Copyright: MEPs Voss, Cavada and cross-party group of 50 MEPs’ amendments (239-250-251) endanger open online platforms

BY Maud Sacquet
September 11, 2018

Last July, a majority of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) rejected the draconian provisions of the copyright directive. Tomorrow the plenary will vote on a new version of the directive.

Proposed amendments to the copyright directive from rapporteur Axel Voss and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats continue to present a threat to the Internet as we experience it today.

The amendments still require filtering, as recently pointed out by 28 European academics. Worse, MEP Voss’ amendments require filtering by platforms (to ensure “unauthorised” content “are not available on their services”) without rightholders even having to tell them what they want blocked. This is a guaranteed recipe for overbroad removals. But thanks to those new proposals, that’s a moot point, because both ALDE and the rapporteur’s proposals automatically make content sharing platforms illegal. Indeed any content sharing platforms that tags and indexes user uploads is directly liable for copyright infringement. There is no way out of this direct liability, not even licences. This spells the end of any open platform and is far worse than the JURI Committee text.

The compromise amendment of a cross-party group of 50 MEPs (amendments 239-250-251) are no doubt well intentioned but they fall short of preserving a workable legal framework for a well-functioning internet with content sharing platforms like YouTube, Dailymotion and TripAdvisor.

The MEPs argue that these sophisticated platforms should be excluded from the E-commerce Directive when they are “active”, but that amounts to penalizing innovations that make user content more accessible, engaging and user friendly.

We therefore urge MEPs to support the progressive and balanced proposal that the IMCO and Green positions represent.

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