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On Tuesday, the 16th of October, GitHub hosted Open Source and Copyright: from Industry 4.0 to SMEs in Brussels. Partnering with OpenForum Europe and Red Hat, the event was designed to raise awareness of the EU Copyright Directive among developers and policymakers. GitHub has made its position on the controversial legislation clear, saying that while “current copyright laws are outdated in many respects and need modernization, we are concerned that some aspects of the EU’s proposed copyright reform package would inadvertently affect software.”

The event included further discussion on topics such as:

  • Policy: For GitHub, Abby Vollmer shared how developers have been especially effective in getting policymakers to respond to problems with the copyright proposal and asked them to continue reaching out to policymakers about a technical fix to protect open source.
  • Developers: Evis Barbullushi from Red Hat explained why open source is so fundamental to software and critical to the EU, using examples of what open source powers every day. He also highlighted the world-class and commercially mainstream nature of open source.
  • SMEs: Sebastiano Toffaletti (from the European Digital SME Alliance) described concerns about the copyright proposal from the perspective of SMEs, including how efforts to regulate large platforms can end up harming SMEs even if they’re not the target.
  • Research and academia: Roberto Di Cosmo (Software Heritage) wrapped up the talks by noting that he “should not be here, because, in a world in which software was better understood and valued, policymakers would never introduce a proposal that inadvertently puts software at great risk, and motivated developers to fix this underlying problem.”

In its previous EU copyright proposal update, GitHub explained that the EU Council, Parliament, and Commission were ready to begin final-stage negotiations of the copyright proposal. These three institutions are now working on the exceptions to copyright for text and data mining (Article 3), among other technical elements of the proposal.

Article 13 would likely drive many platforms to use upload filters on user-generated content. Article 2 defines which services are in the scope of Article 13, Articles 2 and 13 will be discussed together.

This means developers can still contact policymakers with thoughts on what outcomes are best for software development.

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