises reached on Articles 11 (press publishers’ rights) and 13 (filtering measures) will hurt the European Internet industry. We call on the European Parliament and the Council to improve the text in the upcoming negotiations by adopting a more proportionate and targeted approach.
Article 11 – a danger to European users’ fundamental rights
It is unclear how Article 11 will benefit press publishers, especially bearing in mind catastrophic precedents in Spain and Germany. EuroISPA regrets that the text leaves it to Member States the freedom to determine whether a snippet of a press publication falls in the scope of the article. This will simply create 28 different regimes in the EU, generating legal uncertainty for the industry, and limiting the free and open nature of the Internet. In this context, we call for Member States to consider a reasonable compromise that had broad support, a presumption of transfer of rights to news publishers.
Article 13 – over-blocking and censorship
Article 13 makes intermediaries liable for uploads by their users, completely circumventing the E-Commerce Directive. Furthermore, it requires businesses to put in place filters to assess the legality of copyright-protected content – this will lead to over-blocking and censorship of lawful content, thus endangering European users’ fundamental freedoms.
The law-makers should clearly exclude from the scope of the text electronic communication services, including internet access providers, and, as the music industry has been their main concern in drafting this text, reduce it to phonograms. Furthermore, the obligations to remove content expeditiously should be based on knowledge of an illegal use of content, in line with the e-Commerce Directive, and not merely on information by the rightholder stating that it owns the work.
A proportionate and targeted approach
EuroISPA calls on the European Parliament and the Council to adopt a more proportionate and targeted approach in their upcoming negotiations, as suggested above. We stand ready to further collaborate with the Council and the European Parliament to contribute the perspective of European Internet Services Providers and work towards a good compromise for European citizens and the European Internet industry.