Will startups be hit by copyright torpedo?

On 13 and 14 March 2018 SAPIE joined ranks of representatives of 13 different organisations from around the European Union travelled to Strasbourg to with several Members of the European Parliament to warn the legislators of the disastrous consequences of the proposed reform of the EU copyright directive ahead of the key JURI Committee vote.


Organisations and industries across Europe voiced their concern with the proposed copyright reform, speaking from different perspectives, from academia and libraries to the digital and tech industry. The MEPs met with representatives of the University of Basilicata, National Association of Libraries and Librarians in Romania, The Slovak Alliance for Innovation Economy, eco - Association of the Internet Industry, SEZNAM.CZ, Italian National Association of Online Publishers, Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic, Salon24.pl, Infobalt, tech UK, ZIPSEE “Digital Poland”, Association of Portuguese Publishers and France Digitale.


The European Commission put forward a proposed reform of the Copyright Directive in 2016 and one of the most contentious issues in this reform is the proposed introduction of a pan-European “neighbouring right” (also called Article 11) and the filtering obligation introduced by Article 13.


Article 11 would create a “neighbouring right” (also called ancillary copyright or publisher right), one which entitles publishers (including newspapers and other media) to prevent websites, search engines, blogs and aggregators from using their content or sharing their content without the prior authorisation of the publisher. In practice, sharing of snippets, or possibly even links would be prohibited without a prior agreement between each website looking to share the content and the publisher of the content. The proposed right covers a broad diversity of publications, including blog posts, far beyond printed press publications. It lasts for a full 20 years and applies retroactively to past publications.


Article 13 creates an obligation for Information Society Service Providers to monitor and filter anything that European citizens upload to content-sharing services. In practice, online platforms that provide to the public access to large amounts of content uploaded by users will have to implement effective content recognition technology to prevent the availability on their services of works or content identified by rightholders. Online platforms will also need to provide rightholders with adequate information on content recognition, and adequate reporting on the recognition and use of copyrighted content. While this provision makes web hosting services directly liable for their users’ activity, it also creates a near automatic editorial responsibility.


In the European Parliament, the Copyright Directive is under the remit of the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) and the vote will be held on 24 April 2018.


The topic of the copyright reform was also covered by major Slovak media houses - SME and Topky.sk

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