On 15 June 2017, the European Commission’s Digital Vice President Andrus Ansip “lamented Parliament divisions on issues ranging from hyperlinking to text and data mining, after Members of the European Parliament tabled close to a thousand amendments to the copyright file”.
As evidenced by recent coalition letters (here, here and here) from consumer representatives, online services, startups, publishers and education and research institutions, such divisions might have been avoided if the European Commission’s proposal had been more balanced and forward-looking.
These letters highlight some of the main concerns of what has become one of the European Union’s major policy debates. In a short video below, Internet advocates from Mozilla, eBay and the Center for Democracy and Technology explain the devastating consequences the provisions on online intermediaries’ liability and user-generated content filters would have for the Internet as we currently know it.
Furthermore, in a report published at the end of May, the European Policy Centre, Jean-Michel Bruguière and Frédéric Dumont (lawyers at Deprez Guignot Associés) review the new neighbouring right for press publishers, another concerning provision included in the Commission’s copyright proposal. This report concludes that this new right raises significant legal issues and does not appear capable of delivering the desired economic or societal benefits. On the contrary, this new right might reduce competition and media pluralism.
These letters, video and report demonstrate that, when dealing with copyright, the consequences on the free flow of information and freedom of expression can be dire. That is why, when Commissioner Ansip added “if we start with never-ending discussions, when will we [finalize] this? In my lifetime?”, we at DisCo would like to point out that taking the time to negotiate a balanced and forward-looking copyright reform is more important than getting it done quickly.