How will this impact me?

Technologist

Article 11: Protection of Press Publications Concerning Digital Uses

What does this mean?

Despite several failed attempts in countries across Europe (e.g. in Spain and Germany), the Commission has proposed introducing a new pan-European copyright for press publications, sometimes referred to as “ancillary copyright” or a “neighbouring right”, which would create new copyright for snippets of online content. That would mean anyone sharing a link with text, like a news headline or a short blurb about the article, could be charged a license fee from the publisher responsible for the content.

Worst of all, these restrictions would last for 20 years! What’s the last piece of online content that you looked at that was 20 years old?!

What are we fighting for?

Article 11 should be rejected. We support the long-term sustainability of the online publishing ecosystem, as it’s a critical part of the success of the Web going forward. And we understand that there are some challenges in this space. But there is no evidence that this measure works; in fact evidence points to losses on all sides from such a policy - users, small businesses, startups and even publishers themselves. This system has proved unworkable, unhelpful, and risks inflicting grave consequences on the sharing of information and knowledge online.

For more detail, read C4C’s facstheet (PDF, in English).

Article 13: Use of protected content by information society service providers storing and giving access to large amounts of works and other subject-matter uploaded by their users.

What does this mean?

This proposal throws the idea of balanced copyright out the window, as it would make all open platforms liable for the actions of their users, enforce a particular type of business model (e.g. licenses), and impose mandatory filters, all with no safeguards to preserve copyright exceptions, or the rights of users.

These measures would in practice require monitoring and filtering of everything that European citizens upload to content-sharing services from social media sites (like Twitter and Facebook), outlets for creative expression (like YouTube, DeviantArt, SoundCloud, and Tumblr), to informational sites (like Wikipedia and the Internet Archives), to open source software repositories (like GitHub). It would be the responsibility of these services to play judge, jury, and executioner for copyright enforcement — businesses large and small could be held liable for the content their users access and share.

What are we fighting for?

Article 13 should be rejected. It would impose an immense, gratuitous burden on services that have huge economic and social benefits. And in practice, it would greatly harm the free expression of internet users, creators and innovators who use these online platforms, as online services will be incentivised to remove or prevent user generated content altogether. The cumulation of the elements in Article 13, if adopted, would ultimately undermine the opportunities and innovative potential that the internet offers.

For more detail, read C4C’s facstheet (PDF, in English).

Creator / Innovator

A new exception for User Generated Content (UGC).

What does this mean?

We ask the MEPs to consider adding a pan-European UGC exception. Currently, the laws regarding remixability are fragmented across the EU — what is protected under parody (with no commercial harm) in one country might be illegal in another. Moreover, our open source ethos is being threatened — an open internet is strongest when people can build and improve on each others’ creations.

What are we fighting for?

We believe that including a harmonised, new exception to allow a natural person to use a work in the creation of a new work would help make copyright law future-proof by design, and promote openness and creativity for all of Europe.

For more detail, read Communia’s analysis on UGC (in English).

Scientist / Librarian

Article 3: Text and Data Mining

What does this mean?

Text and data mining (TDM) is the process of data analysis by machines to comb through large datasets and surface patterns, trends, and correlations. Like machine learning.

The draft copyright directive proposes to add an exception that would allow TDM but only for research institutions, and only for scientific research, and only when those research institutions have lawful access for the purpose of scientific research.

What are we fighting for?

To be effective the TDM exception must be broader. The proposed exception is too limited to realise the benefits of TDM for competitiveness, innovation and knowledge. It should include the many other stakeholders that use mining techniques to learn, read, and educate — people like independent researchers, advocacy groups, journalists, librarians, and startups.

TDM is widely permitted outside of Europe, and has helped discover a range of new applications and innovations, without undermining core copyright protections.

For more detail, read LIBER’s explanation (in English).