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In many cases, the rightsholders are not easily found and thus these works remain in the repositories, not digitised and therefore not available online. The EU copyright reform will help remedy that. Cultural heritage institutions will have a straightforward way of giving online access to such works either by applying collective licensing or through a fallback exception. In both cases technological advances have made an update to the law necessary, and supporting majorities of votes in Parliament were possible.

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It is difficult to understand why such obvious limitations and exceptions that contribute to lifting barriers to access to knowledge were not supported either by a majority of Members States or Members of the European Parliament. Such changes would have brought the law in line with everyday practices of European citizens, and would have also harmonised the rulebook across the continent.

One of the most dangerous of the proposed norms in the reform is Article 13, which creates liability for websites that host user-generated content, if they are unable to ensure that infringing works are not re-uploaded to their sites. Though nonprofit platforms like Wikipedia were eventually exempted from this provision, it has the potential to curtail the free flow of information we rely on. Additionally, mandating a massive roll-out of content filtering infrastructure across the internet hugely increases the likelihood it will be used for censorship.

Yes, many online platforms occupy a powerful role in the internet that needs to be examined, and changes to the internet ecosystem may be inevitable. But this particular proposed change, we fear, strictly mandates the removal of content while only marginally addressing user rights and the functionality of copyright exceptions.


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The content filtering requirement, whether explicitly worded or imposed by the imminent liability risk, will enshrine the role of platforms as the primary judges of free speech. We already see this very same approach working its way into other proposals attempting to combat harmful content, such as the proposed regulation on preventing dissemination of terrorist content online. If that should be the legacy of the lengthy copyright debate, it would be better if Article 13 is deleted entirely from the directive.

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This protection would allow them to sell licenses for even the smallest snippets taken from online news sites. If no license fee is paid, the snippets would need to be removed from the search results and news aggregation lists. If this new right were also to apply to the title of a news article, millions of references in Wikipedia articles would enter a legal grey zone, where it is unclear whether licenses are needed for such referencing. It remains to be seen whether the new publishers right will ultimately be introduced and if so, whether it will at least feature an exception for mere titles of news pieces, leaving collections of references in limbo.

Eu Digital Copyright Law and the End-User

The education exception allows educators to use copyrighted content as long as it serves a teaching purpose. This proposal for a mandatory exception, however, allows members States to apply licenses on certain types of content — meaning that with broad licensing schemes the exception could be rendered ineffective. If this is the solution, we would prefer the broad existing education exception from the InfoSoc Directive to be made mandatory.

The new exception will only make the situation worse in those countries that already have a wide education exception in place. After five years of public debate about reforming copyright for the EU, which was both time and energy consuming, the free knowledge movement cannot be satisfied with what we are facing.

Article 13 and EU Copyright Law explained: This is how Europe will destroy the Internet

Safeguarding the public domain for visual works is a leap in the right direction, and simplifying the use of out-of-commerce works by cultural heritage institutions is a small but helpful step. However, these two improvements come at the cost of a new, exclusive right that will complicate the sharing of news content. Additionally, content filtering means a huge shift in liability of platforms.

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Furthermore, the education exception threatens to limit currently free uses of content by teachers that many member states allow. The current copyright reform will only modestly improve access to knowledge online. Instead it will likely restrict it.


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  2. Death, Guns, and Sticky Buns;
  3. Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.
  4. Theory and Applications of Models of Computation: 8th Annual Conference, TAMC 2011, Tokyo, Japan, May 23-25, 2011. Proceedings.
  5. Eu Digital Copyright Law and the End-User (Paperback)!
  6. This may come as a surprise, but copyrighted works often cannot be used in educational and research materials. This proposal was referred to several committees in the…. Back in , the European Parliament came together to pass regulations and set up copyright laws for the internet, a technology that was just finding its footing after the dot com boom and bust.

    Wikipedia had just been born, and there were 29 million websites. This is such a case, and policy makers need to take note. We are concerned that these provisions will create burdensome and harmful restrictions on access to scientific research and data, as well as on the fundamental rights of freedom of information. This [law] will lead to excessive filtering and deletion of content and limit the freedom to impart information on the one hand, and the freedom to receive information on the other.

    For more, see the individual topic pages. To the extent possible under law, the creator has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work. Read more.

    Article 13: A guide to the new EU copyright rules and the ban on memes

    Criticism summarised [The Copyright Directive is] on the verge of causing irreparable damage to our fundamental rights and freedoms, our economy and competitiveness, our education and research, our innovation and competition, our creativity and our culture.

    Privacy Policy. Release of proposal for a Directive. Digital Single Market policy review. Debate of opinion compromise amendments from