Last month, The EU Copyright directive had been put on hold since the European Council (with representatives from all the member states) couldn’t establish a level ground for Article 13. 11 member nations voted against the law causing the final “trilogue” meeting (at which the law was supposed to be finalized) to be called off. According to the member states, Article 13 is ‘insufficiently protective of users’ rights.’
While most of the state governments remained in favor of Article 13, there was a certain disagreement about the details of this law. France and Germany couldn’t agree on which internet platforms should install upload filters to censor their users’ posts. The disagreement has been resolved, and the process of enacting the law is back in motion. This time- making the law even worse, says the EEF. This is because, after a lot of back and forth, Germany and France have come to an agreement that will possibly affect tons of smaller sites as well as the larger ones, with hardly any protection to sites that host user-generated content.
Julia Reeda, a German politician and Member of the European Parliament, uploaded the Franco-German deal [PDF], that was leaked today and which shows that Upload filters must be installed by everyone except those services which fit all three of the following “extremely narrow criteria”:
- Available to the public for less than 3 years
- Annual turnover below €10 million
- Fewer than 5 million unique monthly visitors
BoingBoing.net summarises the above saying, every single online platform where the public can communicate and that has been in operation for three years or more must immediately buy filters. The size of the company does not matter. Once a platform makes €5,000,000 in a year, it will be obligated to implement “copyright filters as well. And finally, every site must demonstrate that it has taken ‘best efforts’ to license anything that their users might conceivably upload. This means that any time a rightsholder offers the site a license for content that their users might use, they are obliged to buy it from them, at whatever price they name.
The next step for this draft is that the national negotiators for EU member states approve the deal, and then a final vote in the European Parliament. If the law is finalised, there would be an enormous investment of money needed. Copyright filters will cost hundreds of millions of euros to develop and maintain. Besides the monetary aspect, the law may also block legitimate speech that probably uses copyrighted works to get a point across and is incorrectly identified as containing copyrighted works. The petition opposing this law is now the largest petition in European history.
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