Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market

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The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market is a proposed directive (a type of special EU law) that is aimed at protecting EU's existing copyright laws, with particular focus aiming at company intellectual property.[1][2][3] It was first introduced to the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs on 20 June 2018. On 12 September 2018, the European Parliament approved a revised version of this directive. This directive will be expected to take place in January 2019. If this directive passes, each country of the EU will be required to create laws that support this new directive.[4]

The European Council described their key goals as ways to reduce the amount of conflict related to copyright violation. One of their goals is to reduce the "value gap" between the profits made by internet platforms and content creators, which involves requiring financial agreement before they can use their content. Another one of their goals is to encourage "collaboration" between companies and people who use their products. The other goal they proposed is creating copyright exceptions for text and data mining (the use of high quality words to describe specific copyrighted content).[5]

The directive aims to give online press publishers more freedom to protect their content from news aggregators (Article 11), as well as requiring websites who primarily host content posted by users to warn users very harshly against posting unauthorized copyrighted content (Article 13).

Articles 11 and 13 have attracted widespread criticism from many people and companies in Europe and North America. Article 11 has been criticised as a "link tax" which would require websites to obtain a license before linking to and previewing (using html snippets) news stories,[6] and Article 13 as a "meme ban", because current content-filtering technology cannot distinguish copyright violation from fair dealing such as parody,[7] and may counteract the panorama freedom. Supporters of the directive, mostly from large companies that support copyright, ignore these claims and think that it is disinformation. People from large companies that support this new directive try to claim that the opposers are trying to make the information seem worse than it actually is.[8][9][10][11]

History[change | change source]

Background History[change | change source]

Progress of the directive[change | change source]

The first draft of the proposed directive was created on 14 September 2016,[12] After many changes to the original draft, the Council of the European Union's Committee of Permanent Representatives (The EU's political leaders, abbreviated to COREPER) approved of the new changes on 25 May 2018. Afterwards, they prepared to vote for what would be the final draft of this new directive,[13] but without the support of Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Belgium, or Hungary.[14] The European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs had finished off making the final draft of the directive on 20 June 2018. They then discussed in parliament whether the directive will be approved to be added as a new law or not.[15]

On 5 July 2018, this was not approved. Instead, the EU parliament decided to change the date of discussing about the directive on September 2018. [16][17] There were 318 votes that approved re-opening the debate on a later date, 278 votes that approve the directive immediately, and 31 votes that oppose the directive.[18][19]

On 12 September 2018, the parliament approved the directive. The final votes for the updated directive is 438 in favour and 226 against,[20]. The European Commission, the Council of the European Union, and the European Parliament will now discuss any other details relating to the directive before they release it to the EU. It is expected they will reach a solution in early 2019. If all of these three groups agree, then the directive will be sent to all of the EU. When this happens, each country of the EU will change their existing laws to include information related to this directive.[21]

Romania noticed that the EU was proposing to do meetings about Article 11 and Article 13 on 19 January 2019. Romania cancelled these meetings because Romania's proposal for the directive used wrong wording to describe how the directive will be run. There were 11 countries currently in the EU that did not like Romania's wording to describe Article 11 and 13: Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland, Slovenia, Italy, Poland, Sweden, Croatia, Luxembourg, and Portugal. With the exclusion of Portugal and Croatia, the other nine countries that opposed Romania believed that Romania's wording did not cover enough information regarding protecting the EU's citizens' copyright protections. Romania will have an opportunity to improve their wording for Article 11 and 13 to gain a majority vote, but this has caused the final vote for the directive from May 2019.[22]


Content[change | change source]

Article 3[change | change source]

Article 3 proposes a copyright exception for text and data mining (the use of high-quality words to describe a copyrighted subject, commonly abbreviated as TDM for short) for the purposes of scientific research.[23]

Depending on whether this article (a specific rule of a directive) understands what is considered in the public domain, TDM will potentially increase or decrease copyright restrictions compared to if this article is not approved.[24]

Article 4[change | change source]

Article 4 proposes that all educational establishments (schools, universities, etc.) are able to use copyrighted content for illustrative purposes only. Once this article has been approved, this article will clarify that educational establishments can make non-commercial use of copyrighted works for illustrative purposes.[source?]

Article 11[change | change source]

Article 11 is a section of this proposed directive that will restrict access to linking to other websites. Companies who try to link to other news without permission will be punished.

Article 12a[change | change source]

Article 12a proposes that sport event organizers have full copyright over recordings of their events.[25]

Article 13[change | change source]

Article 13 is a section of this proposed directive that will aim to censor any unauthorized copyrighted content. They will make it compulsory for all companies that post primarily user-generated content to do this.[26]

It is very controversial. People think that it will make it very difficult to share new content on the internet. People also think it will make it confusing for filters to distinguish fair use and copyright violation. People who loves memes tend to call it the "meme ban". They also make memes about the EU in retaliation.

Criticism[change | change source]

Lots of people think Article 11 and Article 13 are bad. They think they are going to make the internet very restricted. They also think free internet content will become very difficult to find or create.

On November 2018, Google also threatened to shut down YouTube for the EU if the directive passes unless adjustments are made to the directive.[27]

References[change | change source]

  1. European Commission. "The EU copyright legislation". Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  2. European Commission (14 September 2016). "Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market".
  3. "Everything you need to know about Europe's new meme-ending war". CNET. 22 June 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  4. Volpicelli, Gian. "The EU has passed Article 13, but Europe's meme war is far from over". Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  5. "Copyright rules for the digital environment: Council agrees its position – Consilium". Europa (web portal). Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  6. "'Disastrous' copyright bill vote approved". BBC News. 20 June 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  7. "Copyright: say NO to scaremongering and YES to creators getting paid". Independent Music Companies Association. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  8. "MYTHBUSTER". publishersright.eu. European Magazine Media Association and others. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  9. "UK Music chief slams Google as "corporate vultures" as figures show Google's €31m EU lobbying bid". UK Music. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  10. Media Correspondent, Matthew Moore (6 August 2018). "Google funds website that spams for its causes". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  11. Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (PDF) (Report). European Commission. 14 September 2016. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  12. "Proposal for a directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market" (PDF). 25 May 2018. p. 26.
  13. "EU Council agrees Copyright Directive position". CREATe. 29 May 2018. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  14. "Copyright rules for the digital environment: Council agrees its position". European Council. 25 May 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  15. Sweney, Mark; Rankin, Jennifer (5 July 2018). "YouTube and Facebook escape billions in copyright payouts after EU vote". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  16. Khan, Mehreen (5 July 2018). "MEPs reject EU copyright reforms in victory for internet giants". Financial Times. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  17. "EU's controversial copyright plan rejected". BBC News. 5 July 2018. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  18. Böhm, Markus (5 July 2018). "EU-Parlament bremst Urheberrechtsreform aus". Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  19. Vincent, James (12 September 2018). "EU approves controversial Copyright Directive, including internet 'link tax' and 'upload filter'". The Verge. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  20. Lee, Timothy (12 September 2018). "What's in the sweeping copyright bill just passed by the European Parliament". Ars Technica. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  21. Fingas, Jon (19 January 2019). "EU copyright laws face uncertain fate after 11 countries reject proposal". Engadget. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  22. "Copyright Reform: Help Us Ensure an Effective TDM Exception! – LIBER". LIBER. 25 September 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  23. "24 organisations urge Rapporteur Axel Voss MEP to strike a more ambitious deal on TDM – European Alliance for Research Excellence". European Alliance for Research Excellence. 8 June 2018. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  24. "Amendments adopted by the European Parliament on 12 September 2018 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market". European Parliament. 12 September 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  25. "Article 13: Europe's hotly debated revamp of copyright law, explained". cnet. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  26. "#SaveYourInternet - Article 13". YouTube. Retrieved 21 November 2018.