Before summer the European Parliament rejected the mandate of the JURI-committee to start negotiations with EU Member States on the reform of the EU’s copyright directive. As a result of this vote, every MEP now had the chance to file amendments. We will vote on these amendments next week, on the 12th of September.
Throughout the summer a coalition of MEPs from ALDE, S&D, EPP and ECR have exchanged ideas on finding a compromise for which we work to reach a majority vote in the Parliament. The amendments we tabled focus on five priority areas: 1) a limited Article 13 without upload filters, 2) a beefed up presumption right for press publishers, 3) a broad exception for text and data mining, 4) a new broad exception to enable freedom of panorama, 5) a new broad exception for user generated content in order to protect the meme.
Read the amendments here.
1.Addressing the rights of creators without installing upload filters
One of the main goals of the copyright reform is to ensure that artists get better remunerated for the online use of their music, films or other audiovisual content. We are supportive of this goal, but did not endorse a) the broad scope of article 13 - as defined by the Commission proposal or the JURI text, b) the negative impact that it would have on SME’s, c) the disproportionate impact it would have on fundamental rights, d) the inconsistency with the language of the e-commerce directive (as reflected in the IMCO-opinion).
We are supportive of the IMCO-text, and would vote in favour of that text on a voting list. However, in case there is no majority for it, we propose the following proportionate solution, which would limit the scope of the proposal to active platforms which give access to audio-visual content only. This option gives rightsholders strong claims to platforms such as YouTube, without endorsing a filtering mandate. Those platforms would be obliged to conclude licensing agreements with rightholders.
2. A beefed up presumption right for press publishers
We agree with the strong criticism by more than 150 academics that the creation of a new neigbouring right is not a good idea. The option that we propose would strengthen the enforcement position of press publishers, as proposed by former EPP rapporteur Comodini Cacchia. It would exclude indexing systems, including hyperlinks, from its scope.
Press publications contain mostly text but also increasingly photographs and videos. Due to the large number of authors and rightholders involved in the creation of a press publication, licensing and enforcement of the rights in press publications are often complex and inefficient in the digital environment. Publishers may notably face difficulties when proving that they have been transferred or licensed the rights in such works and other subject-matter for the purposes of concluding licences or enforcing the rights in respect of their press publications. To facilitate the licensing and enforcement of the rights acquired vis-à-vis third parties, it is necessary to provide at Union level a presumption to allow the publisher to be regarded as the person entitled to conclude licences on and enforce the rights of reproduction and making available to the public concerning the digital use of the publication.
One extra feature that was not a part of Ms. Comodini’s proposal was the idea that Member States would need to ensure that information society providers, such as Google, would need to respect the wish of a publisher to limit access to its content as expressed in a robots.txt file, which is a standard used by websites to communicate with web robots that crawl the internet for information. By doing this publishers would get more control over the online use of their works. They would be able to manage what parts of the website the robots index, for instance how much of an article would show up in the snippet that appears in Google News. This option would avoid the abuse of content, without the need to create a separate right.
3. A broad exception for text and data mining
Europe can only develop a successful Artificial Intelligence strategy if a wide variety of organisations, including start-ups and SME’s, are able to carry out text and data mining to content to which they obtained lawful access. The right to read is the right to mine. The JURI proposal would limit this possibility only to a narrow category of organisations.
4. A new broad exception for freedom of panorama
Freedom of panorama gives people the right to take photos of landmarks (for instance the Eiffel Tower) and post them online. In countries where that freedom does not exist, photographers must first get permission from the copyright holder or risk being fined. Roughly half of the EU Member States already have a freedom of panorama exception, and it’s time to harmonise this legal framework. Freedom of Panorama will also be crucial to enable the deployment of self-driving cars, because autonomous vehicles need to scan, save and share information about their surroundings.
5. A new broad exception for user generated content.
This amendment will better protect the creation and use of memes, gifs or other types of remixes. Digital use of protected content would be possible for the purposes of pastiche, parody, criticism, or entertainment. It requires that content be legally available, and that the user provide an indication of the source.