Copyright Directive: Implementation of Generalized and Automated Upload Filtering on the Internet; Decisive Vote in July

Press release, June 20th, 2018

On June 20th, The Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee adopted the Draft Copyright Directive, including its Article 13 that imposes the implementation of generalized and automated upload filters by hosting platforms. While free software development platforms are exempted from this filtering obligation, the very idea of it is disastrous. April calls on Members of the European Parliament to reject this draft directive in its entirety during the July plenary.

On the morning of June 20th, a crucial vote for the preservation of a free and open Internet was held at the European Parliament. The JURI Committee adopted Article 13, which mandates that hosting platforms set up automatic censoring mechanisms. And yet, this provision had been widely criticized by organizations that campaign for Internet freedom, by authors, by free software businesses,… and even by the United Nations' special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

On the issue of free software development platforms, the JURI committee took a step in the right direction, by excluding these platforms from the scope of Article 13 regardless of whether or not they are for-profit.1 Despite this improvement, April still considers that the very principle of generalized filtering should be rejected.

The Committee also adopted the decision to start negotiations with the Council, who is co-legislator. During the plenary sessions that start on July 2nd, MEPs will be able to challenge this decision and request a vote on whether these negociations should begin. April calls on MEPs to reject the draft directive.

“As a result of strong mobilization, free software development platforms were excluded from the provisions of Article 13. But this patch is not sufficient; Article 13 remains dangerous and must be removed. We should step up the mobilization before the plenary vote, in order for the draft directive to join ACTA in the dustbin of history,” stated Frédéric Couchet, April's general delegate.
“We are told it's a compromise; yet the most knowledgeable experts say the text curbs freedom. We are told it's about curtailing the power of the big tech companies and establishing a digital single market; yet it strengthens the silos. We are told it's about authors; yet it hinders one of the most important tools for creating and sharing ever invented. Never mind the text, it's the entire process that is disastrous. The only thing left to do is to completely dismiss the text and start afresh, on a sound basis, with a real and in-depth public debate,” added Étienne Gonnu, the public affairs officer for April.
  • 1.

    The Compromise Amendment “CA 2”, adopted on June 20th (see page 2 of this PDF document), introduced an exemption for free software development platforms by amending Article 2, which defines “online content sharing service providers”, the terminology that is used in the new version of Article 13:
    “Providers of cloud services for individual use which do not provide direct access to the public, open source software developing platforms, and online market places whose main activity is online retail of physical goods, should not be considered online content sharing service providers within the meaning of this Directive.”

    The new version of Article 13 is on page 14 of the same document (CA 14).