Commentators react to Copyright Directive vote

25 September 2018

Following the parliamentary adoption of the Copyright Directive on 12 September, commentators have expressed concerns about it’s potential impact.

Professor Maurizio Borghi, providing commentary via The Conversation, notes how article 13 may have the indirect effect of consolidating existing platform monopolies. Large internet platforms, such as YouTube and Google, already implement systems created by the new article (including agreements of commercial licences and upload filters); conversely, smaller platforms seeking to establish themselves in a larger field (and thereby challenging said monopolies) will struggle to accommodate these costs.

Julia Reda (MEP), providing commentary via Wired, expresses concerns that the Copyright Directive has been used as an indirect punitive measure against platforms vis a vis internet culture. Noting that copyright law is not an appropriate avenue through which to challenge internet platform oligopolies, Reda notes that the most likely outcome is dangerous restrictions on freedom of expression.

European institutions, such as the European University Association lament the “missed opportunity” to adopt a broader and mandatory copyright exception for text and data mining. Similar disappointment was expressed by the European Alliance for Research Excellence, noting that such a limited exception will likely stifle developments in artificial intelligence.

Copyright rapporteur, Axel Voss, has also provided commentary on the outcome of the plenary vote (recording and transcription available here). Whilst calling for MEPs to focus on articles 11 and 13, Voss also acknowledged that he was unaware of the existence of some modifications (in particular the new sports organisers rights in article 12a).

Closed-door negotiations as part of the trilogue process have since began (on 2 October 2018), and are scheduled until the end of the year (notice of meeting and agenda for 10 October available here).