The Copyright Directive – The EU Battles the Internet

26 September 2018

The Commission put forward a legislative proposal in September 2016 for a new directive on copyright in the digital single market.  The aim is to update copyright law in particular in the areas of digital and cross border use of content, text and data mining in scientific research and preservation of cultural heritage. But it has proved highly controversial, both from an economic and legal perspective and because of its potential impact on freedom of expression.

Articles 11 and 13 have been furiously debated by rights holders and free speech advocates. They would require platforms to pay to link to news items and pre-filter user content for potential copyright violations.

The amended text now goes into the trilogue process of negotiations between the Commission, Council and Parliament, to try to reach an agreed form before being voted on again by Parliament.  It is known that some member states had reservations in respect of the threats to fundamental rights and legal implications of undermining the workings of the e-Commerce Directive, so there may yet be scope to have these more controversial provisions revisited.

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