Over the past year, many blog posts on the European copyright reform were published on DisCo. Each one, perhaps, more alarming than the last – explaining again and again the disastrous consequences this proposal would have for Internet users’ fundamental rights and for the growth of the European digital sector.
Today, over 60 civil society organizations and trade associations representing Internet users, consumers, startups, publishers, online services and research and educational institutions, outlined clearly those same concerns in an open-letter to European lawmakers – and urged them to put the copyright reform back on the right track.
Let’s be clear: the copyright proposal is a huge disappointment and the signatories rightly pointed out that this proposal is backward-looking. Instead of modernizing copyright, making it fit for the digital economy, the European Commission failed to meet the expectations of citizens and businesses.
By favoring legacy business models, the proposal undermines the liability regime of intermediaries, requires the filtering of user uploaded content and creates a new exclusive right for press publishers – thereby hindering the free flow of information and freedom of expression on the Internet. It also strikes a deadly blow against European economic interests by limiting the right to mine text and data to very few stakeholders, such as public research institutions.
As made clear by the signatories, it is therefore crucial that European lawmakers not only “oppose the most damaging aspects of the proposal, but also embrace a more ambitious agenda for positive reform”.
The next few months will see the European Parliament and the European Council adopt their respective positions. There is still time to avoid a disastrous outcome.