EU Parliament sends controversial copyright law reform back to discussion

The European Parliament hemicycle in Strasbourg (Copyright: European Union, 2017 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Mauro Bottaro)

The European Parliament hemicycle in Strasbourg (Copyright: European Union, 2017 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Mauro Bottaro)


Last Thursday, the European Parliament has voted against a proposed reform of the EU’s copyright law, aimed at forcing tech giants like Google and Facebook to share revenues with publishers, broadcasters and artists. The proposed reform was formally intended to “modernise” the overall European copyright system, and to bring it more “in line” to the digital age. However, the proposal sparked a fierce debate between internet giants and content creators in the past weeks, with internet first-rate names such as Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales involved on one front and music legends such as Sir Paul McCartney on the other.

Background

The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market 2016/0280(COD), also known as the EU Copyright Directive, is a proposed EU directive, officially aimed at harmonising the EU’s copyright laws, but also at protecting press publications, reducing the “value gap” between the profits made by internet platforms and content creators. It first saw the light in 2016, when the European Commission released the proposal currently under discussion, after it passed consultations in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Less than two months ago, on May 25, the EU Council’s COREPER (from French COmité des REprésentants PERmanents) agreed its position on the draft Directive, paving the way to closing negotiations with the European Parliament to reach a final text. On June 20, 2018, the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs finalised their amendments to the directive as well and greenlighted the proposal. However, last week, MEPs voted not to proceed to the negotiation stage, but instead to reopen the directive for debate.

The vote

So last week, on 5 July 2018, Parliament’s plenary voted by 318 votes to 278, with 31 abstentions, to reject the negotiating mandate proposed by the Legal Affairs Committee last month. After the vote, the rapporteur, Axel Voss (EPP,DE) said: “I regret that a majority of MEPs did not support the position which I and the Legal Affairs Committee have been advocating. But this is part of the democratic process”.

European Parliament’s rules of procedure provide that if at least 10% of MEPs (76) object to opening negotiations with the Council based on the text voted in committee, a plenary vote will be held. This was also explained by the European Parliament on an official note, which was released last week. By the deadline of midnight on Tuesday, the requisite number of MEPs had lodged their objection.

Controversial proposal

The proposed EU Copyright Directive was an attempt by the EU to officially “modernise its copyright laws”, and move towards the Digital Single Market. However, it didn’t make everyone happy, particularly because it contained two very controversial and highly-contested parts. The first one was Article 11, which was designed to protect newspapers and other news outlets from internet giants like Google and Facebook, requiring them to pay publishers when users share links.

The second one was Article 13. Article 13 was indeed designed to make online platforms such as YouTube seek direct licences for content such as music videos, images or text. Article 13 would indeed require the upload of a sort of “filter” to have all content uploaded online checked for copyright infringement.

Reactions

Opponents of the Copyright Directive clearly celebrated the rejection of the proposal. Julia Reda, a Pirate Party MEP who had campaigned against the changes, was among the first ones to tweet her satisfaction. “Great success: Your protests have worked! The European Parliament has sent the copyright law back to the drawing board”, Reda said.

Among the backers of the proposal, BPI Music, which represents the UK’s music industry, said: “We respect the decision by MEPs to have a plenary discussion on the draft Copyright Directive. We will work with MEPs over the next weeks to explain how the proposed Directive will benefit not just European creativity, but also internet users and the technology sector”.

Fierce debate

Internet’s most influential names and music industry all start massively collided on the proposal in the past weeks, with the first group claiming the reform could have a massive impact on how people use the internet, limiting freedom, and the latter in support of the law, which would have helped protecting intellectual property. Among the campaigners against the proposals there are high-profile names such as Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, the world wide web inventor, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the net neutrality expert Tim Wu and the internet pioneer Vint Cerf, which sent a letter to EU Parliament’s President Antonio Tajani, saying the law was an “imminent threat to the future” of the internet.

“We support the consideration of measures that would improve the ability for creators to receive fair remuneration for the use of their works online […] But we cannot support Article 13, which would mandate Internet platforms to embed an automated infrastructure for monitoring and censorship deep into their networks”, the signatories said. “For the sake of the Internet’s future, we urge you to vote for the deletion of this proposal”, the letter also said.

Music industry’s plea

On the other hand, there were about 1,300 musicians who urged politicians to approve the Directive. Music legends such as former Beatles member Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox, Placido Domingo and David Guetta tried to persuade MEPs to make sweeping changes to copyright law, but those names were not enough. In a letter published on IFPI, Sir McCartney urged MEPs to support the proposal. “The proposed Copyright Directive and its Article 13 would address the value gap and help assure a sustainable future for the music ecosystem and its creators, fans and digital music services alike”, he said.

Next steps

With last week’s vote, the proposal has been pushed back to the European Parliament for further debate and will be revisited in September, allowing sections of the proposal to be rewritten. “We will now return to the matter in September for further consideration and attempt to address peoples’ concerns whilst bringing our copyright rules up to date with the modern digital environment”, said rapporteur Axel Voss in the official EU document. September 10 will be the date.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Eurozone: Negative statistics bring deflation and recession closer

Bayer’s cross at night (Copyright: Bayer AG)

The EU clears Bayer-Monsanto merger amid wide competition and environmental concerns

‘Negative forces’ at work in DR Congo threaten ‘largely peaceful’ relations across Great Lakes region, says outgoing UN envoy

All sides in Yemen conflict could be guilty of war crimes, UN experts find

EU and China discuss economic and trade relations at the 7th High-level Economic and Trade Dialogue

5 factors driving the Chinese lawtech boom

5 ways to bridge the global health worker shortage

Service and Sacrifice: Ugandan ‘Blue Helmets’ support UN efforts to bring peace to Somalia

100 years on, UN labour agency mission focussed on growing inequality, says Director-General

Groundbreaking cancer-fighting drugs now included in updated UN list of essential medicines

Parliament makes it easier to organise a European Citizens’ Initiative

Large parts of the world are growing more fragile. Here are 5 steps to reverse course

Finnish Prime Minister calls for a more united EU of concrete actions

A new way to teach active citizenship to students?

The four top Americans who flew to Europe perplexed things about Trump’s intentions

This is what the gender pay gap looks like in eight countries

MWC 2016 LIVE: Xiaomi looks to revive growth with flagships

Mobile 360 Africa 11-13 July 2017

‘Virginity testing’: a human rights violation, with no scientific basis – UN

Latest tragedy in the Mediterranean claims over 100 lives – UN refugee agency

Preserving biodiversity vital to reverse tide of climate change, UN stresses on International Day

Korea should adapt its migration programmes to ensure continued success in the face of expected challenges

EU gas market: new rules agreed will also cover gas pipelines entering the EU

Afghanistan: Bring ‘architects’ of latest ‘appalling’ suicide bombing to justice, says deputy UN mission chief

The European Parliament x-rays the troika’s doings

Hiring more female leaders is good for profits. Here’s the evidence

A Valentine’s Special: we can never overdose on love

Russia accepts what the EU has to offer and settles to negotiate with Ukraine

This Netherlands football stadium creates its own energy and stores it in electric car batteries

We probably should go back to the therapy in Primary Healthcare

Global Compact on Refugees: How is this different from the migrants’ pact and how will it help?

European Commission: Does Apple, Starbucks and Fiat really pay their taxes?

Corporate tax remains a key revenue source, despite falling rates worldwide

The megatrend that will shape our working future

Why rich countries are seeing more poverty

So, what is your favourite Sustainable Development Goal?

GradList Launched At TheNextWeb 2014

Here’s why leaders need to care about mental health

Haiti stands ‘at the crossroads’ between peacekeeping, development – Bachelet urges strengthened ‘human rights protection’

Joint UN, OSCE engagement can address crisis in Ukraine, other ‘dark spots of conflict’ in Europe

Basel III rules relaxed: Banks got it all but become more prone to crisis

Two major EU projects falter; the Schengen Agreement now freezes and Eurozone fails to resolve the Greek enigma

What has a year of experiments taught us about basic income?

Who can compel Wallonia to unlock CETA, the EU-Canada free trade pack?

Eurozone: GDP development heads to naught; the expensive euro serves only Germany

Europe, US and Russia haggle over Ukraine’s convulsing body; Russians and Americans press on for an all out civil war

Anti-vaccination movement affecting youth in Europe

Chatterbox Rome Declaration cannot save the EU; Germany has to pay more to do that

Turkey: MEPs cut support by €70m due to no improvement in respect for EU values

Innovating together: connectivity that matters

Future of EU farming: MEPs push for modern common policy with fair funding

France is about to start giving free breakfasts to disadvantaged schoolchildren

Human Rights Council election: 5 things you need to know about it

Why Eurozone needs a bit more inflation

Children in crisis-torn eastern Ukraine ‘too terrified to learn’ amid spike in attacks on schools

US and Mexico child deportations drive extreme violence and trauma: UNICEF

The Commission unsuccessfully pretends to want curbing of tax evasion

Millennials (and Gen X) – Here are the steps you should take to secure your financial future

New Disability Inclusion Strategy is ‘transformative change we need’, says Guterres

Nuclear weapons in Lithuania: defence against Russia or target for terrorists?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s