Flurry of letters sent to MEPs ahead of Copyright Directive vote

21 March 2019

For:

Trade body Europe for Creators has issued an open letter to CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki criticising the company for “misleading or false information” based on “scare tactics”, including the use of banners and pop-ups on the platform. The letter claims that the actions raise ethical questions:

“It interferes with the democratic and balanced debate that all European citizens are entitled to. We believe it is totally unfair and unacceptable that your service, which dominates the online market, is exclusively used as a media service to promote your own commercial interests in a debate over European legislation.”

Privacy-based search engine Qwant has reversed their position on the Directive, having previously campaigned against Article 13 as a “risk for fundamental rights and freedoms”. TorrentFreak now reports that founder Eric Leandri supports the proposed Directive, and proposes creating a free and open centralised database for rights clearance in order to assist its implementation.

Against:

130 EU businesses have issued a letter to MEPs urging them to vote against Articles 11 and 13 of the Copyright Directive. Of Article 11, the letter states that this will result in Europe “lo[sing] any chance to play a significant role on the world stage” by stifling entrepreneurship and start-ups. Of Article 13, they claim that this is “dangerously experimenting with the core foundation of the Internet’s ecosystem”, as well as jeopardising masses of private data from European users.

The Communia Association have also issued a statement as part of a 2+ year campaign to “say #Yes2Copyright, but NO to #Article13”. They reiterate concerns that a requirement of upload filters will not “respect user rights”, given the imperfect blocking technology. The statement also draws attention to a plethora of other issues with the Directive text, not just limited to Articles 11 and 13, resulting in a “legislative mixed bag” at best.