European Parliament Approves Negotiating Stance On Copyright Reform 12/09/2018 by Dugie Standeford for Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)European Union lawmakers today approved by a 438-226 margin a measure updating EU copyright law and voted to begin negotiations with the European Commission (EC) and Council. The vote followed parliamentary rejection in June of plans to launch an immediate “trilogue” with the EC and Council based on text as approved by the lead Legal Affairs Committee (JURI), instead sending the measure for full debate at the September plenary held today. The European Parliament press release on the vote is available here. At a pre-vote debate Tuesday, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) generally agreed that Europe’s copyright regime needed updating, but wide divisions remained over two controversial proposals: Article 11 would give press publishers an ancillary right (also called neighbouring right or “snippet tax”) to seek remuneration for the digital use of their content by information society service providers. Article 13 would require some online platforms — content-sharing service providers one of whose main purposes is to store and provide public access to copyright-protected works for commercial gain – to cooperate with rightholders through, for example, automated filters (“upload monitoring”). Today’s vote brought swift reaction from stakeholders on both sides of the controversy. “Great Day for Democracy” The Federation of European Film Directors, Federation of Screenwriters in Europe and Society of Audiovisual Authors cheered the “adoption of significant improvements to provisions respecting fair remuneration in contracts of authors and performers, as well as the confirmation of the introduction of a very much needed new Article establishing a principle of fair and proportionate remuneration for authors from the exploitation of their works, including online (new Article 14).” The European Magazine Media Association, European Newspaper Publishers’ Association, News Media Europe and European Publishers Council said approval of the publisher’s neighbouring right is a “great day for the independent press and for democracy.” The Independent Music Companies Association said it expects the trilogue to make quick progress. “The eyes of the world are on Europe to make online platforms more accountable and set new standard for creators online,” said Executive Chair Helen Smith. CISAC, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, said today’s vote “sends a message to governments worldwide.” “Disastrous” for Fundamental Rights German MEP Julia Reda, of the Greens/European Free Alliance, charged lawmakers with “putting corporate profits over freedom of speech.” Parliament’s version of Article 13 seeks to make all but the smallest internet platforms liable for any copyright infringements committed by their users, leaving “sites and apps no choice but to install error-prone upload filters,” she said. The updated version of Article 11, moreover, allows only “individual words” of news article to be reproduced for free, including in hyperlinks, which closely follows an existing German law that hasn’t yet made money for publishers and has led to the shutdown of start-up companies in the sector, she said. Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake, of the Alliance of Socialists and Democrats for Europe, however, accused colleagues of squandering the opportunity to get copyright reform on the right track. “This is a disastrous result for the protection of our fundamental rights, ordinary internet users and Europe’s future in the field of artificial intelligence,” she said. European Digital Rights initiative called the vote “a backwards flip-flop to supporting measures” Parliament had previously dismissed. There will now be talks between the Parliament and Council on a proposal that “coerces” internet companies into monitoring, filtering and blocking uploads versus one that more “explicitly forces” such activities, resulting in a “cocktail of both poisons” that will be put to a final vote just a few short months before the 2019 European Parliament elections, said EDRi Senior Analyst Diego Naranjo. The aftermath will be a Europe where only “Google and Facebook can survive,” he said. The adoption of upload filters for a wide range of online platforms and the “so-called ‘right for press publishers’” is regrettable, said the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA). Imposing a general obligation to monitor user-uploaded content will harm citizens’ fundamental rights and undermine platforms’ liability regime, it said. CCIA urged the Parliament and Council the “come to a balanced outcome in final negotiations.” “The consequence of this vote is clear,” said European Consumer Organisation Director General Monique Goyens. Platforms will have no option than to scan and filter any content consumers want to upload, leading to many uploads being unjustifiably blocked, she said. Only the copyright industry will benefit from such “protectionist reform.” The Electronic Frontier Foundation tweeted that the vote on upload filters, among other issues, was the “worse possible outcome.” And La Quadrature du Net said the “cultural industry and press publishers feed on the crumbs of the mass surveillance business.” Terrorist Content Regulation Separately, the EC today proposed a regulation for preventing dissemination of terrorist content online. Among other things, it would require that internet companies remove such content within one hour of receiving a legally binding order from a national authority; and create a duty of care for all platforms for ensure they are not being misused for distribution of terrorist content. CCIA said that while it supports efforts to tackle terrorist content online, the one-hour removal deadline will push hosting services to take down all reported content, chilling freedom of speech. Images from Parliament today Image Credits: European Parliament, European Parliament Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Dugie Standeford may be reached at email@example.com."European Parliament Approves Negotiating Stance On Copyright Reform" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.