3 min Devops

EU reaches agreement on the controversial upload filter and link tax

EU reaches agreement on the controversial upload filter and link tax

Negotiations on the controversial EU Copyright Directive have been concluded. There was a great deal of criticism of Articles 11 and 13 in particular, but they remain in the text after years of negotiations. The European Parliament will shortly be voting on the directive, which is very likely to be adopted.

The European Commission states this in a statement. Months were spent on the latest version of the text, with several Member States hoping to be able to amend at least Articles 11 and 13. A last-minute agreement between Germany and France meant that this was not possible. The final version of the text is not yet available, but MEP Julia Reda published a summary on her blog.

Articles 11 and 13

According to The Verge, the most important thing is that articles 11 and 13 continue to exist – the articles that are known as the link tax and upload filter. Under article 13 of the text, internet platforms with a profit motive such as YouTube, Tumblr and Twitter must proactively scan the content uploaded by users for copyrighted material. Article 11 gives publishers the right to invoice search engines, archive sites and other websites if they copy more than a few words or very short summaries of new stories.

In recent months, large tech companies and even rightholders have spoken out against these two articles. Although the EU directive is a long-awaited revision of copyright laws, it seems to go a little too far in the age of the Internet. According to the industry, the risk is that this will cause serious damage and risks in the sector.

Freedom of expression

Although there is no mention of the word ‘filter’ in the texts of the European Union, many people understand it that way. This is because sites have little choice but to install filters. This will lead to errors, whereby content that does not infringe copyrights can also be considered as such. The fear is that services such as YouTube and Twitter will find it almost impossible to offer their services in a user-friendly manner.

According to critics, this would therefore jeopardise freedom of expression. Moreover, thanks to the compromise reached between Germany and France, this rule will probably apply only to services that have been in operation for less than three years, earn less than EUR 10 million per year or attract fewer than five million unique visitors per month. Whether this has also been included in the final text remains to be seen.

Then there is Article 11, which is heavily criticised because, according to critics, this actually amounts to a link tax. The text states that it is no longer permitted to reproduce parts of texts, unless they are very short. However, what this means is not clear from the European Union’s proposal. In addition, no site is excluded from this.

Voting soon

Now that there is an agreement on the revision of the EU Copyright Directive, it is up to the European Council to vote on this. To reject him, 13 Member States, or Member States representing 35% of the EU, have to vote against him. The chance is slim: last time eight Member States, jointly 27% of the EU, voted against.

In addition, the European Parliament will also have to vote on the proposal, which will take place in March or April. Some activists still hope that in view of the upcoming European elections in March, MEPs will decide to vote against.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.